Monday 6 April 2015

Hard Body & Yoga Inferno: 4 Weeks Later

   March's workout was really tough, but I think it went really well - much better than most. Hard Body was much more difficult than expected - seriously not recommended if you're new to exercise, as many of the moves she used in both level 1 and 2 were moves I learned from other difficult workouts, but with variations that made them even harder. I managed them, I'm really proud to say, but I think Hard Body by itself would have been a tough enough workout for the month.
   Yoga Inferno added on top of that made the month kind of insane, but following the tough strength/body weight/cardio circuits of Hard Body with yoga made for a really good wind-down. I did enjoy Yoga Inferno, but I actually preferred workout 2 of the DVD. It used weights, but that's not the reason I enjoyed it, it was because I enjoyed the actual poses more, and most of my favourites - like Dragon with Eagle arms - weren't weighted. Workout 1 was less enjoyable, felt more like hard work and I already knew a few of the moves, and I feel I learned more from workout 2. I would definitely use the DVD again, but if I did I think I would opt to focus on that workout rather than the first. However, as with Hard Body, Yoga Inferno isn't recommended if you're new to yoga. I'd recommend starting with Yoga Meltdown, as a lot of the poses in Inferno are modified from Meltdown to make them harder, or simply are harder.

   As I mentioned in my 2-week update, I spent two weeks on each level of each DVD, but rather than starting on workout 1 of Yoga Inferno and moving on to workout 2 after 2 weeks like a normal person, I swapped them around, starting on 2 and moving on to 1. The reason for this was because I didn't want to do the two easier workouts of both DVDs together and then the two harder, I wanted to try to balance the month by doing the easier HB/harder YI and then harder HB/easier YI, and it did work out that way...but not as I expected. It went the other way around.
   I found Hard Body level 1 more difficult than level 2, because, once again, I was familiar with many of the movements from other workouts (DVDs and magazines), though they were modified to make them harder and utilise more of your body to get more out of them. I also felt that there was a greater difference between each circuit and the whole workout moved quite quickly. Level 1 felt kind of like it dragged on and more of the moves were alien to me - though that made them effective, of course. I managed to complete both levels and was working on the advanced variations of most moves by the end, though there were still a couple I just couldn't.
   Equally, I found Yoga Inferno workout 1 to be harder than workout 2, so I'm really pleased I swapped them over, otherwise I think the first two weeks of the month would have been harder than the second two weeks. As I laid them out, the whole month was intense.

   As hoped, by doing both workouts every day, when rest days rolled around I didn't resent them. At least not as much. I definitely needed them to recharge, but I couldn't fight the feeling that it was counter-productive. It isn't and I'm well aware of that which is why I surrendered to them, but I did still hate them.
   Unlike most other months, this time I actually didn't have a single day where I questioned whether the workout was effective. Usually I get quite down in the dumps because after about three weeks I start feeling exhausted and like my body isn't changing, usually because I've not weighed/measured in those three weeks and because it's almost that 'time of the month', but this time I didn't feel like that even once, even at the end of the fourth week. I came out of it knowing I'd worked really, really hard, that there was nothing more I could have done, and knowing that I had grown. I struggled with donkey kicks in particular when I started HB 2, and on the final day I managed a completely perfect full set of them, kicking up to the ceiling. I was so freaking proud of myself.

   As for my results from March's workout, I lost half an inch from around my waist, no problem, and a third of a kilo. Combined, that's easily more than I've lost in any month this year so far. I've also mentioned in the past how weight-loss starts to slow down once you've shed the majority of it, and also that you don't lose fat uniformly. However, I saw a reduction in fat everywhere towards the end of March, so while I only measure my waist, everything else has gotten smaller, too - except my bum. The scales didn't drop by much as the month involved a lot of body-weight and strength training so I doubtlessly built up some more lean muscle, and I'm not sure my waist has much fat left to yield. I think I might be able to drop down two more inches at most before I finally see the muscle underneath it - but like I said, you don't lose it uniformly, so I may now suddenly stop losing fat from my middle and drop it off of my chest or upper arms instead with no explanation before it targets my waist again. Either way, this month has been amazing - and given how insane I took it all, with 45 minutes of high intensity exercise followed by 30 minutes of high-intensity yoga with and without weights every day, it's not really all that surprising. But that doesn't make it any less awesome.

   And, as I mentioned them at the beginning of the month, I loved my USN Whey & Oats. They were strange to begin with - they had a strange taste - but after a week I loved them. It's a funny thing, I usually find that the flavour I look forward to most when trying new things isn't as good as the others I bought alongside it. For example I bought Twinings' Salted Caramel green tea at Christmas, but I also bought Caramel Apple and Gingerbread because it was 3 for 2. I thought salted caramel would be amazing and caramel apple would be the worst, but it turned out the other way around. Initially, I found this to be the case with the Marshmallow Cookie oats and Apple & Cinnamon, preferring the latter over the former, but actually, after a week, Marshmallow Cookie took over as my favourite just as I'd initially expected. It smelled like cake, tasted like marshmallow. Freaking yum. However, it's too expensive to keep buying. Even on sale it's £20 for 16 servings, so I can say that I while enjoyed them through the month and I will buy a new tub every now and then as a treat, I'm going back to regular oats now, and something more protein-rich on rest days since the carbs in the oats won't be used right away.

A review for each DVD will follow soon, so watch this space if you want more in-depth and focused info on each workout, as well as whether or not it's for you.


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