Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bodypump Review

I'm not sure why but there are many negative reviews of Bodypump out there on the Internet. I'm not sure why some people want to trash it so badly. Of course, they are entitled to their opinion. To me, it boils down to your goals. This is true for any workout regime. Not all exercise plans are right for everyone and every workout has its limitations. It's always important to vary your moves, muscle groups worked, weight, repetitions, tempo, etc. Varying your routine along with proper diet and sufficient rest is really how you achieve the best results.

Here are some of the complaints I've read about Bodypump.

1. You don't burn many calories
2. You don't get stronger
3. You don't achieve muscle tone
4. Some moves are not practical/functional
5. It's impossible for the instructor to ensure each participant uses proper form and the routine could, therefore, be dangerous to some

To address them individually, starting with the first complaint: yes, it is true that you will likely burn more calories during a cardio class, depending on the intensity, than in a Bodypump class. You may burn 600 calories in Zumba or 800 calories in spin while burning only 300 or 400 in pump. This is true of any weight lifting routine. Cardio exersice burns more calories during the exersice however when you lift weights, you build muscle and when you build muscle, you burn more calories than you would ordinarily, all the time, even at rest. The benefits of cardiovascular exersice can be great for heart health, weight loss, etc. but during cardio you also risk losing muscle along with fat. This is one of the reasons I favor bodypump.  It works for my goals. I want to increase my muscle, I want my body to function more efficiently and I want to burn more calories at rest.

The strength factor: it's very true that lifting heavy weights and maxing out will make you stronger faster than lifting lighter weights and performing higher repetitions. So if you're looking to build strength fast, bulk up or achieve hypertrophy, bodypump is probably not the program for you. That said, you DO get stronger. I've noticed myself getting stronger and lifting heavier things with ease and I've increased my weight selection over time so I know I've gotten stronger. It's always important to introduce variation in your program. Taking a day- or several days (maybe even a week) off of Bodypump to do a different type of strength program can help you stimulate muscles in a different way than you might in bodypump. What I always find when I return to bodypump after a short break is that the length of time under tension seems that much tougher after a break even if did strength training during my time off. Very few programs have you perform as  many reps as bodypump so the benefit there is that it increases your muscle endurance (your ability to handle the long period of time under tension). Again, it's important to change your routine periodically to achieve maximal results. You'll achieve better bodypump results by mixing other workouts into your bodypump routine.

I don't know how to argue this next point other than to say you DO get toned. I know because I can see it in myself and other frequent bodypumpers I see in class regularly. We're not bulky but we've got defined shoulders, biceps, triceps, etc. Diet plays a huge role in the look you achieve, though. If you want to look toned, it's helps a great deal to eat enough PROTEIN, carbohydrates and healthy fats. (Try a low calorie protein powder mixed with skim milk post-workout, as well. No, you will not bulk up from this.)

Some moves are not practical or functional. Ok, point taken. Not all strength training moves are 100% functional. If your goal is to get strong doing only functional/real life types of moves, then maybe bodypump is not for you. One reviewer said something along the lines of why would you ever need to lift a small weight 100 times versus lifting a much heavier weight only a few times. I can see both of those scenarios presenting themselves in the real world. The fact is that practicing both of those training methods will help you get stronger. Switching out bodypump for a more traditional strength training routine where you lift heavy weights for fewer repetitions every so often can be very beneficial and help prepare you for those real life scenarios. It goes without saying that doing any routine over and over without changing it leads to plateau and you really won't be working your body, meeting your goals (whatever they are) or achieving the results you want if you don't vary your routine.

Bodypump could be dangerous If the moves aren't performed correctly. This is a given as with any fitness routine. It's certainly difficult for the instructors to ensure that each participant is using proper form. Good instructors demo the correct form before each track. My favorite instructor has recently taken to approaching the students and actually correcting their form. There are instructors out there who are not as fabulous and thoughtful. There IS a potential for injury. My gym offers technique classes every few months for people to brush up on their technique,  which is great. Using improper form is a huge concern, of course. Sustaining an injury will knock you off your fitness regime and cause a delay in achieving your goals. Using proper form is something I always have in the front of my mind as I'm doing the moves in bodypump (or in any workout). This point, I can't really argue against because it's valid but hopefully you have a good instructor who can help guide you or you have the presence of mind to know when to ask a trainer or other instructor for extra help to ensure you're performing the moves correctly. This is essential in any program. Personally, I find that bodypump has actually helped me to learn and perfect proper weight lifting form because of the many repetitions,  the low weight load and the constant demoing by my fave instructor.

All in all, I think it's a great program. It's that much better if you have a great instructor (one who pushes you enough). I like the structure that it provides and that it's a full body workout in one hour. You're not kind of off on your own in the weight room. It can be tricky to provide a great, efficient, effective workout for yourself and really push yourself while on your own (for me, at least!). Having the tracks preplanned by the instructor pushes me harder than I would likely push myself on my own. Traditional weight lifting routines generally focus on a few muscle groups per session to be switched out each workout (so at the end of the week, you've gotten a full body workout). I like that bodypump hits all muscle groups, there is little thought or planning on the part of the participants because the instructor varies the training periodically and plans which tracks you will do on a given day. It's taught me proper form for weight lifting and I love the group setting and the music. It fits well into a varied workout routine and if your goals are to tone, build muscle, strengthen and support your bones, rev your metabolism, have a structured weight lifting routine and enjoy yourself, bodypump can help you achieve your goals.

Baby steps: Healthy Eating

I've got my exercise regimen down but healthy eating has never come naturally to me. I said to myself I'd start eating healthier soon but never did and with a 3 year old learning my bad habits it made me feel super guilty. I did not want fruit snacks, chips and fast food to be our staples but the convenience of grabbing whatever is quick and available overcomes you when you're on a hectic schedule and constantly on the go. Isn't it so true that when you're hungry you'll eat whatever is in front of you? No? Well, for me it definitely is which is why snacking on a box of cheezits was a typical occurrence for me. Even when I didn't really want cheezits. They were there and I was hungry. That brought me to the realization that if I bought healthy food to store in the house, I would eat healthy food when I'm hungry. I could no longer preach healthy eating in good conscience to my son while doing the opposite. (Do as I say, not as I do is ineffective parenting). The moment I decided to make this change wasnt the type of revelation that occurred to me one day and then I suddenly reformed our eating habits overnight. (Does that actually work for anyone?) The first step I took was to speak with my husband and share my plan. I figured I would need to get him on board. He was not as enthusiastic as I was about this change. He's slim and healthy like me but his habits include a pastry and a coffee for breakfast, fried chicken, burgers and Chinese food takeout. I started to feel deflated like I was fighting an uphill battle to get my boys to start eating better. Another factor that complicated my ability to shift our diet: I can't cook to save my life! And another: we don't have a working oven! And finally: my husband is a really picky eater! Yikes! I wanted throw in the towel just thinking about this. Despite these factors I was determined. I realized when they are hungry, they, like me, will eat whatever is close, easy and available. If I stock the house with healthy options, they will have no choice (and they certainly will not allow themselves to go hungry, that's for sure)! I started by making small changes. Whole milk to 2% and then 1%. Fruit snacks to REAL fruit- strawberries, grapes, pineapple, etc! I began by buying the pricey pre-chopped fruit (justifying the cost because so long as it's eaten, it's worth the price!) and then I began buying whole watermelons among other types of fruit. I found out my little one is a major watermelon lover! When he's hungry and dinner isn't ready, he goes into the fridge and grabs whatever is there. Instead of grabbing high sugar yogurts, like go-gurt, or grabbing candy, he grabs his watermelon, strawberry and lower sugar yogurt while waiting for dinner. As for my husband,  instead of picking up big breakfasts from McDonald's, it's homemade eggs (what's better than that?) or cornflakes. Occasionally he buys his pastry but that's on him :) As a small change, I began by buying pre-chopped stir fry vegetables like onion and peppers and progressed to buying whole onions, peppers, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, avocados, scallions, ginger, etc. As a self-proclaimed bad cook, you cannot go wrong with a slowcooker, no matter how bad of of a cook you are. I have two. My hubby hates them, though :(

But knowing I have the power in my hands because I buy the groceries and I do the cooking, I began following easy dinner recipes. This week, I'm making recipes 1,2, 3 and 5 from this list:
Easy. And healthy. Trust me, if I can follow them, anyone can. The chicken with artichoke hearts came out pretty good- not perfect, but that's due to my poor cooking abilities. The boys did not go hungry, though! And I liked it so much, I enjoyed it as a leftover sandwich the next day. The stir fry was a BIG hit and I was overjoyed to get Angelo eating brussel sprouts and loving them! Dessert was a pear, strawberries, orange juice and a single piece of chocolate. I even got Angelo to enjoy the skin of the pear! Even my picky hubby was satisfied. I'd say it was a success all around! And, as a tip, the chicken and the stir fry require one pan only so clean up is quick and easy. The natural flavors of the foods are so satisfying and totally beat the comfort of digging into a greasy fast food burger any day! I'm sold and I think my family is too! It takes some planning and prepping i.e. making a grocery list with all of your ingredients for the week and stocking your fridge accordingly but the bit of time spent in advance saves you the anxiety when 6pm rolls around on Tuesday evening and you have no idea what you're going to do for dinner and you call for takeout or drag everyone to the diner (ok, maybe that is just me). I'm going to keep up the momentum and choose some tasty and simple recipes to make next week. All of that said, I am not the type of person to deny myself an indulgence if I'm really craving something! I allow myself to have a couple of pieces of chocolate or some handfuls of chips but the fact that I feel gross and lethargic after eating too much of those types of goodies and that I feel fabulous,  energetic and ready to take on the world when I make better choices, is sufficient reinforcement to keep up these habits. I encourage myself by telling myself to make small changes and to do it little by little. It also helps knowing that I am properly fueling my workouts to get better results. Afterall, what's worse than working really hard for something and getting mediocre results? Another motivator for me is reading about how food affect us. I had no idea that food can affect your mood in the way it does until I read this article:,,20621800,00.html
I knew that exersice improves your mood but I had no idea diet had such an effect! Proper eating and exersice really are intertwined and I realize I really cannot separate the two if I want to perform at my best. Over the past couple of nights at dinner, I have been sharing with my boys a single fact about the food they are eating in hopes it makes us all feel good about our dinner and I hope it sinks in. At the very least, knowing that my guys really have no other choice, we'll be eating well until I say otherwise!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Update on Saturday Night 45 Minute HIIT Tabata Total Body Toning Workout

While we've all heard of the importance of varying our workout routines periodically, recently I've been reading that it's important to actually perform the same workout several times for effectiveness. Of course, periodically changing your stimulus is important to keep from plateauing but what I hadn't read before is that switching your workout too often is not ideal for your muscles. I usually do certain types of workouts on certain days of the week and change my stimulus every four weeks within those set types of workouts. E.i. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday are strength days and Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are cardio days. I do the same workout for a few weeks (3-4) before changing my sequence/moves. Saturdays are usually my days that I don't have a prearranged/preplanned workout in mind. This is a day I usually wait until right before I work out to decide what I'm going to do. (Freestyling makes things fun and interesting every once in awhile if you get bored easily like me). So last Saturday I was thinking of finding a new Tabata workout on YouTube or selecting a workout posted on one of my favorite blogs to try ( or but based on my reading about sticking with a new workout a few times before switching it, I decided to redo the Tabata workout from the week before. I noted it wasn't as challenging as I anticipated when I did it the first time around but I thought, like with any new workout, I wasn't performing the moves to maximal effectiveness since I was focused mainly on following along. Maybe I could've pushed it harder. I was reading about AMRAP, a CrossFit acronym meaning as many reps as possible. In order to get the most from your Tabata intervals, it's really important to focus on performing as many reps as possible during those 20 second spurts. And if you really want to push yourself, aim for a specific number of reps (higher than your AMRAP and work towards that number of reps as a goal). So I decided to redo the 45 Minute Tabata Workout on YouTube from Fitness Blender with the idea of aiming for a specified number of reps on each Tabata interval and, failing that, I'd simply do as many as I could eek out. Talk about an effective workout! I didn't have my Polar heart rate monitor at the time to track my heart rate or calories burned but I can say the workout definitely felt challenging and the renewed focus kicked up the intensity a notch. Also, since I had done it once before, I was familiar with the moves and sequence so I was able to focus more on my form (and, obviously, the intensity) rather than simply following along as was my focus the first time around. I'm glad I stuck with it and made an effort to increase the intensity because this time I really felt the burn. I did that specific Tabata workout once more before putting it to rest, this time with my Polar FT7 on and I burned 499 calories.  Not bad for 45 minutes!

Friday, January 10, 2014

New Polar Heart Rate Monitor and Review of Zumba Toning Class

I just got my new Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor and it is awesome! I took it to the gym for the first time to do LesMills CXWorx, a core conditioning class (think planks, plate crunches with leg extensions, single leg squats with an exercise band, etc.) and Zumba Toning, a kicked up version of Zumba with light hand weights that focuses on keeping your heart rate high while performing loads of squats and lunges and using the weights for shoulder and bicep toning. Not to mention dancing!

I actually wasn't sure what Zumba Toning was before I tried it. I was on my last leg with Zumba itself due to two less than stellar instructors stopping between each track (which allows your heart rate to drop, reducing the effectiveness of the workout) and not properly demoing the choreography (which is the worst because you end up standing there looking like an idiot and your heart rate drops while you're trying to figure out the next move). I was thinking, Zumba is generally fun (well, at least the music is good!) and not hard or strenuous so I'll just enjoy myself. I had worked pretty hard the prior days so I was ready for something on the mild side. This was not it! This workout turned out to be way more than I expected! The instructor, who is obviously a huge factor in the kind of workout you will have, was high-energy and motivating. She demoed everything clearly, periodically critiqued our form on the toning portions to ensure we were doing the moves properly and had an all-around great attitude that made it easy to enjoy the workout while pushing us to work hard.

I was not expecting my heart rate to get as high at 193!! Nor was I expecting to burn 625 calories! Definitely a successful and fun workout. I was very pleasantly surprised to achieve such a great result from Zumba. Keep in mind, I did all the high options to keep my work at maximum intensity. (It's also a plus when the instructor personally tells you you did a "great job" at the end of class!) Factoring in the core workout I did prior to Zumba, I burned a total of 867 calories. Not bad for 90 minutes!

(Cxworx is held at 5pm on Wednesdays at New Jersey Athletic Club. Zumba Toning is held at 530pm on Wednesdays at New Jersey Athletic Club.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Group Fitness and Motivation

I've mentioned before that I'm pretty into LesMills workout classes. First of all, group fitness in itself is a way of life for me. I participate in group fitness 4-5 days a week. For me it has multiple effects; primarily, group fitness pushed me harder than I wouldve pushed myself when I first got back into working out again, after having my son. When you're a new mom, there's various factors that make working out so difficult. Among other things, your body feels like jello (at least mine did) and you're extremely fatigued from lack of sleep. I didn't actually commit to a work out plan until Angelo was a year old (trust me, it was not a fun year going without it!). When I finally did, I felt isolated working out by myself- waiting for Angelo to fall asleep so I could squeeze in whatever workout possible in the time he stayed asleep (being home alone with the baby all day while my husband was at work added to the feeling of isolation).

When I first got back into working out, I went the traditional route and began running, which was my go-to workout for as long as I could remember. Unfortunately, jogging for 20-25 minutes per day, 2-3 days per week (that was all the time I could devote initially) was doing very little to change my body. I knew that my body was just different now and I needed to kick it up a notch to see results.

I started working out with Jillian Michaels dvds right before Thanksgiving 2011. I began with Ripped in 30. If you've never done a Jillian Michaels workout, she has a signature format: warm-up, 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minute of abs, three circuits of each (no recovery) and then a cool-down. The workout is short (20-30 minutes) but very intense. There are four levels on the dvd and they each get progressively more challenging. Although you're supposed to do each level for 6 days before advancing to the next, due to my work schedule, I could only allot three days per week so I did each level three times per week for two weeks before advancing. The workouts were hard but I felt so good after each and the time commitment was absolutely ideal for a new mom. By the time the company holiday party rolled around (less than one month later), there was already a distinct change in my body and I was so excited to be able to show it off in a new dress!

I continued with her workouts (I tried 30 Day Shred) and I mixed in running here and there and some soccer with my husband and friends on a club team (!) until summertime. By then, I had lost 14 lbs. and was so proud of my work.

But I found myself falling into the same rut again when soccer ended and I resumed fully working out by myself. I wanted to be around others and share the spirit of a hard, effective workout so my sister suggested I try group fitness. She told me about Gold's Gym, which she knew held group classes. I went for a tour and ended up joining.

The first class I tried was Body Pump. I was used to squatting (lots of squats with Jillian!) but I wasnt prepared for the amount of squats you do in Body Pump. 100 reps per body parts for a grand total of 800! I thought it was challenging, but fun and the music was awesome! The music, the fun instructor and the feeling of "wow, I just did 800 reps" drew me in and I was addicted.

The feeling of working out with others sometimes makes you feel like part of a team. When you attend the same classes on a weekly basis, you're greeted by the same friendly faces week after week. Arrive late? Your spot is still vacant if you're a regular. It feels nice to be a part of the group. (It's also a plus when the instructor knows you by name!) Another great benefit, for me, at least, is since I know others are around and can see me performing the workout, I try to keep my best form and do the advanced options. I like to pretend that I would be an example for others to follow on how to perform the moves correctly and most efficiently. If I keep that in my mind during a tough workout, it keeps me going at my best. I constantly think about the fact that others can see me (people I see on a weekly basis including the instructor) so I cannot slack on good form even if I have to reduce the weight I'm lifting at a given time. (This is actually really important since proper form prevents injury! I also have a hunch that improper form can promote asymmetry if, for example, like me your left arm is stronger, you're fatigued and trying to finish the last set of military presses, you're going to, by default, put more weight on the stronger side making it stronger and the weaker side weaker. Just a hunch, though, and I will discuss it more in a later post.)

The coaching cues help you keep going  when you're fatigued and the fact that the instructor and others are watching you, pushes you not to stop and, as I mentioned, to maintain proper form no matter what you're feeling.

In the past year and a half, group fitness has pushed me past what I thought my limits were and has changed my body completely. Since trying BodyPump, I've started doing CXworx, BodyStep athletic, BodyAttack, BodyCombat, Zumba Toning and I've even tried Spin a few times (not a regular. Unfortunately, I'm not a huge fan.)

Although I am now certified as a personal trainer and enjoy making up my own workouts and I also enjoy trying workouts I find online (actually, I just love to work out in general!) I truly believe consistently attending group classes has made me fitter and stronger and brought me to a level I probably wouldn't have attained on my own. It's a huge motivator in two senses: the anticipation of the enjoyment of your workout gets you in the door even when you're tired and don't feel like working hard and the prompts and cues of the instructor taking you through the workout keep you from resting when you're fatigued and motivate you to continue when you feel like you can't go on. I think I just defined frequency and intensity here, and those are two major elements that make us stronger.

Based on what I've learned in the past couple of years, I truly see the importance of having someone motivate you and push you whether that be a personal trainer in a one on one or small group session or a group fitness instructor in a large group setting. I've even heard group instructors say they would never work out so hard if they weren't teaching (benefits of the pre-choreographed program, I believe). I hope to have the opportunity to motivate someone else in that same way, whether through personal training, consulting/giving advice, writing this blog or perhaps group instructing some day myself.  I'd love to be able to share the feeling I experienced of working hard, smashing a major goal and getting in the best shape of my life and help others achieve their goals. It's totally possible to do it on your own but having a motivator may help you do it more intensely and more often leading to faster and better results. Of course, it's always important to listen to your body and progress at your own pace otherwise you risk getting fed up, giving up and not meeting your goals.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My Beloved Gold's Gym of Lawrenceville is soon to be New Jersey Athletic Club. Read more here...

Here is the link to the letter from the gym owner describing the changes: Gold's Gym soon to be NJ Athletic Club

After reading this, I was really shocked. Gold's is one of the higher end gyms in my area. It has extensive group fitness classes with highly energetic and committed instructors, excellent fitness equipment, an enormous kid's room with friendly ladies who watch the kids and play with them (my son LOVES the Kid's Club!). They have a cardio cinema and a ladies-only workout room. For an additional monthly fee they offer boxing and tanning (the Kid's Club is also under the stepped up membership) and they have a pay-as-you-go boot camp class which is offered four times per week. On holidays they host events like kid's night with Santa and a kiddie Halloween party. They have member nights out for people to socialize, they host fundraising events which are fun and social. Not to mention it's a big, really nice facility. What is not to like about it? Believe me, I am very satisfied. This place is my home away from home. The fact that they are performing a major overhaul is surprising because the facility doesn't appear to be in need of an update. It's big but not too big that it doesn't have a warm, friendly environment and the staff and instructors know you by name if you go often enough. Obviously, the "update" is not just to upgrade equipment or do some minor renovation. This is going to be a completely different gym. I hope the attributes that make it my home away from home don't get thrown out with the Gold's Gym signage.

Firstly,  I wonder what this change means for the cost of my membership. Right now I am paying $68.48 monthly. I have the stepped up membership I mentioned before. Not cheap, I know, but I use the facility a lot and it's worth it to me. This new club intends to become, "the region's largest most successful multigenerational fitness and athletic center." I can't help worry that my dues are going to skyrocket. Someone is paying for all of the construction/renovation, afterall! And there's going to be a lot:

"The new construction adds full-court basketball, an elevated indoor track, a cheerleading and gymnastics center, karate and dance studios, and party rooms".... "a large family locker room, new juice and coffee bar, improved member lounge, and expanded mind body room with bamboo flooring and improved heating. The kids club and adult locker rooms will be renovated in early 2015."
Sounds expensive and the reassurance that membership fees will stay the same, "through completion of the construction project" sounds temporary. I guess they'll wait until after renovation to increase the rates?

Also, I hear no mention of the group fitness room (Gold's calls it the GGX room). I'm a group fitness junkie. I'm in the GGX room 5 days a week. It's slightly disconcerting that there's no mention of the plan for the group classes. Gold's has Les Mills choreographed classes, which are a lot of fun (check out their website: Les Mills offers a variety of class types: bodypump, which is a weight lifting class using low weights and high repetitions, bodycombat, which is a cardio kickboxing class, bodyattack, which is a high intensity, sports inspired cardio workout, rpm, which is the LesMills version of spin and many more. They are all choreographed by program creators and the workouts are released every three months. The instructors have training sessions during which they learn the new choreography and teach the new releases from the launch date for an entire month. Once the month is over, the instructors can mix different releases and use different portions of different releases ("tracks") from over the years to keep things fun and different and keep your body challenged. I know there are downsides to LesMills programs. I've read various reviews of people questioning the effectiveness of the workouts which is exactly what lead me to start this blog. I intend to review and rate their effectiveness based on criteria that I feel is important for a good workout.

Anywho, I am definitely caught up in the Les Mills wave right now and I am very hopeful the future New Jersey Athletic Club isn't planning to do away with their classes. The Gold's Gym facebook page just announced the other day that they are not renewing Body Jam, a LesMills dance cardio workout class for January. The post received five likes and three very upset comments from Body Jam aficionados. There is still no response from gym staff to the complaints (shouldn't they at least address them?). I can't help but think I'd feel the same if it were one of my faves they were cancelling. We'll see what is to come of this gym in the future.

I overheard some ladies in the locker room this morning expressing their grievances with the announcement and I joined in the conversation. At the top of the list of their concerns is our monthly fee and the atmosphere/friendliness of the staff. They both said they really like the gym as it is now because it's reasonably priced and the staff is very nice and friendly. We all expressed concern that those qualities would change drastically with the overhaul. An information session is being held January 6th. I plan to attend and see what I can learn. I'll keep you posted!

Saturday Night 45 Minute HIIT Tabata Total Body Toning Workout

I was exhausted when I got home from work last night. I had been up since 530 am and the previous two days I'd been getting up at 5 am to hit the gym before work. I had no desire to workout and all my family wanted to do was veg in front of the tv. As I was sitting on the couch, I thought to myself, do I really want to spend the next few hours sitting on the couch and feeling lazy? I changed into my workout clothes because I knew it would make me want to work out. I didn't have a workout planned and my gym was about to close for the night. It was pretty dark outside so I didn't feel like running outside. I've often made up my own workouts consisting of alternating cardio with strength training intervals basing them on two body parts I was focusing on that given day (Stay tuned for a post on some of my workouts!). I thought about doing something like that but then I went on YouTube and typed in HIIT workout. I selected one called HIIT Total Body Toning and Tabata Workout by Fitness Blender.

It had an interesting format that I'd never seen before; a male voice instructing the workout and giving the cues while a female followed the cues and performed the workout onscreen to a white background. Before each move, the female working out would preview the workout for you in a faded color so you saw what you were going to do but knew not to do it yet. When it was time to start a move, she would appear in bright color. There was also a timer in the top right corner of the screen counting down the seconds for each interval.

The workout consisted of a 6-minute easy warm-up to get the heart rate up and the body moving and then went into the intervals. Each interval was 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest between each set and a total of 8 sets per move. One of the first exercises was wide-leg burpees followed by three mini squat jumps (not a full squat). I could tell that interval got my heart rate up. I wasn't used to only 10 seconds of recovery so that interval was a toughie.  During the push-up interval, I started off feeling strong but by the 4th set I was pretty fatigued and had to drop to my knees. After that,  the intervals got easier; leg reach crunches, hovers, weighted lunges, jumping jacks and double pulse squats. For the double pulse squats I had to increase the intensity by adding in a military press with 8-pound hand weights. The workout was over pretty quickly and then there was a stretch/cool down. The first couple of intervals were intense and made me think the whole workout was going to be way more challenging than it was. In the end, it definitely was not a bad work out. If I do it again, I'd definitely have to think up some higher modifications for some of the moves. If I had a heart rate monitor, I'm sure it would've tracked my heart rate as being in the fat burning zone. My heart rate was up but I'm sure it could've been higher. On the plus side, my legs and shoulders were definitely worked! (It sure beat being a couch potato!) The workouts offered by Fitness Blender are free on YouTube so they are definitely worth checking out. Next time maybe I'll try one with a more menacing titles like 1000 Calorie Workout or Brutal Hiit Workout. Overall, it certainly felt effective for a lazy Saturday night.