Rushfit, Completed

On December 20, 2014, my husband and I started Rushfit, an 8-week high intensity training program. It’s a “functional fitness” program, meaning, it’s designed to help your body function properly by working out your whole body (as opposed to just specific muscle groups), with an emphasis on core strength and stabilization, which is crucial to everything you do. From getting in and out of the car, to bending over to pick up your kids, to walking up the stairs, etc. You use your core and stabilizers to do all those things. Functional fitness benefits every body type. Which is why my  husband and I could do this program together. Same exercises, just different weights. And our results were different. Yes, you can absolutely lose weight through this program (my husband did), but you can also maintain your weight while building lean muscle mass (which is what happened for me). And we both improved in all of the areas this program addresses (strength, endurance, balance, agility, flexibility, etc.)

Before I go any farther though, if you need to catch up, here are my previous posts about Rushfit:

1st post
2nd post
3rd post

Ok, so now that we are done. Here is my official review. I LOVE it. Partly because of what I already mentioned above. It’s beneficial to everyone no matter what your body type or ability is (you can read more about that in the “functional fitness” link above). It didn’t require a gym membership or fancy equipment. It only required about an hour of my time each day, and some dumbbells. It starts with a warm-up and ends with a cool-down. Both are very important and should not be skipped. If there is one “con” to the program, though, it’s that the same warm-up and cool-down video is used for every workout…and after a while you start to memorize the dialogue and it can just get boring. But that’s not much of a con. We had fun with it by talking along with them in Georges St. Pierre’s accent and broken English 🙂

Anyway, moving on to the results! There are aesthetic and non-aesthetic results. For my husband, the aesthetic is more obvious since he actually lost weight. For me, it’s not quite as obvious, though my arm muscles and abs are a lot more defined than they were when we first started. But the non-aesthetic results are more important (again, this is designed to help your body function properly and optimally, not just look good). Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to announce that I can now do more than 2 real push-ups!

::Pause for applause::

Part of the warm-up includes “walk out push-ups”, and I could only ever 2 do real ones before needing to go down to my knees. But by the end of the program, I could do the entire warm-up without any of the modifications. Other improvements have been mentioned in my previous posts (holding the back bend longer, being able to do most of the core strength exercises properly, without cheating, etc.) One of the greatest victories for me though was finally being able to hold the isometric squat the entire time..however long that was. Might’ve only been 30 seconds, but it felt like an eternity! If there is one exercise where you will truly “feel the burn” it is that one. It looks simple, but I assure you….it is not. I had to find a happy place and sing songs in my head to get through it, so I wouldn’t focus on the fact that my thighs were on fire and my legs were about to collapse. But I did it! Bam. And there are plenty of other improvements that I don’t need to list. But it happened.

To make this more practical and apply it to real life: picking up my almost 20lb son, or my 30+lb toddler is A LOT easier for me, and safer. Instead of bending over and putting stress on my back, I can squat and lift with my legs. Also, I have more endurance and energy throughout the day. And overall, I’m a lot  less-stressed and in a better mood…usually. Which is what working out on a regular basis can do! And now that we’re done with the 8-week program, my body is still craving a good workout every night. It’s driving me crazy not doing anything. Which is why we’re already planning our next program. We were going to jump right into the intermediate level of Rushfit, but I think we’ll come back to it later. We’re going to focus more on strength training (with dumbbells and weights). We’ll still do a Rushfit workout 1 or 2 times a week probably, to keep up our core strength and stabilization of course. But I really do love this lifestyle of regular exercise. It certainly helps having a spouse to do this with, who’s just as committed to it (even more so…..he likes to bike 50 miles round trip a few times a week…crazy person!) I’ll get my cardio in by chasing our kids 🙂

One thing I wanted to mention that I learned through this program….is that I’ve been stretching wrong my entire life! Seriously. It matters more how you feel the stretch in your leg than whether or not you can touch your toes. You can touch your toes and not feel much of a stretch at all. But if you sit up straight (posture is important) and just lean forward holding your arms out straight with your palms up, while contracting your leg muscles and pulling your toes back toward you, you will feel a CRAZY stretch. At least I did. But that is my biggest flexibility weakness. Sorry if that description is hard to picture…couldn’t find a video of it.

In conclusion, we highly recommend this program. There’s something else about it that I like though. It doesn’t seem to be a “fad”. Erik Owings and Georges St. Pierre actually seem genuine and knowledgeable and not like a crazy salesperson on speed (like Richard Simmons and some of the other trainers I’ve seen from other programs). Just sayin. I like that. I also like that it has an MMA (mixed martial arts) fight component. Georges is a world champion MMA fighter, Erik is his trainer. Not sure if I mentioned that before. The fight workout was my favorite and one of the better ones for me. Turns out I’m pretty scrappy, who knew?

Anyway, if you don’t try this specific program, at least try to exercise on a regular basis. Make it part of your lifestyle. I know I sound like a doctor or trainer. But they’re not lying to you. It is good for you in so many ways. Find something that works for you, find someone to do it with, stick with it. It gets easier as you go!

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Rushfit, 6 Weeks In

2 weeks to go! Ah! I can’t believe we’re almost done. If you’re just tuning in, 6 weeks ago Ivor and I started an 8-week, high intensity training program called Rushfit, and we’re almost finished with the beginner calendar. After a little break, we’ll jump right into intermediate. You can read my other posts about Rushfit here, and here.

These past 2 weeks have been a little rough, because our whole family got hit with a variety of illnesses. So we had to switch some days around, take some time off, and catch back up. Since all that’s scheduled for tomorrow is the “stretch for flexibility” workout (which is easy peasy…just stretching), I’m going to do one of the other workouts I missed in addition to that. Then we’ll be back on track.

You can tell working out is making a difference in my life when I couldn’t WAIT to jump back in after taking some time off. Even though I was sick and miserable and really needed a break until I was healthy, it felt SO good when I could start again.

Last night I did the Abs & Core workout and was able to do several different exercises better than ever before, and hold things for much longer (like the back-bend for example). I was really encouraged. It’s always nice to see hard work pay off and see results like that. Especially after 6 straight weeks of workouts (I’d be pretty bummed if I didn’t get better at a few things after that long).

So this week a new workout is being introduced, “Explosive Power Training.” Here’s a little preview:

Pray for me.

I’ll be back in 2 weeks with a recap of the whole program once we’re finished 🙂

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RUSHFIT, 4 Weeks In

We’re halfway there! 4 weeks down, 4 to go. I should mention that we’re doing the beginner calendar. There’s an intermediate and advanced calendar too. I think we’ll try intermediate next but I’m pretty sure advanced has like 2 workouts per day and I don’t think that’s realistic for us right now, or even in the near future. We’ll also want to time it so that we don’t miss 2 weeks when we go to Pennsylvania in May. We don’t want to start another 8-week program and have to skip 2 weeks. No slacking here!

Anyway, update time! We’re 4 weeks in and still loving it. We’re starting to see more results and it feels good. Not DURING the workout. During does not feel good. But after, after feels wonderful. I think it’s worth noting that I’m a mom of a baby who wakes up 2-3 times every night, and I am not well rested. Yet working out on a regular basis has helped give me enough energy to keep me going without collapsing at 4pm, which used to be when I “hit the wall” of exhaustion every day. But when it comes time for the workout around 7:30pm, I actually look forward to it and have the energy to push through 5 rounds and feel good after. I may have mentioned it in my first post, but I realize that’s not the most ideal time to work out. It’s just the best time of day for both me and my husband to do it together (which we think is really important. More on that later), and it’s when the kids are cooperative (Gwen is in bed, and little Ivor usually falls asleep during that time too…usually). So, that’s why we do it then. And by the time OUR bedtime arrives, I am pooped. And I sleep really well. Until the baby wakes up of course. Such is life.

So since my last post, a new workout was introduced on the calendar, in week 3: full body strength and conditioning. Holy crap. The very first round of that one is 10 air squats, followed by 5 hindu (Indian) push-ups, which look like this:

They are not easy. Especially when you have very little upper body strength. And you do as many reps of those (10 squats, 5 push-ups) as you can in 5 mins. By the end of that I am dead. Then you have 4 more rounds of different exercises. Ugh. It is rough. The first round of that one, the isometric squats in “Strength and Endurance”, that dang alligator crawl in “Balance and Agility” and the sit-throughs in “Ab and Core Strength” (which I can’t even do at all really), are the worst. There are probably a few others I’m forgetting. A couple exercises in “Ab and Core Strength” are really tough for me because of my tailbone injury. Going from lying down to sitting straight up (on the floor) hurts A LOT. So I use my boppy nursing pillow to soften the blow, which makes the exercise even more difficult. I also decided to challenge myself recently by increasing my dumbbell weight from 5 lbs to 10lbs. So the exercises I used to think were easy for me, and now no longer easy. But it’s a good thing. It makes me work harder and push myself more. And as George says in one of the videos, if these exercises are too easy for you, you need to do something harder. You won’t see the results you want if it’s too easy for you.

Here’s another little preview of what we’ve been doing. This is round 5 of “Full Body Strength and Conditioning” (the one I mentioned above with a horrible round 1):

So other than feeling great physically and having more energy, it’s also been great for my marriage. Stay with me here. This gives us something else to do together other than sit on the couch and watch TV. We still do that occasionally but for awhile we were stuck in a rut and that’s all we did. That was our time together every night. Staring at a screen. So this kind of spiced things up a bit for us. And we both benefit from it even though he’s a lot bigger and stronger than I am. The way the program is designed, using body weight and dumbbells, allows for people of varying abilities and strengths to do it together. He just uses much heavier weights than I do, and I do a lot of the modifications if something is too difficult for me. So it’s a great activity for us to do together. We challenge and encourage each other. He tells me when my form is wrong. I tell him he’s a pansy when he complains after biking 30 miles to work and then comes home to Rushfit.  And there are other pretty awesome benefits of working out with your spouse too, which I don’t think I need to spell out for anyone 🙂 All in all, it’s been a very good thing for us. And we highly recommend it.

I’ll be back with another update in 2 weeks! And in case you were wondering, the red cardio on the calendar means 30 mins and we’re now about to start blue cardio…which is 45 mins. Ahh! Here we go.

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RUSHFIT, 2 Weeks In

Two weeks ago I started an 8-week high intensity training program called Rushfit. We’ve had the program for years because Ivor has gone through it before (I mostly just sat and watched him) 🙂

But after having baby #2, I was really motivated to do it myself.  Why? Not to lose weight (though it’s certainly a great program for that). But I’m doing it to be in better overall shape, feel stronger (actually BE stronger), and have more energy and endurance throughout the day.

Fitness isn’t just about your physical appearance. Yes, there are some aesthetic results I’d like to see at the end of the 8 weeks: some muscle mass/definition on my scrawny little arms and legs, and my backside certainly hasn’t been the same since popping out kid #2! But what’s more important (obviously) is your health and overall well-being, which fitness contributes to. Nutrition is also a huge part of it, but that’s for another post on another day.

So back to this specific program, Rushfit. I love that I can do this at home, in my living room, while the kids sleep and the only equipment necessary is my body and occasionally a set of dumbbells. It doesn’t require a lot of time. Most workouts are about 30 mins long, give or take, and they include a warm-up and cool-down session each time. It really is perfect for a mom (being able to do this at home, in a short amount of time).

It’s working every…single…part…of my body. Each night a different part of my body is sore (in a good way). There are some things I’m really good at and other things I’m terrible at. There are a few things I can’t even ALMOST do, so I have to modify it just to be doing something instead of sitting around (planks or glute bridges are my go-to’s). But I’ve already seen improvement in just 2 weeks. My squats and lunges are deeper. I’m a little more flexible, and my balance is getting better.

Oddly enough, the fight conditioning workout is my favorite. Striking, kicking, level changes, sprawling, etc. I’m pretty quick with my movements and quick on my feet. Makes me want to delve more into the whole boxing/kickboxing thing after this is over (not in a real match with another person, mom, don’t worry, just with a heavy bag in our garage). Though if anyone wanted to mess with me or my family, it would be nice to be able to do some damage, just sayin.

My core strength is okay…and getting better. But those stinking pushups are killing me! My upper body needs a lot of work. I can do about two decent pushups, then I have to drop to my knees. I’d like to not be doing that by the end of this thing.

Another thing I really like about this program is that it’s difficult. It pushes you to your limits and challenges you. I like the mental toughness it builds. It’s almost comparable to childbirth (*almost* lol). You get to the point where you just want to give up and collapse. When you don’t think you’re capable of even one more push…up (see what I did there?) But powering through it when it’s the most difficult and the most painful, is when you get the best results.

This is not my New Years Resolution (though the timing might make it seem that way). And I’m sharing my experience with you all in case anyone is interested in trying it, or needs some motivation or encouragement to get into better shape.

We have “before” pictures and we plan to take “after” pictures too. I say “we” because Ivor is doing this with me (I probably wouldn’t be doing this at all without his support and participation). I don’t know if we’ll share those pictures publicly but we’ll be sure to report back on our results 🙂

I’ll check back in with another update in about 2 weeks.

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*You might notice we skipped a cardio day and switched up our “rest” day the week of Christmas. But we’re back on track now!