PiYo Review: Week #8 – Finishing Strong.
This is week 8. I can’t believe that I’m at the end of my PiYo journey. It’s been a true challenge, both physically and mentally. I’ve struggled with being sick, having low motivation, living a really full social life, and I’ve had my good days too! While this blog isn’t a full before and after (that will be in the next couple of days), week 8 was truly my grand finale week. I pushed it hard this week since I knew it was my last one. I ate like a champ, pushed through the workouts like a champ, and I mentally prepared myself for the next two weeks where I’m going to be transitioning into Body Beast starting on 11/3.
Day 50: “Drench” I started off my week strong with a great “Drench” workout. I’m still loving this one, and I’m really excited I get to do it twice this week. My Sundays usually run the same way each week: wake up, hang out with Blane until he has to go to work, come home, do my “Sunday things” like bulk cook, meal prep, laundry, clean, etc. And then once that’s all going, right around dinner time I get my workout in. Now that it’s hockey season that may change a little, but hey, as long as it happens, right?! 😉 Around 6:30 pm I got to my workout today, and I felt amazing. Since yesterday was that swapped rest day, and my only workout was walking around the city, my body felt energized. I didn’t feel tired or weak. I had enough energy to really give it all I had. The hardest part for me today was anything that stretched out my hips. So those down dog splits or runners pose work…that stuff was a little tough today, but tough in a good way. All the walking around yesterday meant my hips were a little bit tight today. The stretch, though it felt hard, was really relaxing and made everything feel better. My back didn’t hurt, my IT band wasn’t as stiff and even my core soreness had gone down once my workout was over. The one move that I still struggle with…and I know I can’t be alone in this…is the down dog core work where she has you up in the down dog splits, then you pull your knee forward to your elbow, then extend your leg straight, bend it again, and then push back up to down dog splits. I can do it…slowly…but when the tempo picks up, it’s really hard. I definitely had to modify that part today, but I pushed as much as I could. There will always be certain moves and positions that are hard for you, so like me, if even after 8 weeks you’re still struggling, don’t worry. It’s ok. As long as you’re doing your best! I’m starting to become really impressed with my body though. I may not be at the ideal that I want, but the strength that I’m building all without jumping, raising my heart rate over 160 bpm and without weights..it’s really impressive. Your body is capable of some really awesome things, and PiYo is surely showing that!
Day 51: “Buns + Strong Legs” I didn’t sleep well Sunday night. So when I woke up Monday, I definitely decided that I wanted to do a PM workout. Sacrificing my “after work relaxation” to get my workout in…well, again, it needs to be done. Now, someone explain to me WHY I did both of these workouts! The WOWY Supergym scheduled them both for today, one as “workout 1” and the other as “workout 2.” Not until after I was crying on the floor from exhaustion did I realize that on the PiYo calendar, it was supposed to be one OR THE OTHER. Oh well, booty and legs…you got WORKED. Seriously, the two alone are no joke, but when you put them back to back, as I did, it’s just plain craziness! Proof for SURE that you don’t need to go crazy high impact or intensity to get hard work in! You can work your body by using your body, and quite honestly, I feel like I get a BETTER workout doing these two than I have with jumping, Insanity-style workouts! My glutes, hamstrings, quads and even my core were firing at full force, and like I said, by the end of the back to back, I was on the floor, whining to myself and my cat. Those clockwork lunges in the “Buns” DVD seem to get harder every time instead of easier! It can’t be just me that feels that way! All the repetitive sequences and stacked moves in that DVD keep your body working, even though nothing feels terribly difficult when you’re doing it! Not until it’s over do you really realize how much you worked! And then, after all that booty work, I put in that “Strong Legs” DVD and worked with those slides…oh man. Talk about forcing yourself to use good form! I know I’ve said that those things do that no matter what, but when you’re already tired and your legs are already jello…yeah, you have to pay EXTRA attention to your form. There was vibration going on in those muscles that was almost comical. So overall, I think you could say that I got a killer workout in after work. I can only imagine how my butt is going to feel tomorrow! Bring on the soreness!
Day 52: “Sweat” This weather, man, it’s killing my motivation to get out of bed in the morning! I also couldn’t fall asleep last night for whatever reason. I was so tired, but couldn’t shut down. Maybe it was the weather for that, too. I’m not sure. Either way, the PM workouts are happening more often than I’m used to. Not the worst thing in the world, but I definitely feel like my days are more rushed when that happens. Once again, I got to my workout as soon as I got home from work. I knew that if I waited, because of this gloomy and sleepy weather, I would end up falling asleep on my couch and that would be the end of that. Today’s workout was just a weird feeling all around. I felt like I wasn’t mentally “in it,” but my calorie burn, heart rate and muscle work was higher than normal. I had a strange disconnect between my brain and my body, and I wasn’t really sure what to think. It was like my body told my brain, “it’s ok, take a day off, I got this.” And it worked. I ended up having a really great workout, but I can’t help wonder what it would have been like if my body and brain WERE in sync. Oh well, I’ll never know. I’m still struggling with Warrior 3 on my left leg. It’s getting better, but it’s still clearly my weaker leg and much harder to balance on. It takes a lot more conscious effort to balance, align and control my body. I want it to be even, so I try my best to do exactly what I do on the right…on the left. That’s the hardest part for me, I think. Getting the right to match the left is rough. And I know that naturally every person is going to have one side that’s stronger and more flexible than the other, but the difference between the two for me before was too much. And yes, I’ve closed the gap a little bit, but I know I still have a lot of work to do. During the two weeks between the end of PiYo and the beginning of Body Beast, I’ll be focusing a lot on stretching and balancing that left leg. I want them to be as even as possible before I start a hardcore program like “the Beast.” Outside of the disconnect and the off-balance left leg, I have no complaints about today’s workout. I’m a little sad it’s the last time I’ll do this workout!
Day 53: “Strength Intervals” Someday I will learn that when I don’t sleep more than about 3 hours, doing a workout in the early morning is not necessarily a good idea. Oof. I slept MAYBE a total of 3 hours last night. I just couldn’t fall or stay asleep. When I woke up, I knew I had a busy day ahead of me, so I told myself I needed to get my workout in early. I threw on my workout clothes and got to it…only to pull a muscle in my back so hardcore that I practically immobilized myself. Thankfully it was near the end of the workout, so I didn’t feel TOO BADLY about pulling it and missing a full day of workout progress. That’s just me though. My own rationalization or something. Anyway, yep, pretty much immobile for the entire day. Couldn’t really lift my arms or walk at a normal speed. It was awful. So I took it WAY easy all day, and I probably was a little more relaxed with my nutrition than I would have normally been. A lot more “mindless eating” happened than normal, but the cool thing was…it was all still fitting in the plan. It just wasn’t as STRUCTURED as I’m used to! I know it’s just one day out of many and it’s just a matter of structure, but it can still be frustrating, you know? Especially since outside of that last move that had me on the floor in pain, my workout was great! What I should have done was either push the workout back to a later point in the day when my mental focus was ready (even if it meant at 11:00 before bed), or I should have taken today as a rest day. Instead, I tried to conquer a workout that took mental focus and careful form…and I failed. Lesson learned: get your rest! Your body needs sleep and your brain needs it too!
Day 54: “Rest” I’m really moody today. Maybe it’s food bloat, maybe it’s the lingering stiffness from my back, maybe it’s just that time of year and the weather is having a major effect on my mood. Who knows, maybe it’s a combination of everything. Either way, I’m really moody. I have no patience, I have a hair trigger, I’m tired, I’m crabby, and I just want to be home today. I hate days like today, because I am a very happy person, in general, but today I am just…OFF! And of course, it was a long, stressful day at work, and I had to stay late. So when I got home, what did I WANT to do? Eat. I mean like…eat EVERYTHING. After dinner, eat eat eat. It was definitely a “stress eating” kind of day. And because it was my rest day…I had no workout to plan and look forward to in order to distract my “I want to EAT ALL THE THINGS!” stress. But once I found myself in the kitchen after my dinner, looking in the pantry for something sweet and definitely not “PiYo approved,” I realized I had two choices: 1) I could take the rest day completely and end up mindlessly staring at this cabinet…finding the ingredients to bake mug cakes or cookies and just EAT THEM all night; or 2) I could throw on my workout clothes and instead of EATING my feelings, I could get down to business with the more effective and productive stress relief…a good workout! So yes, it was supposed to be my “rest day,” but sometimes when you have a crappy day, you end up working out in order to keep yourself from stress or emotional eating. And that’s what I did. I kicked it “old school” with some Turbo Jam; Cardio Party Mix 3, and I gave it about 75% intensity. It was supposed to be a rest day after all, so I didn’t want to exhaust myself TOO much before my big workout tomorrow! When the Turbo Time was over, I felt better. It was after 9:00 once I finished, and by then, even though I still wanted to eat more food (workouts make me hungry!), I knew that eating that close to bedtime wasn’t in my best interest. So I had a big ol’ bottle of water, planned out my day for tomorrow and got to bed. Perfectly balanced day with nutrition, not too much or too little food, a nice, moderate intensity workout, and I felt much better!
Day 55: “Sculpt + Full Body Blast” In keeping with my “you’re crazy, girl!” theme lately, I decided to not choose Sculpt OR Full Body Blast, but I decided that if I had the energy to do both this morning, I would. And yep, I sure did! Even though I woke up at 3:00 am and couldn’t get back to sleep until 4:15…with an alarm going off at 4:45…I had a surprising amount of energy that early! I got up, took my E&E, got my slides ready and got to work. My lower body is exhausted! The only part about morning workouts that I don’t like is that my HRM tells me that I’m not burning as many calories as I do when I do this workout later in the day. And while that’s a little frustrating, I know it’s for good reason. For one, when you’re working out at 4:45 am, chances are you don’t have food in your system to fuel a workout the same way you would later in the day. So your intensity may feel the same, but really, it’s a little bit lower. Also, my body takes a little time to wake up. Working out in the morning for me is like driving in the winter. If you wake up early and just start up your car and GO, you know your car won’t be warm and ready. The more time you have to let your car warm up, the better it will run and the more comfortable you will be. It’s kind of the same with my body. It takes a while for it to wake up and really catch up and catch on to what I’m putting it through at that hour. Whether you work out early or late, it’s a matter of personal preference. Each one has its good and bad points, and you just find the one that fits better with your life. For me, even if it means my body doesn’t respond quite the same, I prefer morning workouts. Some days a late one feels great, but for the most part, if I wait until later, I end up not getting a lot of things done throughout my day. Anyway, the point. I worked my body HARD this morning. Full range of motion, no modifications, and I still didn’t burn “as many calories” as I had hoped or expected. But I didn’t care, because I felt STRONG; and that’s what’s important! PiYo is about feeling strong, powerful, using your body to shape your body…not burning 1,000 calories in an hour! I was really pleased with all the strength that these two workouts were able to help me gain, and doing them back to back really allowed my body to show me what it’s capable of! So I said “see ya!” to these two workouts in a big, booty-blasting way. I can’t believe tomorrow is the last day of my PiYo journey!
Day 56: “Drench” Another busy Saturday, but as usual, that’s no excuse to skip a workout! I woke up early (for a Saturday…so 7am) and had some coffee, did a few “morning things,” got dressed and was doing my PiYo by 9am. The amount of energy I had to power through this workout was AMAZING! I was so impressed! I’m sure it had something to do with the fact that I knew it was my last PiYo workout and wanted to nail it as a quality “farewell!” I decided that during the entire workout, it was going to be my goal to keep up with Jimmy and Chalene. Normally, I do “whatever I can, and keep up with Michelle the modification expert if I’m feeling tired.” But I wanted a no excuses day! And you know what? I surprised myself! Sure I couldn’t do things as deep or with as MUCH power as Jimmy and Chalene for certain moves, but overall, I was able to keep up and that was AWESOME! I didn’t realize I had that much strength! I did this entire workout with a smile on my face and sweat from head to toe! Everything felt strong, and I know it was because I had done the hard work for this past 60 days. After my workout was over, I went to my college homecoming and choir reunion. I can’t believe how many people approached me, even some who I hardly talked to in my college days, and said “I can’t believe how amazing you look. I’ve been watching your blog and Instagram, and you look great.” That was a huge boost. Some of them hadn’t seen me in years, so their “Before and After” mental pictures were very drastic, but even the ones who had seen me within the last few months…they even said they were amazed. I couldn’t rave more about PiYo! If you’re reading this and you’ve been convinced to try it, remember to tell me how you’re doing! I also got to look at a few of the old choir scrapbooks. In college was when I hit my highest weight, and it was really a crazy sight to see some of those old pictures again. Just…WOW. It was a great look back at how far I’ve come. I seriously recommend taking a good, hard look back and how far you’ve come fairly regularly. It’s motivation to keep going and it’s a real reminder that even though day-to-day you may fluctuate up and down in weight, size and measurements…if you stay consistent, your progress will come. Stay the course!
My week with nutrition: Overall, I have to say that this was my BEST week, nutrition wise. There were no parties or events to plan for. I hit my calorie goal every day, I didn’t splurge on anything (except for one caramel apple sucker during the week…but 60 calories won’t break the plan!) and I felt incredibly satisfied. The worst day I had was on Wednesday when I just lacked my normal structure. And if that’s what I’m considering a “bad day” this week, then I think I’m going to be okay, don’t you?! I really wanted to nail it this week, and I really think I did! Even on Saturday, when I went to my college homecoming (they provided breakfast treats) I avoided the sweets by having my Shakeology handy. And even during the rest of the day, where I spent time with Blane (as is our weekend routine) I managed to keep my nutrition in check. The nutritional aspect of this program has become more “second nature” than a “plan” in these 8 weeks, and really, I think that’s what every program tries to do for you. Every Beachbody program at least! The meal plans that come with the programs are meant to give you a way to eat for LIFE, not just the duration of the program! They teach you how to eat instead of just telling you what to eat and when! That’s what I love about Beachbody; they are here to TEACH you and help you, not just get you from point A to point B and not give you the slightest clue on how to get to points C, D and beyond, you know? I mean, I’ve gone from over 200 lbs to where I am now (final photos and weight/measurements coming in the next blog!) strictly using their programs. I’ve learned how to eat using their meal plans. Not until I was able to get myself under control did I go to school in order to learn how to educate others as a personal trainer and nutritional consultant! I have to say that this was one of the easiest plans for me to follow because of how relaxed-yet-structured it was. It gave you the guidelines, gave you the portions and the lists of what qualifies as what category, but it left it up to YOU to decide how you wanted to mix and match things. It was very similar to the 21 Day Fix approach with eating, and as you’ve probably seen and heard, that approach is working SO WELL for SO MANY. The flexibility of this nutrition plan is what allowed for me to see such great success, and I can honestly say that this week, I NAILED IT! 🙂
Overall, week 8 was a raging success. I think it was one of my most productive, most focused and healthiest weeks. I had the most energy, I had the best workouts and I had killer motivation. I’ll give a FULL, start to finish review of PiYo in my next entry, so don’t think that this is the final review. In the next one, I’m going to really look back at my entire journey and give you the pros and cons of PiYo, and I’ll even give it a letter grade. So now, what am I going to do for the next two weeks before I begin my Body Beast Challenge? Whatever I want 🙂 Yep! It’s the “Melissa show” over here, and I’ll be doing whatever workouts I feel like, looking for that balance of cardio, weights and flexibility, and working my intensity back to the level that I’ll need for “the Beast.” Don’t forget, registration for that one CLOSES this Friday!