Category Archives: Fitness

My Review of Fitness Blender’s Brutal Butt & Thigh Workout

From the Brutal Butt and Thigh Workout


Disclaimer: 
I am not a doctor, and this post is in no way intended to give out medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning this or any other type of workout routine. 

In addition, I’m not receiving any kind of compensation for this post, I’m not affiliated with anyone at Fitness Blender, and there is never affiliate marketing of any sort on my site in general. I’m reviewing this workout simply because I loved it and think some of you might, too.

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed a workout video here. it’s time to change that.

Fitness Blender creates the videos I use for the vast majority for my weightlifting workouts. Kelli and Daniel are the couple who created and own this brand.  Their Youtube channel and website offer free workouts for every fitness level.

About the 30 Minute Brutal Butt & Thigh Workout

This workout consists of 5 groups of 2 different exercises. There are ten repetitions of each exercise before you move onto the next one, and all of the exercises are done in the AB/AB format. For example, Kelli’s movements looked like this in the first section:

  • Traditional Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Traditional Squats
  • Deadlifts

Between each muscle-building exercise, she spent 20 seconds jogging in place.

This is a good routine for more experienced weight lifters. I would not recommend it to beginners due to the intensity of the moves.

All of the videos from Fitness Blender that I use require a minimal amount of equipment. For this particular one, you’ll need a barbell or dumbbell. If you happen to own a yoga mat, that extra cushioning can be useful for the cardio portions of this routine. It’s not strictly necessary, however.

The last five minutes of this video are dedicated to cool-down exercises, but it doesn’t have any warm-up activities. I’d recommend warming up on your own before beginning it.

 

Brutal Butt and Thigh Workout

My Review

This is one of my all-time favourite workouts, so you’re going to hear a lot of complimentary things about it today.

The lack of background music was one of the first things I noticed about it. While I like background music when I’m doing a dance video, I find it distracting for most other types of exercise. It was nice to not have to think about it during this video.

Instead of instruments or the sound of people singing, the only noises you hear on this video are of the narrator explaining which moves are coming up and discussing how they affect your body. There were alternatives suggested for people who couldn’t do the full range of motion for certain moves which was helpful. It was also interesting to hear Daniel talk about how your muscles will react if you’re able to do the moves the way Kelli was in this workout. I only ever felt encouraged by his descriptions. It was fascinating to hear how the human body works and how it can adapt to new challenges over time.

While Kelli did jog in place between all of the exercises, I appreciated the fact that participants were encouraged to find their own level of activity between sets if they weren’t able to jog every time. Honestly, I can’t jog in place for the entire workout every single session. There are times when I need to walk instead, especially at the end, and that’s perfectly okay.

The Cool Down Portion of This Workout

One of the unique features of the Fitness Blender brand is an icon on the right hand side of the screen that shows you how much of the workout you’ve currently completed as well as how much of it you still have to go.

It looks sort of like a thermometer, and the color of it changes from green to yellow to red as you progress further into the routine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this feature to see how long I have left to go and to find another burst of energy when I know we’re getting close to the end.

The weightlifting exercises themselves are challenging for me in a good way. When I first began using this video, I was a little sore the next day. While my body has grown stronger and adjusted since then, this routine is by no means an easy one for me. I enjoy being challenged in this way, and I can see myself going back to it over and over again for quite a while yet to come.

I also enjoy the cool down portion during the last five minutes. By the time it comes up, I’m usually covered in perspiration and totally ready to take a break from exercising. All of the stretches in the last few minutes are a nice bridge between weightlifting and the quieter portions of my day that are soon to follow.

Honestly, the thing I’d change about it if I could would be to include a short warm-up at the beginning. I find that I am more diligent about warming up properly when I have someone else telling me which body parts to stretch and for what period of time. Going to the trouble of actually warming up for it is well worth the effort, though!

Why Do Library Holds Arrive Simultaneously (and Other Questions I Wish I Had Answers To)

Lately, I’ve been taking a break from my normal interests like reading science fiction and exercising outdoors in order to try other stuff. One of the consequences of this has been that I haven’t come up with as many blog post ideas related to those topics as I’d normally be playing around with.

I suspect this will be changing pretty soon, but in the meantime I thought it would be amusing to share some of the questions that have been rattling around in my head that aren’t quite weighty enough to warrant full posts on their own.

1. Why do my library holds so often arrive simultaneously?

I borrow e-books from my local library. This means that the next person on the list will receive a copy of a popular book moments after the previous borrower gave it back. Because of this system, I know I’m not receiving several books in the same day due to them arriving in batches based on the library’s business hours or anything like that. There have been instances when I’ve received an e-copy of a novel I was waiting on in the middle of the night if that’s when the last patron returned it.

Theoretically, I should be able to time it so that I have a steady stream of new stuff to read throughout the month since I can always see how many copies of an e-book the library has and what number I am on the list of people waiting to read it.

So it comes as a surprise to me to see how often I end up deluged in books anyway! Sometimes I’ll go a week without getting notifications for any new arrivals on my account only to end up with quite a few of them becoming available a few days later. It’s as thought there are little elves running around in the library’s database purposefully causing mischief.

2. Why do people review books they haven’t finished reading?

I keep running into people who talk about writing reviews for books they’ve only partially read, and I’m not talking about reviewers who found something so objectionable or triggering in the plot that they couldn’t bear to follow the storyline to the end. That is something I’ve had to do once or twice myself, but I’m always honest about why I refused to finish a particular story.

Some of them genuinely seemed to enjoy what they were reading, and yet they still posted reviews before finishing it. I am so confused by this.

3. Why do people get so competitive over their diet and exercise routines?

Okay, so technically the answer to this one is that they enjoy competition and that I’m missing a big piece of the picture since I don’t get the same satisfaction from that sort of thing.

Still, It boggles my mind to see folks arguing over which diet or exercise routine is superior. I’ve seen friends thrive on a wide variety of healthy living plans, for lack of a better term. Many of them contradict each other’s advice, and yet all of these friends are doing well on the paths they’ve chosen.

4. When will all of the holiday treats arrive at the grocery store?

My local grocery store stocks an unbelievable array of special chocolates, cookies, beverages, snacks, and other food items for holidays ranging from Hanukkah to Christmas. They start putting this stuff out before Halloween, and every year they fill nooks and crannies that I barely even noticed with displays with all sorts of sugary things.

There are several tasty, dairy-free products I’m still waiting for them to begin selling for the holiday season. I can’t help but to wonder if or when those items might show up on the shelves again.

What have you been wondering about recently?

The Best Fitness Advice I’ve Ever Received

There is so much conflicting information floating around out there about fitness, nutrition, and various types of exercise. Today I’m going to be talking about the best fitness advice I’ve ever received. I’m not a doctor or other medical provider, so this post is not written in order to give health or medical advice to anyone. It is only meant to share my personal experiences on this topic.

1. Don’t Ignore Pain

There’s a massive difference between  feeling fatigued from a certain type of movement and hurting because of it. Pain is a sign that something has gone or is going wrong. On the rare occasions that I feel this sensation while working out, I stop immediately.

2. Make Healthier Options the Easiest Ones

This is a trick I use for my diet as much, and even more so during the holidays when sweets are everywhere, as I do for my fitness goals.

It’s easy to stick with an exercise routine or a healthy eating plan on a great day when everything goes according to plan. Continuing to do so on days when my plans have been interrupted or I’m dealing with unpleasant surprises that make skipping that workout or ordering in fast food unbelievably appealing is another story.

If I already have healthy leftovers sitting in the fridge, I’m going to be less likely to go out and buy something that won’t provide the vitamins and minerals I need. As far as my fitness goals go, I live in a highly walkable neighbourhood and try to do as many of my normal errands on foot as possible. Those five or ten minute trips add up to a lot of low-impact exercise over time.

3. Pick Activities You Enjoy

For example, I love to go swimming. It’s not an activity I do very often for logistical reasons, but when I do get a chance to swim I’ll happily spend hours in the pool. At times, I’ve even fantasized about what it would be like to be able to sleep while floating in a friendly body of water. (No, this blog is not written by a mermaid, although that might be something a mermaid would write if they actually existed and didn’t know how to sleep in the water since they’d been raised on land).

4. Be Patient

Reaching any fitness goal takes time and effort. I know that I’ve often wished I could build muscle quickly, but that’s not how it works….especially for thin and petite women like me!

5. Create Multiple Backup Plans

A few years ago, I made plans to go on a low-key hike on a specific spring weekend when the weather is generally gorgeous here in Ontario.

Then it rained that weekend. I’m not talking about a light drizzle, either. There were thunderstorms and lightning everywhere.

It happened again on my backup date, and then yet again the next couple of times I tried to reschedule those plans. I don’t remember whether that hike ever happened or not, to be honest with you. What I remember most clearly from that experience is how frustratingly funny it was to see the weather report change to a high risk of thunderstorms on every single day I was hoping to spend some time out in nature.

This is a story I think about when I’m brainstorming various ways to include physical activity in my vacation plans or deciding how to get back into the habit of exercise after an injury or illness. If one idea doesn’t work, I always have two or three alternates tucked into the back of my mind.

6. Stick to the Routine, Including Rest Days 

If it’s a workout day for me, I’m going to be getting that exercise in unless I’m sick, injured, or (very rarely) are travelling and legitimately can’t make my goals that day due to how many hours I’ve spent on an airplane, train, or bus. On rest days, I take things easy no matter how much I’m itching to do something more active with my time than walking or other low-impact forms of movement.

The longer these habits have had to form, the easier I find it to follow the routine. There is something reassuring about always knowing what that part of my day is going to be like no matter what else might be happening before or after it.

What is the best fitness advice you’ve ever received?

3 Things I Love About Autumn Hikes

This autumn has been an odd one so far here in Ontario as climate change continues to disrupt our normal weather patterns.

Early September is often still hot here, but the heat continued on through October this year. I was actually still wearing shorts and other summer gear as recently as a week ago!

Now the weather is jumping back and forth between unseasonably warm and cold temperatures from one day to the next.

One of the most noticeable side effects of this strange weather has been a delay in when the leaves began to change colour and fall off for the year. There are still quite a few trees with green leaves in southern Ontario even though we’re already more than halfway through October.

I’m hoping this will mean that we’ll have a delayed beginning of winter as well. There hasn’t been enough time to spend exercising while out in nature as I like to have when the weather is mild.

Hidden Details Being Revealed

Some of the trees in my neighbourhood have begun to change colour. Once the weather cools down enough for other species to join them, the landscape changes quickly as other trees follow in their footsteps. At some point, all of the non-evergreen

As much as I’ll miss the sight of green plants this winter, it’s always interesting to spot the now-abandoned nests that birds created when no one could see what they were doing up in those branches or to see how sparse a forest can look when all of the plants go dormant for the winter.

If I still wrote poetry, I’d write a poem about all of the things we might not have noticed when the year was still young. There’s so much room for inspiration when you visit a place you’ve been to many times before and notice something there that you hadn’t picked up on before.

Friendly Weather

I was originally going to call this section mild weather, but it honestly feels downright friendly to me after the long, hot summer we had. It’s so nice to go outside again without feeling like you’ve stuck your head in an oven.

Not only are the chances of suffering frostbite or a sunburn are lower than usual at this time of the year, October is a pretty pleasant month if you like spending a lot of time outdoors. Any shivering or perspiring is generally kept to a minimum, especially if you dress in layers and remove or add them as needed.

Despite my interest in fitness and nature, I’m not the sort of person who enjoys spending a lot of time outside when it is very hot or cold outside. This is something that confuses certain folks when they first get to know me, but there’s a massive quality of life difference between spending hours in the woods when it’s 15 degrees Celcius (60 Fahrenheit) versus -15 C (5 F) or 45 C (113 F).

To me, nature is something best explored during moderate seasons like spring and fall. Yes, they can both be unpredictable at times as far how quickly their temperatures can shift, but they’re generally the best times of the year to spend hours outside without suffering too many negative health consequences for that decision.

Mentally Stimulating Exercise

There’s a huge difference between exercising to a pre-recorded video indoors on a cold winter day and getting to explore the world around you when the weather is more agreeable.

I’ll get my workouts in either way, but I have to say that I find a lot more pleasure in exercising at the park where I’m surrounded by the sights, smells, and sounds of autumn.

Something as simple as hearing the crunch of leaves as I pass through them or seeing a neighbour’s dog stubbornly chase squirrels adds a little bit of joy to my normal routine. (Don’t worry – I’ve never seen a single dog catch a squirrel at my local park. The wildlife here is too smart and fast for pampered city pets to keep up with).

It doesn’t have to be anything exciting in order to catch my attention. Even subtle changes are enough to keep me interested in my surroundings as I exercise.

How does the changing of the seasons affect your workout routine? Will you be hiking or walking anywhere interesting over the next few months?

Why I Prefer to Exercise Alone

As I’ve mentioned here in the past, I didn’t learn to enjoy exercise until adulthood in large part because of my negative experiences in physical education classes.

To summarize that post for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, my gym teachers never explained why exercise was an important part of living a healthy lifestyle. It was something we were compelled to do without being told why it was important.

They also put such a heavy emphasis on competition and team sports that I didn’t realize there were many other options for those of us who have no interest in winning or playing on a team. While I understand that my school districts weren’t wealthy ones and couldn’t afford specialized equipment, in the post I linked to above I did come up with quite a few alternative forms of exercise that they could have incorporated into gym classes without breaking the bank.

It was only when I discovered all of the solitary, non-competitive ways to get a workout in that I began to look forward to this part of my regular routine. Not everyone has these same needs, but I’m happier exercising alone for the following reasons:

1. Peace and Quiet 

Some people are energized by loud music or the cacaphony of sounds that occur when a large group of people are all using the same facilities.

I am not one of them. While I do spend time in loud, crowded places, they are never the first place to come to mind when I’m deciding where I’d like to go. To me, this would be like going to your dentist’s office just to hang out and listen to the distant hum of the dentist drilling someone’s tooth to fix a cavity.

If that’s something you find amusing, fantastic. I can think of a very long list of places I’d rather be instead, though, and none of them involve drills or ear-splitting gym tunes.

2. No Scheduling Conflicts

Many of the people I know do not greet mornings with joy. While I’m leaping out of bed and feeling my highest energy levels of the day, they’re drinking coffee and barely keeping their eyes open.

If we were to attempt to synchronize our schedules, it would be tricky to balance their sleepy reactions to the morning with how I tend to behave in the evenings. There have also been times when my workouts lasted for shorter or longer periods of time than I thought they would based on how I was feeling that day.

Exercising by myself simply makes more sense until or unless I meet another unapologetic morning person who takes the same approach to fitness that I do.

3. Personalized Fitness Goals

As I mentioned above, competition does nothing to encourage me to exercise. In fact, it discourages me from pushing myself harder due to how much I dislike the winner vs. loser approach to getting fit.

What does work for me is to set personalized fitness goals that I can easily measure and track. This could be a short-term goal like increasing my step count or a long-term goal like reducing my body fat percentages. I like the process of keeping track of numbers like these and seeing how they change over time. If a friend wanted to see my statistics for some reason, I wouldn’t have a problem sharing them.

It’s the competition I’m really trying to avoid, and keeping my goals personalized is an excellent way for me to do just that.

4. Shorter, More Efficient Workouts

Occasionally, I have exercised with other people. It’s been my experience that a lot of folks enjoy talking throughout their workouts.

I enjoy conversations in just about any other setting, but I really don’t like pausing a workout in order to chat. If I’m lifting weights or walking briskly, I want to focus on how I’m moving my body instead of what so-and-so said last week.

Socializing is important, but I’ve found that I get much better results when I completely separate that from staying fit.

Do you prefer to exercise alone or with a group of people?

My Review of Bipasha Basu’s 30 Minute Aerobic Dance Workout

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this post is in no way intended to give out medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning this or any other type of workout routine.  Before I dive into this review, let me also note that I’m not receiving any kind of compensation… Read More

How I’m Handling My Summer Fitness Slump

I’ve trimmed down everything I wanted to say on today’s post into something that’s shorter than usual. As I’ve said before, I’d much rather stop writing when I run out of content than stretch out my points to fill a predetermined number of words. This is an interesting time of the year in Toronto. After… Read More

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What Are the Best Forms of Exercise for People Who Dislike Sports?

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve never been into team sports. My interest in fitness didn’t develop until adulthood because all of the physical education classes I took in school were almost exclusively focused on basketball, football, volleyball, kickball, and baseball. Since I wasn’t an athletic or coordinated kid by any stretch of the imagination,… Read More

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