Tag Archives: Cardio

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!

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 for this post, I don’t know Ms. Basu personally, and there is never affiliate marketing of any sort on my site. I’m reviewing this workout simply because I loved it and think some of you might, too.

Now that we have the disclaimers out of the way, let’s talk about dancing.

When I was a kid, I was a member of a church dance team for a little while. The style of dancing we did was much slower than the one I’m about to share with you, but I loved every second of learning the various moves we did together. There’s something so energizing and exciting about practicing this sort of routine over and over again until everyone is moving in perfect sync with each other.

That experience ignited a lifelong love of this form of exercise. While I’ve yet to join any other dance groups, I still smile every time I get the chance to learn a new move.

About the 30 Minute Aerobic Dance Workout

This Bollywood dance routine includes warmup and cool-down sections, so I’d estimate that it’s closer to a 20-minute workout without those things added in. Nearly all of the moves in the warmup were repeated and combined in different ways later on, so there was a lot of overlap between one section and the next. There was also a short water break included a little over 20 minutes into the session before the dancers put everything they’d been practicing together into a fun, fast-paced routine at the very end.

I’d especially recommend this video to anyone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with dancing in general. Since all of the moves were repeated multiple times and in various combinations,there were plenty of opportunities to practice anything that might have seemed complicated at first.

However, this doesn’t mean that more advanced viewers won’t enjoy it as well. The music made me want to jump up and keep dancing long after the 30-minute session ended. This is still something I fall back on when I have one of those days when I don’t feel like exercising at all. That’s how much fun it is!

No special equipment is needed for this workout. All you’ll need is a flat, even area to dance in that has been cleared of any tripping hazards.

If the embedded link above doesn’t work, click here instead.

My Review

Bipasha Basu

I originally discovered this dance workout about four years ago. During that time in my life, I had recently begun exercising regularly again. I’d never been the sort of person who thought of myself as athletic, so I was still figuring out what I did and didn’t enjoy as I attempted to get back into shape.

Bipasha Basu’s dance routine quickly became my favourite way to get moving on days when I honestly didn’t want to do anything at all. As I mentioned above, I still feel the same way about it.

First of all, dancing is a great deal of fun. There were times when I forgot I was technically exercising at all because of what a good time I was having learning the moves and enjoying the cheerful music everyone was moving their bodies to. This was especially true during the warmup and cool-down portions due to how nicely the background music was matched to them.

Speaking of warmups and cool-downs, I appreciated the fact that they were built into this workout. To be honest with you, I get awfully tempted to skip this kind of stuff when I need to do it on my own even though I know how important it is. The more vigorous portions of any exercise session generally appeal to me more, so it’s nice to be encouraged to remember to stretch, breathe deeply, and ease myself into and out of a workout as well.

Basu’s friendly and encouraging reminders throughout this routine made me smile. She did everything from talk about what moves were coming up to cheering her audience on to reminding us to love ourselves at the very end of the workout once the cool-down was finished.

Ms. Basu even reminded everyone to pause and drink a little water if and when they felt thirsty. I appreciated all of her kind words and good advice. It almost felt as though she was standing in the room next to her audience while gently cheering us on on to do our best and not worry if every single move was perfect the first time.

I don’t know about you, but I respond really well to this form of “coaching.” There’s something to be said for framing exercise as a cooperative experience instead of a competition for those of us who want to worry about winning or losing while getting fit. (Kudos to those of you who are energized by competition, but I’m simply not wired that way at all…..well, unless we’re talking about certain board games).

It sure isn’t easy to determine how difficult a workout is. If only there were some sort of universal scale for such things!  I did find the last ten minutes challenging when I first began doing it, but the earlier sections were easy once I memorized all of the different moves. Obviously, your experiences  of the same routine could be quite different from mine based on what kinds of activity you’re currently used to.

If you’re brand new to working out in general, I would recommend giving the first ten minutes a try and seeing how challenging you find it.

One Minor Criticism

There was only one thing I would have liked to see being done a little differently with this video, and it had to do with what Basu’s female backup dancers were wearing. While her male backup dancers wore loose, comfortable clothing, nearly all of her female dancers wore much tighter and ab-revealing clothing that honestly didn’t look ideal for all of the shimmying and moving around they were doing.

Bipasha and her backup dancers

This has nothing to do with modesty or body shaming. I would have preferred to see all of the dancers wearing loose and comfortable clothing for this routine from a purely practical point of view given how much bending and twisting was involved in it.

Yes, I know that sex sells, but I don’t think it’s necessary to mix that into what was otherwise a wonderful workout. This is even more true since only the women were expected to wear such skimpy outfits. If everyone had been wearing more or less the same types of clothing, I wouldn’t have had the same feelings about it.

Don’t let this discourage you from trying it, though. Everything else about it was really well done.

Have you all ever tried a dance workout? if so, what did you think of it?

My Review of the Challenging Chair Cardio 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 exercise. 

A couple of years ago, I tripped on a slippery set of stairs and sprained my ankle. Luckily, it was a pretty mild sprain that healed well with home treatments, but I remember how bored and frustrated I was with the very limited number of things I could do to burn off energy while it was healing.

This story popped into my mind when I first stumbled across the Challenging Chair Workout a few weeks ago. The vast majority of the workouts out there assume that everyone will at least be able to stand firmly on both of their feet. When such activities aren’t possible due to an injury, it’s so nice to know that there are other options for people who want to keep training to the best of their abilities while they heal.

Before I dive into my review of this workout, let me also note that there is never affiliate marketing in this or any other post on my site. I’m sharing this routine simply because I found it useful and encouraging for the times when it isn’t possible for me to do a regular workout. Hopefully, you’ll think the same thing!

If the embedded link doesn’t work, click here for an alternative link to this workout.

About the Chair Cardio Workout

The video is 27 minutes and 40 seconds long. That time includes a short warmup in the beginning and a cool down at the end, so I’d estimate that it contains about 20 minutes of actual cardio exercise and abdominal work.

You don’t need any special equipment to do this workout. As long as you have a chair, bed, or other sturdy and comfortable place to sit, you’ll be set.

My Review

I believe in being honest and descriptive when you review something. It’s always nice to read other people’s reviews of products or services when they take the time to explain specifically what it was about it that stood out to them. That is equally true for positive as well as negative feedback. Everyone has different tastes, so what was a highlight – or a dealbreaker – for one person might have a completely different connotation for someone else.

The only vaguely negative thing I have to say about this workout is subjective. It simply wasn’t challenging enough for me. I was able to do all of the moves quite well the first time they were introduced, and I had barely broken out into a sweat at all by the time it ended. If I were looking for a replacement for my regular routine while healing from an injury, I’d need to find something more vigorous for my particular needs unless I’d been out of commission for quite a while.

With that being said, this is an excellent choice for beginners or people who have not been able to exercise at all in a long time in my opinion. Everything else I say about it will be positive from this point on.

Caroline Jordan, the woman who created this workout, really knows her audience well. She reminded her viewers multiple times that it was perfectly okay to take breaks, skip certain moves, or change the way they participated for anything that was painful for them. There were several times when she gave specific suggestions on how to modify certain moves to accommodate issues with injuries or flexibility in general. That gave this workout an added layer of depth that made me want to share it with my readers even more.

I adored Caroline’s upbeat attitude. She was positive and encouraging from the beginning to the end. I especially liked the fact that she talked her audience through the faster portions of the routine. She also had all kinds of friendly tips for how to stay motivated when you feel like you’re never going to recover or worry that a certain movement is too hard to do right now.

The lack of background music was a refreshing touch as well. Unless I’m practicing a dance routine or watching a TV show while I do a workout that I’ve already memorized, I prefer silence as much as possible. It’s so much nicer to only be able to focus on the trainer’s voice while I’m trying to copy their movements.

Speaking of movements, there was a decent amount of repetition in this video. Caroline guided her viewers through all of the moves twice. I sure do like it when fitness experts do this. While this routine was a simple one, it’s always nice to try the same thing more than once while you’re getting used to it.

The balance between cardio and abdominal strengthening exercises was handled nicely. I prefer routines that offer a mixture of activities like this. They make it easier for me to remain interested in them as well as to keep going if I find a certain section challenging.

In short, I liked this workout quite a bit. It’s not something I’ll be adding to my current rotation of videos right now because of my current level of fitness, but I will be saving it for reference if or when I ever injure one of my feet again. While I hope that never happens, I’m really glad that I’ll have something to fall back on if I need to stay off of my feet for medical reasons.

Readers, have you ever sprained or broken your ankle? Have you ever done a chair workout? I’d love to hear your stories about those topics.

Health and Fitness at the Dollar Store

One of the biggest misconceptions some people have about getting fit is that it requires a significant investment of money in the beginning if you’re starting out with little to no equipment.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

A few nights ago, I took a stroll around a dollar store to see what kinds of health and fitness items they had for sale there. I jotted down everything I could find that could somehow be connected to this topic, and the list was much longer than I ever would have imagined it would be.

Seriously. I was expecting to find maybe ten things there, but I ended up finding closer to a hundred of them if every category is fully expanded to include every example in them.

This is what they had for sale there:

  • T-shirts
  • Hats
  • Sandals
  • Hair ties
  • Socks
  • Sports bras
  • Ponchos
  • Support insoles for shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Beach towels
  • Goggles
  • Bug Repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • First Aid supplies (bandaids, disinfectant, etc).
  • Plastic and metal buckets of various sizes (for transporting dirty or wet items back home)
  • Reusable plastic water bottles
  • Fishing poles
  • Headlamps
  • Small lanterns (if hiking or camping are on your to-do list)
  • Pet toys (for playing tug-of-war or fetch)
  • Pool toys
  • Toys and games for all ages/abilities (dart guns, dart boards, balls, chalk, jump ropes, etc)
  • Young children’s toys (plastic baseball bats, miniature golf clubs, etc)
  • Balloons (for water balloon fights or other similar games)
  • Beach toys (small shovels, plastic molds for making sandcastles, etc).
  • Frisbees
  • Rainbow flyers
  • Gardening tools (hand rakes, small shovels, etc).
  • Badminton rackets and balls
  • Plastic/rubber balls for other sports
  • Hula hoops
  • Sports equipment (rackets, balls, etc).
  • Yoga mats
  • Kettleballs
  • Resistance bands
  • Exercise wheels
  • Push up stands
  • Stretch bands
  • Roll out exercise wheels
  • Yoga mats
  • Yoga towels
  • Nonperishable, fairly healthy snacks (nuts, beef jerky, bottled water, canned fruit, applesauce.)
  • Many types of large reusable bags (for toting around everything on this list!)

Some of the items on this list did cost more than a dollar, but all of them were very inexpensive in general.

Whether I was planning to hike, swim, build sandcastles play any number of sports, jog, lift weights, stretch, do yoga, garden, go camping, or participate in any number of other activities, there were products for almost every type of exercise one could possibly imagine. I was seriously impressed by their selection.

Why am I recommending checking out your local dollar store if I believe in minimalism and buying quality over quantity?

There are a few reasons why this could be a smart idea under certain circumstances:

Not Everything Needs to be Well-Made in Order to be Useful

Several years ago, I bought a sun hat from the dollar store that suits my purposes perfectly when I want to exercise outdoors on a sunny day. Was it fashionable? Well, only if you’re a time traveller from 1995, but I’m not the kind of person who worries about how trendy I look when I’m working out.

Why spend $60 on something like that if you can spend $2 or $3 instead for the exact same outcome? For the kinds of activities I do, the type of hat doesn’t matter in the least. Anything that shades my face and neck from the sun will be more than adequate for my purposes.

It’s a Low-Cost Way to Try New Activities

For example, I like the idea of playing badminton. Every so often, I toy around with the thought of playing that sport as part of my fitness routine.

As mentioned above, the dollar store carries badminton equipment. While it isn’t made from high quality materials, it would be the perfect thing for me to play around with if I ever decide to finally add this sport to my list of preferred activities.

Spending a few dollars wouldn’t break the bank, and I could  go to a secondhand store or a regular store to find much sturdier equipment if I decided that this was something I wanted to play more than occasionally and my original racket broke.

Speaking of broken items….

Losing or Breaking A New Item Won’t Be So Disappointing

I’m very protective of the few possessions I have that are top-notch. Anyone who wants to borrow them has to earn my trust first, and I’d horribly disappointed if they were damaged, lost, or destroyed in an accident or through someone else’s carelessness. There are certain places that I really wouldn’t want to take those items to due to the risks of them being exposed to the water, dirt, or sand that could ruin them.

The nice thing about dollar store purchases is that you don’t stand to lose hundreds or thousands of dollars if they’re accidentally broken or lost. I wouldn’t hesitate to lend out something like a hula hoop or a pool toy I bought from the dollar store to a friend or relative.

If that item was later returned to me in pristine condition, great! If not, I’ve only lost a few dollars at most. Replacing it won’t hurt my bottom line at all, so I don’t have a problem lending it out or taking it places where the risks of something happening are higher than usual.

What’s At Your Local Dollar Store?

Assuming you live in a part of the world that has dollar stores (or pound shops/variety stores, as they’re sometimes called), what kinds of health and fitness items have you spotted there?

I’d love to compare my list with yours!

Why Everyone Should Use a Pedometer

Lately, I’ve been thinking about some of the simplest lifestyle changes I made several years ago when I decided to take charge of my health and get into better shape. Getting into the habit of using a pedometer every day was at the top of that list.

My first pedometer was actually an app on my phone. That phone had to be in my pants pocket in order for it to count my steps back then. If I carried it or put it in my jacket pocket, my step count would rise much more slowly than was normal for me at the time.

I suspected it was a little inaccurate from the beginning, but I didn’t realize exactly how many steps it was missing until I upgraded to a new phone that included a more sensitive step counter in its operating system.

Suddenly, my final count at the end of the day jumped up by a few thousand steps even though my routine had stayed the same. Wow, was that a pleasant surprise! I ended up increasing my daily goal from 10,000 to 12,000 steps a day in order to continue challenging myself.

While my current pedometer seems to be much more accurate, I do sometimes wonder if it still misses steps. I now get about 14,000 of them in the average day, though, so I don’t worry about it as much as I would if I were using the older and more inaccurate model or consistently struggling to get more than a few thousand steps per day.

The nice thing about this piece of technology is that it doesn’t require perfection in order to give you a rough snapshot of how active you are and to encourage you to gradually increase your goals over time.

Every Little Bit Counts

When I first began paying attention to my step count, there were times when it seemed impossible to reach 10,000 steps without spending my entire day walking around. It took time to realize that this wasn’t true and that there were many ways to fit more activity into the habits I’d already formed.

The nice thing about having a pedometer is that you can see the results of even minor lifestyle changes very quickly.

For example, I now know that a walk around the block is good for adding about 500 steps to my step count. Ending a trip one subway stop sooner can add a thousand steps or more .

Even when I didn’t make my original goal every day in the beginning, I was still able to see my average step count rise for that week or month as I figured out how to squeeze a few more minutes of walking into whatever else I was doing that day. The more tricks I found, the more motivated I became to push my steps closer to the 10,000 mark and to make new goals once that one felt easy.

It’s a Great Source of Motivation

Speaking of motivation, I find it incredibly motivating to see how something as simple as taking an extra walk to run some errands could add a few hundred to a few thousand steps to my daily total without me feeling like I was doing anything that out of the ordinary at all. Small lifestyle changes like the ones I just mentioned add up over time.

Many fitness goals aren’t like this. For example, losing weight, reducing your body fat percentage, strengthening your muscles, and becoming more flexible are all goals that generally need to be pursued over the long term. You probably won’t see much improvement at all with them in the beginning.

As much as I’ve enjoyed seeing the results from my longterm goals, there is definitely something to be said for setting goals that you can reach in a month, a week, or even a single day as well.

I can’t double the weight of the dumbbells I lift in that amount of time, but I can commit to taking a walk or pacing around while I’m waiting for something to nudge my step count average up while also working on more difficult goals during other parts of the day.

Nearly Everyone Can Do It

Unlike many other forms of exercise, walking doesn’t require a gym membership, special equipment, or protective gear. The only thing you need other than a pair of comfortable walking shoes is a pedometer. I’ve seen pedometers for sale for as little as $5 to $10 each.

There are also options for people who can’t afford that expense or who want to try this idea out before buying one of their own. Many public libraries have developed programs that lend out pedometers to their patrons the same way they’d lend out a book or DVD.

The Toronto Public Library had one of these programs several years ago, and I believe they allowed people to keep the pedometers for up to two months at a time while they had it. I’d gotten ahold of my own step counter by the time I became aware of this program at my local branch, but it was a great way for people from any walk of life to get a snapshot of how active they were and decide if buying their own step counter was a good decision.

Pedometers Teach You How to Stop Needing Them

After you’ve used a pedometer for a while, you may very well develop an automatic sense of how active a day should be in order to reach your goals like I have.

For example, I now know that I need to spend about a hour a day walking around in order to make my step count goal. This time is virtually always broken up into smaller increments. Occasionally, it’s as brief as as a five minutes walk here and a ten minute walk there every hour or two until I’ve gotten my full 60 minutes of movement in for the day.

Other people have different goals, of course. I’m young and in decent shape, so my exercise routine may be too challenging for people who aren’t used to any sort of exercise at all. That same routine might be too easy for athletes in peak physical shape who are used to vigorous workouts instead.

While I continue to check my step count for the sheer joy of seeing what my numbers are looking like and as a reminder to keep encouraging myself to do a little more over time, I could stop using it and maintain my current routine without an issue.

To me, this is a sign of a worthwhile piece of equipment. Just like my muscles have outgrown lighter pairs of hand weights, my mind has learned to adapt to my new fitness routine. Any habit takes time to develop. The fact that my pedometer has done such an excellent job of teaching me how to intuitively know how much and how often I should be moving makes it something I’d wholeheartedly recommend to anyone reading this who is hoping to develop similarly strong habits.

5 Fitness Rules You Should Break

One of the most interesting things about fitness culture is how many different rules there are about what you are and are not supposed to do in order to get healthier. I’ve learned so much about the art of staying fit by listening to what other ordinary people find helpful. There is a lot of fantastic information… Read More