How I'm Sweating:
I canceled my gym membership last month to save some money. I thought I might regret the decision, but it's actually been a blessing in disguise because it's forced me to change up my routines week-to-week. I've been reconnecting with my old Tae-Bo roots by busting out some of the advanced VHS tapes. I don't care much for most of the recent Tae-Bo DVDs because the routines are too complicated with inconsistent levels of intensity. The old tapes (the first Advanced tape in the series and the advanced 'Get Ripped' tapes) are loaded with the basic kicks and punches I first fell in love with all of those years ago. Great cardio option, obviously.
But I haven't been stuck in the 90s this whole time; I've also fallen in love with this little gem:
My feedback on this DVD is a little premature because it has 3 different workouts (30/30, 40/20 and Double Wave Pyramid) and so far I've only tried one (the 30/30 routine; 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest). But oh my goodness, tough, touGH, TOUGH!. Definitely for intermediate/advanced users. There really isn't anything 'beginner' about this DVD. Each routine is around 30 minutes, including the warm-up and cool down.
From what I've gathered on the Amazon reviews, two of the workouts use The Step and The High Step. Only one of the routines is equipment-free. I own both of these types of steps, but if you don't, this is obviously a big downfall. For the moves that do use a step, Cathe doesn't provide any non-step modifications. That's not to suggest that you couldn't try making up your own, but I would imagine it would be a bit tricky and might not be as intense.
LOTS of plyometrics involved. Plyo-jacks, squat thrust jumps (think burpees) and high-knees. There are also some kicking/punching moves and 180 squat jumps using the step. There is little-to-no instruction on the moves, so having prior knowledge of them (by way of Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred and Banish Fat/Boost Metabolism DVDs, for example) and being a quick learner is a great help.
My only prior experience with HIIT routines was primarily at the gym, doing sprint intervals on the treadmill, elliptical or stair master. Relying on your own body (and occasionally, The Step) is a different beast entirely. I start sweating instantly, my heart rate is super high (but not omg-I'm-having-a-heart-attack-and-might-die high), I'm out of breath and my nose even starts running. Kinda lame that I have to have some tissues nearby when I do this workout, but that's just the way it is, haha. Although this DVD is ridiculously challenging to get through, I feel incredible afterward. Probably one of the best endorphin rushes I've experienced in my history of exercising!
This is my first Cathe Friedrich video, but it certainly won't be the last. She's motivating, straightforward and experienced, all of which make for a great instructor. Plus, she has a wide selection of DVDs that use The Step, so her workouts will be a nice change from my Jari Love routines (which I still love, by the way).
What I'm Currently Listening To:
I don't always have my finger on the pulse of who's "the next big thing" in music, be it Top 40 or indie, but in any case, Cloud Nothings is one of a few bands rocking my world this month.
How I'm Shopping for Fitness DVDs:
I may be behind the times on this one, but one of my new favorite sites is Collage Video. This is pretty much the best site ever when looking for new fitness DVDs. You can filter results by trainer, level (beginner, intermediate, advanced), and even type of equipment used. It's so, so beautiful, especially now that I'm gym-free and will be working out at home more.
The big selling point for me was being able to search by level of intensity. I was able to see how some of the DVDs I already own are rated, in terms of being beginner, advanced, etc., so picking new challenging DVDs is much easier than just winging it on Amazon. The prices on Collage on higher though, so I simply use their site to search and then buy new choices for much less on Amazon. I love the Internet.
I'm skipping the "What I'm Currently Eating" section today because there's not anything terribly exciting I'm eating everyday. But, I have some pretty cool food-related experiments coming up in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for some new recipes! Hope everyone's week is going well!