|I’m feeling pretty damn good!|
The main benefit I can see from joining an online or gym fitness program, is having different routines every day that are designed to help you lose weight or build muscle. The fitness instructors design the workouts to maximize results, time and alternate the muscle groups you work. However, this benefit isn’t great enough to convince me to part with my hard-earned money to get access to the fitness plan. Luckily there is a solution. Many Youtube fitness profiles have short challenges that demonstrate the benefits of joining their program. I’ve done a 21-day challenge with Popsugarfitness and two separate 5 day challenges with Fitness Blender. Today, I’ll be giving you a review of one of these challenges and the results I got.
Youtube Profile: Fitness Blender
Video’s: Fitness Blender 5 Day Challenge to Get Strong and Lean
Day 1: Oh my God this was by far the hardest day for me! I’ve done many of the longer Fitness Blender workouts before, but they never cease to amaze me with how much hard work they can fit into such a short period of time. All 5 days start off with a light warm up, and finish with a cool down stretch. This routine began with 15 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training, and they mean it when they say high intensity). It was so hard, I wanted to be done with my work out after just the first 15 minutes! But, I wasn’t, because after that came the strength training portion that focused on lower body. To be prepared, try and have various amounts of weights on hand. When you start off with a move, you can start with the heaviest weight, and as you do more reps, drop down to lighter and lighter weights.
Favorite Move: Y’all know I love me some squats. So, my favorite move was the ten second drop squat. To do this, hold your weights and slowly, ever so slowly, lower yourself down into a full squat (over ten seconds just to get to the bottom of the squat). Then, take another ten seconds to get back up to standing. Sounds easy, but it isn’t.
Hardest Move: By far the hardest move for me was the single leg dead lift. It could be because it was the first move of the strength training portion and my mind wasn’t ready to lift yet. But, I think it is because I wanted to lift a high weight to really work my hamstrings, but I couldn’t lift the heavy weight and balance totally on one foot. Instead, I choose to have my not lifting leg resting just barely on the ground, so I could stay with the heavy weight.
Day 2: I was so sore after Day 1! Which is why it was great that Fitness Blender took this into consideration and did an easier upper body strength and cardio routine. Overall, I found Day 2 the easiest, despite my tired muscles. The cardio was only 1 move per round, and that meant I could really focus on burning myself out during those moves. I enjoyed that it was entirely upper body focused as well, it meant my sore muscles didn’t get any worse. But don’t be fooled, because after all the weighted moves, there is a cardio & upper body burnout round that will leave you exhausted in a heap on the floor. I didn’t know how challenging the burnout would be, so I didn’t save enough energy from the earlier section of the routine to give my all to this part.
Favorite Move: The side pullover. I’ve probably done hundreds of different exercise routines, and this was the first time I have come across this move. Laying on your right side, with your left arm holding a weight you lower your arm over your head, then pull it back to a vertical position. I liked this move because I got to lie down (lazy I know) and because it took effort to hold the form correctly. If I got sloppy, I could feel my shoulder blade want to pop out awkwardly. The side pullover is still new to me, so I had to use the lightest weights I owned to complete it.
Hardest Move: The traditional overhead press. I used a heavier weight for this, because they recommend using a weight that is heavy enough to almost make you can drop it by the last few reps. This move isn’t hard mentally, but by using a heavy weight I was really grunting to push the dumbbells over my head.
Day 3: This is the second hardest day! The video is called a Brutal HIIT Cardio and Abs workout for a reason. It really will use up all your energy just to complete. I was tired after only the first round of HIIT, and the video just kept going. I honestly thought it would never end. The last part of the routine is a Pilates burnout, which will just destroy whatever energy you have left if you concentrate on each move. IF you don’t focus, then the moves get sloppy and don’t use your muscles enough to tire you out.
Favorite Move:I loved all the abs moves because I like to work that part of my body a lot. The best one was the double leg pull scissor kick. To do this, you lay on your back and scissor your legs. Sounds simple, but as you pull one leg towards your chest, you grab it and stretch it towards you twice. It is kind of like a leg pulse, that really burned out my lower abs. I loved it.
Hardest Move: Um…if I am being totally honest, all the HIIT moves were hard for me. I think it was because this was Day 3, I was still worn out from Day 1&2. If I had to pick a move that I just really struggled with, it would probably be the back bows. Back bow moves are either hit or miss for me. Some day’s I can do them really well, other day’s I am completely useless at them.
Day 4: I think this was supposed to be a bit of an easier day after Day 3, but it wasn’t. Day 4 was another upper body strength training cardio routine. But instead of 1 cardio move per group, it was two moves, done twice through. I both loved and hated it. I was panting the entire time, despite having arm moves as a mini rest between the cardio. There is also a yoga burnout after the cardio/strength portion. However, unlike the other burnout rounds, this one was more calm and relaxing. I didn’t feel like Fitness Blender was trying to demolish my muscles at the end.
Favorite Move:When it comes to upper body moves, I love anything to do with triceps. Unfortunately, I’m struggling between dumbbell weight levels right now, so I either have to do 3 reps with super heavy weights then drop to really light weights, or use the light weights but not burn my triceps out. My favorite tricep move was the lying down triceps pullover. Not only because it was lying down (and I love to lay during a workout) but because I stretch my arms overhead with a weight and I can feel a stretch in my tricep as I lower the weight to the ground. The stretch tells me I am working the muscle.
Hardest Move: If you are a frequent reader of my fitness reviews, you know that I loathe lunges. They are hard on my knees, and I always struggle to balance my weight between both legs. So, I really disliked the 3-2-1 lunge. You start off in the top of a lunge postion, then drop in three levels down to a full lunge. It doesn’t stop there, you then (to do the hardest version) have to jump and switch legs to the other side to repeat. It was the jump between lunges that I found most difficult. Jumping from the bottom of a full lunge is no easy feat.
Day 5: I started this day thinking, YAY!!!! I am almost done. However, just because it is the last day doesn’t mean Fitness Blender went easy on me. Far from it. They decided to throw in one last round of HIIT, and most of the moves were extremely challenging. Then, we went on to do a strength training round that focused on the butt and thighs, yet again!! My legs started off sore after Day 1 and will end sore after Day 5. That being said, it is very satisfying to complete the full 5 days. There isn’t a burnout round on Day 5, so I devoted all my energy into the HIIT and strength potions.
Favorite Move:I enjoy a good dead lift. It is the move that I can feel my hamstrings and butt working the most, which is why I like to do it. This routine had 4 (that is right, 4!) variations on the deadlift. There was; single leg, toes pointed in, toes pointed out, and finally a traditional dead lift just to really finish the hamstrings off. I loved every rep of it!
Hardest Move:Surprise, surprise, the hardest move for me was a lunge. This time it was a reverse lunge (holding weights) and doing a knee as you pull up from the lunge. Lifting the knee wasn’t hard, but pushing myself up, using mostly one leg sure was. I felt my quads shaking as I finished the last round of these lunges.
Overall, I loved this 5-day routine. In fact, I enjoyed doing it so much that I did it in a two-week period! Everyday provided me with something different and there was almost always a move I hadn’t done before. I also liked that because there were two trainers, they demonstrated an easy and hard version of each move. That meant on the days I was super tired, I could downgrade in difficulty but still get a workout. I swear I could feel a physical difference in how my clothes fit after I did the first round of this 5-day challenge. My leggings were looser, and my boots were looser on my calves. In round two, I could feel that for the cardio/HIIT portions, I had more endurance. Cardio has always been a problem area for me, because I hate feeling out of breath. But, with Fitness Blender I have really made improvements! If you have the time to devote roughly an hour a day to working out, and you are looking for a challenge, try this routine! Was it better than just picking random free routines off Youtube, did you hate that there was so much structure? Let me know!!