Sometimes, I look for other ways of
torturing myself pushing my body to the limit. Because why not?
A friend of mine recommended that I look at Neila Rey‘s site. I found it instantly appealing because 1) it lays out exercises in an easy-to-understand visual format, 2) the exercises are manageable to do in short chunks of time, and 3) they mostly involve using one’s body weight. As I am lazy and cheap, doing a quick regimen that didn’t involve having to go to the gym or buying equipment was very tempting. I had to try it. I opted for the 30 Days of Change program to get myself re-acquainted with working out again.
The program involves 30 straight days of doing a combination of cardio and strength exercises, which are mixed up throughout the program so that you aren’t doing the same thing twice in a row. There are three different levels of workouts, which Neila calls “normal, hard, and freakin’ murder.” I started out on Level 1.
The first four days seemed easy to me– almost too easy. I figured that if it wasn’t a challenge, then I should level up. Big mistake. There is a significant difference between “normal” and “hard,” so when I attempted Day 5 at Level 2, I nearly lost it. The plank jacks and duck walks were so hard for me, that I admit I started crying during the last couple sets. From then on, I knocked back to Level 1 for the rest of the program.
I did a few modifications on some of the workouts– I swapped some of the running exercises for biking, and if I thought a particular day wasn’t challenging enough, rather than going up to the next level, I shortened the recovery time between sets instead. I did end up doing some running by Day 8, when I discovered that it was actually not too terrible.*
Somewhere past the halfway mark, I felt like I was getting stronger. I needed less time to recover, doing some of the cardio exercises didn’t leave me a total mess, and some exercises (like push-ups?!) actually got easier to do.
There is also a recommended menu, and I confess I didn’t follow it because I got sick during the program (not related to working out), and didn’t feel like I could do that change then. This may account for why I don’t see a dramatic change in my weight or my appearance. But I do feel really good– like I’m comfortable in my own body again, which I haven’t felt in a while. And more important, I feel like working out every day is easily achievable. I wake up a little earlier in the morning to exercise before I leave for work. It doesn’t take too much time out of my schedule, and I feel energized for the rest of the day. It helps to combat against the morning blues I had been feeling lately.
Even though I’m done this program, I want to keep exercising. My friend and I will be embarking on the 30 Days of High Intensity Interval Training (gulp!), and you can follow my progress on Twitter.
*I stopped running a long time ago because I kept getting injured. I do wonder whether I should come back to it, at least in a limited capacity as part of cross-training, because I think I’m starting to get repetitive strain in certain parts of my body from being on the bike every day.