Monday, April 27, 2015

Focus T25: End of Week 6 (Or Week 1 Again)

Well, guys, I sucked this week, I really did. I had like no energy, was craving sugar, was extremely tired, and bloated up. Women may guess what my problem was based on those symptoms. If you guessed "PMS", congratulations! You are correct! I figured it out today after a week of wondering why the heck I was craving chocolate, pizza, and burritos so badly. I am one of those unfortunate people who start early (lasts 10 days), and so I somehow manage to be taken by surprise every month when either my boyfriend or myself looks at a calendar and puts two-and-two together.

At any rate, I sucked this week because of that. I started Day 1 of Beta and gaped at how fast everyone on the video - even the modifier - was moving. I floundered my way through the video and went into Day 2 with some trepidation. As the video started playing, I stood there in silent shock. It looked like everyone in the video was on fast-forward. They were all moving so quickly that for a few moments I was absolutely convinced that I had accidentally sped-up the DVD. Nope. Nope. It was just them, being fit as shit.

So I stopped and thought. I finished Month 1, Alpha, with only a few "Nailed It!" boxes under my belt. Was I really doing the smart thing by jumping straight into Beta, which was obviously an entirely different tier of fitness, when I still hadn't mastered Alpha? Would I discourage myself by my inability to follow along and potentially injure my already messed-up tendons?

I came to a natural conclusion and decided to re-do Alpha before moving into Beta. Consequently, I have decided to push myself even harder on this go-round. While it was difficult this past week, due to hormonal changes, I worked so hard that on the last, double day I was not even able to do the second workout. I had so exhausted myself that I lay spread-eagle on the ground after finishing the first video. I was on the floor for such a long time that my boyfriend came out looking for me, concerned for my well-being.

Even so, one or two good days does not make up for four bad ones, so I was not surprised to see that my weight had gone up slightly this week. Still a bummer, though!

End of Month 1, T25 Week 5, 04/18/15:
Weight: 177.6 lbs
BFP: 38.7%
Arm: 11.5"
Thigh: 21" 
Waist: 32"

Starting Month 2, T25 Week 1A, 4/27/15:
Weight: 178.8 lbs
BFP: 39%
Arm: 11"
Thigh: 21" 
Waist: 33"

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Focus T25: End of Week 5

My boyfriend told me after measuring myself at the end of week 5 that I am thinner now than I was when we met back in 2013. That means a lot to me. This program is hard, yes, but it is changing my body. I feel as though I'm carving my figure out of the body I used to have. My pants and shirts are looser and I am starting to comfortable in my own body.

Yesterday, end of week 5, I finished my first 30 days of Focus T25. I stuck with it and never skipped a day. I admit, unequivocally, that even when finishing the month I was still unable to fully do the non-modified exercises. Tendon damage aside, the workouts are still just as hard now as they were when I began; this didn't make sense to me at first, since I've lost weight and have been exercising the whole month. One would think that would mean that the workouts would be getting easier, but they haven't been. 

Then my boyfriend pointed out that this experience is typical, because these programs are designed to ramp up in difficulty as you proceed through them. 

Oh, right. Duh. Kinda sorta forgot that. Having that pointed out to me made me feel slightly better than I had when I was berating myself. 

I can't wait to continue with the program. Since January I have gone from almost 200 lbs (I think I was 198) to what I am today - 177.6 lbs. That over 20 lbs. Not a short time frame to lose only 20 or so pounds, but I stopped in the middle for a while and lost my motivation for a few months, so for me it is pretty significant. Since starting the program, I went from 184 lbs to 177.6 in a month - sure, only 6.4 lbs in a month, but I started this program after I had lost all of my water weight just changing my diet, so that means I have lost 6.4 lbs of straight-up fat. And I'm going to keep going!

I admit frankly that I can't wait for Tuesday so that I can start Month Two. Some new workouts will be introduced and I'm excited to continue my weight loss journey. 

Starting Month 1, 03/15/15:
Weight: 184 lbs
BFP: 41%
Arm: 13"
Thigh: 23.5" 
Waist: 37"

End of Month 1, T25 Week 5, 04/18/15:
Weight: 177.6 lbs
BFP: 38.7%
Arm: 11.5"
Thigh: 21" 
Waist: 32"

Change, T25 Week 1 - 5:
Weight: -6.4 lbs
BFP: -2.3%
Arm: -1.5"
Thigh: -2.5"
Waist: -5"

Saturday, April 18, 2015

2 Years Later Update: Beauty Blender Dupe Review - Bundle Monster

My original review on the Bundle Monster dupes for the Beauty Blender is my most popular blog post. I thought perhaps people might be interested in how they have held up and how I feel about them two (2) years later!

Original video: "Beauty Blender Dupe: Bundle Monster Sponges"

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Focus T25: End of Week 4

End of week 4! Kind of disappointing, but I can't say I didn't expect it. I moved from PMS into full on period this week, and I was so exhausted that I really could not give my best effort to this program. I caved and had my favorite Easter candy - Cadbury Creme Eggs. Then, a short while after getting all of that Easter candy, I couldn't even finish the scheduled workout. I felt so bad about it that I threw out the rest of the candy in penitence and redoubled my workout efforts.

I seem to be retaining a lot of water this weekend, so my measurements were up a little bit, but at least my weight and body fat percentage (BFP) went down a tad. This week, I suppose, sort of cancelled itself out. At least my weight went down somewhat. And I will say that, when my monthly ended, I got all of my energy back and I went ham on my double workout day and really nailed it. I felt great. I will say, though, that the schedule had Ab Intervals and Speed 1.0 for the double, and I only did Speed 1.0, since I don't feel Ab Intervals does anything for me. I did my own ab workout, mixed with some cardio, and arm weights, for longer than the requisite 25 minutes of "ab" work, and I felt better after that than I do with Ab Intervals.

AND this is the first time in YEARS that I have been under 180 lbs!!!! I finally broke the wall! I'm so frigging excited about this - 180 has been a nightmare for me to get through and it is a big milestone for me to get there. I started my weight loss journey (before T25) at 192 lbs and now I'm down to 179, and it isn't just water weight I have lost - it's fat. So I'm pretty stoked. I still have 44 lbs to go before I hit my body's ideal weight, but I refuse to become discouraged.

End of T25 Week 3, 04/05/15:
Weight: 180.4 lbs
BFP: 39.4%
Arm: 11.5%
Thigh: 21"
Waist: 32"

End of T25 Week 4, 04/12/15:
Weight: 179 lbs (!!)
BFP: 39.1%
Arm: 11.5"
Thigh: 23" 
Waist: 33" 

Now, since this is the first warm and sunny day in a long time, I'm going to slather myself in sunscreen and head outside to work on washing/waxing my car to clean off all of the winter grime. Adieu!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Mascara Round-Up Review!

Mascara round-up review!

Includes E.L.F., Benefit Roller Lash, Maybelline The Falsies, Covergirl Full Lash Bloom, Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme, and Max Factor 2000 Calorie Volume!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Focus T25: End of Week 3

Part of me can't believe that I have only completed three weeks of T25, as at this point it kind of feels like I've been doing this forever. I am posting a little later this week because I needed to change my workout schedule again. I had originally begun doing this program Sunday - Thursday, but I was having problems getting the double workout finished on Thursday. I get up at 0500 to workout every day, but I live so far from work that I only have time to get one of the 30 minute workouts finished, so I would have to do the double workout after work Thursday and have time to do nothing else that day. I didn't like that. So I scooted my schedule forward two days, Tuesday - Saturday, so that Saturday was my double workout day and I could take my time.

My back still hurt like crazy this week, but I pushed through it. I also pushed through some monthly pain that I encountered, par for the course. This is the first month in many months that I was actually able to push through that kind of pain and stick with an exercise program, which makes me happy and shows me that I am making progress with my personal fitness.

This was also the week I actually checked off the "Nailed It!" box on my daily workout for the first time. Granted, it was only one day, and the rest of the days I still hit the "Barely Made It" boxes, especially since I put in so much extra effort on the Nailed It! day and exhausted myself for the rest of the week, but - again - progress.

Also showing progress is the scale! I will admit that I gave in to PMS this week and had some donuts, which probably almost definitely kept me from losing more than I did. On two different days. I am shamed, and my boyfriend looked at me accusingly when he saw the Dunkin Donuts bags, but I won't deny that it was like heaven in my mouth eating those Boston Cremes. 

(Weeps quietly)

Last week, ending T25 Week 2, 3/28/15:
Weight: 184.0 lbs 
BFP: 41%
Arm: 11.5"
Thigh: 22"
Waist: 32.5"

This week, ending T25 Week 3, 4/05/15:
Weight: 180.4 lbs
BFP: 39.4%
Arm: 11.5"
Thigh: 21"
Waist: 32"

Three weeks into the program, I think I can safely say what I find lacking overall so far. I think my measurements week to week demonstrate it quite clearly: There is little to no change in my arms, which doesn't surprise me, because T25 does not really have a focus on arm work. I'm thinking about throwing in some weights on one of my days off just for the arms to add some more tone and increase my muscle, which should increase my fat burn.

I also do not think that there is enough ab work. Shaun T always gets on you to lift your knees above your waist, which works your lower abs, and some of the kickboxing moves he throws in do work on twisting your waistline, but it really isn't enough. Even the Ab Intervals workout, while effective, focuses almost entirely on V-sits and leg lifts, and I can tell that my core is incredibly weak right now. 

Usually my core is quite strong (even if it is/was cushioned by a layer of pudge) and I can hammer out ab workouts like no one's business. Doing this program, while I am losing inches off of my waistline, I can tell my core is incredibly sub-par. The rest of me is starting to really tone, and the muscles feel firm when I press on them, but my abs are just not getting there. I know belly fat is the last to work off on the body, but I think part of this is that the program just isn't offering enough muscle development for the core. Therefore, in addition to doing some arm weights, I'm going to do a little ab work on my days off, as well, just to make sure that I'm not seriously neglecting that area.

That's all for me this week. Except that I scored a barely-used ViewSonic 22" LED monitor off of Craigslist for $45! How freaking awesome is that! I'm a Craigslist junkie and I'm always combing it for good deals. I've been meaning to actually get a monitor for a while (I have my PC hooked up to my TV), but I just can't afford one at a "new" price. I found this one posted by some guy who had used it for a Mac Mini for a few months and then put it in his basement when he got an iMac. Score! Pretty stoked about it. It's nice being able to work on my computer without having to squint at the screen.

Anyhoo, have a good week, guys! Moving into week 4 for me.