Hey there! It’s time for another Fitness Friday. Since I briefly mentioned Fitness Blender in my January Review post, I figured I should actually write about them in more depth just to share the experience with all of you.
Now, I will admit that I’m really not that busy at the moment but I am definitely the type who prefers working out hard for 30 minutes instead of pushing through an hour so the setup of Fitness Blender’s 5 Day Challenge for Busy People is right up my alley. Last week I decided to ditch my regular workout plan and try this five day challenge.
Before I jump right into talking about my experience with this challenge, I want to share a little love for Fitness Blender in general. I started trying out Kelli and Daniel’s videos early in the new year to try and mix up my workout routine and to really try and establish a good at home workout atmosphere. I knew I wasn’t going back to the gym and I knew it would still be a couple months before the gym in my building opened so I needed something I was going to stick with.
Over a month in and Fitness Blender is what I use for 90% of my workouts. I do hope to eventually explore some other avenues but for now I’m sticking with it. They have so many different videos (we’re talking hundreds of free workouts) and it’s so convenient and easy to find one that fits what you are looking for on any given day. There are only two or three videos I’ve actually repeated since starting their routines and that’s because I genuinely enjoy trying different workouts with them every time. Though right now I am regretting the 1 hour pilates workout I tried yesterday.
The 5 day challenge is one I stumbled upon while looking through their videos. Overall, I enjoyed the challenge but I don’t think I got as much out of it as I could have because I don’t have heavy enough weights. My 4 pound weights are good for a lot of different moves but they definitely don’t challenge my upper body strength on all exercises. This month I’ll probably need to invest in eights or tens just to challenge myself more. However, if you do have a good set of dumbbells to work with then this is definitely a 5 day routine I would recommend.
I agree with Kelli on this one: this was the hardest day of the challenge. I pride myself in having some pretty strong legs, even if my thighs are a lot bigger than I’d like them to be, and this day really humbled me with the amount of squatting and lunging that was involved.
I managed to challenge myself this day quite a bit by following Kelli on the advanced mods but there were definitely times where I needed to slow down and follow Daniel. But that is one of the great things about this challenge: there are options! If you need low impact there are low impact modifications that take out the jumping and the extra pressure on the body. I can definitely see how doing this challenge regularly could be good for tracking progress, especially for beginners like myself, because you’ll be able to move through the beginner and intermediate modifications to the advanced ones.
The cool down stretch was really good for this one and as per usual, these two are really good about acknowledging that flexibility is different for everyone and they really encourage you not to push yourself too hard in your stretching. This is really important because if you overstretch your muscles you’re putting yourself at risk for injury!
This day really fell short for me but I don’t think it was Kelli and Daniel’s fault at all. As I previously mentioned, my weights weren’t exactly challenging enough for me in a lot of the upper body portions of the challenge and this one heavily focused on upper body.
That being said, the cardio on this one was pretty challenging. I did a mix of the beginner and the advanced but I think had I been lifting the right weights I would have been too spent to do a lot of the advanced moves.
This day reminded me of me love/hate relationship with fly jacks which I have only just been introduced to through Fitness Blender. The love part is because I like the stretch out in the shoulders and chest you get that is different from a traditional jumping jack, while the hate part is how hard my heart ends up pumping after these and how short of breath I feel. Definitely need to work on my cardio and endurance!
Day 2 was definitely my least favourite of the challenge because I didn’t feel that worked out but I’d be interested to see if that changed with a higher weight.
I will admit, after feeling down about day two I almost decided to quite the challenge and go with something else but I am happy that I didn’t. Day 3 was a mix of HIIT and core strength exercises and it definitely targetted some of my weak spots.
First off: thank the lord for modified burpees! Burpees are something I have always had to really struggle through and while I did a couple of the regular ones I am really thankful for the low impact modification that Kelli demonstrates in this video. I still got my heart rate up and felt everything shaking in my core but the pressure on my joints wasn’t so bad.
I like the AB AB format of this day because it really gives you the chance to work on your form. I like the thought of the Fitness Blender workouts for people who get bored easily where they don’t repeat exercises but I think when you’re starting out it’s a good thing to try and repeat exercises in order to get a better understanding of them. I definitely felt like my second rounds of each exercise were more controlled, even if I was a little more tired.
In terms of core I found that this one wasn’t actually too bad. I have tried some of Fitness Blender’s more intense core workouts and have had to take a lot more breaks than I did in this video. I still found myself resting for 3 or 4 seconds on some of the moves before getting back into them but I was able to manage through most. Definitely a good day!
This day really made me love this challenge because I was able to see how intelligently Kelli an Daniel put this challenge together. The first three days were hard and you really had covered your full body by the end of them so day four being a strength and yoga blend. This day allowed for a bit more upper body training but for the most part it focused on stretching out your muscles and giving time to recover.
I felt refreshed and motivated after this day, especially after seeing progress in my yoga positions. I have never really been a yoga fan, partially because I lack balance and flexibility, but also because I’m more motivated by high intensity workouts and yoga just doesn’t cut it for me. I did enjoy the use of yoga here and I’m slowly but surely getting into using more yoga moves in my cool down stretches thanks to Fitness Blender.
Oh day five, Kelli and Daniel warned that this would be a rough one and they weren’t kidding. It was back to lower body for this video and this time I really felt pushed to the max. By the end of this day my legs were shaking and I was just about ready to go curl up in bed for a few hours. This was definitely the day I sweat the most and went through the most water. Day one was more of a challenge because I wasn’t familiar with a lot of the moves but this day definitely still burnt.
All that being said: this was my favourite day because of how hard it made me work.
I definitely think I’ll end up doing this challenge again in the future, maybe even try to go through it once a month to see how I progress and grow. Definitely going to need to pick up those heavier weights first.
Some other insights
- This challenge was a great butt and thigh workout!
- Cool down stretches have improved my flexibility: I’ve been getting deeper and deeper into that downward dog.
- 30 minutes felt like nothing: most of these workouts sped by.
- I broke a sweat every day, even on day 2 when I didn’t feel I was working hard enough.
- I didn’t end up being as sore as Kelli and Daniel said I would after each day so I think next time through I’ll need to push myself harder.
What kind of workouts are you doing right now? Are you participating in any challenges or programs? I’m always looking for new programs to try out and review so feel free to share!