Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Push lives up to its name

Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) = 6/10. I think I have seen this before, but I can't remember. Maybe I watched it during my 6 month stint at Blockbuster. Oh well. I couldn't pause this movie; it just wasn't an option when I tried. I found that odd.

I finally received my first Push DVD in the mail yesterday. It came with a nifty green resistance band and a piece of paper telling how to use the Push program. You do Workout #1 three times/week for two weeks, Workout #2 3 times/week for the last two weeks, and at least 100 minutes of cardio. There is a 30 minute cardio session on the DVD (I chose Yoga II). Not being one to take the "wait and see" approach, I popped that sucker in my DVD player. The piece of paper in the DVD case told me I had to watch the introduction. After grabbing a cream cheese brownie, I plopped myself down on the couch and watched a five minute introduction telling me that the DVDs were personalized, do cardio, do the workout, the workouts are progressive and build upon themselves, blah blah blah.

Because the DVDs are personalized, some of my experience might not be applicable to you. But here's my background, settings, and first impression.

The settings that I will reveal/might matter:

My Goals:
Check all that apply

Why are you signing up for PUSH personal training?

Weight loss

Tone/Build muscles

To gain muscle mass / strength

To improve cardio health

To improve general physical health

To improve appearance

To get in shape for an event

My doctor told me I need to exercise

To improve flexibility

I can't see my feet

Next is a place that asks you your height, weight, and clothing size so you can track it. I already track my weight on an Excel chart.

It then asks if I'm training for a specific event (e.g., vacation, wedding, etc). I am not, so all of that is blank.

I have it such that eventually extra training on my back will be incorporated, 40 minute workout sessions (the other option is 30), and dance electronic (poor choice) music. There are other options, but these are the most important ones.

My background:

I have been physically active (cardio) since fall 2003. In 2002, I started walking with my dad, but it wasn't until fall 2002 that I began to develop exercise goals. First, it was time on the treadmill. Then, frequency. Gradually, I incorporated goals for myself such as working out X minutes per month/week, etc.

My system today consists of strapping on my Polar heart rate monitor and getting on the treadmill at my apartment gym. I set up the treadmill such that it reads my heart rate and adjusts my incline level to whatever heart rate I chose to set it. Generally, I spend the first 30 minutes in my "heart rate zone" (150-178) and the last 30 minutes in my "fat burning zone" (127-150). There is no rhyme or reason to that method aside from the fact that it sounds like a good plan to me. I have no idea if this is what I'm supposed to be doing, but I am definitely moving 3-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes at a time, usually 45-60.

I feel like I have the cardio part down. I mean, I do not lack movitivation to get myself to the gym. I've been doing it regularly for the last two years now--it's a lifestyle now.

The resistance/weight training portion of working out...I'm pretty much clueless there. Even after going to a direct reliable source for information and exercises left me confused. I have no clue what muscles I want to isolate. There are SO many to choose.

Thus, in the apartment gym that consists mainly of "man muscle" machines, I did what I knew how to do--lateral raises, bicep curls, leg curls, etc. Simple stuff and rarely anything relating to my core. My issue is just a lack of knowledge and program to follow.

What I want most out of Push is something that is comprehensive (works all major muscle groups) and something I am able to follow consistently. That being said...

The DVD itself:

The DVD has your personal profile/settings on it. Meaning, anyone that gets hold of it can see how much you weighted at the time the DVD was issued. I've decided that only people less fit/fatter than me can see my DVD.

When they said personalized, I wasn't exactly sure what they meant. I was hoping trainer Bob might say "Hey Rachel, you're lookin' good today." That doesn't happen. At $25/month ($18.75 with my discount), that's asking too much. Essentially, the DVD is a series of exercise vignettes. An orange screen is briefly shown with the name of the exercise and what primary and secondary (if any) muscles will be worked during the exercise. Then, trainer Bob (the trainer on The Biggest Loser) comes on the screen and does the exercise with you. There is a clock at the bottom right of the screen so you know how much longer you will be tortured with that specific exercise. None of them lasted more than 2.5 minutes and most were less than 90 seconds.

I had my music set on dance electronic. It was loud & annoying in some portions and sometimes made it hard for me to hear trainer Bob. The music sounded a lot like Muzak. Each exercise had different music. Sometimes the music would repeat. Next month, I'm opting for soft rock. If that doesn't solve the loud/soft/annoying problem, certainly the "no music" option will.

I stopped once for 10 minutes midway during the 40 minute session because my chest muscles gave out/I was super tired. I cursed and groaned loudly multiple times throughout some of the exercises (namely the dolphin and push ups). Then again, I did check the third level of fitness out of four levels. That might have been a mistake. Today, many muscle groups are very sore. Especially my upper body where I have the least amount of strength.

Luckily, it will never be as hard as that. With each session, I will get stronger and be able to build up the necessary muscles. Then again, it is a progressive workout system. Maybe it will always be difficult?

I don't think Push is a fabulous magic bullet. Nor do I think I will look like a model for Fitness magazine at the end of the year. It is, however, something I can fit into my lifestyle in the comfort of my own apartment and have the committment to do on a consistent basis. In a year, I will be a stronger version of myself.

At first glance, Push is definitelty a keeper.


Amanda Z said...

I track my weight on an Excel chart, too! And Aaron's. At least, I have since Jan 6th or so.

I'm not really worring about toning specific muscle groups until I uncover them a bit. But I've made excercise a part of my routine now, too. I started with 30 minutes on the treadmill each night, then up to 35 and now 40.
Actually, I HAVE been working my arms every night due to sleeveless bridesmaid dress looming in future.(Insert horrific scream here.)

giselle said...

Wow people track their weight in excel? I guess I should get a scale thingy. Sounds like a depressing activity, but perhaps it helps you choose a healthier lunch/dinner after being depressed in the morning???

Rachel said...

Help me choose a healthier snack? Hah! That's hahaha in Giselle language. :)

What tracking my weight DOES do is tell let me see trends over time. So, I can tell you how much I weigh this mohth/year compared to last.