Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Review of Leslie Sansone 5 Really Big Miles DVD

I'm fortunate that my local library has several Leslie Sansone workout videos, either at my local branch or elsewhere in Ohio where I can take advantage of an inter-library loan.  The second video that I borrowed in her Walk at Home series was Walk Slim: 5 Really Big Miles.

This DVD proved to be a little more challenging for me than the first one I reviewed the other day.  None of the movements are difficult, but after the five minute warmup period, it picks up the pace with the first mile, and each of the four subsequent miles.  Leslie adds a toning band into the routine to work the arms in mile two (included with the original video), but I just did the arm movements without the band and it was fine; my arms did get a workout.

Those of you who are in good shape already will probably really enjoy this workout session.  I am old and overweight, and trying to move my feet fast enough to keep up with this routine puts me at risk for tripping over myself, so I didn't even try after the first few minutes.  The first mile after the warmup is said to be a 4 mph pace (15 minute mile) and while I can manage that and more in a forward motion on the road or treadmill, adding footwork into the mix was too much for me as she got into faster routines.  Mile 3 steps it up to a 12 minute mile pace (5 mph) and I did keep moving through all of it, but it was not as much fun since I couldn't follow the beat, and I obviously didn't get the workout that this session intended.

Leslie includes a nice cool down period after the five miles, with a couple of minutes of stretching to end the workout session.

One thing I've noticed in all of her videos is that Ms Sansone uses real people as her 'walkers'.  Men and women, young and old, slender and the more voluptuous perform the routines with her, showing that it doesn't matter where you are on your walk towards fitness, you can do it, even if you have to slow down or go with a modified movement.

Is it a fun video?  Yes!  Just too much for me at this stage of my life after having been lax for so long.  I won't be buying this one, but if you want a brisk workout that increases in speed and intensity, this could be just the thing for you.

You can find Leslie Sansone's 5 Really Big Miles on both amazon.com and eBay.

~ Marie Anne

Monday, August 7, 2017

I Passed the First Test!

I was up and out of bed shortly after 5am this morning, and went about my regular routine - morning ablutions, cup of tea and quick breakfast while I caught up on online stuff, wrote another blog post and published it, mailed a package from an eBay sale over the weekend. Pretty normal morning around here.

I hadn't done any dedicated stepping yet, but as I walked back from the mailbox at 10:30am, I was curious to see what my step count was so far today, so reached down to check my Fitbit One - only to realize that it wasn't on the bottom of my shorts where I was sure that I'd clipped it.

Uh oh ... apparently I had taken off the wrist band when I washed my face and hands this morning, then left it on the bathroom vanity.  MA has only 211 steps right now, when I normally have at least a couple thousand by this time of day.  Oops.

© Marie Anne St. Jean

So what was this test that I passed?  I didn't freak out or say bad words when I found that my morning steps were 'wasted' - go me!  I just clipped my tracker in place and went about my business (and then of course came here to brag about it).  Read this to see why this is such a huge deal for me!

There's hope for this ol' gal yet.

~ Marie Anne

Review of Leslie Sansone Video: Mix & Match Walk Blasters

© Marie Anne St. Jean
As mentioned in a previous post, I've decided to add some video workouts to my routine instead of just running.  Since Leslie Sansone is the queen of walking videos and she has loads of them to choose from, I figured that would be a good place to start.  I picked up two of her DVDS last week, one being Just Walk: Mix & Match Walk Blasters, which I'll share my opinion of here.

Mix & Match Walk Blasters was released in 2014 and is a series of 10 different mini walks, starting off with a very slow and simple routine, with a slight increase in pace or type of movement in the subsequent sessions.  Since I'm just starting out and old, overweight, and not nearly as coordinated as I was in decades past, I was concerned that I would be able to keep up, but my fears were unfounded.  Breaking this down into 10 sessions allows you to fit in a short workout during most any part of your day.

The first 10 minute session - Light Walk - was the perfect routine to be used as a warmup before any workout, and was just basic walking movements that anyone should be able to follow without getting winded.  Brisk & Steady followed that, and while the pace was increased slightly, I didn't have any trouble keeping up.  All of the 10 sessions were comprised of the same basic steps, with slight variations in speed and/or intensity, with some adding arm movements or a little trunk-twisting to work more than just your legs in an aerobic activity.  There is no equipment necessary to do this workout from beginning to end, just a decent pair of shoes, comfortable clothes, and a small area in front of your TV.

The Mix & Match Mini Walks are broken down into these 10 minute sessions:

Light Walk
Brisk & Steady
Interval Walk
Short & Sweaty
Walk, Kick & Jab
Dance Walk
Tummy Trimmer
Lower Body Blast
Upper Body Blast
Flexibility Walk

Don't let the names of the sessions intimidate you!  Leslie's choreography is easy to follow since she uses the same basic steps throughout, yet she changes from one step movement to another often enough to not be boring.  She might start off with a single side step, then move to the double, further transitioning to a grape vine.  If you find that you can't do a particular step, it's easy to step in place or perform another movement until you get in sync with her again. Getting back on track is easy since you already know the steps, and I never found myself getting frustrated or feeling lost, even though this was the first exercise video I'd tried in decades.

I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to get through this whole video with little trouble, changing to a walk only a few times when certain areas of my body were slightly overtaxed and needed to be stretched in a different direction for a bit.  It wasn't that the exercises were hard, but I'm overweight and have certain muscles that haven't been used in a long time.  Each time I did some of those movements, it became easier, and I'm confident that the next time I do this video, I'll match her step for step.

I found Ms Sansone's voice to be pleasant, and both her verbal and physical instructions easy to follow.  She's not pushy, but more like a friend coaxing you along, but not obnoxious at all - no military drill instructors here!

All in all, I liked this Mix & Match DVD enough that it's going on my short list to purchase as soon as I return this one to my library.

~ Marie Anne

NOTE:  While this video should be able to be completed by even those who are out of shape, always consult with your health care professional before starting any exercise program.

You can find Just Walk: Mix & Match Walk Blasters on both eBay and amazon.com.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Diet and Fitness Craze ... or Just Plain Crazy?

Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I am an all-or-nothing kinda gal.  I will latch on to a new idea or behavior and go full steam ahead with it, until I ultimately lose interest entirely, or burn out.  Be it diet, fitness, writing, crocheting, quilting, a business venture such as my eBay business ... I tend to be very focused on that one thing to the exclusion of just about everything else in my life, and we all how how well that works out.  It doesn't.

I've tried various low-carb and other sensible eating programs (including Whole30) over the years.  They worked, and I lost a lot of weight, with almost no effort.  But I'm a diagnosed carb addict (yes, it's a real thing), and once you let any amount of carbs back in, whamo - the weight comes back, along with the cravings, because the addiction is always there.

I started running again a couple of years ago, (really just a walking pace for most of you, but a running gait), and once I got going, I was up to running a minimum of 3-6 miles a day, almost every day.  I even had aspirations to work up to a half marathon, as slow as I might be.  Nothing wrong with that, right?  Well there is if you're competing with yourself and become obsessed with time, distance, splits, etc.  I would neglect taking the dogs out for any exercise, or when I did, I would rush to adjust the apps when I got home to reflect how fast/far we actually went, because all their sniffing and taking care of business would cause my Garmin watch to stop and start, resulting in inaccurate data.  Again with the obsession.  Who cares about all that?  No one sees it but me!

It wasn't a lot of fun. And I'm now 60 years old, have osteoporosis with high risk of fracture, crazy high cholesterol, and overweight.  Not a good combination to be doing any distance running, especially since I usually go alone in remote areas.  I'm also pre-diabetic, but my blood pressure is good, and my heart is healthy, but I don't think I have to run miles a day to keep it that way.

I had to stop running early this year because of severe sleep deprivation, and it's taken until last month to decide it was time to get back into it.  I had gained all my weight back, and was eating way too much, and all the wrong things, even binging on occasion.  I started to run again a couple of weeks ago - not very far, but wanted to work back up to getting those 10k distances in.  I also decided to try some Leslie Sansone walking/workout DVDs that I borrowed from the library, just to break things up a little.  Well in typical MA fashion, I went out for a short run the next morning, then proceeded to do several 20-30 minute workouts from the DVDs throughout the rest of the day, then repeated the behavior the next day.   Do you see where this was going?  I was obsessing again!

My Three Amigos - Molly, Jethro, Phoebe
© Marie Anne St. Jean
I had a good talk with myself and said no more.  To prove I could do it, I took each of the three dogs out for a walk twice the last few days, allowing them to set the pace and do what dogs do, and just be dogs.  And I liked it.   It didn’t seem like a chore, or that they were holding me back from something I wanted to do.  I love these critters to pieces, but I hadn’t been being fair to them while I was focusing on what MA wanted to do.

So, my new goal is to not really have a goal.  I’ll be practicing moderation, or at least trying to.  I’ve done well the last week or so on a nutritional level, little to no junk food and NO binging,  but not counting carbs either. I plan on running a mile or two several times a week, if I feel like it.  I’ll also still be doing the other workout videos because I did enjoy them, and I’ll be finding others and reviewing them here on this blog also. But no more marathons with several sessions a day, especially on a day I've already run.

Will I pledge to never allow a cookie or potato chip to pass my lips again?  Nope.  And if I’m feeling froggy, I might hit the road for a 5K or 10K on occasion, but those distances will be the exception rather than the rule.  And of course if a friend wants to hit the trail for a gab session, I’m all for it.  Give me two minutes to grab my shoes and I’m there!

I do need to lose weight.  I do need to make better food choices.  I do need fresh air and exercise.  But while I need all three of those things to maintain a healthy mind and body, obsessing about any of it is not healthy.

And that's the end goal, right?

~ Marie Anne

Friday, August 4, 2017

New Name ... Whatdya Think?

© Marie Anne St. Jean
After much deliberation over renaming this blog, I decided to leave the word 'fit' in there, since nutrition, exercise, and most anything else I write about will be about fitness in one form or another.  It also keeps the name similar to what it was before, just switching the decade and exchanging 'staying' for 'getting'.  It's not totally alliterative (the old one wasn't either), but I think it's a good 'fit'.

So, drumroll please ...   the new name is "Staying Fit in My 60s".  What do you think?

The main blogger url will be the same since I don't want to create a whole new blog, and I'll be keeping my custom domain name of fitinmyfifties.com until it expires this fall, and then purchase a new one that fits this new decade of my life.

I'm glad to have the blog name situation put to bed ... now to get down to the business of writing and posting something worth reading!

~ Marie Anne

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Walking and Workout Videos ... What Works for You?

In my quest to get back in shape and lose some weight (again), I've decided to try some workout videos.  I've watched a couple of them here and there in years past, but I never stuck with any of them because they were either too fast or required footwork that was too fancy for me to keep up with and I'd end up tripping over my own feet.  I'm one who focuses on running more than anything, so the thought of doing other types of workouts in a gym or similar setting never appealed to me.  Still, I know that working other areas of the body is important to overall fitness, and of course does help with running too ... strengthening core and all that.

Enter Leslie Sansone.

My first association with Leslie was back in the early 90s.  She had cassette tapes that you could play in your Walkman or similar device and walk to the beat, with a couple of different cadences available. You'd hear her talk as well as the beat of the music and walk at that pace for a mile.  I believe the other side of the tape was just the beat without her voice.  I can still hear that beat ... tap, tap, tap of the drumstick on the wood block.  It was pretty popular concept back in the day ... and yes, I'm dating myself!

A friend has a couple of her walking DVDs and swears by them, and she put the bug in my ear about looking into them again.  Since she's been around for decades, Leslie Sansone has created numerous walking/fitness programs and has a huge following.  As of this week, I guess you count me as one of them.

I poked around on eBay and amazon to see what was out there, and was surprised at the number of Leslie Sansome walking DVDs that are available.  Being the cheap person that I am, I wasn't keen on buying a bunch of videos only to find that they weren't a good fit for me.  I checked with my local library system and they have several available, either at my branch or other branches that will do an interlibrary loan, so I picked up two the other day, and have two more that are in transit.  I might or might not have gone just a wee-bit overboard and completed both DVDs in two days, and also did one that I found on YouTube ... no trouble getting my Fitbit steps in this week!

So ... I'm sold.  I think Leslie will be my go-to gal for workouts other than running, and I'm going to try these other two videos and decide which of them I like best before committing to purchasing.  I noticed there are some available  through Amazon Prime Video, so I might go that route too and just stream them rather than mess with an actual disc that I have to insert into my DVD player, deal with another remote, etc.  She also has intro versions on her YouTube channel, so I can check those out too.

I'll be reviewing the videos that I try in upcoming blog posts, but in the meantime, I'd be interested in knowing if you're a fan of any particular Leslie Sansone's walking/workout videos, and what you did/did not like about any that you've tried.  Let me know in the comments, please!

~ Marie Anne

New Name to Start a New Decade?

© Marie Anne St. Jean
I know I haven't kept up with this blog as I should, only posting here and there in fits and starts, but I'm thinking about making the effort again.  But ...

Since I celebrated my 60th birthday in July, Gettin' Fit in My Fifties no longer fits!   I can't change the original url on blogger unless I start a whole new blog and I don't want to do that, but I can change the name that you see at the top of the page.  But to what?

I plan on continuing to share what I'm up to in the world of fitness, healthy eating and workout/fitness tips, product reviews of anything fitness related, etc.  I do, however, want it to still reflect who MA is today, and that would be a 60-year-old mémé who is still struggling to stay fit and healthy!

So ... who should I be?  I'm open to suggestions!  I lean towards alliteration, and the only thing I can come up with before breakfast is Stepping Into My Sixties (or 60s).

Help me out here ... toss some ideas in the comments!

~  Marie Anne