I must've been a good girl in 2010 because Santa (a.k.a, Mom), got me a friggin' iPad for Christmas. I won't go into details about how great I think it is and how much [more] of an Apple geek I've become in the last week, but I do have to point out pretty much the best [FREE] app of all time: Nike Women's Nike Training Club (NTC).
I came across the app in a Lifehacker post and downloaded it for kicks because it was free. Then, I actually started using it. So. Damn. Awesome.
(NOTE: If you don't use mobile apps, you can still view some of the exercise video clips on Nike Women's YouTube Channel. You could just as easily create your own custom routine, using those videos as a guide. Each move lasts 1 or 2 minutes and there are a few recovery breaks mixed in.)
It's basically loaded with dozens of total body workouts, with different options for beginner, intermediate and advanced users. There are photos & video demos to show you how to perform the moves, but you essentially do the workout on your own; you don't follow along to an instructor the whole time, like you would with a standard workout DVD. There is a woman's voice to give you a few verbal cues and advice, but it's all you, baby. Oh, there's a timer on the screen too so you can decide whether or not you can bust out 10 more seconds of squat jumps.
And the best part? The workouts are effective! I actually started with some of the intermediate routines before jumping into advanced and I'm glad I did- the intermediate routines are pretty damn tough! The moves presented in each workout depend on which "goal" you choose:
Get Lean is mostly cardio (lots of plyometrics), but also includes some resistance and ab training. Get Toned still includes some cardio, but focuses more on resistance with weights, abs and balance. I've yet to actually try Get Strong, but I know that it focuses primarily on weight lifting. Get Focused just allows you to focus on certain areas with shorter workouts.
I wasn't sure how challenging the workouts would be, but it wasn't long before I found out. I was huffing, puffing, dripping and of course, keeping my heart rate steady. I wore my heart rate monitor because I was curious how hard I was working. I must've been keeping up pretty well; my first 45 minute Get Lean workout burned almost 500 calories. The 45 minute Get Toned workout burned 400. Good to know!
As I browsed the different types of workouts, I noticed that a medicine ball makes a regular appearance. I've thought about buying one before, but usually managed to find substitutions. This time around though, I thought it would be good to have one. I browsed Wal-Mart and wasn't impressed with the selection or the prices. Doug recommended just making my own with a cheap basketball, as per the Internet.
Done! It was pretty easy. I cut a hole in the ball, big enough for a funnel to fit and funneled in some kitty litter. We don't have a cat, but the people who lived in our house before us did and left a huge bag of litter in the garage, making the process even more cost effective! Filled it up until I made it to 10 lbs. and then stuffed in a bunch of plastic grocery bags to make it a bit more full without adding more kitty litter. Taped with duct tape and I was good to go! I tried it this morning and it worked pretty well. Cost of the basketball was only $5, which beats a $20-$30 medicine ball any day.
So those have been my recent adventures in fitness. Technology-aided workouts and homemade equipment. Fun stuff! I hope to have some new DVD reviews in the near future, but there may be a delay on those since I'm currently obsessed with NTC. Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and have a great week!