A Big Announcement

(*Disclaimer- this gets a little heated, for me. It’s way more serious than I intended, but I promise it ends on a positive note. I think I just had more to say about all this than I first realized?)

Alrighty kiddos, today is Fitness Friday! Who else is excited?

I know I did my fair share of teasing you guys yesterday, but it was all in love. The truth is I’ve been thinking a lot about whether or not I really want to publicly share what was inside that little package with you all today after all.

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Let’s get really honest for a second.

Listen- I know that you open yourself up to criticism when you put your life in a blog, or an online journal or what have you. Inevitably, there will be people that make snarky comments, scoff at your so-called “expertise” and who want to make you feel small because they A) don’t want you to succeed for one reason or another, B) are jealous, or C) they really think you’re a dumb dumb dumby and that you have no business giving advice or sharing your story.

Yikes.

I think what I’m sort of getting at here is that I’m not perfect. I still have a lot to learn about a lot of things, and just because I’m on here writing a “healthy living blog” doesn’t mean I think I know everything about health and fitness and nutrition. Far from it.

I didn’t go to school for that. It isn’t the career that I have, or the field that I’m working in.

I’m a fitness enthusiast. I love all things fitness- healthy eating, sweating like crazy, tracking my water consumption and my steps, logging workouts, doing super hard workouts, healthy recipes…

Yeah. I really love all that stuff. A lot.

Does that mean my eating is super clean and my workout record is perfect all the time?

Are you kidding?

Of course not.

I have slip ups. I go through periods of time where I don’t eat as healthy and don’t workout as hard or as often. I hit plateaus. I get discouraged, fall off the wagon and wait  way too long to get back on.

But what I’ve come to realize is that this behavior isn’t unique to me. That probably describes 90% of us.

And I think that’s a good thing.

I’m a fan of the culture surrounding fitness. I like inspiration and motivation and new workout ideas and fit quotes as much as the next person.

But sometimes I think we have problems crossing the line between motivation and degradation.

Arguing endlessly over who’s mode of training is the best, P90x vs. Insanity, yoga pitted against boxing, what foods you should and shouldn’t be eating or whether or not eating 6 small meals a day is better than eating 3 normal meals a day…it’s a little bit insane, if you ask me. I know so many people who don’t even want to start a workout program period because they think they’ll be teased over it, or told it isn’t good enough.

Come on, guys.

I’m going to say something. I know a lot of people will disagree, and that’s okay. I’m going to say it anyway.

Fitness can not be about one upping each other. It has to be about support and encouragement. This isn’t to say a little healthy competition isn’t always a great thing- I happen to love competition. I’m talking about workout shaming and “clean eating”/ macro counting shaming.

You know what I’m talking about.

So what, you’re big into weight lifting or think Crossfit is the only path to health that there is. Someone you meet tells you they really love Zumba, or maybe Jazzercise.

Give that person a high five. They are doing something good for themselves, and they are enjoying it.

Because that’s the key, isn’t it? Yes- I can pretty much promise you that a round of power hour at Title Boxing is going to burn more calories than a 30 minute session on the stationary bike.

But guess what?

POWER HOUR BURNS ZERO CALORIES IF YOU’RE TOO AFRAID TO GO TO IT. 

Any super intense, -my-lungs-are-burning-I’m-swallowing-sweat-I-want-to-die  workout will not work for someone that doesn’t want to go to it. Consistency is so important. Not everyone wants to feel like their lungs are going to explode when they hit the gym- while others do.

The only thing I’ve found to consistently, without fail work time and time again is to find a workout you enjoy doing, that you’re excited about, that you can feel and see positive changes with- and do that.

Just do it. 

You will never see me toting one specific type of exercise or diet program (paleo vs. low carb) on this blog. What works for me might not work for you. Yes, I’ll do/create workouts, take classes and use DVDs and provide my personal take on them- but these are only suggestions.

Let me let you guys in on a little secret– over the past 7 years, I’ve shelled out a lot of money on the fitness industry. I’ve done it all. Sought advice and program consultation from professionals, seen nutritionists, bought a gazillion workout DVDs, tried a ton of “weight loss products” and I have a subscription to every major fitness magazine out there.

(Please, don’t ask me how much money I’ve spent. It’s too painful.)

I’ve spent years trying to follow “the next big fitness trend”. I’ve tried a bunch of different types of healthy eating. I have run the gammit- from running 9 miles a day, nearly starving myself and treating exercise as punishment to actively avoiding physical activity and eating whatever I wanted. neither of these feels good.

Neither does chasing fitness fads.

Struggles with body image, weight loss, weight gain- I’ve done it all, guys.

And I am so tired.

I’m tired of the constant struggle. I’m tired of seeking new ways, new products and new fads. I’m tired of shelling out money left and right because I keep thinking someone else is going to have the answer, just to be patted on the head by the “professionals” and the “experts” because I’m not doing the right type of workout, or I’m not eating what I should as often as I should. Heaven forbid I don’t get the perfect ratio of carbs to fats to protein on any given day.

It’s just exhausting.

So, I made a decision.

I’m ready to be the expert. I’m ready to be my own expert.

The idea of becoming a personal trainer is an idea that first came to me probably 2 years ago. Before then, I had never even considered it. But it kept coming up, and it was something in the back of my mind that I could never quite squish down.

It kept peeping its head out. I kept shoving it back.

There were a bunch of reasons why I did that. Probably the most obvious one being that I didn’t feel ready. Being a personal trainer means being knowledgeable in all aspects of the field, being confident, and telling others exactly what to do so they could accomplish their own fitness goals.

Well, I couldn’t even accomplish mine. How was I supposed to instruct someone else?

Fast forward another year or so and I’m still knee deep in this same struggle. Then finally, one day, I realized that if I keep waiting and keep waiting until I figure all of this stuff out- it’ll be too late, and the dream will either be impossible or simply implausible.

I also decided that if I was going to do this, then I was going to completely, 100% immerse myself in the experience.

I’m not someone that fitness comes easily to. I work hard, really hard at it. I can’t let up. Healthy eating and exercise are married to my life- and it’s something I have to think about all the time.

This was standing in my way.

And then I realized something.

How many of my clients will feel, or will have felt, just like that? How many of them will feel as overwhelmed and discouraged and defeated as I have at times?

I realized that my past experiences, defeated as I may have felt in the midst of them, are what give me a unique perspective.

Not only will studying for my certification get me closer to this career goal, but it will get me closer to where I want to be with my fitness goals.

In the end, I just want to be someone that people trust. Honest. A resource. I don’t want to just know the information, I want to live it and share it. I want to go through it.

In this way, I can experience the training, implement the ideas and go through the process as I’m studying- effectively giving me exactly the experience a training client would have.

This was a really exciting prospect for me.

So, after much debate and lots of prayer, I did it. 

I bit the bullet, and with this really scary and big decision made, I ordered my Certified Personal Training study materials and books two weeks ago through my chosen certification, the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

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I chose this specific cert for a number of reasons, the primary being that it’s one of the oldest certifications in the industry and has some of the strictest standards for passing. It’s one of the hardest exams given, and it focuses largely on athletic training and functional fitness which I find fascinating- and functional training has long been a favorite of mine. (Hello, P90x)

I did my research- 6 months worth– before making the final decision. I’m feeling very pleased with it so far.

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The exam takes around 6-9 months to study, and I’ll have go get re-certified in both CPR and AED before hand, which admittedly I’m not looking forward to.

But I am so excited about everything else.

I don’t have it all figured out. I know it will take me longer than the normal 6-9 months to study because I work a full time job and I’m smack in the middle of planning the most important day of my life. The biggest, and in my opinion, scariest move for me was to make the decision at all, buy the materials and know that this is in my future. It’s coming.

It’s just a matter of when.

My books arrived on Tuesday, and I’ve been jumping out my skin and going back and forth trying to decide if this was something I wanted to share or not. Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be, or if there would be ridicule involved.

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Then I sort of realized- so what. The good always outweighs the bad, and besides that, the point of this blog was never to build myself up and make me feel awesome.

It’s always been to inspire. That was always the hope.

I know this post sort of seems jumbled. It’s half rant/half announcement. But it’s so important to me that I’m honest with you guys. I want to share this journey with you because I know there are others out there who have similar stories to mine, and who might feel as discouraged as I did once.

My one hope is that through all of this- this journey, the blog, my story- I can inspire someone.

And I hope you’ll all join me for the ride! 🙂

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Fitness Friday- 2014 Goals

Hellooo Friday! Long time no see. 😉

I don’t know about the rest of you, but having two weeks in a row with a day off right in the middle of the week has seriously thrown off my momentum. Despite being shorter weeks, they’ve managed to feel exceptionally long? Who knows- maybe I’m just off still.

Alright, I have a semi-informative Fitness Friday post for you guys today, but before we get to that let me back up a little to last night…

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Workout

After dinner last night, I headed to the gym for my workout- as mentioned yesterday, legs (30 minutes) and cardio (55 minutes). For my cardio, I ended up doing a mini circuit on the stairmaster for 25 minutes, then doing 30 minutes on the ARC trainer on the “hill climb” program. Sweaty workout, indeed!

I also learned something pretty snazzy last night.

Ya know yesterday how I explained a little bit about my Fitbit, and how I can sync it to the Myfitnesspal app? Well, it does a pretty cool thing when those two get together.

On the Myfitnesspal, you can add in all of your foods and calories and also all of your exercise. When you add your exercise, it always asks for the type of exercise, the duration (in minutes) and how many calories you burned during the exercise.

If you input your height and weight into the app, it calculates your calorie burn for you (roughly). I personally never use the original number they give- I usually bring it down by 50-100 calories, just to make sure I’m not vastly over estimating how many calories I’m actually burning.

Well, guess what?

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Now, you can input your exercise start time into the Myfitnesspal app as well. It takes your start time and duration, syncs that to your Fitbit band- and the Fitbit band then recalculates your calorie burn to match your height, weight, exertion rate and heart rate to the alotted time/duration given.

There’s a little thing now on MFP where you can see how much the Fitbit band recalculates your calories burned. Last night, it informed me that I actually burned 100 more calories (based on my exertion/HR) than I had calculated for myself.

That’s a pretty great surprise, guys. Pr-etty great.

In other Fitbit news, here are my stats for yesterday:

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Yep, that’s right! I made my 10,000 steps.

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I also drank nearly 40oz more water than it said I needed to.

Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty good about these numbers! Hopefully I can keep it up, because…

Drinking more water and moving more throughout the day are 2 of my “2014 Fit Goals”! 

Yes, that’s right- I am flat out refusing to call them resolutions because, let’s face it, New Year’s Resolutions only last half way through January.

In an effort to really follow through on my goals this year, I pretty much grabbed on to the whole “go big or go home” thing and dug in my nails.

Seriously.

Not only do I have a large amount of “2014 Goals”, but I picked some pretty ambitious ones.

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That list there is only a few of them. Others (like drinking a gallon of water a day, and taking my 10,000 steps daily) aren’t shown here.

So you can see above that not all of my 2014 Fit Goals are necessarilly fitness related- some of them are career oriented, some of them have to do with the wedding, ect.

There’s a reason for that.

Let me fill you guys in on my top 2 tips for winning the annual “Resolutionary” War (you guys like that? I can’t take credit. I saw it somewhere-don’t remember where?):

1) Pick goals that run the gammit– my goals for this next year range from fitness/athleticism, to cooking, to weight loss, to general health, to wedding/marriage, career, ect. They’re all over the place. Not only that, but each goal has it’s own specific time table ranging from 3 months, to 6 months, to a year. Yes- I gave myself a whole year to reach some of these goals. They aren’t “New Year’s Resolutions”, they’re goals for the entire 2014 year.

2) Don’t call them resolutions– I know that I’ve beat this point to death, but the more I say it the more I’m convinced that what you call your goals directly impacts how hard you fight for them.

3) Make a goal pyramid- this is a trick I learned from Jillian Michaels. Now, I know with her you either love, love, love her…or you can’t stand her. I happen to like her. Either way, this is a tip that’s worth implementing because you can use it for all different goal types.

So make a pyramid- if you want to accomplish your goal in 3 months, set it up like this (2 examples):

Ultimate Goal (3 months) – Lose 20lbs./ Apply to Grad School, ect.

Monthly– Lose 6lbs./ send in one application per month

Weekly- Lose 1.5lbs./ complete part of an application every week

This makes it easy to track progress, and breaks a really big goal up into manageable pieces.

So, there you have it. Now that you’ve seen my very lofty goals, feel free to make some lofty goal for yourself!

And it’s okay if they seem daunting. They should be a mix of short term and long term goals- go at them full force knowing that you have a plan of attack, a time table and a means to an end.

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Yeah. That just cracked me up.

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Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful Friday night! Shane and I have a workout date (yeaaaaah plyo!) and then plans to stay in and watch some of Season 6 of The Big Bang Theory.

Do any of you watch? Do you have a favorite character?

I probably would have used to say Sheldon, but I’m 100% on the Amy Farrah Fowler band wagon lately. 🙂

Workout Wednesday

Alright kiddos- did I not promise you a new work today, or what?

After all, it is Workout Wednesday! 🙂 (You like that? It’s a new shtick. I decided I didn’t want to just keep using other blogger’s fun weekly posts.)

OKAY- for this Workout Wednesday, I’ve brought you guys a brand spanking new workout in the form of a Kettlebell circuit!

Woop!

All you need for this workout is a 10-15lb. kettlebell. Or, if you don’t have a kettlebell, most exercises will work with a standard dumbbell. You could even use a water bottle…or a Dictionary for some.

No really. I’ve done that before.

Kettlebell circuit

 

In case there are are any moves up there you’re uncertain about, I’ve provided some links to examples:

Windmills

Around the World

Plank Rows

Figure 8

Sumo High Pull

Give this one a try if you like and let me know what you think!

Oh…and happy first Workout Wednesday. 🙂

I have to head back into work for a little bit tonight, so I’ll catch you guys later!

Challenge Update Wednesday

Happy Hump Day! Half way through the week already, can you believe it?

So here I sit, preparing a little half-way-through-the-first-week Challenge update! Here are my stats so far:

-Try a new exercise every day: 2 for 2

-Extra 5 minutes added to each workout: 2 for 2

-New recipe: 0 for 2 (planned for Friday)

-Eating Clean: 1 for 2 (I did have a small piece of birthday cake last night- it was delicious.)

-Yoga on rest day: 0 (that won’t happen til Sunday)

-One new exercise class: 0 for 2

I actually think I want to update my challenge goals to include adding 1 morning workout a week– I’ll be checking this of my list tomorrow!

How are your Holiday Health Challenge goals going? Hopefully great!

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Alrighty, let’s back up a little to last night, shall we?

Workout

As I suspected, we didn’t end up doing a double round of P90x last night. We got a solid workout in doing Chest and Back + some added legs/cardio thrown in to round everything out.

We had a little help during our workout from one of our many sweet nephews. He loves doing push ups- and hanging out with his Uncle Shane.

Such a cutie!

After our workout, we headed upstairs to join the rest of the crew for birthday barbecue, present and cake. Everything was delicious (especially the BBQ  turkey!). Shane and I also shared a Cherry Coke Zero- a huge vice mine, and it was phenomenal.

Before eating, I got the chance to check out a pretty cool project that my future father-in-law had been working on. Check this out:

Looks like marble, right? Well it isn’t! I’m not 100% sure how the process works, but he made the counter tops, installed them and added under cabinet lighting all by himself.

It really looks gorgeous, doesn’t it?

I was super impressed.

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Well I think we’re about to head out in search of our Christmas tree! We still don’t have it yet, which is nuts- we almost always have it up the day after Thanksgiving! Hopefully we find one tonight.

After that, this little lady is going to try and get herself psyched up to go to the gym. I’m really just not feeling it today…I don’t know if it’s the weather or the busy schedule or what.

Oof.

What do you do to amp yourself up to workout when you’re struggling? Any advice would be welcome!

It’s Just Magical

Howdy! How did everyone’s Monday go? Hopefully nice and smooth- I know Mondays always set the tone for the week, so it’s awfully nice when they go well!

*Spoiler Alert. So I didn’t get a chance to mention this earlier- but if any of you are Walking Dead fans like I am…HOW UPSET WERE YOU AFTER THE SHOW LAST NIGHT?! I was honestly horrified.

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Sorry for the all caps, guys. I’m too invested.

I also may have shed a tear. Or two.

There’s no shame in the zombie apocalypse.

(For those who don’t watch the show and want to see why Hershel was pretty much everything on TWD, watch the video below of his speech from earlier this season. So many feels.)

 

Okay– enough of all that!

As I mentioned earlier, I was super psyched about getting back into my normal routine today. After a fairly busy day at work (we’re on deadline this week) and some not-so-exciting meal choices (I had some lean brisket meat and veggies for both lunch and dinner, and a pretty “meh” egg sandwich for breakfast), I finally did something today worthy of sharing on here- hooray!

Workout

Today was leg day, so my workout tonight consisted of about 8 different leg/glute exercises, doing roughly 4 sets of each move at between 18 and 10 reps per set.

I also PR’d on the leg press tonight!  150 lbs. for 8 reps, close stance. Woo!

My strength workout took me about 45 minutes to get through, including abs, which brought with it another new-to-me move—> the Reverse Crunch. I gotta say, they weren’t my favorite. But hey, it still counts as a new exercise for today!

I followed it up with 30 minutes of the “Hill Climb” workout on the Arc trainer, and then another 15 minutes of HITT on the stair master.

I was jamming out to movie music during my workout today- most notably, to this masterpiece.  Boom.

 

Normally, I do cardio for 40-ish minutes after strength, but today I added my extra 5 minutes. So far, so good on my Holiday Health Challenge!

Funny Stuff

Alrighty, so while it might come as a surprise to some of you that I workout to music from movies, it probably shouldn’t. I’m sort of a huge nerd, and to be honest nothing quite pumps you up like a super hero music.

It’s just a fact.

Well, when I’m not jamming to monster movie soundtracks, you might catch me rocking out on the treadmill to one of my all time favorite musicals.

Les Miserables.  It’s been my favorite ever since I first saw it at neighborhood high school back when I was 9.

That’s a whopping 13 years. This is serious love.

Another indication of how much I love this show- every time it comes to town, I go. No questions asked. Also, when the movie came out, I definitely went to see it twice. In one day. Back to back. Like…I came out of one theatre with Shane and went straight into a new theatre with my parents. Yeah.

I promise there’s a point to all this.

Today, after deciding that a little over a week is just much too long to go without seeing the man I love, I decided to ask Shane if he wanted to meet me tomorrow for lunch. His response?

Now, in case you don’t know why this is the cutest, most awesome thing ever, please feel free to watch the video below and discover the cultural treasure that is Les Mis.

It’s just magical. 🙂

Holiday Health Challenge

Good Monday morning, all! Is anyone else super pumped to be back into a normal routine today? Don’t get me wrong, I really love having long weekends and spending extra quality time with family- but I am a gal who loves a solid routine.

After 3 or 4 days of relaxing, indulgent food, wine, wedding dancing and 3 days off from the gym- let’s just say I am more than ready to hit the gym today after work! Plus its leg day- YESl

Anyways, enough about me- On to the good stuff!

Alrighty, for those of you who caught my post last night, you probably saw that I mentioned an upcoming holiday challenge. Well, here she is:

The 30 Day Holiday Health Challenge is something I came up with over the weekend. Everyone always talks about making New Year’s resolutions. Likewise, everyone tends to wait until New Year’s to make them.  Not only that, but the statistics are pretty discouraging. 35% of people who make New Year’s resolutions break them.

Unfortunately, I can say that I am definitely one of them. I don’t know what it is, but I never fail to break my resolutions, and it usually doesn’t take me too long to do it.

Well, not this year friends! This year, I’m taking the initiative to insert all of my “New Year’s resolutions” into my lifestyle before the New Year.

By doing it this way, I’m hoping that by the time January 1st rolls around, everything I want to incorporate into doing next year will already feel like a habit- or at the very least, I’ll have bettered myself in some way! It’s a win/win.

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • There are 2 components- healthy eating and exercise ( you can choose to do one or the other, or both!)
  • The challenge is 30 days long, and begins todayDecember 2nd. It ends on December 31st.
  • For the fitness component, you can choose from really any fitness related goals- incorporate a new style of training into your routine, try a new-to-you exercise/move every day, try a new fitness class once a week, join a boot camp, start strength training, add 5 extra minutes to your workout every week, ect. The possibilities are endless! Or, deam each day of the week a specific training day for a given muscle group/cardio exercise and stick with that for the 30 days. Whatever you choose, just make sure it’s something you can sustain for a month!
  • For the healthy eating component, it’s super versatile as well- something like trying a new healthy recipe once a week, introducing a new-to-you healthy food every day, trying “clean eating”, cutting back on soda/coffee, trying to eat less processed food, ect. Again, lots of possibilities here!

The focus of this challenge isn’t to lose weight or “get in shape”, even though those will likely be some of the perky byproducts of introducing some of these other New Year’s worthy healthy habits into your life. 😉

Instead, the focus is on health (hence the challenge name) and trying to find a fun way of beating the New Year’s resolution curse- all while trying out some new exercises or finding a great way to “healthify” your favorite holiday treat in the process!

Here are my personal Holiday Health Challenge goals:

Fitness-

  • add an extra 5 minutes onto my workouts every week
  • try at least one new fitness class
  • incorporate yoga or pilates into my rest days on Sundays

Food-

  • “eat clean” 6 days a week
  • try one new healthy recipe a week

Of course, I’ll be reporting everything back here on the ol’ blog. Half the battle is accountability, and I’m very lucky to have this little sounding board here to help with that. 🙂

If you want to take part in the Holiday Health Challenge (and the possibility for giveaways and prizes!) feel free to leave a comment and let me know, or follow the blog for posts and updates!

Sunday Fun day

Well, here we are again another weekend gone, another Monday morning looming ahead. I hope everyone had an amazing weekend! I got to see Hunger Games TWICE, so mine was golden. 🙂

So, if anyone read my post from Saturday night, then you saw my brand new food scale (!!!) which I am clearly very excited about! Well, I needed it for what is printed on this little piece of paper right here.

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That, darluns, is the macro nutrient breakdown that my trainer created for me. It lists the amount of carbs, fats and protein that I need to eat per day to reach my specific goals. It is super snazzy, but requires a bit of work. (ie, weighing my protein and measuring out enough veggies, almonds and PB to last at least 3 days at a time).

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

I got this macro breakdown a month ago, but really haven’t gone all out and followed it the way I should have been. So for the next 2 weeks, I am going to attempt to follow this nutrition program to a “T” (along with the custom training program he created for me) and see what changes I can make. The entire program is actually 6 weeks long, but I did the first 4 weeks without following the macros. :/ Needles a to say, I am really excited to use my food scale and see what meal prep can really do for me!

Exhibit B (sorry for the blur!)

Exhibit B (sorry for the blur!)

SO- in light of me making a “fresh start” tomorrow, so to speak, I wanted to implement a little thing into the blog here that I learned from a favorite of mine, Monica – Sunday Setups.

It might be easier for me to just show you what Sunday Setups are, rather than explain it and THEN show you!

Sunday Setups

Monday- A.M.  fasted cardio/ P.M. legs, glutes and abs

Tuesday- A.M. fasted cardio/ P.M. chest and triceps

Wednesday- A.M. fasted cardio/ P.M. glutes and abs

Thursday- A.M. back, biceps and 40 min. cardio

Friday- (whenever there’s time) shoulders, calves and 35 min. HITT

Saturday- A.M. glutes, abs and 20 min. HITT

Sunday- rest

So that’all about do it for me this Sunday Setup- time to hang back and watch some Walking Dead 🙂 have a great night!

Stair Master City

Does anyone else really dislike the name “Stair Master”? It just makes me flash back to the 80s- I really don’t know why? I much prefer the term “step mill”, because that just sounds a little more intense.

Well whether you call it the step mill, the stair master or the super tall escalator looking thing…no matter! I got a KILLER workout to try out on this thing last night.

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It’s really nothing ground breaking or fancy, but it was a great workout so I thought it was worth sharing!

I did 4 sets of 10, in 2 minute intervals.

2 minutes at level 6

2 minutes at level 8

2 minutes at level 10

2 minutes at level 12

2 minutes at level 4, taking the “stairs” 2 at a time

I repeated this sequence another 3 times for a total of 40 minutes- then added a 5 minute cool down. It was definitely a sweaty workout, and I plan on repeating it very soon!