My First “Program” Attempt

I finished Codecademy’s JavaScript track a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t yet had the chance to make a post, so here it goes. I’ve been busy and haven’t really done much programming since (aside from a little more dabbling with some additional JavaScript lessons on Codecademy’s site that aren’t part of the track). Since I was falling a bit off the programming wagon, I asked my husband what I should do next. He challenged me to make a dog management program in which I could program in dogs, add dogs, remove dogs, and search for dogs. Hmmm…well, seemed simple enough, but it had been a couple of weeks since I had really been doing much programming, so I was a bit nervous. However, never one to pass on a challenge, I figured I’d give it a go. Plus, I’m pretty sure Codecademy had prepared me enough for a simple program like this, so the next day I attempted my program.

Codecademy has a section where you can use their website to write programs (they have one for Python, Ruby, and JavaScript). I selected JavaScript and started programming away. It was pretty smooth sailing for the most part. I first created a Dog object, which included the properties name, breed, and age), so that I could easily create some sample dogs for my program. After making the object, I created a spikey variable and an echo variable (my two dog entries). I then created a var contacts array which included spikey and echo (obviously…). Since I wanted to be able to print out the names of my dogs, I then added a printDog function that would print to the console the dogs’ names. Next, I created a list function, so that I could quickly print out a list of my “dog contacts.”

Because my husband wanted me to be able to search for dogs, I then added a search function so that I could easily see if a particular dog was in my contacts. The next part of the program was adding an add function so that I could add dogs and then finishing off with a remove function so I could delete animals from my contacts (what can I say? Spikey and I have a tumultuous relationship… ūüėČ Just kidding.). ¬†The hardest part of the whole program was simply figuring out how to remove a contact, since Codecademy hadn’t gone over this in the tracks. ¬†Because I wasn’t entirely sure how to do this, I did what everyone does – I googled it. Once I had googled it, I quickly realized that I would have to use array.splice, which ended up being simple enough.

Now came the real test: seeing if I had passed the challenge presented to me by my husband. Sure, I¬†thought¬†I had completed the challenge correctly, but would the program¬†actually¬†work? ¬†Well, I decided to either sink or swim and called the hubby over to test it out. Sure enough, it worked! ūüôā Yay. Rock on for a beginning programmer. In retrospect, I know this is a truly¬†simple program, but having never programmed before in my life and only completing 2 weeks of recreational programming (about 1/2 an hour to an hour a day), I felt very proud of myself. ¬†So even though you may feel like banging your head against the wall, don’t…just keep on programming little grasshopper.

You can find my code below. Simple, I know, but good enough for me. ūüôā Now my husband wants me to make modifications to make it more complex….gulp.

Happy Programming!

 

function Dog(name, breed, age) { 
    this.name = name; 
    this.breed = breed; 
    this.age = age; 
    }

var spikey = new Dog("Spikey", "chihuahua", 7);
var echo = new Dog("Echo", "chihuahua", 2);
var contacts = [spikey, echo];

function printDog(dog) { 
    console.log(dog.name + " "); 
}

function list() { 
var contactsLength = contacts.length; 
    for (var i = 0; i < contactsLength; i++) { 
        printDog(contacts[i]);
} 
 }

var search = function(name) {
    var contactsLength = contacts.length;
    for (var i = 0; i < contactsLength; i++) {
        if(name === contacts[i].name) {
            printDog(contacts[i]);
        }
        }
    };

 function add (name, breed, age) {
     contacts[contacts.length] = {
         name: name,
         breed: breed,
         age: age
     };
 }

function remove (name) {
    for (var i =0; i < contacts.length; i++)
   if (contacts[i].name === name) {
      console.log("Is this working?");
      contacts.splice(i,1);
   }
}

indapp

 

Shakeology Review

By now, you have probably heard of Shakeology, which is tagged as the “healthiest meal of the day.” ¬†But what exactly is Shakeology?

Shakeology is a protein-based shake that is packed with superfoods and essential vitamins and minerals.  All you have to do is look at the ingredient list to see that it is filled with proteins, phytonutrients, antioxidants, enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics. Being someone who always forgets to take vitamin pills, Shakeology is a huge life-saver for me.  Because I eat/drink  it daily, I know I am getting many of those super important vitamins and minerals that my body requires and is likely lacking. But, enough spouting off stuff you already know Рthe real question, does it actually work?

Before we get into the nitty gritty of Shakeology, lets take a closer look. For one, it can be used in several ways, such as (but not limited to):

1) As a meal replacement shake

2) As a snack (i.e. pre- or post-workout)

3) A substitute “treat” for other unhealthier options

4) A replacement for some potential supplement pills

5) A way to get dense nutrition (particularly for those who may not eat the healthiest diets)

What is it supposed to do for us?

According to the website, Shakeology is supposed to do the following for people:

1) Help you lose weight

2) Curb cravings

3)  Increase energy and stamina

4) Promote healthy digestion and regularity

5) Taste delicious

 

Here is a video (approximately 15 minutes) with some doctors’ opinions on Shakeology, if you’re interested:

So…Does it Really Do That??

Since I’ve been drinking Shakeology for over a year now, do I find these “findings” accurate? ¬†For the most part, yes (although I’ll explain more below). Below are my answers according to how Shakeology has affected¬†me. Please remember that not everyone will be the same.

1) ¬†Does Shakeology help me lose weight? Yes, BUT with conditions, of course. ¬†If I was eating unhealthy food all day and just added in a shake, I, of course, would not suddenly lose weight. ¬†Rather, when I choose to eat mainly healthy and I substitute Shakeology for one of my meals, ¬†I lose weight quite consistently. In fact, there were times when I was eating healthy, but not drinking Shakeology and I struggled to lose even 0.2 lbs. ¬†For some reason, when I include Shakeology into my diet, I have an easier time dropping weight. ¬†I’m not entirely sure why, but I have a feeling that it likely has to do with the ingredients in Shakeology and that it is nourishing my body. When I wasn’t drinking it, my body was not necessarily getting all the important vitamins and minerals, etc., which may have interfered with my progress. ¬†Again, it’s not a magic “shake” that makes you drop weight immediately, but if you pair it with a healthy diet, you will likely see results. It is one of the reasons why I continue to drink it daily. If I didn’t see results, I wouldn’t keep drinking it.

2) Does Shakeology help me reduce cravings? I would say that it helps¬†reduce¬†cravings for other things, but does not entirely eliminate them. ¬†There are definitely times when I’d rather just go eat that chocolate chip cookie or Dairy Queen Blizzard than have my shake (which, hey, is fine once in a while…everything in moderation, right?). However, the amount and frequency of cravings I have have definitely been reduced (just ask my husband…I¬†always¬†had cravings…and more cravings…and more cravings). ūüėČ ¬†I have also used some of the recipe suggestions provided by Shakeology and have made bars that I keep in my freezer for when I am fighting a huge craving. It has really helped me from overindulging in something unhealthy (like the entire Dairy Queen menu).

3) Does Shakeology increase my energy and stamina?¬†¬†Most definitely. When I drink Shakeology I can workout with more intensity and for longer periods of time; I have more energy to do things (even “blech” house cleaning…); and it helps me keep up with the chaos of my day-to-day life. It’s not like a sudden huge rush of energy (I wasn’t the Energizer Bunny…), but an overall feeling. ¬†I once gave an older couple in their 60s a Shakeology challenge: to drink one shake a day for an entire week. After taking the challenge, the couple felt more energized, had lost an average of 4 lbs each that week, and just felt better.¬†¬†¬†In fact, the older gentleman even said that he had to drink his Shakeology earlier in the day as he had¬†too much energy¬†when he drank it in the evening. Shazam! And yes, they still drink Shakeology to this day.

4) Does Shakeology promote healthy digestion and regularity? Yes…’nough said. ¬†ūüėČ

5) Does Shakeology taste delicious to me? Hmm…this one is probably the hardest one for me answer. The way your Shakeology tastes is highly dependent upon¬†how¬† you make it and what you put in it (and probably what flavor you have). The way I make my Shakeology does in fact result in it being delicious. Every. Single. Time. But…I learned the hard way. I, on occasion, before I had the wonderful invention of the shaker cup, tried simply adding the Shakeology powder to some cold milk and stirring with a spoon…yeah…bad choice. It was HORRIBLE. It was lumpy and gross and frothy and just unpleasant in general. However, when you mix it with a Shaker cup or blend it up (my favorite way), it tastes 1000 x better. ¬†I often prefer to make mine really thick with frozen fruit so that it actually tastes more like a sorbet or ice cream. ¬†So…to be short…it can most definitely be delicious if made certain ways.

BUT, what about….

the price?. ¬†A common concern I hear is that it is¬†too expensive. I suppose this depends on your outlook on life. For me, the cost of it is definitely outweighed by its benefits. Because it is so packed with awesome ingredients, I don’t have to worry about purchasing a bazillion different supplements in hopes that I am getting all the nutrients my body needs. Furthermore, because it’s replacing a¬†meal for me, it’s really actually quite cheap. Furthermore, if I treat my body now while I’m younger, I will likely have fewer (or smaller) medical bills in the future. I figure I may as well invest in my health while I’m younger and still can. Check out the funny video with Tony Horton below…

other protein shakes? Another common concern I hear is that it is way cheaper and easier to get other protein shakes in stores. ¬†I have tried other protein shakes and honestly don’t get the benefits that I do from Shakeology (in fact, I sometimes feel sick after them). Plus, those other protein shakes likely don’t have the vast ingredients and super foods that Shakeology does. Furthermore, if you chose Home Direct for your Shakeology order, then it gets delivered to you¬†every month and the cost of shipping is¬†free. AND, if you don’t like it, they have a bottom of the bag guarantee (I believe it’s 30 days..). If you aren’t satisfied with the product, you can contact customer service and they will refund you the cost of the bag (minus shipping and handling). Sounds pretty easy to me…

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.   All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.

Focus T25 Progress Update

Well, it’s been a week since I’ve started my Focus T25workouts and I’m feeling pretty good, so I thought I should probably provide an update on my progress thus far. ¬†On the workout calendar, Shaun T refers to Saturday as “STATurday,” where you record your measurements and progress. ¬†Now, I think this is a great idea, but I decided to wait to do my measurements until the end of the month. ¬†I don’t want to get discouraged if I don’t see any progress after a week. ¬†I did, however, do a weigh in and discovered that I had lost 3 lbs! ¬†Now depending on your perspective, 3 lbs may seem like not much or too much. However, for me, 3 lbs was great, particularly at the start of a fitness journey. ¬†I know that it may be largely due to water weight, but any progress is better than no progress. ¬†In general, I aim for 1 – 2 lbs of weight loss a week, which seems to be a healthy drop (although, in general, I’m usually elated with a 0.2 lb drop). ūüėČ ¬†So anyway, pretty happy so far with my weight. I’ll be more excited when I do my measurements at the end of the Alpha Cycle, as I feel that measurements are a much better reflection of progress as opposed to weight (due to added muscle and changes in body composition). I don’t like to really focus on weight as I think it can easily derail one’s progress and doesn’t necessarily have an accurate reflection of how you are really doing. Rather, I prefer to focus on how I’m feeling and how my clothes are fitting. ¬†Speaking of which, my energy level has been great and I’m feeling really good before, during, and after the workouts. ¬†They are short and sweet which gives me more time in the day for me (and my family), which can’t be beat.

I look forward to providing you all with more positive updates as the time progresses. ¬†Please remember not to fixate on a scale or a particular number – we are all different and our optimal goal should be living healthier lives. ūüôā

 

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.   All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.

Focus T25 Lower Focus Review

Today is “Double Day Friday” in the Focus T25 world (albeit it is Monday for me…but I started on a different day) which involves two back-to-back workouts: Lower Focus and Cardio. ¬†According to the workout calendar, if you cannot do back-to-back workouts (i.e. due ot time constraints or just physical exhaustion), you can always bump one to the following day.

Here is my review for Focus T25: Lower Focus.

Lower Focus wasn’t as scary as I originally anticipated. ¬†The DVD case states that you will “strengthen and sculpt muscles from the waist down with this lower-body burnout.” Again, the workout lasts 25 minutes and requires no equipment (yay). ¬†Overall, it was a very good workout – easier than the Total Body Circuit but harder than Speed 1.0 (in my opinion). You begin with the warm up that we’ve seen before (knee raises, lift on toes, slow controlled jog, and high knee jog). We then went into some other moves we’ve seen before with jumping jack progressions. At this point, I’m definitely feeling warm and a good sweat is already forming and I’m beginning to wonder if back-to-back workouts is a good idea today! ¬†Next we get into some squat progressions, followed by calf raise progressions, which wrap up with lunge progressions (ahh! The worst…or best depending on how you look at it…my legs were on¬†fiiiiire!). ¬†Just when your legs feel like putty and are burning from all the lunge work, you get dropped directly into your first¬†burnout, which again is a compilation of the culminating exercises from each progression. ¬†Oi vay…they weren’t kidding with “lower focus.”

After the first burnout, you’re thinking, “Ah…no more lunges or squats…yay!”… but then you realize you’re wrong…terribly….terribly…wrong. ¬†You jump right back into a lunge/squat progression (at this point, squats are my leg “break”…enjoying every painful one…). We then get into some abductor squat progressions which feel amazing in comparison to those lunges. We then get into some up and over squat combinations and dead lift progressions, which are actually feeling pretty amazing. ¬†Then comes…burnout 2. We wrap up the video with some hop squat/hip flexor exercises and celebrate when Shaun T calls “TIME!”.

Overall, I thought this was a great workout – my legs got a beating (which is the point), my heart rate was elevated, and I was a less than picture-perfect sweaty mess (I mean…really…should anyone be looking “cute” after a kick-butt workout?? If you do, then kudos to you…). ūüėČ ¬†Because the exercises are short and progress in difficulty, I tended to stay in each exercise longer than I may have in different exercise DVDs (i.e. I usually give up on lunge holds, but because it was a progression and shorter intervals, I found I could hold it for the time required or at least close to). Another Thumbs Up to Mr. Shaun T and another tip for my¬†Workout Tip Jar.

 

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.   All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.

My Continued Exploration of JavaScript with Codecademy

Okay…I’m not even sure if I should be writing a blog post about JavaScript right now, but figured it’s been a while and my brain is completely fried from learning to code, so now’s a good a time as any.

When I first started Codecademy I was using Google Chrome, but periodically while I was coding, Chrome would suddenly crash and I’d lose all the progress I had made on a particular exercise and would have to start over. ¬†This brought me back to my high school information technology class (grade 9 perhaps?) where I had visions of throwing my large, old, stone-age desktop across the room for its continuous freezing and crashing capabilities. ¬†I can still remember what we were working on – typing up a good, ole letter to a fictitious company (yes, terribly exciting, I know). Technology was not my friend. Needless to say, a few crashes later, I decided to use Firefox instead which has since decreased any additional levels of anxiety and frustration (and the possibilities of my lovely old laptop going crashing across the room…I kid in jest of course).

Back to JavaScript…as I mentioned in my original post, I was using Codecademy to learn about it and was progressing through the 8 major sections that comprised the JavaScript track. ¬†I’ve been pummeling away at the courses and exercises and have now completed the 6 first major sections, which leaves 2 remaining. I’ve learned about the basics (i.e. strings, names, numbers, etc.), functions, for loops, while loops, control flow, and data structures. I’m currently working away at Objects I and am beginning to feel like a sinking ship. ¬†All the concepts and information are bubbling away in my brain, but they are also getting intermingled and a bit jumbled up (kind of like a jigsaw puzzle that fell onto the floor after you completed 3/4s of it). I imagine any of you who started learning to program with very little information technology background can relate. ¬†There are definitely times where I feel frustrated and want to just quit, but then there is the other part of me that seriously CANNOT wait until I am competent enough to actually start programming independently. ¬†I have visions of iPhone apps dancing in my head. ūüėČ Although I find programming to be frustrating and confusing at times, I am enjoying the challenge and the balancing act that it entails. ¬†I love it and hate it at the same time.

Codecademy itself has been a pretty good learning tool in my journey of programming awesomeness. ¬†Sometimes the courses overlap each other or leave out certain concepts that you’d think they should have mentioned or at least provided in the “hint” section. Different course instructors definitely have better capabilities of getting their information across to the “student” and you soon begin to look forward to certain instructor’s courses more so than others. ¬†I’m not necessarily saying that any of the instructors are poor; in fact, in general, they all seem to be very competent and effective in their instructions. ¬†But, as with anything, some seem to be more eloquent in their instructions than others. ¬†This should come as no surprise, though, as it is always the case regardless of the profession or situation.

Basically, what I guess I’m trying to say is that this journey is not going to be easy. ¬†If you, too, are learning to program you can probably relate and I just want you to know that, dude, you’re so not alone. ¬†I feel frustrated, excited, annoyed, and compelled all at the same time. We’re like kids learning how to ride bikes. ¬†We’re going to fall down, get scrapes, cry, have hissy fits and then get back onto the bike and try over. ¬†Before we know it, we’ll be riding without hands and plunging down mountains on crazy terrain. ¬†I’m in for the long haul and I hope you’ll continue to join me on my escapades.

Now that my brain is a jumble, I think it’s time to throw in some Focus T25 and work out that frustration. There’s something about exercise that just makes me feel so much better and zaps my worries away.

Focus T25 Alpha Ab Intervals Review

Just because I’m a bit of a glutton for punishment, after I let myself recuperate a bit from doing Focus T25’s Alpha Total Body Circuit, I decided to throw in Ab Intervals, as I was trying to double up since I was off schedule. This was, of course, after literally taking 5 minutes to dry myself off with a towel (I was not kidding about looking like a beet…in fact, more like a beet simmering in some hot water…). I’m not a huge fan of ab workouts in general (I do them, because I know there is merit in them, but I don’t particularly enjoy them. I much prefer fast cardio), so I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this workout.¬†However, I found myself pleasantly surprised.¬†On the DVD pocket for Ab Intervals, it states, “Get a shredded core with this interval-based fat-burning routine.” ¬†It also calls for a workout mat (they more specifically ask for a Beachbody mat, but I just used one of my own). You start off with some stretching (child’s pose and plank, followed up with down dog and plank and progressing to down dog and spider lunge and down dog and oblique knee). ¬†You got it, this is yet another DVD that progresses the exercises from easy to hard. At this point, however, I am quite enjoying the little progressions as they build upon each other (I have an idea of what I’m getting myself into and it makes it feel like it goes by quickly). We then go into a variety of ab exercises, including low planks, side planks, and v sits. Because we had just done some planks and core exercises in the previous DVD, I was really starting to feel them quite quickly, and was referring to Tania’s modifications a bit earlier than I’d originally liked). Suddenly, however, we got up and did some cardio – say what?¬†Cardio¬†during an ab workout?? Sweet! ¬†The cardio moves naturally worked our core, but it was so nice to have a break from doing focused core work on the floor. The first cardio move we had to do was alternating speed knees and alternating straight leg lifts. ¬†It felt great and kind of gave me the boost to keep on going (like I said, I’m not a fan of ab workouts…).¬†The video follows this progression of focused ab work followed by a cardio move that works the core. There’s a lot of variety in the ab exercises (including planks, leg lifts, scissor legs, etc.) which helps hold your interest as the DVD progresses. I also liked that Shaun T included back exercises as it plays an important part in strengthening your core (i.e. superman, rocketman, etc.) which reminded me a bit of the Asylum DVDs.

Overall, I really enjoyed Ab Intervals (which I was really not expecting). I don’t think I’ll ever be dying to do them, but this ab workout definitely tops the batch that I’ve done in the past, probably because it is fast paced and gives you some cardio breaks between sets of moves.¬†Another well-earned tip goes into my¬†Workout Tip Jar.

 

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.   All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.

Focus T25 Alpha Total Body Circuit Review

Yesterday, I was supposed to do Focus T25 Alpha Total Body Circuit, but things came up and I never got a chance to get it done. ¬†I started my morning with some Asylum Speed and Agility and Les Mills Combat Plyo HIIT, followed by some never-ending landscaping. ¬†We didn’t finish landscaping until late in the evening, so I decided to just double up my T25 workouts today, which I did. ¬†I always recommend following the workout calendar and speaking with a doctor if you have any concerns. Below you will find my review of Focus T25 Alpha Total Body Circuit and in a subsequent post a review of Ab Intervals.

Focus T25 Alpha Total Body Circuit Review

I started off my workout this morning with Focus T25’s Alpha Total Body Circuit. ¬†Again, you don’t need any equipment and the workout spans 25 minutes. ¬†This workout is considered a “cardio based strength workout,” which pretty much sums it up in a nutshell. ¬†In a way, I hesitate to compare the difficulty of this workout with the two previous workouts, as they are quite a bit different (and yet also similar in some ways). I wasn’t winded throughout it like I was during Alpha Cardio, but man was it¬†hard. In this particular workout, I was¬†really¬†thankful for Tania as a modifier during many of the strength workouts. I am definitely not the best at doing push-ups and can only do so many on my toes before I have to modify, so I was periodically looking for Tania when my body gave out on these activities (same with some of the plank-based exercises).

As with the first two DVDs, Shaun T provides you with a couple of warm up exercises to get your blood flowing (I really enjoy how he eased me into the workout with some alternating knee lifts and jogs). ¬†You also see some previously done exercises, such as the hop, hop turns and hop, hook, squats. So far, so good – doesn’t seem too different from the other workouts. However, then Shaun T throws in some changes. ¬†He brings you down to the floor (which hasn’t happened in previous videos) and gets you started on some plank shoulder taps. Wahoo, again, feeling pretty good, got my plank going alright. Then, of course, the move starts to progress (as with the Alpha Cardio DVD, Shaun T has many moves progress in difficulty level) and we move into shoulder tap push-ups. At this point, I had to start ¬†referring to Tania for options when my body no longer cooperated. ¬†After that, we proceed to some lunges and squats (which I LOVE) and then back to my favorite, jabs. Again with each of these sets, we progress through easy to hard moves. After some fun cardio blasting with jabs, we get back down and do some more planks, this time incorporating plank walk combos (i.e. with squats, in and out abs, etc.). Again, I’m loving Tania at this point – she’s turning into my new best friend. ūüėČ ¬†After this strenuous strength exercise, we go all out with some sprints (ahh…refreshing) and into some sprint combos with squats. Back to floor work with plank work (walking in and out, hopping in and out, up to pike and out, etc.). We then proceed into some squats and squat burpee combinations and then back into some spider-lunges and push-ups. At this point, I’m dripping in sweat, red as a beet, and wondering what I got myself into. ¬†Oh yeah, and we haven’t even reached the¬†burnout yet. ¬†The burnout begins with just over 5 minutes left in your workout. It’s a combination of the last set in each of the previous progressions where Shaun T asks you to go all out. ¬†As the burnout comes to an end, Shaun T finishes the workout with some floor sprints and a body run and with the optional cool down at the end. Oi…I survived. ūüôā

Overall, I thought this was a great overall body workout. ¬†Shaun T incorporated a lot of variety that helped keep me¬†in¬†the workout. ¬†Rather than do all the plank work at once, he alternated them with other exercises (i.e. moving from plank work to lunges, into squats, into sprints, etc.). The variety helped keep me interested and knowing that each exercise was relatively short helped keep me from dropping on the floor in a pile of my own sweat and staying there forever (not that I didn’t consider it at times…). ¬†I also really liked the fact that I didn’t need any weights or equipment to strengthen – we were just using our own body weight. ¬†My goal is to eventually be able to rely less on Tania’s modifications and more on keeping excellent form and staying with Shaun T’s pace. ¬†As with the previous two workouts, we don’t get any water breaks and I ended up¬†having to stop and grab some water throughout this workout. I definitely miss my water breaks…

Loved how the workout made me feel and I look forward to challenging myself to complete it better each time I do it. Yet another tip goes into my Workout Tip Jar.

 

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.   All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.

Focus T25: Alpha Speed 1.0 Review

Day 2 of Focus T25’s workouts was called Speed 1.0. ¬†It, of course, spans 25 minutes and also requires no equipment, which is nice. The DVD pocket reads, “This fast-paced cardio workout improves speed and focuses on stretching, stability, and sweat. It’s your foundation for all the Speed workouts.”

I really enjoyed this particular DVD as it was a combination of cardio and stretch/stability exercises. ¬†Because every other exercise for the first 15 minutes or so alternated fast paced cardio with stretch/stability, I felt like it was a bit “easier” than yesterday’s cardio workout. You go all out for the cardio exercise (such as hops and hooks, burpees, cross jacks, and zigzag hops) and then center yourself for your stability and stretch exercises (such as a hip flexor hold, leg crossover stretch, and a side lunge stretch), which ends up giving you that much needed breather so that you can go all out again for the next cardio move. ¬†Even though I stated that it felt a bit easier, it was definitely¬†not¬†easy. ¬†I was dripping sweat and very thankful for the stretch/stability exercises. I’m not a huge fan of long stretching videos (I get bored easily and much prefer constantly moving), but really enjoyed how it was incorporated into this DVD.

With just over 9 minutes left, Shaun T introduces the Burnout, which is basically 8 minutes of the non-stop cardio moves you had just done throughout the video. I liked that I already knew the moves, so when the burnout came, I didn’t have to think about what I had to do, I just did it when Shaun T gave the direction. ¬†The Burnout is¬†brutal¬†(in an “awesome, I’m about to die, but I’m loving this” type of way…). ¬†It’s super hardcore, you’re going all out, and it’s non-stop. ¬†By the time you’re done your burnout, you are thanking that the workout is only 25 minutes long! ¬†The last minute or so is a stretch/stability cool down, which felt oh-so-good after the crazy burnout. As with the Cardio DVD, there is the optional cool down stretch at the end.

Overall, I think I actually liked this DVD better than yesterday’s Cardio. It was super fun, flew by in a flash, and incorporated lots of fun cardio/stretch moves. I love workouts that incorporate kicking and punching (I think it comes from my obsession with Tae Bo when I was in high school), and this DVD has several moves that did that. ¬†As with the last DVD, it has Tania who modifies the moves for those who need to follow along with lower impact options. Another thing that both this video and Cardio have, which I forgot to mention in my previous post is that it has a timer that counts backwards from 25 minutes, so you know how much longer you have to go. In addition, above the timer is the name of the ¬†move you are doing with a timing bar that increases as your going through the exercise (so you can tell if you’re almost done that particular move, which I find very motivating!).

Again, Shaun T is super motivating, provides lots of tips to focus you on proper form, and keeps you motivated and “in” the workout. ¬†I felt awesome when I was finished and am already looking forward to tomorrow’s video. ¬†I imagine that if people follow the nutrition guide and the workout calendar, that results should definitely follow. ¬†After my journey with Focus T25, I’ll definitely share with you my results (which will hopefully be amazing!).

Another well-earned tip goes into my Workout Tip Jar.

 

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.   All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.

Focus T25: Alpha Cardio Review

I started my day off great with two back to back workouts (Asylum’s X Trainer and Les Mills Combat’s Power HIIT) and felt amazing, not expecting to receive my Focus T25 until later in the week. ¬†I went to check the mail later on in the day and, lo and behold, there was my Focus T25 awaiting.

t25revised

If there is one thing that I absolutely love, it’s trying new workouts. ¬†I have been totally amped about this DVD set that I really couldn’t hold back. I tore open the package and started rifling through the contents.

A Brief Breakdown of Focus T25

Before I get into the nitty gritty of the Alpha Cardio workout, I’ll just briefly outline what is involved in the DVD series. ¬†When you order the base set, it comes with two cycles of workouts: Alpha and Beta, which each span a 5 week period of time. Alpha sets the foundation for your journey , while Beta steps it up and focuses on your core with new moves to burn fat and sculpt lean muscle. ¬†Below is a breakdown of the DVDs included in each set (as described on the Teambeachbody website):

ALPHA Cycle 25-Minute Workouts:

  • Cardio. 25 minutes of calorie-burning, sweat-drenching cardio.
  • Speed 1.0. Ignite your quickness. Burn the fat. Fast-paced for fast results.
  • Total Body Circuit. Focus on strength and resistance – without lifting a single weight.
  • Ab Intervals. Cardio and ab intervals that shred the fat from your midsection.
  • Lower Focus. Focus on your lower-body muscles – the key to burning fat and kicking up your metabolism.

BETA Cycle 25-Minute Workouts:

  • Core Cardio. Get your sweat on! The progressive cardio-core workout is about you getting shredded fast.
  • Speed 2.0. Rev it up with Shaun’s calorie-scorching, core-focused speed drills.
  • Rip’t Circuit. Cardio … upper body … legs … abs … repeat! This si how you get ripped in 25 minutes.
  • Dynamic Core. You’ll go from vertical to horizontal and back again in this dynamic, crazy core routine.
  • Upper Focus. Shaun will help you develop the upper body of your dreams. All you have to do is FOCUS.

In addition, with the base kit you get the following:

  • Quick-Start Guide.
  • Get It Done Nutrition Guide.
  • ALPHA-BETA Workout Calendars.
  • Stretch Workout.
  • 5-Day Fast Track.
  • B-LINES Resistance Band (15 lb).
  • 24/7 Online Support.
  • Core Speed (an extra DVD if your order through your Coach or Team Beachbody).

In addition, I also ordered the T25 Gamma DVDs, which give you a PURE STRENGTH Hybrid Calendar, a PURE GAMMA workout calendar, and the following four workouts:

  • Rip’T Up. ¬†Strengthen and streamline your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back, and chest with Shaun’s 360 degrees upper-body moves.
  • Extreme Circuit. Build lean muscle and burn fat at the same time! In this one, the weights never leave your hands. Not even for the warm-up.
  • The Pyramid. Accelerate your reps as time progresses. This is your 25 minute cardio and strength endurance test.
  • Speed 3.0 Workout. Faster pace. More sweat. Serious results. You won’t want to miss this 25 minute high-speed challenge.

Gamma’s focus is on Strength and provides two different calendar options – one that focuses on getting ripped while building pure strength.

But I seem to be digressing…now on to the review!

 

Alpha Cardio Review

The first workout for Focus T25 is Alpha Cardio. Something that I particularly like about this package is that the workout schedule is also included directly on the DVD case, so if you lose the larger calendar, you can always refer directly to the case. The case is divided into each DVD pocket and on each pocket is the name of the workout (i.e. Cardio), a brief description of what the workout entails, the allotted time, and the equipment needed.  For Alpha Cardio, it states:

Cardio

A progressive cardio workout that’ll have you burning fat and dripping sweat in just 25 minutes.

TRT: 25 minutes

Equipment: Nada

 

As with most Beachbody workouts, the first DVD you pop in is not likely going to be the most intense (don’t want to scare anyone off right away). ¬†I was, however, pleasantly surprised with Alpha Cardio. ¬†It is exactly what it describes – “a progressive cardio workout that’ll have you burning fat and dripping sweat.” ¬†The exercises build onto each other (i.e. you start with an alternating knee lift, then lift on toes while still alternating knee lifts, proceed into a slow and controlled jog, and finish with a faster high knee jog). ¬†By the time you get to the top progression, you’re dying and wishing Shaun T will move on, which he, thankfully, does. ¬†There are a variety of different sets that he progresses through, such as jacks, lunges, heel taps, jumps, squats/hops, sprints, and other moves. I won’t get into the painstaking details of each of the moves, as I’m sure you can find them elsewhere.

Shaun T also includes two “Burnout” sections throughout the DVD (one towards the middle and another towards the end), where he asks you to go as hard as you can through the burnout section, which includes moves you have already done at a more intense rate.

By the end of the 25 minutes, I was literally dripping in sweat and out of breath. I did pretty well throughout the workout, keeping up with the cast and only having to take a few breathers here and there. I’m sure I will get better and will improve my form as I progress throughout the DVD series. ¬†As the timer was counting down, however, I was definitely looking forward to stopping, not because I was bored, but because I was dying for a break. ¬†Overall, I thought it was an amazing workout for it being only 25 minutes long. I am definitely used to longer workouts, but the 25 minutes felt great. ¬†Below you can find some of my pros and cons to this particular DVD.

Pros:

  • Short and sweet – who doesn’t have 25 minutes a day to workout?
  • There is a modifier – Tania is a great option to have to watch if you cannot quite get a move or if you need a lower-impact option.
  • Focus on technique – Shaun T, as per usual, is always providing tips and reminders to use proper form to get the most out of your workouts and to be safe.
  • Fast Paced – Each of the moves is relatively short, so the video goes by too quickly for you to get bored or feel like you have to quit due to pain/exhaustion. ¬†Just when I was on the brink of stopping, Shaun T would change up the exercise and move on to something new and less painful (ahhh…squats…).
  • Fun – I really enjoyed myself throughout the workout. ¬†When I did Insanity, I sometimes dreaded doing some of the videos because of the repetitive nature of them, but I found this one super fun (and brought back fuzzy, warm memories of Asylum, which I LOVED).
  • Shaun T – Shaun T himself is a pro. I love him, as he’s a huge motivator, makes funny comments, and keeps you in the workout.
  • Good quality filming – audio and picture were great (I HATE when I can’t hear the instructor properly)
  • Great workout – As I mentioned, I was dripping in sweat after 25 minutes. Wahoo!
  • Optional cool down stretch – At the end of the DVD, you can choose to follow Shaun T’s cool down stretch, which is just over a couple of minutes long. A nice and important option.

Cons:

  • I’m being a bit nit picky here, but the music wasn’t super stellar. I didn’t dislike the music, but to be honest, when I think back to what music I even heard, I can’t remember! ¬†Maybe that’s because I was focused so much on using proper form with moves and trying to last to the next exercise!

 

Overall, a fantastic workout. I’m imagining that as we progress through the DVDs that the workouts will become more challenging, which I look forward to. ¬†So far, pretty impressed with the quality of the workout and the DVD.¬†Plus I got to add anther dollar to my¬†Workout Tip Jar. Yay!

 

Happy Exercising!

 

Please remember that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist or fitness expert.   All information I discuss on my blog is intended for inspiration and educational purposes and is not intended as a medical diagnosis or treatment. Before making any changes to your own health and fitness, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor.

 

 

A Deeper Plunge Into JavaScript with Codecademy: The Beauty of the Switch

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been exploring the world of programming starting with JavaScript via Codecademy. ¬†Today is my fifth day of learning and it seems to be pretty smooth sailing (albeit with some definite hiccups!). ¬†I haven’t been spending a huge amount of time each day, approximately around 1 hour per daily session. Thus far, I have explored the very basics (i.e. prompts, strings, numbers, console.log, etc.), functions, ‘for’ loops, ‘while’ loops, and if/else statements, to name a few.

As I was programming, I began to run into some forgetful moments. ¬†Yes, the hints on Codecademy are excellent and Google is a beaut, but I was starting to get a bit annoyed. ¬†There were times where I felt that the exercise I was being asked to do kind of skipped over some instructions (alternatively, this may simply have been because I had forgotten a previous task or simply wasn’t paying attention with the instructions or tips provided for the exercise). ¬†One particular annoyance occurred during my exploration into “while” loops. I went from the very simple programming of very basic while loops, to having to suddenly write a while loop that logs “I’m looping!” to the console three times without using console.log calls. ¬†Sure, for you programmer masterminds out there, a very simple task. For me, a pathetic beginner who feels a great achievement writing a VERY easy while loop, this was a very daunting task. ¬†The exercise had some of the loop previously written, but I became quite confused with empty brackets. I couldn’t recollect this being mentioned before, so I was at a bit of a standstill. ¬†I checked the Hint, but was still confused. I ended up calling upon my husband for some back up (and yes, he did look at me as if he was trying to instruct a small child…). ¬†Needless to say, I figured out how to do the task. ¬†Afterwards, I decided that perhaps part of my difficulty was that I kept forgetting what I had learned previously. I then decided to quickly go back and review the courses (which I LOVE about Codecademy). As I reviewed the previous courses and exercises, I began to jot down little reminder notes. ¬†Doing the process a second time and now having notes to refer back to is immensely useful. As I have proceeded into more lessons, I can now quickly look up a note I did and be able to complete the activity more easily.

Enough of my complaining, however! ¬†There was one thing that I did today that I absolutely loved (and I’m not entirely sure why…): the switch statement! ¬†The switch statement basically allows you to design a specific number of options (called case(s)), and then check a variable or expression against them to see if there is a match. ¬†If it matches, the program performs a specific action that you have specified. ¬†If it doesn’t match, then you execute a default option specified by you. We had a series of exercises introducing and reinforcing the switch statement. ¬†It was probably the easiest and quickest thing I have picked up on thus far (aside from the basics, like console.log and prompts). ¬†Codecademy broke the switch statement into chunks, having you first complete a small part, then adding on until you have to make your own, which for whatever reason, I found immensely entertaining. ¬†So…I guess what I’m saying is if you are finding yourself frustrated with the if/else or for loops or while loops while learning JavaScript, take a breather and look up the switch statement. Play around and have fun with it. ¬†Make yourself giggle. ¬†I sure did… ūüėČ

Below is a … um … G version of a switch I wrote. He he.

switch

 

Happy programming!