Tag Archives: exercise

DVD Review – Weight Watchers Punch! (Beginner)

I’ve done boxing workouts before and really enjoyed them so I was excited to try this Punch! Weight Watchers DVD. I know a lot of people think WW DVDs are not hard workouts, and I have no idea why they would think that except they’ve never done one before. Don’t let the name fool you. These aren’t DVDs especially geared toward overweight people (although I will admit that they do accommodate that group).


Anyway, I was at Costco a couple of weeks ago and saw this DVD as well as the WW Belly, Butt and Thighs DVD. I was planning to only get one but couldn’t decide between the two so I just got both. Since then, we’ve had family staying with us so I haven’t had the chance for an at-home workout. Finally today everyone went out, leaving me home alone (my dream come true) so I got to it.

So this DVD offers three levels. I figured since I haven’t worked out in a while–OK, a year, stop badgering me!–that I should start with beginner. At a total of 30 minutes, including warm up and cool down, it seemed too short. I am a huge fan of the shorter workouts for when there are time constraints (and when aren’t there?) but I always feel like by the time I get going, it’s over. Also I felt like the moves were not challenging enough. Not sure if it’s because I’ve done boxing before or if it’s just that beginner level. I also thought it would be a little more cardio. This is not a vigorous workout. Of course, if I had actually read the back of the DVD, I would have seen that it’s a low-impact workout. But really, who has time to read the back. I’m just looking at the front. If it’s appealing, I’ll try it.

I’d definitely recommend the Beginner workout for people just starting to exercise, or who are limited on time. I won’t do the Beginner level again, but I am anxious to see what the other two levels offer.


  • I’ve yet to find a DVD instructor I really like, but this one is among the less annoying. Not too “rah rah” but encouraging.
  • DVD comes with weighted gloves. I could definitely feel more resistance in the moves because of the weight. At the same time, not too heavy that they are inhibitive.
  • Moves are easy on the joints. As someone with knee issues, I really appreciate this.
  • Background music is not annoying.
  • Set design is nice.

CONS: (For beginner level only)

  • Too short
  • Not challenging enough

OVERALL RATING: Worth trying


FUN FACTOR: Not too shabby

Turkey Trot: The Aftermath

Sounds dramatic, huh?

I’m sure you read my post about getting ready for this year’s 5K, after seriously struggling last year. And I know you are dying to to find out how I did. Of course, if you follow me on Twitter, you already know . . .

. . . that I kicked ass!

And just to clarify my own tweet, I beat my time by 3 minutes and 24 seconds. (And lordy, you know 24 seconds make a difference!) My goal was to finish in 48 minutes, which would have been a two minute time cut. So I beat that goal and more, so you could say I’m pretty stoked about that!

The funny thing is that I felt like I was really having a hard time during the race so the final time kind of surprised me. They threw me for a loop this year and reversed the course direction, so instead of going down a steep hill with about a mile left, we went up a steep hill about a mile in. And I mean steep. Actually, it was one little hill, right into a bigger hill, right into a really  big hill. We had gotten off to a good start so I was disappointed to come to a slow down so early, but I trudged through and just kept telling myself that the worst was over early on so the race could only get easier. It was tough. My legs were jello after only 20 minutes, but you best believe I was going to keep going strong.

Did I mention that I had some encouragement along for the ride?

Me and mom. All I can focus on is how cute mom looks and how my shirt is all jacked up and stuck on my belt.

That’s my bestie, mom, on the left. Even though her rah rah-ing sometimes annoys me, there is no one else I’d want to do this with! I don’t think I mentioned before that I’ve been doing the boot camp with mom, which is one of the reasons I’ve loved it so much! (Awwwwwww!)

Anywho, we rocked this race. 2012: Chip time, 46:48; Pace, 15:04 vs 2011: Chip time, 50:12; Pace, 16:10

I’ve done bunches of 5Ks over the years, but the last time I was under 47 minutes was at least nine years ago and I think more like 10 or 11. So, yeah, that’s pretty awesome.

So to recap, mom and I are awesome and killed it this year. I’m already looking forward to next year. I’m gonna smoke those turkeys.

(Turkeys, get it? It’s a Turkey Trot? Sigh.)

I Like to Move It, Move It

“I like to move it, move it” the song? Easily one of the top 10 most annoying songs ever. You know it, right? It’s on every 90s workout mix, and I’m sure still heard in rec center aerobics classes across the country.

“I like to move it, move it” the mantra? Awesome. Without a doubt.

I’m talking about moving, or more specifically adding movement to our days. I’ve noticed a great trend of yes, losing weight, but more importantly, being healthy. To me, one of the easiest ways to do that is to add as much movement to my day as possible. I’m fully aware that added movement can’t replace heart-pumping, endorphin-releasing exercise, but I do believe it adds to having a healthier lifestyle.

Like what? Most days I take the train to work, which means I drive to the train station, sit on the train and then walk just two blocks to my office. Not much movement there. But wait! Instead of parking in the first lot, I go way to the back. And I mean back. I park at the very farthest, very last spot. According to my trusty pedometer, this gives me an extra 400 steps each way. So it’s not a marathon but it’s 800 more steps than if I parked in a closer spot. I usually take the train four days a week so that’s 3,200 steps I gain just by parking farther away. Plus, the best part is that by the time I get to my car, all the jerks who run off the train and try to beat each other out of the parking lot are gone and I pull right out. Less stress and added movement? Win!

Other things I do are making multiple trips (up and down the stairs, across the grocery store, etc), walk to someone’s office instead of emailing them, dance parties at my desk, etc. But my favorite way to add movement is going to the bathroom. Or, to be less gross, using a farther bathroom. At home, if I’m downstairs, I’ll use the bathroom upstairs. But the real success story is at work. My office to the bathroom is 42 steps round trip. There are two sets of stairs on my floor. If I take the closest set down one flight it’s 148 steps round trip, and if I take the farther stairs, it’s 180 steps. Now, the key here is that I drink a lot of water. A lot. I try for a minimum of 100 ounces a day, most of which I consume at work. Also I have a teeny tiny bladder, so I’m generally going to the bathroom every hour. Let’s round down and say that it’s seven times per day. Using the closest bathroom, that’s 294 steps. Using the closest stairs to go one flight down is 1,036 steps, and using the farthest stairs is 1,260 steps. So just by using the stairs to go down one flight to another bathroom, there’s a potential for an additional 966 steps a day. Working in the office four days a week, that’s 3,864 steps I can add per week. I mean, I am going to go to the bathroom anyway, I may as well get in some movement!

With just parking in a farther spot and using a different bathroom, I’m walking an extra 1,766 steps every day. Hello? That’s 17 percent of the daily recommendation of 10,000 steps per day. Going to the bathroom and parking my car. Who knew?!

This week I’ll try to think of new ways to add movement to my daily routine. Squats during commercials? Leg raises while making dinner? What do you do to get moving in your every day life? I’m going to have to give this some thought.

In the meantime, move it!



Health, Happiness and the Unexpected

Oh, hey, have ya heard about my awesome husband?

This month was our seventh wedding anniversary. We don’t usually do gifts but wouldn’t cha know it, this year he went all lovey and what not.

Can you guess what I got?

No, definitely not any of those. Flowers? I’m allergic. Chocolate? Hello? Trying to lose weight! Jewelry? Uh, no. (Although I did get a beautiful necklace/earring set for Hannukah last year.) Romance? A ha ha, that’s a good one. Rachid is many things but romantic is not one of them!

I know, I know, you are just dying to know, “Emily, WHAT did you get?” Well get ready for it, honey, cuz it’s going to knock your socks off. Well, maybe not your socks but your shoes at least. Drumroll please  . . .

[anticipation is building]

[curiousity is killing]

[OK, now you’re just getting mad]


Yep, new sneaks. I know, you’re like, he got her sneakers and she’s all pressed? Well, yeah, I kinda am.

First let me say that this wasn’t a “I want you to exercise so I’m buying you sneakers” gift. Rachid may have his faults but not supporting me or judging me is not among them. He has never once said anything about my weight. Not when I gained 50 pounds in our first six months together and then more after that. Not when I lost 70 pounds and then gained half back. Not when I’ve been back on Weight Watchers for 19 months and lost a grand total of 15 pounds. And definitely not when I’ve even gained back six of those pounds. (Man, this is depressing).

The sneakers actually were his way of supporting me. He can’t relate to my struggle, I mean, dude is North African. Here’s the thing about North Africans – the men are skinny and the women have a bit more weight on them. This guy is a buck 25 soaking wet and can’t gain weight if he tries. So no, he doesn’t understand why I can’t just lose the weight, but he does want to support me. The problem is there’s not much he can do, short of duct-taping my mouth shut.

When I told him I was thinking about joining a relay team for the Baltimore marathon but that I was scared I couldn’t do it, his immediate response was “of course you can, what can I do to help?” Since then I’ve been mentioning that I really needed a new pair of sneakers. We were out one day looking for shoes for our son and Rachid said he wanted to buy me new sneakers for an anniversary present. Now, the truth is that he probably would have bought them anyway but it was still super sweet and pretty funny. It’s not the gift of my dreams, but it’s something really thoughtful and something I can actually use.

So happy anniversary to us and cheers to my super, duper awesome husband! Kanbghik, habibi.

Woe is Me!

My life is beginning to sound like a storybook. More correctly, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”–which just happens to be my son’s favorite book right now. If you don’t know this book, it’s all about Alexander who is having, well, a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. My kid is obsessed with this book. We read it at least three times a day and always before bed. Needless to say, it’s quite engrained in my brain.

I got on the scale on Saturday and had gained FOUR POUNDS in one week. Terrible

On Monday I balanced my bank book only to realize that I had $61 for two weeks and a $274 preschool payment due. Horrible

I have a three-year-old boy who acts like a three-year-old boy. No Good

I have a usually wonderful husband but one who seems to be never satisfied with his life, thinks that he has it harder than anyone else, etc. Very Bad

I was talking about all this to my psychiatrist, otherwise known as mom, and went on a tear about all the problems in my life: We have no money, I can’t lose weight, I hate my job, my husband complains too much (yes, I see the irony in complaining about someone else complaining), my kid is hard to take care of, we need a new computer, we want to go visit family in Morocco, blah, blah, blah. As I was talking, I was struck by the similarities between me and Alexander and realized how ridiculous I must sound. Yes, I have all these complaints, but let’s face it, while they may be legitimate problems to me, they pale in comparison to many other things. But what my mom pointed out was that of these problems, there is one that I can control. While I’d honestly rather it be the money issue, the one thing here that I can take control of is my weight.

But OH MY GOD, how many times have I said this before? I feel like I am running in circles. Well, I guess not running because then the weight would be coming off. So maybe driving in circles. Either way, I’m back to being stuck. I had been doing great. I was exercising four or five times a week and tracking everything that went into my mouth, which to no surprise meant losing weight. Then I went on vacation and slacked off for a couple of days. Then I was sick for more a week and I got tricked into thinking I had lost weight because I hadn’t eaten anything. Of course, as soon as I was better and eating, I was up on the scale. Then it was hot. Then I was tired. And now I’m back to being Alexander.

I really don’t know how to get out of this. Do I know what I have to do? Of course. Eat right and exercise. But if it was that easy, we wouldn’t be a country of fatties and there would be no such thing as Weight Watchers or even dieting for that matter. In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that I’m writing this after spending $8 at the kabob food truck. My skirt is so tight it’s giving me a stomach ache and I’m mad at myself for buying lunch when I had brought something that just didn’t seem as appealing.

So how do you go from knowing what to do to actually doing it? Seriously. I’m asking. How do you get out of a slump?