March 15, 2012

I’m an animal!

After my post yesterday morning about how much I sucked at weight lifting, it should come as no surprise that I was looking for any opportunity to better my fitness. Therefore, when I received a last minute invite to join some other fun area bloggers for a “Hunger Games”-inspired workout with Daily Burn, I immediately accepted… but I worried about what this would entail. Archery? Wall climbing? Boxing? I’m not even remotely good at any of the three of those, and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

When I arrived at the Daily Burn headquarters, though, it all looked nice and normal: a big open office with gorgeous views of the sunset on the Hudson River… and a very conspicuous rubber mat in the middle of the office with kettlebells, yoga mats, and a pull up bar on the side. Meanwhile, the group of bloggers that had been invited to participate were great – I knew a few of them to begin with, and the rest quickly became new friends. Funny how easy that is once the sweat starts flying!

We met with the CEO, Andy Smith, and fitness program director, Lisa Wheeler, to first get an understanding of what Daily Burn was. While I had heard other bloggers refer to it on occasion in their posts, I had never been to the site before, so it was all new to me. Turns out that it is right up my alley – and I am super excited! Basically, you sign up on the site for a nominal $10/month (um, 1/10 the price of most gym memberships in NYC), and you get access to an entire library of fitness videos, all of which can be streamed on either your smartphone or your computer. Since I travel four days a week anyway and rely on either written workouts or fitness DVDs I have to pack and bring with me, this was perfect for me! Literally ten minutes before I got to the event, I got an email telling me that I am going to be staffed to a project in Dallas for the next year – so something like this is right up my alley.

The workouts are all designed to be done with minimal equipment, and any exercise that does require equipment has a bodyweight alternate suggested – aka perfect for a road warrior like me. Even better, the site asks you for your goals and different preferences, and actually suggests which video you should do each day. If you do a strength training video on Tuesday, it will know to suggest a pure cardio video on Wednesday. If you are coming back from an injury/illness, it offers you easy/short options to get you back in the swing of things. In short, it’s the electronic version of a personal trainer that gives you customized workouts – how cool is that?

Before we got too much into the features of the site, though, it was time to work out. Time for us to earn the yummy-looking snacks on the side of the room! The workout we would be doing was called “Animal Core”, and it consisted of a warmup and four circuits of three or four exercises done three times each. While the exercises all had cutesy animal names (“Gorilla Walk”, “Dolphin Jump”), Lisa told us that she had previously directed some of the Beachbody videos, and Insanity nearly killed me last summer, so I knew I was in for an intense time!

The workout started with a challenge – which was perfect to appeal to my Type A sense of competition. Basically, every workout includes a short component that’s done for time, kind of like a Crossfit Workout of the Day. You can put your results in on the website in order to compare it to other people (and divide up the data in different ways, e.g., show me how I did compared to other females in their 20s), and also to track your own progress. If you do that workout/challenge again, it even tells you what you got the last time and a running average of what you’ve gotten every time you’ve done that challenge! I really liked that – I tend to track all those sorts of numbers in a spreadsheet when I lift weights, and I loved the idea of the app building that right into the video.

As for other features, it definitely reminded me of a more up-to-date and slick version of Insanity. Like the Insanity videos, I was pleased to see a countdown clock on the right side of the screen and also an hourglass-like ticking bar at the bottom of the screen that showed how much you had left of each individual exercise – I always like to know exactly how much torture I have to endure so I can plan accordingly (what can I say, I’m a natural pacer). Also like Insanity, the workout featured tons of plyometrics and pushups that were clearly designed to work your whole body. Love getting more bang for my buck by doing that!

Unlike Insanity, you got to take 15 second rest breaks in between the exercises. At first I thought that was awesome, but then I wished the exercises went straight through so I could have gotten even sweatier than I already did. What can I say: I’m a glutton for punishment! If you feel the same way, I will note that this workout was supposed to be “intermediate” difficulty, so there is definitely room for something more hardcore if that’s what you’re looking for.

After the workout, we sipped champagne (these event organizers are my kind of people!), snacked on fruit, veggies, and hummus, and talked more about the site. I learned that after each workout, you get to rate how you felt it went: the difficulty, the length, how you liked the instructor, etc. Being a data analytics nerd, I was fascinated to hear that all of these ratings go into an algorithm that determines what videos get suggested to you in the future – that is the ultimate in interactive workouts! I got pretty excited at this point and started throwing out all kinds of suggestions for how to make it even cooler based on the data – there are so many possibilities! Luckily, the Daily Burn staff didn’t seem too put off by me geeking out and letting my inner consultant come out πŸ™‚

Despite feeling like I maybe hadn’t given the workout my best shot (I may have taken even a few more breaks than we were supposed to at times, though I’d argue that’s in part because I was pushing it 110% other times), I woke up this morning feeling like I was hit by a truck. My legs! My arms! My chest! My back! Every last bit of me was super sore… and it felt great. Of course, I can’t guarantee that this was all from the Daily Burn workout and not from my weights workout that morning (though that’s a pretty standard routine for me) or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness from the Refine class the night before… but based on which parts of me are sore and what exercises we did, I’d bet that a good part of my soreness is attributable to last night’s workout. WOW! I want more of that, please!

Now I just hope I am recovered by Saturday morning, when I’m teed up to pace the 4:40 group at the Rock N Roll DC Marathon. Tonight’s plan? Protein (dinner) and carbs (drinks) with some girlfriends, and an early bedtime. As I learned with how beaten up I got from that workout, I’m not Katniss Everdeen, so need to make sure the odds will be ever in my favor for Saturday! πŸ˜‰


3 thoughts on “I’m an animal!”

  1. Adorable picture…sounds like this outfit is right up your alley! Recover fast…I know you’ll be going back for more or at least tucking it in your suitcase!

  2. This sounds really cool. I tried to get into DVDs when I started traveling for work, but it just didn’t work for me. I can do the occasional when I really need to, but this looks like it is worth checking out.

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