Friday, January 31, 2014

January Challenge: Hip Hop Abs / Love it or Leave it?

January was the month of Abs for Rachel and me.  We figured if we were going to do something abdominal-related, we better get it out of the way at the beginning of the year when we were still simultaneously really motivated from New Year's resolutions and guilty from holiday over-eating. 

By absolute chance we had both purchased Hip Hop Abs (months ago) but had not managed to make much progress with the program.  In fact, there is a good chance that one of us had not even taken the plastic off the DVD and the other's DVD cover had so much dust on it, that she actually thought it was gray and not black.  But there is strength in numbers, so we decided to attack this one together.

Using the provided 30 Day calendar, we decided to start on January 1st and follow along with the plan as directed workout-wise.  (Does anyone ever really follow those nutritional guides?)  We weighed, took before pictures and measurements.  From the safety and comfort of our own homes.  Separately.  I mean, I love Rachel and she loves me, but I don't think either of us is ready to divulge all our secrets quite yet.

And then we did it.  For 30 days. Each of us missed a day or two along the way.  My reasoning was pure and simple.  I just didn't want to.  It was a tantrum day.  (I figure we're all allowed one--or two, or three--of those.) 

So here we are at the end, and the results are in.  They are below, along with our overall thoughts and whether or not we think you should give Hip Hop Abs a try.  



Inches lost--4.5, total
Pounds lost--5


Inches lost--6, total
Pounds lost--5

  • The 30 Day calendar is extremely monotonous.  There are seven different types of workouts on three DVDs in this collection, if you count the two short workouts, "Last Minute Abs" and "Last Minute Buns."  The calendar we used mainly utilized two of them.  TWO--"Ab Sculpt" and "Fat Burning Cardio."  That's a lot of the same thing over and over. Rachel said by day nine she was over it and ready to quit.  I'd say that it took me a little longer, but by day 15, I was done.  And by done, I mean DONE. 
  • "Total Body Burn" seems to be the best overall workout in the bunch, but it's also the longest at just over 40 minutes.  What we liked about the other workouts is that they seemed to be effective without taking up so much of our evenings. 
  • The "Hips, Buns and Thighs" routine was also great, but they only used it three times in 30 days.  It would have been an awesome addition to spice up this plan.  And it definitely worked those hips, buns and thighs.  I did feel like screaming when we started doing squats.  But you can blame that on December's challenge. 
  • Shaun T is a freaking hoot.  I mean, you cannot watch this guy and not feel like working out.  He is sassy and spunky and any other cheerleader-like adjective you want to throw at him.  And I mean that in a very positive way.  I'm telling you, if you're lucky enough to live somewhere that would make it an option to actually be IN one of his classes, DO IT!  Go.  He's a great motivator.  Even if you memorize the motivation by week two. 
  • I am not coordinated enough to do any of these moves flawlessly.  I'm what you might call a Back Row Fixture at any Zumba/Aerobics/Fitness class.  It's just better if everyone is in front of me, where they can't see me.  But none of these moves are so hard that you can't at least do them well enough to get the benefits from them.  And there is that one girl to the right of Shaun that always does the routine the "easy" way.  We were buddies. 


Was it worth it?  Well I lost six stinking inches of fattiness so I'm going to say yes.  Was it the most fun way to do it? Maybe not the whole time.  Was it the only way to do it?  Absolutely not.  But it was effective in that both Rachel and I lost weight and inches, just like we wanted to.  So, I'll take it.  I think it's a great workout, but if I did it again, I would not follow the 30 day calendar just as it is listed.  I'd change the workouts around and utilize more of them.  I'm sure there is a reason they did it like they did.  I mean, looking at Shaun T, and then me, you know which of us has more knowledge on fitness.  But look at me again, and you'll see that I need a heck of a lot more motivation to keep me going than he does. 

So, what's next?

For February we've decided to focus on our arms.  That's the one area that saw NO benefit from January's workouts.  Not for me, anyway.  Starting tomorrow, February 1st, we will follow the schedule below.  So, come along with us!  And watch for updates on Facebook throughout the month! 


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