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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mark Moon Strength Full Body Workout: Do It Do It!

by Kari Tervo

Who wants to exercise?

No, I didn't mean that like, "who in their right mind wants to exercise?" I meant it like, "WHOOOOO wants to EXERCIIIIISE?!?!"

Okay, well, then who wants to read about someone else exercisinnnnggg?!? I did a Mark Moon workout today, and it was tough. Come for the schadenfreude, stay for the inspiration!

I have a history of weight fluctuations. One time, I was a Weight Watchers success story after losing 40 pounds through a balanced diet and consistent exercise. I looked super-fit and felt great! Then, I got sick, and--here's the familiar refrain--gained it all back, and then some. A few years later, I lost a whole bunch more of that, and was about 15 pounds from my weight goal when BAM! I got slammed by a Prius in a crosswalk (please don't text while driving, thanks!). I was seriously injured, and I couldn't walk for four months. I wound up gaining back all but 10 pounds of what I had lost. I'll never be totally mended, but I am almost back to the level of strength I had prior to the accident. My sacrum (sit-bone) is basically held together with coat hangers and bubble gum, but other than that, I'm pretty much okay. Feeling almost back-to-normal last week, I joined a local gym. I was excited to be huffing and puffing on that cardio equipment again!

So what great timing when fitness expert Mark Moon, who contributes to Parade magazine, sent a press release offering a live preview of a workout on his new DVD series, "Get Fit Fast: The Complete Workout System." The release said that the workout would be "high intensity." I love pushing it during exercise! I'm in!

I met Mark at a fitness studio in West Hollywood, where he was busy setting up various steps, weights, and kettle bells for our fitness foray. A lot of fitness instructors have kind of intense personalities, but Mark was chill and friendly, with a disarming Aussie accent. Here, here I am with Mark, a few minutes prior to the workout:

Me and Mark Moon.
Note that I am naively smiling.

Mark said that we (a small class of four) would be doing the workout from the first DVD in the Get Fit Fast system: "Strength Full-Body Workout." He explained that I could tailor the intensity (weights, effort) to my limits, but to really push it in the last two sets.

After the other class members were ready, the show started, and we were it! The workout consisted of five parts: A short warm-up using just our body weight, a 10-minute "warm-up set" using weights and equipment, and two 10-minute "work sets," in which we'd put in full effort and really challenge ourselves. Then we'd cool down.

At the beginning of each segment, Mark would show us the exercises we'd be doing. We'd repeat each set of exercises three times. The routine was low-weight, high-repetition (15-20), with 15-second breaks in between exercises. The idea is to keep the heart rate high as you work your muscles to ensure optimum fat-burning.

"There is no such thing as a 'fat-burning workout,'" Mark told us. "There is only a workout done at a high enough intensity to burn fat." He repeated this message of high energy and high intensity throughout the workout, which I found really encouraging. It kept me on point and reminded me why I was there.

The exercises themselves were simple. Not easy to accomplish, mind you, but simple to perform. There was no complicated choreography. He'd do a demonstration, and then we'd all do the sets. We're talking lunges, bicep curls, tricep extensions, squats, upper-back rows, and shoulder flys. It's stuff you already know if you've been into fitness previously, and if you haven't, the exercises are very easy to pick up. For part of each segment, we'd do a "cardio blast" of running up and down a step.

You might think, "Well, this sounds like pretty basic stuff. Why should I buy this DVD if it's nothing revolutionary?" The key part to me is the intensity that Mark encourages. I have done high-intensity workouts before (like Body Pump at Gold's Gym), but Mark's program lifts that intensity to the next level. And, importantly, as far as famous fitness personalities go, Mark is the kind of guy you want to lead you to push yourself. He didn't make us feel bad about ourselves, like some fitness instructors are wont to do. Mark was always kind and encouraging during the workout, telling us to keep our energy up and to push ourselves. If one of us started falling off in the middle of a set, he'd gently but firmly say, "Come on." A couple of times, he came over to correct my form, telling me each time why the form was important. That helped me to remember to stay on track.

And how was the workout overall? WOW. I loved it! I mean, I loved it in that kind of exercise way where you are feeling both energetic and completely miserable, but you know you're doing something really good for yourself. And after such a tough workout, I felt really proud of myself for making it through the whole thing. Here is a pretty good representation of how I felt immediately after cool-down--oh, sweet, sweet cool down. . .

A workout's not a workout unless I look like a tomato after.
Mark Moon's class did the trick.

After the class, I started my car, but found I was seeing stars and feeling ecstatic. There was no way I should be driving under these conditions, especially because my legs were feeling so wobbly from those cardio blasts. I wasn't sure I could hit the brakes hard enough. I didn't want to get busted for Driving Under the Influence of Exercise. So I hung around in the parking lot for about 10 minutes, and headed home. However, I was so spent that, before making it to the freeway, I had to stop at Chipotle for a salad. Thus refreshed, I hit the road.

My mood was still so great that dudes on the 405 freeway were pulling up next to my car to stare at this strange chick shouting hip-hop lyrics at top volume: I'M SEXY AND I KNOW IT!

Well, maybe I'm not truly a sexy bitch yet, but with workouts like Mark Moon's, ya know I'm gonna get there. I highly recommend Mark Moon's Get Fit Fast Strength Full Body Workout. Do it do it!

I feel fantastic.


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