Monday, April 21, 2014

Michelle Dozois Q&A

A few weeks ago, I got up the nerve to email Michelle Dozois, creator of the PeakFit System, Peak 10 workouts, and countless other workout DVDs.  She was kind enough to answer some of my questions regarding sustaining a workout regimen and at-home fitness.  Since I'm starting her PeakFit 8-Week System in May, I was so honored to hear from someone who motivates and inspires me every day I go to workout.....

Long-term fitness goals and expectations are always on our minds.  Can we keep it up?  How do we keep it up?  It's so great to get feedback from someone like you, Michelle, who looks great and is a constant inspiration for us at home. 

Thank you for the kind words.  When my son was young and had just received the diagnosis of autism, I was really struggling to find time to work out. I started to rely more and more on home workouts and although I had created home workouts for other companies, it was at this time I found a whole new respect and understanding of those who exercised at home.

1. Keeping a big variety of fitness videos in one's home library is expensive.  For at-home fitness peeps, what do you suggest for keeping long-term fitness goals (through workout DVDs) without plateauing?

I would probably develop my own system of categorization and organize them by workout type and then also by level of intensity.  (you can create sub categories, too, if needed)

For example:

Strength workouts

  • Total Body
  • Lower Body
  • Upper Body
  • Core Body
Cardio  workouts

  • Low Impact
  • Mixed Impact
  • Higher Impact 
  • Dance
Mind-body workouts

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Barre 
  • Fusion        
Combination Workouts

  • Peak 10: cardio + strength
Then I would find a way to label by intensity - perhaps a little round sticker, green for light, yellow for moderate, orange for higher intensity and  red for HIIT or anything you consider the highest intensity level.  You can always change the sticker color if you find you change your mind as you work your way through the DVD's.  If you wanted to go a step further I would even use a Post-it note with a couple of thoughts on the workout (what size weights worked best, whether or not you liked the music, etc).  When you get detailed with your DVD organization, it can spark more interest in an effective, diverse home workout plan.

2.  Similarly, for those of us at home, it's hard and expensive to keep upping the weights.  Is it alright to use a light set and heavy set of weights for a long time?  How frequently should we buy the next step up?

First off, I wouldn't spend a lot of money on weights.  I prefer hexagon weights (the ones with the edges so the weights don’t roll away from you).  I personally have weights in the following range: 3,5,8,10,12,and 15.  I use all of these when developing workouts plus my kids like to jump in every now and then!  15 is the heaviest I have in my house for me.  My "go to" weights are 8s and 12s.   Do you really need that many different weights? Maybe not, but remember, if you're really committing to a body transformation program, I do recommend changing up your weights. As you make your way through the program, you will most likely use a variety of weights, so investing in more than 2 sets is worth it! For example, when doing Peak, you'll most likely pass the 5 lb weight mark fairly quickly. But you will return to 5 lbs while doing a mind body workout within the same week.  (This is where those Post-it notes come in so handy, so you can remind yourself of the differing weights for each program) Remember, that even for Peak, when you switch to a new version of Cardio Strength you will want to go down in your weights for a workout or two until you are familiar with the movements and ready to use a heavier weight for that workout with those particular movement patterns along with the tempo.  What most people forget is that the weights they use during each unique workout is not always going to be the same. Weight options depend on the goal and style of the workout. 

3.  HIIT is all the rage right now.  How many times a week can one safely do these crazy intense workouts?

2-3 tops.  You may feel like you can do more but the long term wear and tear is not good for any body, no matter how experienced you are.

4.  After an 8-week Peak Fit challenge, like the one you're beginning in May, what should one do?  Bring the intensity down for a while? 

You will get better long term results by taking a break between Peak sessions. Change out your workouts for other things in your library.  Even if you love Peak and want to keep doing them longer, it is better for your body to mix things up.   (You can also do a mini Peak sessions of 4-6 weeks if you don’t want to commit to another full 8-week session).

This doesn’t mean you have to cut out all HIIT workouts but please - listen to your body!  You may want to skip them for a while or do one per week from another workout you have in your library.  I find if you give Peak a break (or any workout system for that matter) and change things up, when you come back to Peak you will get even better results.

Over all, organize your workout sessions by what you need to accomplish every week.  For example, how many strength, cardio and flexibility workouts do you need to fulfill your fitness goals?  Your schedule will most likely change over time but it's best make a plan for the next few weeks and keep your workout selection consistent during this time. Then you can rotate to a new set of DVD's in your library.
Remember, there isn't one solution for everyone. Investing time organizing your personal collection will help you keep your body in great shape and help you to get the most value from your purchases.

I am so grateful to get such wonderful advice from someone who truly inspires me.  Thank you, MIchelle!

Michelle asked a favor of anyone who purchases her DVDs: please review them on Amazon.  This helps sales and ensures that we'll get more great workout videos from her.  

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