Total Gym XLS: Week 21 Recap

Total Gym in Our Living Room

We received a complimentary Total Gym XLS for the purposes of this series; this post also contains affiliate links. This article is an account of our personal experience only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any medical condition. Always consult with physician before embarking on any fitness program.

Here’s our measurements for week 21:

Measurements - Week 21

This last week was a brutal one for me – I’m still sick, and I’ve been having the worst insomnia for over a month. I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went to the doctor last week. Things are slowly starting to improve and I hope I’ll be able to kick this cold soon. Everyone around here is getting hammered with the cold and flu, so I think it’s just an especially bad year for it. I haven’t been exercising at all, because I have chest congestion and coughing fits don’t lend themselves well to working up a sweat.

Jai, however, is flu-free and has been getting some great workouts! He’s been using the 6-8 Minute Workout DVD, and has been commenting on what a good workout it is. It’s pretty amazing how a targeted routine can work your muscles so well in a short period of time! It’s been especially easy to follow the DVD since we moved our Total Gym XLS into the living room temporarily, so it’s been right next to the TV – we’ve been doing some construction projects in a room adjacent to our “Exercise room”, so we just emptied it out temporarily while we completed those minor renovations.

We had originally planned to wrap up our Total Gym series at the end of January, but we’ve been loving the feedback and encouragement we’ve been getting and enjoying the chance to share our journey, so we’ve decided to extend the series – we’re going to continue sharing a monthly Total Gym XLS video and our measurement results right here on Beeb-Log through the end of summer 2014, so we can continue to update you on our progress, favorite exercises, and more!

If you have a question or exercise you’d like to request us to demo, leave it in the comments below and we’ll include it in our next video update in February!

1,000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story Now on DVD

A promotional DVD is being provided as a thank you for this post. This post contains my Amazon Associates link.

If you’ve got some big sports fans in your family, then you might want to check out this movie that is new to DVD and appropriate for the whole family! 1,000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story is a film inspired by a true story of a young man who is a talented basketball player at Gettysburg College. After suffering a stroke, 18-year-old Cory Weissman overcomes incredible odds to play basketball once again. Check out the trailer above for more on this movie!

1,000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story will be released on DVD and VOD on March 4th, 2014 and is available to pre-order on Amazon. Learn more at

Diagon Alley Addition at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida

Diagon Alley

This morning, I was invited to watch a special webcast about the new Diagon Alley attraction at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, which opens this summer. From the sound of it, this addition is going to be very immersive and detailed! Fans will actually be able to travel by the Hogwarts Express from Hogsmead in Islands of Adventure, to Diagon Alley at Universal Studios. They wanted to add the train ride experience rather than just walking from one part of the attraction to the other, since it makes it true to the books!

The Hogwarts Express will actually take you through a replica of London, which looks “Exactly the same” according to actor Matthew Lewis, who portrayed Neville Longbottom in the films. A fake London in Florida? Now this I have to see! From there, you can slip from the “Muggle” world into Diagon Alley for the full experience. You can shop at the stores talked about in the books, eat at the Leaky Cauldron, go to Harry’s favorite ice cream shop, and take a walk through spooky Knockturn Alley.

Also new will be the ride “Harry Potter and The Escape From Gringotts”, which is a “Multi-dimensional” experience and touted as one of the most impressive, advanced rides that Universal has ever worked on. They showed a few artists’ renderings and it certainly looks cool!

I’ll be sharing more news and photos as I get them, but in the meantime, you can learn more about the Diagon Alley addition by clicking here.

ETA: Check out these concept renderings that were just released! You can click on the thumbnails to see the images full-size.

Diagon AlleyWiseacre's Wizarding EquipmentWeasleys' Wizard WheezesOllivandersLondon EmbankmentKing's Cross Station
Hogsmeade StationHarry Potter and The Escape From GringottsFlorean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour

Here’s a press release with more details on what you can find at Diagon Alley:

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 23, 2014) – Never before has a theme park created a guest experience like this: you climb aboard the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade and moments later arrive at King’s Cross Station – where the wonders of London and Diagon Alley unfold before you. And it is all real.

With this summer’s opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life inside a new, magnificently themed area that includes a revolutionary attraction experience, as well as all-new themed shops and dining.

The two companies today revealed first-ever details about the new area and the one-of-a-kind adventures it will offer the whole family. The spectacularly themed environment will double the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter’s adventures at Universal Orlando, expanding it across both Universal theme parks.

And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between the two areas aboard the iconic Hogwarts Express.

Universal Orlando launched a global phenomenon when it opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at its Islands of Adventure theme park in 2010. That area includes the iconic Hogwarts castle – which houses the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction – and the village of Hogsmeade. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Orlando’s second theme park, Universal Studios, and will create new experiences based on the signature areas of London, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley.

Universal’s creative team has been working closely with Stuart Craig and the production team from the Harry Potter films to make the new area as authentic and spectacular as possible – just as it did with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

The vision for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is unprecedented, with Universal Orlando creating the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience.

After arriving at King’s Cross Station aboard the Hogwarts Express, guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway from the films into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city. There will be shops, dining experiences, and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional journey that will take theme park attractions to a new level.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will give visitors the exciting opportunity to:

· Board the Hogwarts Express and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station (located in Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Station (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure). The journey will be filled with views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. Park-to-park admission is required.

· Experience a groundbreaking new, multi-dimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, which will place riders in the middle of an incredible adventure as they navigate their way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults

· Witness the magical experience of a wand choosing a wizard at Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, one of the wizarding world’s premier wand shops

· Discover the darker side of magic in Knockturn Alley, the darkest of dark places that features Borgin and Burkes – a shop specializing in the Dark Arts that will offer a wide variety of Dark objects, such as Death Eater masks, skulls, and other sinister items

· Explore some of Diagon Alley’s famous shops, including:

o Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, a vibrant shop featuring novelty items, magical jokes, and toys inspired by the books and films that will amaze the mischievous child in everyone

o Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, where guests will find a variety of wizardwear from Hogwarts school uniform ties, scarves and jumpers, to authentic wizard’s robes and character costumes

o Magical Menagerie, which features a collection of plush animals, such as owls and Hippogriffs

o Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment, where guests can grab wizarding essentials such as telescopes, binoculars, armillary spheres, compasses, magnifying glasses and hourglasses

o Quality Quidditch Supplies, offering a wide assortment of apparel and equipment including Quidditch sweaters, brooms, Golden Snitches, Bludgers, Bludger bats, Quaffles and more

o Scribbulus, featuring authentic writing implements and products such as feather quills, ink and inkwells, bookmarks, journals, parchment paper, seals, stationery sets and postcards

· Enjoy traditional British fare that includes favorite dishes such as fish and chips, bangers and mash and more at the Leaky Cauldron

· Visit Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour for frozen treats in a variety of tantalizing and unique flavors such as strawberry-and-peanut-butter ice-cream and many others

· And more!

Total Gym XLS: Week 20 Recap

Total Gym in The Sunshine

We received a complimentary Total Gym XLS for the purposes of this series; this post also contains affiliate links. This article is an account of our personal experience only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any medical condition. Always consult with physician before embarking on any fitness program.

It’s our 20th week using the Total Gym XLS:

Measurements - Week 20

Last week, I was following the 6-8 Minute Workout DVD. I was impressed by what a challenging workout I was getting in such a short amount of time – Jai tried Day 1 of the men’s program on this DVD, which was similar to Day 1 of the women’s program, and we both were commenting on how our abs were so sore in the following days! For anybody crunched on time, this DVD is an awesome companion to the Total Gym because you don’t feel like you’ve skimped on your workout when you finish, even though it’s brief. The main challenge to using this DVD is the fact that my Total Gym and TV are in different rooms, so I either have to pause the DVD and run back and forth between rooms, which really interrupts the flow and efficiency of the workout, or I have to move the XLS into the living room so I can watch the DVD as I follow along. It’s not really practical for us to move the Total Gym permanently into the living room, but I’ll figure something out. (A portable DVD player would be one solution!)

I never got the chance to finish Days 4 & 5 of the DVD last week, and you want to know why? Guess what – I’m sick again. Yes, I just barely got over the lengthy holiday cold, and now I have a new one. I’m so sick of being sick! This is a full-on cold with blocked ears/runny nose/sore throat/chills/sweats/nausea/vomiting, so once again, I’ve been trying to take it easy. Fortunately, this one seems to be developing and clearing faster than the last one so hopefully there will only be a day or two more of the worst of it. It’s especially frustrating getting sick again so quickly when I’ve really been trying hard this month to get better rest, reduce stress, exercise, be mindful of eating my fruits and veggies, etc. But this has been a gnarly cold and flu season – our area news has been talking a lot about hospitalizations for the flu – so what can you do? I’ll be glad when flu season is over! BLECH!!

Got any tips for keeping up your energy while recovering from a nasty cold?

Total Gym XLS: Week 19 Recap

Our Exercise Room

We received a complimentary Total Gym XLS for the purposes of this series; this post also contains affiliate links. This article is an account of our personal experience only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any medical condition. Always consult with physician before embarking on any fitness program.

This was our first week back in action after getting sick over the holidays – here’s our measurements:

Measurements - Week 19

Since I’d been out of commission for a couple of weeks, I had a plan for easing back into my workouts. I spent two days picking out 3 or 4 cards and just doing those; then I did Day 1 of the 6-8 Minute Workout DVD. It’s a 5-day program, so I’m going to follow that this week and then start doing some other DVDs and longer workouts next week. This is a great way to scale back up my workouts without doing too much all at once; if there’s anything my stair machine knee injury taught me, it’s that you should not overdo it when you’re exercising. The great thing about the 8 minute workout is that while it may be brief, it’s intense – you’d be surprised what a good workout I’ve gotten just following that short routine!

This week, we also discovered yet another benefit to having a gym in our home. We had very stormy weather last week, and on Saturday night the power went out for maybe half an hour. While we waited for the power to come back on, Jai decided to do a workout on the Total Gym by flashlight instead of just sitting in the dark. I found it very entertaining that he was working out during the power outage! ;)

Total Gym XLS, Week 18: New Year’s Update!

We received a complimentary Total Gym XLS for the purposes of this series; this post also contains affiliate links. This article is an account of our personal experience only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any medical condition. Always consult with physician before embarking on any fitness program.

As I mentioned yesterday, Jai and I both got sick before Christmas and it was one of the worst colds I’ve had in a long time. Usually, when I get a cold, it hits its peak and then slowly starts to let up, so I feel a little bit better every day – but not this one. This cold stayed at the same intensity and just did not get any better, and it just kept going and going for about 2 1/2 weeks. I took an unprecedented amount of sick time off work (for me) and although I did continue to work out on the Total Gym XLS when the cold first started, I soon gave that up. I’ve had a bad cough/chest congestion, and moving around just made me feel worse in that regards so I opted to let myself rest and recover. Jai also got a lot of achey muscle pain with his cold, so we’ve just been a mess overall. ;) Now that my cough has finally let up, I started working out again yesterday, and it feels so good, physically and mentally!

So with our sickness hiatus in mind, here are our measurements after about 2 1/2 weeks off:

Measurements - Week 18

New Year’s is typically the time when people are making resolutions and getting started with a new fitness routine, so if this is something you’re working on, I’d love to hear all about it!

Unintentional Vacations

I’m back to work after not quite 2 weeks. I did get some work done over the holidays, but mostly took time off. I’d planned to have a lighter schedule over Christmas and New Year’s, but wasn’t anticipating the fact that Jai and I would get sick with an awful cold right before Christmas. This is one of the nastiest I’ve had, for the sheer fact that it stayed at the same intensity level and did not let up for these past few weeks. Since most people in my industry were out of the office for the holidays anyway, I shrugged my shoulders and decided to let my poor exhausted body recover. I’ve pretty much just been quarantined in the house watching Netflix between coughing fits.

While I was sad to have all of my holiday plans go completely down the toilet, in a strange way I think I needed some quite time to recoup and regroup. Taking this much time off is usually unthinkable for me, so I almost think my body was forcing me to slow down a bit. I worked really hard last year to make up for lost time – the mobility problems I have recovered from really limited my life and career, so for me 2013 was an important year for reclaiming what had been lost and getting back to where I was. I also had a lot of very significant personal milestones, like coping with the 10th anniversary of my mom’s death, finishing a decade of renovations, and other things. I knew 2013 would be a very challenging year, but it was a little like climbing a mountain, because I have a lot of hard-won victories to show for it. In 2014 I want to keep this momentum going, but also enjoy what I’ve worked for and take more time out to care for my health and well-being. I can’t run myself into the ground forever and I think my hard work paid off last year, so I need to scale back my insane hours while I can. (Ironically, Britney’s “Work” is playing while I write this!)

Happy New Year, everybody!!