I'm Halfway Through This 4-Week Fitness Program, and My God, My Glutes

POPSUGAR Photography | Dominique Michelle Astorino

Last week I kicked off the new year by giving the POPSUGAR Fitness 4-Week Full-Body Fusion program a shot. The plan is available exclusively on Glow by POPSUGAR, and to briefly summarize my experience so far, these short, at-home workouts are impressive. I loved the pace and variety built into that first week, as well as the energy of the trainers. Despite working out for six of those first seven days, I was ready to jump right back into it this week. It just goes to show that you can work out in a smart, recovery-focused way, so you aren't hobbling around, feeling too sore and fatigued to keep up your healthy routine.

Needless to say, I was excited to roll out my yoga mat and join these familiar faces on my living room TV screen again. (One of my favorite features of this program is the Apple TV app, though you can also watch the workouts on a phone, tablet, or computer!) Here's exactly how it went.

Week 2 Overview
POPSUGAR Photography | Dominique Michelle Astorino

Week 2 Overview

Equipment Needed For Week 2

  • Yoga mat or soft surface
  • A set of light free weights
  • A set of medium free weights
  • Sneakers

Where I'm Working Out

Still in my living room, accompanied by my needy sidekick, my golden retriever Stella.

My Personal Goals
POPSUGAR Photography | Dominique Michelle Astorino

My Personal Goals

I started this plan in part to help build my endurance and strength so I can feel comfortable and have fun during a 10K I'm running at Disney World in February. I'm actually curious to see if this could be a substitute for a training program that focuses only on running, since it's so dynamic!

In addition to this, I have another goal of holding myself more accountable. Can I be honest for a second? It was on day eight of this program that I identified my greatest challenge in at-home workouts: the "no one's watching me" effect. I don't know if you're like me, but I tend to work out hardest when I'm in a more public setting, out of fear of judgment (perhaps I should talk to my therapist about this, but here we are). I either want to impress the instructor or avoid getting called out for bad form and embarrassed in front of classmates, so I tend to do my very, very best in both group settings and one-on-one training.

How did I overcome this? I'm still working on it. I had to really psych myself up and pretend that they were here or that someone was watching my form! I didn't realize how sloppy or lazy I could get without the watchful eye of a personal trainer or coach, so this was something I had to really pay attention to this week. I'll continue to update you on how this goes. Now that you know my deepest, darkest secrets, let's move on.

How It Went
POPSUGAR Photography | Dominique Michelle Astorino

How It Went

Day 8: Knockout Ab Workout With Christa DiPaolo

Lower abs, hello. This is the kind of workout that makes me wish Christa DiPaolo taught classes in my neighborhood so I could see her every day. She's got such incredible energy, and I love her coaching style.

I've gotta admit, this workout felt a lot harder than last week's (starting with froggers wasn't the gentlest of entries). Only five minutes in and I was shaking, and that's with no weights or equipment! I see you POPSUGAR . . . easing us in before turning it up! Then halfway through we got to what Christa called "vomit-inducing" high knees. I didn't puke, but I'll say she wasn't really exaggerating. That said, I seriously love the positive light she brings to a workout. It's exactly what I needed to push through the no-one's-watching barrier I hit this week.

This workout was accompanied by the same 5-minute warmup and cooldown from the first week, both separate videos, both of which I sung the praises of last week as well.

Day 9: Dance Cardio Workout With Amanda Kloots

Back with Amanda! I did this dance cardio routine at 6 a.m., which is a lot earlier than I've been working out lately. But let me tell you, I forgot how much early morning cardio rivals my early morning Starbucks. Of note: I thought I wouldn't be sore from that equipment-free boxing workout yesterday, but . . . I was . . . quite wrong. I'm glad I got to "shake it out" with this energizing workout.

Day 10: Unilateral Workout With Weights with Raneir Pollard

If I thought I was sore after boxing, I definitely wasn't prepared for this day 10 workout, which showed absolutely no mercy. None of the workouts in this plan are longer than 45 minutes, and this 35-minute workout with Ranier was the longest one so far this week, but don't let those short and sweet times fool you.

Before I get into how much this beat me up (lol), I want to emphasize the unilateral part of the workout, which helps you identify imbalances within your body and work toward better balance overall. This is something I've been working on with private Pilates for almost a year! I think it's incredible to do things like this at home, without dropping $100 per hour for a trainer.

Now, on to the "no mercy" part. This was the first workout of the program so far that has required slightly heavier weights (medium dumbbells). Obviously, this depends on your level — for some, medium means a 5-lb. dumbbell, for others it might be 10 or 12, and so on. But this workout did not come to play, so I'm grateful for Raneir's sense of humor today!

Day 11: Restorative Yoga and Meditation With Koya Webb

Is recovery my favorite workout? Maybe. My yogi angel Koya was back to help me calm down and restore. This recovery "workout" is the same video I followed last week, and I still love it.

Day 12: Cardio, Ab, and Booty Blast With Jake DuPree

I loved how this workout infused a little bit of my favorite workouts from Pilates! Another positive and upbeat workout from Jake was a perfect way to get back into it and power through the rest of the week after winding down with yesterday's yoga session.

Another aspect I loved about this sweat session was that it — like the rest of this program — was really dynamic. I felt like I got all muscle groups working and worked on my endurance, and in just 30 minutes! I know that's the crux of this entire program, but I love how much gets done in such a short period of time, without skipping essentials like a warmup and cooldown.

Day 13: Lower-Body Burner Workout With Raneir Pollard

Ending strong with the longest workout of the program so far. Not going to lie, after the workout with Ranier earlier this week, I was sweating just looking at this one, which was five minutes longer and had the word "burner" in the title.

I was exceptionally relieved to find that it included a 4-minute warmup and 8-minute cooldown, which means that this was not 40 minutes of strength training. That said, this workout did call for heavier weights — I went with the medium ones that I had — and left me the sweatiest and most sore I've been so far (weighted bridges . . . my glutes are still trembling). I will definitely come back to this video when I need someone to kick my butt again.

Day 14: Rest

And it's a good thing, because I definitely need it after a good leg and butt day!

End-of-Week Thoughts
POPSUGAR Photography | Dominique Michelle Astorino

End-of-Week Thoughts

This week was as much of a mental workout as a physical one. I learned more about my body's imbalances from Raneir's unilateral workout and where my body holds tension during yoga with Koya . . . but the biggest lesson was about how I work out at home versus in a public space.

I learned this week that a lot of what I do and how I perform is based on outside perspective: pleasing others, impressing others, or not embarrassing myself for fear of judgment from others. This was such an incredible reminder that I'm allowed to do some things just for me. I don't need to have great form for a trainer at a studio, I want to have great form for myself. I don't have to kick ass in a class for approval from fellow fitness enthusiasts, I want to do that for my own health and happiness.

Is this something you've faced as well, but maybe haven't come to terms with or articulated? An at-home workout plan might help you bring these things to the surface so that you can become a better version of yourself in more ways than one. Until next week!