My seeming addiction to Reebok workout equipment continues with the latest addition to my home workout gear, the Reebok Easy Tone Step. I was very lucky to be supplied with it by Gymworld Fitness, after being the lucky winner of a competition on the lovely Lilinha Angel's blog. It took a while to get to me because the people from Gymworld Fitness were on holiday but it's finally arrived and I have been enjoying trying it out.
I'll wager this is different to any step you have ever seen before! It certainly still looks unusual to me! It is a sturdy plastic step with soft, rubbery and good grippy top, excellent for standing on in bare feet or trainers (although no doubt for health and safety reasons I should probably only be advocating using this kit with trainers!). The grip bumps along the surface are smaller and more closely spaced in the centre, showing the optimum area for least balance challenge. The further away from the centre your hands or feet are placed, the more challenging the exercise. And why is that?
Because underneath, instead of fixed feet, the step has two inflated pods, which have been "engineered to create natural instability". I don't know about you but I am tad unstable by nature, so I wasn't sure how well I would get on with this piece of kit, but in reality it's really easy to use. Much easier than the first few times I tried an inverted bosu ball for example - great for a beginner - the 'natural instability' is not so great that you are falling all over the place, but more a micro instability which means your muscles have to work that little bit extra on every exercise to keep you balanced.
The step comes with a pump, in case your balance pods lose inflatability, and also a DVD which introduces how to work out with the step and gives a number of exercise videos that you can work along to. I found it a great introduction to using the step and gave me some good ideas of how I can use it. Like with the other Reebok kit, they also provide videos freely online for you to access. I think this is a good resource and ideal for me, working out on my own at home.
Today I did a half hour workout using a combination of my Easy Tone Step and my epic Cardio Bell. I mixed up a whole range of exercises and managed to do some cardio work as well as toning exercises for my arms, core and legs. The Step is really easy to use in a number of different ways which helps you to not get bored. The little switch underneath controls the airflow, either keeping it steady or allowing the air to flow from one pod to the other, which increases the intensity of the exercises. I found that it was good to mix up whether I had it on or off, or somewhere in the middle, depending what exercises I was doing. It is great that you can use the step either way up as well, really increasing the variety of exercises and muscle groups that you are working. As you can see I am really pleased with this piece of kit, a genuinely positive addition to my home fitness regime.
In related, but other news, I have decided to join forces with Jane and Cheryl and others in their supportive group of Diet Buddies. Since quitting smoking I have gained over half a stone, and with an impending visit to California for my best mate's wedding I really want to get back into the shape that I had. I have stopped going to the gym in recent months as without an annual bus ticket it was just taking too much time out of my day to get there and get home again, but I have been cycling for my commute and more besides. This is why my home workout regime has become more important. I have also been using the MyFitnessPal app to monitor my food intake which has made me a lot more aware of what I'm putting in.
Since I stopped smoking I have noticed the following - I eat breakfast where I didn't before (admittedly better for you overall, but still a lot of additional calories compared to what I was eating), I snack now (I essentially snacked once a fortnight before) and I am drinking more now (probably a work thing!). So, I am not so much on a 'diet' as being more aware of making good choices, ensuring I keep up the home exercise and hopefully this will lead to losing at least half a stone by the time I go on holiday and definitely being more toned and feeling more confident. I shall check in on the Sunday weigh with my Diet Buddies and keep my fingers crossed. Starting weight, 9st 2lbs... Desired end, a BMI of 22. Here is my terrifying Wii Fit screen at the start (in my defense I literally did this after I had my tea. Hopefully that will pay off on Sunday and give me a confidence boost, lol).
NB Weirdly, this was the second body test I did as I forgot to photograph it the first time round. How my BMI had gone up 0.8 points in 2 minutes I have no idea. But it annoyed me.