Book Review: The 4X4 Diet by Erin Oprea

4 x 4

I am way past the point where I should have gotten back in shape post-pregnancy. It’s hard to get motivated because the scale says a number that makes me happy and I am wearing smaller jeans than I was before I got pregnant. I was really lucky after I had Jimmie and I just kept losing weight. I’m not bragging, just stating the facts. Kid gave me a great metabolism. Still, I have the post-pregnancy pooch and I don’t like the way it looks. Plus, my arms are flabby and my butt is too big. I was toned before I got pregnant, now I’m just jiggly.

I finally found a new workout book to motivate me. The 4 X 4 Diet: 4 Key Foods 4 Minute Workouts. Four Weeks to the Body You Want by Erin Oprea.  Last Thursday was the first day since June 2014 that I worked out. Like I said, it was long overdue. I have no real excuse except the normal ones: too tired, no time, did I mention too tired?

I’m not going to lie, I’m was not as interested in the diet part of the book as much as I much as I was interested in the 4 minutes workouts. Because let’s be honest, most moms don’t have a ton of extra time to workout. Even though I wasn’t super excited about the diet section of the book, I did read it. Erin Oprea suggests four clean eating tips that will help you slim down:  Cut out starches at night, cut back on sugar, cut back on sodium, and cut back on alcohol. All of these suggestions aren’t ground breaking ideas, but helpful none the less. Erin offers swap out foods for what you may normally eat. for breakfast lunch, snacks, and dinner. There are also a ton of healthy clean eating recipes in the book. I can’t wait to try a few: Cookie Dough Hummus (YUM!), Lemon Pepper Cod, and Chicken Caprese. Just because I’m not going full blown diet, doesn’t mean I can’t cut back and eat healthier.

Have you ever heard of tabatas? I hadn’t before reading Erin Oprea’s book. They’re pretty fun! A workout, fun? I know, right? A tabata is a type of interval workout that mixes different moves with short break in between: 20 second intense move then 10 second break. I like this idea because I easily get bored running on a treadmill or using an elliptical. Last thursday was my first time ever trying this kind of workout and boy was I exhausted. But it was the good kind of exhaustion not the “I just woke up in the middle of the night to feed my baby” exhaustion.

I started with the beginner tabata workouts #1, 2,4, 6. There are three different sets of tabata workouts: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I have a feeling I am going to do be doing the beginner for a while since I am so out of shape. You do each tabata twice (4 different moves) to make one round. A whole workout consists of 4-6 rounds. I did 4 tabata rounds which equaled 16 minutes of working out plus pre and post stretching. You do one move for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, and then move onto the next move, repeat each move twice until you finish one round, which equal four minutes.

Yes, it sounds confusing, but Erin’s book explains everything in great detail. There are pictures and explanations for each move, which is pretty awesome. You need a few pieces of equipment to do these workouts: weights, yoga mat, jump rope, resistant bands,  and a foam roller. You also need a tabata timer that you can download on your phone or tablet.  The one I downloaded dings multiple times to start a move, then dings once to rest, over and over again, until an entire workout is finished.

For the first two workouts I put Mickey Mouse Clubhouse  on for Jimmie, stuck my tablet on top of the TV, and got moving (on day #3 we watched Super Why!). Jimmie thought the whole ordeal was hilarious. Each group of tabatas (beginner, intermediate, and advance) has 10 different tabata rounds. Every day you can pick 4-6 different rounds to do. This mixes which muscles you are working out and keeps you interested because you’re not doing the same boring thing every single day. Erin also suggests walking 10,000 steps every day to keep yourself healthy and in shape. I plan on doing the tabata workout 3-4 times a week. I’m hoping to see results soon. I will keep you updated!

My second and third workouts went a lot better than the first one. I switched up the tabatas to a set that doesn’t require me to go  from standing to the ground as many times. With my low blood pressure, I felt really off after the first day. For days 2 and 3 I did Tabatas #2, #4, #5, and #8. This group of tabatas also had a lot more weight lifting, which is what I need to focus on.

Busy mamas, this is the workout book for you! No excuses.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All the opinions are my own.

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