Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Filming Slim Series Express w/Debbie Siebers -- Prior to the Trip

I know I'm all over the place with this blog, but I have too many things to write about and not enough days (well, plenty to come).

In case you haven't read my other posts about this, I'll give you links as I go so you don't have to go searching through the archives. Here is my first post about my background with Slim in 6. Here is the second one about the Slim in 6 Contest I entered (and won -- woo hoo!)

Now for the rest of the story (or at least a portion of it). When I found out that I'd won, I posted it on the Video Fitness forum. Little did I know at the time that we weren't supposed to announce it yet because it wasn't made public to all of the contestants (and some VFers were contestants and were sad to find out from me instead of from Beachbody, which I later discovered from Anna at BB). From that point on, I chronicled my adventures with Beachbody on VF. (Here's the link to the whole VF thread with everyone's comments included if you want to see it all. Warning: It's long, but it gives you a feel for the mood of the time :)).

I'll copy and paste those entries for your viewing pleasure (it really is fun to hear about -- what a fun industry!) I'll probably do it in several segments, so my posts aren't too long, and I'll give previous links in each post for those joining the blog at different times. Also, this will give me a chance to share more pictures (and believe me, I have a ton! -- The one to the right is from the photo shoot )
and I'm wearing the pink top from Target that I mentioned in one of the posts below. I kept posing pretty much the same way over and over and over. Then the photographer asked me to do a move from one of the workouts. My mind went blank. I kept thinking of yoga poses. Then I remembered some punching moves -- that's what I'm doing here).

Here's a post I wrote when I first got the details about our schedule:

HAPPY HAPPY DAY!!!! I just got 2 e-mails from Anna -- the ones I've been waiting for! First, she said that she and Debbie filmed the two workouts we'll be doing on Friday. They're putting them onto one dvd to send out to us TODAY!!! (Hopefully they're shipping overnight!) We're doing the Cardio/Sculpt and the 30 minute Stretch (Yay! I was hoping for this one over the abs since I've been doing so much yoga and Pilates lately -- my abs aren't as used to traditional ab work anymore and welcome any stretching!)

The second e-mail was chock full of fun information -- how they'll be taking care of us, there will be a packet for us when we get to our hotel spelling out the itinerary for all 3 days -- when they'll pick us up each day, what the meal arrangements will be (food will often be at BB -- other times we get $$ for eating on our own), when we do fittings, what clothes to bring, what to wear for the interviews, what to talk about (if we need ideas, which I rarely do). The best part is that when I e-mailed asking which night might work out for me to meet a friend who lives near there for dinner, she told me that after filming on Thursday night, we're going to go out to eat with Debbie! This seems way too hard to believe amidst my normal happenings at home!

Oh, and another fun bit of information -- she said that we have to make sure we don't make faces or show that we've messed up if we do indeed mess up. There will be cameras on us from all angles at all times, so after the filming is over, they pick the angle that shows us looking our best. If we mess up on footwork, but the upper body or face doesn't show it, they don't have to film it over. Fun to know!
So, Kathy -- I guess that does pertain to what you just said, huh? Staying calm in the face of catastrophe is a good aspect to have for filming a video. Now how am I possibly supposed to be able to get anything done around here? All I want to do is figure out what I'm going to pack, what I need to buy, and all that.

The next day I did one of the sample workouts that Debbie and Anna did to help prepare us for the workouts. Here was my report on that:

I have to be quick -- the school Halloween parade is starting in a bit. But to answer your questions:

I'm not sure what the music will be like or the options. This dvd has FANTASTIC music -- very techno, early 80's, super fun, and then 1/2 way through Debbie says, "they're not going to use this music" and mentioned that the real music will be faster. But I'm not sure if it's just as fun or not.

I only did about 10 minutes of the Cardio Sculpt because of my workout earlier today, but the intensity seems like it's high intermediate, but you could advance it according to the weights you use. I thought it was going to be all resistance bands, but she uses weights a lot too. More creative cardio than before with some familiar moves. Some punching Turbo Jam style, which was fun. New upper body moves too.

The Cardio Sculpt workout actually took us 50 minutes, but she said it will be compacted through the editing to fit the 30 minutes. So she is packing a ton into that 30 minutes -- just like how she rarely stops or hesitates in the SS. It's pretty much like a SS w/less leg work -- lots of upper body with cardio throughout.

The warm-up was about 4 minutes and the cool-down about 3. The warm-up gels into the cardio though -- if you boost up the warm-up a bit like Cathe does, you could get your HR up a bit from the start. The warm-up was familiar SS moves with some new stuff too.

The stretch workout was WONDERFUL!!! She focuses a lot of deep breathing, has new stretches I haven't done before, very soothing and some parts that I'll have to keep a secret because you have to do it to really see how great it feels. It's kind of the icing on the cake that she does 3x in the routine. It was just under 30 minutes.

She talked about these being workouts you can mix and match or alternate with lower body workouts like Firm It Up. She called the other cardio one "Cardio Core" (although I don't know if that's the official name) and said that she sweated more in that one because she keeps the moves slower in this one with the weights. I'm not sure what the 6 min. abs workout is like.

I thought all 4 of us were doing 2 of the workouts and didn't know what was happening with the other 2 workouts. But in fact, we each pair up to do 2 workouts. So I do these 2 workouts with Jocelyn (and Debbie talks to us personally at the beginning of each dvd -- so fun!) and the other 2 women do the other 2 workouts.

I can't even describe how much fun it was so work out with her on such a personal level and she is drop-dead GORGEOUS all casual (she wore a baseball cap while she worked out).

I plan to do CS in the morning, maybe even twice through, with the stretch at the end -- so I'll add more tomorrow. Off to the school!!!

Some more comments about Debbie in the sample workouts:

Debbie is a delight to work out with as always and I love the music in this. She danced a bit (not quite as much as Chalene, but let it go a few times, which was fun. I don't know that she'll do that in the actual workout though. She's just so funny how she talks throughout . . . She seems like the kind of person who is just like she is in the videos because she's so personal in them. I just love how she says whatever's on her mind as she goes. On the sample dvds that she made for us, she does it even moreso. Keeps me laughing as I go.

At one point she was telling us not to worry if we can't finish the reps -- to feel free to put weights down to trade them for lighter weights or to not use weights at all (since some people at home will be having to do the same) -- and was saying stuff like "you're going to be fine" -- talking about how there are cameras on each of us and they will always just switch to her if we mess up or have to adjust or whatever... then she said, "But if I mess up, no matter what stupid thing comes out of my mouth, it will be on there forever. And it's guaranteed that I'll say something -- I always do" as she laughed about it. But that's what we love about her. That's what keeps me going with her workouts. I just love when she adds on some move or more reps to something that just starts burning like crazy (like on the floor work of Burn It Up this morning) and says "I know -- it's crazy it hurts so bad"

And a bit of monologuing ("You sly dog, you've got me monologuing!" -- one of our favorite "Incredibles" quotes :))

Just a few more days left now until I leave. I feel like it will happen anytime now that the weekend has officially begun. The kids don't have any school tomorrow (Veteran's Day) -- so after tomorrow comes Saturday and Sunday (which always go quickly) and then I fly out Monday night. Woo hoo!
I'm a little afraid to pack early because I did that with that FIRM trip long ago and then had to just unpack. But I'm sure I'll start at least "collecting" the stuff I'm going to pack tomorrow. I've already used this as an excuse to buy a few things.

I bought several shirts (at Ross, so as cheap as probably one shirt at a dept. store -- love how I justify?
) to pick from when I get there for the interview. I also found a really cute exercise top at Target yesterday (I'll see if I can find it on-line to show you) to wear with black pants for the rehearsal day. I'm sure I could have used something I already have, but this is a special occasion and I want to feel good about what I'm wearing. Most of you probably don't have this problem, but when I wear a lot of the tank tops to exercise in, I get this nice little excess of skin right under my underarm that I'd rather not see. This new top is wide enough that it covers that (or doesn't cause it to pinch up like that), which is wonderful. Plus it's a fun pink color. Edited to add I found the top -- you have to click on the pink color. It has a fun pattern too. Mine's a bit tighter than the model's though

I decided not to buy new shoes (even though mine have far surpassed the 100 workout timeline) for the rehearsal because I did find out that they are providing shoes for us on the video shoot. I don't know if we'll get to keep them, but if we do, that would be a waste for me to buy some. Also, we got e-mails yesterday that the producers have decided they want to take more photos of us than originally planned, so they are going to have make-up, hair, and stylist people there for us on rehearsal day too (afterwards though, I think). So we'll get that full treatment that day and on the film day. That should be interesting.

I'm getting a little nervous that I'll be the biggest person there, but I need to stop thinking that way. And even if I am, so be it. Yoga has taught me that life is not a competition, even with ourselves and I need not to think or worry about such trivial things. I think it's all in my head at this point anyway and won't even enter my mind when I get there. But I just keep worrying that after seeing the video, I'll wish someday that I'd cut back on eating more or something. But I am who I am and I'll be fine, right? I already know that I'm going to be the oldest one there by quite a large margin and I have no problem with that. Age doesn't bother me because I'm so happy with where I am in my life and feel just fine about how I'm aging. I feel better in my early 40s with how I look and feel than I did in my early 30s (and actually in my early 20s too). So I've come a long way and am happy to be here. In fact, that's one of the most passionate pleas I made in my 5 minute video to the BB people was that I'd really like to let any women in their 40s who think they are destined to continue to gain weight and feel like their health is just going to get worse know that they can do something about it. I know what it's like to think "Well, I'm a mom now, this is just what my body will be like" (whether it's gaining weight or feeling sluggish or having more and more health problems) but it doesn't have to be like that. Not at all.

Sorry for the monologue -- I guess I just had to share what's been going through my head with all of this. I've been doing the new workouts each day, adding on lower body from other SS workouts or sometimes giving my upper a break and doing something like Firm It Up or the lower from Shape It Up. I'm learning more about the approach Debbie's taking with the Stretch workout (slow, deep breaths and some spine massaging movements at the beginning I wasn't used to) -- so I think I'll feel comfortable doing that when the time comes to do it just right.
I found out that Debbie very recently hurt her back and is really mindful of preventing injury and not overtraining right now. But they said that she's a "consumate professional" and insisted on keeping the shoot dates in order to get the dvds out by the projected release date (which I still haven't found out when it is) == but I'm hoping that means by New Year's, which would seem like a logical date for any fitness product.

Man, I have so many posts -- so many things I thought through and announced before, during, and after :). If you don't mind reading so much, I don't mind clicking and pasting at all. I just don't want to seem like I'm overdoing it. But if you're a Beachbody fan, Debbie fan, or any lover of video fitness, it's really fun to hear how it all goes behind the scenes and in anticipation. So I'll keep going and of course, you can avoid these posts and just go to the nutrition ones or anything else if this isn't your cup of tea.

Okay, a few more before I let my 14 year old son take over the computer. And I'll try to find a picture of me in that pink Target top I was talking about. That's the one they had me wear for the photo shoot.:

I asked Anna when the projected release day was the other day, but it was buried in the midst of the rest of my banter, so she maybe didn't remember to answer that part. Now she's busy making cue cards for us (and is figuring out the timing of the music -- what fun!) so she said the rest of the scheduling e-mails will come from another woman -- can't remember who, but once I hear from her, I may just ask her too. I kind of worried about being awestruck when I first applied and was just thinking I could be one of a big group going to try out the new workouts with her. I was thinking I might get that one chance to go up and talk with her and would just say the stupidest fan-like "Oh, I just love your workouts" comment. But now that we'll get to work together, I think I'll be okay. Maybe not in the first few minutes (smiling incessantly), but once I settle down, I should be okay.

Jocelyn (the other woman doing the workouts with me) and I have both said (we've been e-mailing) that when they wrote and told us to make sure we smile during the filming that we'd be so excited to be there, we might not be able to STOP smiling. I do wonder what it will be like to be working out in front of a camera crew and such. I'm so conscious of everyone around me -- and whenever I've been on camera before, I feel silly pretending like the people behind the camera aren't there.

Debbie hurt her back like so many others do, just doing something normal at home like putting away groceries, lifting groceries, or something like that. But I couldn't tell a single bit in the dvds they sent that she was having any problems. So she's either healing well or is taking some medication to help (or both). I know it's an issue for her because they changed the schedule to give Debbie's body a break so we're not rehearsing nor filming all 4 dvds on the same day -- they staggered them so they'll rehearse ours on 11/14 and film on 11/16 and rehearse & film the others on 11/13 and 11/15 respectively. They said one thing you learn in the film production world is the being flexible is key because schedules and plans change constantly. I told Anna I'm used to that because that's just like what it's like being a mom :).

Looks like this was the day before leaving for L.A:

I'd love to hear what she (Debbie) has to say. I've wished Debbie would make some stability ball workouts. I'm going to ask her if she uses the stability ball at all in her personal training (I'm assuming she still does that -- the comments she made in the workouts made it sound like she still teaches, whether to a group or one on one).

Tomorrow's the big day! Well, the travelling day. I'll get there tomorrow night -- will find my packet telling us what time to be in the lobby the next morning, etc. I'm so hoping I don't forget something (like shoes or underwear or who knows what!)

I'm thinking of running to Target first thing in the morning to see if they sell a sports bra that doesn't completely flatten or smoosh like the ones I have -- like it will make that much of a difference :).

I'm bringing a little gift for the Beachbody office. I tried to think of something from where I live and I live in a little rural valley in the redwoods. I didn't think a redwood would grow well down there and they probably don't want any banana slugs, so the best I could come up with was to bring them a basket of apples from the apple farm down the road that I go to all fall season (well, from mid-August until just about now). I may add some wheat pumpkin bread I just made to tie my kids over while I'm gone. Something fall and local (and healthy, which I'm sure they're mindful of) just to show my appreciation for letting me come (and to bring a bit of my world to theirs). I found a little rectangular basket at Ross that's lined with muslin fabric. I figure it can fit in my suitcase somehow. They don't ban fruit from being in luggage in CA like they do in Hawaii, do they? If so, I may have to carry it on in my backpack.

One more workout in the morning and then the next workout I do will be with Debbie live. How cool.

Someone wrote, "I hope you get to meet the instructors!" This was my response:

They actually did write "Tour the Beachbody Offices" as an option for our rest day, so maybe I will get to see what that's all about. I wonder if their Customer Service reps are in their main building though. Anna left a message yesterday saying that they'll take me to the Burbank Beachbody office (at least I think that's what she said -- you know how hard it is to understand answering machines and I listened 4x) and I know their main address is Beverly Hills.

So who knows?
I'm definitely bringing a digital camera -- hadn't thought of uploading the pics while there. I wonder if I can on a hotel lobby computer? Guess I'll try and see what happens. Oh, another thing, I re-read some of the e-mails they sent today and one calls us the Slim in 6 Express Cast. So I wonder if that's the title of these new workouts -- Slim in 6 Express. I'm also dying to know if the set is going to be the same or different. So many fun Vidiot discoveries to make!

This was my last post before leaving for the airport. This made it seem so official:

I just received an e-mail from the Infomercial Testimonial production manager. My code name is T-4 (we're referred to as "talents") -- Looks like I'll be at BB for rehearsal tomorrow morning until 1:30 (I won't list the specific location, but it's not a BB studio, it's another exercise instructor's) --then they pick up me and Jocelyn and take up back to our hotel for showers, pick us up about an hour later to go to another studio(with clean face and clean hair -- I imagine that means no make-up, no hair products). Then they do our hair, wardrobe, etc. It looks like I'm the last to film -- 2 1/2 hours after we get there. So my book will come in handy then too (unless I get to sit and watch the others, which will be so much fun!)

I'll post the travel details (a much bigger adventure than I'd bargained for!) and first day there tomorrow. TTFN!

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