First of all, welcome Amie! Glad you're joining us. :) I'm curious: what's Ab Ripper X - is it part of P90X? Also, are you doing 10 pull-ups at a time, without rests? Or do you do sets? 'cause - wow! I'm happy to have gotten to the place where I can do two at a time! (Still working on it.)
And I hear you on the stomach surgery thing. I only had one, and I don't know if it was the surgery or the stretching from the twin pregnancy, but I had some real weakness that planks and push-ups helped with a lot. It wasn't till I started doing those that my back really stopped hurting all the time (I think my backaches were a combination of weak ab muscles and nursing position.)
I admire your goal of being a healthy role model for your girls! I don't think I've thought explicitly about that a lot, so thanks for the food for thought!
Emily, weekends are a different animal than week days, I think. They have their own pattern in our house, but it's not the same pattern as weekdays, and I don't try to fit week day stuff into weekends. If I work out on the weekend, it's because doing a dance DVD or yoga DVD sounded like fun. So . . . that's what works for me. Saturday has chores, but they're not the weekday chores, and for me, that includes working out.
As for sore necks, I had a lot of trouble with this with the ab exercises in Shred, at one point. I just did less than they did, so that I didn't strain anything, and let it build up with time. (Because when I tried to keep up, at first, I hurt myself! So I decided I didn't want to do that again. :) ) I think there are a lot of exercises that require neck strength, but I've never found any that specifically build it, so I've just had to let it happen slowly while I did ab and shoulder stuff. With ab stuff, though, purposely focusing on tightening my abs or hip flexors, rather than my neck muscles, was helpful. Maybe focusing on the specific shoulder muscles you want to work will help your neck muscles relax a bit? Also - again, this is abs - focusing on the ceiling helped me not to yank my head up (thus straining my neck). Maybe on the forward raises picking a spot to focus your eyes on will keep you from craning your neck the wrong way? Because if you keep your eyes still, you'll generally be keeping your head level, and your neck in a neutral position. Again, I don't know if it works when you're standing, but it's worked for me when I'm lying down.
Kelly, I'm sorry about your hot run last week! Heat + exertion can just be a killer. Hope you're able to run in the cool of the day this week!
Oh, also - I'm responding in posts rather than comments because it just seems to be an easier way to keep the conversations going. I hope nobody minds, and please feel free to do it yourself!