Thursday, May 3, 2012

P90X Day 6: Kenpo X

In which I prove that I’ve completely lost it.

If attempting P90X at 45 after having never done any serious workouts my adult life until the last 120 days, wasn’t proof enough.

Day 6 is called Kenpo X. What the heck is Kenpo? I don’t know either. Wikipedia says it’s a name for Hawaiian martial arts with Japanese and Chinese influences. Ok, sure. Seemed like kickboxing to me. Although I did sand the floor and wax on/wax off (Karate Kid reference).

This is another cardio day, like Day 2, Plyometrics. For the cardio workouts, it’s a good idea (not required) to wear a heart rate monitor. This lets you know if you’re not really working very hard, or if, you’re incredibly out of shape, it might tell you that, hey, you need a break.

I’m telling you all this because it’s useful information later.

I have to be honest, this seemed like the least eXtreme of all the workouts so far. I felt like I didn’t get much of a workout at all from it. But this is more my fault and the fault of some external factors than the fault of the DVD. Let me explain.

Initially, I was having a lot of problems with my heart rate monitor. I’d check it and it’d say “0”. Now, since I was pretty sure I wasn’t dead, I knew that the monitor wasn’t reading right, and I needed to adjust it. So, I’d pause the DVD and adjust the monitor until it started reading, and I’d restart. This happened to me at least 4 times.

This is a problem. A good cardio workout is all about pacing and getting into a rhythm. I wasn’t getting into one. When I was checking my heart rate and the monitor was actually working, I’d be in the low 130s. This is ok. It’s better than sitting in my chair typing like I am now, but low 130s is not going to count as an anaerobic workout for most people.

Once I finally got the heart rate monitor working consistently, I had other problems. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not incredibly flexible. I’m also not the most coordinated person in the world, either. On the workout DVD, Tony would say what the combo was, and then immediately start doing it. Usually, I would have to watch a couple and then rewind and start over before I could do them. Even then, I’d be focusing my energies more on doing it right, than on doing it with intensity. Again, I wasn’t getting a good rhythm going and I wasn’t working hard. I did get the heart rate up into the 140s, and briefly hit 150 a couple times. This is a little better, but I was still in the 130s more than the 150s.

At one point Tony checks his heart rate and announces it at 164. Mine at that moment was 119. I can get my heart rate up over 119 just walking up and down the stairs in my house a couple times. 119 is nothing. I knew I wasn’t getting a good workout, and I had the evidence on my shirt as well. A little sweat, but not nearly as much as the people on the DVD.

So, I finished it, and I didn’t feel like I’d gotten an eXtreme workout at all. In fact, several of the workouts I got on the EA Sports Active were far more intense than today’s. I tried to console myself with the thought that after a couple times, the movements would feel more natural, and I’d be able to concentrate on working hard, not just one getting the moves right. And this is definitely true. I can tell I’ve improved dramatically on the Ab Ripper X after just three times.

But, frankly, I still felt a little down.

So, what did I do? Recall the first line of this post…

In which I prove that I’ve completely lost it.

After about an hour of sitting around moping, and even writing up most of this post, I decided to fix the problem. I put the DVD back in, and started it up again.

Yes, I did Kenpo X twice in one day. Second time, no issues with the heart rate monitor. Second time, much more focus on working it, than on watching the moves. Heart rate consistently in the 150s, some times in the 160s. Yes, I did dip down in the 140s for a bit, but rarely lower (the point where Tony says he’s at 164, I was at 139…still room for improvement). I still didn’t finish the workout quite where I wanted to be, but it was much closer. Close enough that I felt good about it, and close enough that I desperately needed a shower and a change of clothes.

I wouldn’t recommend doing something like this for one of the strength training DVDs. You’d likely hurt yourself. But for a cardio one, especially if you’ve got a good heart rate monitor and can see if you’re overdoing it, it’s not awful. But I definitely proved to myself today that I’m serious about getting into better shape and serious about P90X.

Tomorrow can be a rest day or stretches. You know I’ll be doing Stretch X, the final workout in Week 1. Stay tuned.

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