Thursday, July 26, 2012

P90X DAY 90: YOGA X

It’s over.

What does Tony say?

Oh yeah…

“Take in the fact that you just did that.”

Wow. Hard to believe, but there it is. 90 days go by so fast. 91 days ago, I was nervous as hell, wondering if I could actually even make it through the first week. Well, I did. And now I’ve done 13 weeks (ok, technically I’m one day shy of 13 weeks).

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it, but I hate the side twists that are part of Yoga Belly 7. The rest of Yoga Belly is ok, but I hate those side twists. Ugh.

But, despite that “Ugh”, I’m smiling broadly right now. And you know why, don’t you?

Because I just completed day 90 of P90X.

Tomorrow, final fit test, and maybe some pics if they aren’t too embarrassing.

Ciao. See you then.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

P90X Day 89: Core Synergistics

“You might find that this is your favorite workout”  - Tony Horton

Well, you might find that. I didn’t.

It’s all right. I don’t hate this workout. But I don’t love it either. There are a few exercises that I can’t stand. But that’s true pretty much every day. But it’s over now. No more Boat-to-Bows or Superman-Bananas for a while.

Starting to get a real feeling of accomplishment here. I smile to myself all the time when I think about P90X anymore.

Tomorrow, DAY 90, Yoga X. And then it’s all over. Friday, I’ll do my final fit test and post the results. (And I’ll sneak in an X Stretch too, of course)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

P90X Days 83-88

Wow, the last week. You think I’d be more consistent about updates.

Sorry, been very busy.

Day 83: Kenpo X

Someday I’ll figure out why they pretend they have breaks in this one. Not this time though. As usual, a fun workout that seems very short, but isn’t. And, as usual, I don’t feel like I got as much out of it as some of the others. I guess I have it in my head that P90X should be hard, and when it’s fun, I feel like I’m taking it too easy.

Day 84: X Stretch

I’ve really started pushing myself on this one. Just about every stretch I’m trying to stretch farther than ever before. And on most them, I’m succeeding. I wonder if I’ll ever consider myself limber. At this point, I settle for feeling like I’m average. I’m getting close. I can almost touch my toes now when standing with my feet together. Haven’t been able to do that in probably 25 years.

Day 85: Yoga X

Recovery and Ab Focus week starts with Yoga again. Like X Stretch, I’m really pushing myself hard on this one now. And sweating even more than ever. In fact, after Plyometrics, this may be the workout where I sweat the most. If you’d told me that on day 1, I would’ve laughed at you.

Day 86: Core Synergistics

No matter what week you’re on, Day 2 is brutal. Now, sure, Core Syn is no Plyometrics, but it’s definitely the hardest workout in Recovery and Ab Focus week. My form is awful on several of the exercises. This is something that I really need to work on, next time I do P90X.

Day 87: Kenpo X

The last time for Kenpo! Now, I truly know that I’m closing in on the end. I’m almost tempted to do a different workout on this day the next time around. I may do another day of Plyometrics, or Cardio X, or even Core Synergistics. I’m almost tempted. I know me. I’m far too anal to start switching things around. I’ll do Kenpo and learn to like it, I guess. :)

Day 88: X Stretch

The last time for X Stretch. Or is it? P90X is called that because it’s supposedly a 90 day program. But it’s really a 13 week program. 13 weeks is 91 days, not 90. They call it P90X because that sounds a lot better than P91X, and because the parameters of the program allow them to cheat up a little. The final day of each week is “Rest or X Stretch”. And that applies to week 13, meaning day 91, too. So, by calling it P90X, they’re implying that the 91st day is just a rest day, so it doesn’t matter if you end the program one day early. But, if you’ve been paying attention, you know I’m not going to have a rest day. Friday will be an X Stretch day for me. So, does that mean that I should think of it as a 91 day program and that I still have one more X Stretch to go? Probably. Honestly, I doubt I’ll post about day 91 though. If I do a post on day 91, it’ll just be a wrap up post.

Tomorrow, the final Core Synergistics. I’m so close to the end, I can taste it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

P90X Days 81 & 82

Day 81: Yoga X

This workout just doesn’t get any easier. I’m doing better at it, but if anything that just makes it harder. I know it like the back of my hand now, though. At 59 minutes remaining is when it first gets really hard. The active options end at just under 43 minutes. Yoga Belly 7 starts at 17 minutes and change. After Yoga Belly 7, it’s all relaxation and nice easy stretches. I’ll miss this workout. A little. But still two more times to go.

Day 82: Legs & Back

Three cheers!

No more Legs & Back!

No more pull ups!

No more Ab Ripper X!

We could add one more, too. No more “Fifer Scissors”. That’s one of the Ab Ripper X exercises, and it is without doubt, my least favorite exercise in all of P90X. Just thinking about it makes me wince. But I don’t have to do it again, until…I don’t know. Until the next time I pull out these discs. :)

Tomorrow, Kenpo X. Not the last, though. I get one more of Kenpo next week. But, definitely closing in on the finish line here. And it feels like it too. Every day, I feel better and better, and more like I’ve accomplished something special here. Just a few more days and it’s all over…

Monday, July 16, 2012

P90X Day 80: Back & Biceps

Wow, day 80. That's hard to imagine. 10 days to go. Sort of. More on that in a later post.

Today was the last time for Back & Biceps. I've mentioned before--many times now--that I hate the pull ups. I think that they're the worst in this particular workout. First, the two new pull up types are just mean. But, even on the more standard varieties, it's awful.

You see, when you do Legs & Back, you're working two completely different areas of your body. You do some leg exercises, then you go do some pull ups, then back to legs, then back to pull ups. Your arms get a chance to rest.

Not so for Back & Biceps. Here you are doing curls and lifts, pushing yourself to failure on each exercise. Your arms are sore. Your shoulders are sore. You're tired. And then you have to go do some pull ups.

Torture.

The only rest for your upper body comes at the end, when you have to do...you guessed it...Ab Ripper X.

I'm actually finally getting close on Ab Ripper X. I'm now finally doing more complete sit ups than my pseudo-sit up-attempt-crunch-whatevers. That feels good. But I'm still thankful that I only have one more time of Ab Ripper X to go.

If it sounds like I'm enjoying the workouts a bit more lately, it's because I am. Perhaps it's because I'm showing some improvement in all of them. But I think it's more likely that it's because I know I'm getting close to the end.

My frustration with P90X a week or so ago, when I decided to move on to Insanity, was that I couldn't see myself doing this for another 90 days. I like the progress I'm making, and I feel better about most of the workouts, but if you told me that I had to do Ab Ripper another 30 times, I think I'd want to crawl into my bed and lock the door.

Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration. :)

But it's definitely the truth that I will be exceptionally happy Wednesday when I hear Tony say "Nice work" at the end of the final Ab Ripper X.

Tomorrow, Yoga X. Sadly, not for the last time.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

P90X Day 79: Plyometrics

Last time for Plyometrics! Woohoo!

I'm not sure I really have anything else to add. I've mentioned before that after this workout, I always feel that my clothes should just be burned, not put into the wash. Today, that was again true.

Oh, there is one thing I can say, I guess. This is definitely a workout that when you finish it, you're filled with a sense of pride, accomplishment. You know that if you make it through it without collapsing, without pausing, and with doing good form for everything, that you've truly done something special. You know that you're in at least moderately decent shape. You have to be to make it through this. It's an hour of jumping, twisting, and hopping. It starts out hard and gets harder. When you make it to the last segment, you sigh in relief, knowing that it's almost over and that this segment isn't that hard.

And then you just smile happily at the end. You know you did it. Or maybe you're smiling like that because you're dizzy from exhaustion. Could be either one, honestly.

Tomorrow, Back & Biceps. Last time for that one too.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

P90X Day 78: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

Another milestone. Last time for this workout. I’ll be saying that several times this week. This is the last “real” week of P90X. Next week is another “Recovery and Ab Focus” week.

This is one of the workouts where you can really tell at the end if you’ve put it all on the mat or not. During the cool down, you do some stretches that start with overhead stretches, putting your hands up as high above you as possible. Today, when I did that I could barely get my hands up there. Not because I was in pain, but because my arms were just too heavy to lift up that high.

It’s funny. I increased my weights on a couple of the exercises in this workout this week. On the first one, my form went straight to hell, and I immediately knew I had to go back to the lesser weight. The others went ok, but they were definitely much harder. It’s amazing the difference 5 pounds can make sometimes. You have a weight, and it seems like it’s too light. You add 5, and suddenly it goes from too light to no longer doable.

While I’m moving on to Insanity in a couple weeks, I know that I’m going to be coming back to P90X at some point. I’ll be doing some sort of maintenance workout in October-December, and at this point I’m planning on another round of P90X starting in late December or January. I’ve already decided that I’m going to keep track of all my weights that I’m currently using. Next time, I’m going to start with the next weight down for most of the exercises. Will be interesting to see how that works.

For this first round of P90X, my goal has really been to just get through the thing, and to improve on a week-to-week basis. Next round, I really want to concentrate on form, on doing every exercise as perfectly as I can possibly do it, even if that means doing fewer reps than I’m doing now, or going to a lower weight, or whatever. Not that I slack off now, but I am constantly noticing even still that there’s room for improvement on my form. I think some of that is just a learning experience. And, in the case of a few things, such as in Yoga, or even Plyometrics, I was totally incapable of doing the exercise perfectly on day one. My body just wouldn’t do that. Now, I’m doing better, and I can. And I want to put that to the test next time around.

Anyway, tomorrow is the last time for Plyometrics. I’m so disappointed. My friend is slacking off. He says he’s skipping the last Plyos. Something about a 100 mile bike ride or something. I think he’s just wimping out on me, don’t you agree?

P90X Days 76 & 77

Day 76: Kenpo X

The only bad part of this workout is that the side kicks are a constant reminder of my flexibility issues. I can tell that I’ve gotten much better over the last 11 weeks, but I constantly wonder if I’ll ever be able to regain any kind of real flexibility at my age. All I can do is keep on plugging and see where it goes, I guess.

Day 77: X Stretch

And speaking of flexibility…

Well, I pushed a little harder on all the stretches today. After talking with my friend at work who’s also doing P90X, I got a reminder once again of just how poor my flexibility actually is. That encouraged me to try even harder during the workout. Made it much more painful, but I still felt great at the end.

Insanity has an off day each week. Pretty sure I’m going to continue to do this workout on the Insanity off day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

P90X Day 75: Legs & Back

Nothing much to say about this workout. Pull ups, lunges, and wall sits. Oh yeah, there is one thing I'd like to say.

Ow.

But I did increase my pull up count. In fact, I'm quite proud of my pull ups. I can now do 15 pull ups in each of the exercises. That's a far cry from the 2 and 3 I was doing 11 short weeks ago.

And, Ab Ripper X was actually almost enjoyable today. I did better during Ab Ripper today than ever before. I'm almost sad there's only three of these left. Almost. I don't think I'll ever miss Ab Ripper X.

Just one more time for Legs & Back. Tomorrow, Kenpo X. See you then.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

P90X Day 74: Yoga X

Of course, right after I decide to not do another round of P90X, I start really enjoying the workouts. Today, I think I enjoyed Yoga X more than ever before. I feel like I'm making some real progress on this workout. I'm reaching farther than ever on the hamstring stretches, and I've made significant progress on the movement pieces of the workout. I still look ridiculous during the Half Moon and Twisting Half Moon poses. But I think you could actually look at me and tell what pose I'm attempting.

As for the rest of the workout, it actually goes pretty well. After about the first 25 minutes, I'm in near constant pain, but it's a good pain. I'm still having problems with the first of the balance poses. This was the third time in a row, I think that I had problems.

I have a theory about it now, though. The three balance poses are Tree, Royal Dancer, and Standing Leg Extension. Tree is by far the easiest of the three, but it's also the first one. And it's immediately after the Warrior Three, Half Moon, and Twisting Half Moon segment. I think my legs are just too tired and sore right then, and I need a little break before moving on. I had no problems at all today with Royal Dancer or Standing Leg Extension, just Tree. I've been doing Tree for six months now with little to no problems. I attempted Tree again later, and had no problems with it. I just think at that point I'm too tired. So, next time I'm going to interject a little break between the moving section and the non-moving section. I think that will solve the problem nicely.

I'll find out next week, and let you know.

Tomorrow, Legs & Back. Day 75. The end is near.

Monday, July 9, 2012

P90X Day 73: Shoulders & Arms

Another milestone. Today was the last day for Shoulders & Arms. I'll miss this workout. It doesn't have any pull ups, and it works the "show" muscles. All men want to have bigger biceps. And, while I'm never going to look like a super hero, I'm thrilled to finally have some muscles on my arms that are a step above non-existent.

But the real reason I love this workout is that there are a few exercises where I do better than the trainers. That kind of thing always brings a smile to your face. I do very well at the Chair Lifts, and Side Tri-Rises. I particularly enjoy those, as it's a little bit of a show off exercise for Tony and Dreya, and I pass both of them. Tony eventually gets to 25 and then demands that everyone stop, saying that "if anyone at home does 26, I'll come to your house." Well, by that time I've finished my 30 and am waiting for them. :)

It helps to be lean. Less weight to lift when your lifting yourself. I notice this on quite a few of the lifting exercises, including even the pull ups that drive me so crazy. As much as I complain about them, I can't imagine doing them if I was 20 or 30 pounds heavier.

Fortunately, I don't have to. I get to lift my light weight up over the bar, and not have to worry about such things.

Ab Ripper X was at the end, of course. Is there anything to say about that workout that I haven't said before? Yes. Don't drink a lot of water before hand. Today I was thirsty during Shoulders & Arms. I didn't drink all that much, but I did have a little sip during nearly every break. Then I got to feel that water sloshing around during Ab Ripper. Let me tell you that didn't make the workout anymore pleasant, and I actually was a bit nauseous at the end. That's the second time I've done that. Hopefully this time I'll learn.

That's the last of the "last times" for this week. There are 10 different workouts as part of P90X Classic. 8 of them I'll still do at least once more, most of them at least twice. But, I'm definitely closing in on the end.

Tomorrow is Yoga X. My poor calves and hamstrings may start rebelling against me soon.

P90X Day 72: Plyometrics

Posting this in the morning of day 73, rather than the evening of day 72. Sue me.

Plyometrics is brutal. And it doesn’t get easier. In fact, this is one of the workouts that might actually get a little harder. I know I talk about this a lot, but the first few weeks my form was awful. It was awful because I was so pooped. I couldn’t do 30 seconds of Rock Star hops. I could do about 10-15 seconds, followed by 15-20 seconds of “pretend” Rock Star hops. Now, I’m doing the full 30 seconds. Of course, this means that I’m even more worn out than before. At least I kept my heart rate from approaching the danger zone this time. Last time I was pretty close throughout.

Still, this workout goes by pretty fast. It’s a rush when you get to the “bonus sports set”, because you suddenly realize that “hey, this is almost over”.

Today is Shoulders & Arms.

Oh, and I already did Cardio X this morning, too.

Why? Well, the wife and I are going out for dinner and a movie later. Thought it would be good to burn a few extra calories.

I’ll do another post later after Shoulders & Arms. See you then!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

P90X Day 71: Chest & Back

Day 71 is a milestone day in P90X.

It’s the last time you do Chest & Back.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve reached the last of anything. It seems like I just started this thing a couple weeks ago. Time flies.

As I’ve said earlier, there are a few of the workouts that are only done 5 times. Chest & Back is one of those. Amazingly, I did Chest & Back today for the fifth time, and I still have 5 more of Ab Ripper X left to do.

Speaking of which…

Of course, Ab Ripper X was part of today.  It’s very odd. On my cycle, I do Ab Ripper X on Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday every week. And the Saturday ones are always my worst. I’ve only had two days off from doing it, but it always seems like longer. Monday will almost certainly be better, but I always have problems with the Saturday version. Someday I’ll figure out why.

But not today. Today I’m reveling in the fact that I’ve reached the last time through with this workout. The home stretch has officially begun.

Tomorrow, Plyometrics. Sadly, not the last one of those yet. :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

P90X Day 70: X Stretch

X Stretch is the most relaxing of all the workouts. In fact, the two day set of Kenpo X followed by X Stretch is the easiest two day sequence. Which is fair, because they are days 6 and 7 of the week, and days 1 and 2 make up the hardest sequence.

I like this day. I really do. It still points out to me quite clearly how poor of shape I’m in, but it doesn’t do it in nearly as humiliating a fashion as Yoga X does.

Of course, that means that tomorrow I get back to the hard stuff. Chest & Back, and good old Ab Ripper X.

And that reminds me…

I realized last week during one of the strength training days that I need a change of pace. While there are some days that I truly enjoy, they’re evenly matched by the workouts that just fill me with dread. I still loathe pull ups. Legs & Back is murder. Plyometrics and Yoga X put me through the wringer. And don’t even get me started on Ab Ripper X.

There are only 3 weeks left, and one of those is the Recovery week, so I’m not worried about not finishing. But I am concerned about my plan to turn around and do this again. Several of the workouts are starting to bore me at times, and that makes it even harder to get up for the exercises that I dislike.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m certain that I will do P90X again, but I need a break from it. I need to switch to something else. Several months back, when I was thinking about starting this, I considered doing Insanity, instead. Then I was going to do both, and do Insanity first. Then I decided to do P90X first. Then, after I’d started it, I decided to just do P90X and forget about Insanity.

Ok, so I’m a bit indecisive.

But the truth of the matter is that once I looked into them both, P90X fits my goals better than Insanity. They both are full body workouts, but P90X I describe as Strength+Cardio, while Insanity seems like it’s Cardio+Strength. We’re a fat nation, and just about every workout program emphasizes losing weight, but Insanity makes that the major part of it’s appeal. In fact, if you watch the promo video, that’s pretty much all anyone talks about.

Well, I don’t need to lose any more weight. :) I do still need more muscle mass, though. More muscle mass helps you burn more calories, and my burn rate isn’t where I’d like it yet.

In spite of all of this, I’ve decided that I’m going to move on to Insanity after I’ve finished this round of P90X. I should still get muscle growth out of it. Perhaps not quite as much as I would with another round of P90X, but, as I said, I need a change of pace. I’m going to take a week off in between, so I should start Insanity around August 4. It’s only 60 days, so I’ll finish in early October.

And maybe I’ll discover that it’s just as good for my goals as P90X. It certainly has the advantage of needing less equipment—none—so, that part will be nice. And, it will be nice to be able to give a full comparison of the two. I’m looking forward to that as well.

But that’s still several weeks into the future. Tomorrow, on to the final 3 weeks of P90X!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

P90X Day 69: Kenpo X

First, I have a public service announcement.

75 pounds.

75 pounds is how much weight I’ve lost from my all-time high. Yes, I haven’t set any speed records doing it, but I did get the weight off.

Since my freshman year in college, I’ve always had at least a little bit of a pooch stomach. Obviously, when I was 75 pounds heavier, it was more than a little bit. But, no matter where I was in my yo-yoing weight, I’ve never been able to get rid of that pooch. I’ve had it basically my entire adult life. I remember the day in college when my freshman roommate made some sort of mocking statement about it. It was the first time in my life I felt fat. I was probably all of 140 pounds at the time, but the fact that I had that pooch and that others had noticed was all it took to make me feel fat.

Today, there is no pooch. Not even a little bit of one. I’ve been fighting that thing my whole life, and I finally have beaten it. For now. If I’ve learned anything during this process of getting into better shape, it’s that it’s not a one time battle. You keep fighting it every day of your life.

But, for the first time in my life, I’m winning. And you have no idea how good that feels.

Now, on to Kenpo X.

This is the only workout where there really aren’t any breaks. Oh sure, there are three or four places where the word “BREAK” pops up on the screen, and they last a minute each. But, they aren’t breaks. In just about every single one, my heart rate is higher at the end of the break than it was at the beginning. Some break. You run in place, jump an imaginary rope, do jumping jacks, and a harder version called X-jacks. You don’t feel like you’ve taken a break at the end.

In spite of that, this is probably the workout that’s the most fun. I still feel like my heart rate never quite gets up where I’d like it. I’m constantly in the aerobic zone, but rarely in the anaerobic zone. But the time just flies by, and before I know it, the workout is over. It’s nowhere near as demanding or high-impact as Plyometrics is. I still get a good cardio workout, but I’m not just completely exhausted and drained at the the end.

Tomorrow, X Stretch, and the end of week 10. 3 more weeks to go.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

P90X Days 62-68

Wow, didn’t realize it had been so long since my last update. It’s not that I haven’t been doing them. I have. Just have been swamped with life, and haven’t had time to do an update.

So, here goes.

Day 62: Kenpo X

I think I’ve said everything that can be said about this one. I am awful at side kicks. If I do it even close to correctly, it hurts. If I want it not to hurt, I have to do it wrong. Hard choice. But at least doing it wrong still gets my heart rate up, and doesn’t hurt. I just need to get more limber in my hips and legs. Eventually I’ll be able to do them right.

Day 63: X Stretch

I really enjoy this workout. Surprisingly, it’s more relaxing for me than Yoga X, just because it’s not nearly as brutal. Still hard, but the only part that really has me even close to whimpering is Bow and the Two Legged Hamstring Stretch. Most of the rest is doable, and enjoyable.

Day 64: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

You know, way back in the first week, I thought I’d be able to get by with just 2 or 3 different weights. For this week’s Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, I used almost all of my weights. I used 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, and 25 pounds. The only pre-set weight that I have set up that I didn’t use was my 50s. This workout is just brutal in that every exercise is so very different. A weight that works great for one is totally wrong for the next. I have fun on this one, but just keep track of all my weights is a workout in itself. And, of course, it’s followed by my favorite, Ab Ripper X.

Day 65: Plyometrics

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Your body is different every day. And it reacts differently. For whatever reason, I actually got my heart rate up to almost in the zone while doing the warm ups. From that point on, my heart rate was way up the entire workout. For once I was having to watch it just to make sure I didn’t go too high. And believe me, I got close. More than once. I considered pausing the DVD for a bit, just to catch my breath. But, I didn’t, and eventually I made it through. But, man, this workout was tough this week. It always is, but this week was brutal.

Day 66: Back & Biceps

This is a fun workout. I wish it was part of week 1. Although the pull up variations on it are just ridiculously hard. But the rest of the time, you’re just lifting, and lifting, and lifting. Again, like day 64, I used nearly all of my weights. I didn’t use the 5 or 8 pounders, but used everything else. I even use the 50s on the two different variations of Lawnmowers. You really know you’ve worked your arms at the end of this one. Ab Ripper X is at the end of this one again. I had an epiphany during the Ab Ripper piece, but it’s going to have to wait for my next post. Too long to put in this one.

Day 67: Yoga X

I’m finally getting noticeable improvement at the yoga. I can almost do the Half Moon and Twisting Half Moon. Almost. I tried to go lower in my Warrior poses this week. Wow, that cranked the workout up to 11. It’s hard to believe you can sweat so much from yoga, but I do every week, and this week I felt like I’d been standing out in the rain by the time it was over. I was completely soaked, head to toe.

Day 68: Legs & Back

Only a couple more times to do this one before P90X is all over. I won’t miss it. Every part of this workout is just murder. First, we have pull ups. Yippee. Y’all know how much I love those. Then we’ve got wall squats. Two of ‘em. You know, those just don’t any easier. Ever. I use weights on all the lunges. I don’t use much, but I do use a little. And even just a little bit of weight turns the lunges into major league workouts for your calves. Then, there’s the Skaters and the Speed Squats. Those don’t hurt, but I can’t keep my balance properly. I need a lot more work on this workout before I’ll be performing it at a level I would consider even close to acceptable.

Tomorrow is Kenpo X again, then X Stretch on Friday. Saturday starts week 11, which officially begins the stretch run. I’ll do more frequent updates starting Saturday. Stay tuned.

New And Noteworthy

What’s Going On?

Well, I really have missed doing my September 11 timeline. My daughters have asked about that, and I want them to understand it a little bet...

All The Best