Archive for the ‘P90X’ Category

My P90X Journey – Day 57: The Home Stretch Begins

July 21, 2010

Today, we move into phase 3 of the P90X program. All of the workouts are ones that we’ve seen before, but the combination switches every week from here on out. This week is a repeat of the combination from weeks 1 through 3.

My strategy tonight? Bring the pain. On all the lifts and flys where I was using 12 pound weights before, use 15s this time and try to not drop by too many reps. On the chin-ups and pull-ups where I was using 70 lbs before, use 80 this time. On all of the push-up variations where I’d been staying on my knees so that I could actually get in a decent number of repetitions, do them all from my toes, even if it meant that I could only do 1.

And it all worked. It wasn’t even as big of a change as I would have expected. I mean, the second time through the set of exercises was really hard, but I pushed through it all. I was even able to bang out push-ups – more than I expected I would.

On the downside, I apparently lost my sit-up muscles during this last recovery week. Very annoying…

My P90X Journey – Day 52: Marlee Matlin Likes Me! (or The Power of Celebrity)

July 16, 2010

It’s been an odd day in my P90X blog world…

I made two commitments to myself when I decided to blog about the P90X workouts. First of all, I wouldn’t blog about the blog. I see that quite often, but it just seems a little too self-referential – a little too meta, as the cool kids say. Second, I’d try to keep the blogging focused on P90X – the workouts, and their physical, mental, and emotional effect. I could see a day where I might want to spin off into talking about hockey, or baseball, or lousy drivers, but I wanted to hold back on that until at least day 91.

I broke that second commitment a couple of days ago with the radio station post. I just couldn’t help myself – I actually emailed a slightly different version of that to the station originally, but it didn’t get the desired effect. Then I remembered that I had a platform. Okay, it’s not big enough to be a platform, per se, but you get the point. Hence, the radio station post. Off topic, but it seemed to interest people enough that a decent number of you clicked through to read it.

Today, I’m going to break the first commitment. I’m about to get meta on y’all.

As you may know, I’m on Twitter (@sboulton, if you’re also there and looking to give a follow). I have a rather varied roster of people that I follow – sports writers, athletes, tech bloggers, interesting people who I’ve met around town, and the odd celebrity or two. One of the celebrities I follow is Marlee Matlin – she’s a great actress (loved her in The West Wing) and she has a very interesting perspective on activism.

Today, Marlee Matlin tweeted that she was “Making a Change”. When I clicked through on the link that she provided, I saw that she’s registered herself as a BeachBody coach – BeachBody.com are the folks who offer the range of fitness products that includes P90X – and that she’s challenged herself to a fitness regimen. She’s currently doing Power 90, and she plans to start P90X on August 1st.

I thought that was pretty interesting, including that she was brave enough to post her “before” picture on her coach page. So, I sent her a tweet to say attaboy, that it’s a fantastic program, and that I was going through my own P90X journey. It’s the type of tweet that I’ve sent out to other celebrities before – “hey, liked you in that movie”, that sort of thing. I generally figure that it goes out into the ether without making any impact.

I could not have been more wrong…

Much to my surprise, Marlee Matlin retweeted my tweet to her. If you’re not familiar with how Twitter works, a retweet is when you read a tweet by someone who you’re following, and then you turn around and send it out so that all the people who are following you can see it too. Reading stuff that’s retweeted by the people you follow is how you often find new people to follow – if someone’s interesting to them, they might also be interesting to you.

Now, Marlee Matlin has more than 46,000 people following her tweets. She’s also in another 2,700-odd twitter lists, plus she turns up in aggregator streams on websites for magazines like People and Entertainment Weekly. In other words, lots of people see her tweets.

This blog, on the other hand, is usually seen by very few people. If I get a dozen people reading the average post, it’s a good day. In fact, the last two days, I’d set new highs for myself in terms of page views. “Highs” is a relative term – yesterday topped out at 54, and the day before that at 40. In other words, I don’t exactly have a broad reach.

Today, this blog had 219 page views, and that number is still growing as I’m writing this…

Suffice to say, Marlee Matlin is an 800-pound gorilla and I, I am the tick riding along perched on the back of the gorilla’s neck. Pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things but, for one day at least, it’s been a fun ride.

Oh, yeah – about the P90X for today. It was kenpo day and, thankfully, I did not feel like an uncoordinated clod throughout it like I did during week 7. Another nice hard workout – sweated up a river – that felt really good. Tomorrow, I have my first massage appointment in about a month-and-a-half – ahhhh – followed by the chiropractor. And then, it’s a stretch day. I’m a happy boy.

My P90X Journey – Day 50: Evangelism

July 14, 2010

The gospel is spreading. It started as just two friends from The Producers, Erin, and me. Slowly, ever so slowly, more people have been sucked into the P90X web:

  • Erin’s brother James was first – he’s been with us since the beginning
  • Two people from my team at work were interested in all or part of it, and one of them had day 2 today
  • Another cast mate is going to give it a go
  • One of my oldest friends is taking a look

Pretty much every time that we’re down in the gym, someone or another remarks on how hard the workout looks, or asks about what we’re doing. Tonight, as James was out front for a smoke before we headed down for yoga, he ran into one of the other guys from the building who’s often in the gym when we are. He’s already ridiculously fit – works out like an animal – but asked what we were doing tonight and if he could try it out. So, tonight we had a yoga buddy.

Good yoga workout tonight. I’m still not sure what’s going to happen on day 91, or day 92, but I can see this being something that I come back to from time to time. Being able to hold a position better than the time before, or being able to hold a position for the first time, is extremely satisfying. And needless to say, it’s an incredibly intense routine.

My P90X Journey – Day 49: Hey Jackie… Phhttt…

July 13, 2010

…Yeah, I said phhttt. No, I didn’t get the workout in on Saturday night when we got home. Yes, I should have done it in the morning before we came to the party. Yes, that means that I’m down to P86X now. Still, phhttt.

Good hard kenpo workout yesterday, but it wasn’t particularly satisfying. Felt really uncoordinated through the whole thing, like I was doing everything with my left hand.

Today’s stretch routine was much better. I’m still really happy with how much more flexible I’m getting, particularly laterally.

And so we hit the end of week 7, rolling over to another recovery week starting tomorrow. A little more weight loss (20 pounds total this year), which means the BMI comes a little closer to getting out of the overweight range. A little more of a drop in body fat percentage. Everything confirming what I’d been feeling – this is still working. Perhaps not as quickly or as consistently as I’d like, but it’s still working. And in 11 days, more photos.

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My P90X Journey – Day 45: Momentum

July 9, 2010

Plyometrics yesterday? Um, hard. Not disheartening hard, but hard enough that I couldn’t get through as much as I’d have wanted to of each exercise. Knees are the problem these days, and for the last couple of weeks for that matter. Actually, probably not the knees themselves – I’d wager that it’s likely the IT bands, which have been a problem for me for years.

But when your knees, or IT bands, hurt, it makes it tough to get down into a decent squat. It makes it uncomfortable to do a lot of movements that involve leaving your feet, which is really what plyo is all about.

Plus, it’s freaking hot right now. Sucks the life right out of you, and a perfect breeding ground for an exercise-induced asthma flare-up.

Today’s back/biceps/abs? Much, much better. The good type of hard. More reps of almost everything. More situps than Tuesday, instead of sliding back to not being able to do any like two weeks ago. 15 mason twists, almost halfway to what’s in the program.

I am tired, but satisfied.

Now, let’s see how well I can manage the life/workout balance this weekend. Dad’s in town Friday night for the Jays game, which means I probably won’t be able to get to the scheduled yoga. Pick it up on Monday’s rest day instead?

My P90X Journey – Day 43: I Didn’t Even Tick it With My Back Leg

July 7, 2010

I don’t know if it was the three days off. I don’t know if it was the act of putting pen to paper, as it were. Maybe it was a little of both, or maybe it was neither.

Whatever the cause, I’m over the hurdle. I kicked the gym’s ass today (I won’t say that I kicked P90X’s ass, because I don’t need that kind of karma). Chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs – I rocked them all. Topped my personal best on pretty much every exercise in the routine. Doubled my best on a couple of them. 10 complete wide-leg situps, over a personal best of 4 and not being able to do any more often than not. 10 mason twists, when I’d never been able to do a single one properly before.

To be fair, the last of those did almost bring about my 2nd P90X vomiting episode. Only almost, thankfully…

This was a good day.

My P90X Journey – Day 42: Ennui… or Plateau?

July 5, 2010

Day 42? Yes, it’s been about a week-and-a-half since I last posted an update. I just haven’t had either the energy or the focus to put pen to paper… er, fingers to keyboard. Hence, the post title.

P90X is hard. I know, this isn’t news at this point, but it’s really hard. After a long day at work, it’s really easy to come home and want to slack off. When events are happening that capture your attention, it’s really easy to focus on them and put off your workout for another time. Except this is an every day commitment, so there really isn’t another time.

As a result, things have been choppy lately. Two weekends ago was the city exploding into conflict and violence and, I have to admit, it grabbed me with both hands and wouldn’t let go. We were glued to the television coverage. Day 33 became ‘let’s make today the rest day, and then do today’s workout tomorrow and tomorrow’s workout on Monday, when we’re supposed to have the rest day’. Which is all well and good, except that it’s become apparent to me that there’s a reason why the schedule is set up the way it is. Body parts are worked in a particular order. The routine has peaks and valleys, a rhythm with which you just shouldn’t mess.

Why not? Because P90X is hard, and it gets even harder when you start shuffling the schedule. When you do kenpo, and then you follow it right up again with chest/shoulders/triceps/abs, and then plyometrics, and then… well, you need that day in between to give your body a break. And when you don’t get that, it gets harder. When it’s harder, and you’re already pre-disposed to be hard on yourself like I am, then it becomes frustrating. Frustration becomes annoyance. Annoyance becomes poor focus and poor form. Poor form makes it harder. Et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera.

This weekend, it was Ribfest – large servings of protein, hot weather, bright sun, and allergies out in full force. And the problems repeated – not really ever home on Saturday to get the workout in, so day 40 became the rest day, and Sunday and today were to be Saturday and Sunday’s workouts. But the heat/sun/allergy combo knocked me on my ass by the time we got home yesterday, and left me pretty wobbly through most of the day today, which meant that those two days of workouts just didn’t happen. Best laid plans and all that, but P90X suddenly becomes P88X for me.

So, tomorrow is day 43, the beginning of week 7 – it’s the last week of getting in the really hard work before the ‘recovery week’, the last chance to go after some significant gains before moving into the home stretch of this program. It’s gut check time – I need to treat day 43 just like it’s day 1. I need to get past whatever this block is, whether physical or mental, and get back to work.

My P90X Journey – Day 32: 30-Day Progress Report (with Photos!)

June 26, 2010

Further update on Wednesday’s massive plyo session – yes, Dave, you’re getting name-checked in here yet again. My knees and ankles are still absolutely wrecked, and I still don’t regret it for a second. That being said, I wouldn’t object to not hurting anymore, either.

Fantastic yoga session today. I mean, seriously fantastic. Nice hard work that had me dripping with sweat only 10 minutes in. Other than the really advanced movement poses, I was able to get into everything. Reached past my toes on the double-leg hamstring stretch. For the first time today, I even managed to get into the crane position, and hold it for 3 seconds. I was more than a little amazed.

Now that we’re past the 30-day mark (and now that we’ve been able to find the cord that connects the camera to the computer), it’s probably time to check in with the first official P90X progress report. Through the first 30 days:

  • down 6 pounds, from 191 to 185 – actually 18 pounds in total since mid-January
  • down almost 4 points in body fat percentage, from 25.8% to 22.1%
  • down more than a pant size – from wearing 38s, I’m back into my size 34 jeans, which I haven’t been able to wear in more than 4 years, when I was still at half-marathon weight. Also back into most of those fantastic dress clothes that I had for work back then, and not too far off on the rest

And yes, we do have day 0 and day 30 photos for comparison purposes. Day 0 on the left and day 30 on the right, although I sure hope that’s obvious (good lord, I can’t believe I’m going to do this)…

To say that I’m pleased with the results would be an understatement. I can’t wait to see what day 60 will bring!

My P90X Journey – Day 31: Pain is Just Weakness Leaving Your Body

June 25, 2010

So, yeah – that whole sit-up euphoria from Tuesday? Pretty short-lived. We’ve apparently returned to our regularly-scheduled programming, where the cumulative effect of the workouts means that I’m unable to complete the exercises that involve getting upright from a prone position. Such as, well, sit-ups.

That’s okay, though. The renewed sense of failure just serves to take my mind off the intense discomfort that’s the legacy of yesterday’s plyowwwww session. Actually, that’s unfair. My soreness is partly of my own making. On a usual Thursday, I’d have been at work, walking around every once in a while, keeping the joints loose, and remembering to stretch. Unfortunately, because we’re living in a police state right now here in Toronto, I was working from home today, which means that I was ass-first in my desk chair from the moment I got up this morning until practically right before we went down to do today’s workout. The few times that I did get up and move around, it was slowly, and my knees creaked and barked with every step.

Yeah, there is literally no part of my body that doesn’t hurt as a result of yesterday’s plyo, plus there are parts – like my left forearm – that still hurt from Tuesday’s workout too. I’m talking shoulders, arms, back, abs, thighs, knees… even my ankles hurt after yesterday. Thanks, Dave. Thanks a lot. By the way, the title from today’s post was provided by Dave as well, from a note he left on my Facebook wall earlier today. I’ve never heard that quote before, nor do I know the source – apologies if it’s original, Dave – but I really liked the sentiment.

Anyway, today was a new back and biceps workout, along with the AbRipper. Hard, but felt really good. With the sore left forearm, every set of curls was an enormous challenge, and extremely satisfying to complete. And while the sit-up portion of the AbRipper was a failure, other parts are coming along nicely. Each time, I’ve able to do more and more reps of more and more of the exercises. Which is a very nice feeling.

Big day tomorrow. Another day of working from home. The ultra-long yoga session, where I hope I’ll be able to avoid last week’s sweat problems because I’m really looking forward to getting a good bend and stretch in. And then, a little picture-in-picture sports action, with the NHL draft and Doc’s first start against the Jays both getting underway at the same time. Ooh, Erin’s going to hate that last part…

My P90X Journey – Day 30: Where We’re Joined by a Guest Tyrant… Um, Trainer

June 24, 2010

Oh my god, I am tired. Deep to the bone, drop where I’m sitting, tired.

Point of fact, I was so tired that I got only that one sentence down on the screen last night before I couldn’t even form coherent thoughts anymore.

Yes, day 30 was plyo day. Now, plyo day is hard enough, but this was no ordinary plyo day. Allow me to explain…

See, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not on this journey alone – it’s a group effort. It started with Jackie and Ngaio from the musical I did earlier this year, and my fiance Erin and her brother James are doing it as well. We all started at the same time on the Tuesday after the Victoria Day long weekend. The idea was that we’d do our own stuff and support each other online, but that we’d also get together every once in a while to do a group workout when it was time for something like plyometrics.

It took us a while to get our schedules together, but last night was our first group workout. As an added benefit, Jackie’s friend Dave is a personal trainer and P90X survivor… er, graduate, and she arranged for him to come by and put us through our paces. However, this was not Tony Horton’s standard P90X plyo. Dave had his own personal torture he wanted to put us through.

Well, as I said, oh my god. I have never worked out harder in my life. Sweated through my shirt, sweated through my shorts, all but water-logged my shoes. After 30 days, I finally popped my P90X puking cherry. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I wanted it to happen, but I am a little surprised it took so long. Just a mean, hard, awful, cruel plyo workout. Didn’t do as well as I would have liked, but I’m frankly just happy that I survived. And if I had the money, I’d be hiring Dave to do it all over again every week. Yes, I’m ill, but you knew that already, right?