Posts Tagged ‘Abs’

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…

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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 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 29: We Now Return You to Your Regularly-Scheduled Programming

June 23, 2010

Sorry for that interruption earlier – suffice it to say that I was a little bit excited about today’s workout…

Wait a minute – day 29? You may be asking what happened to days 25 through 28? What happened to checking the progress at the end of week 4? Well, they’re really just a casualty of that whole balancing exercise and life thing I’ve talked about earlier. The exercise wasn’t a casualty, but the blogging about it was. So, let’s see if we can’t catch you up, shall we?

  • Day 25 was X Stretch, which is just a fantastic stretching routine. In fact, this day – this particular day – may well have been my favourite day out of the entire program so far. I’m really happy with the flexibility I’ve developed. In a figure-four stretch, I can actually get down and reach my heels. In a straight-leg stretch, I can grab my toes. I don’t think I’ve ever been this flexible.
  • Day 26 was Core Synergistics for the second time in the week, and I can quite comfortably say that I dislike this particular routine the most among all of them. It’s just hard in a much different way than any of the others; it has a lot of parts to it that are just not natural movements.
  • Days 27 and 28 were essentially a waste. Day 27 was supposed to be Yoga X and Day 28 a rest/stretch day. Due to a social commitment and a general lack of energy, we decided to flip them around – take the rest on Sunday and do the yoga on Monday. Best laid plans, and all that. Let me tell you, when trying to do high-intensity yoga, sweat is your enemy. I don’t know what the heck was going on, but my hands and feet were both sweating like a teenage boy on prom night. I seriously don’t know how the hot yoga folks do it. When your hands are sliding forward, and your feet are sliding backward, it’s just a little difficult to hold a textbook downward dog. I mean, you only have to go into that position 30 or 40 times during the workout. So yoga only lasted about 10 minutes before we threw in the towel – no point in getting hurt.
  • By the way, about that social commitment – if you’re in the Toronto area, and you ever get a chance to check out a burlesque group called Les Coquettes, it’s money well-spent. They did a fantastic show at Revival on Sunday night – some of the most creative dance I’ve seen in a long time, an amazing aerialist, and attitude up the wazoo. Fun and funny. Not for the kiddies, needless to say…
  • No change in weight for week 4, which is about what I expected. Recovery week, and all that.

And now we’re back up to date. Day 29, the beginning of week 5, and the turnover to a new set of weekly routines. Today, we had chest, shoulders, and triceps, plus our old friend AbRipperX. Apparently, there are new and different ways of doing pushups that we hadn’t yet explored during weeks 1 through 3. I confess that I found this rather surprising… and extremely hard. This was not a pleasant day in the gym, with absolutely no sense of satisfaction. Until…

It seems that taking the week off from the AbRipper X program allows you to come at it again with a renewed purpose. For example, did I mention that I’m now able to do a sit-up? Yeah, I know, it was a different post, but you’re reading them all – I know you are. Yes, all of a sudden, I’m able to get up for a complete sit-up. Four of them even! I mean, it takes a solid 5 seconds to get all the way up, and I need to compose myself again and re-clench for 10 seconds afterward. But still – four sit-ups!

And then I got back upstairs afterward and, when I looked in the mirror, there they were – abs. Two chunks of abdominal muscle, one on each side of my belly button, as if out of nowhere. I’m serious – they weren’t there yesterday. They weren’t even there this morning. It’s just weird.

Tomorrow (well, today at this point) – big day. Day 30. The first official checkpoint. New photos. Will I feel like sharing? We’ll just have to see…

My P90X Journey – Days 18 to 21: Finding the Work(out)/Life Balance

June 14, 2010

I’ve now been faced for the second time with what will probably be the hardest challenge in this program – how to strike a balance between a workout program that needs you to devote 1.5 to 2 hours a day to it and trying to just live your life. As important as it is to get your exercise in, how do you manage that when you’re faced with work or social commitments? And when you’re trying to write a daily blog chronicling your experience with the exercise program, how do you find time for that too? It’s a conundrum…

So, to catch up on what I’ve missed so far:

Day 18 (Friday) – Yoga – Hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it. Hate it. It’s hard and I hate it. That is all.

Day 19 (Saturday) – Back/Legs/Abs – I love legs day. After four days of failure with pushups, and plyometrics, and situps, and yoga, having a day where I can be almost completely successful is such an important boost for my confidence. Now, that being said, doing a legs-based workout and following it up by sitting through weekend traffic to St. Catharines? Not such a good idea, and a perfect example of the workout conflicting with life’s other obligations.

Sorry, but before I forget, just one more comment about day 18 and yoga. I hate it.

Day 20 (Sunday) – Kenpo… nope, rest day – And the weekend’s other example of the conflict. Late, late night in St. Catharines, the typical uncomfortable motel bed, long time in the car on the drive back home through weekend traffic, plus a trip to the mall on the way back. By the time we got home, there was absolutely no chance that we’d be able to get enough energy together to do the kenpo workout. But what to do? I haven’t missed a day of this program yet and I don’t want to. Missing a day is the first step on the road to not sticking with it, to not following through, to having this be yet another fitness failure. Maybe I could switch things up? Monday is supposed to be the rest or stretch day – what about if we just flipped them? Take the rest today and do the kenpo workout on Monday? Is it really a good idea to mess with the routine like that? Yeah, I don’t care really – I’m beat like a dusty rug in the backyard on a summer’s day.

And now we’re caught up to today. It’s day 21, the rest/stretch day turned kenpo workout. By the time I get home from work, my energy level is back up, nothing hurts, and I’m excited about spending an hour punching and kicking the air. This was a good session, with the sweat flying and the heart pumping. And even now, four hours later, there is still nothing hurting on my body. This is unusual. It’s particularly unusual to find that after two days folded up in the car and a night on a motel bed, my back doesn’t hurt. I mean, not even a little. Is it possible that this whole exercise thing has actual health benefits? Is that the way it’s supposed to work? Is it really so simple that all I need to do to stop my back from being a pain in the back is to take some slices off my gut and loosen up my hamstrings?

Being day 21 and the end of week 3, it’s also time to track the progress. Body fat percentage is down again. The scale shows another pound gone for the week – 6 pounds in 3 weeks of P90X and 18 pounds total so far in 2010 – which means that the BMI is down again too.

This is working. It’s actually working. And, I’m surviving…

My P90X Journey – Day 17: Narrated by Jim Perry with Soundtrack by Dream Warriors

June 11, 2010

Definition. My definition.

I look today and I see definition. There are biceps. There are triceps. There are deltoids. The three of them together form this nice little triangle from the side view. When I flex, there are peaks on both the top and the bottom of the arm. This is unfamiliar to me.

There are abs. Abs – plural. I can feel them. I mean, they’re buried under several layers of adipose tissue, but they’re there. When I’m doing the AbRipper, and I reach to the places where it hurts, I can feel actual muscles underneath there. Ab muscles. This is extremely unfamiliar to me.

Shoulder presses? Good. Curls? Good. Full set of in and outs. Full set of forward bicycles. Full set – FULL SET – of froggy crunches, when I couldn’t do more than a couple two days ago. Lots of ab raises. Getting up to my toe on the leg climbs.

This was a very good day. This was the type of day that makes it easy to stay with it, easy to shake off the soreness and the tightness in the back of my leg.

Of course, I still haven’t been able to do a full sit-up. It’s not all wine and roses…

My P90X Journey – Day 15: When it Was, Shall We Say, Unsettling…

June 9, 2010

It’s possible… (strike that) It’s likely… (no, not that either) I’m almost certain that… (don’t hold back) Yeah, I definitely did not wait long enough after eating before working out.

I am a creature of habit. No, really – I know that’ll come as a shock to those of you who know me well, but it’s true. I have the same breakfast (within a slight variance) every morning. I have the same set of programs open on my computer all the time. I do the same things in the same order before I go to bed almost every night.

That’s an important reason why the P90X program is such a good fit for me. No guesswork involved. Every day is planned, every workout is laid out for you. So, while yesterday’s rest day might have been a good idea in theory (and probably was a really good idea for my leg), in practice, it felt tonight like I was starting back at day 1 all over again.

The other routine that I’ve developed along with the workouts during the week is that we do them as soon as I get home from work – if I don’t sit down and get comfortable, it’s a lot easier to commit to going downstairs and getting them done. After the workout’s over, then we eat supper. Unfortunately, due to traffic and other complications, we didn’t get home after work tonight until past 7, by which point I was absolutely starving. That’s fine – we figured we’d just eat first and then wait a little while for the food to settle before going down for today’s chest/back/abs workout. As a result, we didn’t start until 9.

Yeah, I definitely did not wait long enough after eating before working out. You’d think an hour-and-a-half or more would be enough time for food to work its way along. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong.

Pullups? Hard. Pushups? HAAARRRRD. AbRipper X? Well, I didn’t quite throw up…

My P90X Journey – Days 12 & 13: Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion, Upset Stomach…

June 7, 2010

Day 12 – Back & Legs

Once again, my favorite workout. All the different squats and lunges are fantastic, and I’m seeing real progress in terms of how well they went versus last week. I still have to be careful with the tightness in my right leg, but it was a very successful session. The ab workout was a bit of a wash from Thursday – I was able to do more reps of some of the exercises, the same amount of others, and fewer of one or two of them. I’m still not getting up for a full wide leg sit-up, which I find really frustrating, but I have to believe that it’s going to come someday.

Day 13 – Kenpo

I’m sorry to say that I can’t report on the wonder that is the bacon waffle. Erin’s been feeling a little punk the last couple of days, so I figured it was better that she got some sleep this morning instead of heading out for brunch. Another day, perhaps.

So, lesson number one for the day. When you’ve done an hour-long workout the previous day that focused heavily on your legs, it will be somewhat less than comfortable for you to walk up the ramp to the 500 level at the Rogers Centre, climb up to the 14th row, and sit in a cramped bleacher seat for 2 1/2 hours. Great time with Russell and Anastasia – fun game to watch despite the result. However, I could not find enough opportunities to get up and try to stretch the ache out of my knees and hamstrings. Thankfully, I had the walk back to the subway afterward to get all the kinks out.

Lesson number two for today, boys and girls, is the importance of giving your body healthy fuel to burn. Please, take my advice – beer and pizza at the Jays game, and McDonald’s on the way home, followed by an hour of high-impact cardiovascular exercise, is not a recipe for a restful evening. The workout itself was fine. I’m still really enjoying all the punching in the kenpo; the kicks, less so, but it’s all part of the bargain. The blocks were certainly a lot easier this week. No, it was after the workout was over, once all the motion had stopped and my heart rate and body temperature had returned to normal, that things took a turn for the worse. Oy…

Tomorrow will be the end of the second week, and so I’ll be due for another check on my weight and body fat percentage. Also, it’ll be time for either a rest or a really good stretch – we’ll see how the day goes. Either way, it’ll be 14 days straight on the program and, to be honest, I’m a little shocked that I’ve been able to stick with it for this long. As much as it involves such a huge time commitment, I find myself eager to get home at the end of the day to get the workout in. Naturally, I’m then equally happy once it’s over…

My P90X Journey – Days 9 & 10: Valleys and Peaks and ?

June 3, 2010

Day 9 – Plyometrics

Okay, seriously – it’s three days later and I still have the tug behind my right knee and up into my hamstring that started with day 6’s kenpo and got worse from day 7’s stretching. My right triceps is still rather inflamed and very tender from I don’t even know which day, although I know yesterday’s pushups, pullups, and chinups didn’t make it any better. And they really want me to be hopping around for plyo?

Yeah, again, this was much, much harder the second time around. I think I honestly didn’t properly anticipate how each day’s toll on my body would add up over time. At this point, I’m just beaten down. I’m exhausted after each workout. I finished the plyo absolutely drenched with sweat – I could have wrung my shirt out into a camel’s mouth and it’d be set to cross the Sahara.

Day 10 – Shoulders, Arms, and Abs

My right knee and hamstring are now fully seized-up – I feel them with every step throughout the day. There is literally – and yes, I mean literally – not a single part of my body that doesn’t ache. In fact, I found myself questioning on Facebook earlier today whether I really wanted this bad enough. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve been thrilled with the results so far, but is it really worth feeling like this to get those results? And how long does this feeling last? Is there a point in the evolution of this program where it stops being about constant discomfort and it transitions to simply that ‘good soreness’ that reminds you you’ve been working hard?

And then, like a breath of fresh air, comes shoulders and arms. Hard, but not soul-destroying. Challenging, but not demotivating. Blissfully, at least until the abs, didn’t involve the legs at all. And shockingly, not harder the second time around than the first. Not easier mind you, but not harder either.

It’s a few hours later now and, other than the right triceps, my upper body has the good soreness. Right leg? Still not good. I don’t know how I’ll feel once I lay down for the night, or when I get up in the morning, but I’m okay for now. For now, I’m satisfied.

Of course, tomorrow there’s yoga…