Posts Tagged ‘Back’

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 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 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 – 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 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 – Day 8: Where it Doesn’t Get Any Easier the Second Time Around

June 1, 2010

Um, ow…

I don’t know what exactly it was that made me think that this was not going to be an especially difficult day. It’s not exactly like the stars were lined up in my favour:

  • I was still feeling day 6 today – a little grab from the right elbow up through the triceps, which lines up perfectly with the upward blocking motion from the kenpo workout.
  • The day got off to a lousy start because of a power outage in our neighborhood – by the time I got to work, I had very little time before a long afternoon meeting, which meant that the day felt completely unproductive.
  • The day 1 version of the chest/back/abs combination wasn’t, y’know, easy or anything. All the various and sundry push-ups were more than a bit of a challenge.

Still, this was the second time around for the exact same workout. I knew what to expect. I thought I knew how to pace myself through the first set of reps so that I’d have enough gas for the second set.

Yeah, I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Wrong to a humbling degree. So brutally wrong that I couldn’t even knock out any reps of a couple of the push-up variations on the second set. All kinds of wrong. Ten different flavours of wrong.

Did I mention I was wrong? Okay, just checking…

Now, Erin did raise a good point. This was the 8th day in a row of between an hour and an hour-and-a-half each day of intense exercise. The theory being it’s not like it should be a shock that there’d be a cumulative effect. Seems reasonable, I suppose.

Still, it wasn’t a total loss. Each time the AbRipper comes around, I’m seeing a bit more progress. Full set of in-and-outs today. Full set of bicycles, although the reverse bicycles are still too much for both my coordination and my hip flexors. Decent number of oblique raises.

And yet, well, ow…

My P90X Journey – Day 5: With Soundtrack by Alternate-Universe ZZ Top

May 30, 2010

Back and legs on day five, and the first day on which I’ve felt completely comfortable doing the exercises. Not that they were easy or that I was able to complete all of the reps that they were doing on the video – just that I had confidence that I could do each of them, with what felt like good form and a reasonable degree of success. As I’ve mentioned, the one physical tool I’ve ever had going for me is strong legs. As a result, squats and lunges and calf raises are right up my alley.

Our friend AbRipper X returned for another visit, and the story continues to be one of gradual progress. I’m still not getting up to a full sit-up, but I was able to do a bunch more of the half-up than I did on Thursday. Got through almost the full set of in-and-outs and about 3/4 of the set of oblique raises. There are still exercises that I just don’t have nearly enough ab or back strength to do, but it feels like that may come someday.

The real story of the day, however, is the beginnings of the physical change. Now, trust me – if you’re working this program, your mileage may vary. I somehow doubt that you’re supposed to see tangible results after only four workouts. In fact, I strongly suspect it’s far more a sign of the woeful physical condition I was in at the beginning. However, I’ve noticed a very shallow trench developing on either side of my stomach – every so slowly, the ob is becoming an ub. Also, between exercises yesterday, I saw this little triangle-shaped thing on the sides of my upper arms. I understand that has something to do with the triceps? I don’t know – it’s rather unfamiliar territory for me. The last time I remember seeing anything resembling a muscle in my arms was almost a decade ago when I was working with a personal trainer regularly.

So, all in all, a pretty good P90X day. Not an intolerable amount of soreness as I write this the next day, and I’m really looking forward to the kenpo workout tonight.

Now, on a completely unrelated note, I had originally set this blog up to talk about baseball, among other topics. In fact, the ‘J’ in the title is for ‘Jays’. So I wouldn’t feel right about posting today without saying congratulations to Roy Halladay on pitching a perfect game yesterday. Halladay is a major man-crush for me, as he ought to be for anyone who’s a serious baseball fan. In my opinion, he’s the best pitcher of his generation, and I think there becomes less and less argument against that as time goes on. It was really only a matter of time before he had that history-making, career-defining performance. So, while it’s an enormous dagger through my heart that he did it after he was out of a Jays uniform, I couldn’t be happier for him.

And from the sublime to the ridiculous, there’s really only one thing to say about Kendry Morales of the Angels – ouch

My P90X Journey – Day 1: The Next Day

May 26, 2010

I feel like I am trying to swim through a vat of glue, which is not good, since I can’t swim. This is also going to require an earlier bedti…zzz…huh? What?

Today after work – plyometrics, which I believe originated in Nazi Germany. Yep, pretty sure I read that on the internet somewhere…