Posts Tagged ‘Kenpo’

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 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 – Days 22 to 24: Taking Fallen Soldiers off the Battlefield is Called “Recovery” Too

June 18, 2010

I’m not sure what’s harder – the P90X, or keeping a regular blog about it.

Day 22 – Yoga – So, we’re in week 4 now. They call this ‘recovery week’, I assume the idea being that you get to take a break from all the ab work and all the heavy resistance work and focus more on cardio and flexibility. Which is nice, I suppose, except the week includes yoga and kenpo, both of which we’ve done before and neither of which are exactly easy.

Something different about yoga this time around, though. Not easier, exactly, but I guess there’s just enough extra flexibility now that the stuff I can do, I can actually do, and do some of it pretty well. I still can’t do the stuff I can’t do. And the stuff that I can kind of do, I can kind of do it a little better. So, that’s all good, right?

Wow, that was some tortured writing…

Day 23 – Core Synergistics – Ooh, our first new routine since day 7. Yeah, nothing remotely easy about this one either. Pushups with the hands out of alignment and the feet stacked on top of each other? Walking pushups? Rolling bananas? Alternating supermans and bananas? WTF? Recovering my breath maybe, and only barely. This week is not at all as advertised.

Day 24 – Kenpo – Ah, my old friend. Welcome back. I know it’s only been 5 days, but I’ve missed you so. We get along so well, with all your punching and blocking and kicking. Just sheer raw, naked aggression, sweat and muscles rippling, breath heavy…

Whoa… when did this turn into a Harlequin romance? Yikes…

BTW, on a completely non-P90X-related note, I saw some discussion floating around today about whether or not Eric Lindros should be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame when the new class is announced on Tuesday. Let me state, for the record, unequivocally, no, he should not be. Not in this or any other lifetime. There is nothing in his career that remotely suggests he’s deserving of this honour, and I defy anyone to convince me otherwise.

I may yet have more to say about this, but for now, NO.

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 – 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 6 & 7: Aggression, Our First Injury, and a Progress Report

June 1, 2010

Day 6 – Kenpo

Now this is the stuff. It’s punching. It’s kicking. It’s blocking. It’s punching and kicking. It’s punching and blocking. It’s more punching. Grr… Perhaps a little more co-ordination involved than I bust out in the average day, but all in all, a pretty successful session. Fun, fun stuff and enough activity to work up a serious sweat.

Day 7 – Stretching

You see, the genius of P90X is that it largely takes the guesswork out of things. There’s a full calendar, running 13 weeks, and almost every day is scheduled for you. Day seven is the first time when you actually get a choice. You can rest OR… you can do “X Stretch”. Now, you’ve just completed six days of hardcore exercising, at a pace and level much more difficult than you’ve ever done before. After day seven, there’s another six days of hardcore exercising to come. Logic would suggest that resting would be an excellent idea. But there’s this nagging voice in the back of your head – “C’mon. Don’t be an idiot. If you take the day off, you might not go back for day eight. I mean, that’s how you’ve always run into problems with exercise in the past, right? Besides, it’s stretching. How hard can it be?”

Well, voice, how hard was it? Yes, that’s right, I did the stretching. I’ve never been accused of being flexible, and that’s as true for my joints and tendons as it is for my politics. The stretching was a little more challenging than the old ‘head, shoulders, knees, and toes’ from kindergarten class, but I expected that. And yet, I was surprised at how much I was able to bend and twist, how far down I could reach. It even felt good – I pushed myself a little, and a little further, and a little further still.

And then it happened. A tug – subtle at first, and then more insistent, until reaching my knee on the single-leg hamstring stretch felt like a victory. A not-so-gentle reminder that I’m only seven days into this journey, and that perhaps I should be a little more satisfied with the small victories instead of reaching for the stars (™ Kasey Kasem) right away.

Week 1 – The Results Edition

Okay, I know. The manuals say that you’re supposed to check progress after 30, 60, and 90 days, and that all you’re supposed to do at those points is check your body fat percentage and take new photos. You don’t do measurements again until after the 90 days are up. However, from doing the 16 weeks of The Biggest Loser Wii game, I’m disciplined now to do a weekly weigh-in. I just can’t help myself.

Remarkably, the visual clues from earlier in the week that things seemed to be working were all correct. Through seven days:

Weight – from 191 to 187, down four pounds

Body fat percentage – from 25.8% to 22.8%, down three percentage points, or an 11.6% decrease

Suffice it to say that I’m astounded. Okay, well maybe it doesn’t suffice to say that. Let’s also say that there’s no way that I’m not sticking with it with those kinds of results. Tomorrow, we start all over again. Bring it on!