Posts Tagged ‘Yoga’

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.

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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 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 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 – Day 11: A Corner Turned?

June 5, 2010

There’s this theory that by giving voice to your fears, it makes them less scary. You put them out into the world and the burden of carrying them becomes lessened somehow. Now, I don’t know – it’s a little new agey for me. I do know this though – a couple of days ago, I wrote about my concerns that this program might just be a little too hard for me. I wondered about when the pain would be replaced by the ‘good soreness’. Yesterday, the day after the arms/shoulders/abs workout, nothing but good soreness. Today, the day after yoga, nothing but good soreness.

Yoga was actually really good yesterday. It was still very tough and there are still a lot of parts of it that I can’t do, and others that I can’t do well. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that even by the time the 90 days are up, there will still be movements that will be beyond my ability. But I was able to do more of it than I did during week 1 and, as I try to remind myself, that’s really all that matters.

The other benefit that sticking with this brings is that it feels like I’m actually also remembering how to exercise. For example, I was taught in the past that anything physical is easier when you engage your core. Whoever taught me that wasn’t lying – keeping my balance when twisting into some weird yoga position, for example, is a lot easier when I tighten my stomach muscles. Remembering to breathe properly, also a big help when you’re exercising. These are all simple ideas and pretty much common sense. But there are so many moving parts when you’re exercising, both literally and figuratively. Watching the screen to see what you’re supposed to do, making sure your form’s good, the pressure of lifting the weight or holding the position itself – put tight core and breathing on top of all that, and it’s a little much sometimes!

And the results are still coming. Fourth hole on the belt buckle and my jeans are still gapping at the waist. I don’t think I can go to the fifth hole without folding them over, which means the small jeans really need to come out of storage.

So now, the weekend. Slept in a bit this morning – give the body a chance to rest and recuperate. Settled in now to watch the Jays game in which, shockingly, the Jays have just hit a home run. Once that’s over, we’ll do a little work on the back, legs, and abs. It’s always the abs… Perhaps a little karaoke tonight. Sunday morning, really tempted to do brunch (and I NEVER do brunch) at this place I just heard about this morning that has bacon waffles. Yes, that’s right, they cook the bacon into the waffles, like the caramel in a Caramilk bar. Hey, I’m working hard at this stuff – I deserve it!

My P90X Journey: Day 4 – In which the ‘ga’ of ‘yoga’ is the noise I make when my spine seizes up

May 29, 2010

Okay, I have a bone to pick with Mr. Tony Horton, rippling muscle man of the P90X series. I get that the ‘X’ stands for ‘extreme’ and all that. However, when leading an exercise routine like yoga – one that has a very specific language associated with it – it might be an interesting idea to spend just a few minutes at the start of the DVD explaining what each pose means. When you have me twisted into ‘broken spine 2’ and you want me to transition seemlessly into ‘hernia 4’, it’s awfully tough for me to do a Linda Blair and look at the screen to see what ‘hernia 4’ looks like. Just saying…

OK, rant over. Let me tell you, Yoga X is as advertised. An hour-and-a-half of torturous, body-mangling, ego-shattering… well, pain. Sheer pain. I’ve taken maybe five yoga classes in my life, and this was nothing like any of them. This was yoga on meth, a sick game of solo twister on crack.

Warrior three? As far as I knew, warriors one and two were enough. But, no, apparently you need a third version if you’re going after a full complement of mayhem.

Crane? Excuse me? Crane? What? Seriously – have a look at this and imagine trying to do it on the fourth day of a workout program.

Added bonus surprise – because the AbRipper X three times a week isn’t enough, Yoga X comes with its own little mini-set of ab exercises. Oh joy!

Now, on the plus side, all of the stretching involved took out a lot of the soreness from the previous workouts. So that’s something, right?

Next? Legs, back, and – whee! – AbRipperX once more.