10.90 – Rounds Are Over, 3 Years Later.

After almost 3 years and 3 months of sticking to my 90 day regimen I think it’s about time to give it up. It all started with P90X day 1 back in June of 2009 (actually, the first introduction to Tony was back in 2005) and since then I have gradually inched further away from the 90 day DVD approach and into my own brand of Bootcamp, Olympic lifting, Russian Kettlebells and so on. It has been a great system, especially the 90 day method of sticking to a workout and seeing it through but now I think I am too flexible in my approach to gain any more benefit from that structure. Of course, I still need some way of monitoring my rest weeks and downtime versus my activity and some way to vary the body parts and duration of my workouts. But for now, cycling through another 90 day “program” isn’t going to be of any value to me. I think what I need to do is to plan some goals and map my progress towards those goals, relying more on my experience and physical indicators to gauge my activity rather than the imposition of “rest week” of which I am oh so fond.

That said, it’s back to school and that means back to basics at gymnastics, a new bootcamp season Monday and Wednesday and an as yet unplanned revision to the warmup schedule. Add that to my renewed fondness for Olympic lifting, my passion for Kettlebell training and my promise that I will try to include one day of cardio / hills (translate that to running outside!) and one day of Yoga and you have 6 days already filled. Looks like I won’t have to plan that much after all!

I really want to get started on the new approach to this blog also, not having to account for each day of the 90, watching the numbers rise and stressing about what happens next. It’s not that I don’t like the framework, in fact the numbers for a long time were what kept me coming back but I think it’s time for more life to creep in and the sterility of the workouts to make room on the couch.

Watch this space.

R8D51 – Pick A Poison

Last night with the girls I gave them the option of doing one of 4 items. They were supposed to do 10 of each for a total of 20 in 20 minutes. I later decided that choice was not something you give a teenager so I made them do 5 of each. In fact they only made 11 total not 20 which was not impressive at all. However… I only made 15 so I guess my expectations were a little high!

The choices they didn’t get to make were:
Pick a poison

5x each one

5 chin up
10 push up
15 air squat

5 hip pullover
10 beam jumps
15 lunge switch

5 skin cat recover
10 leg lifts
15 vsnaps

5 ring inversions
10 dips
15 handstand shoulder touch

Tuesday I really, REALLY didn’t want to work out but I thought I would just go grab a random Insanity DVD and see how I felt. I picked Cardio power and resistance and in under 40 minutes I was done, grateful and relieved I had actually done something. I don’t do enough Insanity, in fact, I don’t really do enough DVD work at all any more but I suppose that will change as the weather gets colder and I refuse to go out on the deck or even into the garage to work out. This insanity DVD is good, it’s actually one of my favourites but I think I may say that about all of them now that I don’t have to do one every day!

Insanity 2 Codename Asylum

asylumApparently there is a new Insanity workout coming from Shaun T. It is supposedly coming out early 2011 and according to Shaun T himself:

I just finished a program called ‘Asylum’ because I had to take it a step forward. With ‘Insanity,’ it is based off max integral training and your best. I took all of that and made ‘Asylum’ really sports-specific. There’s a workout called Game Day, where you are doing all these different sports. You’re using your agility and speed. It’s really for the person who wants the athletic body and mentality.

Sounds like a step away from the aerobics dropouts and more towards the conditioned athlete. Personally, I can’t wait!

Round 5 Day 1 – The Plan And The Future

lots of kettlebellsSo as you can no doubt tell, I did kind of bail on Round 4 leaving with about 2 weeks left to the 3 month mark. However, the timing was problematic, with Christmas, new weights, new methodologies creeping in I thought it was finally time to move along. I am coming to the realization that this time around, P90X, the reason for starting this blog in the first place, may not actually have a place here. It’s a little sad, and since I am going to commit to having a cardio day during my workout days then a revisit to Kenpo or Plyo may be in the cards. However, the days of following Tony along through mind numbingly boring set after set of curls or pushups are gone. That and his unbearably inane commentary. So what next you ask? Well, as you can probably guess it will involve kettlebells, Olympic Lifts, WODs and a dab of cardio. Here is the plan for the first month, more to follow later as I get into the schedule for the RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge). I am also going to try and stay within a calendar time frame rather than a set 90 days, I would like to finish Round 5 around the start of April when my parents and sister come to town to see the baby. Once the weather is nicer, I will have more flexibility in what I can do using the deck outside as a workout platform, so things will change by necessity.

I need to be flexible with the days off, so what I want to do is commit to a 4 day stretch, sometimes it may get to 6 days in a row, other times I may be forced into a 2 or 3 day hiatus. Either way, the rotation is going to be 8 day. 2 4 day stretches containing everything I need. The variety will no doubt come from the WOD which I will mostly take from the Crossfit site but reserve the right to do a named workout should I feel the desire. I won’t be counting days off this time around either which will probably fit me in around the 75-80 day mark. I’m kind of making this up as I go along right now so bear with me. I need to satisfy certain things, I need bench, I need pullups, I need the RKC and I need some form of cardio day to keep my endurance up. I also need deadlifts, clean and press and for the time being some form of squat without getting under a bar. So here goes.

Day 1 – RKC Minimum Swings (The RKC Minimum is 4 weeks, then transition into Rite Of Passage)
Day 2 – RKC TGU and WOD
Day 3 – Bench and dips (Chest, shoulder, tri)
Day 4 – Cardio or stretch or Yoga

Day 5 – RKC Minimum Swings
Day 6 – RKC TGU and WOD
Day 7 – Deadlifts and Squat (Legs and Back)
Day 8 – Cardio or stretch or Yoga

Round Two, Day 32 – Pure Cardio, Pure Hell

Pure Cardio is the epoch of everything that is wrong with the Insanity program. Well, let me rephrase that, it represents everything that is wrong with the way I am approaching these workouts. I am so used to Tony giving us breaks and time to recover before again blasting the bodypart that my feeble brain is trying to comprehend the logic to Shaun T’s method. You see, Insanity is not the same, not by any measure. The fact is that it will take you at least one run through of each Insanity DVD before you get the hang of it. Maybe it’s just me, but I like to know where the end of the workout is so I can focus on it and work towards it. I can’t push myself hard not knowing when the break will come, it’s just not rational for me. So I end up taking breaks in various places and ending up not having worked at my optimal rate. However, now I know what Pure Cardio is like, the next time I do it I won’t be taking breaks because I will know that there is really only 18 minutes or so of pain to the workout.

Last night, regardless of my back pain, I worked through the Pure Cardio DVD and was happy with the workout as a whole with the exception of the timing being difficult to manage. What I did realize at the end is that unless you really push yourself as Shaun encourages you to, you may not get the workout you were expecting. It is easy to underachieve during these sessions if only because they are so short. As long as you go in knowing that the counter on the screen indicates the total time left minus about 4 minutes you will be fine. Work as hard as you can for as long as you can and then take a break. But… if the counter is sitting at 8 minutes, push through. You can do anything for 4 minutes or so can’t you? For me, the workout was a little frustrating. I was tired, I was pushing but I was in pain. It was not a pretty site. By the end I was left wanting more, only because I had neglected to heed the timer. Had I realized what little time there was left, I would no doubt have pushed harder. Next time…

Pure Cardio, then, is in fact everything that is right with the Insanity program. It is truly a High Intensity workout with only around 18 minutes of lung busting cardio as long as you don’t include the “warmup”. Learn to manhandle that 18 minutes and you will learn the joy of Insanity. It may not be for the faint of heart or the “fat burning zone” treadmill losers but in order to get what you can out of it you should be prepared to push yourself harder than you have done before and that, my friends, is no joke.

Round 2. Days 12-16, Insanity Hybrid is here

Human DNA removal. One way or another…

I couldn’t wait. Reading other blogs about people abandoning Kenpo and Yoga to do Insanity workouts drove me to a jealous rage. I ripped open my Insanity package and on day 13 instead of doing Kenpo I decided I would bust out the easiest of the Insanity DVDs. I decided upon the rest week workout. Mostly because frankly the write ups about the rest of the program scared me and the fact that at this time I am still a similar shape to my pregnant wife. However, I thought if I don’t start this now, I will end up waiting for the perfect time and I will never get stuck in. Besides, how hard can the recovery workout be?

Human DNA removal. One way or another...

I quickly realized that Shaun T, with his friendly demeanor and charm is not the type of guy to take it easy on you. He is also not the kind of leader who wants to chit chat and joke around. He is my kind of instructor. Upon starting the rest week workout I found out one thing right away, in Shaun T’s world, warmup means follow his lead until your lungs hurt and then stretch. Anyone who has done an Insanity workout knows what I am talking about. His warmup, the part before the stretch just to get you started was more difficult than an entire Kenpo workout. Granted they have different goals in mind but this was a rude awakening. The rest of the workout was full of surprises. Not the good kind that make you smile, but the kind where you are lulled into a false sense of security and then kicked in the pancreas with a steel toed shoe. For example, after wheezing through the “warmup” you are allowed to stretch for a few minutes and you can’t help but notice that as the stretching is going on that you are speeding toward the end of the video. In fact, once the stretch is done and Shaun T brings his evil little face to the front of class to start you can see that there is only about 20 minutes left. That, my friend, is the first punch to the throat. You see, if you have never set fire to yourself or jumped into a frozen lake, to you, 20 minutes is no time at all. But to Shaun T, 20 minutes is enough time to destroy your physique, break your spirit, make you simultaneously cry and throw up in your mouth a bit and make you wish you had put down a tarp before you started.

Needless to say, the rest week of Insanity with 7 days of this workout is a daunting thought. What scared me the most was the fact that if this was the recovery week, how hard was the regular workout going to be? My pancreas aches just thinking about it.

Day 15 was chest and back, and I almost kissed the TV when I saw Tony who now officially is the Good Cop of the pair. I was already into week 3 and frankly not seeing the kind of weight loss I was looking for and so despite my better judgement I decided that I was going to officially Hybrid my workout and instead of doing Tony Kenpo I would do Shaun Kenpo instead. Chest and back went just fine and I was back to the kind of weights and reps I was doing the first time around. Since I already have all the size I could ever want, I am back to doing 15-20 reps of almost everything and upwards of 300 push ups and 50 pull ups every session. My pull ups are lagging behind a bit due to the extra weight I am carrying but I expect to be breaking the 100 barrier before long.

My usual Plyo day was replaced with Shaun T’s Plyometric Cardio Circuit which was not as Plyo-esque as Tony’s was, but was far more cardio oriented, a theme you can expect throughout the Insanity program. I will do a full run down of the workouts later as I become more familiar with them but for now let me say that the feelings I had during the recovery week workout were replicated and amplified during the PCC workout. At one point I looked across the floor, as I lay panting, at the drip trail of sweat arcing across the floor and though to myself how much it looked like someone had slaughtered some large animal in there. Seriously there were pools of liquid, spray trails and large drip marks everywhere. It was like a weekend away with Dexter…

Round 2. Days 9 – 11. Weekends are for working. Buying My Insanity.

I am finding this P90X thing harder the second time around. Not only, as I am repeatedly saying, that I am in worse shape than I was but also because I am skipping bits and pieces and therefore not quite getting the work I once was. It’s fine to say that I want to skip the cool down or the warm ups because I never did warmups in the gym before I worked out and besides it cuts 15 minutes off my workout, however, it means that I am missing 15 minutes of working out, no matter how easy that 15 minutes is. So I am finding that I am not improving at the rate I was the first time around. I am also finding that the one day between coaching where I have places to be during the evening is leading me to skip that day… This means I am ending up with 3 days off and 4 days on. Not conducive to massive results. So, tomorrow is Lent, the poor man’s New Years Resolution day (and by poor man I mean Catholic) and I am committing to 3 things:

1. I will work out 5 days a week, skipping only the 2 days that we coach.
2. I will absolutely not eat anything after 7pm.
3. I will stay off wheat completely again.

I am also committing to changing the P90X routines so that I can keep myself engaged and I will tell you why. This past Saturday morning I drove to Square One shopping centre and met a nice Indian lady in the Petro Canada parking lot. She gave me a package that will change my world, just as P90X did. For a while now I have been following FitBomb as I am sure many of you have. We were undertaking our first P90X journey at the same time but unlike me, his transition from P90X back into life went much better than mine did. In fact, the epic failure of G90X as I had called it forced me to look to other P90X grads to see what they had done once the dream was over. What I found was that the thirst for at home, gym free, cost free workout methods really catches you by surprise and you start to realize that maybe spending $70 a month on  a gym membership is not necessary. Having been enthralled by the relative ease of doing the workout at home, I realized that maybe transitioning back to the gym was not the answer, but in fact that P90X had finally liberated me from that jail. I was finally able to do a workout that challenged me, got me fit and healthy and that I was able to do on my schedule. The logical conclusion was that rather than look back, I should look forward to another challenge. Just as others before me, I decided that the next logical step after Tony was Shaun T. I remember looking at the BeachBody site and thinking that Tony represented the epoch of their system. That if you were fit and wanted to challenge yourself, that P90X was your ticket to the big time. What I had not realized was that Shaun T was busy doing for cardio workouts what Tony had done for weights. Only with more professionalism and less douchy-ness. I then began to make the connection that FitBomb made and realized that a combination of the excellent weight training of Tony and the Insane cardio of Shaun T may in fact be the perfect workout system.

I checked Kijiji and 2 days later was handing over $60 to a nice Indian lady at a gas station on a cold morning in Mississauga.

Rather than try Shaun T at this time, I realized that I would have to be at least 20lbs lighter if I was going to try some of the stuff I had read about. However, the lure of the shiny box was too much and halfway through Kenpo (which I now no longer find fun, but rather boring) decided that I would put the Plyometric Insanity disc in and see what the big deal was. Ten minutes later my heart rate was at around 160 bpm and I thought my heart was going to explode. Shaun T’s warmup had reduced me to a quivering mess and as I lay on the floor soaking in my humility I realized that indeed I was looking at the future.

You see, the problem with P90X as I see it is the cardio workouts. They are not terrifically difficult and you will probably find that even if you like one of them, you will probably not find the others to your liking. So you will need to replace at least 2 days a week, if not 3 with something else. For myself, I don’t mind the Plyo but the Kenpo and the Yoga are not my cup of tea. I would rather do the yoga (albeit a stripped down version) on rest day and replace it with a cardio workout that pushes me during the workout schedule.

So my plan, once I am past phase 1, is to replace Kenpo and Yoga with Shaun T. I haven’t found out which workouts to put in their place but with 13 DVDs I am sure I will find something.

Finally, I am scared to work out again… and I like it.