I’m Back! P90X Kenpo

andersonsilvastarIt’s been a while, I have been battling many things, a very sore leg which may have a slight infection, a hacking cough that won’t go away, a significant weight gain that is preventing me from getting to a pain free plateau and a return to coaching that will no doubt throw a wrench into my workout schedule. However, I am glad to report that I have been able to do 2 workouts now using the 135lb olympic bar. It’s not the volume I would like to say I am doing yet but I made it through and recovered in the standard 3 days. This is pretty significant for me because it signifies the threshold that I wanted to reach where I could say I was back into my normal range of functionality. I now realize that I am going to have to start back with my regular stretching and mobility work too since I have been staying away from it in order not to stress my back too much but I know I can’t expect to move any significant weight around without maintaining a good stretching regimen. I have also done a couple of kettlebell workouts with my 45 and 55lb KBs which also represents a milestone given the amount of stress that KB swings put n your spine. My chinups are pretty sad, I am only able to hit about 7 or 8 in a row but I did manage to do a 100 pullup workout a couple of weeks ago mixed in with 100 ring dips.

I hesitate to say I am back to normal only because I still live with a huge amount of pain every day. I realize that the better I feel, the more I do so therefore it will be a while before I am able to feel “normal” but the good sign is that my actual workout weights are getting back there. My endurance is a whole other ball game. I am really gassing out very quickly and I need to really work on my high intensity capacity now, giving me a longer window of time where I can keep my work rate high. I am certain that there is no way I would be able to match my bootcamp capacity from last year at this point but hopefully before Christmas gets here I will be able to do a 750 calorie workout in 45 minutes which was my peak performance that I can recall from last year.

I did do P90X Kenpo last night, I wanted a little cardio and to feel like I was mobile and Kenpo really did the trick. It was so weird going back to those videos but the forced warmup and stretching did wonders for me. If I have to, I will go back to Tony to get me back n track with the warmups and cool downs since it seems to be that is a critical component to my next few months.

BSRD46 – Busy Week / Change Of Direction

crossfit-logo11I am in limbo with my decision regarding how to approach my rehabilitation. I am at the point where I have stress tested myself with very light weights and very basic movements and as I move towards the inevitable return to work I need to make sure I am up to the task of sitting in the car to work, sitting or standing for 4 hours and driving home PLUS then doing my rehab work whatever that may be. Given my history with P90X that would be an easy place to start, but I am not sure that doing a round of P90X or P90X2 at this point would give me back the functional fitness I am looking for. As good as it is, and it is an excellent program, I am not quite sure that it will suffice. That is where Crossfit comes in.

Before I go into any details I want to quickly address my concern with Crossfit as it stands. For the most part I think it’s a wonderful system, it’s heart is in the right place and the quick format takes care of many of the issues people claim with not having enough time to work out (nice excuse!). I did write a piece not too long ago about the Crossfit Nonsense article that probably was a little harsh but let me take a second here and demonstrate what I meant at the time. I called it Crossfit Caution and I stand by the idea that I presented but before I start let’s look at what Crossfit.com would have had you do last week for workouts:

Monday – Run for 30 minutes
Tuesday – Rest
WednesdayAMRAP 20 minutes: Row 250m + 25 pushups
Thursday – 50-40-30-20-10 Double Unders plus situps (Double Unders are simply rope skipping with 2 revolutions of the rope per jump, you could sub tuck jumps)
Friday – An Actual workout:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 Handstand push-ups
7 Chest to bar pull-ups
35 pound Dumbbell squat snatch, 10 reps, alternating

Saturday – Rest Day
Sunday – Another actual workout:

21-18-15-12-9-6 and 3 rep rounds of:
Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 pounds
Push jerk, 75 pounds

So there you have it, for your 7 days of Crossfit membership you would have stumped up probably in the region of $200 per month for unlimited use only to have 2 days of what anyone would reasonably think of as a “workout” and have only used equipment that most people probably already have at home (save the rowing machine).

What about body parts? How do these 7 days stack up and what happens if you are only able to work out 4 days? Let’s say like me you are busy this week and due to your commitments only have Tuesday Wednesday and Saturday to work out. That means you are unlucky enough to hit 2 rest days and a day of pushups. Even if you were able to follow the program for the 5 active days let’s just look at what you would have worked:

Monday: Cardio
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Cardio plus chest and triceps
Thursday: Cardio and light core (150 situps is light core, yes)
Friday: Shoulders, Upper back, Traps (If you can count a 35lb snatch)
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Traps and shoulders

My question is this. Where is the leg work (except the cardio). Also, where is the bicep work knowing that pullups utilise a small amount of bicep work which is reduced by the infamous Crossfit Kipping pullup. How about some oblique or lower abs work? You could argue that the snatches do work the abs to a degree but that’s like saying a squat snatch works the legs with 35lbs.

I am probably going to get a lot of flak for this (thank goodness nobody comes here!) but honestly relying on Crossfit boxes as your fitness all-in-one is just not a great idea. You know what is the best idea? Get some equipment of your own and make sure you are getting a well rounded workout each week. I am sure some people would say that taking a week is not a fair measure but I think spreading your whole body across 2 weeks or more is laying it a bit thin.

So what is the solution? Well, for me, Crossfit is the solution. But it’s a home grown hand picked version that allows me to take the workouts from the last month, pick the ones that are most appropriate for me and do them on my time with my own equipment. Sure, I don’t have the camaraderie I would get at the gym but then again I don’t have to keep telling people not to talk to me while I work out. As I have posted many times, I have made some of the stuff I needed to accomplish this, I got cheap chin up bars, a decent olympic bar and some bumper plates, I made a wallball and some dip bars and bought some kettlebells. That is all I needed to invest in order to give me the workout I wanted and avoid the problems that Crossfit inevitably has in scheduling around busy lives. At what cost? The Newmarket crossfit box wants up to $200 a month for a membership. For the price of 2 months I have an unlimited use gym in my house. You can Crossfit if you want, and I would suggest you do, but I also would suggest that you can do it on your own.

By the way, if you are new to Crossfit and Olympic lifting etc. then I would suggest you take out a short 2-6 month membership and have them teach you how to lift. Then hit the discout fitness store and buy some stuff for yourself.

By the way, this is not meant to be a Crossfit bashing entry, just an eye opener for some people who may think that they can’t Crossfit because they can’t afford it or who think that they can’t Crossfit because they can’t commit to specific non-rest days at their box.

Toning It Down

I have been re-reading my blog and I have to say I used to be pretty funny! I am looking for the parts where my hatred for Tony and his cast of savages cause me to spit venom through the screen at him. I don’t want, for a second, to censor myself but at the same time knowing my penchant for the dramatic and my flair for the amusing some of my comments may come off as a little needlessly excessive. That said, going back to my first round of P90X has brought a swell of pride, some tears of amusement and an even greater desire to inflict help others begin their health and fitness journey. It’s amazing how much you forget, even though I probably thought those days would be etched on my psyche forever. The great thing is that they are here for me to revisit, which was exactly the point. There is actually nothing more motivating than reading about your success and failures in your own words…

Here’s a gem I can’t resist sharing for today:

I came to an interesting realization while attempting some of the flexibility / grab moves and that is that I have managed over the years to build my upper body to the point where I can no longer touch parts of my body I should be able to. I’d actually like to touch those parts again some day and it’s kind of creepy that a guy called Tony is going to help me.

I know that there are products I have tried that I simply did not like, Insanity: Asylum for example but I think in my assessment I was neglectful to admit that although it wasn’t my cup of tea, for someone out there, the technical and specific type of training it provides will be perfect. In fact, there may come a time when I will be ready to accept that teaching and I think I need to find those kind of posts and make that clear. It’s not like complaining about Yoga or the love/hate relationship I have had with P90X Plyo, I know it’s more sincere and vicious than that and upon reflection that doesn’t do anyone any favours. It’s not for me, I know how I feel and I can accept my black/white view of the world but if I truly want this site and any others I make to help people, I need to remember to temper my excess with a little objectivity.

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.

R5D50 – P90X+ Interval X Plus

Well, let’s just say that until P90X:MC2 comes out, I don’t think I will be spending much time with Tony. It’s not that it was too hard, far from it, I found it mildly interesting, pretty easy to do even with keeping up with the guys on set and discovered mostly it is rehashed P90X moves with different names. It was good to have something else to do but in comparison to my usual workouts, it was too long, too boring and too easy. I think that even with the advent of MC2 that I will probably be mixing in Asylum workouts before I use MC2 workouts. I just don’t have much faith in Tony that he can produce something radically different than P90X was. If it is, and I hope it is, then more power to him but I have a feeling it will be more of the same. I realize that this P90X+ was really just a stopgap but if it is any indication of what is to come I would rather go to Crossfit.com every day and do what they tell me. At least that way I don’t have to listen to Tony’s poor and borderline inappropriate sense of humour.


R5D27 – The Return Of P90X Plyometrics.

plyoI started my rest week yesterday with a return to the Plyometrics DVD from the P90X series. I had expected that I would experience it the way I did when I went through the program “properly” the first and second times.

I was mistaken.

If there was ever a time when I needed validation, this was it. I have complained incessantly about not doing enough work, feeling like I am not as fit as I was or bitching about only having to work out 20 minutes a day. Well, I was wrong. I apologize unreservedly and I will cease and desist immediately. Plyometrics was a walk in the park. It is a good thing I decided to call this rest week because as Tony related his story about hiring “Hot Shots” to do the video who were unable to keep up, little did I know I would be thinking the same of him a few minutes later. In fact, I got annoyed at the length of rest he was taking, irritated by the breaks and amazed at how little work he seemed to be doing. Not only him, but his cronies as well. When the video first started, rather than silence Tony I chose “NORMAL” from the choice screen. Normal indeed, it’s amazing that I seem to have exceeded the X in P90X! I finished the workout feeling like a thoroughbred that had been loaned to a six year old for a birthday party and forced to trot around a corral instead of being allowed to gallop through the fields. It was, in a word, frustrating. It was also exhilarating to know that my fitness level is higher than it was when I finished P90X even without the hour long workouts. Maybe HIT works after all?!

I am not going to lie, it was refreshing to follow along and not think about the workout. It brought back lots of memories from the early days and the times when I crushed the workouts and felt so proud of myself. I never did rock star hops, they were always too hard and I could never keep up with Dom during the tuck jumps. Not so today, I crushed them both.

Colour me proud.