I was reminded today while watching the Biggest Loser on TV the importance of a good heart rate monitor. Even if you are not particularly concerned with your heart rate per se you should have one that tells you how many calories you have burned in any given workout. This will give you a ballpark idea as to the rate at which you are working. Personally I usually burn between 500-700 calories during an hour long P90X workout. This was overshadowed yesterday by my pathetic count of 200 calories burned during stretch X. It’s not that I am dissing Stretch X, not at all, in fact I actually enjoy the stretching when I do it. The sad thing is that it is usually a choice between Stretch X and Couch X and regardless of the outward appearance that I am a fit healthy and active individual, the couch and I still enjoy a strong and intimate relationship when Tony isn’t looking.
So I opted out of doing Cardio X as a substitute and a dash of adventure and instead went about stretching every muscle known to man. I really enjoyed Stretch X, it’s kid of like a kinder, gentler Yoga X without the leg pain and the Yoga Belly 7. It is a real mind calming workout, and if you choose not to do it on your days off during the phases, make sure you don’t skip it during rest week because I am sure that it is often overlooked like a red-headed stepchild (or the middle child if you are one and just have to throw your $.02 in). It left me at peace, relaxed and feeling much better than I did after a pan full of beans and turkey sausage that I had for dinner.
I have coaching Thursday night and since it is Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend ahead of the big freeze I should be able to squeeze out the last 3 workouts from Friday to Monday. Especially since this is an International Break weekend for Football in England so I know Liverpool won’t be playing and the next Formula 1 Grand Prix isn’t until next weekend so the TV will sit idle on Saturday morning.
One of the best things about rest week is the requirement to do X Stretch. For those who choose to take Sunday (or day 7 whenever that is) off instead of doing X Stretch this will open your eyes to a new kind of workout. It is kind of like Yoga would be if it was really easy! Personally I choose to do X Stretch when I can but having it as part of the regular schedule in the middle of the week is a real refresher. I have to admit that although I am not the most flexible guy in the world I do enjoy X Stretch now. Working on my tendons, ligaments and fascia goes a long way towards my overall comfort and health on a daily basis. In fact, I noticed the other day that my back hasn’t cracked since I started P90X, a certain sign that the compression of my spine is far less than it was previously and that is always a good thing.
About time, it is now Thursday of rest week and we are finally getting a break. Even I, with my Tin Man flexibility, find a degree of relaxation and soothing wellbeing in Stretch X.
So I am working out in the basement, towards the end of the day when the sun is shining in through the walkout glass doors. This means that on days like today I can actually stretch in a large strip of sunshine as it floods in through the patio door. I feel like a big lazy cat stretching out on the one strip of warmth, it’s a very surreal feeling but it really REALLY is relaxing. I am pretty confident that the neighbours behind can’t see in, since they are almost 1/4 of a mile away but then again even if they could why would they bother watching some guy stretching. That would be weird.. for them I mean.
What can I say about stretching, my flexibility is better although my middle splits is just laughable even after the last 3 weeks of working on it. For some reason my inner thighs and hamstrings are incredibly tight and getting any sort of progress is, I fear, going to be incredibly slow. However, even with the slow progress I feel a lot less tension in my lower back from my hamstrings which is a huge bonus. I always felt that a large part of my problem with my back stemmed from my legs whether it was tight hanstrings or ITB shortening creating a pulling on the lower spine crushing the vertebrae together. All I know is that once I started doing ITB stretches I found a great deal of relief during those days when my back would have a dull ache all day. In fact I was so happy I shared those stretches with people here: http://iamcanadian.org/workout/stretching.htm so that anyone with the same post-surgery pain as I had could find some relief.
I also found some of the entries from when I did the original P90 program way before P90X came around. Apparently I was just as hostile and my behaviour just as erratic as today. This was posted November 15, 2005! Check it out:
Day 4 – I Hate Tony!.
Last night we did the cardio workout after dinner. Not smart. I really have to remember either to eat a lot less before the workout OR to do the thing right after work so I don’t feel like a bag of pudding in the back of a pickup truck! Now I realize that it is only day 4 today which means that we have only done 3 workouts so far but I already harbour a festering hatred of Tony the guy in the video. Lucky for Nicole she gets to go do Yoga Booty Ballet if she wants to, but since I can’t see myself doing Yoga or Ballet and I have no booty then I guess it’s me and perky boy with the poor sense of humour.
Speaking of which, my clothes are just as tight and all I have lost so far is my sense of humour.
I can’t think of a better way to end my first 2 weeks in P90Xland than to do stretch X. My body does feel a little beaten up I have to admit and I am sore in a bevy of places. However, I know that an easy day today will put me in a great frame of mind for tomorrow and my last week before rest week. I have been thinking about taking my P90X routine to the gym. I have the movements, I have the equipment and at least at the gym I would also have a proper place to do pullups. I wouldn’t risk doing the switch grip pullups on a door frame pullup bar and I have not had time yet to drill a new bar through the door frame to give me a really steady bar I could do anything on. I did however finish putting up all the mirrors yesterday and the gym is looking great! Hopefully I can get a picture of it and post it here just to show what you can do with a small space and a touch of creativity!
So the stretch went well. I am fond of the workout rather than a rest day becasue I know I need to work on my flexibility. Regardless of what some of the idiots in the HIT community believe it really is possible to lengthen your muscle body and increase your flexibility with a little work. Point in case, my flexibility is improving already. I have about 2-3 inches increase in my two leg hamstring stretch and while my hamstrings are epically tight, this gain is still significant. Most of my movements are moving now as I breathe. Last week I was able to do some of the streches but my start and finish points were basically the same. This week as I breathe into the stretch each movement does stretch further with each exhale. The only problem really is the candle to plow or shoulder stand to plow. I can get the shoulder stand OK, but my back is so sore that when I attempt to go over into plow not much happens. I am not expecting my knees to hit the floor or anything but reaching my face would be nice. In time, I suppose.
Not what you would call a day off really however I did toy with the idea of skipping the stretching and going straight back to day 1. The problem is that I took 2 days off last week due to coaching and as eager as I was to get into my stride again, I thought it would be prudent to follow the program as much as I could regardless. So stretching it was. It was not like Yoga, however it was what I had hoped Yoga would be. It was relaxing, calming, the moves were easy to accomplish but with enough difficulty to challenge anyone. I became painfully aware of my interfering waistline on several occasions. I suppose having a 42 inch waist will do that to you. Couple that with my less than flexible back and some of the stretches I am sure looked more like I was sleeping. The workout turned out to be exactly what I needed. The tightness in my shoulders anb back disappeared, for the first time in a long time I actually felt like my hamstrings stretched after years of thinking they were made from piano wire.
What a perfect way to end the week and a perfect way to stay motivated for the coming week where I will have no days off to ease my way into the workout.
Saturday night was a problem diet-wise. We went to Sonia and Darren’s before going to an Oshawa pub (fingers crossed we might see Kid Rock!) and had a silent auction and fundraiser for the soccer team. Unfortunately I had too many corn chips at Sonia’s and too many meatballs and wings at the pub. I felt sick to my stomach when I woke up on Sunday not only because of the food but mostly because they didn’t serve any of it until 10pm!!!!! We ate our last bite at around 11pm, no wonder I felt like a tub of lard on Sunday. Of course, there is a cure for that… Chest and Back!!
No Kid Rock, just plenty of imitators. Long live the mullet!