Round 2, Phase 2. Day “29”. The Next 3 Weeks

I am posting this again only because I had a hard time finding it the other day. Today is day 1 of Phase 2 which means technically it would fall on day 29. I am currently on day 26 having skipped the rest days and probably employed some horrible math.

Day 1: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, Ab Ripper X
Day 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit
Day 3: Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper X
Day 4: Pure Cardio with or without Cardio Abs
Day 5: Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X
Day 6: Cardio Power and Resistance
Day 7: Cardio Recovery

I will most likely kill Cardio Recovery in order to ensure that the 2 days coaching are my days off. In light of Tony’s rant that I posted yesterday I am going to stop being “a bitch” and taking that additional day off. It’s time to man up, Tony style!

Today saw the return to Chest Shoulders and Triceps and that also meant a return to using the bench in the gym. Some of the tricep stuff that Tony does is what we in the weightlifting community would refer to as “finishing” moves. In other words, they don’t do much but give you a pump but really aren’t useful in any muscle building way. Any tricep extension that you are only using 10lbs for isn’t worth anything. Not even the time to hit next on the remote. You see, the triceps are a vastly underutilized and underestimated muscle group and in order to get any kind of response from them they need to be worked very hard. Dips and close grip bench are terrific exercises for triceps. Overhead extensions, not so much. If you really want to see your bench press (or in P90X terms, your push ups) improve, blast your triceps with heavy weights for a few weeks, you will be amazed at the results. Of course, this would require you knowing just how powerful your triceps are… Let me just say that in gym terms, you should be able to do about 75% or more of your heaviest bench in a close grip bench grip. If you rely on push ups as your benchmark, you should be able to do 75% of your max regular push ups in military and at the very least 50% in diamond. If not, it could be that your triceps are lagging and need heavy work. Doing anything with a 10 or 15lb dumbell just won’t cut it I am afraid.

That being said, the workout is good, if you substitute enough tricep work to make it worthwhile you will definitely be sore the days following.

Round 2, Day 3 – Damn Doms

Shoulders and Arms – February 3 2010

If you love ab workouts you are unstable.

But my arms still hurt from day 1! I remember clearly the feeling of week 1 last time around, it has all come back with startling clarity since I woke up this morning and rolled into my bottle of advil.

The major stumbling block of Round 2 is going to be Gymnastics Coaching. I was able to do it last time but once Round 1 was done and we started coaching again at the end of the summer the time demands seemed to overwhelm me. Maybe it was because I was trying to get to the gym instead of loitering in the basement. This time I am sure I will do better, but with late nights at work now mandatory I think my evenings are going to be both long and painful. Great.

After Plyo yesterday I am a little gelatinous. Not just in the way that I can see my outer layers jiggle in the mirror in the basement but rather my legs feel like I have been de-boned. I can only say that re-reading the entries from week one last time around are of little comfort to how I feel. I just need to get through tonight then tomorrow I can rest at coaching.

Post workout – I hate Ab Ripper. Regardless of how many times I say it, I can’t begin to explain how much I hate that 10 minutes of my life. I have never been fond of Abdominal workouts but this is just pure unadulterated hell on a stick for me.

Round 1, Day 3

The latin translation is below:

Left intolerable ripping
Right intolerable ripping
Unbearable discomfort
Realization that abs are for idiots

G90X is Dead… Long Live P90X Round 2

Warning. This post contains reality checks, actual results and the effect of doing P90X without the nutrition to back it up.

You have been warned.

Well, no surprise that my transition to the gym didn’t work out as planned and now here I sit in worse shape than I was before I started the workouts last time. The good thing is that I am fully aware of what it takes to succeed this time and hoepfully it won’t be too painful. However, I did try to do Plyo just for fun a few weeks ago and thought my heart was going to explode. Anyway, I have to do something to get me back into shape so here we go.

Today is January 30, Saturday and it’s day 1. Some guys from work are also participating and we’ll see how many people make it through to the end.

The feeling that I have now is that even though I am in worse shape than I was when I started last time I think I will be able to catch up even more quickly given that I know what to expect and know when to hit the gas and when to take it easy. I also have the  modified movements sorted out so that I don’t wreck my sensitive back or shoulder. I have to believe that after the first two weeks I should be down at least 8 lbs and pretty much up to speed. We shall see.

Chest and Back.

It is nice to be back. This time around however I am drowning out Tony with whatever I can get my ipod to play through my old receiver in the basement. Today I did the whole workout to Sir Mixalot which may seem like a strange choice but when compared to the Public Enemy I have lined up for shoulders and arms it doesn’t seem so odd.

The workout was by no means easy. I know I am out of shape (comparatively speaking) and for me that means I am lugging around more weight than I should be because due to my long history of weightlifting my muscles themselves are never far away from being fully awake. The pushups were a breeze as usual, bu the numbers on my chinups were truly pitiful. However, over the past year that I have been trying to work on my back strength I now actually feel like I have some semblance of muscularity back there to work with. Even so, the totals were embarassing

This time around I also opted to do the fit test that I neglected last time. It is probably good since I would have scored reasonably well last time. Not so today. I have included my numbers below for your entertainment.

Resting Heart Rate70
Vertical Leap Inches13
Wall Squat (Seconds)65
Bicep Curls (Reps | Wt )4020
Total Poundage800
In & Outs50
Heart Rate Maximizer
Immediately After150
After 1 Minute Rest123
After 2 Minutes Rest106
After 3 Minutes Rest99
After 4 Minutes Rest93
Cardio Calculators3/1/2010
Phase 1
Fitness LevelsDay 1Day 28
Body Fat %26.82%0.00%
Right Thigh25
Left Thigh26
Right Bicep18
Left Bicep17.75

Resting Heart Rate   70
Pull-Ups   5
Vertical Leap Inches   13
Push-Ups   50 (I got bored after 50…)
Wall Squat (Seconds)   65
Bicep Curls (Reps | Wt )   40@20lbs
Total Poundage   800
In & Outs   50

Heart Rate Maximizer

Immediately After   150
After 1 Minute Rest   123
After 2 Minutes Rest106
After 3 Minutes Rest99
After 4 Minutes Rest93

Fitness LevelsDay 1

Body Fat %26.82%
Right Thigh 25
Left Thigh26
Right Bicep 18
Left Bicep17.75

That’s all for today, I am in high spirits, only due to the fact that I have forgotten just how painful day 2 and 3 are…

Link to Day 1 Part 1

Day 81 – Last Resistance Day. I wish I had known.

I can feel the curtain closing as I embark upon these weight days for the last time during this, my first stab at P90X. Today was Back and biceps, the glamour workout as Tony calls it. This is week 12, week 13 being the last rest week which means that since I have done the last weight session of the week, my P90X weight days are completely done. I have to say it’s a bit odd that I didn’t realize that this would be my last workout. I have Yoga to do on Wednesday since I traded Kenpo and Yoga again due to time constraints.

So let me just get my head around what I still have to do here with my increasingly complex schedule.

Wed Sept 23 09 – Yoga
Thu  – Coaching
Fri  – Supposed to be Rest but will do day 1 of rest week – yoga
Sat – Yoga if I decided to skip yesterday (which given my track record of Fridays the last 3 weeks I may)
Sun – Core
Mon – Kenpo
Tue – Coaching
Wed – Stretch
Thu – Coaching
Fri – Core
Sat – Yoga
Sun Oct 4 09 – Stretch

If I decide to skip the middle stretch day and go straight to Core I may finish a day ahead but for now that will be the plan. It will mean that my last day, Day 90 will be Sunday October 4th. That will mean I will have finished the P90X program in 105 days. Not bad given that I will have also been coaching at the same time.

However, it is not time to reflect just yet. My arms felt like they were going to explode tonight, I tried to push a little harder but smarter, doing a little lighter weight on some things to get a better contraction. The top of my forearms where my french curls make me cry like a little girl are especially sore. Yes, even on day 83 you will still get some soreness. I kind of wish I had realized that today was my last weights day. I could have taken some pictures at full pump, I wonder if you can tell a difference at full and not full?

So sayonara to the pull up bar, although I am sure we will remain close. It’s time for me to get back to the gym and create my hybrid system. After that, I hope to return to do either the Lean version or maybe a second round of Classic.

Days 77 – 80 Still going, if not writing.

Don't worry ladies, P90X won't do this to you...
Don't worry ladies, P90X won't do this to you...

For the record, here is a response I sent to a friend regarding the difference in the 3 versions of P90X.

So here is the deal.
Classic means you do one workout per day for the 90 days. Just follow the program with the 7th day an optional stretch or day off. With Doubles, you do 2 workouts a day 3 days a week during phase 2 and phase 3. This means doing a cardio workout on your weights days in addition to the weights workout. Of course, this means you are doing a morning and evening session.
Lean is more suited to women who want to get leanand are nto interested in using weights so much. it substitutes a cardio / core workout for one of the weight days.
Ihave to say I would highly recommend it for anyone who is physically fit and is looking for a 3 month challenge or even just for a program to break the monotony of going to the gym for a while. The only issue I found was that you must have a chinup bar and some weights but since we have a gym in the house basement that was not a problem.
Doing the chinups was a problem at first however!!!

So here is the deal.

Classic means you do one workout per day for the 90 days. Just follow the program with the 7th day an optional stretch or day off.

Doubles, you do 2 workouts a day 3 days a week during phase 2 and phase 3. This means doing a cardio workout on your weights days in addition to the weights workout. Of course, this means you are doing a morning and evening session.

Lean is more suited to women who want to get lean and are not interested in using weights so much. It substitutes a cardio / core workout for one of the weight days.

I have to say I would highly recommend it for anyone who is physically fit and is looking for a 3 month challenge or even just for a program to break the monotony of going to the gym for a while. The only issue I found was that you must have a chinup bar and some weights but since we have a gym in the house basement that was not a problem.

Doing the chinups was a problem at first however!!!

Since I am now on day 83 I think I am qualified at the very least to give my opinion of the 3 versions. The Classic version which is the default one that I would recommend to everyone except the most paranoid women who are somehow convinced that they have such gifted genetic potential that if they do weights for a few weeks they will look like a bodybuilder. If only it were that easy ladies… Believe me, lift as heavy and as intense as you can and you will see some nice tone… It takes YEARS of dedication to build significant amounts of muscle mass. However, I digress…

The doubles version I think would be extremely difficult to do especially if you have a full time job or kids. Finding 2 hours to workout in a single day 3 times a week while not impossible would be beyond the reach or desire of the vast majority of fitness enthusiasts. I have been there and done that and unless you are training for something specific or have a very lofty goal in mind I would have to assume that this would be overkill in a massive way. Then again, if you are a fitness nut and have a boat load of time on your hands, go for it!!!

Lean is a program aimed at women who are not interested in doing as much weight work. Not just that they may be afraid of getting big but maybe they have joint issues, maybe they don’t like doing weights or are not interested in that aspect of the workouts. It is also aimed at men who have the same thoughts, maybe for someone who wants the opportunity to do some weight work but not so much that it dominates their experience. I personally would consider doing Lean if I wanted to work more on my core and weightloss than my overall “fitness” and strength.

I am now into my last week of weight work, next week will be my final rest week and then I am done. The question is what to do next? I know I have talked a good game about retooling the workouts for the gym and that is still the plan however I have no time to do anything these days and even a couple of hours of work on that may be too much to ask. Still I have a week and a half to decide.

I had the gymnastics kids doing some of the core work the other day, of course they are kids so it was easy for them. Makes me crazy knowing how much I struggle with Ab Ripper and how easily they went through it.

Day 57 – The Adonis Complex and My Elusive 400lb Bench

Still looking sick from the mono I got at Western in 1990. I was 174lbs here and look like I could use a hot meal...
Sick after Mono. 174lbs (and hungry)

Chest and Back

It was like a trip down memory lane. The Chest and Back workout was the workout that I did on the first day of P90X 57 days ago. I haven’t done that particular workout since Phase 1 and it was really weird being reminded of where I started. Luckily, my numbers were way up from what I did back then but I was still exhausted after. In fact, for the first time in 58 days I finished doing Ab Ripper and as I rested I fell asleep on the floor! It was really encouraging to see that my reps were up, I managed 30 pushups in 60 seconds the first month, this time I was up to 50! My chinups were also better, and I measure by percentage here noting that I was up as much as 50% on some of the pullups. Having come so far it was refreshing to see the changes but also to have a different pairing on the workout as far as body parts goes. That is the one thing I really enjoy about the program, the mix of bodyparts that they put together. For years in the gym I did chest and triceps on the same day. Last year I decided that I would mix it up (after working out that way since I was 16!!!) and try doing chest and traps, back and triceps, shoulders and biceps with abs every other day. It had never really occurred to me that maybe I should change the pairing more than once a year. I had toyed with the idea on many occasions but never gone ahead with it. I guess success leads to complacency, what I was doing was working and working well so why change? This P90X journey has been so much more than a workout video. It has opened my eyes again to the infinite possibilities for my own workouts just like I coach the gymnastics kids. After all, I design specific conditioning programs for them every week to keep them on their toes, why wouldn’t I do that for myself? What I am going to do, and I have mentioned this before, is to create my own 2 or 3 month program that will bring what I have learned from Tony and the gang into the gym and the basement to give myself a whole new way of working out.

Maybe I will never bench 375lbs again, maybe I will never reach the magical 400lb mark that I have chased for so long but at this point that max weight mentality has taken a back seat to the max health mentality and the amazing feeling I get from being in control of a body that feels like I can do things with it other than lay down and push metal. In the end I can say that my max weight records are somewhat impressive and something I can be happy about but what about my health? I measured my bodyfat at university and was 11.5% but I was teaching aerobics step class and working out 3 hours a day. I have been as low as 174lbs (pictured above) after I had mono at Western but that wasn’t a conscious decision. What I cannot say is that at any point in my adult life I have been “super fit” and in control of my weight. I think it is about time that I did that so I can look back on things and say that I achieved that too. My whole life I have managed my weight through exercise and it has been a constant battle balancing my strength with my weight. Maybe if I take the weight requirement out of the equation it will open up a whole new way of doing things… I guess we will see. It is going to be immensely difficult not being proud of my max weight just as it is difficult for some people not to be proud of their bodyweight.

There is a disease called Anorexia whereby women (generally speaking) become fixated on their weight and go to terrible extremes to control that number. In the same vein there is a disease called Bigorexia (Muscle Dismorphia or The Adonis Complex) whereby men (generally speaking) have the idea that no matter what they are never big enough (or, by association, strong enough). It is a socially accepted stereotype that men should be large and muscular, just look at how the superman action figures have changed over the years. I am smart enough to realize that I am a part of this issue, that my size, the Big Guy Complex as I always though of it, is something that is a mental crutch. It defines me as much or more as my job, my marriage and my heritage. I am also painfully aware that a departure from being known as “that big fella” is something I will have to deal with if I expect this new approach to work. Trading in a 400lb bench press for 12% body fat may be more difficult mentally than physically for me but at this time in my life, the 12% bodyfat will give me an extra 10 – 15 years on my life over a 400lb bench press or a 300lb shoulder press at 25% body fat.

In the end isn’t that why we work out in the first place, so that we can live longer, healthier lives?

From casual male to steroid freak
From casual male to steroid freak

Day 46 – Wedding Gifts and Dancing Queens

Back and Biceps, Ab Rippler

Nice Camera, uses Memory Stick Pro Duo though...
Nice Camera, uses Memory Stick Pro Duo though...

Nicole decided that we should donate our digital camera to her dad for his new business – That opened the door for us to go to the Bay and use some of our gift certificates from the wedding to get a new digital camera. We chose the Sony CyberShot W230 which not only does 12MP shots but also is capable of HD quality movies. So thanks to all those who gave us Bay Gift Certificates for the wedding, although it has taken us almost 2 years we finally spent the cash!! So if you know of anyone who needs to rent their condo / apartment / house, just give John a call!

The workout was good today, with the basement door open these hot humid days really kick up the sweat factor which is great. My chinup bar is doing well although there is a slight bend in it from the close grip pull ups. I still have way more confidence in it that that flimsy chinup bar we got from some fitness place. Maybe once I get down to the 200 mark I would feel better about it. Don’t hold your breath people!

My progress with Ab Ripper is still moving along. I cheat a little head start as I have previously mentioned but now I am able to do 25’s on at least 8 of the 11 exercises, even bicycles which I frigging HATE!!! I still can’t do leg climbers, in fact if I didn’t see the video I would debate the validity and the mere possibility of that particular move. The Mason Twists at the end are a particular sticking point for me due to the stupid arm size issue. I am not able to touch the floor with my hands clasped together. Not going to happen, biceps too large, chest too large, shoulders ridiculously huge. I still get a really painful stretch through my lower back doing crunchy frog but at least I can make it through. The ones I have the issue with are the full situps and the situp with the Vsnap kicker. My upper body significantly outweighs my legs so even with my legs straight it is a struggle to counterbalance myself to get all the way up.

In other news, Jeanine won So You Think You Can Dance last night, something we are very happy about. Our favourite, Kayla, who is a dead ringer for our private class dancer and star of the stage Laura, came 4th which I think was very strange especially since that useless weasel idiot who came 3rd beat her. Anyway, congrats to Jeanine on a job well done and to Brandon who is a stellar performer in his own right but who was just too similar to last season’s winner.

Such an amazing technical dancer
Such an amazing technical dancer

Day 44 – The Return of the Mack

Tuesday August 4 2009. Chest Triceps and Shoulders.

My Personal Saviour Back in the Day

I’m back! The weekend ended up being a bonus in a way, I feel better, more capable, and most of all a lot less sore than I did on Friday. The workout, then, was not easy, that’s not what happens with P90X. I was able to do more than usual, it was just as hard but the output was better. Of course, as I sit in my pool of sweat at the end of the workout the weekend recovery seems eons away. I once again landed on my head doing the inverted shoulder press, something I am not impressed with given that before I started I could shoulder press 275lbs. However, this time I had my feet on the bench, not the upturned bucket so I was almost completely inverted with my feet as high as my knees. My single pervasive thought through the whole workout was next week’s rest week. A whole week without pull ups or push ups. A whole week to give my shoulders and elbow a much needed break but also a week where I need to pull myself together and drop some more pounds.

I know I did this more as a challenge to myself than as a weightloss tool however I think the last month I should really try to push my nutrition boundaries to give me the best shot at getting rid of a few more pounds. I am close to my lightest weight in almost 8 years, back to the weight I was when Nicole and I met and being there again with a large degree of control over my weight would be amazing. I remember that back then the reason I was in such good shape was not because of my diet but because of the Stairmaster. I would spend 2 hours in the gym every morning before work, an hour of which would be on the PT4000 climbing the stair to nowhere. As soon as I was not able to do the work any more, the weight came up. My experience has taught me that in order to be successful at weight control it is not about the 2 hours in the gym, it is about the 22 hours out there in the world. The gym is the easy part. Ironically, I used to tell my Personal Training clients that. I guess I just wasn’t listening.

Days 40-43 Major Malfunction, Long Weekend

So I kind of messed up this week. I did Kenpo on Thursday because I was sure that was the right thing to do. I realized once I checked the schedule that I was supposed to do Yoga on Thursday and Kenpo on Saturday. I actually ended up taking Saturday off (well, I did 45 minutes on the treadmill instead) instead of Sunday and then doing Yoga on Sunday. Then on Monday I built a large TV shelf to sit on top of the fireplace in the living room that would accommodate the tuner, the Satellite box, the DVDRW and both the Wii and the PS3. However, between fixing that up and installing it which took around an hour with the ridiculous amount of cabling involved and the small but significant amount of gardening that I did I managed to miss out my workout all together. So I now find myself on Tuesday without having done my Monday workout which means that I will now have to go without a day off this week.

So here is the plan.

Tuesday: Chest Tri Shoulders
Wednesday: Plyo
Thursday: Back and Biceps
Friday: Yoga
Saturday: Legs and Back
Sunday: Kenpo

This will get me back on track for next week which coincidentally is a rest week which fits perfectly.

So what did I do with my 4 days off? Well, I completely finished revamping the garage so that I actually have room to work and room to park the Jeep again. I built the shelf I just mentioned and installed it however if it works out fine and we like it, I will have to take it down and paint it black so it fits in. I did a good job with it too, routed the edges and everything to make it look professional! I also bought and installed a new stereo head unit for the Jeep, one with a USB port on front so you can use a flash drive for your music instead of CDs. That means I can get an 8GB memory stick and put every song I have ever heard on it! Nicole thinks we need a road trip now so we can listen to all that tuneage!

pioneerp3100I did manage to fix the broken fence on the walkout deck and do some gardening, attempting to rescue our front yard flower bed that I built last year from the grass that has overtaken it. Weird how I still have stupid holes in the actual lawn but the grass grows like crazy everywhere I don’t want it to. I also “fixed” the mirrors in the basement, ever since I installed them I have been meaning to glue them to the wall instead of having them rest on the rail I built for them. I had assumed that if I glued them to the wall they would all be aligned properly and would look perfect. Not the case. In fact, the wall is so messed up that the mirrors are even worse than they were. Oh well, lesson learned that if you want a mirror wall, get a large mirror, don’t try to make one from small mirrors. Actually, it would probably have worked OK if I had stuck the mirrors to a surface I knew was flat and then against the wall. Maybe I will try that if I can get them off the wall now. Stick them to a piece of MDF and then attach that to the wall… hmmm…

So there you have it, a few days of major achievements around the house but not the greatest outcome on the P90X front. Although, even though I missed 2 workouts I added 2 days of cardio. Maybe that will all even out in the long run.

Day 36 – Week 6 Begins – The Grind.

I feel like I am in that no-man’s land between the start and the finish. It’s that part of the race where you are too far from the start to be beginning but too far from the end to be excited about finishing. This is the grind. I expect that phase 2 will be like this the whole way through although I will be excited once I finish week 7 and get to have an easy week until the final push into Phase 3. It’s a good job that I am enjoying the new workouts because that is what will keep me going into Phase 3. I am a little concerned that Phase 2 doesn’t do much tricep work in comparison and tends to concentrate on back but then again I was always a chest guy so I am probably over sensitive to the imbalance.

So today I learned that one more rep is not always a good thing. I was doing these butt raised shoulder press things where you have your feet on a bench, your butt up in the air so that there is a straight line between your hands on the floor and your butt all the way through the shoulders. As you press you are actually using your shoulders almost like a handstand pushup but with your legs resting on a bench. However, the higher you put your feet, the closer it is to an actual handstand pushup and as I struggled to do one last rep with my ass in the air my arms very slowly gave way landing the top of my head on the padded floor with a resounding “thump”. I was not amused, especially since my instinct was to stand up but because my arms weren’t working I couldnt stand up either. So I lay on the floor for a minute or two staring at the unpainted ceiling and wondering if I should try that again.