R7D74/7 – Summer’s Over, Time To Get Schooled

This weekend I managed to do a 100 pullup / 100 35lb curl session in place of back and biceps and a run through of Insanity Max Interval Circuit. I worked out in the cool late summer rain and was invigorated by the winds of change…

This time of year is a great time to start fresh, we are so well trained by the time we leave school that the cooling of the air, the fall breezes of September and the fresh cold mornings all bring thoughts of rebirth. As youngsters we get to go back to school with all our friends, trade summer vacations stories and catch up with all the summertime gossip. As we get older, September means new academic challenges, an end of monotonous summer jobs and the start of new athletic seasons. For me, fall and the start of school will always bring back memories of Western and the start of the rugby season, the chance to help influence a whole new batch of young students coming into residence and a chance to escape the chains of work and once again dive back into the pool of academia. Of course, that is just a euphemism for what used to be drinking my face off and partying with the new kids until someone passed out and got attacked with permanent marker. After 2 years of that, I quit drinking and started to take my health and my life a little more seriously. I got involved with aerobics, step class and rollerblading, had friends who were into fitness and health and started taking note of my issues with food. Each year that passed, I was more aware of the changes I could make with sheer volume of activity and I fell in love with September cardio classes. For someone whose background was strength this was pretty weird, I was doing step classes, playing basketball and was in the best shape of my life. However I was unaware of the weakness I was building into my physique. I continued to play rugby for Western and was faster, fitter and a better player than I had ever been but as my cardio increased, my weight decreased and by the following summer I paid the price. I was flattened by a Samoan with an attitude and separated my shoulder. That was a painful but predictable end to my career as a rugby player. But it sent a damaging message to me that I carried for years: Size beats speed.

Since it is difficult and time consuming for us to create new habits, especially as we get older, it’s of great benefit to take advantage of the habits we already have and although you may not know it, the end of summer brings thoughts of renewal to almost everyone. So it’s a perfect time to kick start your journey, whatever it may be, with some back to school spice! I am lucky right now that I am at the end of Round 7 and it looks like I am going to repeat this round since I seem to have missed out on almost every Insanity:Asylum workout and been a little lazy on the yoga side of things. With a little tweaking I think I can make it work, with RKC not just being a filler in case I get a few minutes before coaching.

So school is in. If you have kids, you will spend lots of time encouraging them to look forward to school, to make new friends and try new things. If you are going back to school yourself you may find that the challenges and changes you face are almost overwhelming, but guess what, that’s what life is like, and you should prove yourself by shaking up your fitness and health regimen also.

So what are you going to do about you? I propose you try something new. Buy a kettlebell, try a crossfit class, make some goals for once! Put yourself back into health school and change your diet, make a resolution for now until Christmas that you won’t fall prey to the muffin, the french fries or the chicken wings. We are about to embark on a wonderful time of year when everything in our lives seems new and exciting. Why let your old routines and habits weigh you down. If you have always wanted to move up in the activity class then get to it. Treat this September like you are going back to school, teach yourself some new tricks, see how much you can change your habits and activities and do something different for once!

But do something, because something beats nothing every time!!


R7D47-9 – Picking Up The Pace (and a shocking statistic)

It’s funny how a little thing like a new heart rate monitor can affect your whole attitude and approach to your workouts. At some time we are all guilty of getting in a rut and forgetting that topping up your motivation is as important as topping your salad with avocado. Also, rewards play a really big part in the improvement process and I am not including taking days off or having a “cheat” meal as a reward. I am talking about something outside your usual activity, something tangible, something you can look at and which will remind you of how far you have come. For me, my new Suunto T6D is a constant reminder of what I have achieved. I have been thinking about a reward for myself ever since I hit the 60lbs mark and until a couple of weeks ago was at a loss, and not only that, I fell into the trap of thinking that I didn’t need a reward, I was fine without it, after all, I know what I have done. That’s just wrong. The whole reason for having a reward system is so that you can learn to accept the rewards of your hard work, psychologically if you don’t reward yourself you are actually subconsciously telling yourself that there is no reward for hard work.

Back to the point. The small device has caused me to stick steadfastly to my schedule this week. Not only because I am fascinated with my movescount.com results or my firstbeat analysis but also because I feel good about doing what I need to and even better about getting rewarded for it. So to end off the week I took Friday off, my legs and back were sore and I was feeling a bit tired, and knowing I would be working out all weekend and taking Monday off it seemed like it would be OK. Saturday for some bizarre reason I decided instead of doing Pure Cardio like I was supposed to I thought I would go for a run despite it being over 40 with the humidex. In reality I wanted to check out the GPS and the foot pod on my new watch so off I went. It wasn’t far, I think my total distance was only 3.6km and total time was 37 minutes with warm up and down and so on. But I was in my vibrams and the ground was so hot my feet were on fire, not to mention that I did the hills that I had done before Warrior Dash as a change which was easier since they have actually mowed that area since I did it last. I was happy with the run, and couldn’t wait to see my route all mapped out on Google Earth. It wasn’t until I had spent several minutes on the Suunto site and various forums that I discovered that although the watch uses GPS to log distance and speed, it doesn’t actually map your route. Apparently the points data is in the watch or the pod somewhere they just don’t choose to use it. I find that puzzling and a little annoying to be honest. I am happy that the reason I got the watch was for fitness not for distance or GPS enabled tracking. I don’t recall reading anywhere in the literature that you can’t map with the Suunto GPS unit. It almost seems ridiculous in fact that you can’t. I wonder if in the future they will be coming out with an updated GPS unit you can download from or add that functionality to the watch. Anyway, I was disappointed on 2 fronts, the foot pod didn’t seem to work either but that could be a dead battery. I am glad I got this used for cheap, if I had paid for the runners pack I would be packing it up and returning it! But, to be honest, I am really not interested in the GPS function or the foot pod. I got the watch for the thing it is best at, running the HR monitor.

Sunday I paid for the run. My back was sore, my legs ached and it took a good couple of hours until I felt anywhere like exercising. However, I sucked it up and decided to do the Back and Biceps workout I had skipped on Friday. I modified it a bit and took my 35lb dbs outside and did a circuit of 3 pullup types and 3 curl types.


Wide front pullups
double bicep curl
Reverse grip pullup (or deadlift grip)
French curl (or Hammer)
Narrow grip pullups
Single arm bicep concentration curls

The total came out to 95 reps for back, 95 for biceps.

My Shocking statistics…

In putting together my statistics today I added my latest body composition numbers and I was shocked to look back at where I started. At my heaviest back in 2008 (on my 1st wedding anniversary!) I was for all intents and purposes 295lbs at a whopping 30% fat. That meant I was approximately 200lbs of person and 100lbs of fat.

If I wasn’t disgusted enough at myself before I sure am now!

My latest numbers are a little more encouraging but still a little off base. I am down to approximately 18% fat at around 235lbs which means I am 195lbs of man and 44lbs of stored energy 😉 Given those stats and knowing I should be about 12-15% fat, I should be aiming at a goal weight of around about 218lbs-224lbs. Just knowing that I am only about 15 lbs away from my goal weight is mindblowing! But realizing that I have lost around 56lbs of fat and only around 5lbs of lean mass is an incredible statistic. It shows that I am doing things right and not just becoming a smaller fatter person like so many people do.

For those who believe the numbers for the “average” male are lower, I grant, being 10% would be great but being 215lbs is just not realistic of a goal for me to set at this point. I have my mind set on being 225lbs by the end of the year and I think that may be a challenge to reach especially given that I am currently struggling with a plateau of 235lbs. But it is only the end of July, there is a lot of life left in this year and a lot of workouts to be done!



R7D38-42 – Pure Cardio. Pure Hell Part 3 (and the worlds worst excuse).

I just realized that through the evolution of my workouts from my first days with Tony to my divorcing ShaunT, albeit temporarily, I have stuck to one notion when it comes to the Pure Cardio workout. After typing the entry heading I thought it looked familiar so I went back and checked. I already have 2 entries entitled Pure Cardio, Pure Hell. I guess that speaks volumes about how I feel about this particular workout. You want to know what the problem is? It’s the fact that you get so used to doing 30 second stints that when you are confronted with the notion of doing 15 full minutes it is a touch overwhelming. Possibly also because you forget (at least I do) that it’s 60 second intervals until the workout is already started and there is no getting out of it. I hate the bait and switch!

Getting through the workout however is a great feeling of accomplishment and leaves you knowing for sure that your choice to get to work that day was the right one!

To end the week, I managed to finish back and biceps for the first time, yet again confirming that once you take some time away from P90X it can be just as good as it was the first time around! I thoroughly enjoyed the workout even though I voluntarily cut it short, realizing that there really isn’t enough you can do to your biceps in an hour that you can’t get done in about half that time. I do still enjoy the workout, regardless of whether I choose to modify it a little or not. The weekend was not good to me, I was supposed to do something, anything, but didn’t quite make it. I am thrown off my game by not having a heart rate monitor at the moment and I used that as possibly the worst excuse in the world not to work out.

Speaking of which, I am hoping to get my hands on a Suunto T6D for the price of a T3D tomorrow. If not, I will have to order the T3D online and pay the ridiculous shipping. Too bad my local MEC store doesn’t have stock, as I found on the weekend after driving to Barrie. If anyone has experience with the Suunto T6D please let me know your feelings. My plan is to use it in conjunction with the Firstbeat software to give me a much better idea of my fitness and if I am working hard enough to meet my fitness goals.

Round 4 Day 37 – Gym Back and Biceps

All I had was a chin up bar and a pair of 35lb dumbbells but I still managed to wear myself out. 30 min of pullups double biceps pullups concentration curls.

No frills, just pullups outside in the dark and dumbbells in the basement. Still, it’s better than spending $70 a month for a gym membership.

Keeping up with the plan, the next workouts are:

39 Pure Cardio
40 GYM Shoulders Traps and Ab Ripper X
41 WOD with Pullups
42 OFF
43 P90X Chest & Triceps, Ab Ripper X
44 Pure Cardio
45 P90X Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper X
46 WOD with Pullups
47 GYM Shoulders Traps and Ab Ripper X
48 Max Interval Plyo

Then rest week #2

Round 4 Day 17-18. Plyo Plus Shoulders and Arms

No, I did not do P90X Plyo, this was Plyometric Cardio from Insanity. Although I did toy with the idea of going back to Plyo once this round we will see. I made a quick and easy shoulders and arms workout that was OK for shoulders but not that great for triceps. I am not worried about my biceps at this point but my triceps need a bigger workout than this. I think I may have to go away from the circuit training approach for this day so I can military press for my shoulders and then covert back to flat bench so I can narrow bench for my triceps.

Here is what I did yesterday.

95lb Military Press x10
35 lb In and Out Biceps x 10
Body weight free dips x 10
95lb Military Press x10
35 lb In and Out Biceps x 10
Body weight free dips x 10

135lb Military Press x 10
35lb Single arm Bicep Curls x 10
20 Military pushups
135lb Military Press x 10
35lb Single arm Bicep Curls x 10
20 Military pushups

185lb Military Press x 8
35lb Double Bicep plus Upright Row x15
Chair Dips (feet up) x15
185lb Military Press x 8
35lb Double Bicep plus Upright Row x15
Chair Dips (feet up) x15

35lb Side Shoulder Raise x 10
Band Tricep Push Downs (all 3 bands) x 10
35lb Side Shoulder Raise x 10
Band Tricep Push Downs (all 3 bands) x 10

It seems like a lot of sets and maybe it’s due to the fact that you are effectively trying to cover off 4 bodyparts in one day, bi’s tri’s, shoulders and traps. 22 sets is a ton compared to a couple of days ago when I did what I thought was 8 sets however if you split the pull ups out it was 16 sets. I still feel like I did more and yet not enough. I am thinking of splitting out and doing chest/tri, back/bi and shoulders on a separate day like I used to but that won’t be until round 5 most likely. I say round 5, but I am getting so far away from the Round 1 of P90X it seems almost ludicrous.

Round 2, Day 38 – Spinning Wheels and Invisible Tony

New Hole In The Wall

I had a bad weekend, mostly due to the fact that I started to create a pass-through in our living room to get light into the dining room. That took a lot out of me on Saturday with the header building and the support work and then I had to coach on Sunday for one of the other coaches which took most of the day. Needless to say I didn’t get much working out done. So, to make up for it I went on the treadmill in the morning at work and then last night did a quick back and biceps workout even though we didn’t get home until about 7pm after going to see the 3D baby ultrasound.

So, a big few days. I have a huge hole in my wall, I got to see our baby daughter in 3D which was really weird and I made a bit of extra cash coaching all at the expense of my fitness. We have another ultrasound today, a medical one rather than an entertainment one and then coaching again tonight. Hopefully I will be able to go on the treadmill tomorrow morning at work again and then do some Shaun T tomorrow night.

The back and biceps workout is one of the workouts that you can easily do without Tony at all. In fact, last night I put on some music and got to work without even using the DVD (Invisible Tony, welcome, have a seat and be quiet). In some respects I wanted to see how I would fare without the DVD in order to figure out if I really need to take the laptop this weekend or if I just need my recording sheets. The workout was shockingly short. I blasted through way faster than I would normally maybe in part because my elbow was quite sore and so my weights and pull ups were down I am not sure. Either way, I was done the whole thing in under 40 minutes. I also skipped the warmup since I never warmed up in the 25 or so years I lifted weights… Sorry Tony, I know how much you love your warmup and stretch and it’s not that I disagree, I just know I will be fine without it.

This coming weekend will not be any easier, but the best I can do is to plan. We are in Niagara Falls from Friday to Tuesday so I will take the laptop and the DVDs and my P90X workout sheets and do what I can at the workout centre and in my room. Hopefully I will be able to get some workouts in especially since we are planning to do a “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” road trip to 3 or 4 of the locations near Buffalo. We have the house sitter and cat feeder booked, I have my laptop and my DVDs packed and ready to go so… Here is the plan, as far as I can make out:

Today: Off – Coaching
Wednesday: Pure Cardio with or without Cardio Abs
Thursday (Off work to finish wall): Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X + Coaching
Friday (Off work, go to Niagara): Cardio Power and Resistance
Saturday (Niagara): Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, Ab Ripper X
Sunday (Niagara): Plyometric Cardio Circuit
Monday (Niagara): Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper X
Tuesday (Niagara then home to coach): Off

I mean if I am on vacation at a place that has a gym there really is no reason I can’t work out. It’s not as if we have never been to Niagara before or we need to go sightseeing. It is also going to be in the 20’s this weekend so the weather will be beautiful for walking (even though Nicole is starting to waddle more than walk now).
I guess we will see, we already know how poorly I stick to plans I make but this is vacation, surely it will be easier?

Round 2, Phase 2, Week 1 – Back Tweak = Back Day!!

I am sporadic in my updating only due to the fact that I am sporadic in my work. I tweaked something in my back the other day and being cautious doesn’t really jive with what I am trying to achieve. However, I have found if I am careful and warm up properly that I can still achieve what I need to while hurting. The Insanity Plyo was the worst. Trying to keep up with Shaun T while feeling like you have daggers up and down your spine is not optimal. But, as they say, you do what you can.

I am really happy to be in Phase 2 if only to enjoy the “other” DVDs in the P90X set which you only get to do during weeks 4-7. Maybe it is a reflection of my enjoyment of a good shoulder workout I am not sure. Anyway, I managed to get through my Back and Biceps day yesterday despite being incredibly uncomfortable. I figured if I was going to be home all day with a sore back, the least I could do is try and get some bodyparts done. As strange as it may sound, doing pullups when my back is sore is a great benefit. By the time the workout was done (it took me almost 90 minutes) I did feel a great deal better. However, I couldn’t manage any Ab Ripper today, it was just agony.

The Pain... It's in there somewhere.

For those of you who have sore backs, don’t let the workouts slip if you can. Especially if it is a back day. I have an inversion table which works wonders for me, but before I got it, doing pullups was an acceptable substitute. The one thing it took me many years to figure out was that moving, exercising, walking and doing chinups made me feel better not worse. The temptation is to lay down and do very little, in fact I posted a page once on what to do when your back goes out however when I wrote that page, I was still far from understanding that the key to rehab of a back injury is exercise. I was also under the impression that back pain was in your back. Since then I have come to understand that my personal pain is a mixture of piriformis, ITB and hamstring issues all rolled into one causing pain through my sciatic nerve and down my leg.

So I am moving a little slowly, just around the time that I am realizing that I am not doing enough and need to step it up a notch.