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 4 Day 16 – Gym Chest and Back

I resolved to make this a tough but fairly quick workout but mainly to make it repeatable. It turned out quite well, although I can’t remember how long it took and I think with time I may need to tack on some extra sets especially if I can find some heavier dumbbells to do some rowing. The fact is that with this workout my back is solely done with pull ups and although I am not completely happy with that I have no way of getting rows into my workout at the moment and with the light dumbbells that I have it’s pointless to do lawnmowers. So here is my Gym Chest and Back workout.

Bench and Pull ups

135×20 + 10 wide front
135×20 + 10 wide front
185×10 + 10 reverse grip
185×10 + 10 reverse grip
225×10 + 10 close grip
225×10 + 10 close grip
275×5 + 7 tuck pull ups
185×10 + 7 L sit pull ups

As you can see, there are only 8 sets here and typically I like to aim for 12 -15. next time around I will time the workout and see if I can add another 2 sets at the lower weights. As my strength comes back I may be able to add more 275 sets but I don’t think I will be going higher than that. I benched 375 before, I don’t think I need to have a 400lb bench in my list of achievements.

Round 4 Day 1 – You Forget

Confusion - it's confusing

As much as they tout P90X as “muscle confusion” you do get into a rut of working the same muscle groups. It’g great that the rut isn’t too long or too deep but doing Chest and Back again yesterday for the first time in a long time reminded me of two things. First, the value of change. If you don’t change things regularly you will inevitably fall into a pattern by which both physically and psychologically you will become entranced and then lulled to sleep. The fact that you are sore AGAIN the first time you do a workout you haven’t done in a while speaks volumes to that. Second, the value of entertainment in fulfilling the time commitment. I have come across a few people who have claimed that they have saved a few minutes here and there by skipping bits and pieces of the workout or by (myself included) substituting weights or heavy resistance for some of the exercises. My advice would be if you want to substitute, take a day to do that but when you are faced with a P90X workout or and Insanity workout, submit to the process and do the whole thing. Saving 10 minutes off the workout isn’t doing you any favours in fact it will hurt you in the long run. 10 minutes a day on a program that requires a 6 day a week commitment (watch out here comes the math) is A FULL HOUR that you have skipped. Now I understand you are thinking that it’s only the warmup or only the cooldown but believe me if you aren’t present you aren’t’ getting the benefit but if you are there, you will get more of a boost to your overall fitness and attitude than you will ever realize. Each day that you skip part of the workout you devalue the process and thereby devalue yourself. My daughter is 4 months old now and time is at a premium however even I can’t truly make the excuse that 10 minutes is going to make a huge difference in her life but I can guarantee because I have been there, it will make a huge difference in mine. If you want to incorporate other stuff, do it prudently and make a day for it or allot a specific time for it, it will help you get the most out of your 90 day commitment and your daily workout sanctuary.

So Day 1 was fine, although I struggled with the rotation and the reduced body part count but  it was fun. The next morning I was sore but not too badly. It was a comforting reminder that I had once again found more muscle in need of work.

Round 3 – Day 78 – The Half Hour From Hell Crossfit Style

I was supposed to be doing Chest, Shoulders and Triceps today, don’t ask me why I thought I was on Legs and Back but I guess in the confusion of the last few days I got mixed up. I decided that having read about Crossfit for a while that I would try a Crossfit approach to my Legs and Back day. So I went outside onto the lower deck and found 3 places I could do step up or jump up. Couple that with the two chin up bars I have out there and it was all I needed to get the job done. I thought that I would be able to do 100 jumps and 100 chinups and see how that was. Ultimately, I got to about 70 and called it quits, it was about 35 degrees with the humidity and after half an hour of this circuit I was completely beat. The session went something like this

Warmup: Jog up the hill at the side of the house 10x
Set 1: 10 14″ Jump ups 10 wide front pull ups
Set 2: 10  18″ Step ups with knee raise, 10 narrow front pull ups
Set 3: 10 14″ Jump ups , 10 reverse grip pull ups
Set 4: 10 18″ Step ups with foot tap not step down, 10 wide front pull ups
Set 5:  10 24″ Jump ups, 10 narrow front pull ups
Set 6: 10 24″ Jump ups, 10 reverse grip pull ups
Set 7: 10 24″ Jump ups, 10 wide front pull ups

Unfortunately the highest point of the deck is 24″ off the ground which, for a person my size is probably high enough! The circuit only took about 28 minutes to complete but my heart rate was alarmingly high after doing the jump ups. I was really surprised just how difficult it was even with all the Insanity stuff I have been doing. I think I will keep doing this though, at least trying to incorporate the outside world, we live on a private circle which is 600m around, so maybe I will start incorporating 600m runs into the program now that the oppressive heat seems to have broken.

Since I am writing this the day after and  I am able to walk, I can speak to the success of this program. I did have thoughts of not being able to move this morning, unsure how my back would have reacted to the workload.

Round 3 – Day 1 to Day 6 (Light Of My Life)

Day 1 P90X – Chest and Back.

It has been so long since I have done a P90X workout that I really genuinely enjoyed listening to Tony and the gang. Of course, being day 1 I am keen, full of energy, able to keep up with the kids and taking it all in stride. I am ignoring the menace that awaits me tomorrow and the following day and just enjoying doing the work. I stuck with the workout as instructed and even agreed that I would do the ARX workout instead of skipping ahead and doing things in my own time. It is actually a relief to submit to someone else since all I have done for the past few days is plan and work around the new female in my life. I was able to slip away for an hour during an afternoon nap and that reminded me just what a great system this P90X and Insanity workout system is. Not only that, I have been building a deck and my soreness is more of a reminder that I need to stick with the program just to survive my new life!

Day 2 Insanity - Plyometric Cardio Circuit

I didn’t feel too bad after yesterday, my chest is a little tight but knowing that today was cardio I thought I was relatively safe. Of course I was forgetting that part of the Insanity workout involves more than a few minutes of plank and pushups and that my fate was already sealed. Once Shaun T went into the level 1 and ski abs I immediately regretted yesterday and my shortsightedness but realized that at least this was the worst I was going to feel. At least that is what I told myself at the time. By the end of the workout, as short as it was, I was face down in a pool of sweat and the floor of my gym once again looked like a slaughterhouse. I had forgotted just how hard the warmup was, and although I accurately remembered how long the workout was, I had obviously blocked out the memory of exactly how difficult it was. Needless to say I was spent both physically and emotionally and just thankful that today there was no abs.

Day 3 P90X – Shoulders and Arms

I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Although the lack of sleep due to the baby hasn’t really affected me so far I was still physically a wreck. I hurt all over, I couldn’t stand up straight and my calves were on fire all day. I went into the workout relieved that I didn’t have to do any more pull ups and that for me today is a favourite session. I soon found out that in fact my weights are significanltly down and the soreness in my chest prevented me from effectively doing my shoulders. Regardless, I soldiered on knowing I wouldn’t have to coach or go to work for the coming weeks and that I could in fact rest almost on demand.

Day 4 Insanity – Cardio and Resistance

I thought the last time around that I had done a few of the Insanity workouts. In fact, my memory sucks and I found out that in fact I have only done a couple of them. It was therefore a horrific shock that I didn’t know this workout ahead of time. I managed to do most of it, however the power jumps are killing me. I have to admit that I just love the Insanity workouts, the intensity is amazing, the time is short and I sweat bullets knowing that my heartrate is sky high. Not knowing what was coming however made me nervous and as such I think I will do better next time. I was drenched again and I swear I lose 5lbs each workout!

Day 5 Rest

Day 6 One on One with Tony Horton – Fountain of Youth Yoga

I had made a deal with myself that I would incorporate Yoga back into my schedule and rather than do the 90 minute P90X version I managed to get my hands on a copy of FOY Yoga. The thought of being alone with Tony in his basement made me queasy however he was personable, likeable and altogether different. The workout was great, just what I was looking for, a short but varied Yoga workout that I can fit into my schedule. Of course I couldn’t actually do much of it, partly due to my soreness from the past few days of deck work, baby holding and walking and my new Round 3 and partly due to the fact that I gave up Yoga so long ago any flexibility I had is long gone. I have the workout on my Patriot Box Office Media Player so I had Tony on the big screen upstairs while my daughter slept in her pack and play baby holding cell. If you don’t have one of these things yet, get yourself one, it is amazing. Full HD and the ability to play almost any media type.

So that is me all caught up. My daughter is 8 days old, my new workout is 6 days old and I feel like I am 70. Ah, just like the good old days.

Round 2. Day 7 and 8. No Rest For The Wicked.

Chest and Back. Week 2 of Round 2 Begins.

Since I am off 2 days a week coaching I have to skip the rest day and carry on without the benefits of Stretch X. Not that I mind really, I remember through Round 1 I would take the rest day off and not bother with the Stretch X anyway.

Now I am the roadrunner of P90X. I find that since I have started turning off the music during the workout and using my own soundtrack, things can go a lot quicker. I also find that now I am in Round 2 my tolerance for Tony’s inane diarreah commentary is running thin. So although I am not at the point where I am muting him completely, I now only have him making the set change announcements. Even that, however, isn’t really working out since I can’t skip the time it takes for him to belittle the others, grab his “weapons” (ugh) and do 2 reps, chicken out and “check on the kids”. Anyone familiar with Tony will know just how irritating this gets after the first few times. At the start you don’t really even notice it, however as you start to get into much better shape you find the breaks a waste of valuable workout time. That said, I am now referencing the sheet and going at my own pace. So much so that I can finish the workout and ARX before they are getting to the warm down section. I do find that I am much more sore after, however, I will put that down to the lack of physical endurance I currently possess rather than the speed with which I am doing the workout. After all, the few days that I did my G90X at the gym, I rested between sets but didn’t have to wait for explanations or excuses in between. Those days I finished the workout, ARX included, in about 45 minutes.

I finished Chest and Back on Monday, it’s now Wednesday and I am still sore. My triceps are killer since I tried to blast them with diamond pushups and military pushups since I have noticed a severe lack of brute strength in my arms. I did the pushups with regular feet but then did an equal amount of extras off my knees, little girl style. My arms took as much of a beating as my ego on that one let me tell you.

Round 2, Day 5. Fridays are for resting.

Legs and Back.

It’s February now, I am not able to exercise with the walkout doors open in the summer heat. The claustrophobic feeling of the basement is starting to feel like cabin fever. However, I was handling things well, regardless of the horrible shape in which I find myself. That was, until today. Legs and Back is a tough workout, especially with my history of one weak leg due to back surgery and a history of pull up free workouts. However, over the past year my chin ups are imporving drastically but my leg… well, it’s not really doing much improving. It is Friday night, I did Legs and Back after work today, the toughest day of the week for me. I was conditioned through years of growing up role modelling my father to regard Friday as the day of recovery. It is like you work all week so that Friday night you can blow off the week and do whatever you want. Mostly that doesn’t include working out like a badger on dexedrine. The workout itself wasn’t too taxing. A couple of times I was close to failure with my legs and bearing in mind that I am a good 20lbs (to be kind) over what I was when I finished round one I am not surprised that my legs were giving out.

Back went OK too although I find that my numbers are down from last time, a reflection of the fact that I was in shape when I started last time. However, not to harp on the issue of my being out of shape it’s about the fact that I am getting back into shape…

I found that after the workout that I had a mean sugar craving, maybe due to the high protein content of my diet today but whatever it was I thought a little tea with a spoon of sugar would fix it. It didn’t. I devoured the pita pit veggie pita that I had from work and about 2 litres of water by which time I felt like I was about to explode. Better than a dozen cookies I suppose. I did have a couple of small individual zize chocolates left over from our Switzerland trip after the New Year just to take the edge off.

**Note: August 2011. It`s no wonder I wasn`t getting anywhere with weight loss with that attitude. It was like flying blind until I realized diet was the key. I knew it all along, I just was in denial.

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

G-Day 7 and 8 – Rest and Chest

I have missed a few days posting here but the reason is that I had to skip a couple of days for rest purposes and due to the fact we were just too busy. However, I managed to squeeze in Chest and Back at the gym, my second time around with that particular routine.

Chest and back went according to plan, the only adjustment I made was to do single arm pulls for my rear delts instead of doing the rear delt machine. This movement replaces the bent over back flys which to be honest are both difficult and potentially dangerous to do sitting down. A standing pull with your arm parallel to the ground with a cable at shoulder height gives you an excellent isolation of the rear delt without the pressure on your back that sitting provides. I find that doing pull ups at the gym is radically different than at home. The equipment is built for it, the extra space around me seems to provide me with extra strength and the fact that there are huge mirrors right opposite the pull up station is a huge bonus. I also have found that doing bench instead of push ups is also radically different. I am on program to get my bench up to 225 for the push up portions of the program which would make me happy. However, you need to be aware that the bench will never replace the push up as an exercise because of the isolation of the chest. I would recommend that you leave at least one push up movement maybe with a BOSU ball in your repertoire.

G-Day 5 – Legs and Back

So here is my interpretation. It is basically the same as doing the DVD in fact, I have only substituted a couple of moves. I cannot nail down the best way to work in the incline leg press so it may never make it in to the workout.

I posted this before the workout, so here it is again with the numbers included. This was a long (48min without warm up) and difficult workout. Surprisingly one of the hardest things was the Chair Pose on the BOSU ball. I was sweating bullets after that one and shaking like a leaf while attempting it.

Legs and Back


24 24 Balance Lunges
30 30 Calf-Raise Squats
13 FULL Reverse Grip Chin-Ups
15 15 Super Skaters
4x15s 60s Wall Squats
7 FULL Wide Front Pull-Ups
20 20 Step Back Lunges
20 24 Alternating Side Lunges
12 FULL Closed Grip Overhand Pull-Ups
6×10 60s Single-Leg Wall Squats
8 12 Deadlift Squats – SINGLE LEG SQUATS
9 FULL Switch Grip Pull-Ups
25@50 24 Hamstring Curls Machine
14 24 Stiff Leg Deadlifts – No Weight on bar
9 FULL Reverse Grip Chin-Ups (again)
2x30s 60s Chair Salutations or Squat hold on BOSU
20 12 Toe-Roll Iso Lunges
9 FULL Wide Front Pull-Ups (again)
5 20 Free Squat 4 count down 4 hold 4 up
47 20×3 Calf Raises
7 FULL Closed Grip Overhand Pull-Ups (again)
20 20 80/20 Siebers-Speed Squats
10 FULL Hammer Grip Pull-Ups