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.

R8D14-17 – Flirting With Overtraining and The Kenpo Apology

I’m feeling the wear and tear right now, but I know that in time there will be days I can’t help but miss. That’s why if I can work out I do, so that when I can’t I don’t have to feel guilty about it. My elbows are torn up from low plank work at gym on Friday, my back hurts from, well, everything and my but still aches from last Wednesday and then Kenpo yesterday.

Wait, what?

Yes, I said Kenpo. I have had a love / hate relationship with Kenpo over the years (and yes, it’s been years since I first met Tony in the summer of 2008) and for many reasons I think it was just a bit of frustration that the cardio wasn’t what I needed. It’s not that the workout isn’t entertaining or complex enough to be engaging, it’s just that once you have been through the program, you start to wish there was a cardio portion to the proceedings and the first 2 workouts to get the axe to make room are Yoga and Kenpo.

As a matter of fact, I love the Kenpo workout. In a word, it’s fun! It’s nice to be able to pretend violence or imagine yourself at an elevated skill level doing kicks that feel like they are head height even though you are struggling to make hip level. It’s an entertaining, fast paced and reasonably skill based workout that gets a bad rap by seasoned users for all the wrong reasons. I hope in P90X2 that there is something just as intricate and skilled to replace it however it seems as though we may be disappointed. I suppose I made my own point there, that there are other places to get your cardio workout, but Kenpo will be sadly missed and so I am sorry about all the mean things I said.

So what was it that I did the last few days? Well, it started on Thursday when I was actually pretty wiped out after a very intense Wednesday bootcamp class. Nicole and I took a long walk around the neighbourhood with the baby to pick out some tiles for her next craft project. It was a welcome active rest and did a lot to work through the pain in my legs.
Friday which was supposed to be an off day turned into an Insane Abs workout with 2 of my girls at gym. I had pared it down a little and probably shouldn’t have bothered since they got through it without much problem. I found the workout not too hard, and I didn’t even get much pain until 24 hours later when my hip flexors started screaming every time I moved. I found that it was a lot of shoulder work from the plank positions and a lot of hip flexor (which they need) but not a lot of actual core strength. I think I need to develop a better upper and lower ab workout for them.
Saturday I opted for a hybrid workout that would round out my bodyparts for the week so I planned the following, assuming I would be able to do something else afterwards:

5 chin ups
10 ring dips
15 push ups

Since my ring dips started to fade quickly I adapted round 2:

5 ring dips
10 chin ups
15 push ups

This exhausted me which led me to conclude I was on the verge of overtraining. However, in review I noted the following totals:

Chin ups: 75
Ring Dips: 75
Push Ups: 150

Which isn’t too bad for a 20 minute workout.

Sunday I knew I had to do something that would not push me over the edge of the overtraining cliff but would enable me to take Monday off while I coached gymnastics. It had to be cardio, but with my legs and back a little sore I shyed away from Shaun T and opted for Kenpo, and as noted above, I am  happy I did.

I feel much better today, and I also think it’s time for an RKC workout!


Round 2. Days 12-16, Insanity Hybrid is here

Human DNA removal. One way or another…

I couldn’t wait. Reading other blogs about people abandoning Kenpo and Yoga to do Insanity workouts drove me to a jealous rage. I ripped open my Insanity package and on day 13 instead of doing Kenpo I decided I would bust out the easiest of the Insanity DVDs. I decided upon the rest week workout. Mostly because frankly the write ups about the rest of the program scared me and the fact that at this time I am still a similar shape to my pregnant wife. However, I thought if I don’t start this now, I will end up waiting for the perfect time and I will never get stuck in. Besides, how hard can the recovery workout be?

Human DNA removal. One way or another...

I quickly realized that Shaun T, with his friendly demeanor and charm is not the type of guy to take it easy on you. He is also not the kind of leader who wants to chit chat and joke around. He is my kind of instructor. Upon starting the rest week workout I found out one thing right away, in Shaun T’s world, warmup means follow his lead until your lungs hurt and then stretch. Anyone who has done an Insanity workout knows what I am talking about. His warmup, the part before the stretch just to get you started was more difficult than an entire Kenpo workout. Granted they have different goals in mind but this was a rude awakening. The rest of the workout was full of surprises. Not the good kind that make you smile, but the kind where you are lulled into a false sense of security and then kicked in the pancreas with a steel toed shoe. For example, after wheezing through the “warmup” you are allowed to stretch for a few minutes and you can’t help but notice that as the stretching is going on that you are speeding toward the end of the video. In fact, once the stretch is done and Shaun T brings his evil little face to the front of class to start you can see that there is only about 20 minutes left. That, my friend, is the first punch to the throat. You see, if you have never set fire to yourself or jumped into a frozen lake, to you, 20 minutes is no time at all. But to Shaun T, 20 minutes is enough time to destroy your physique, break your spirit, make you simultaneously cry and throw up in your mouth a bit and make you wish you had put down a tarp before you started.

Needless to say, the rest week of Insanity with 7 days of this workout is a daunting thought. What scared me the most was the fact that if this was the recovery week, how hard was the regular workout going to be? My pancreas aches just thinking about it.

Day 15 was chest and back, and I almost kissed the TV when I saw Tony who now officially is the Good Cop of the pair. I was already into week 3 and frankly not seeing the kind of weight loss I was looking for and so despite my better judgement I decided that I was going to officially Hybrid my workout and instead of doing Tony Kenpo I would do Shaun Kenpo instead. Chest and back went just fine and I was back to the kind of weights and reps I was doing the first time around. Since I already have all the size I could ever want, I am back to doing 15-20 reps of almost everything and upwards of 300 push ups and 50 pull ups every session. My pull ups are lagging behind a bit due to the extra weight I am carrying but I expect to be breaking the 100 barrier before long.

My usual Plyo day was replaced with Shaun T’s Plyometric Cardio Circuit which was not as Plyo-esque as Tony’s was, but was far more cardio oriented, a theme you can expect throughout the Insanity program. I will do a full run down of the workouts later as I become more familiar with them but for now let me say that the feelings I had during the recovery week workout were replicated and amplified during the PCC workout. At one point I looked across the floor, as I lay panting, at the drip trail of sweat arcing across the floor and though to myself how much it looked like someone had slaughtered some large animal in there. Seriously there were pools of liquid, spray trails and large drip marks everywhere. It was like a weekend away with Dexter…

Round 2. Days 9 – 11. Weekends are for working. Buying My Insanity.

I am finding this P90X thing harder the second time around. Not only, as I am repeatedly saying, that I am in worse shape than I was but also because I am skipping bits and pieces and therefore not quite getting the work I once was. It’s fine to say that I want to skip the cool down or the warm ups because I never did warmups in the gym before I worked out and besides it cuts 15 minutes off my workout, however, it means that I am missing 15 minutes of working out, no matter how easy that 15 minutes is. So I am finding that I am not improving at the rate I was the first time around. I am also finding that the one day between coaching where I have places to be during the evening is leading me to skip that day… This means I am ending up with 3 days off and 4 days on. Not conducive to massive results. So, tomorrow is Lent, the poor man’s New Years Resolution day (and by poor man I mean Catholic) and I am committing to 3 things:

1. I will work out 5 days a week, skipping only the 2 days that we coach.
2. I will absolutely not eat anything after 7pm.
3. I will stay off wheat completely again.

I am also committing to changing the P90X routines so that I can keep myself engaged and I will tell you why. This past Saturday morning I drove to Square One shopping centre and met a nice Indian lady in the Petro Canada parking lot. She gave me a package that will change my world, just as P90X did. For a while now I have been following FitBomb as I am sure many of you have. We were undertaking our first P90X journey at the same time but unlike me, his transition from P90X back into life went much better than mine did. In fact, the epic failure of G90X as I had called it forced me to look to other P90X grads to see what they had done once the dream was over. What I found was that the thirst for at home, gym free, cost free workout methods really catches you by surprise and you start to realize that maybe spending $70 a month on  a gym membership is not necessary. Having been enthralled by the relative ease of doing the workout at home, I realized that maybe transitioning back to the gym was not the answer, but in fact that P90X had finally liberated me from that jail. I was finally able to do a workout that challenged me, got me fit and healthy and that I was able to do on my schedule. The logical conclusion was that rather than look back, I should look forward to another challenge. Just as others before me, I decided that the next logical step after Tony was Shaun T. I remember looking at the BeachBody site and thinking that Tony represented the epoch of their system. That if you were fit and wanted to challenge yourself, that P90X was your ticket to the big time. What I had not realized was that Shaun T was busy doing for cardio workouts what Tony had done for weights. Only with more professionalism and less douchy-ness. I then began to make the connection that FitBomb made and realized that a combination of the excellent weight training of Tony and the Insane cardio of Shaun T may in fact be the perfect workout system.

I checked Kijiji and 2 days later was handing over $60 to a nice Indian lady at a gas station on a cold morning in Mississauga.

Rather than try Shaun T at this time, I realized that I would have to be at least 20lbs lighter if I was going to try some of the stuff I had read about. However, the lure of the shiny box was too much and halfway through Kenpo (which I now no longer find fun, but rather boring) decided that I would put the Plyometric Insanity disc in and see what the big deal was. Ten minutes later my heart rate was at around 160 bpm and I thought my heart was going to explode. Shaun T’s warmup had reduced me to a quivering mess and as I lay on the floor soaking in my humility I realized that indeed I was looking at the future.

You see, the problem with P90X as I see it is the cardio workouts. They are not terrifically difficult and you will probably find that even if you like one of them, you will probably not find the others to your liking. So you will need to replace at least 2 days a week, if not 3 with something else. For myself, I don’t mind the Plyo but the Kenpo and the Yoga are not my cup of tea. I would rather do the yoga (albeit a stripped down version) on rest day and replace it with a cardio workout that pushes me during the workout schedule.

So my plan, once I am past phase 1, is to replace Kenpo and Yoga with Shaun T. I haven’t found out which workouts to put in their place but with 13 DVDs I am sure I will find something.

Finally, I am scared to work out again… and I like it.

Round 2. Day 6. Pain. I has it.

I did Kenpo during the day today because I knew what I was in for. When I got up this morning my legs were like jello. I knew from the familiar feeling of apathy from my muscles that today was going to go down hill in a hurry. I tried to rush to get some of the house sorting done, installing the full size speakers in the basement to facilitate drowning out Tony on demand. I built some Ikea shelves by which time I could feel my legs starting to firm up and bring the surge of pain to the fore. I struggled to crank out Kenpo, my favourite workout and by the end I felt almost optimistic about my chances of being able to survive the night. However, after recovering on the couch for about an hour I tried to get up to head to the washroom and it hit me.

The pain.

He brings it... I has it...

The searing, unending tidal wave of masochistic payback from yesterday’s hour of lunges. It was like my veins were filled with molten lava flowing through every fiber of my lower boday scorching the nerve paths and blood vessels as it went.

Everything from the waist down hurt. I couldn’t stand up, I certainly couldn’t walk anywhere and for a brief moment I actually thought I was about to collapse. It was fortunate that I had predicted this outcome however the scale of the problem was immeasurably more immense. I lay back on the couch, cursed Tony and reached for the advil that I had cleverly left on a small table, within reach of my now semi-permanent home.

I’ll get you Tony. Just as soon as I can stand up again.

Tomorrow is Superbowl Sunday and since I will be building Ikea furniture all day and no doubt contorting myself into ridiculous positions, drill in hand, I am assuming I will not be working out. I think after today that may be a good idea. I’ll be back to do Chest and Back on Monday.

G-Day 6 – Kenpo with a twist

The more I modify the system, the more I feel involved and like a willing participant. Doing this thing the second time around can get a little repetitive and so even during the DVDs that I followed with such venom previously I am finding ways to make things different. Today was Kenpo, one of the workouts that I will stick with for this 3 month adventure however I am looking at ways of changing it up a bit. However, due to the fast pace and cleverly crafted add-a-move configuration it was almost impossible. I wish that there were some modifications on the DVD that would make it a little more advanced at times. I am already doing jump kicks and roundhouses and backfist combinations to up the complexity but I am running out of ideas. Watching “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike TV helps and I find myself stealing some of the training moves I see during the show. I don’t want to sink to the level of breaking out the wife’s Tae Bo DVDs but I will have to see. For the time being, I will have to put up with Tony “I’m a fan” and Phil “Don’t try too hard” for my Kenpo workout. Pity that FITBOMB had to reveal Phil for the lazy slacker that he is, every time I watch the DVD all I can do is stare at his pathetic horse stance and grind my teeth together…

Day 84 – Stuck in a time warp

Day 1 of rest week 5. Supposed to be Yoga, may Plyo instead.

The thing about this coaching lark is that it has thrown my workout schedule so far out of whack I can’t keep my days straight. Thankfully I am only 7 days away from completing the program and getting my P90X stripes. That means that the next few days, or couple of weeks more likely are going to be easy to document. I am moving into day 84, day 1 of rest week 4. Today, although the number doesn’t jive, I did Yoga but since I was pulling a double having done 4 miles on the treadmill in the morning I took it easy. I knew that the coming week had two yoga sessions attached to it so I didn’t feel that guilty skipping some of the more demanding poses in order to save my aching legs. It still took over an hour, so I wasn’t dogging it that badly. Last week I also looked at the Beachbody.com website and noticed that they are offering a P90X+ program of 5 DVDs containing some new workouts and different looking moves. One thing I can say for the BeachBody team, they have good marketing because I was hooked instantly. The only question is, do I get right into it now or do what I planned and get into the gym for some workouts for a month or two?

I think it would be good for me both from a physical workout perspective and also from a training/coaching perspective to get myself back to the gym and do some new workouts. I can set a weight goal for the next 3 months and then maybe get P90X+ for Christmas and start in the new year.

I found some more P90X blogs today and this little nugget… Too freaking funny.

On another note: Tony ought to spend less time sexually harassing Dreya Weber, the blonde fitness model/trainer in the video. I haven’t watched many workout videos before, but I’m pretty sure it’s not typical for the lead male trainer to give a sweaty hug to one of his female models after the workout is over. Or to watch her take off a sweatshirt and remark: “Uh-oh! The top is coming off!”

Tony offers a “Tip of the Day” in each of his videos, so in the spirit of P90X, here’s mine: If your name is Dreya Weber, you should consider contacting Beachbody’s Human Resources department.

So I ended up doing Kenpo instead of Yoga today. I realize that I will have to do Yoga on Wednesday between coaching nights which works out OK I guess. I added some weight to my Kenpo today, just 5lbs during some of the punching and blocking moves. It made a huge difference in the effort level and I have to agree with one other site I read yesterday in the way that although I do enjoy the Kenpo, it is probably the weakest of the workouts with the least amount of “X”-ness.

Days 75-76 Weekend Warrior returns. As does back pain.

Back, Legs, Kenpo

Had to… two often misused and overused words. However, I had to take Friday off. It was inevitable and unavoidable that after the first week of coaching that I would be very sore, very cranky and very tired. Although this should not have prevented me from going down to the basement with Tony I am afraid under my new P90X t-shirt I am human after all…

However, an interesting aside, I am more sore now than I have been through this whole process and I am not sure if it is because of coaching and so on or if in fact it is due to the fact that I am not doing something every day as I was previously. Either way, I am going to have to be careful since I can’t afford to take a day off or to have my back go out at any point now with such a full calendar.

It was great to do Kenpo, I have to say. Having so many days between each of the workouts is making progress almost impossible but also there is an “absence makes the heart grow fonder” aspect to it. I did pullups the other day, was happy to in fact, but the followign day I was incredibly sore. Kenpo was a great time but I have to admit that I feel like I pulled something in my back doing it.

Maybe P90X is not really meant to be done at such a leisurely pace as 5 days a week.

Days 68 to 70 – Floored

Legs and Back, Kenpo

As usual, the weekend took a toll on my workouts. Not that I don’t have time t0 get them done, but especially this time I have other things to occupy my time. I took Friday off, something which I think is inherited from my father who took Friday evenings as his “decompression” time. I started parts of the floor prep making lists and to do priorities. Saturday meant early legs and back which was enjoyable and it was a nice bonus to get it done early. However, with a day of hard physical work ahead I knew I may be in for a world of pain.

800lbs of floor.

Truck, 800lbs of floor and a challenge!

I went to Home Depot and got the flooring, manhandled it into and out of the truck and started on the floor. First I had to pull the carpet and since we don’t have a lot of room in which to work it meant moving furniture around to clear floor space. I spent a lot of the day bent over removing staples which held the foam underpad down. Whoever installed it was obviously fixated on the staple gun since they used it like it was their newest Christmas present. With large areas of the carpet removed I spent Sunday getting the last of it out and removing the trim pieces that will need reinstalling once the floor is in. I also spent about an hour and a half trying to cut the bottom of the fireplace with a hand saw until I realized that I had recently seen a tool on TV that would be ideal. It was, however, $400 so I went to Home Depot again and found the Dremel knock off which would have saved me an enourmous amount of time had I thought of it earlier.

tackstrip vs foam

Long and painful story short I was too tired and had worked too damn hard to do Kenpo on Sunday. So I officially am skipping a workout and getting back to my Chest and Back workout on Monday.

That is when I realised that the buggers at Beachbody have slipped in an extra week of workouts at the end of the program. I thought that this being the 3rd week of Phase 3 that I had one more week of weights and then one rest week and I would be done. Not so! I actually have 2 more weeks of weights until the final rest week. This brings with it mixed emotions, at least it gives me 2 more weeks to coem up with some of the conditioning for gym, it also gives me an extra week to get myself in even better shape however it means the finish line is now a week further away than I thought it was!!!

I almost went to the gym on Sunday to do my Legs and Back workout, a session which lends itself well to that transition. I feel like it has been forever since my days at the gym and I think it will be a welcome change to get back there. September is going to be a month of significant change around here!

So here I go, 2 more weeks of weight work and then one more rest week and I am done! A real, bona fide completion of the program. I can’t wait.

Day 52 – The Hamster Dance

Kenpo, my favourite.

I bought the individual packets, not the tub.

Not only is rest week a great break from the hardcore workouts but it allows you to really enjoy the workouts rather than forcing yourself through them doing as much as you can. This extra enjoyment makes Kenpo an amazing workout. I got my recovery drink in the mail the other day and so I put some in my workout drink today since it was pretty hot in the basement. First let me just say that it really is not just hype about the drink, it has a good balance of nutrients but more importantly it really does taste great. Not since the first time I tried Met-Rx have I been impressed with the taste of a fitness product but I was truly floored by the taste of the recovery drink. I ordered mine direct from BeachBody and although it took longer than expected to arrive (by about 5 days) it was well worth it. Each packet makes 12 ounces which is about 350ml but I found that when I mixed it in my drink bottle (PureHydration bottle) which is 500ml it tasted just as good, not watery at all. By the way, I have a ton of reusable bottles, both composite plastics and stainless steel and I have never found one that keeps hot things hot or cold things cold like the PureHydration bottle does. It is literally mind blowing how good this bottle is. I had cold water from my cooler at home in the bottle which is black sitting in my Jeep. The bottle was in direct sunlight for over an hour and was hot to touch when I got to it. I opened the bottle and the water inside was just as cold as if it had come directly out of the cooler. Nothing much impresses me to be frank, but this really was amazing.

So I am into rest week 2, feeling fine, but starting to get a little apprehensive about what to do after the 90 days are up. I have a gym membership that I want to maintain because I love to bench and the equipment allows me to do lots of variations that I can’t do at home. However, I don’t think that I want to go back to my old weights routine. I have come too far to slip back into that static strength stuff. So now I have to develop a training method that works both weights and the P90X methodology into a single package. Ideally I would like a system where I could do the workout at home or at the gym so if I feel like throwing in a DVD instead of going to the gym one day it would fit with my program. Then I will market the system as a whole revolutionary fitness breakthrough and make millions of dollars. That is one plan anyway. You see, the problem is that people who love the gym almost always love it for the social aspect as much as the workout. I don’t necessarily mean social interaction but rather social exposure. I enjoy the gym for social exposure, seeing people, listening to them, doing that man-nod thing to acknowledge them but I definitely don’t want to interact with them. Ewww. So if you can take the precise approach of the P90X and mix it with the ability to be in the gym with the other gym rats and cardio queens you would surely have a winning combination. Especially since in order to get that type of workout you have to be with a personal trainer. If I can provide a personal trainer quality workout regime that can be done at home or at the gym or even in a hotel room but more importantly can be done in ALL locations I am sure some people would go for it…

THINKING......I’m gonna let the hamster in my head run the wheel on that one for a while…