BSRD46 – Busy Week / Change Of Direction

crossfit-logo11I am in limbo with my decision regarding how to approach my rehabilitation. I am at the point where I have stress tested myself with very light weights and very basic movements and as I move towards the inevitable return to work I need to make sure I am up to the task of sitting in the car to work, sitting or standing for 4 hours and driving home PLUS then doing my rehab work whatever that may be. Given my history with P90X that would be an easy place to start, but I am not sure that doing a round of P90X or P90X2 at this point would give me back the functional fitness I am looking for. As good as it is, and it is an excellent program, I am not quite sure that it will suffice. That is where Crossfit comes in.

Before I go into any details I want to quickly address my concern with Crossfit as it stands. For the most part I think it’s a wonderful system, it’s heart is in the right place and the quick format takes care of many of the issues people claim with not having enough time to work out (nice excuse!). I did write a piece not too long ago about the Crossfit Nonsense article that probably was a little harsh but let me take a second here and demonstrate what I meant at the time. I called it Crossfit Caution and I stand by the idea that I presented but before I start let’s look at what would have had you do last week for workouts:

Monday – Run for 30 minutes
Tuesday – Rest
WednesdayAMRAP 20 minutes: Row 250m + 25 pushups
Thursday – 50-40-30-20-10 Double Unders plus situps (Double Unders are simply rope skipping with 2 revolutions of the rope per jump, you could sub tuck jumps)
Friday – An Actual workout:

Complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 Handstand push-ups
7 Chest to bar pull-ups
35 pound Dumbbell squat snatch, 10 reps, alternating

Saturday – Rest Day
Sunday – Another actual workout:

21-18-15-12-9-6 and 3 rep rounds of:
Sumo deadlift high-pull, 75 pounds
Push jerk, 75 pounds

So there you have it, for your 7 days of Crossfit membership you would have stumped up probably in the region of $200 per month for unlimited use only to have 2 days of what anyone would reasonably think of as a “workout” and have only used equipment that most people probably already have at home (save the rowing machine).

What about body parts? How do these 7 days stack up and what happens if you are only able to work out 4 days? Let’s say like me you are busy this week and due to your commitments only have Tuesday Wednesday and Saturday to work out. That means you are unlucky enough to hit 2 rest days and a day of pushups. Even if you were able to follow the program for the 5 active days let’s just look at what you would have worked:

Monday: Cardio
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: Cardio plus chest and triceps
Thursday: Cardio and light core (150 situps is light core, yes)
Friday: Shoulders, Upper back, Traps (If you can count a 35lb snatch)
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Traps and shoulders

My question is this. Where is the leg work (except the cardio). Also, where is the bicep work knowing that pullups utilise a small amount of bicep work which is reduced by the infamous Crossfit Kipping pullup. How about some oblique or lower abs work? You could argue that the snatches do work the abs to a degree but that’s like saying a squat snatch works the legs with 35lbs.

I am probably going to get a lot of flak for this (thank goodness nobody comes here!) but honestly relying on Crossfit boxes as your fitness all-in-one is just not a great idea. You know what is the best idea? Get some equipment of your own and make sure you are getting a well rounded workout each week. I am sure some people would say that taking a week is not a fair measure but I think spreading your whole body across 2 weeks or more is laying it a bit thin.

So what is the solution? Well, for me, Crossfit is the solution. But it’s a home grown hand picked version that allows me to take the workouts from the last month, pick the ones that are most appropriate for me and do them on my time with my own equipment. Sure, I don’t have the camaraderie I would get at the gym but then again I don’t have to keep telling people not to talk to me while I work out. As I have posted many times, I have made some of the stuff I needed to accomplish this, I got cheap chin up bars, a decent olympic bar and some bumper plates, I made a wallball and some dip bars and bought some kettlebells. That is all I needed to invest in order to give me the workout I wanted and avoid the problems that Crossfit inevitably has in scheduling around busy lives. At what cost? The Newmarket crossfit box wants up to $200 a month for a membership. For the price of 2 months I have an unlimited use gym in my house. You can Crossfit if you want, and I would suggest you do, but I also would suggest that you can do it on your own.

By the way, if you are new to Crossfit and Olympic lifting etc. then I would suggest you take out a short 2-6 month membership and have them teach you how to lift. Then hit the discout fitness store and buy some stuff for yourself.

By the way, this is not meant to be a Crossfit bashing entry, just an eye opener for some people who may think that they can’t Crossfit because they can’t afford it or who think that they can’t Crossfit because they can’t commit to specific non-rest days at their box.

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

illbebackWell so much for keeping up with the blog. I have been a little under the weather, I was off work for a few days with a very sick little toddler which of course meant I got the bug and suffered for a few days myself. I haven’t been doing bootcamp since I have been trying to use the hour for extra gymnastics training for the girls.

I need to get back in the groove.

Some of the things I have done since we last spoke:

Bought new 45lb bumper plates for the Olympic bar. I now have the capacity to go to 325lbs
Completed Tapout XT Cardio and Muay Thai and thoroughly enjoyed both of them. In fact, I am in the process of getting a heavy bag to further my enjoyment of hitting things.
Completed a couple of P90X2 workouts neither of which was Yoga.
I have been volunteered to manage the Men’s weight loss competition (Biggest Loser) for my wife’s Mom group. I think I may join in and try to move my last few percentage points by peer pressure.

Ugh, it’s so time to start documenting again, I hate not knowing exactly what I have done and how hard I have been working.

I’ll be back…

P90X2 Reviews – All The Info You Need

I am often trying to locate my reviews for P90X2 and since they are really the only reviews I did I decided I would link them here in one place. They are not so much my personal feelings about the workouts but rather listing of the moves so that you can decide more easily which one will fit best with your schedule especially if you are cherry picking like I am at the moment.

So here are the links, and for reference the length of the DVD.

X2 Core 56 minutes
X2 Plyocide 56 minutes
X2 Recovery + Mobility 58 minutes
X2 Total Body 63 minutes
X2 Yoga 68 minutes
X2 Balance + Power 63 minutes
Chest + Back + Balance 60 minutes
X2 Shoulders + Arms 53 minutes
Base+ Back 56 minutes
P.A.P. Lower 62 minutes
P.A.P. Upper 53 minutes
X2 Ab Ripper 17 minutes

10.90 – Rounds Are Over, 3 Years Later.

After almost 3 years and 3 months of sticking to my 90 day regimen I think it’s about time to give it up. It all started with P90X day 1 back in June of 2009 (actually, the first introduction to Tony was back in 2005) and since then I have gradually inched further away from the 90 day DVD approach and into my own brand of Bootcamp, Olympic lifting, Russian Kettlebells and so on. It has been a great system, especially the 90 day method of sticking to a workout and seeing it through but now I think I am too flexible in my approach to gain any more benefit from that structure. Of course, I still need some way of monitoring my rest weeks and downtime versus my activity and some way to vary the body parts and duration of my workouts. But for now, cycling through another 90 day “program” isn’t going to be of any value to me. I think what I need to do is to plan some goals and map my progress towards those goals, relying more on my experience and physical indicators to gauge my activity rather than the imposition of “rest week” of which I am oh so fond.

That said, it’s back to school and that means back to basics at gymnastics, a new bootcamp season Monday and Wednesday and an as yet unplanned revision to the warmup schedule. Add that to my renewed fondness for Olympic lifting, my passion for Kettlebell training and my promise that I will try to include one day of cardio / hills (translate that to running outside!) and one day of Yoga and you have 6 days already filled. Looks like I won’t have to plan that much after all!

I really want to get started on the new approach to this blog also, not having to account for each day of the 90, watching the numbers rise and stressing about what happens next. It’s not that I don’t like the framework, in fact the numbers for a long time were what kept me coming back but I think it’s time for more life to creep in and the sterility of the workouts to make room on the couch.

Watch this space.

R9D81/2 – RKC and Bootcamp. A Tinge Of Nostalgia

Re-reading some of my posts, which I do in order to bolster my motivation at times, I couldn’t help but feel a little saddened that I have drifted far from the path of P90X2. Although I pay homage to it twice a week at bootcamp, it’s not the same as happy little Tony and his sweaty minions entertaining you, nay, mocking you (see Ab Ripper X!) while you roll around on the floor like a tasered college student or struggling to keep up with “pullup boy” only to find that the inside of your elbows are capable of producing inexplicable pain.

It’s an easy enough fix, I need to commit to spending 2 days a week with Tony on PAP for the balance of the program but since there are only 8 dys left, maybe it’s too little too late. That said, then end of the PAP section will enable me to return to the start and design a program with Original and inappropriate Tony, Tony 2 (The 50 Something) and of course not forgetting Shaun T who lurks in the background of my basement just waiting to choke my confidence to death with his bare hands.

I am kind of looking forward to it, even though 2 days of bootcamp is a lot of work, I think I am getting more used to it and should be able to balance it as a workout day, rather than a day always followed by a day of rest. The summer is always better, doing pullups on the deck out in the sunshine, Insanity with the french doors open and the summer breeze blowing through or even the short P90X2 yoga with the sun setting, bathing my workout space in a soothing orange glow.

It’s time for a shake up and I think that means it’s time to think about my future both here on my blog and with my workouts. I mean, this isn’t really a P90X blog any more, it’s far more than that and I think maybe it’s time to move it to another site, something with more of an all around fitness and nutrition feel to it.

Speaking of shaking things up, here is the bootcamp for tonight so if my participants are sneaky, they can get an idea of what pain lies ahead…

D19 2.10.1 Bodyweight

Balance and coordination

10 regular pushups with shoulder touch
10 military pushups with hip touch
10 sphinx to plank step or drop
10 pushup side raise
10 pullups

20 in and out row
10 roll to boat hold 3 count
20 bicycle with leg extension
20 side crunch per side
10 pullups

10 SB pushup boing
10 SB Burpee lift ball
10 SB Plank to sphinx
10 per SB elbow plank side raise

Feet on SB

10 regular pushups with shoulder touch
10 military pushups with hip touch
10 sphinx to plank step or drop
10 pushup side raise
10 pullups

10 SB pushup boing
10 SB Burpee lift ball
10 SB Plank to sphinx
10 per SB elbow plank side raise

20 Crunchy Frog
20 vsnap
20 laying triple bicycles
20 full situps

Arms on SB 20 360’s
Arms on SB plank to sphinx
10x feet on SB walk out and back
2x feet on SB 360 walkaround
20x laying hamstring pull

20 laying leg lifts
10 per rainbow leg lifts
10 per scissor hold on count
25 per side to side scissor rapid


10 military pushup
10 diamond pushup
10 Hindu Pushup
30s crane

R9D64-65 – PAP Lower Review and The Disappointing Finish To P90X2

PAP Lower.

Since I found PAP Upper to be, well, a load of PAP I wasn’t expecting to be blown away by PAP Lower. Having lowered my expectation a little I enjoyed it a little more than PAP Upper but I was not impressed by the workout. I found the warmups to be more entertaining than the workout itself but to give it credit, I actually did struggle a little with a couple of the moves. Here, in brief (because it is brief) is the workout:

Warmup – Interval 1 x4 – Interval 2 x4 – Cool down

Interval 1:

Step up Convict – 1 leg step up to back lunge
Skater Plyo – basic skater side to side jumps
One Leg Line Hop – Hopping forwads, backwards and side to side 45s
Tony Horton’s Triangle – Besides the disgusting image the name evokes, this is just a front and back laying abductor exercise from the 80s

Interval 2:

Squat Cross Reach – Highlight of the workout, weighted squat with a diagonal extension at the bottom
Split Squat Jump (Mary Katherine’s on Crack) – Yawn, more MKs
Monster Slalom – Think of it as wide tire runs
Side Bridge Leg Lift – the toughest move, get into side plank and hold your leg up. Ouch!

So it wasn’t too challenging but it also wasn’t the yawn fest that PAP Upper was. I at least was challenged with this but then again in about 2 weeks when I have mastered the Side Bridge it will be reduced to just another short, not particularly hard workout.

That’s my beef with the whole P90X2 thing, it’s the same issue I have with ending P90X on a rest week. This third phase was supposed to be the Grand Finale of your 90 day crusade, a fitting end to a three month journey of fitness and mental toughness but it just isn’t. Instead it’s a gentle tailing off of the system with 4 workouts, 1 yoga day and 2 rest days, not exactly the fitting climax to what is otherwise a great workout system.

In other news, I filled out the days with some RKC and a day on a spin bike while waiting for my kids to show up for gymnastics.




R9D62/3 – PAP Upper Review and Bootcamp 3.3.2 Cardio

So the bad news is that the knee issues continue, I am not sure why, if it is exercise related, rest related, standing at my desk related or what. I do recall that I have had occasional issues in the past for a few days at a time, I am hoping this will pass. It’s not that I can’t work out, it’s more that I can’t kneel on my right knee because the kneecap is painful. I am trying to baby it a little while keeping it mobile and upping my fish oil a little. I am also thinking about starting with a joint health supplement, a little Glucosamine and Chondroitin maybe. Anyone with any suggestions would be welcome!

So I have finally taken my first steps into Phase 3 with PAP Upper. I have to admit I am a little disappointed. I was expecting some new methodology, some interesting new moves or angles to work the muscles or maybe even something I hadn’t seen before. Sadly it was just my bootcamp class for the public. Maybe I am expecting too much, I mean the workout was OK, I liked the people in the video and the presentation was OK but the workout itself left a little to be desired.

PAP stands for Post Activation Potentiation. It could also easily stand for Pushups And Pullups or Poor Athletic Performance (OK, so maybe that is a little harsh but I was not particularly impressed). It is supposed to be a mix of power, explosiveness, isometrics and flexibility. I found the variety of moves both confusing for the beginner and inadequate for the person supposedly on the third phase of the best at home workout on the planet.

Here is the basic outline, you decide:

Complex 1 (of 2)

10 Renegade Rows (Pushups on dumbbells with rowing between each pushup)
10 Clapping pushups (they are called plyo but to me plyo are airbourne pushups)
60s Plank hold with feet on a medicine ball
60s Weighted bar superman – this was the only challenge during the hour.

Repeat until you have done Complex 1 4 times without resting.

Complex 2

10 Towel Pullups
10 med ball v ups (V-snaps)
10 leg raised shoulder press (other leg resting on an 18″ to 24″ plyo box)
60s Foam Roller Angel

Again repeat 4 times.
I guess it was interesting enough to do a couple of times but it’s not going to be a favourite of mine by a long shot. I hope PAP Lower is a little more challenging.

In contrast, here is my Bootcamp class from last night:

D6 3.3.2 Plates and Weights

World’s Slowest Burpees
Inch Worm
Worlds Greatest Stretch

Workout with bench plates or dumbbells (I used a 45lb plate)

10 Strict Press
10 Overhead tricep extension
10 Curls
20 Crunch
20 Hanging Leg Raise

10 High Pull
10 1 arm shrugs each side
10 1 arm side bends each side
10 side crunch each side
10 hanging crunches (tuck)

20 in and out
10 roll to boat hold
20 ARX bicycle
10 full sit up
10 hanging leg raise sides

10 Front raise
10 Halo
10 Curls
20 weighted In and Out
20 Russian Twists
10 Pullups

10 Laying Press
10 Laying Pullover
20 Laying Press
10 Laying Pullover
10 Weighted Rainbows
20 Laying side crunch each side
10 Pullups

Catching Up

R9 D33 – Bootcamp was supposed to be cardio butI switched it for bodyweight instead. It was a repeat of the last bodyweight class we did (2.5.2)
Thursday off
R9D34 – Friday at the gym we did a big mashup of wallball, plate stacking, cleans, clean and press, strict press, burpees and pretty much anythign else I could think of including pullups
R9D35 – X2 Chest Back and Balance to make up for the accidental day 1 of phase 2
Sunday off
R9D36 – Bootcamp 2.6.1 Cardio – A tough one, we retook the test from the last cardio day and switched the order. It’s a killer.
Tuesday off – sick with something but not Lupus, it’s  never Lupus 
R9D37 – Bootcamp 2.6.2 Weights. There were almost tears, but we repeated the last class because to be honest we are really hitting our stride now with the workouts, they are tough, varied and manageable. Still, the ladies have a long way to go to get to 100% and that’s how it should be.




P90X2 Base + Back Review

It’s Plyo and Pullups!

This workout includes X2 Ab Ripper and starts with the standard warmup:

Stability ball work
twists, squats, side bends, lunge back, shelf stockers.

Foam Rolling – Myofascial release using the foam roller
This is a great section to do daily and even better to go into more detail with when you have tight spots or knots.
Roller Sphinx
Worlds Greatest stretch (runners stretch with a double twist) alternating legs with brief hold each count.
Inch Worm – from standing, hands on floor, walk out to plank and back
Scorpion – Laying face down arms out 90 degrees, bend knee bring your foot up to your butt and lift away from the floor. Gently twist the leg to the opposite side of the body but don’t go too far!
Groiners – runners stretch jumping foot switch
Leg Swing – A well knows ballistic stretch to soccer players. Basically swinging leg forward and backwards and side to side with the leg straight.
Scapular Retraction – can be done on a chin up bar or with bands, extend the shoulders up and out from the sockets then pull back and together with the shoulder blades

The Workout:

No Kip Pullup – Strength only, no beat, no swing
Plyo Frog Squat – Legs wide, squat touch floor then jump with hands up or in prayer
Wide Leg Close Grip Chin Up – Reverse grip, legs apart
Chair Jump –  From Chair position, bring hands down and jump up
Chin Pull –  2 narrow then 2 wide pullups alternating
Plyo Lunge Press – Mary Katherines with a shoulder press during the jump
V Pullup –  Pull ups with chin meeting hand, switch each side each time
Surfer Spin – 1/2 or full jump turns
Kippy Cross Fugly Pull – AKA Cheaters, F’ing Ugly or End Of Days. Lift knees to assist, or beat swing
Jack In The Box Knee Tuck – Touch floor to tuck jump
Water Break

Second Round Is The Same Again!

Cool Down

P90X2 Chest + Back + Balance Review

This workout comes with X2 Ab Ripper.

The warmup this time includes the two extra moves as follows:

Stability ball work
twists, squats, side bends, lunge back, shelf stockers.

Foam Rolling – Myofascial release using the foam roller
This is a great section to do daily and even better to go into more detail with when you have tight spots or knots.
Roller Sphinx
Worlds Greatest stretch (runners stretch with a double twist) alternating legs with brief hold each count.
Inch Worm – from standing, hands on floor, walk out to plank and back
Scorpion – Laying face down arms out 90 degrees, bend knee bring your foot up to your butt and lift away from the floor. Gently twist the leg to the opposite side of the body but don’t go too far!
Groiners – runners stretch foot switch
Table – A staple for shoulder stretching
Scapular Retraction – can be done on a chin up bar or with bands, extend the shoulders up and out from the sockets then pull back and together with the shoulder blades


Pullup X – Wide hands, wide feet, no beat / kip
Plyo Stability Ball Pushup – Hands on ball, push up and clap
Core Crunch Chin Up – Like Crunchy Lever Pullup start at full extension, pull up and crunch knees into hands and down to full extension again.
Push Up Arm Side Balance – Hands on med balls, push up and extend one arm up towards ceiling
Lever – Gymnasts know this well, from chin up position pull up to bar then bring feet up with straight body until you are parallel with floor and arms are straight. Tip is to push the bar towards your hips.
4 Ball Pushups – Just as it sounds, feet and hands on med balls do some pushups.
Chin Pull – 2 of each palms forwards then backwards
The Impossible/Possible – Feet on stability ball, hands on 1 med ball, do pushups.
L Pullup – Pullups with legs in L position (up at hip height and straight)
3 Ball Plyo Pushup – Using 3 med balls, alternate pushups between middle and left ball to middle and right ball
Water Break
Vaulter Pull Up
– deadlift grip pullups (one hand out, one in)
Elevated Stability Ball Pushup – Hands on stability ball, feet on chair
In and Out – Alternating Wide pullup and narrow pullup
Swimmer’s Pushup – Hands on med balls, pushup then lift opposite leg and arm (superman)
4 Grip Pullup – 1 of each wide, hammer, reverse, narrow
Double Wide Pushup – Wide hands on med balls
Double Wide Pullup – Just wide pullups, not sure what’s double about it
Chattarocker – Plank to chataranga, back to sphinx, return to chataranga and up to plank
Towel Pullup – Same as P90X but with 2 towels
Med Ball Plyo Pushups – One med ball, push up on top, jump hands down to floor, do push up jump back onto med ball and repeat

Cool Down