How Do I Start?

I received a familiar request the other day, to help someone who is a little overwhelmed about starting to lose weight after the birth of her baby. Although maybe a little heavy handed, this was my response and it’s pretty universal.

The first thing that you have to do is make a decision. Not a decision that you can go back on but a final decision to change.
Second you need to set your larger goal. Your larger goal is nothing to do with losing weight or any of the challenges you have, your larger goal is to be honest, true and faithful to yourself. If you can commit to being honest with yourself and not accepting the old excuses then you are on your way.
Third, stop listening to yourself, you are only confusing the issue.
There is a voice inside your head that wants to derial you. You can either try to change the voice then change your life or you can simply stop paying attention to it until it starts to help you not hurt you. You are smart enough to know the right thing to do but that voice always finds a way around it.
What is better? Food you make at home from simple ingredients or fast food? You already know the answer. What is better, spending an hour watching a tv show or 30 minutes working out and 30 mintues making your food for tomorrow? Same hour, different results. What would you think of someone feeding a can of coke to a baby? Why would you treat your body with any less importance? Six months from now you will be 6 months older, but will you be different? That’s the big question. If you really want your life to change then you have to make some changes in your life. Here they are:
1. Find 30 minutes every day to exercise. Walking is not exercise. If you want to count walking it had better be up and down a flight of stairs.
2. Drink only water and if you have to, coffee.
3. Eat food with one ingredient. If it has more than one ingredient, you don’t need to go near it.
4. That means lean protein, fruits and veg, nuts and seeds (in moderation) and if you want to, a little dairy (yogourt is allowed with no sugar).

Understand that when it comes to fat loss everyone wants a magic pill or fix. That’s why the diet pill industry is doing so well. Well, here it is. Your body creates a substance that forces your body to store calories as body fat. How would you like to turn that process off? It’s not magic, it’s insulin. Eat less sugar and grains and your weight will come off.

Lead by example for your child. What you do will mould who she becomes. Kids learn directly from their parents in EVERY aspect. Be a good role model for yourself, for her and for the people around you who will eventually come to you and ask how you did it.

But do it now. You didn’t start six months ago, if you had, you wouldn’t be reading this.

Due to Halloween, Wednesday’s bootcamp didn’t happen. Instead I opted to do a little Olympic lifting and for the first time since my back went out I did the whole thing with my usual 135lbs. It was the pretty standard 80 reps but with 20 KB swings added in after every round. That kind of threw my week off a little and this was probably one of the times I should have dragged out the P90X2 DVDs and done a pre-programmed workout. Thursday I decided that 100 pullups and 200 pushups would be good since I felt like it had been a while since I had done pullups and I can feel my competence fading. So I did 20 pushups with 10 pullups for 10 rounds after a short warmup with the 55lb KB. Friday I coached and since I had only one athlete who required some extensive stretching I joined in and ha d a good 40 minutes of lower body stretching which felt amazing. Saturday I was a little adventurous and did my Cleans, Clean and Press and Squats with 135lbs for sets of 10×3. Then I decided I would increase my deadlift to get me closer to my goal which is bodyweight. I know, it’s not exactly spectacular but with my history it’s as far as I am willing to go at the moment. That said I managed sets of 5 x 2 with 135, 155, 165, 185 and 205. I was pretty happy with the results and the following 2 days did not produce much in the way of soreness or compromised mobility. That said, I knew that there was only one thing I should do to end the week and promote my recovery and mobility ready for bootcamp Monday so I busted out the Fountain of Youth Yoga with Tony and worked out all my kinks and crunchy bits. It was a good week all in all, maybe not the toughest I have ever had but doing Yoga really made my week.

Ya, shocking.

10.12-14 The Two Extremes

I think due to my preference to take the day after bootcamp as a rest day I am going to have to take Wednesday and Friday as rest days. Unfortunately that means I will be working out Saturday – Tuesday without a break. It sounds brutal but unless I can get over my hangup about the day after Bootcamp that will have to do. After bootcamp weights on Thursday I took Friday off and changed RKC Friday into RKC Saturday instead. The only problem with that is my 45lb KB is at work, so if I don’t do RKC at work then I have to do it at home with my 55lb KB. In the spirit of pushing myself, this is what I did:

3×3 Clean and Press with 55lb
9 chinups
3×3 Clean and Press with 55lb
9 chinups
4×3 Clean and Press with 55lb
12 chinups
4×3 Clean and Press with 55lb
12 chinups
3×3 Clean and Press with 70lb
9 chinups

I have to admit I was shocked at how hard it was to use the 55lb being only 10lbs heavier. Then again I almost crushed my head and tore my arm off using the 70lb which I have never actually used with any regularity, I suppose that is the next part of my RKC goal setting, making sure that I can lift that bad boy with regularity and ease after all, it’s the standard by which Russian Men are judged.

Sunday rolled around and knowing that I was going to have a 4 day stint including a WOD day and a bootcamp day I was in the mood for a little flexibility work. I have started the summer training at gymnastics by introducing a stretching and flexibility schedule and it has highlighted my own shortcomings with glaring clarity. So with that in mind I set about my first Yoga workout in several months, a quick search indicates that it was January 2012 when I last participated in a Yoga class and it sure felt that way last night. I remember being comfortable with yoga, being able to do most of the stretching, even able to balance in many of the poses but last night showed serious flaws in my training. I am glad that I will be doing more flexibility with the girls, I think it will give us all a chance to improve what we have but regardless I think I need to add Yoga back into my schedule at least every other week.

Maybe I can make Sunday my yoga day! I have P90X yoga, Fountain of Youth Yoga from Tony Horton 1 on 1 and of course X2 Yoga to choose from.

I hate to admit it, but I kind of miss yoga…



R9D25 – My Yoga (Rediscovered Beginnings)

I made 2 startling discoveries over the last day or so. First, doing Yoga last night I realized that I was able to go from plank to runners pose without my leg getting stuck under my protruding belly. Since I had previously blamed the lack of ability to transition on my legs, I now look back in amusement at my state of denial:

Due to the overwhelming volume of my thighs (thanks to 18 years of rugby for that) I may never be able to go directly from plank to runners pose. My leg just won’t fit under my body and until I make it down to the 200lb mark I don’t think it ever will.

Turns out I only needed to get to 230lbs for that part to get sorted out. I am not saying my leg makes it all the way to my hands but it’s far enough that I can stand up from the position.

In that discovery I also realized that even though I had claimed in 2009:

I know Tony, and by ‘know’ I mean we spent some time together last year in my basement while I took on the original P90 program.

I hate Tony.

It was in fact back in 2005 when Nicole and I first got into P90. She had bought a copy of Yoga Booty Ballet and I had reluctantly agreed to give P90 a shot after seeing the infomercial on late night TV. In my joy I think I am going to create a page of my entries outlining my original P90 progress. I fear it was not long in it’s duration, we will have to see.

Back to Yoga for a second. I did the workout last night in the true spirit of yoga. It was 9pm, I went down to the basement where it is quiet, I turned off most of the lights leaving just one casting a weak glow across the room and capitulated to Tony’s direction. It was a little surreal, but extremely relaxing and I even found that my flexibility seemed to be improving. Maybe it was the murkiness of my surroundings but the workout took on a completely new feel for which I was extremely grateful. I finished feeling relaxed, refreshed and full of achievement!


R4 D50 – What’s The Frequency Kenneth?

If I could, would I want to?

Frequency, consistency, repetition.

That is my problem with Yoga. The fact that I don’t work it in enough to get used to it or any good at it means every time I do it I feel a mixture of great and mind numbingly sore. The only consistent part is the constant disappointment I have with my flexibility. Of course, we will have to see if losing 50lbs or more helps with my flexibility or if it truly is a muscle mobility thing and not a layer of fat thing. Not that I have a thick layer, but there is probably more than there should be and according to the useless BMI scale I am “very obese” at 6ft and 260lbs.

So I took Tony to the basement and did Fountain of Youth Yoga, a far more appealing session than the P90X version however at the same time slightly less satisfying. It is quicker, no doubt, but maybe that is not the best thing about it. I think maybe I was more in the mood for stretching than actual yoga so possibly I wasn’t quite in the right frame of mind. Whatever it was, I struggled and by the end my back felt more sore than at the start. However, you can’t always count on soreness as an indication of wellness. I was OK before I started, but I know I was tight and immobile. When I finished I was in more pain but was far more mobile which in the long run is a better place to be.

On to the rest of “rest week 2”.

Round 2 – Day 19. Rest Week Is Here – Or I Can’t Count!

I was going through the days I have already done, trying to keep track of what days I have done and which I have replaced. Apart from being appalled at the amount of days off I have given myself I find that the numbering is getting confusing. This is partly due to the fact I am doing 5 days out of the week instead of 6 due to coaching but also because I am counting in 6 day weeks. Something is not right.

The solution would have been to plan the workouts ahead of time however there are a couple of reasons that didn’t happen. First, I was just supposed to be doing P90X with the guys at work. Then I started getting distracted and bored with the monotony and got hold of Insanity. Second, even after I got the Insanity package, my plan was to wait until at least phase 2 before I started but just like a kid on Christmas morning I couldn’t help myself and opened the package. If there is something I can’t resist it’s a challenge and seeing the Insanity DVDs opened a whole world of stuff I assumed I couldn’t do.

So here I am, after a mish mash of workouts at rest week. The plan is outlined below and what is more, I plan to figure out what to do for the rest of the P90X days to incorporate my new friend Shaun T. But I will reiterate that if you are going to try this, especially if you can’t do it EVERY DAY then set out a schedule and stick to it. Keeping track of your workouts is hard enough at the best of times, but once you start adding different packages together you risk losing touch of the balance of the workout system. So for the time being, for phase 2 I will be substituting the cardio workouts for variations of Insanity as planned. I have 13 DVDs to go through so variety shouldn’t be an issue.

Yoga X 3/1/2010 Monday COACHING 3/2/2010 Tuesday Core Cardio and Balance 3/3/2010 Wednesday COACHING 3/4/2010 Thursday Core Synergistics 3/5/2010 Friday Core Cardio and Balance 3/6/2010 Saturday Core Synergistics 3/7/2010 Sunday Core Cardio and Balance 3/8/2010 Monday

Round 2, Day 4 – Yoga Returns (Maybe)

I have very little time tonight to fit Yoga in to my schedule. It may be that I will be twisting my body into an improbable position well into the evening in order to get the workout done. I can’t see an upside at this point I am just too tired and too sore. So I had better not think about it and just go down and start. That usually works.

However, so does napping on the couch.

So I am running into multiple issues with this workout this time around, none of which are anything to do with motivation or perseverence or anything else “normal” that interrupts your workouts. Instead, I have a queen size bed leaning against the bench in the gym downstairs that is supposed tobe going into the new extra guest bedroom. Since “we” got pregnant it has been a non stop carnival of interior decorating and furniture moving and now I am losing ground to the miscellaneous couches, beds and boxes / plastic buckets of various hoiusehold items waiting to be redistributed. I could, hypothetically, redistribute them out the French doors onto the patio but having a hormonally unpredictable wife on my hands isn’t the best time to gamble…

Just one more thing the baby won't notice. Cute though, however useless.
Just one more thing the baby won't notice. Cute though, however useless.

Yoga, as noted during the last round of P90X is not my favourite. Not only does my overly muscled frame resist the twisting of the poses but also my back, even years after surgery, is a delicate issue which needs to be handled with some care. I know it will get easier, in fact I should be able to do 90%  of the workout by the end however starting now, with a 44 inch waist in the way, it isn’t happening.

I resorted to a pale imitation of the stretch X with some push ups thrown in for good measure. I will also be doing some king sized pull ups at gymnastics tomorrow so I am not worried at this point about pooching the Yoga 90. Besides, Friday through Monday is my 4 day redemption cycle so I am getting psyched up for that and the end of week 1.

Round 1, Day 4

Day 86 – Yoga didn’t finish my floor yet

Yoga – October 8 2009

Rugby… Great for your legs, hard on the head.

Rugby... Great for your legs, hard on the head.

This is the second last time I will do Yoga. Due to my creative interpretation of the order in which I have been doing the program the last few weeks I have 2 yoga, 1 core syn and 1 stretch x left to do until the end. I hate to admit that I have lost all the momentum I had before coaching happened and my physique really shows it. It’s just that coaching 4 hours a night after a full day of work even if it is only twice a week is enough to knock you out for a while. Until your body adjusts, things are tough! However, I am not doing so little that I am losing touch with my progress or gains. My yoga session today proved that I still have 2 things: 1. that pain in my right hamstring that I believe is a strain. 2. The flexibility that I have worked so hard to gain over the past 90 days. However, there are still components of the yoga session which I haver resigned myself that I may never achieve. Due to the overwhelming volume of my thighs (thanks to 18 years of rugby for that) I may never be able to go directly from plank to runners pose. My leg just won’t fit under my body and until I make it down to the 200lb mark I don’t think it ever will. I am also disappointed in some areas of my flexibility that seem to be extremely resistant to change most notably my lower back since even though my toe reach is better, my cobbler pose has gone nowhere!

So I am looking at the last 4 days, Stretch, CoreSyn, Yoga and Stretch. After reading a review of CardioX recently I think maybe I will substitute that for my StretchX today given that I have taken enough days off already. This rest week has become a rest fortnight and that is weighing heavily on my mind. I also need a little more time to perfect the GYM90X workout that I have been working on!

Day 74 – Coaching has started, soreness is here!


I was ready for the pain, even though I did very little at coaching I remember from the last 3 years that the first couple of weeks are very painful. Mostly due to the fact that we leave the house at around 6-630 in the morning and don’t get home until after 9pm so it is a very long day. Mix that with having to be on my feet from 330 to 9pm and you have a recipe for a very sore back. Needless to say I was a little concerned about my ability to continue my P90X journey once coaching started however after today I am brimming with confidence that even though it is going to take some real will power, that I can do it!

Yoga today was fine, although I did quit a little early, it was only a few minutes, and missing the last few minutes of laying on the floor and then doing OHMs is not going to ruin the experience. I am sure there are people who would argue that, however I did catch up on my laying down with my eyes closed once I got to bed so I think I will be OK.

I hate to admit it, I really do, but I think I have become somewhat of a Yoga convert. I can’t imagine going to classes anywhere but I do have to admit that much of the benefit of the whole P90X experience has been the stretching and the static strength of the Yoga poses. I can’t remember the last time I felt like I was even “normally” flexible. For so many years I have been restricted by bulging muscles and shortened tendons and my range of motion through my hips, hamstrings and lower back has been terrible. I now find that even though my range of motion is not great, I can grab both feet with both hands while sitting with straight legs on the floor, something that hasn’t been possible for me since back in my rugby days in the early 90’s. It is amazing how much of a difference having flexible hamstrings makes especially if you have back issues. I am finding (this has been over the last year or so) that many times my back issues have come from tightness in my hamstrings or in my ITB (the band of ligament that runs from your spine to your knee, basically). Doing Yoga has at the very least given me some much needed flexibility in my lower body and has enabled me to do things like the floor that would otherwise have put me out of commission for a day or two.

I’ll never be a contortionist, but if I am lucky I may never be a cripple either…

Day 67 – Yoga Can Lay My hardwood… Maybe


You see this is the problem with 90 days of journalling, eventually you get bored and so do I of the same discussion about how I can’t wrap my arm under my leg and around my waist like a human pretzel or how my elbow hurts when I do pullups. Those things are still important but repetitive. I am planning to scan my workout sheets and post them so that anyone doing the program will be able to see the changes in the weights and reps I have been doing but ultimately that is only going to be a few posts at most.

hardwood darkFor now, you will have to put up with my tangential rantings until something really weird or cool happens with my P90X journey that I just have to write about. Until then, we are in cruise control for the next week or so until it is time to lay the hardwood floor and then time to go back to coaching. At that point I will be able to tell if all this has been worth it. I am hoping that in some really bizarre twist of fate that yoga will help me lay my hardwood floor.

We shall see.

At the very least, my prediction that P90X would help me with coaching should meet it’s test. When I started, even though I was confident that I would be able to stick with it and finish, I was just hoping that it would help me to get over the inevitable soreness and potential back injury that comes with the first few weeks of coaching. Throwing small children around (and some not so small after a summer of PS3 or Facebook) brings with it a myriad of risks for me, hopefully this year I will have worked hard enough to mitigate those risks.

Speak of the devil, today is yoga day! I am heading to work now so I will fill you in on the gory details later.

Later… Yoga was horrible today. My balance was off, my arms felt like jello and it is really hard to clear your mind for almost 90 minutes when I am thinking about the hardwood installation every spare minute. I found out that apparently carpet underlay is not the right stuff for hardwood underlayment. I also found out that our main floor upon which the hardwood will lay is actually 2 different floors, one wood and one a skim coat of concrete. Very weird. It may be that the skim coat of concrete is actually only over by the kitchen since that area is tiled. I am not sure but what I am sure of is I am going to have some surprises when I take up that carpet. As I said Yoga was not good today and in fact I found myself thinking of checking out some TV Yoga as a bit of a break. Tony would not be impressed I am sure. However, I remain committed, which this close to the end is becoming increasingly difficult. I find that I am not really finish line driven which is bizarre for someone so competitive. I find that once I get close to the end of something I tend to lose interest. Kind of like the way Nicole always gets up to leave 5 minutes before the end of almost every show we watch. Maybe I am more of an eat the best bits and leave the rest person instead of a clear my plate person. Somehow that doesn’t sound like me though. The point being that finishing this program will be the hardest part. Starting was tough enough, making it through to day 68 has been killer but I just know that performing that last 8-14 days is going to be the real test for me.

Day 60 – The Eyes Have It


Nicole went in for laser eye surgery today at LasikMD, the same place I got my bionic vision from a couple of years ago. For that reason I was home early from work and managed to get my workout done relatively early. That meant time for studying my nutrition course, something I have not done at all this week! Of course, I left my book at work so studying was out the window. There was another massive storm tonight, apparently there were tornadoes in Vaughan, some really amazing videos on youtube! I didn’t really want to do Yoga, I have to admit, I was ready for Kenpo but in the end it turned out to be a really surreal experience.

I had the lights off in the basement, it was late afternoon so the sun was still beating in through the doors. Once the clouds came, the skies darkened and the winds picked up. Across from our yard I could see the trees straining with the wind, and rain lashing across the pond. The lightning was astonishing and the thunder both immediate and terrifying. I worked through the yoga poses, the amazing symphony of weather outside, calming me with each movement. I stood motionless in Royal Dancer, the wind so vicious it brought the force of the storm into the room, swirling around me with cooling magnificence. I felt in touch with the storm as it raged outside my window, lashing huge rain drops against the screen, spraying it’s fine mist into the gym. It was a very bizarre and yet strangely inspirational experience.

I was reviewing the P90X booklet, and in the Phase 3 section is says I should have significantly better flexibility and balance. I can’t say it is significantly because my balance was pretty good to start with but my flexibility is noticeably improved. All, that is, except for my twisting poses. I am not sure what prevents me from twisting, if it is a physical obstruction or a physical limitation but I find that any time a movement calls for twisting I fall short. Maybe it is the tightness of my back, maybe it is the fullness of my torso, but whatever it is, I can’t twist like a thin person.

Damn them all.