Sunday, October 3, 2010

Flying and the Microwave

You never know where or when a thought will strike.  It’s amazing what thing you may notice that will transport you to a train of thought traveling to a place you thought your mind couldn’t go.

I spent some time in England this summer.  I had never been before and was amazed by the differences between the U.K. and us “Colonies” (as they refer to us).  I was there for 2 months and I had an apartment on the 5th floor right in the middle of a small town in the Cotswold’s.  

During my downtime, I would spend hours just looking out the window.  I was fascinated by the life there.  I’m a people-watcher anyway so the multitudes of different characters that passed by the building really interested me.  I tried to take in everything from the architecture to the sunsets.

One thing that caught my attention and the first focus of this little rant were pigeons.  Now, that may not sound too interesting.  They’re just pigeons right?  Well, yes, but I don’t come from an area where I saw pigeons very regularly.  So, the birds in the air were sometimes just as interesting as the people down below.  The birds where I come from are more colorful, but small.  They tweet and sing.  Pigeons, on the other hand, are big gray and white birds that coo and purr almost non-stop.  They also have little fear of people.  I discovered this by leaving my window open and a little curious bugger hopped in with no shame.


One day at sunset, I was watching the pigeons fly around the building. From 5 floors up, it was a unique perspective.  I wouldn’t say that pigeons sore like eagles, but they can go a pretty good distance with little effort and do so very quickly.  This is where I hopped on board one of those trains of thought.

As I watched the pigeon fly, I began thinking about flight in general.  If you really think about it, flight is pretty amazing.  We are stuck here on the ground.  The ability to just lift off the ground escapes humans, yet birds, even those that are very small can do so via pure instinct.  Of course, when you think about flight, it reminds you of airplanes and how we are able to attach wings onto a tube and throttle it into the air at hundreds and hundreds of miles per hour.

The next stop on my mental journey was how did we ever invent a machine that can defy the gravity that holds us onto the earth?  The answer was simple…birds.  Think about it.  If there were no birds or other flying creatures for that matter, I don’t believe there would be an airplane.  Most ideas come from some sort of inspiration which is really just a loose form of copying.  There are very few thoughts that just drop out of the air (so to speak).  If not for birds, I don’t believe that Man, in his glued to the earth state, would have ever thought flight could exist let alone be possible.

OK. Fast-forward a few months. (For those that don’t remember what “fast-forward” is…it’s when you had to spin a VHS tape real fast to skip the previews.)  I’m sitting in a hotel room on a visit to St. Louis.  I’ve just returned from lunch and a little shopping.  I have an oatmeal cookie (with raisins and nuts…mmm) that I saved from lunch.    I decide to warm the cookie in the microwave (because the only better than an oatmeal cookie with raisins and nuts is a warm oatmeal cookie with raisins and nuts).


As I’m eating my cookie and sipping the accompanying coffee, my choochoo of thought is again hijacked.  This time, I start thinking about the microwave.  I know. I know.  First it was birds, now 
the microwave.  You must think I have little to worry about, but bear with me.

Have you ever heard how the idea that “micro waves” that can heat things like food was discovered?  By accident.  You can google the man and the event, but essentially a scientist was experimenting with microwaves for a different purpose when he noticed the sandwich he had been eating had gotten hot with no apparent heat source available.  A little bit of scientific method later and we have microwaves. This gets me thinking about how many things are discovered by accident.  Or are they?

The things that we discover about our world on accident, are they really accidents? Or are we meant to discover these things?

So, how does all this fit together? Flying and microwaves?  What kind of crack am I on?  I’ll tell you.

When these two trains of thought came together in my mind, the ensuing collision catapulted me onto another train:  Man has not created anything new. Everything that we have invented has come from the Earth.   We’ve just learned new ways to use what is before us.  From the inventions we use everyday like microwaves and airplanes to the most advanced supercomputers and space shuttles; nothing is new under the sun.  It’s just assembled in a new way.

I believe we were meant to discover these things.  I believe we were given an intellect and a curious nature to discover how the physics of our environment can be used to do some very complex, yet useful stuff.  Going all the way back to the invention of fire, we have been observing and taking what is around us and working it into something inventive and helpful.  I believe that it is no coincidence that all these things work together to create something that is greater than the sum of their parts.  I also believe these planned discoveries are meant to do more than just help us heat a cookie in 10 seconds.  I believe they are meant to reveal something to us about how they got here or rather “who” put them here.

So, the next time you nuke a cookie, board a plane, or light your fireplace, take a moment to consider how all of that came to be.  See where your train takes you.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Day: 18, Calories: 0, P90X Chest and Back


WorkoutP90X Chest and Back
Status: Completed

WorkoutP90X Ab Ripper
Status: Completed

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day: 7, Calories: 0, P90X Chest and Back


WorkoutP90X Chest and Back
Status: Completed

WorkoutP90X Ab Ripper
Status: Completed

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day: 4, Calories: 0, P90X Shoulders & Arms


WorkoutP90X Shoulders & Arms
Status: Completed

WorkoutP90X Ab Ripper
Status: Completed

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day: 1, Calories: 0, P90X Ab Ripper


WorkoutP90X Ab Ripper
Status: Completed
Testing.

WorkoutP90X Chest and Back
Status: Completed

Day: 1, Calories: 0, P90X Ab Ripper


WorkoutP90X Ab Ripper
Status: Completed

WorkoutP90X Chest and Back
Status: Completed

Monday, May 10, 2010

New Era

Well, as I alluded to in previous posts, we have made quite a transition (and still are).


We've sold our house in St. Louis and have moved everything into storage in Texas.  Now, we are in Swindon, England so I can train on my new job.  We should be here until the middle of the summer.


April was a bit of a mad-dash to get the house sold and everything packed up and moved.  It's amazing everything that needs to be done when changing states.  Now, we are enjoying some relative down time in England.


We are staying in a furnished apartment in the middle of town. We have a lot of shops and things right outside the door for us to get almost anything we need.  We are currently waiting for Internet access in the apartment so communication has been a little sparse, but we're making do.


Things are a bit more different here than we expected, but some things are very much the same.  I think every light switch ever made in England was made in 1959 and they just reuse them.  Driving also has taken some adjustment.  Driving on the other side of the road hasn't been as bad as predicted, but rounabouts proved to be a little confusing.  I think I have it now.  A gentleman here at work let me borrow his Garmin.  That has been a tremendous help and I will definitely we purchasing one soon.


Swindon is not a very big town geographically, but when you don't know where you are going and everything looks so different, it can seem like a gigantic task just to drive 1 mile!  We're getting more an more adventurous and hope to soon be traveling around the country.


As far as living in TX, we're looking at building a house.  We thought we had everything taken care of, but our lot was sold before we could put money down.  We're still hoping to bulid, but on a different lot.


Stay tuned!

Monday, April 12, 2010

DONE!...But Still Going


People are telling me that they are reading this so I guess I should update it occasionally.  If you are reading, give me shout so I know who you are and I’ll be sure to keep it up.

At any rate, I finished the program!  Woot!  90 days of blood, sweat, and recovery drink.  So, how did I do? Here are the results…

Weight: -12 lbs.
Waste: -3 in.
Arms: +1 in.
Legs: +1 in.
Chest +2 in.

Add in the multiple compliments and I’d say that is not bad. The weight loss averages to about 1 pound per week which is healthy and the gains are in the right places.  The bottom line is it works.  I may not have had one of these dream transformations where someone goes from flab to fab in 90 days, but I did have improvement. Everyone is different and it is going to be different for everyone. I don’t have killer ripped abs, but I do have a smaller waste and better endurance and shape. “Do your best and forget the rest.”

So, what’s next?  A couple weeks ago I was really pondering what would come after P90X.  After rolling a few ideas around in my head, I think I’m doing some planned stuff and some of what life is dictating to me.

First, I’m looking at my goals.  I had some unspoken goals before starting the program and I’m checking to see how I did.  I recently went back to the gym and did some of my old workouts.  Wow!  It’s amazing to see how my old workout will just not cut it anymore.  I can lift more weight and do more sets.  I can do pull-ups.  I shaved 3 minutes off of my 1.5 mile run.  Physically, I’ve improved overall.

Second, I’ve had some changes occur recently that have forced me to move my workout schedule around.  I’ll be changing jobs next month and subsequently moving to another state (even another country for a time).  I’ve been doing a lot of home improvement projects to prep my house to sell.  In the interest of balance and not killing myself, I’ve skipped some workouts depending on the level of activity the projects have required.  The good thing is I feel much more able to do these things because I did P90X.  I can work longer and harder than I could have before.

Finally, I’ve decided that I will do P90X again this year.  I’m not sure when I will officially start, but I want to find a time to do the diet and program in full one more time this year.  In the meantime, however, I’m working on incorporating the workouts into my daily life better than I was able to this first round.  I had mentioned doing the Ab-ripper routine sans-DVD.  This is because I want to be able to take the program with me to the gym so I can do the routines at the gym in the early morning when I used to workout.  This way my evenings will be free and my family won’t have to suffer through me huffing and puffing all night.

Maybe one of the coolest things about the program is that others have either started or are seriously considering it after watching me.  What better testimony can you have?  I never would have thought when I was a 255 pound man 4 years ago that people would be looking at me as an example for being fit.  This proves to me more than anything that no matter who you are, it can be done….if you BRING IT!

Btw…if you are wondering about the before and after photos…I’m not sure if I’m comfortable showing myself online. If I do, I may wait until I have completed round 2 to show a more complete transformation.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day...umm...lost track

I’ve lost track of the days again, but it really doesn’t matter. I’m in the last “real” week of the program.  This month adds a week of regular workouts (4 instead of 3). Next week is the transitional week.  I take my “after” photos in 2 weeks.

So, here’s what’s been goin on…Last week was a bit of a jumble.  I had a lot of things going on and had to skip 3 workouts.  (He did what?  He must be slacker.)  Maybe.  One day I was just too busy and couldn’t fit the workout in. I had to get up earlier than normal 2 days in a row to fit everything in that I needed to do and then was at it into the evening.  There just wasn’t time nor enough left of me to do an effective workout.  The third day was spent recovering from the last two.  By Saturday, I was ready to get back to it and I did.  I did a combination of two of the workouts that I had missed.  I also did the ab routine without the DVD.  I did this on purpose to prepare for post-P90X (more on that later).

It’s hard to justify skipping workouts.  I tend to beat myself up over it even before I was doing the program.  However, I’ve come to a realization that there are 2 levels to self-care: basic and improvement.

Basic is basically everything required to keep yourself alive like eating right, some physical activity, and getting enough rest. Simply said, Survival.  Improvement is workout routines like P90X.  It is moving yourself forward rather than maintaining a status quo.  Sometimes, you can do improvement. Sometimes, it’s just survival.  The key is that basic needs need to be met before any improvement can occur.  This is how I justify skipping workouts at times.

Last week was taxing on me physically and emotionally.  I had to focus on the basics.  My sleep schedule was messed up and I was doing things that I am not accustomed to.   Could I have pushed myself and done a workout?  Perhaps.  Would it have been beneficial?  Probably not.  We have to know our limits and when to push “pause.”  I know that if I push myself too hard, my body will react and I will crash leaving me pretty useless to anyone for a day or so.  This would have been worse than skipping a couple workouts and I would have deferred catching up on the program even longer.  Instead, “I hit my own personal pause button” as Tony says and I was able to come roaring back with an extended workout. 

The basic and improvement theory is my own, but knowing your body’s limits comes from the program.  Rest is just as important as working.  Working beyond your limits is dangerous and can actually set you back.  So, what was my result this week after all the changes?  I guess you’ll have to stay tuned.

I’ve reached my limit on typing.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 72

I guess I’m stuck.

I’ve lost around 14 pounds now and I can tell in the mirror that I’ve gotten some muscle back.  I’m not sure how much I’ve lost.  Other than knowing I’m down a pants size and by how much my belt is overlapping itself, I’m sure my measurements will tell the tale when it’s over.

However, I don’t think it is ever going to be over.  I’m still deciding what comes after day 90.  Do I immediately begin round 2? Do I take a little break and go back to running and regular weights? A combo?  Regardless, it looks like I’m stuck keeping up with this routine in some way and here is why…People are noticing!

I wondered how long it would take for people to begin asking what I’m doing or saying that I look different.  At church this past weekend, a fellow who I regard as being one of the more fit people I know asked me (me? Yes, me!) what I’ve been doing.  It was like Eric Clapton wondering where I learned to play guitar.  Other folks have said some things also.  Here is the kicker; I’ve become somewhat of a walking advertisement.  When I tell people that I’ve been doing P90X, they always know someone else that did it and are thinking about trying it for themselves.

So, I guess now I have to keep it up and not only finish strong, but maintain it going forward.  The good thing is that the comments also work as encouragement.  I did an extra workout yesterday because of the adrenalin.  It feels good to have people notice your efforts.  I’m not sure what I will do on day 91, but there will be a day 91 and 92 and 93 and 94….

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 63

“I HATE it! But I LOVE it!”

I like to observe people.  I pick out names, accents, expressions, mannerisms, all kinds of things.  I can usually do a pretty good impression of people if they have something that sticks out to me.  Tony Horton is one of these people.

He’s a pretty animated person. I mean, you’d have to be to get people’s minds off the fact that they are doing things that they never saw themselves doing or want to be doing.  Plus, there’s over 12 hours of tape in this P90X program.  If you recorded anyone talking for 12 hours, you’re going to pick out some great sound bytes.  So, since I’ve been watching this guy for an hour each day for 2 months, I’ve picked up on some things.

For your enjoyment, here are some quotes out of context.

Enjoy!

“You got me, Jerry?”
“Oh it’s my favorite, Superman banana!”
“You’re so flexible, you make Gumby look like the Tin Man.”
“Oh the top’s comin’ off!”
“Tip of the day: Don’t smash your face!”
“Look at the foot shake. Nnn, Nnn, Nnn, Nnn…”
The whole Groucho Marx impression.  You have to see it for yourself.
“Her name is Pam. They call her BLAM!”
“She flies through the air with the greatest of ease.”
“BOOTY!”
“Keep both butt cheeks on the floor.”
 “Get your BUTT in the air!”
“I recommend foot spray.”
“’Ooo!’ I love the ‘Ooo!’”
“I know it hurts. It’s supposed to.”
 “Oops, I think I just ripped my pants. Nope, I’m okay.”
“Hell, look at me. I’m the leader. I can do what I want.”
“Ohhhhhhhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm”
“Tippy? Why do they call it Tippy?”
“I HATE it! But I LOVE it!”

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 62


Day 62 and here is what’s up…It works!

I started month 3 of 3 on this journey yesterday.  In month 3, it alternates between weeks from month 1 and month 2. I did the first workout of the program yesterday after having not doing it since month 1.  Wow!  2 things…I was amazed at how hard and easy it was at the same time.  I’ll explain.

When I first did this workout, I hadn’t done this kind of a workout before.  I had to do the cheats on many of the exercises.  This time, I was able to do all of the exercises without the cheats.  They weren’t easy, but they were easier.  However, like anything, cheats make things easier. Since I wasn’t doing the cheats, I was getting the full benefit (or butt-kicking) of each move.   I checked my log and I was doing the same number of reps as month 1. At first, I was discouraged, but then I thought about the fact that I was doing harder reps than last time by doing the full exercise.

In other news, I also bought a pair of pants smaller than I can remember wearing in a LONG time.  I have to say, it’s pretty cool.  If you read my first entry, I talked about losing about 50 or so pounds a couple years ago.  I had gotten down to a size and thought it was pretty satisfying.  Now, I’m a size smaller.  That’s pretty cool.  In total, I have lost 10 inches off of my waste. I lost 8 when I first began to work out and now I’ve lost 2 on P90X…

…and there’s still a month left!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day...whatev!


I’ve lost track of what day I’m on.  Next week is the end of the second month.  I’m pushing on and that’s what’s important.  Last week, I had to take a mental break.  I worked out, but my heart wasn’t into it.  I’m not going to make excuses or apologies.  P90X is all about doing your best and forgetting the rest and taking breaks if you need to.  I had to take a macro instead of a micro break, but I still pushed Play everyday.

However, when you’re back you have to be back with a vengeance.   No easing back into it.  So, this week I’ve gathered myself and I’m pushing even harder than before.  I did an extra cardio workout on Sunday and I’m doing a couple extra reps on each move since.  The good thing is that it pays off. The scale has been kind to me.  My clothes are becoming wind sails and I’m feeling accomplished.

It has not been easy to find the time to workout. I used to go to the gym in the morning before anyone was awake, but with the length of these workouts, there’s no way I could get up early enough and be functional the rest of the day.  So, I’m working out in the evening. It’s been a bit of stress because it has changed how our household runs.  Anytime, a family member starts a workout plan or special diet or any self-improvement project, it’s a sacrifice for the whole family.  It’s change and change is difficult.  I’m very lucky that my wife has supported me through every pull-up, rep, crunch, ache, whine, egg white, and pound through this journey. 

It hasn’t been all bad though.  There have been other benefits besides my own physical improvements. I’m happy that my kids usually watch daddy exercise and it has become a part of how they perceive me and look forward to it each evening.  I like that they try to workout with daddy and are getting a view of how a healthy lifestyle should be.  I hope it’s something that they carry with them throughout their own lives.

So, between the sacrifices and the benefit to my kids, I have to keep pushing. I owe it to everyone in my family to see this through and do it well. 

“Good enough” is not good enough anymore.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 24


Rules were made to be broken…sometimes.

While I’ve been pretty good on the diet, there have been times where it has been a necessity to cheat a little.  So here’s my confession on what I’ve done that perhaps Tony would frown upon.


We celebrated my wife’s birthday a couple weeks ago.  This consisted of getting Krispy Kreme in the morning and going out to eat that evening where I enjoyed a beer and free bread.  By the way, I’ll never eat bread in a restaurant again without thinking of Jim Gaffigan (Google it, people).



Last week, my wife made this thing called “Monkey Bread.”  For those of you who are not in the know on this stuff, it is basically biscuit doe molded together and covered in a cinnamony, brown sugary, buttery goodness the likes of which cannot be described.  And I am a sucker for any baked good covered, injected, or rolled in cinnamon.  If there is coffee and cinnamon coffee cake, I cannot be denied. Enough said.


Last weekend, we went to a concert.  In order to get better seats, we left as soon as I got home from work.  This meant no time for a good dinner.  So, we ate concert food.  We had hot dogs and loaded nachos.  And I mean LOADEDEDED!  Anytime, you can get beef brisket on a nacho, I highly recommend it.

What?! You had Krispy Kreme and beer! You ate corn chips with processed cheese covered in slow-cooked beef and sour cream! What cinnamon stuff? I don’t even know you anymore…”

Before you go there, let me explain a little bit.  Just because the things were around doesn’t mean I fully indulged in any of it.  I had half a Krispy Kreme.  For the birthday dinner, I had a steak with vegetables.  No tator.  And not near as much free bread and I could have eaten.  I make no apologies on the Monkey Bread.  As far as the concert food, it’s just one of those things.

I’ve come to the realization that I live in America where the more accessible food is, probably the worse it is for you.  I’ve also come to the realization that sometimes a splurge isn’t a bad thing…as long as it is a splurge and not a habit.  Feeling healthy is as much about sanity as it is about weight.  Everyone has to allow themselves to let their hair down and indulge.  Otherwise, we’d go a little crazy or at least look like uptight fools.  Health in moderation. Splurge in moderation.  Don’t lean completely toward either side.  Life is a marathon and not a sprint.  There’s a bigger picture that one has to keep his/her eye on.  Even with all the cheats, I lost a pound this week and my clothes are fitting loose.

Anybody want to go for a beer?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 18


It’s getting easier.

The past few workouts haven’t seemed as bad as the first week.  It’s almost worrying me that perhaps I’m not working hard enough, but I know I’m working.  I think I’m just getting better.  I know what to expect and I’m learning the motions.

I’m in the third week of the program. Next week is the “off” week where it is just a week of Yoga and stretching.  Following week begins the 2nd month when the workout program and diet change.  This is where the logic behind the program comes in.  Muscles get used to working in a certain way and development is maintained, but not taken any further.  I think the program is supposed to get easier just in time for it to change up.  Some workouts will be the same, but I haven’t even touched half of the discs, yet.

I’ve seen good results in these first couple weeks and I’m looking forward to what the next month holds.





Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 10


I’m full.

According to the diet plan, I could eat 3000 calories per day and still see results on this plan.  I’ve mentioned that I’m trying to keep my calories at around 2400.

Here’s my problem.  I can hardly break 2000!

Hard to believe?  I think so, too.  However, the whole idea behind the diet plan is content over quantity.

Here is what I ate today.

Breakfast: 4 egg omelet and 4 pieces of bacon

Lunch: Chicken Wrap with ranch and cheese, chips, and chocolate mousse.

Dinner: 2 pieces of chicken parmesan with salad

Snack: Cheese sticks and a candy bar.

Sounds like a good amount of food, right? Especially if you ate 2 orders of chicken Parmesan for dinner.  You can see why I’m full, but can you see how I’ve lost weight?  (btw…I’ve lost 3 lbs. this week!)


(actual feet not shown)




Let me describe my day in a different way.

Breakfast:
Egg Beater Omlet: ~4 eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, onions
Bacon: 4 pieces of turkey bacon.

Lunch:
Chicken Wrap: Multi-grain wrap, grilled fajita chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, fat free ranch, fat free mozzarella
Carrot Chips
Light Mousse Cup

Dinner:
Chicken Parmesan: 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pasta sauce, salad with vinaigrette dressing

Snacks:
2 Light Cheese sticks
Protein Bar

See a difference?  The amounts don’t change, but the content does.  Quality over quantity.  I had a candy bar, but it was really a protein bar.  I had a good size omelet, but it was egg beaters. I ate a lot for dinner, but the chicken wasn’t fried or breaded. I commented to my wife at dinner that I couldn’t tell the difference.  I actually like turkey bacon almost better than regular bacon.  Egg beaters? If I didn’t know, I wouldn’t know.  The list goes on and on.









It’s amazing how we are conditioned to eat.  I ate Jack in the Box over the weekend. Well, I didn’t eat Jack himself. I ate at his restaurant. I love me some JITB!  The tacos are worth a midnight drive by themselves.  This day I had a Fajita Pita.  I didn’t get fries with it and the guy behind the counter looked at me like I had 4 heads.  “You don’t want fries with that?” 

Nope. I’m good.



Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 9


Well, my first week is in the books and I’ve begun a second week of workouts.

I’ve done 2 workouts so far this week.  I’ve noticed that the moves are easier, but the workouts are more difficult.  Last week, I had to stop and watch the moves to make sure I was doing them correctly. This time, I’m not stopping as much and doing more so it seems like I’m running out of gas sooner.  The Plyometrics workout is high-impact and involves a lot of jumping.  Near the end, I could barely get my feet up off the ground.





Yesterday was Chest and Back. I made some adjustments and bought some new weights that really made it a lot more affective. I can feel it in my chest more today than last week.  Some of the stuff is really nasty.  Dive-bomber push-ups are hard. Diamond push-ups are harder (Hey, you try it!).  I’m pushing through and trying to do beyond my max (which I guess would really be my max, because the max is the most you can do…never mind).

You know it’s a good workout when you have to fight just to get back on your knees and reach with trembling hands for the water jug.  Some may say this doesn’t sound like much fun, but I say it feels great and I’m not just telling myself that.  I used to be a WWF fan (the wrestlers not the animals).  In some of the long matches, these guys would be flat on their backs from exhaustion (or at least pretending to be).  I’ve done that a couple times…for real.  Just flat and cannot move for a moment.  I love it!  So far, this has been exactly what I wanted. I wanted a butt-kickin’ and that’s what I’m getting.

Day 6


Now I mentioned a couple days ago about the other stuff that you need to buy in addition to the P90X program. The program itself runs at about $100 depending where you buy from.  BTW – I would purchase from a reputable source like Amazon.com or Beach Body directly.  I’ve seen some stories on the website where folks have bought from eBay and were shocked to find parts of the program missing. Buyer beware when purchasing used!

After looking at the guides in the packet, it became clear I was going to need more than what comes with the program to be successful.  Here’s a rundown of what I have purchased and plan to purchase.

  1. Pull-up Bar: I knew I needed this when I ordered so I got it at the same time.  It hooks to a doorframe in your home and there are a number of these on the market.  I believe it cost about $40 from Amazon.com.
  2. Food:  After reading the nutrition guide, my wife (who has been helping me tremendously with this whole thing) went shopping a couple times and got me an all knew pantheon (Iron Chef anyone?) of food.  If you shop on a tight budget, be prepared to be rocking a very different receipt when you leave the store.
  3. Protein: I think these exercise programs and GNC have some sort of conspiracy going.  I’ve probably been in a GNC or similar store once in my life and had never bought anything…until last week. Also, if you want to get some investment advice, I bet you’d do pretty well to buy stock in powdery protein companies around January 1.  I’m pretty sure all of these programs suggest supplements of some kind.  At my house, I am the proud owner of Bucket o’ Protein powder, protein bars disguised as Snickers (I actually cheated and got both of these from Costco), and a container of recovery drink called Accellerade.  I actually like a lot of this stuff. My favorite is Accellerade. If you ever had Tang growing up, then this will take you back.  You may even smell the bologna sandwiches.
  4. Weights: I have a weight set at home, but I found out that it is limited when trying to follow along with a work out routine.  It’s the kind where you swap the weights off of the dumbbell.  That’s not too feasible.  So, I’m probably going to acquire 2 sets of weights (15 and 25 lbs.).  Coupled with my current weights that can range from 20-30 lbs and beyond, this should give me a good enough range to get me through the next 90 days.  If I go beyond this, then I’m going to need to go to the gym for my weightlifting needs.
  5. Gloves: I already had gloves since I go to the gym anyway.  Some guys use them to look tougher in the gym. I used them to protect my hands.  I used to lift without them and I got tired of the calices on my palms. I rarely lift without gloves on and I recommend some for you, too.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 3


On Day 3, the pressure really began to get to me.  Well, not really.  Day 3 was remarkably easy.

This makes me wonder if I’m not doing enough, or eating too much, or otherwise.  Yesterday, I ate well under my goal caloric intake, but I wasn’t hungry at all.  In fact, I was pretty full after dinner.  I almost had to make myself drink the protein shake.  I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around the “quality vs. quantity” idea when it comes to eating.

Last night, I had 2 turkey burgers--one with the bun, one without.  I know I’m on the low carb phase, but remember I saved my carb allotment all day so I could have the bun.  The burgers had a half slice of cheese each and some mushrooms.  Surprisingly, I enjoyed them pretty well. They were very dense and very filling.  I’ve found that some of the imitation foods like turkey burgers and the soy sausage aren't too bad.  I actually preferred the soy sausage to other frozen sausage patties.  Sometimes you find those hard pieces in frozen sausage and it grosses me out.  I don’t have that problem with the soy and I couldn’t tell the difference.  Now, I’m not going vegetarian.  I still appreciate a good steak, but if I’m going to eat meat, I’m going to make sure it’s good stuff.






So, how am I tracking my calories each day?  I mentioned on Day 1 that technology is a good thing.  If not for YouTube, I wouldn’t be doing this program.  Technology makes many things easier and tracking calories is one of them.

My wife is a very smart person and a few months ago signed-on to a website that tracks calories called SparkPeople.  The cool thing about SparkPeople is it is not just a calorie calculator. They have a vast database of fresh and commercial foods.  The database is also user driven so whatever is not in the general database is usually in the user contributed section.  This allows you to just pick out the food you’ve eaten and it calculates the calories for you.

I have an iPhone (not showing off, just sayin’).  SparkPeople also has an Iphone app that is pretty good.  It allows you to enter all of your meals from the phone so you can keep track throughout the day.




Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 2


Day 2 of my journey was much like Day 1, which consisted of learning more and more.

First, I’m learning I’m not in as good of shape as I had hoped.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m no slouch.  I did run that 5K last November and I ran the same distance several times before and since just during my regular workouts.



However, it’s amazing how many muscles running doesn’t address.  Last night, was Plyometrics or “PLYO-X”.  Tony said it is the “X” in P90X.  I’ve watched a few of the DVDs and he seems to say that about all of the workouts.  Whatever the hype, they are good workouts.  I can definitely see where I’ve been deficient in my own training.  The “X” implies that this is an intense workout designed to help someone get into similar shape to a professional athlete. To me it seems similar to what celebrities go through to prepare themselves for a movie role.  You often hear of actors going through a rigorous 6 month training to bulk up for a film.  I can see where those routines may be similar to this one.





A lot of the program reminds me of the kickboxing class I took several years ago.  I didn’t realize how much I had forgotten about that class as far as stretching and some of the other movements.  I can also see where this program is on a different level from that class.  Where we may have done 15-20 minutes of PLYO-X type moves in that class, I did an hour of it last night.  And about 20 minutes in, I was counting down the minutes until it was over.

Second, I’m learning a bit about nutrition.  Some people do the P90X program without doing the diet.  While the workouts are intense and will get anybody into better shape than they would have been otherwise, I think they are cheating themselves out of a real benefit.  Looking at the diet, it really does promote a better outcome at the end of 90 days.

The diet is offered in 3 levels depending on your weight.  I’m right on the line between levels 2 and 3.  I’m trying to keep it within Level 2.  The diet is also in 3 phases with phase 1 being low carb, high protein. Phase 2 is some where in the middle. Phase 3 is high-carb.  Each phase has a purpose in how your body reacts to the workouts and the workouts change a little during the program.

I really think that the diet and the workouts work hand-in-hand to produce a certain result.  My feeling is that I paid for the system to produce a certain result so I’m going to follow the program as it is to get what I paid for.  




That being said, what am I eating?  Right now, I’m in the low carb phase. It’s not quite as restrictive as what I’ve heard Atkins to be, but I’ve definitely altered my eating habits.  Basically, right now I’m rationed to 1 carb block/day.  The book defines what each block equals.  However, I am not hungry.  Hunger is not the goal. If I’m hungry, then I’m not eating enough.  The idea is about changing the kind of food I’m eating rather than the quantity.

Here is what I ate today…

Breakfast: Egg-white (6 eggs) omelet with spinach, low fat mozzarella, and 3 slices of turkey bacon.

Lunch: Salad with fajita chicken, peppers, jalapenos, hot peppers (I like peppers), mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, some oil and vinegar and a pear on the side.

Snacks: I’ve had a protein bar, 2 cheese sticks





Notice, I’ve had no carbs with my meals except for what may have been in the protein bar.  Why?  Because I’m saving my protein allotment so I can have a bun with my turkey burger at dinner tonight or some potatoes.  Later I’ll have a protein shake with skim milk and 3 frozen strawberries.  The protein shakes are super thick almost like ice cream and fill me up pretty well.  All-in-all I’m shooting for 2400 – 2700 cal/day.  Right now, I’m sitting at about 500 cal.  I have enough to eat a good dinner with my family and enjoy the shake for dessert before I workout. 




Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 1


Yesterday was Day 1 of my P90X journey.  I’ve learned quite a bit in just one day.

First, why am I doing P90X?  A couple years ago I lost about 50 lbs.  It really wasn’t that difficult. I went from living a pretty inactive lifestyle, physically, to going to the gym and eating less of certain things.  I lifted weights and I ran.  I got good enough at running that I did a 5K this past Thanksgiving.  I haven’t tried, but I’m pretty sure that if I tried, I could probably run farther.

However, despite this accomplishment, I’ve hit a wall in what I can do on my own.  I no longer look overweight and I wear average sizes, but I know that I’m not the best I could be.  For that reason, I’ve wanted to accomplish more.  However, I can only push myself so hard at the gym.  I’ve plateaued in weight-loss and in weightlifting.  I’ve never really been sure how to diet.  I never wanted to go on a traditional weight-loss diet because I don’t like being hungry. Strange, I know.

I happened to catch the P90X infomercial on TV.  I’m usually the kind that doesn’t fall for stuff like that. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered something off of TV before.  Usually, that stuff if cheap, plasticy, POS’s that aren’t worth the easy payments $19.95.  However, P90X’s spot was different. It was filled with tapes of real people who had done the program. They didn’t look planted or contrived and they had a lot of them.  In fact, almost the whole thing was people sending in tapes.  So, like most things I researched.

It’s amazing what things like YouTube can do for a product. I probably would never have considered P90X any further if it hadn’t been for people submitting videos of themselves umprompted, unscripted, and without any benefit from the company losing weight and touting how great the program was.

The other thing that caught my eye were these people were like me. Most of them were in somewhat good shape. You could tell they used the gym and tried to do the right things, but just needed a bump to get them further.  I felt I was the kind of customer this system is designed for.

Now, that being said, I used Christmas money and ordered the system last week.  I read all of the material. We bought a bunch more stuff (I’ll elaborate later) and I started yesterday.

Here’s very quickly what I’ve learned so far

  1. Dieting doesn’t mean hungry.
  2. I’m sore in a good way.
  3. I’m better at some stuff than I thought I’d be and worse at others.
  4. It’s more of an investment than just the program itself.
  5. This is going to take self-control.

More to come!