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.

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

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

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

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!