Sunday, September 28, 2008

Recovery Week

I recovered a bit more than the P90x plan...Moppet 4 was ill for half the week and I felt pretty run down from lack of sleep. I was supposed to do:

Core Synergistics twice, YogaX twice, X Stretch once and Kenpo once.

I actually did:

Core Synergistics twice, YogaX once and Leslie Sansone twice, with one outside walk.

That is the lightest exercise week I have had in many months, and I definitely needed it. It is amazing that I have come to think of 5 days of exercise as a light week! When I was a slug I would have thought that was practically Olympic level training, heheheheeeee!! It was very nice to hardly lift weights at all...there were only a few moves in CS that called for weights, and I used light 8 pounders.

Core Synergistics was not as scary as it looked when I previewed it...I had a lot of fun doing it, actually. I do have a bruise on one of my hipbones from doing a few of the moves that have you on the ground, rolling from your back to your side or stomach and back again. For example, you would go from bow:

to boat:

...with the idea being to use your core to turn you around every 10 seconds, and of course these are both core postures themselves. The bruise is a drag, but back in early 2007 I had so much blubber on my hipbone that it probably would have been too cushioned to bruise!

Tomorrow I start Phase 2 and get back into the heavy strength work, with Back and Biceps - I haven't tried that one yet. It's going to be a busy week, and I don't think I'll always be able to do my workouts in the morning. When I expect to get off schedule I do start to hear my inner perfectionist complain, but I have pretty much learned to tune it out. I've been doing well with getting the workouts done in the afternoon or evening when mornings aren't convenient - but I also know that if I (gasp) miss a day I can just do it the next day. I am only gung-ho about getting in the 3 weighted workouts and Yoga each week...since I walk at least 2 miles most every night, and if I miss Plyometrics (or the Leslie I've been substituting for Kenpo) I know I'm still getting in the cardio.

Moppet 4 is ready for bed, and I need to rest up so Tony doesn't pound me into dust tomorrow.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Introducing My Scale and Entering Week 4 of P90X

I don't wear jeans, but I bought these at the thrift store to serve as my fitness gauge since I don't weigh myself, either. They are a size 8, according to the price tag, but there is no tag inside the jeans so the tag could have been lying...but they are pretty small. They fit me. I can't remember if I have ever worn a size 8 in my life, and in fact I would be perfectly happy to remain a size 8. But they could definitely fit and look better, and seeing how they do fit and look each week will tell me what's happening from the waist down. I am already seeing very good results in my upper back, and my whole back from the shoulders down is actually my target area, so I am happy ;-)

Next week is week 4, the first "recovery week" in P90X. I don't know why they call it a recovery week, since it still has 6 days of workouts, one of which looks very tough. It is called Core Synergistics and has all kinds of scary looking exercises for your entire core area, which includes your mid to lower back, which I hate to's really hard! I hate even a simple back extension exercise. And I have to do that DVD twice! Then I have to do Yoga X twice! ACK! I am also supposed to do Kenpo twice, but since I removed it from the rotation I will either do Leslie on those days or take two extra days off, except for my evening 2 mile+ walk. I think I may need 3 days off before I barrel into week 5.

What I have found really interesting about working out is that you'd think the exercises would get easier as you become accustomed to them, but that is not always the case. It's true that after a while you will need to pick up a heavier weight to keep certain exercises challenging, but some exercises are so much about form that you actually feel them more as you become more proficient. The various forms of squats and lunges have been that way for me. I am a lot more sore after doing Legs and Back yesterday than I was in either of the previous weeks, and I think that is because I am finally using the right muscles because I am getting the form down.

I had noticed this same thing before I started P90x, with the various barre workouts. The movements in those are very small and various exercises can almost look the same if you are looking at them being performed, but there are small changes in how you position the body that shift the work from, for example, one of the gluteal or buns muscles to another. It's the same with pushups and pullups, as I have learned from Tony. Just a minor change in how you place your hands relative to your shoulders and chest (in pushups), and small changes in the width of your arms or the facing position of your hands (in pullups) shift the focus of the work.

I first thought of becoming a personal trainer when I realized that I was actually INTERESTED in which muscles were working when I did various exercises! After I make it through this P90X rotation I am going to send away for the materials and start studying. I'm sure it will take me quite some time, and I am still not sure how I would like to go about the whole thing. I would really like to simply get women (especially women at home with children, like myself) started in exercise and then introduce them to the wonderful world of fitness DVDs. I don't know if anyone does anything like that, and I think I may just start something eclectic and odd - we'll just have to see.

Right now I am so tired the thought of studying anything or ever picking up another weight is not appealing! The Moppets seem to have picked up yet another cold and I'm going to get to bed befor it get really late, as Moppet 4 especially does not sleep well when he is ill, and I expect to be up a lot.

Good night!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Entering Week Three With Tony

The Flag of Tony which Moppet 1 made for me

I will be entering Week Three of P90X and I liked it just as much in week 2 as I did the first week, and I was less sore! I was actually able to do one single, lone pullup on my bar! But that's one more than I could do the previous week. The rest I did using the bands like I did before, but I'm sure that I will be able to do at least a few more by the time I am finished with the rotation.

I wasn't sure if I would like doing the same instructor/same 12 DVDs for 90 days straight, but I think with the way the program is set up it won't be a problem. In the 13 weeks, this is how many times you do each disc:

Chest and Back - 5
Plyo X - 10
Shoulders and Arms - 5
Yoga X - 16
Legs and Back - 10
Kenpo - (which I hate and I'm doing Leslie instead) - 13
Chest, Shoulders, Triceps - 5
Back and Biceps - 5
Core Synergistics (which I won't get to until next week, which is the first recovery week) - 6
Ab Ripper X - 30 (you do this one every time you do a weight workout, but it's only 15 minutes!)
X Stretch - at least 3 (during recovery weeks) but optionally 13 if you choose to stretch on your rest day

This is the first time I have ever used a rotation. I thought I would hate them since I don't do well with schedules in other areas of life. But I actually like not having to decide what to do each day, and it will be interesting to be able to see how I progress in each focus area. When I am finished with P90X, I am going to do another 90 day program, also by Beachbody, that isdue to be released in November.

I found each workout to be just as difficult physically as I did the previous week, but it was easier mentally because I was familiar with the exercises. The first 45 minutes of Yoga X is tougher for me than any of the others. I was dripping sweat and my heart rate was up after the moving postures - that 45 minutes felt like hours to me, and there were a few times I almost stopped, but I told myself to keep on keepin' on, and I was glad I did. I pretend that Tony cares if I'm there and whether I finish and do my best! That is really weird, because I have never gotten that feeling from any DVD instructor before. Somehow he manages to send his Personal Training Vibe right through the television! Whether I will want to smash his face by the end of 90 days remains to be seen - some people who complete this program absolutely hate him by the end, and others love him and buy everything else he has ever done or will do.

This week will be a challenge because I am going back to Moppet 1's piano lessons tomorrow at 2pm, and we shall see how well I do getting done in enough time. I am usually pretty tired when I get home about 4ish, and I'm not sure if even Tony could convince me to do 150+ pushups at 5pm. Then Friday I go to the chiropractor and have a friend coming over soon after, will I work out in the evening or do Friday's workout on Saturday? I have been doing well with interruptions and not following "the plan" exactly, without letting my inner perfectionist make me feel guilty. I only did half of Plyo X on Tuesday because Moppet 4 was sick and miserable, and on Saturday I did Leslie Sansone's brand new 5 Day Slim Down instead of the boring Kenpo X - Leslie really kicked my booty in that one. I did miles 2-5 and did use weights while Leslie did not...I also used my step to bump it up a notch in intensity...but that made it VERY intense and I was just as wiped out as I was when I did Tony's tough Plyometrics.

Now I'm just wiped out from a day of life. I am heading for bed, thrilled that it is cool and the air conditioner is off! I sleep so much better when I am breathing fresh air!

Monday, September 8, 2008

One Week Down, Twelve to Go!

Today I entered my second week of P90X. The only DVD I really didn't like was the Kenpo X, which is like kickboxing. I can't say if it is not a good kickboxing DVD or if it just confirms that I don't like kickboxing! I recently aquired a Turbo Jam DVD, which is kickboxing-ish , and if I don't like that (won't try it unil after P90X) I will know I've given kickboxing the ol' college try and accept that it's just not for me. I actually stopped this one about 15 minutes in (I really liked the warmup) and did a 30 minute Leslie instead.

Last Thursday, I managed to do all 90 minutes of Yoga X without breaking it up, and I enjoyed that a lot. It was more like power yoga than any yoga I have done in the past, which admittedly is not much. My whole body was sore the next day as if I had done a full body weight workout. My back ached from my shoulders all the way down - definitely caused by spending so much time in downward dog pose! The first 45 minutes of this workout consists of moving postures - you go from one yoga pose to another without much time spent holding each pose; maybe four breaths spent in each one. Then about 5 or 10 minutes of balance postures. I was very pleased to see that I have improved my very bad balance since I first did yoga last year. Now I have moderately bad balance. Then 25 or 30 minutes of floor poses - stretching and ab stuff. My body felt great after doing this one!

On Friday was Legs and Back, which I was dreading because I generally hate squats, lunges and other traditional leg work. But the exercises in this one, while definitely squat and lunge variations, were different than others I have tried. They actually got into my bun muscles like they are supposed to do, but which they never actually did for me until this DVD. My good ol' glutes were sore for three days! The leg work is interspersed with pullups of various kinds, and I used the bands like I did in the chest and back program.

Yesterday was a rest day when X Stretch was optional. I did most of it close to midnight last night. It was a good hour long stretch workout, but since Tony has excellent warmup stretching, I had already done most of these stretches during the week. There were also more yoga stretches than I like - after doing 90 minutes just a few days before, I didn't want any more! I think I will probably use Debbie Siebers' Cool It Off stretch instead of this one. That disc come from the Slim Series, also produced by Beachbody. I don't have that whole set, but I do like the stretch a lot. It's also a full hour, and there are not many yoga type stretches in that one - just good old fashioned athletic stretches that get to muscles I didn't know I had!

You are supposed to keep track of your repetitions and the amount of weight you use in each exercise in each strength DVD, and I didn't do that last week - but I used the form today when I did Chest and Back for the second time. I did a total of 151 pushups (6 different kinds) with 40 of those on my toes. I still don't go very deep when I'm on my toes but I am trusting that each week I will be able to get my chest closer to the floor. I am pleased to say that my stomach no longer gets to the floor first when I am doing them on my knees. When I first started exercising that's really what happened!

This afternoon 8 year old Moppet 2 did the first round of Chest and Back himself - he can actually do 2 real pullups, where I can't do any yet! I am glad that at least one member of my family actually shares my interest in exercise.

Another member of my family, 10 month old Moppet 4, has an awful cold and basically has he is standing here pulling on me, attempting to cry, - but he just sounds like a tiny little lamb three miles away. It is sweet and pathetic...enough to get me to end this here!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

P90X Day Three

It is really cool to be writing this and simultaneously listening to the streaming Republican National Convention in another tab - not that I'm a Republican, of course :-) Ah, technology...which also brings us home workout DVDs and P90X!

I have made it to Day Three, and am looking forward to Day Four! Although I was afraid of it, I truly enjoyed the plyometric cardio workout yesterday. It was definitely tough, and I had to do the most high impact jumps on my rebounder, and couldn't do all the reps in all the sequences - most of which were only 30 seconds. But I did most of them, and did not feel like I was going to die, and I did not need a bucket to puke in! I was very surprised by how fit I have actually become - I can definitely do things that, if asked, I would probably say I couldn't do. But I did not do nearly as well as the guy with the prosthetic leg.

Today I did the Shoulders and Arms DVD, and once again I appreciated the basic simplicity of the workout. It was very challenging, and had moves I have never seen before, but it was straightforward weight lifting. Each set of exercises focused first on the shoulders, then biceps, then triceps...then the set was repeated and another set began - focused on the same muscles with different exercises. I think there were five sets. I used anywhere from 8-15 lb dumbbells, depending on the exercise. It was nice to see a pretty, fit woman at least my age there with the guys, and Tony kept praising her form (her form doing the exercises, not her "form" if you know what I mean!)

I did Ab Ripper X again, and it was a bit easier this time. It's neat that all the weight DVDs have that workout on the end of the disc since you always use it on the same day, but it also on a separate DVD in case you want to use it as a stand-alone ab routine, even if you are not doing an X rotation.

Tomorrow will be Yoga X, which is a full 90 minutes long. I doubt I can do that in one sitting without needing to tend to Moppet 4. Since Yoga X seems to be the DVD people often like the least in this series, if I don't like it I might substitute a Yoga Zone or something...but since I am really digging Tony (surprisingly) maybe I'll like it and just have to stop at an hour.

Now, off to bed so the microtears in my muscles can repair themselves!

Monday, September 1, 2008

P90X Day One

A friend commented on the pricey-ness of this set...I actually got mine new on Amazon, and that was about 20.00 cheaper, with half the shipping costs as you would pay at Beachbody. But considering that this is 12 hour long DVDs, I don't think the cost was excessive.

I didn't take any Before photos today...Husband was home and I had a sick Moppet, so I almost didn't get to begin the workouts...I guess it will be all right to have Moppet 1 take them on Day 2. I don't think I'll be totally ripped that fast ;-)

Let me tell you about how this program works. There are three 4 week phases and 12 DVDs:

1) Chest and Back - which is mostly different kinds of pushups and pullups
2) Plyometrics - which is a cardio workout that seems to consist of a lot of jumping type moves, (more high-impact than I am used to, but there is a modifier) and there is actually a man with a prosthetic leg in this one, and he is not even the modifier!
3) Shoulders and Arms
4) Yoga X - 90 minutes of yoga
5) Legs and Back - more types of lunges than I knew existed plus other leg and buns exercise
6) Kenpo X - which is some kind of martial arts type thing
7) Stretch X - an hour long stretch for use on day 7 of each week or during recovery weeks (which come after every 3 week phase
8) Core Synergistics - different exercises to work your whole core area, which is basically the torso, front and back muscles
9) Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
10) Back and Biceps
11) Cardio X - which is only used in the "Lean" rotation, which includes 4 extra days of cardio apart from the Plyometrics and Kenpo
12) Ab Ripper X - which is a 16 minute grueling core workout, 11 exercises with 25 reps each, a few of them with pilates influence

The first Phase of P90X Classic (the rotation I am doing) uses discs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 (if you want to use the stretch on your rest day). The weight routines alternate with the plyo, kenpo and yoga - you also do Ab Ripper on the weight days. After 3 weeks there is a recovery week when you use the kenop, yoga, stretch and core DVDs.

The second phase alternates the yoga, kenpo and plyo with discs 5, 9 and 10 plus Ab Ripper.

The third phase uses the first phase discs in weeks 9 and 11, and second phase discs in weeks 10 and 12, with week 13 being the final recovery week.

There is also a Lean Rotation which uses fewer weight days and more cardio, and a Doubles Rotation which adds Cardio X 4 days a week. I wonder if I am doing something like Doubles since I take a fast 2 mile walk just about every evening?

Anyway, today I did Chest and Back, which consists of 6 kinds of pushups, 3 kinds of pullups and 3 back exercises using weights or resistance bands. You do all these exercises once, and then again in a different order. Since I don't have a pullup bar and could not come close to doing even a single pullup if my very life depended on it, I put two heavy stretch bands together and looped them over my Fluidity bar, and I did the pullup modifications one of the participants showed using resistance bands (ones that have handles...mine are just long strips of rubber). You can also do a kind of pullup using the Fluidity bar itself, and I think I will attempt those next week, although those are really hard, too!

I did Ab Ripper X too, which was very challenging...I could do all 25 repetions in only about half the exercises.

I did not feel any more wiped out than I do when I use a tough DVD like Jari Love Ripped to the Core, or The Firm Total Body Shaping Mix, but it was new for me to only work a section of my body rather than the whole thing. A lot of people like to work their upper and lower body on alternate days, but I have always done total body strength work.

The various pushups ( a few kinds I had never seen) were very challenging, and I did almost all of them on my knees, probably a total of 150 or so. I have no idea how sore I will be tomorrow! I am actually a bit nervous to try the Plyometrics and was considering substituting some other kind of cardio, but I want to give it a chance and break out of my comfort zone. I have a thick rug in the room where I exercise, and hopefully that will cushion some of the impact. I think I will probably surprise myself and be able to do it, at least following the modifier.

I didn't know if I would like the instructor, Tony Horton, but I did. He talks constantly and seems full of himself at times, but he is very encouraging and really pushes the fact that even though you probably can't match what the participants are doing at the outset, by the end of the program you will have improved dramatically. You are supposed to keep track of all your reps and the poundage you use in weighted exercises, but I did not do that today. It's a lot different than most DVDs in that you don't do a certain set number of repetitions, usually timed to music. In non-weighted exercises like pushups, you choose a goal number and do as many as you can do with proper form in the amount of time they give you for that set. Some people might do 30, others only 10 or even 5. Using weights, you choose your poundage and do either fewer reps (8-10) with heavier weights if you are trying to get BIGGER muscles, or more reps (12-15) with lighter weights if you are trying to have more defined and less bulky muscles.

Rest is supposed to be an important of this program, and midnight is approaching, so I am going to bed. I will update on how I am doing a few times a week. To be realistic and not set my perfectionist alarm off, I am going to give myself 120 days (until the end of the year) to finish...if I can complete it in 90 days, great. But from what I have learned about life in general (and homeschooling life with lots of kids in particular), it would be safer to assume that something will happen that will keep me from exercising at least a few times.

Good night!