Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 40: Marked Improvement

Wow!  What a week it has been.  I think I’m really knocking it out of the park. 

I’m seeing some great strides in my push-ups, pull-ups and arm and shoulder exercises….but especially the pull-ups.  I’ve jumped about 3-4 reps per exercise, and I can really feel my back getting stronger.  

Biceps and Back on Monday went very well, and I didn’t experience any soreness, yesterday or today, in my arms or elbows.  I also used a 5lb heavier dumbbell for almost all of those exercises.

I did miss yesterday’s Yoga X exercise due to some unforeseen circumstances, but I’ve made up for it with two added cardio sessions.  I ran three miles on Monday and rode my bike for an hour today.  I’m also going to try and run on Friday as well.  I may substitute Yoga X for Kenpo tomorrow.

My goal in the upcoming weeks is to add a cardio workout (biking or running) on each of the resistance training days, and a fourth on Friday (Day 7 of my P90X week).  That fourth cardio workout will be dependent on how I feel, and whether I think I need a rest day.  I always try and listen to my body and not force myself to work out if my body says I shouldn’t. 
Hopefully, the P90X training, along with the cardio training will allow me to compete in not only the 100k Tour de Cure, but also some road and trail runs this summer.  I’ve been asked by a friend to run with him in a 5k mud race, with obstacles, sometime in April.  That sounds fun.  Who cares about the finishing time for an event like that!

Keep on pushing!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 36: Week Six Begins!

OK everybody, I've started week six, and I'm raring to go.

Today was Chest, Shoulders and Triceps.  Got all but three exercises in today before my arms just wouldn't let me do one more repetition.  In fact, I'm having a difficult time holding my arms up to type - 2 hours after completing my workout.

Finally, I've started seeing some progress on the scale.   As you know, I have stopped weighing myself daily and am now only weighing myself on Saturday mornings - the first day of my P90X week.  Today, I am happy to report that I lost 5lbs last week and am down a total of 11lbs since starting this program.

Recently, I've been adding some different things to my workouts.  I am trying to run a couple times per week on my lunch hour - I only made it out once last week, but I'm striving for more this week.  I also want to try and add some biking into the routine.

A friend recently asked me to ride with his team on the Tour de Cure, an event to raise money for the American Diabetes Association.  I did this ride with them three years ago - but that ride was 50k or 31 miles.  This year they want to ride the whole shebang....100k...62miles.  That's a lot of miles on the bike.  So if I'm going to do this, I need to put some serious miles on before the June date.

All this exercise really has me feeling good.  Sore, yes, but pretty good.  My knees have stopped hurting.  My shoulder has stopped hurting.  Everything is falling into place.  And now I'm losing weight to boot.

I'm hopeful that one of these days I'll be lounging on the beach, and a friend will yell from his yacht, "Looking good Pat."  I'll reply, "Feeling good, Louis!"

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 34: 5 Weeks Down

I’ve made it through five weeks of P90X!
While I’m very excited about that, I also realize that there is a long way to go: eight more weeks to 90 days.
I think it has been a success so far.  I haven’t lost as much weight as I would like, but I’m down two pant sizes.  I’m now wearing pants that I have worn in close to 10 years (yes, I still had some hanging in a spare closet – but they’re khakis so do they really go out of style?).  All of my shirts now fit, and some are even getting to be too big.  That’s all really good news.
But I think the best news is that I’ve hooked my Henry on exercising as well.  Every single night he asks if we can go down and exercise.  I’ve talked at length about the trials and tribulations of having Henry “help” me exercise, but if I can get him to WANT to exercise every day, then I’ve done my job. 
Hopefully, I will soon get Ben, 7, on board the workout train.  He’s been seeing me exercise regularly and we’ve all been eating healthier since I’ve started P90X.  He’s noticed, wants to get participate and has even vowed to try cauliflower!
That’s not to say that he, or any of us, is perfect.  He had a meltdown on the way home from martial arts the other night because he’ll, “never be allowed to eat at Burger King again.”  I assured him that wasn’t true; we just won’t go there as often as we have in the past. 
So now my goal is to get the whole family to be more active, instead of leading the sedentary lifestyle we’ve lived in the past.  Let’s get up and get moving!
But that battle is not yet won.  Sometimes the lure of Phineas and Ferb is far too great.
Even I like Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 32: Shavasana

I am the Warrior King!
Not really…
Last night was Yoga X night again.  I think it went really well.  But let me tell you, by the time I got to Warrior 3, I was ready to pass out.  That’s a good workout!
I lucked out last night and was able to do the major portion of the workout without kids in the house.   But then they came home, and Henry, 4, immediately ran down to see what I was doing.  Seeing it was Yoga, his favorite, he ran up to get his shorts – because, obviously, you can’t work out in sweat pants.  Duh.
He made it down to start exercising just as we got to the Seven Yoga Ab Exercises of Death (my term, not Tony’s).  And then we went to Shavasana.  Ahhhh, bliss.   Quiet.   Relaxed.   Quiet…..
“Daddy,” in a whisper.
“It’s really quiet.”
“Yes it is.  We’re relaxing.  Shhhh.”
“Daddy, Why do we have to be quiet?”
“Because we’re trying to relax.  It’s better to do that when you’re quiet.”
And so it went. 
At least he didn’t spill my water.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 31: The Weekend

Sorry about not blogging over the weekend.  It seems more and more that the weekends get shorter and shorter, and busier and busier.  I still managed to get in all my workouts, though some days I didn’t feel like it, but finding the time to blog about it proved difficult.
Saturday was Chest, Shoulders and Triceps.  This is a punishing workout.  I’m not too proud to admit that I didn’t make it the whole way through the routine.  By the time that I got to seated tricep extensions, I couldn’t do one more exercise.  I just couldn’t lift my arms up any longer.   Of course, this comes after a day of fly-fishng – my new hobby. 
My wife says my hobby is really collecting hobbies.  I’ve started a bunch of them, but I get bored quickly and move on to the next one.  I really like fishing though, so hopefully I’ll get a lot of use out of the gear this year.  I caught two fish, and there is no better salesman for fishing than actually catching fish.
Sunday was PlyoX.  I now love this routine.  I got the whole way through it without having to push pause for the first time.  I really felt good afterwards. 
Yesterday was Biceps and Back, and boy do my arms hurt today.  Extending my arms all the way feels like my biceps are going to pull completely out through the inside of my elbows.  Of course, afterwards I asked my wife if she had bought her tickets yet….to the GUN SHOW!  Boom!  Pow! Firepower!
Half way through my fifth week, I’m starting to really see results, especially in my arms and shoulders.  My waist size has dropped pretty dramatically.  Four weeks ago, I had three holes left on my belt.  Today I have none.  New pants and belts may be on the shopping list before too long. 
Tonight is YogaX and I’m ready to go!
Do your best!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 27: Why it’s called “A Busy Dad’s Journey”

This has been one of those weeks when life just gets in the way of exercising as much as I would like.  As I blogged earlier, we put our dog, Sadie, to sleep last Thursday.  It was a tough night, and the beginning of a long week. 
Sadie, the cabin, my in-laws in town, new carpet and furniture shopping – to replace the dog-stained old stuff – and lots of visiting, really put the kibosh on my regular exercising routine.  So Tuesday, I was back at it strong! ….until last night.
I love my boys, Benny and Henry, don’t get me wrong.  They are a lot of fun to be around right now, but at 7 and 4 respectively, they can be a handful.  Last night, I rushed home from work to pick up our new carpet and get ready to pitch the old one.  With the help of a neighbor, I was done putting my old carpet on the roof of my SUV and was ready to go workout.  I started Yoga X around 6:35.
I thought this was great timing!  My wife had taken Ben to karate, and Henry to buy a birthday present for a friend.  I had enough time to at least get through the moving concentrations.  Wrong.  They got home around 7:10pm and ran immediately into the basement to see what I was doing.   Henry, seeing I was doing yoga, ran upstairs to put on his shorts and come down to exercise with me.  Ben came down while I was in Downward Dog and proceeded to pull my shirt back down because he could see my belly.  Then pull my shorts up.  Pause the DVD.  “That’s disgusting,” he said.  He leaves.  Restart the DVD.
Meanwhile Henry comes down to exercise.  First thing he does is drink half of my water.  Then he spills the other half on my mat.  Pause the DVD.  Clean up the water and get more.  Restart the DVD.  Then Ben comes back – buck naked.  I’m in Warrior Two.  “Dad, can I take a shower down here?”  Me  - “There is no shower down here.” Ben – “I mean upstairs, in the downstairs bathroom.”  Me – “Can’t you see I’m exercising?  Go ask your mother.”  He leaves.  Henry is crawling through my legs.
After clearing the debris from between my legs and getting through some more movements Ben comes back – freshly showered and dressed.  I’m now in Extended Right-Angle Pose, and struggling to keep my hand in the air and stay in position.  “Can you sharpen my pencil?” Me – “Can’t you see that I’m doing something very hard?  Go ask your Mother!”  Ben – “But she’s working on the computer and I need to do my homework!”  Fine – I sharpen the pencil.
Henry spills my water again.  Workout over.
Fortunately it is not like this every night.  Usually, I can get my workout done unabated.  I’m happy that Henry has shown an interest in exercising with me.  I hope that I can inspire them to want to have a life full of exercise, rather than spend their 20’s and 30’s on a barstool, eating wings like their dad.
Just please don’t spill my water….. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 26: Core Synergistics

I have a new nemesis.  Like Spiderman going from the Green Goblin to Mysterio, I’ve gone from YogaX to Core Synergistics.  Wow, what a P90X workout.  I got a Direct Message on Twitter, yesterday, from my new friend and Beachbody Coach Geoff Alaishuski (@The_Nit).  He said, “Good luck with Core Syn.”  I was unprepared for what was to follow.

I can’t even imagine if I had tried to do that workout in Week 1.  I thought I was getting in pretty good cardiovascular shape.  I am certainly able to do a lot more in Week 4, than when I started.  But I was huffing and puffing VERY HARD during this workout.  There are just some ridiculous exercises in this workout. 
Banana Rolls - a fun, but difficult way to start off the routine. Plank to Chaturanga Run?  Crazy, especially half-way through the workout!  Prison Cell Pushups?  And end of the workout gem that had me breathing so hard I was light-headed.  And my favorite – Lunge-Extension-Curl-Press.  I took me several passes just to get the motion right.  I sure hope I remember how next time!
And I am sore this morning!  My back is especially sore, from the shoulder blades down.  I guess that means it was a good core workout! I really do look forward to tackling this one again.  Hopefully without as much huffing and puffing.
Keep pushing!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 25: Re-energized

I love this recovery week. 
After taking it easy for a couple of days because of my strained calf, I’m ready again for the hard work.  It’s not like I did nothing for the last couple of days though.  Saturday, I spent 13 hours putting up new walls and ceiling in my cabin – and boy was I sore on Sunday!  As much as P90X prepares you for a lot of exercises, it doesn’t really prepare you for standing on a chair with your hands over your head, holding a pneumatic nail gun for several hours. 
So today I’m ready to get back to it.  I am kind of mixing up the schedule this week a little bit because of the calf and this being the first week of my son’s Little League practice.  Today is supposed to be X Stretch.  But I did that yesterday in preparation for the baseball practice.  So tonight I’m going to do the Core Synergistics workout.  I haven’t done this one yet, and am very much looking forward to checking it out.
After my Frustration post a couple of days ago, I’m determined not to be a slave to the scale.  I’m going to only weigh myself once a week.  On Saturday, as soon as I wake up.  That’s Day 1 in my cycle.  The rest of the time I’m going to try and be happy that my clothes fit better.  Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of people asking me if I’ve lost weight.  As I’m not losing that much weight, it must be that I’m shifting my weight and building more muscle.  It is nice, however, to hear people ask!
As long as people are continuing to say that it will keep me motivated to Keep Pushing!
Til next time!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 22: Recover

Hi everybody!

Welcome to Day 1 of my first Recovery Week.  And of course, I strained something.  Not sure how that happened.  I took yesterday off, and about half-way through the day I strained my calf.  It doesn’t hurt on the main part of the calf, but rather at the top, near where it attaches to the back of the leg.  I think I did it testing out new recliners.  You need to use a lot of leg force to get some of them back down.  Could be a good hamstring workout!

What I don’t want to do is make it worse.  I’m afraid of over-stretching it by doing the scheduled YogaX workout.  I was thinking rather of riding my bike on my resistance trainer, and doing a Spinervals DVD.  That’s a rather low-impact workout, that still get’s my heart rate up for an hour.  But I do need to do something to get myself out of the funk of the last couple of days.  

I have gotten over my disappointment over not losing as much weight as I would have liked.  I know I need to just keep pushing.  But I got hit with a double whammy.  The same day I wrote that post, the vet called to say our family dog, Sadie, had stomach cancer and we needed to put her down.  It was a very sad day.  My wife rescued her in 1998, and she has been a special part of our family for all that time.  Not knowing her exact age, because she was rescued, we estimated her to be about 15.  A good long life - well lived.  We’ll miss you Sadie.

So now to get back on with the program.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 19: Frustration

Yesterday was Day 19 of P90X.  Legs and Back workout.  I don’t want to say it is an EASY workout.  It’s not.  I frequently get nauseous from the workout and the next day my glutes and hamstrings are sore.  So it’s not an easy workout, but I CAN do all the exercises, so it makes it SEEM easy compared to yesterday’s Yoga X workout.
But I don’t want to focus on that workout today.  I want to focus on my frustration at not losing more weight.  Those who follow Beachbody on Twitter, Facebook, or their newsletters constantly see amazing results from folks who follow the program - regular people, like you and me, who have jobs, families and other responsibilities.   The program works and works well.
I, on the other hand, have lost 4 lbs in almost 3 weeks.  FOUR LOUSY POUNDS!  Yesterday I ate approximately 2000 calories for the day, worked out very hard and GAINED A POUND.  My wife says I’m a slave to the scale, and that I should only look at it once a week.  But that’s hard.  I like to see results.  I like to know that what I’m doing is working. 
What am I doing wrong?  Am I eating too little?  Yesterday I had the Level 3 protein shake w/ Silk light, GNC protein powder, Dole frozen strawberries and a banana.  I think that is around 600 calories.  AM snack was two non-fat cheese sticks (180 calories).  Lunch was a box of Campbell’s V-8 Butternut Squash Soup (delicious by the way, and only 180 calories). PM snack was a protein bar (190 calories).  Dinner was a tuna steak, green beans and couscous.  I only had about half of my couscous and was stuffed.  I also had 12 oz of Silk Light Chocolate Milk for my recovery drink (135 calories) after my workout.  The tuna steak was about the size of a small chicken breast and was only seasoned with pepper and a little season salt.
Just to be clear….I GAINED a pound.  Crazy.
I try to be philosophical about it.  My clothes fit better.  I’m in pants I haven’t worn in months.  Collars button easier.  I’m definitely stronger and more flexible.  I just wish it would show more on the scale.
I guess I’ll just keep pressing play until the results catch up with me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Busy Dad's Journey: P90X Day 18 YogaX

A Busy Dad's Journey: P90X Day 18 YogaX: "Yesterday was one of those days where I was tired and unmotivated to work out because of a long, busy and stressful day at work. Coupl..."

P90X Day 18 YogaX

Yesterday was one of those days where I was tired and unmotivated to work out because of a long, busy and stressful day at work.  Couple that with the fact that, as I’ve state before, I find YogaX to be the hardest of all the P90X workouts.  My weight and inflexibility combine to produce copious amounts of sweat and pain.
Last night, however, was a watershed moment.  While I still had difficulty getting in some of the positions (putting my one hand behind my back and clasping the other from between my legs…not happening anytime soon), I seemed to find my breathing groove.  I was able to clear my mind, focus on my breathing and generally enjoy the workout. 
This was one of those workouts when you see what is possible in P90X if you follow the program, and do your best.  I push myself harder each workout, and this produces results.  I can do things after three short weeks that I haven’t been able to do in years.  I can bend over, with my legs locked and touch the floor – and feeeeeeel the burn.  I can twist in different directions.  And I last night I got into Crane position.  When I saw Crane in the P90X book that comes with the program, I laughed.  How in the heck am I EVER going to get into that position.  Last night I did it!  What a great feeling.
To all of you out there who might have considered P90X and opted not to jump in because it looks too hard, I am proof-positive that you can do it.  I’m 42, 5’9” and 260lbs.  I can do it, and so can you.  Don’t get me wrong – it is hard…very hard.  But if you put those DVDs in and press play every day, you will find that you can do things you never thought possible.
With apologies to Nike – Just Do It.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Week Three, So Far

So, here I am - half-way through Week Three of P90X.  Well almost.  I will be after tonight’s YogaX workout.  I at once look forward to, and fear this workout.  For me it is, by far, the hardest.  90 minutes of pain and agony.
Before I get ahead of myself, let’s start with the rest of the week.  I haven’t been tweeting as much this week because I’ve been trying to get this blog off the ground.  But, so far, it has been a VERY productive week - especially on the resistance days.
Saturday is the first day of my P90X week.  I always start a program on Saturday.  I do this so I get two good workouts in before I get to the work week, which is always more difficult.  More difficult to schedule workouts, more difficult to get motivated to workout and more difficult to stay faithful to my diet.
I really like doing the Chest and Back workout on Saturdays.  It’s an easy workout.  Not easy in intensity, but easy in that I can perform all of the exercises – push-ups and pull-ups.  Lots of them.  As I’ve stated before, I can’t do pull-ups without the aid of chair, because I’m too heavy.  But I crank them out until I can’t do any more and try to keep myself from using my legs too much for assistance.  The doorway that I use for pull-ups is really low, as is the ceiling in my basement.  I can bend my arms, while holding on to the pull-up bar and standing up.  So I put on foot on the chair and bend the other leg so I can hang straight down.
I use “Perfect Pushup” bars that a friend gave me to do the pushups.  They really help my wrists stay pain-free, which is a problem I had when I did Power 90.  But the pushups are harder!  You can really get low.  I’ve really seen a big increase in the number of pushups I can do from Week 1 through Week 3.
Day 2, Sunday, is Plyometrics.  It’s the 2nd hardest workout of the week.  I like to jump.  But it makes my knees hurt.  Not really in a bad way, just sore.  Usually the day after PlyoX it hurts to go up and down steps – especially down.  I chalk this up to a) being old, and b) finding little used muscles to workout.  I haven’t done this much jumping in years!
I did have fun doing this workout, because my 4 yr old, Henry, did most of it with me.  He likes doing the “Run Squat Jump Switch” best.  And he wanted me to hold his hand so we could “jump over the stream together”.  It was cute.   But he drinks all my water.  I had to send him upstairs to get Mommy to refill the water bottle.
Shoulders and Arms is another good workout.  This is one I’m built for.  I’m short and stocky, with big shoulders.  My friends always said I had “Lenny strength” as in Lenny from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.  So I can lift lots of heavy loads in this workout.  But I don’t have weights, so I use the bands.  As I stated before, I use the heaviest band I could find, and put a loop in it for almost all the exercises, with the exception of the tricep extensions.  I need to get dumbbells.
Which brings me to today…YogaX….my nemesis.  I’ll do it.  I’ll get through it.  And then I’ll shout it to the mountaintops that I have conquered!  And then I’ll be happy because I’ll be more than half-way done with my week.
Talk to you soon.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Where I Am Right Now

I don't mean physically - obviously I'm in front of a computer. 

I mean in my journey.

I'm about half-way through Week 3 of P90X.  Today was Shoulders and Arms.  What a great workout.  I always feel really good after this one.

I think my experience thus far has been a success!  I know I can do things now that I couldn't do before I began using P90X.  In Week 1, I couldn't make it through the arms circle warm-ups, much less make it through Plyometrics or YogaX.  Yesterday I completed every exercise in the PlyoX workout.  I'm know that I'm going to continue to have difficulties with the yoga workout because of my weight, but I also know that each time it gets better!

My flexibility has greatly increased.  I can put my hands on the floor with my legs straight.  I can get into Prayer Twist.  I can do Warriors and hold them for what seems like forever.  This folks is the real deal.

I'm stronger than I've been in a long time.  I'm using the biggest bands they sell at Dick's, and I need to put a loop in it for most exercises.  I can do the skiers wall squat for the full 90 seconds - though I can't lift my legs up very well.  All this from continued and dedicated performance of these workouts.  They do the job.  I whole heartedly endorse. 

And while I can't do every move perfectly, or hold every position for the entire count, I just follow Tony Horton's advice - Do your best and forget the rest!

Got Yelled At, So I Started This Blog

Hi Everybody, and welcome to my new blog!

The title of this post is true.  A friend I know, who is a "social media" expert yelled at me for sending too many tweets in a row.  Apparently people don't like that.  Who knew?  She said to start a blog instead and just link to it in my tweets.  Okie dokie.  I'm certainly not a social media expert, and am a bit of a technophobe, so I'll do my best to make this interesting, keepyou abreast of my fitness progress and gleen any pointers I may pick up along the way.

I've been chronicling  my path to fitness since I began Beachbody's P90X.  This isn't the first exercise program I started, and probably won't be the last, but I hope this is the beginning of the end of my "overweight period" know like Dylan's folk period, or George Lucas' Jar-Jar period.

It's not like I've been overweight all my life.  At one time, I was a pretty good, if unmotivated, athlete.  I was never the last on picked in gym class, and depending on the sport, was usually one of the first picked - except in volleyball - at 5'9" I was never picked early.  In the Navy, I once ran 3 miles in 17 minutes.  But then came the slow, steady decline.

A lack of interest in anything other than TV, beer and hot wings led to more and more apathy, TV, beer and hot wings.  In November 2006, I topped out at 296lbs. I couldn't believe it.  That day when I weighed myself I said I would never reach 300lbs.  And I haven't.

I lost weight and gained it back, lost weight and gained it back, and so on and so forth.  I would exercise intensely for 3 months, then fall off the wagon, usually coinciding with an illness or minor injury.  I'd gain some weight back, then start the process all over again.

In 2008, a friend made an outrageous suggestion - "Let's do a nighttime trail the dark."  What?  But it was true.  Pretzel City Sports in Reading, PA was putting on their 1st Annual Dark 'n' Dirty 6 mile trail run.  The kicker was that they served beer...during the a water station.  I was in!  While I didn't do it fast, I did finish in about 1hr 30min.  It was a blast!  I did one more that year, a 9 mile trail run at Thanksgiving called the Dirty Bird.

After that, I set my sights higher.  I wanted to do a triathlon.  So I did.  In fact, I did two in 2009.  I was losing weight and having fun.  I then planned to do more in 2010, when a series of unfortunate events conspired to keep me from competing, and led to my most recent regain.

I got really sick in April - bacterial pneumonia - that I think I got from my son, who had it at roughly the same time.  That put the kaibosh on my first scheduled tri in May.  Then I wanted to do one in September and I broke a bone in my foot in a "beach accident" in August (I dropped a beach umbrella on my foot - pointy end down).  That really hurt.  And it continued to hurt until at least Halloween.  I couldn't wear a shoe for several weeks, then I had to wear it untied.  Bike shoes were a complete no go.

So I'm right back where I started.  A year older and out-of-shape.

In January of this year I decided to try Beachbody's P90X.  I'm not a complete newcomer to the experience.  I did Beachbody's Power90 last year, over the winter, to get prepared for the triathlons.  I liked it a lot, so I decided to go to the next level.  And so begins my journey......