Thursday, December 4, 2008

What I did on My Trip to Cyprus...

As I mentioned a while back, I went to Cyprus for work for several weeks and was debating how to work out while I was there. Several of you had some very handy suggestions... Some of them were totally doable, others were maybe more applicable to traveling in the US and staying in hotels. (I'm just guessing here... I don't do that for work very often.)

So here's how the fitness game played out for me. I went to Cyprus to start editing a documentary. I knew I had a ton of work to do and limited time in which to do it. This translated to many many long hours spend sitting at my computer, for days on end.

The first several weeks, my working out was intermittent. No matter what I told myself at the start of the trip, heading into it, once on the ground nothing could pull me away from the looming mountain of work that needed sorting through. I'd get to the computer in the morning and work straight through till 1:30pm when my director showed up. We'd have lunch together and then edit until 8:30pm or so, when it was time for dinner. Occasionally, we'd go back to work after dinner. The working out wasn't really happening. I'd squeak in a run maybe in the morning, but that only happened 2 or 3 times those first couple of weeks.

In addition to that, I was being fed 3 meals a day by a fantastic cook (the director's mother) who was intent on teaching me about Cypriot cuisine. Which is delicious. This didn't help me stay in shape though.

My last 10 days there, my aching, stiff, tensed up body finally caused me so much pain (and actually threatened me with a gun) that I figured out a way to make the working out and working work out for me. (Was that too much work? I thought so. My apologies)

Here's what I did:
Every evening, if it got to be 7pm and I hadn't done a workout yet that day, I would tell my director that no matter what, I had to go get a workout in an hour before dinner was served. That resolved the timing issue. She was understanding.

The next issue was what workout to do. The obvious easy answer was running. There was a lovely trail right near my house that was beautiful and filled with other walkers, runners, bikers and mysteriously, kittens. Lots of kittens. They occasionally attacked but not in any seriously harmful way. So I ran about every other day, but I wanted a more balanced workout regimen.

I didn't have weights: couldn't bring them with me and didn't really have the knowledge or flexibility or frankly the desire to spend euros on weights I would abandon at the end of the trip. Unfortunately, this eliminated a lot of the P90X workouts. The other limitation was time: I really didn't have the luxury of doing Yoga X, while I would have loved to, for 2 reasons: one was that it's an hour and a half and that was just too long for me to take during our joint workout time. (Also, please don't tell me I should have gotten up in the morning and done it before work. I'm not a morning person at the best of times and given the difficulty of the topic I was working, I wasn't really sleeping well, so that made waking up all the more difficult).
The other was that the intensity of my work schedule was messing up my wrists again and I didn't have my Push up bars for all the downward dogs. Ouch!

The only plausible P90X that really left me was Cardio X (well, Core Synergistics was also an option but that also had too many push ups for my wrists). So I started my 10 day program with that. The next day was a long run. So far though, that doesn't leave too much variety if I just alternate the two.

That's when I discovered this new concept, something I'd never done before. It solved all my basic problems: variety to keep the workouts interesting, variety to also shift the focus on different parts of my body, flexible timing so that I could fit in a workout in the amount of time that I had, something that I could do from my living room in Cyprus without having to purchase or bring something with me...

The answer was Podcasts! I browsed around in iTunes and discovered that there are tons of workout podcasts out there... It's amazing! While I was there, I found two yoga podcasts and a pilates one. The workouts are as long as 30 minutes or so and as short as 3 minutes: just one move. You can find workouts to stretch your body post run, workouts to strengthen your core, release your office stress, sleep better, upper body, lower body, morning wake up (yeah right!)... The options are endless.

So now, on alternating days, when I wasn't running or doing CardioX (which I still love), I selected around 30-50 minutes worth of yoga and pilates to satisfy whatever I felt my body was missing, workout-wise. It was fantastic.

The podcasts I enjoyed were:
* Yogamazing: This is the one I used the most.
* Yoga Today: Liked Adi, not so much Sarah Kline, or at least not her workout for walkers and hikers.
* Pilates on Fifth: Pretty good 30-min workout, though they occasionally say "do the same on the other side," so you have to hop up and pause it to do that, which sucks.

These are just quick first impressions. I'm going through the workouts and will have more details on them soon. But on the whole: great resource, greatly varied, can access it from anywhere and doesn't need equipment (well, I did have a borrowed yoga mat, but could do it without).

What about y'all? Any workout podcasts I should know about?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Goop, Gunk & Gristle

Yet again, I show up with a sheepish "I haven't been here in a while" tale. Hopefully, this time the aftermath will change. It's funny how unless your career involves fitness, fitness so very often goes out the door when your career is sky-rocketing (at least that's a fun excuse this time, right?). For me recently, not only did my fitness (and fitness blogging) disappear completely, but so did cooking (and food blogging), my sewing, my singing, my social life... The only side thing to (sort of) survive was my non-themed intermittent blogging; in this case, I was able to write a touch about the food in Cyprus.

Three weeks in Cyprus editing an intense documentary film left me with little energy every day beyond the occasional easy run and some recovery stress reducing yoga. That's not a whole hell of a lot, especially when you consider that my lovely host family was intent on feeding me three fabulous and filling meals a day. So three weeks (and likely a few extra pounds) later, I headed home for a couple of weeks, during which time I ran a half marathon (yay!!! 5 of 8)

Which all leads to an interesting (albeit challenging) way to head into the holiday season: already intent on getting back in shape and losing some of the "gristle". Should be fun!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day: Poverty Awareness

Once upon a writing time, I was telling a friend who's pretty high on the media chain about an idea I had for a book: a plan to help low-income and underpriviledged families incorporate fitness into their lives.

She said something that both shocked me and made me feel immediately stupid: Fitness is a middle-class issue.

Now, she didn't say health, and she didn't say obesity. She said "fitness." And she was right. Put finding (or maintaining) shelter and food at the top of the day-to-day priority list, and suddenly having sweet abs just doesn't make the cut.

This doesn't have as much to do with solving poverty as it has to do with awareness of it. Poverty is best known as starving people living in unhealthy conditions, but in this current economic state, it could mean a head-of-household losing a job, a single parent being threatened with eviction, a person already on the edge getting pushed over by something as simple as a bill from a child's doctor.

At the moment, I consider myself unfit in a aerobic, base-fitness, V02-type way. Today I'm realizing I'm unfit in other ways: I haven't reached out enough, helped out enough, or given up any of my luxurious time to help package, distribute or even find food for people who don't have enough. (Nothing will cure my "I'm 10 lbs overweight!" whine faster than handing food to people who don't have enough to eat.)

My next 90-day fitness test will have to include that kind of fitness as well: Fit for humanity.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Travel Question - Expanded

Well, work's gotten in the way again and I've let the P90x and other general workouts slip by the wayside. Not so much a lack of motivation at this point, as a sheer exhaustion and a complete lack of time. The best I could muster, yet again, was getting out the door and hitting the road for a run.

Work has been inspiring and exhilarating lately, not just exhausting: I've been working my wrists into a frenzy on the fantastic documentary See What I'm Saying, directed by none other than the lovely Ms. Gabrielle Mullem. I'm also getting an amazing opportunity to travel with work to Cyprus to edit another documentary - truly a rare thing... most film editors don't get to travel much for work.

Which leads me to the topic of this post. I've written about travel workout schedules in the past, but that was related to vacation travel. Work travel is quite different, and I've never done it for quite this long... I'll be in Cyprus for almost a full month. So what is my strategy here?

My first tactic was to figure out my running options. I did that by looking for a Hash House Harriers group in Lefkosia which is where I'll be staying. Sure enough, there's a group that runs every Tuesday. First success! That should help me learn the running in Cyprus ropes, and give me some running buddies to boot.

Secondly, I've made sure my computer is loaded up with P90X workouts. However, I needed something else to supplement that. I don't really know how difficult my work schedule is going to be. So Big E helped me find a DVD set of Yoga workouts that have shorter workouts, relaxing workouts, stress-relieving workouts... the works. Good Stuff.

I'll let you know how it goes and hopefully some cool photos of Cyprus while I'm at it.

Any of you P90Xers out there big work travellers?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tandem training begins NOW!

Actually, it really begins on Monday.  Or if you're using my runner's schedule, it begins on Tuesday.  But I digress.  What begins now?  Why, our new side-by-side P90X training comparisons!

Tamsen and I realized that while we've both reviewed various workouts, we've never done the same workout programs at the same time.  But we're both at the phase where we could use the extra motivation of having someone else going through the same thing you are to keep you going.  Or at least that's my theory.

On my side of things, life has gone crazy:  I've been editing like a fiend, trying to finish a documentary while doing full-time editing of a corporate video project.  It's been sending me home a bit frittled (fried and frazzled) every night and over the past month, it's been a struggle to just get my running done, the bare minimum, let alone complete my P90X-enhanced runner's schedule.  

Now, work isn't going to get any less intense, but my motivation seems to be fired up again, so I'm going to get back onto my runner's schedule, and work on fine-tuning it even more!

One of the cool things that I've found that ramped up my motivation was this article about a professional athlete getting fantastic results from P90X training - E-A-G-L-E-S Eagles!  (I promised Big E I'd sneak in an Eagles cheer).  I've been recommending P90X to my various athlete friends (Ultimate frisbee players, runners and more) and it's cool to have a recognized professional athlete equally fired about about this program.

First things first:  I'm going to retake the P90X fitness this Sunday.  You in, Tamsen?

And, a quick question for you readers out there:  How do you remotivate yourself when life gets in the way?  Any good tricks?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

How to P90X When You're Not Sure You Can P90X

I've been out of it for a while. I think my last post was about getting back, planning a new strategy.


Jim-the-Amazing-Trainer once told our group that you have to fight the body sometimes, because it's programmed to save energy, avoid pain and take rest. So when you're pedaling up a 6-degree hill, dying, you have to talk it out with your body: "Sorry, I'm ignoring you for now, since parts of me aren't ripping apart and I'm still breathing..."

I'm afraid that's a little of what I'm having to do now. "Sorry, body. I know you like potato chips more than you did a year ago. I know you like naps. I know you like beer. A lot. But I really need to get back up that hill."

The hill is this:
- ridding myself of 8+ months off of any focused training
- ridding myself of 15 lbs of beer 'n' chips blob
- changing an overwhelming desire to not do anything

The overwhelming desire is just a matter of habit, the 15 lb blob can be dumped in, what, 90 days??? What a coincidence. And the 8+ months off...well, I don't want it to be 10+

So what does an underfit person do with P90X, our old kickass friend? She does this:

- Take on the Lean program. It's still tough, just not as tough.
- RELAX into the Lean program, but don't avoid the hard parts.
- Set a goal that has nothing to do with weight, guilt or fear.
- No excuses, no rationales: do the damn thing.

It's a new month, so I may as well start Monday. August 4. Goal: At least 5 of the 6 weekly sessions. If I miss one segment one week, I can't miss the same one again in that month.

Sigh. Guess I'd better put down my beer.

And for anyone else who isn't sure they can handle P90X, just remember there's a return policy. Which is not the case with your body, so are you sure you can't do at least part of it?

Check out the Fitness Test first, if you're still not convinced:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A P90X Runner's Schedule

I've been meaning to do this for a while, but things kept getting in the way (a trip to NYC to meet with an agent about my cookbook-The Athlete Gourmet, then Mono and Strep... you know: the usual.)

So here it is, now that I'm feeling well enough to begin testing it out: A runner's schedule that incorporates P90X. Actually, it can also double as an ultimate frisbee player's schedule that incorporates P90X, since that's what Big E is doing.

The main issues are that it is very difficult to incorporate all 6 days of workouts from the P90X schedule if you're also running 30-40 miles a week. Ditto if you're having two ultimate practices and a track training day. I mean, we do have jobs!
So I'm taking my standard running schedule (possibly toned down just a touch) and supplementing it with P90X workouts. I'm leaning more towards P90X Lean because I'm more interested in lean tone than bulking up. Also, as I'm recovering from illness, I want to ease into it.

Here is what I'm doing this week (haven't quite ramped up my running yet):

TuesdayCore Synergistics
Wednesday4 mile run
ThursdayChest & Shoulders
FridayYoga X & 5 mile run
Saturday10k run
Sunday5-7mile run

Then, the following week, switch out the Chest & Shoulder for Legs and back and then keep alternating. This is the introduction phase, as I'm ramping my running back up and getting the rest of myself into shape as well.

For Big E, his monday-friday schedule is the same, but then he has ultimate frisbee practice (or a tournament) on the weekends. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Already I can tell you, it's amazing how quickly one falls behind and Core Synergistics was *so* hard today! Though part of that could be just because I'm still illin'.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wii Fit: A Flyby Review

Well, what can I say. You get sick, fight for a while, disappear from your fitness blog for a while, then finally find out you have mono. Go figure.

So yeah, that's my excuse. I do have some fun stuff to write about though. The second week of my mysterious sore throat and general meh-iness found me on the East coast, visiting my mom, who had just the day before received Wii Fit. Since I wasn't feeling too great anyway, I decided to replace my regularly scheduled workouts that week with Wii Fit ones, for review purposes of course.

The Wii Fit is a game for Wii that uses, instead of the wiimotes, a 4-paneled panel that you step on. First thing that happens is you create your character (your Mii), enter some information and get weighed. You are then told where your BMI falls (the panel is equipped with, among other things, a scale). I fell into the normal BMI range (around 23).

Then it does its first diagnostic test. This consists of testing your balance and your ability to rapidly adjust your balance, keeping both feet squarely on the board, based on what the screen tells you. I didn't do too well in this. For starters, my balance is definitely shifted towards my right hip (not surprising given my ongoing left hamstring issues). Then, apparently, I'm not so great at shifting my balance smoothly and quickly. My Wii age was determined to be 41. Bleh. That's quite a bit older than I really am.

Not defeated, I went on to sample the exercises Wii Fit had to offer. They're divided into 4 categories: Balance Games, Yoga, Aerobics and Strength training. Each section has a number of immediately available moves (all about 1-2 minutes) and then you unlock more as you complete more and more exercises. Over the next three days, I tried every single move that was available to me or consequently unlocked.

I started with the balance games, figuring it's where I needed most work. The first game was the soccer ball head butting. Man, was that tough! Standing on the board, you see soccer balls flying towards your Mii's head and have to mimic a head butt to send the ball back. To further complicate things, sometimes they fool you by throwing a soccer cleat, or worse yet a panda, which you have to dodge. This one was really fun, but I wasn't very good at it. Other options in this section were slalom skiing (I sucked), Ski jumping (really fun - I'm good at squatting), and tight-rope walking (super fun!)

Next was the yoga. Now this one's brilliant. I do yoga all the time, but it's great to be able to get a sense of whether my weight is evenly distributed in my Warrior pose (it wasn't) or if my Tree pose was unwavering (also not... at first.) The beauty is that you can see where you failing and adjust while you're doing it. It wasn't a bad collection of yoga moves either. I did reasonably well, here and was even named Yoga Master in a couple of them.

The aerobics, unsurprisingly, didn't do much of anything for me, with the exception of the hula hooping. I mean, really, a two-minute jog in place (while your Mii jogs through a little park with a finish line, other runners... even dogs) isn't really going to do much. There was also a 2-minute step session (really basic) and a buddy walk. Of course, the sessions go a bit longer as you progress and pass the various levels - but still. Even in my sick stage, it didn't even make me break a sweat. The only one that got my heart beat the slightest bit elevated was the hula hooping. That was fun: you got to catch hoops by leaning to the side, go faster and slower to lower or raise the hoop.

Finally, the strength training. This one surprised me - it wasn't really easy! I mean, it wasn't hard (Well, I have been doing P90X and all) but it was surprisingly challenging considering the base level that the other sections started with. One of the moves was a Push-up/Side Plank combo, where you started doing 1 push-up, then right side plank, 2nd push-up, right side plank, then repeat the whole thing several more times! If people are starting the Wii Fit as an actual beginner's workout (with a 2-minute jog in place), that can't be an easy first strength move. Other moves included Torso and Waist Twists, Jackknife, Lunge, Rowing Squat, and more. I was actually even a bit sore after going through all of these moves during my brief stay.

Overall, here's my analysis: As a game to play with friends around taking turns on the different moves, it was very fun.

As a way to evaluate how you're doing (a supplement, not a replacement of, your normal workout plan), not a bad way go: The balance games particularly are a great way to tune into how your body is doing and where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

I think for someone like my mother, who's in her sixties and not terribly fit, it's a great way for her to get in a bit better shape. I've been trying to get her to do yoga for ages and I think the balance moves are generally useful.

For someone who's already an athlete, or has done P90X, don't bother. It's just a game. (But it is a fun one!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

P90X+ Total Body Plus

To quote Tamsen, HOLY MOTHER OF TONY HORTON! The first workout from the P90X+ was so brutal, it made Big E and me realize that we should probably build up to the Plus workouts with a refresher cycle of the good ol' standard P90X.

This workout was HARD. In fact, so hard that we spent a good deal of time just watching Tony and his peeps go, with our jaws down by our feet. For example, take your standard pull-up workout: Now, after the Lean cycle, I was able to do several modified pull-ups (with one foot leaning against a stool). I still can't do a full-on real pull-up though. This workout has you pull up, hold that pose, and then crunch your knees up to your chest as many times as you could. I could not do that. At all.

So Big E helped me up to the pull-up start position and then from there, I crunched my knees up to my chest as many times as I could (maybe 5?). Made me feel pretty pathetic. And that was merely the beginning. By the time we finished the workout, I felt like we hadn't done anything, since we kept skipping moves or barely doing any reps at all. It was a tad demoralizing.

What's crazy though, is that despite feeling like we hadn't done anything, both of us were sore for days afterwards. Unfortunately, it did scare me off of the + for now. I feel that I should maybe do the regular plan until I can complete at least one solid 100% real pull-up and then tackle it again.

That doesn't mean that I won't attempt each of the P90X+ workouts till that time. I need to know what I'm building towards. So I'll keep the P90X+ individual workout reviews coming, just slowly. I don't know that I can muster the gumption for more than one every other week or so. But I do promise that it will happen.

In the meantime, I'm going to work on building the perfect Running+P90X workout combo for distance runners doing a minimum of 30 miles a week.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Motivation can be so hard to find sometimes, especially when recovering from the flu. That extra bit of tiredness doesn't help with the flagging mental motivation. But the trick is doing what you can to push yourself.

Having pre-set goals doesn't hurt. Two weeks after being sucker punched by the monster flu, I found myself waking up at 6am, putting on my running shoes and piling in a van to head to the start of The Relay. Not only did I have to run through the night, three legs about 5 miles each, but I also had to captain the team - help make sure things run smoothly and everyone is where they need to be and whatnot. And of course, it was fantastic.

Sure, it was a bit harder than it's been in the past. And yeah, I did come out of the weekend with a renewed sore throat and a shiny new cough... But also I came out with renewed motivation. I was fired. I came home, and started researching what 6 other races (half marathon plus) I could do to fulfill my Eight in '08 plan and even registered for a few of them.

Then there was my other fitness goals. Last week, I wasn't quite prepared to start the new P90X+ yet, despite it sitting around and taunting me for the past few weeks. But I was ready to ease back into a plan of some sort, that included more than just running. So I decided to revisit my old friend, Maya. It had been quite a while since I last visited with her and while I was looking forward showing her my improvement, I was also worried she was going to lecture me about missing months of workouts.

Fortunately, she didn't lecture me any longer than when I missed one workout - I'm not sure those virtual people have much of a sense of time... Anyway, the workout was decent. It was definitely out of touch with the changes in my abilities: The upper body strength workout was far too easy. Bu it was a great way to ease my way back. And it prepared me for psyching myself up - nay, motivating myself - to tackle Tony's new plan.

Unfortunately, Tony's new plan tackled me... but I'll tell you more about that shortly. In the interim, I'll leave you with this thought: Women's Health Magazine recently published an article about the power of your head to overcome your body's whining and motivate you. So when your body is feeling down and out, what motivates you to keep going?

Monday, April 28, 2008

The P90X Manifesto

Sara and I are both about to dive back into regular, dedicated workout programs. As it stands, we're both heading back into P90X, tweaked here and there for various reasons (but gearing back up so we can check out Plus!). Whenever I start something like this, 90 days of concerted effort, I try to establish a theme for the duration, something like a manifesto.

Manifestos abound: I recently read an interview with Michael Pollen, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and the more recent In Defense of Food. In the latter, he states his food manifesto: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

"Eat food" seems silly, but when you think about it, food has become hard to define. What he's saying is simple: eat stuff you know is food. Anything with more than three ingredients, he says, isn't food – and he's right. I've been one of those people who feels like they can't do with out the convenience of energy bars, gels, water additives and supplements. All that "manufactured" food serves a decent purpose, but come on – how did Steve Prefontaine fuel up and recover?

Not to go off on a food tangent, because I leave all that to my brilliant foodie blog partner Sara. But it did make me think about manifestos – simple guides for everyday life, based on knowledge, principles or sense. It's all about shifting back to what is true, what is real, and what works.

I burned out on p90x last year, and after a long period of inactivity it's tough to gear back up for another rotation. What will keep me pushing the physical envelope? Losing weight, while an admirable goal, never has and never will sustain this kind of effort. Why am I going extreme when all I really need to do is a few runs and maybe a spin class or two? Because it's concentrated, well-planned, and because I had already unconsciously created a P90X manifesto.

It's not a catch phrase; "Bring it" doesn't do it for me (although I like and appreciate the less-touted "Decide. Commit. Succeed"). But I think each of us has a manifesto for any planned workout program. Here's mine for this next 90 days:

Dedicate yourself. Crave the effort more than the results. Value all achievements.

Got one? Want to create one? We'd love to see them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

And we're back!

I know I disappeared for a bit, but it was all for good reason (and not just me whimpering in a corner because of my stupid hamstring.)

First, I had two weeks of intensive work - getting two films finished in time for the film festival deadline (haven't heard if either made it in yet) and then a mere 24 hours after finishing the second one, I had to pack my bags and head to Italy for about a week and then to Tunisia for another week.

The good news is having done the Italy part for six years now, I knew what to expect. Long gone are the days of packing resistance bands and expecting to ever get any strength training done while I'm there. Now, I just focus on my running - and to great effect: I ran pretty much every day that I was there and on Sunday, I did two runs (a 6 then a 4-miler).

Tunisia, on the other hand, didn't work out quite as well. And by "quite as well", I mean at all. Now that I'm home, the past week of no working out has built up my enthusiasm (and a good bit of bottled up energy) to get right back into my workout routine... As soon as I kick this jet lag. Don't worry, I know the exercise will help the jet lag, I'm just going to start out lightly: today, I'll go for a 40 minute run.

The great news is that while I was gone, a little package arrived for us! The lovely folks at extremebeachbody sent us a review copy of P90X+ - the newest Tony Horton workout. I'm so excited, I just glanced through the dvds and the workout plan and hope to start my schedule this coming week! So stay tuned for some P90X+ excitement and new workout reviews. We'll also be giving away a P90X+ package sometime soon, so be sure to check back or subscribe to our feed.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Injury Blehs

I know I've been MIA for a while now - as it turns out, a couple of weeks ago, my hamstring started bothering me. It was cramping up, felt worse when I was sitting down and didn't seem to recover over night (ie. something about the position I slept in wasn't helping it either).

Now while I was able to keep up my running, I pared it down quite a bit - shorter runs and not as fast. As for the rest of my P90X, I cut out all squats and lunges (so no Legs and Back, and no Plyo. *sniff*) and I trimmed down all the left-legged warriors in Yoga X. (ha! those left-legged warriors... so sneaky!)

While that still left a reasonable amount of working out - and I'm still doing something pretty much 5 days a week, it's been a bit frustrating and I haven't been able to talk myself into writing about the workouts, much less write about the Recovery Drink Showdown and the Runner's P90X plan I've promised I would. Don't worry - I haven't forgotten.

In the meantime, I've been trying to do my best and treat myself like a pro-athlete: Numerous massages, icing, heating, wrapping... the works. It's just frustrating that it doesn't seem to be getting better. I know that my sitting at a desk isn't helping it, but there's not that much I can do about that - it's my work!

So sorry to keep you all hanging - I promise I'll do my best to get back on track and hopefully this pain will go away soon enough.

(As to what caused it, I'm not sure, but I think I may have strained it in a plyo squat jumping move perhaps?)

Monday, February 4, 2008

P90X Bottom - Week 1

Well, week one's out of the way - the only workout I missed was Sunday's Kenpo X but I have a decent excuse: I ran the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon yesterday and was too tired to do Kenpo X on top of that.

How did it go, you ask? Not that well. For starters, it has been becoming clear to me these past few weeks that while P90X has been great for getting my body into general shape, it hasn't been helping my running much. Not because it isn't a good supplement to my running, but because when working out 6 days a week for this plan, it's hard to fit in as many running days as I used to.

In addition to the P90X, I'd only be running 2-3 days in each week and really only started doing 3 days once I'd figured out that my running was getting the shaft.

So to begin with, I wasn't quite in the same running shape I was in last year. And then, on top of that, it sleeted on us. Literally. Possibly hailed too. Freezing cold rain nailing us in the face between miles 9.5 and 11.5. We had to run bending over so as not to get it all in the face. And then my hip started hurting. It was a great race, really.

So enough with my whining. Here's what I'm going to do about it: My training schedule for the Relay is out and that's when I want to do my best time this year, so my plan for P90X is to continue with the lower body and core focus and make sure I run 3-4 times a week. My week should look a bit like this:

  • Tuesday: Legs & Back (instead of on the night before my long run)
  • Wednesday: Plyo in the morning, short run in the afternoon
  • Thursday: Longer run with hills or sprints
  • Friday: Yoga X
  • Saturday: Whichever upper body it happens to be in the morning followed by a short run
  • Sunday: Long run, Kenpo X optional (I think most of the time, I'll do both, it'll just depend on how hard the run was.
  • Monday : Rest
On the plus side, the first of my 8 in '08 is completed. Now I just have to find the next 7 half-marathon+ races... I'm hoping to do Dublin in the fall.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

John Cleese Was A Plyo Superstar!

I mean he must have been! Doing our first plyometrics the morning after our first Legs and Back out of the gate was an... interesting idea. I still have trouble walking up and down stairs. And early on in the workout, when we reached the silly walk segment, I thought "Oh, this isn't going to be too tough!" Ha! I was a bit wrong.

Four silly strides into our silly walks and I was definitely feeling it. And that was quite early on in the workout, too. Nonetheless, it was a great workout. We both really enjoyed it, and felt we got a great full body workout, with perhaps a tad more of an emphasis on the legs - quite suitable for our goals.

I'd also recommend this workout as an all purpose stand alone video - can be combined with any other type of workout program you're doing and especially great if you play sports... keeps you quick on your toes, like a cat! Good stuff.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Out with the Old, In with the New!

Yeah, I know I didn't say much about finishing up the P90X Lean program, but we really did get all the way through.  Well, almost.  We didn't do much that last recovery week, but that's OK, because we were just mentally gearing up to properly attack our new program... P90X Classic!

Although, it's really more like P90X-Lower Body.  I've shuffled the program around a bit to include more Legs and Back and more Core Synergistics, and less upper body.  So it's going to go a little something like this:

Week 1:  
  • Tues:  Legs & Back + Ab Ripper
  • Weds:  Plyo (can't wait!)
  • Thurs:  Shoulders & Arms + Ab Ripper
  • Fri:  Yoga X
  • Sat:  Legs & Back + Ab Ripper
  • Sun:  Kenpo X

Then the next week, we'll swap out the first Legs and Back with Core Synergistics and the Shoulders & Arms with Chest and Back.

Why are we doing this, you might ask?  Because while we appreciate how important building our upper body strength is, both of us have much more need of leg strength and core strength... Me for my running, Big E for his ultimate.  We discussed this at length and figured that the P90X program seemed a bit more geared towards having a pretty, beach-ready body with huge guns and sexy triceps, which is great and all.  But we really care more about having really strong abs, strong legs and while looking good in a bathing suit would be great, it's more of an added bonus and less our goal.

When do we start our P90X-Lower?  This coming Tuesday.  And yes I'll be attempting a nutrition plan again (but remind me to tell you later about the awesome healthy energy cookies I made last week!).  We'll also be measuring our results this Sunday so we'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Drumroll please...

Brad, with all correct answers and fantabulous spelling of Tony's favourite word, "Gawwgeous!"

We'd like to give an honorable mention to Matthew, who did respond in time for our first deadline but just didn't have the third answer correctly.

Please tune in again in a month for another opportunity to win some more awesome free stuff from our friends at Extreme Body Workout.

PS. Brad, please contact us at through the blog to get us your mailing information so we can send you the goods. Congrats!

Friday, January 18, 2008

P90Expert Contest Deadline Extended

Oh no! It seems our contest was a bit too tough... Here, we're going to change the rules a bit.
You don't have to get all the answers correctly, just post your best guess. If no one gets all three right, we'll just do a drawing of all the comments received.

New deadline is Monday January 21st at 5pm P.S.T.

Hope to hear from you!

Monday, January 14, 2008

First Ever P90Xpert Contest

"Tony cracks me up - like the part where he caws and acts like a Pterodactyl..."

"Man, that Eric is something else. Every time I want to whine, I think of him..."

"Joe. Chair Dips. BAStard!"

Are you so tight with P90X that you know what those comments mean, and what workouts they refer to? Do you sometimes think you should get a prize for the moment-to-moment knowledge of P90X you have earned?

Funny, so do we.

Announcing the First Tiny in 90 P90Xpert Contest, produced in happy conjunction with our friends at Extreme Body Workout. We thought it would be fun to test your knowledge, develop our passion for Tony Moments and to help you expand your understanding of the right tools for the job.

The prize this time is a fantabulous Men's or Women's three resistance band set.

Without further ado, here are your P90Xpert Contest Questions
(entry instructions below):

1. What "soup" does Phil stir that makes Tony jealous of his line?

2. What does Sophia do in the Step Back Lunges to add more intensity?

3. Fill in the blank - Tony: "When you're a P90X grad,
it's _______!"

Your Contest Official-ness:
  • To enter this contest, please answer all three questions accurately in the comments of this post. (Sorry everyone, this time the contest is US or Canada only!)

  • Please, only one comment per person per giveaway post.

  • Anonymous comments will not qualify (how will we know who you are?!)

  • We will randomly draw the winner from the correct answers in 3 days time - Friday Jan. 18th at 5pm and announce the winner the following day-ish.

  • Since we can't notify the winner, please keep an eye out for our announcement, and email us your info if you do win. This is made easier for you if you subscribe to this blog so you don't have to keep checking back, although it's always great to have you pop-in for a read!!

  • A Sweepstakes winner's failure to respond to the prize notification within three business days - Wednesday, January 23 at 5p.m. - will be considered such Sweepstakes winner's forfeiture of the prize and an alternate winner will be selected from the pool of eligible entries.

Bring it! See you soon...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I hate it, but I... still hate it.

We have several Tony-isms that we love to repeat but one of our favourites is from the intro to Ab Ripper X, when Tony says: "I hate it, but I love it" as he looks knowingly (evilly?) into the camera.

Well, lately, I've just been hating it. Normally, if I'm not feeling psyched about my workout, I just start it and some time into the thing, my adrenaline kicks in and I start feeling great: pumped, psyched, motivated... Lately, I've noticed that I've just been grumpy all the way through the workout. Even in Kenpo X! Shocking, I know.

This doesn't mean that I haven't been bringing it though. I've just been really pissy while doing so. I still show up. I still press play. Hell, I've even started adding jumps at the end of my Dreya roll (14 of them today!) Who knows what's driving me through these workouts at this point. I'm like a robot: Show up, Press play... Show up, Press play... repeats itself like a mantra in my brain. I think it's Tamsen's voice saying it.

Part of me wonders if I'm not just a bit worn out, overtired, since I have been ramping up my running distance lately (I did a 12-miler after Kenpo X on Sunday). But another part of me just doesn't care. We're reaching the end of our P90X Lean - next week is a recovery week anyway. And then we'll take the following week off from Tony completely. Who knows, maybe I'll even give Maya a visit?! She might be shocked to see how well I'm doing, and it'll definitely be an easier workout.

Pay no attention to me, I'm just grumpy. If you're looking for tasty healthful breakfast suggestions, check out my latest article for Fitfare. And if you like free stuff, don't forget to tune in next week for our cool free Extreme Beach Body giveaway!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Rightness of the Right Tools

I'm with the bands. Resistance bands, that is. I used to have a full set of weights, but I also have a small apartment. At some point, when trying to find some dark corner to stash 100lbs worth of weights so my mom didn't trip on them and do a header into the computer table, it dawned on me that my small home was not (just) a gym. So I sold them and got bands.

But I only bought four of them, thinking that I'd gotten the general equivalent of my weights. I had to fake my way through several segments, where I either had too much weight and had to do some goofy compensation or accept the fact that I was never going to realize the full effect of the segment (pull-ups were a joke with the band I was using). Then Extreme Body Workout woke my ass up. They sent me a full set of bands, with such a range of weight resistance that my workouts shifted into high gear immediately.

Yeah, I did feel like someone had just pointed out that I had a nose, thanks for snarking that up for me.

So very much like the fact that going a half-inch deeper into a move, straightening your legs a little more or kicking with a little more precision, using the proper equipment will increase the quality of your P90X experience. Oh, and the sexy curve of your bicep. But you probably already know that...look, it has nostrils, too!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Free Stuff for Youuuuu!

Great news! The lovely folks at Extreme Body Workout have offered to sponsor some tasty giveaways for us. What this means is that we connive to come up with tricky tests of your P90X knowledge and you can win cool free stuff like gear and whatnot!

Check back on January 15th for our first quiz. We'll pool the correct responses and draw a winner at random. So in the meantime, be sure to study up on your P90X workouts (in other words, just show up and press play).

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Ponderings

Happy new year everyone! Hope you're looking forward to the new year as much as I am...

Well, the holidays and holiday traveling wreaked havoc on our little P90X workout schedule. We started out doing pretty well... We decided to postpone our Yoga X before our flight on Friday till our rest day, but then we did our Core Synergistics the next day, at Big E's parents house and Kenpo X the next day. Then it began to fall apart a bit. On Christmas eve, we did the Yoga X as planned but dropped out the corpse and oms. Then came Christmas and between hustling back and forth between both families, we decided to skip the Chest Shoulder & Triceps.

The next day should have had us right back on track with Cardio X, but somehow we were so wiped out from all the hustling about and merry-making, we mutually agreed to skip it. By the 27th, we decided this week was a bust and skipped the Back & Biceps. Given that we've never missed more than one workout this entire time, that week was unprecedented. The next day we were traveling back, and next thing you know, the week is over. Oh well. At least I managed to get in a 10 miler in on Sunday and Big E played beach ulti on Saturday, so we didn't completely end the year as lazy lumps.

Yesterday was the rest day and in theory, today we start up again, as strong as ever to make up for our failings last week. Today's workout is Chest & Back and Ab Ripper and we're off!

We've been discussing the P90X lean and the P90x schedule, as I've begun setting up our calendar for the next cycle, when we move up to the standard P90x plan, and we've come to the conclusion that the beachbody concept isn't exactly what either of us is going for. The focus on upper body, while useful in many ways, isn't our main interest. We don't so much want to look good as want to be strong and supported in our chosen sports (and it wouldn't hurt to look good while doing it). For example, we'd be more interested in more Legs & Back workouts, but not quite as many Chest, Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps, etc. variations. We also feel that we could use more Core Synergistics than are offered in the standard P90X plan, where they only show up in the rest week.

So I've decided I'm going to revisit the plan before we begin it on January 22nd, and cater it a bit more to our shared interests. Along those same lines, I've spoken to many friends who are interested in checking out the P90X workouts but don't necessarily have the 6 days a week to give to it. While I'd agree that in order to maximize your benefits from the plan, it's best to try to adhere to its guidelines as closely as possible, I think it's also important to also be realistic. Doing Ab Ripper 5 days a week isn't going to to much for you, but doing 3-4 workouts a week can still give very good results, especially if the workouts are carefully selected to be complimentary and balanced. So over the next few weeks, I plan to put together some alternative schedules that will offer a variety of timing options as well as slightly different focus depending on what the end goal might be.

Tamsen and I also have some exciting news coming up for you guys, our lovely readers, so tune in soon for our upcoming announcement!