Friday, November 30, 2012

P90X2: My Initial Review

I'll be writing (and have written) on my initial impressions of each DVD.  But, what is my overall sense of the program?  To put it concisely, its about "functional strength."  It truly doesn't matter if you can do 40 lb bicep curls if you cannot lift your luggage into the overhead compartment!  It doesn't matter if you leg press 200 lbs if you pull a back muscle while reaching in the top kitchen cabinet for a pasta insert!

Sure, Tony is ripped and slender...but its not about muscle volume.   Sure, men will get that simply by doing this routine.  Its about core strength.  Its about having the right strength, not just strength. 

Its about going through your daily lives...
  • picking up your sleeping-on-the-couch kids and carrying them to bed and not killing your back in the process
  • juggling your laptop and purse and coat while walking on slippery cement and balancing so you don't  break your ankle
  • painint the ceiling in your bedroom without needing a week to recover from the muscle exertion
This workout will make life easier.  It will make you more able to do those things that you NEED to do, not just WANT to do.  So far, while Plyocide was a tough and gruesome workout, i see that the entire program is based on balance, overall stamine and core strength...and if you have those, you will easily have the muscle ton and fat loss you desire (as it doesn't necessarily occur the other way around!).

Now, what will tonight bring?!?!?!

P90X2: X2 Recovery+Mobility

I had the option of a rest day or another DVD...I opted for the DVD.  Today called for X2 Recovery+Mobility.  Now, I knew it would be low-key, simply because my option was to rest and not do anything...but I was curious.  What was this disk going to bring for 55 minutes?

First, equipment:
  • bare feet (yes, forego the shoes and socks complete)
  • foam roller (or long towel..but in reality, this is necessary)
  • weighted bar or broomstick (I opted for resistence bands in lieu of)
  • yoga block (so not needed if you are not uber flexible yet)
  • Mat (optional, but seriously with the occassional yoga positions, you need it to save your knees)
There are quite a few yoga positions in here, including long plank stances as part of the standard sun salutation routine, as well as a ton of stretches.  You use the foam roller for the standing stretches, which surprised me. 

But, the single most thing that I got out of this video is HOW to use a foam roller....and he dedicates a lot of time with long stable stretches using this piece of equipment.   Its not something you can easily learn from a 3-minute youtube video, and definiteyl not from a book....seeing it in action for a solid amount of time is by far the best way to learn how to use it.  This is by far the longest portion of the workout.  One side at a time, one muscle group at a time...its a solid 25 minutes baby!  And really, its well worth the effort.  Sure, you can stretch without the video, but I do think if you do these sequences of moves without the timer on, you are going to short change yourself.

I was also surprised at how to use the foam roller.  Sure, sometimes you move it back and forth (eg roll it), but most of the time, you move it until you find that "ouch" spot and put more pressure on that spot.  Its a kin to giving yourself a custom shiatsu massage...and much cheaper at that!  I honestly always thought you were supposed to constantly roll the roller!

The DVD ends with some back stretches using the foam roller which were very much appreciated!  Who knew!  So, you won't be seriously sweating although you might glisten a bit.  You don't have to be uber-focused on physically watching the DVD, but you do need to be tuned into your body.

I'm glad I took the time here rather than taking a true rest day.  And, I know that I can easily do this with the kids around, which will allow me to do it earlier in the day...bonus!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

P90X2: Plyocide

While I didnt wear shoes during the "4 Legs" workout, this is a necessity here!

Equipment was also more involved (really "4 Legs" requires a wall and a chair and your body).  Have the following readily available prior to pushing play:
  • Medicine Ball (I used an 8 pound version)
  • Stability Ball (make sure yours is inflated!)
  • Plyo Box (I used one of the kids' step stool)
  • Foam Roller (the ones with bells and whistles are not needed..simple will suffice)
  • Bands (or you can use a towel, but bands are much better)
P90X's Plyo X has been said to scare, but I also heard that this version wasn't nearly as while I assumed it to be more "hard core" than the "4 Legs" workout, I was ready.

  • 55 minutes (BIG chunk of this is the warm-up and cool-down)
  • Tons of focus on core strength, stability, recovery
  • You won't sweat as much, but maybe thats because there is no way that you can do it all the first time around!!!
  • Tough workout!  First half, I was able to do at least 3/4 of each the end, I was happy to do 1/3 of each.  Yes, they are that hard.
I'm looking forward, in a few weeks, to be able to do all the routines in this workout...some day....hey, I can dream!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

P90X2: Foundation Phase

As I've stated before, P90X2 is based on three phases (Foundation, Strength, Performance).  This initial Foundation phase should be done for 3-6 weeks, depending upon how strongly you feel that you've somewhat mastered the workouts.

Day 1: X2 Core (optional replacement: 4 Legs)
Day 2: Plyocide
Day 3: Rest -or- X2 Recovery+Mobility
Day 4: X2 Total Body & X2 Ab Ripper -or- Upper Body Balance & X2 Ab Ripper
Day 5: X2 Yoga
Day 6: X2 Balance+Power -or- 4 Legs
Day 7: Rest -or- X2 Recovery+Mobility

Repeat three times, then take a "recovery" week, if needed.

There is a method to the madness, but since I started on a Tuesday and my DVD wasn't readily accessible, I'm modifying the week a bit:

Day 1: Rest
Day 2: 4 Legs (in lieu of 4 Legs)
Day 3: Plyocide
Day 4: X2 Recovery+Mobility
Day 5: X2 Total Body & X2 Ab Ripper
Day 6: X2 Balance+Power
Day 7: Hot Yoga (group class in lieu of X2 Yoga)

I'm going to try to throw a short run in on Day 5 and Day 7.  I feel like I have to start over with the C25K program anyways, so this should be ok to do.  Or, maybe I'll try to run during lunch tomorrow, if time permits.  Regardless, i will try to do the X2 Ab Ripper in the morning tomorrow before work, and the X2 Total Body in the evening.

Bring it!

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P90X2: 4 Legs

So, last night, I started P90X2.  I had the "4 legs" readily available, so I did that one.  Just to note with P90X2, there are the standard exercises, but there are also some additional ones that you can splatter in to mix things up a bit.  This is one of them.  You can replace the standard "X2 Core" workout for the "4 Legs." 

"4 Legs" is a very different feel than the standard workouts, simply because its part of the Tony 1 on 1 training series.  Its basically him, his camera man in his home gym.  Its much more relaxed, and he even doesn't do things perfectly!  It only has minor editing, and its very casual, like you would have in a 1 on 1 personal training session at the gym.  Very very low key.

So, why did I do this one first?  Well, X2 Core is the first day of the program, and that disk simply wasn't readily available at I substituted.  This is one of the reasons why I like the P90X2 program in theory (in practice, we shall see soon enough!).  There is a ton of flexibility in it!

  • 53 minutes (includes chit chat, warm up, cool down)
  • 10 moves total - one leg at a time
  • Almost every move requires you to be on only one leg at a time!
  • Balance is essential in this one, so speed (and number of repetitions) is not important....go as slow as you can to maintain balance and stamina throughout
I did like the less intimidating feel to this it was probably a better one to start out with!  While there was no cardio, I was sweating without a doubt!  I couldn't do all reps on the same leg, so while Tony may have done 12 reps on one leg and 12 reps on the other...I was doing 6 on one, 6 on the other, then repeat.  All good.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Little Black Dress Challenge - Day 1

One thing I like about the Beachbody coaches is the fact that they offer so many group challenges.  It does help motivate you and stay accountable, and they are short enough in duration that they don't seem overwhelming. You don't have to actively order anything from them to keep that relationship up...and when you see a challenge that interests you, why not jump on it?  Well, this one is a bit harder...I anticipate it.  But, I also know that I need it!

The LBD Challenge encompasses:
  • 90 days
  • Follow a Beachbody workout
  • Report food choices
  • Drink Shakeology daily
  • Watch your stats online
  • Report via the private facebook group
I signed up!  Made my shakeology order (chocolate the first month, tropical the next month and so forth).  Yesterday, I asked when it started...and the answer: TODAY!  I feel a little behind actually...I swear I don't even know where my DVDs are yet! So, thats my task for tonight....and the working out part.  Joe is trying to join in...he'll do shakeology on occassion, plus he wants motivation to exercise and try to keep up with me :)

There is a "point" system to win the challenge...not exactly sure what the winner receives though.  One point each for:
  • work out of the day, what day you are on and how you feel
  • picture of a meal, yourself during/after a workout or a recipe
  • food intake for the day
  • motivational quote/video/picture
My workout of choice? P90X2.  While there are suggested recovery weeks every 3 weeks, the program encourages you to do a recovery week whenever needed. So, you can either whip through this program in 9 weeks (3 weeks for each phase and utilize no recovery weeks), or you can take more time and finish in 20 weeks:

Foundation: 3 weeks
Recovery: 1 week
Foundation: 3 weeks
Recovery: 1 week
Strength: 3 weeks
Recovery: 1 week
Strength: 3 weeks
Recovery: 1 week
Performance: 3 weeks

This program clearly has a lot more flexibility to it.  You can easily build it around travel schedules or busy holiday weeks..these are simply your recovery weeks. Now, of course, you are still exercising during a recovery week....but this focuses on using the foam roller, stretching and yoga. Whats also nice about the recovery week's agenda is that I can imagine that you can easily break these into groups, eg 30 minutes in the morning and 30 in the evening, more readily than any other part of the program. So, flexibility is inherent in the program, which makes it more attainable to me.

My diet goals?  Just as there are three "blocks" in the training, there are also three phases to the nutrition plan. Most important to the plans is the macronutrient content, rather than specific food choices. One needs to find foods that fit into the macronutrient ratios that one loves to eat, rather than have a specific diet dictated.  That being said, I'm just going to focus on two of the "blocks," so my plan will start with Fat Shredder and end with Energy Booster:

Fat Shredder is a higher-protein diet that jump-starts your fat loss as you begin building muscle. Meals in this first 4 weeks should proportionally be: 50% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 20% fat.  Now, just by reading this, for me personally, the first phase will be the hardest. This is basically an atkins/south beach diet as carbs are severely restricted. The biggest concern I have with this is how to keep up my energy for this phase. While I know restricting carbs will seriously get me in ketosis so I utilize my fat stores for energy rather than my glycogen-muscle-carb stores, it does drain you. I just need to remind myself that its only for a month.
Energy Booster gives your body the energy it needs with a balanced mix of carbs and protein. Now, the Energy Booster is very balanced clean eating with lower levels of fat and extra carbs for extra energy during those Plyometrics workouts. Simple to follow.  Meals in this phase are 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fat. Eat three servings of complex carbohydrates daily (e.g. whole wheat bread, pasta or oatmeal as well as one piece of low glycemic index fruit daily). Protein remains high so as to aid in muscle recovery.

I'll be using MyFitnessPal to ensure that I have the 50% protein/30% carb/20% fat breakdown.  Thats hard to track without technology!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cheribundi: How Do I Test Thee?

First...a heads up.  I have a 12-pack of Cheribundi at home right now, and I'll be testing it...will report back...and will offer a 12-pack up to someone!  Everyone loves freebies, right?

Cheribundi is a premium tart cherry juice.  As you may know, tart cherries offer many benefits for runners and other athletes, as well as those suffering from gout, arthritis and inflammatory disease.  Runners, in particular, find that tart cherry juice reduces pain and inflammation and aids in muscle recovery.  Tart cherries also contain natural melatonin, which promotes more restful sleep. You can learn more about Cheribundi, our flavors and the benefits of tart cherries on our web site at

I am going to test this stuff...Joe has told me that he NEEDS me to start running again now (rather than wait until my son settles down with his issues which is overstressing me to the max), so I'll probably be starting back this week.  Simply because its been awhile, I think I'll need all the recovery help I can muster, so this is well timed!  I'll try to rate my sleep, athletic recovery, aches and pains before/after drinking it for four days straight.  I think this will be a good test, don't you think?

Think good thoughts for me!

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Friday, November 2, 2012

New Toy in the House: Trampoline

"N.A.S.A. has been using the trampoline to train their astronauts for years. A N.A.S.A study for Applied Physiology called trampoline jumping a “miracle exercise” and NASA says that"...for similar levels of heart rate and oxygen consumption, the magnitude of the biomechanical stimuli is greater with jumping on a trampoline than with running, “ The study found that Jumping on a trampoline was 68% more efficient than running on a treadmill. A 150- pound individual spending one-hour on a trampoline will burn more calories than the same person jogging for an hour. N.A.S.A. also found rebounding to be helpful in rebuilding the bone mass and muscle mass that astronauts lose in the weightlessness of space. When astronauts were subjected to weightlessness for weeks at a time, they lost both muscle strength and bone density. Without gravitational pull, muscles and bones wither. They quickly become weaker and less dense. Conversely, bone density and muscle strength increase significantly when subjected to increased gravitational pull. Because the body interprets the acceleration and deceleration of bouncing on a trampoline as an increase in gravitational pull, muscles and bones gain strength, far beyond what is considered normal.Trampoline exercise strengthens each and every muscle, organ, tissue and cell in your entire body including cells in the liver, kidneys, bladder, heart and lungs. It can even make adults look more youthful as externally the skin will tighten and lines and wrinkles will diminish; almost like a natural face lift. At the peak of each bounce on the trampoline every cell in your body is suspended for a split second in a state of weightlessness. At the bottom of the bounce, every cell in your body is receiving as much as two to four times normal gravitational force. That is the same as weighing two to four times your normal weight.  Thus when jumping on a trampoline you bounce about 90 to 120 times per minute or over (90 bounces x 60 minutes = 5400) that is as many as 5000 bounces, jumps, impulses, stresses, muscle contractions, or resistances per hour! Every time you land on a trampoline your body or cells want to collapse upon impact. In order not to collapse upon impact your cells must resist. This resistance is what builds cellular strength and causes each and every cell in your entire body to get stronger i.e. your face, legs, arms, calfs, waist, back, shoulders, chest, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, bladder and all internal organs are getting stronger and healthier together.  You're exercising your entire body as a complete unit and not only isolated muscle groups."Source:
So, while I cannot imagine Joe getting on it to jump (first, he is over 175 pound weight limit and second, if he isn't holding a basketball, he won't jump), I can do this...and it will be great for my son!  But, before you embark on this, check your insurance policy carefully!

To stay safe, follow these trampoline equipment tips:
  • Purchase a round trampoline (rectangular trampolines encourage higher bouncing)
  • Enclose trampolines with safety nets
  • Completely cover its springs, hooks and frame
  • Carefully review the safety materials included
Be aware of these trampoline injury statistics:
  • Most trips to the hospital emergency rooms result from jumpers colliding, falling off the trampoline or stunts.
  • The most common areas of injury are: 
    • Legs and feet: 40%
    • Arms or hands: 29%
    • Head, face or neck: 20%
    • Shoulder or trunk: 10%
  • About 246,875 medically-treated trampoline injuries occur annually in the United States. 75% of these injuries occur in children 14 or younger.
  • Children under 6 were treated for about 15% of trampoline injuries in hospital emergency rooms.
  • Improper use of a trampoline can result in death. Most victims are teenagers, ages 12 to 19. Falls from the trampoline were the most frequent cause of death, followed by landing on the neck while attempting somersaults.

Insurance considerations...trampolines are typically handed in one of three ways:
  • No Exclusions - This means that an insurance company doesn't place any restrictions on trampoline ownership or usage in accordance with your homeowner's insurance policy.
  • Coverage with Safety Precautions  - An insurance company may include coverage if you have pads to cover the trampoline springs, a net enclosure for the sides, and/or a fenced-in yard with a gate and working lock.
  • A Trampoline Exclusion - Some homeowner's insurance policies may not cover trampolines at all. That means if you, your kids, or the neighborhood kids get injured on the trampoline, the insurance company is not liable for those trampoline-related claims. It may also mean that adding a trampoline results in non-renewal of your current policy.
So, read up and determine if this is right for you.  I do believe you can avoid injury issues if you have the proper placement...fenced area, restricted access, supervise children.  But avoid having one if you have a daring teenager, by all means!

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