Saturday, September 19, 2009

So I am going to try this P90X thing, what am I thinking

It all started in 2003 when I was in a car accident that resulted in a lower back injury. At the time I was in excellent shape physically and was even still playing on a college ice hockey team. I did smoke which didn't help me any but I had been able to overcome that without much trouble up to that point. It is amazing how quickly things can change when you can no longer do the things you used to do.

I ended up with two ruptured disks (L5 and L4) and a third that was bulging badly (L3). I was unable to perform the simplest of physical tasks for a fairly long period of time. To make matters worse I started a new career at the same time as this. I went from a fairly active career to an office job where I sat all day long. Within 6 months I had gained 25 pounds and it was largely around my waist. Eventually I got back to performing daily activities fine but when I would work out I would have problems and fall backwards. I actually ended up in a heap on my front lawn at one point due to sudden extreme pain and an ambulance had to be called to take me to the hospital. My legs had gone numb and I felt as if someone had stabbed me in the base of the spine with a hot knife. I would not wish back problems on my worst enemy, it is almost unbearable.

That brings me to the past year. I had topped out the scales at 183 and when I was in the accident I had been 155. What's worse is the smoking had begun to bother me and I was somewhat short of breath, did not feel healthy at all, and was worried about my kids seeing me smoke and thinking being overweight is the way to go. My cholesterol, which had always been high due to my bum cholesterol genes, had gone through the roof and I just generally felt like shit and thought I was not going to make it until retirement time. I began to go to the gym after starting a new job where they had one in my building. I started off slow but began to get into it and before long I was going every day and I also stopped smoking, mostly. Being an engineer I like to research the things I do and learn as much about them as I can so I did a lot of research into exercising and designed my own workout and menu. I would change the workout every 8 weeks or so and take a week off to rest from time to time. Initially I had some setbacks with my back but eventually with a lot of core muscle work I was able to determine what things worked and what did not and get my core to the point that I finally felt that I was not going to go backwards again. I also changed my diet drastically. I no longer drank many calories, I drink beer sometimes but for the most part it is water or black coffee. This was a drastic change for me as I was drinking sodas constantly before and until the injury and lethargy that accompanied it there was never a problem. I also began having oatmeal for breakfast every morning and I had never eaten breakfast prior to this. The oatmeal should also help my cholesterol but we will see since I just had blood drawn this week.

By August I had lost 20 pounds or so and was feeling great. I was going to the gym every day for at least an hour and I looked better than I had in forever. More importantly I had the energy to keep up with my kids. The time had come for a new workout and I stumbled across P90X after talking to a guy at the gym who had tried it and it worked great. I started researching and reading blogs and talking to people and the more I heard the more it sounded like fun. I decided to try it. I ordered the program and waited anxiously by the mailbox for its arrival.

After it arrived I read through the book and began to accumulate the equipment I would need. After reading the information my wife decided she was going to do the program as well. This sounded good to me since I would not have to suffer alone. I built us some pull up bars out of black pipe, bought some bowflex adjustable dumbbells and we were ready to go.

We are starting on September 28th and I did my last workout at the gym on September 18th. I weighed in at 160 on my last day at the gym for a grand total of 23 pounds lost since I started in February. We will be doing our fit test this week and may try one or two of the workouts as well. We have watched the workouts and they seem interesting but very difficult, should be fun. We have gone through the nutrition plan and I have worked out what I am going to eat, I am doing the portion plan as opposed to the meal plan and will likely eat the same thing or close to it for breakfast and lunch every day since that is what I do now and it is easy. I will post my before pics when I take them this week and keep you posted as we go forward.

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