Saturday, January 30, 2010

Round 2, Day 5, Back & Biceps

My arms were so shot after this workout!! Both Sarah and I were really going big on the weights in this one. At one point I looked over and she had veins popping all over her arms. The pull-ups were a little rough and the numbers were not so big but I did add weight to those this time as well. We both still were a little sore in the back from Wed. Legs & Back routine. I have a hockey game tonight so I am not sure how or if we will get in the scheduled Yoga routine today. Oh yeah, we actually took the kids out for dessert last night at cold stone creamery and had some ice cream. This is the first time in a loooong time we have had ice cream, it tasted great and the kids had a blast so it was well worth it. It is nice to have reached a weight and fitness level where we feel like we can have some things like that sometimes without feeling guilty. I will say that it sat like a rock in my stomach and we had to wait until pretty late to workout because of it but oh well.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Round 2, Day 4, X Stretch & Ab ripper X

The title of this post is a bit of a lie because we did not do X Stretch since we did not have the time. I had a hockey game but we did get the Ab Ripper X routine in before I left for the game. This is the first time we have ever done the Ab Ripper X DVD without doing some other workout before it and I have to say it is much easier to keep up with them when you are not dog tired from an hour of working out.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Round 2, Day 3, Legs & Back

I have always thought this was a rather poorly put together routine compared to the rest of the ones in the program but as Tony says "it is what it is." We kicked it up a notch again on this one and I am more convinced than ever that I was dogging it during round 1 and am sort of wondering what kind of results I might have seen if I had pushed harder. Of course there is the case to be made that I am in much better shape now after the first round and that is why I am able to push it harder this time, whichever the case may be Sarah feels the same way and we are holding nothing back this time through. I wore a backpack with a 10 pound dumbbell in it during the pull-ups this time and still did at least as many as I did on the last workout of round 1. I also added weights to almost all the leg workouts, some I increased weight from the last time and some I added weight for the first time to exercises that Tony had suggested not to use weights for. As an example I used 5 pound dumbbells during sneaky lunges, I had to drop them for the last 30 seconds but still that is an increase and I am determined to be constantly increasing this time through. According to our schedule we are supposed to do X Stretch and Ab Ripper X tomorrow but I have a late hockey game so we might just do the Ab Ripper before I leave but we will see. Feeling stronger and really good about the prospects for progress during this round.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Round 2, Day 2, Cardio X & Ab Ripper X

This is a decent lower level cardio workout that should do well at keeping our cardio up to snuff without killing our efforts to gain muscle. I still think that once you hit the Plyo part it is at least as hard as the Plyo video just shorter. This was the first time we have done Ab Ripper X since finishing round 1 and let me tell you what a difference 2 weeks makes. I wouldn't say we dropped back to where we started but we for sure lost some ground. It felt good though to get back at it and I am excited to put on some muscle over the next 3 months. We are both pretty sore today which tells me we did something right yesterday. Diet is still going well although it feels funny to use the word diet. We really just eat differently now than we used to and that will probably never go back to the way it was before.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fit Test Results

I keep forgetting to post my fit test results from after day 90 so here goes.

Resting Heart Rate:
Day 1: 54
Day 90: Forgot this one but will try to get it in the morning
Max Pull-Ups:
Day 1: 6.5
Day 90 13
Change: +6.5 (doubled it!)
Verticle Leap:
Day 1: 86" Standing, 103" Jumping, Difference 17"
Day 90: 86" Standing, 105" Jumping, Difference 19"
Change: +2"
Max Push-Ups:
Day 1: 26
Day 90: 36
Change: +11
Toe Touch:
Day 1: -2" (the negative means I couldn't reach my toes)
Day 90: +2.75"
Change: +4.75"
Wall Squat:
Day 1: 58 seconds
Day 90: 2 minutes 45 seconds
Change: 1 minute 47 seconds
Bicep Curls:
Day 1: 11 reps, 25 lbs.
Day 90: 20 reps, 25 lbs.
Change: +9 reps
Max In & Outs:
Day 1: 25
Day 90: 47
Change: +22

Round 2, Day 1, Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps

We started the workouts from the beachbody mass building variation of P90X today, see here. The gist of this thing is lighter on the cardio, no abs on weight training days, and low reps high weight constantly increasing intensity throughout the 12 weeks. I like the no abs on the weight training days because it frees you to work that much harder knowing there is not an extra 15 minute workout after you are done. I added weight to the push-ups for this workout by putting a 10 lbs. dumbbell in a backpack and placing it low. This worked out well and really kicked things up a notch. Both Sarah and I really pushed very hard in this workout and we talked after we were done about how we probably dogged it a little in round 1. I think I could have pushed more for increases all the time and got a little lazy about that. Not this time, we are going to ignore the rep recommendations in the plan spelled out in the beachbody newsletter and go with our own approach to hypertrophy, well not our own ideas but something different from their suggestion based on our own research. We are going to target a maximum of 10 reps on each exercise and work to always be gaining from one workout to the next. For example if I did 9 reps at 25 lbs when doing the scarecrow this time next time I will do 10 reps and then the next time I will increase the weight and do as many as I can, presumably something less than 10. The idea is to always be increasing and it is something we did not do well enough during our first round. We are going to follow the workout schedule beachbody recommends though and see how that goes although depending on the week we may do only 5 days instead of six if I have a hockey game or something.

Cardio X and a New Round of P90X, Sort Of

I popped in the Cardio X DVD on Friday night and it went pretty well. This is a mix of Yoga, Kenpo, and Plyometrics. It is mentioned as a substitute for Plyometrics for people that are not ready for that yet and it is good but I don't think I would really compare them. The Plyometrics section of this is every bit as hard as the Plyometrics DVD but it does not continue on for an hour. I was actually thinking while I was doing the Plyo section that it might be harder than the Plyo DVD because it seemed, at least to me, that there was less break time in this one and you just kept going. One thing that was very clear to me from doing this is that when I do have to perform Plyo again I am going to be hurting, amazing what 2 weeks can do to you. I will probably work this routine into the rotation going forward as well just for some variety.

I did no workouts over the weekend but I did play hockey Saturday night which got me sweating pretty good. Sarah and I will be starting up a new round of P90X today but following the plan set out in the beachbody newsletter for gaining mass, you can check it out here. We may modify this one a little as well by mixing up the cardio work and possibly dropping one of the cardio days at times to make it a 5 day a week schedule instead of 6 but we will see how it goes. I am looking forward to getting back down to work and Sarah is as well. We are absolutely noticing how easy it would be to get back into sitting on the couch watching TV and when that happens you just want to eat. I did weigh in again this morning and I was 150 so I am not adding weight but it is absolutely time to hit it hard again. I would like to add 5-10 pounds of muscle mass before doing another round of P90X classic again so it is time to bring it again.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tried another one

Last night I did the other free bonus workout that came with the P90X package. this workout is called UML (Upper-Middle-Lower). The idea is you do exercises in sets of 3 the first being an upper body exercise the next a core exercise and the final being a lower body exercise. The upper body stuff is all some form of push-up, and the lower body stuff is questionable. By questionable I mean some of it seems much more like core work than lower body work. The idea behind this workout is a good one but it is way too short and not very intense. The total run time is about 38 minutes but by the time you take out the warm up and cool down it is really a 26 minute workout. After doing Plyo this is like taking a nap. I will use this one again during our alternative schedule focused on mass building to mix things up on non weight days but this is no tough workout. It will be nice for a change though.

I also got a question last night about why I don't just throw a DVD in every night instead of trying to follow a schedule. The answer is that if I have a set schedule for a 12 week period I am much more likely to actually do the workouts than I am if I have to rely on picking one and doing it at random every day. This is one of the things I liked about P90X to begin with, I had everything planned out for me. Prior to this I was designing my own 8-12 week programs but that required a good bit of work and I am just a lazy ass at heart.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New workout

The original plan was to start a new schedule this week but my wife is sick so we are waiting until next week to do that. What we are going to do is some form of the mass building P90X schedule described in the P90X newsletter here. I am going to do a couple of weeks back on the phase 1 nutrition plan to start this off and then return to phase 2, my wife is going to simply maintain the phase 2 nutrition. We are a little less strict about the nutrition now but basically continuing with the plan. One thing I have noticed since finishing is how easy it is to get back into a sit on your ass and watch TV mode in the evenings when you don't have our workouts scheduled. I have worked out a couple of times since day 90 including the fit test which I will post results from later but we have had some lazy nights. The thing about these lazy nights is we both want to snack as soon as we sit in front of the TV even though we have not been snacking since starting the program, interesting. Last night I popped in a disk and tried the interval cardio routine which was included free with the P90X introduction DVD. This was some of the same or similar move to plyo but not as intense as the plyo routine. The arm up was too long but it was fun and I will use it more to mix things up in the future. Looking forward to starting back into the workouts next week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Day 90 Pictures and Measurements/Review

So I thought that since we have now finished the 90 days I would summarize some of my thoughts on the program as well as give some things that I think might be useful to anyone considering doing the program. Oh yeah, I also have my day 90 photos.


According to the fitness guide that came with P90X the following equipment is recommended, and surprise you can buy it all from beachbody. I would not recommend buying the gear from beachbody though since from all the research I did you can easily beat their prices at a local sporting goods store and not have to wait for delivery.

Yoga Mat - I used it for many of the workouts and I would recommend one for anyone without a very soft floor to workout on but not required by any stretch of the imagination. You can get one of these for as little as $15-20 at Dick's or other sporting goods store.

Chin-Up Bar - You really are not going to get too far in this program without one of these. If you have resistance bands Tony shows alternatives for all the pull-ups but some of them are not entirely the same. I built my own pull-up bars out of black pipe, a couple of elbows, and a couple of floor flanges. I lag bolted the assembled pipe, using the flanges, to a 2X8 and then lag bolted that to the rafters in the unfinished part of my basement.

Dumbbells and/or Resistance Bands - You can use either but you don't need both but one or the other or a substitute such as the selecttech dumbbells are absolutely required. I bought the bowflex selecttech dumbbells mentioned later and I like them.

Heart Rate Monitor - I bought a Sportline from Sports Authority for $70 on sale but there are various ones at different prices and if you want to skip this it is not needed for the program. I like it and use it but you could save some money by skipping it.

Yoga Block(s) - They say you need 2 but I only used one and you could get by without it and use books or something. I do recommend something though if you are new to yoga since it will help you get into some of the positions and get you a better stretch. I bought mine from Sports Authority for $10 for 2 but you can get a pair for as cheap as $5.
Body Fat Tester - I saw no point in this but get one if you want. I do not feel that I missed anything by not having this and I do have a scale that give a body fat reading. These scales are notoriously inaccurate but you can get a good idea of progress from one if you always use it at the same time of day under the same conditions and ignore the value and just pay attention to the change over time.

Power Stands - This is just a specific set of push-up stands that beachbody sells and you don't need to have push-up stands for the program if you don't want them. I did buy some and used them because they helped prevent wrist pain. Keep in mind you will be doing a lot of push-ups so you may experience some wrist issues. I bought mine from Dick's for $20.

Selecttech Dumbbells - I bought these after much research and I loved them. The web site is here. I decided to buy some adjustable because of space issues but after researching I discovered they were much cheaper than buying the same number of regular dumbbells. If I bought the equivalent regular dumbbells to the selecttech 552 I would have spent around $1000 and these cost me $350. These are not the only adjustable out there but from the research I did you want to stay away from anything but these or the Power Blocks because the rest of them suck. I tried a bunch and most were hard to adjust which will be a giant pain in the ass while doing the workouts.

This seems like a pretty extensive list but there are some other things you will need to have handy to do some of the workouts. These are not likely to be things you need to buy but you will still need them. You need a chair or stool for some of the workouts for things like chair dips. You also will want to get a good pair of cross trainers to wear during most of the workouts and make sure they fit well or your feet will be sliding all over during the plyometrics workout.


Again the fitness guide has a convenient list of products available from beachbody. I know some people have used these and had good results but my research led me down a different path. From what I was able to discover the beachbody bars and supplements were at best no better than what I could get locally and at worst not as good and more expensive. I took the following but do your own research based on your goals and decide for yourself what you want to do for supplementation.

Gold Standard 100% Whey - I took one serving post workout and one serving in the morning on a rest day. This tastes great, I like the double chocolate, and is loaded with protein and almost no sugar. I always took this with skim milk, it tastes nowhere near as good without the milk.

Muscletech Cell-Tech Hardcore - This is a Creatine product and I took half a serving during phases 1 and 2 which is 5 grams of Creatine. I upped the dose during phase 3 to the manufacturer recommended serving which is 10 grams of Creatine. I took this post workout and in the morning on off days. I noticed a fairly significant difference in phase 3 and I sort of attribute it to upping the dosage on this so I would probably start there if I were you. The one drawback on this is it is high in sugar but that is supposed to be part of how it works. If you don't buy the hype on this you can get a Creating supplement without the sugar and use that in the same dosage.

Multi Vitamin - I intentionally did not put down a brand here because I think that is less important than taking one. here is one supplement that I would say you should take it is this. You are going to be working your body hard and draining it of its resources so this could be helpful in helping you stay healthy during the 90 days. If there is one complaint I have heard from a few people it is they got sick while doing the program. It is a 90 day program so that is bound to happen sometimes, it did to me, but I could see how if you were not real good with the nutrition you might have problems and this could help too.

Vitamin C- 1000 milligrams a day. This was something I took prior to this program and not something I did as part of this.

Fish Oil - EPA 600 milligrams/DHA 400 milligrams/Other Omega-3's 200 milligrams. This is also something I took before the program partly to control cholesterol but also as part of my weight loss program. There have been some interesting studies linking fish oil to weight loss so if that is your goal you might want to research it. You can find a million things about this by doing a google search.

Nutrition Bars - I found 2 I liked Clif Builders and Zone Perfect. The Clif Builders are a high protein bar and the peanut butter is yummy. The zone perfect is not really as high in protein but is tasty as well. There are a bunch of these out there though for you to choose from. I bought a bunch of singles and tried them all early on and picked the ones I liked to buy later. I used these as a snack from time to time when I was out or in a hurry but that is all I used them for.


Not much to say here other than follow the nutrition plan if you want to see results. It is my opinion that this is probably about 70% of the program. The amount of effort and will power this will take will depend on what your habits today are. If you eat junk all the time this is going to be tough but stick to it. If you slip don't beat yourself up just get back on that horse and go at it again. If you follow this plan for 90 days it is likely that you will change the way you eat for good which is what you really should be looking for, lifestyle change. Once you feel like you are to this point you might want to be a little more lax on the nutrition and just do something like following the rules outlined by fitbomb here, he also has a great description of the nutrition plan there so I won't repeat it.


If you want to be successful in this I suggest you do your homework and plan ahead. Order the program and take some time to read through everything and then get online and do some research. Do this before you start so you will know what you are getting into. I would go so far as to suggest that you do as many of the workouts as you can prior to actually starting the 90 days. At the very least watch them all but doing them will allow you to get a decent idea of what rep counts and weights you will be doing and will give you a chance to see how they are se up and the speed at which they move.

Get some workout sheets and use them. There are some available from beachbody online such as this one for Chest and Back. These are what I used but when I start again I will probably make my own because there are some things missing from these and some entire workouts have none and probably should. It is key that you track you progress though and constantly try to increase. This is something I think I could have done a better job on. I don't feel like I pushed hard enough to increase on every exercise in every workout which is what I plan to do next time around.

Hold yourself accountable somehow. Blog about your progress, tell your friends, tell our family, work out with a friend whatever it takes to make it harder for you to just stop without someone asking you about it. This can be helpful and the good thing is the workouts are much like the nutrition, once you get through 90 days of this you are likely to want to continue because it becomes a lifestyle change.

Read other P90X and fitness blogs. Read the nutrition and health articles in the newspaper or look around online for similar stuff to keep your interest up. The bottom line is have fun and keep pushing play and bring it and you will like the results you see.

So are my pictures and I plan to do the fit test Friday night and post the results I do have measurements thou so here it goes. I am actually including extra pictures here that are a little more close up. Have a look back at my previous pictures if you want to see the differences.

Weight -
Day 1 - 160 pounds
Day 30 - 155 pounds
Day 90 - 155 pounds
Chest -
Day 1 - 38"
Day 30 - 36"
Day 90 - 38"
Waist -
Day 1 - 35.5"
Day 30 - 33.5"
Day 90 - 30"
Hips -
Day 1 - 35"
Day 30 - 33.25"
Day 90 - 29.5"
Right Thigh -
Day 1 - 21"
Day 30 - 22"
Day 90 - 22.5"
Left Thigh -
Day 1 - 20.75"
Day 30 - 21"
Day 90 - 21.5"
Right Arm -
Day 1 - 13.5"
Day 30 - 13.5"
Day 90 - 13.5"
Left Arm -
Day 1 - 13.25"
Day 30 - 13.25"
Day 90 - 13.25"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Just Do It"

There was a good article by Jane E. Brody in the NY Times today, look here to see it. The article talks about how people today are more interested in a quick fix to their health and weight problems in the form of a pill or supplement as opposed to modifying their diet and spending the time needed to exercise in order to achieve their goals. I could not agree more with the view put forward in this article. I will say, however, that this does not mean I don't think supplements have their place as a matter of fact I take several and plan to continue to do so. The important thing is to do your research and understand what it is the different supplements can provide for your body to, as the name suggests, supplement your appropriate diet and exercise program. Know your goals so that you can read the research studies available and choose the proper supplements to help you achieve those goals. Possibly the most important point made in the article is that you need to get up off your ass and work to achieve your goals. As Jane says:
It’s time to stop making excuses and make regular physical activity an integral part of your life, like eating, sleeping and brushing your teeth. You don’t decide every day to do these things, you just do them. Likewise with exercise.
If Hippocrates could get it right 2500 years ago, as indicated by Jane, when he said:
All parts of the body which have a function if used in moderation and exercised in labors in which each is accustomed, become thereby healthy, well developed and age more slowly; but if unused and left idle they become liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly.
This is not rocket science, there was no such thing as rocket science when Hippocrates stated this simple truth. This is just common sense stuff as are all the concepts and approaches used in the P90X program, lets face it Tony is not the most cerebral guy out there based on what I have seen of him but he takes some simple proven concepts and presents them in a fun and challenging manner that can make you successful. You don't need to be a genius to figure this stuff out you just need to make the decision that it is time to make a change in your life and stick to it. The catalyst that brings you to this realization is likely to be very personal and different for all, for me it was a desire to get over my back pain as well as stay healthy and live to see my kids grow old but for you it may be appearance or whatever. You may find the P90X approach unattractive and you can't stick with it but there are many other options out there so keep looking until you find one that does work for you and you can stick to. Just remember though that the search is not a search for an easy fix but rather a search for a good fit because no matter what it is you find it is going to be hard work or it is not going to give the results you want. Whatever it takes to get you to that point find your motivation and the approach that works for you and get up off your ass clean out that refrigerator and "Just Do It."

Monday, January 11, 2010

Days 89 and 90

I went out of town for the weekend and so missed blogging about the fact that we finished up the 90 days. We actually switched the last 2 days and did Yoga X on Thursday night and Core Synergistics on Friday morning. We mostly switched because the Yoga is just better at night but also the kids are up in the morning and it is hard to do anything for 1 1/2 hours. Either way we finished and I still can't believe the 90 days is over. Overall I am very happy with the results and will post a review of the program shortly. I also plan to post fit test results and pictures byut that will have to wait because I have a hockey game tonight and am not going to do the fit test before it, I don't think.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 88

Good relaxing stretch aside from the fact that Tony won't shut his damn pie hole for more than 2 seconds during this thing. I can't believe we only have 2 days left.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 87, No More Wesley

After 90 days I still don't understand those that say this workout does not get them sweating. Maybe it is just me though since I am sweating while I am writing this post too but I was sweating my ass off during this workout even after 86 days of this. I am impressed by those of you that say you needed to add weights to this workout because you are hard core. It will be nice to do X Stretch tomorrow considering we really have not had the opportunity to do it as much as I would have liked over the course of the program.

Day 86, Core Synergistics

I like this workout because it really hits on everything and moves fast without much break from start to finish. I think I will try to work this one into my post P90X routines on some sort of a regular basis. I was sweating like crazy by the end of this workout and it felt good. I had forgotten that Dreya was featured in this one and I could do without her presence for sure. As a suggestion to the beachbody folks I would say in addition to the music off option they should have an option to remove Dreya from the videos, I would probably even pay extra for that option. I am looking forward to doing the last Kenpo workout today and not having to watch Wesley half ass his way through this thing again.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Day 85

Last night was the early start of our recovery week and we did Yoga following my ice hockey game. This was the first time I have ever done one of the workouts following a game and this was immediately after the game. I was a little surprised at how well I was able to do during the yoga routine given how tired my legs were. I did have a little more trouble with the warrior three sequence because my legs were so tired I just could not stay on one foot for that long. I am looking forward to getting to do the core synergistics routine again because if I remember properly it is pretty good and one of the best workouts in this program.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 84, all over but the recovery

That is it except the recovery week. It has been fun and I am looking forward to this recovery week, man do I need it. Once again Wesley amazed me today with his apparent laziness during this workout. It makes me laugh how he waves his hands around while half assing all the moves almost as if that will distract you from the flabby body behind those hands. My wife had me laughing during the vertical punches at the end. She said it looks like Wesley is handing out drinks or something rather than punching, Wesley the bartender :) We are going to start the recovery week workouts tomorrow night after my hockey game because I am going out of town next weekend and we really would like to finish up together. I will be celebrating my 39th birthday on Thursday and finishing up my first round of P90X on Friday, should be a pretty good week! I am still thinking about what is next but I think we will be doing a couple months of mass building 3 days a week and a few P90X cardio and Yoga workouts sprinkled in here and there followed by another round of P90X.

Day 83, a little sad

I was a little sad to think that it was my last resistence workout of the P90X program but I quickly got over that by the time we completed sneaky lunges and Ab Ripper X helped too. We did push real hard though knowing this is the end of the weight training portion and it felt real good. I am pretty sore today as a result but that is how it should be. I increased or maintained on all the exercises and did more on Ab Ripper X than I have done to date. I am not sure if I will ever be able to completely keep up with that one but I am close on many of the exercises. I don't know who could possibly keep up with those V-up Roll-ups, I think I would rather shoot myself in the foot than contemplate doing 100 of them as Tony suggests. An interesting thing about this last week is I have been very sore from the workouts for some reason. I don't know if it was the break from the back soreness or if I was just pushing really hard knowing it was coming to the end but it felt good.