07 July, 2012

P90X Day 71: Chest & Back

Day 71 is a milestone day in P90X.

It’s the last time you do Chest & Back.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve reached the last of anything. It seems like I just started this thing a couple weeks ago. Time flies.

As I’ve said earlier, there are a few of the workouts that are only done 5 times. Chest & Back is one of those. Amazingly, I did Chest & Back today for the fifth time, and I still have 5 more of Ab Ripper X left to do.

Speaking of which…

Of course, Ab Ripper X was part of today.  It’s very odd. On my cycle, I do Ab Ripper X on Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday every week. And the Saturday ones are always my worst. I’ve only had two days off from doing it, but it always seems like longer. Monday will almost certainly be better, but I always have problems with the Saturday version. Someday I’ll figure out why.

But not today. Today I’m reveling in the fact that I’ve reached the last time through with this workout. The home stretch has officially begun.

Tomorrow, Plyometrics. Sadly, not the last one of those yet. :)

06 July, 2012

P90X Day 70: X Stretch

X Stretch is the most relaxing of all the workouts. In fact, the two day set of Kenpo X followed by X Stretch is the easiest two day sequence. Which is fair, because they are days 6 and 7 of the week, and days 1 and 2 make up the hardest sequence.

I like this day. I really do. It still points out to me quite clearly how poor of shape I’m in, but it doesn’t do it in nearly as humiliating a fashion as Yoga X does.

Of course, that means that tomorrow I get back to the hard stuff. Chest & Back, and good old Ab Ripper X.

And that reminds me…

I realized last week during one of the strength training days that I need a change of pace. While there are some days that I truly enjoy, they’re evenly matched by the workouts that just fill me with dread. I still loathe pull ups. Legs & Back is murder. Plyometrics and Yoga X put me through the wringer. And don’t even get me started on Ab Ripper X.

There are only 3 weeks left, and one of those is the Recovery week, so I’m not worried about not finishing. But I am concerned about my plan to turn around and do this again. Several of the workouts are starting to bore me at times, and that makes it even harder to get up for the exercises that I dislike.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m certain that I will do P90X again, but I need a break from it. I need to switch to something else. Several months back, when I was thinking about starting this, I considered doing Insanity, instead. Then I was going to do both, and do Insanity first. Then I decided to do P90X first. Then, after I’d started it, I decided to just do P90X and forget about Insanity.

Ok, so I’m a bit indecisive.

But the truth of the matter is that once I looked into them both, P90X fits my goals better than Insanity. They both are full body workouts, but P90X I describe as Strength+Cardio, while Insanity seems like it’s Cardio+Strength. We’re a fat nation, and just about every workout program emphasizes losing weight, but Insanity makes that the major part of it’s appeal. In fact, if you watch the promo video, that’s pretty much all anyone talks about.

Well, I don’t need to lose any more weight. :) I do still need more muscle mass, though. More muscle mass helps you burn more calories, and my burn rate isn’t where I’d like it yet.

In spite of all of this, I’ve decided that I’m going to move on to Insanity after I’ve finished this round of P90X. I should still get muscle growth out of it. Perhaps not quite as much as I would with another round of P90X, but, as I said, I need a change of pace. I’m going to take a week off in between, so I should start Insanity around August 4. It’s only 60 days, so I’ll finish in early October.

And maybe I’ll discover that it’s just as good for my goals as P90X. It certainly has the advantage of needing less equipment—none—so, that part will be nice. And, it will be nice to be able to give a full comparison of the two. I’m looking forward to that as well.

But that’s still several weeks into the future. Tomorrow, on to the final 3 weeks of P90X!

05 July, 2012

P90X Day 69: Kenpo X

First, I have a public service announcement.

75 pounds.

75 pounds is how much weight I’ve lost from my all-time high. Yes, I haven’t set any speed records doing it, but I did get the weight off.

Since my freshman year in college, I’ve always had at least a little bit of a pooch stomach. Obviously, when I was 75 pounds heavier, it was more than a little bit. But, no matter where I was in my yo-yoing weight, I’ve never been able to get rid of that pooch. I’ve had it basically my entire adult life. I remember the day in college when my freshman roommate made some sort of mocking statement about it. It was the first time in my life I felt fat. I was probably all of 140 pounds at the time, but the fact that I had that pooch and that others had noticed was all it took to make me feel fat.

Today, there is no pooch. Not even a little bit of one. I’ve been fighting that thing my whole life, and I finally have beaten it. For now. If I’ve learned anything during this process of getting into better shape, it’s that it’s not a one time battle. You keep fighting it every day of your life.

But, for the first time in my life, I’m winning. And you have no idea how good that feels.

Now, on to Kenpo X.

This is the only workout where there really aren’t any breaks. Oh sure, there are three or four places where the word “BREAK” pops up on the screen, and they last a minute each. But, they aren’t breaks. In just about every single one, my heart rate is higher at the end of the break than it was at the beginning. Some break. You run in place, jump an imaginary rope, do jumping jacks, and a harder version called X-jacks. You don’t feel like you’ve taken a break at the end.

In spite of that, this is probably the workout that’s the most fun. I still feel like my heart rate never quite gets up where I’d like it. I’m constantly in the aerobic zone, but rarely in the anaerobic zone. But the time just flies by, and before I know it, the workout is over. It’s nowhere near as demanding or high-impact as Plyometrics is. I still get a good cardio workout, but I’m not just completely exhausted and drained at the the end.

Tomorrow, X Stretch, and the end of week 10. 3 more weeks to go.

04 July, 2012

P90X Days 62-68

Wow, didn’t realize it had been so long since my last update. It’s not that I haven’t been doing them. I have. Just have been swamped with life, and haven’t had time to do an update.

So, here goes.

Day 62: Kenpo X

I think I’ve said everything that can be said about this one. I am awful at side kicks. If I do it even close to correctly, it hurts. If I want it not to hurt, I have to do it wrong. Hard choice. But at least doing it wrong still gets my heart rate up, and doesn’t hurt. I just need to get more limber in my hips and legs. Eventually I’ll be able to do them right.

Day 63: X Stretch

I really enjoy this workout. Surprisingly, it’s more relaxing for me than Yoga X, just because it’s not nearly as brutal. Still hard, but the only part that really has me even close to whimpering is Bow and the Two Legged Hamstring Stretch. Most of the rest is doable, and enjoyable.

Day 64: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

You know, way back in the first week, I thought I’d be able to get by with just 2 or 3 different weights. For this week’s Chest, Shoulders & Triceps, I used almost all of my weights. I used 5, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, and 25 pounds. The only pre-set weight that I have set up that I didn’t use was my 50s. This workout is just brutal in that every exercise is so very different. A weight that works great for one is totally wrong for the next. I have fun on this one, but just keep track of all my weights is a workout in itself. And, of course, it’s followed by my favorite, Ab Ripper X.

Day 65: Plyometrics

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Your body is different every day. And it reacts differently. For whatever reason, I actually got my heart rate up to almost in the zone while doing the warm ups. From that point on, my heart rate was way up the entire workout. For once I was having to watch it just to make sure I didn’t go too high. And believe me, I got close. More than once. I considered pausing the DVD for a bit, just to catch my breath. But, I didn’t, and eventually I made it through. But, man, this workout was tough this week. It always is, but this week was brutal.

Day 66: Back & Biceps

This is a fun workout. I wish it was part of week 1. Although the pull up variations on it are just ridiculously hard. But the rest of the time, you’re just lifting, and lifting, and lifting. Again, like day 64, I used nearly all of my weights. I didn’t use the 5 or 8 pounders, but used everything else. I even use the 50s on the two different variations of Lawnmowers. You really know you’ve worked your arms at the end of this one. Ab Ripper X is at the end of this one again. I had an epiphany during the Ab Ripper piece, but it’s going to have to wait for my next post. Too long to put in this one.

Day 67: Yoga X

I’m finally getting noticeable improvement at the yoga. I can almost do the Half Moon and Twisting Half Moon. Almost. I tried to go lower in my Warrior poses this week. Wow, that cranked the workout up to 11. It’s hard to believe you can sweat so much from yoga, but I do every week, and this week I felt like I’d been standing out in the rain by the time it was over. I was completely soaked, head to toe.

Day 68: Legs & Back

Only a couple more times to do this one before P90X is all over. I won’t miss it. Every part of this workout is just murder. First, we have pull ups. Yippee. Y’all know how much I love those. Then we’ve got wall squats. Two of ‘em. You know, those just don’t any easier. Ever. I use weights on all the lunges. I don’t use much, but I do use a little. And even just a little bit of weight turns the lunges into major league workouts for your calves. Then, there’s the Skaters and the Speed Squats. Those don’t hurt, but I can’t keep my balance properly. I need a lot more work on this workout before I’ll be performing it at a level I would consider even close to acceptable.

Tomorrow is Kenpo X again, then X Stretch on Friday. Saturday starts week 11, which officially begins the stretch run. I’ll do more frequent updates starting Saturday. Stay tuned.