Friday, January 8, 2010

P90X: Day 32-36

Well, it's becoming more frequent of me to skip blog posts and consolidate several days into one. Fortunately, I haven't been skimping on my exercise or diet however. Actually, I've improved significantly in both aspects over the last week or so. I have been working out at about 5:00 AM every day, eating small meals at regular intervals throughout the day, and following the P90X Nutrition plan precisely. I took P90X seriously before, but I think the new year and new semester at school was just what I really needed to really kick things into gear. I had around 3 weeks off in between semesters, and since I'm a full time student I had nothing else to do in that break. One would assume that having so much time off would make it easier to work out extra hard and follow a diet, but in all honesty I find it to be easier when I'm more busy rather than less.

I suppose the temptation, and means for that matter, of eating whatever and whenever I wanted have disappeared. I spend a lot of time on campus, so I bring the food I intend to eat with me. I make one smart decision in the beginning of the day, and leave myself with little option of deviating from the plan this way. Also, since I start school at either 9 or 10 AM 5 days a week, and I commute, I must get up early anyhow. I could probably sleep in until 6 or even 7 if I wanted to push it, but I have a habit of being up early enough to show up far ahead of my scheduled classes. I've been waking up at 4:45 each morning and starting my workout between 5-5:15 without fail. Sure, it's hard to find the motivation to get started with it when I just cracked my eyes open and want nothing more than to sleep in for a few more hours, but I force myself. It's become easier with time, because I actually enjoy starting my day with P90X rather than ending with it. It invigorates me, and both mentally and physically prepares me for the rigors of the school day.

Needless to say, I'm satisfied with my progress just over this last week. Beforehand, I was satisfied with simply taking the initiative to keep pressing play. Aside from the brief shoulder injury, I never skimped or skipped. That just simply won't cut it though. Perfecting the diet, and just as importantly the schedule on which I operate, is extremely important to my success with this program. I'm glad I made the change, honestly.

So I've been following the prescribed schedule, though I screwed up somewhere and ended up with my rest day being somehow pushed up to today. It's normally Saturdays, so I must have skipped the order and done the wrong workout at some point. I think I skipped Yoga and did Cardio X the one day, but then I must have done the wrong exercise following that. I don't know. Regardless, I didn't take my rest day today. I did Kenpo X yesterday, and although I was tempted to either do it again or do the Kenpo Cardio Plus version, I decided the best course of action was to do Cardio X. That's a well-rounded workout and it includes exercises from Plyo, Kenpo, Yoga, and some original cardio moves. I really enjoy Cardio X, and in all honesty I seem to get more out of the cardio based exercises more when I work out early in the morning. Don't get me wrong, I love resistance training in P90X, but when I really get moving with something like Kenpo X or Cardio X first thing in the morning... well let's just say it perpetuates throughout the day. When I start with a resistance workout, I still feel good throughout the day but it's more of a regular lifting sore and I seem to have less overall energy.

Needless to say, I can't cut out the resistance exercises just for this reason. I am, however, considering another option which may allow me to continue doing only cardio based exercises in the morning without skipping the resistance. That option, obviously, is to take up P90X Doubles. Now, when I first started P90X, I didn't think there would be any realistic way for me to do the Doubles program until at least after my first run through Classic. Having seen just a preview of what was to come, before I ever even started, I knew it was going to be difficult. When I did my first few workouts, I realized just how difficult the program was. I feel more confident now however, because I've become accustomed to the program. I know P90X is all about breaking plateaus, and I don't mean to say that it has been repetitive in any way. What I mean is, although the exercises provide lots of variety, I'm at least used to working out 6 days a week. Now that I've been doing it so early in the morning, I feel that I can accurately gauge my energy level later on and I think it's safe to say I could handle another workout.

The determining factor is going to have to be school however. I just finished up my first week of classes, but it's been all introductory stuff. In fact, the first day was Wednesday, so I've really only had 3 days rather than a full week. Next week, I'll start to get into the meat of my classes and become more affected by the work load. If I can handle all my school work along with a second workout each day, there's no question about it; I will definitely start Doubles. However, if I feel that trying to consistently perform an extra workout several times a week will drain me to the point of affecting my performance in school, including hindering my ability to complete homework assignments or studying at any level less than what I consider optimal, I will not be able to commit to doubles. School is simply the most important thing in my life right now, and in all honesty I have no real deadline for getting in shape. I would love to be in great shape sooner rather than later, but it's not worth the sacrifice if it gets in the way of school. I could always just do another workout on SOME days, but of course I would have to know ahead of time whether or not I'm going to be able to do 2 workouts on a specific day. I would have to start the day thinking, "Ok, I am going to do cardio this morning because I know I will be able to do Legs and Back later today." There can be no room for uncertainty, and uncertainty is the nature of school work in many cases.

Regardless, I plan to kick it into a higher gear pretty soon. Whether this is in the form of doubles, or simply doing my own workouts at the gym, I will work out more. I will, and have been, working out harder as well. I think we can all admit that we don't always work out at 100% of our capacity. Everyone has days where they could probably do more, or do better, than what they actually perform. I've been able to avoid this more and more as the program goes on, and it's just one more thing I really attribute to the early morning workouts.

Well, I think it's safe to say the early morning workouts and the nutrition plan are going to stick, because it's becoming second nature to me now. I better get to bed though now, because it's much later than I should even be awake! Tomorrow is officially my rest day, but I plan on going to the gym to work out on my own anyway. I like "rest" days in a way, but I also feel unproductive. I can consider this the start of something new.

Monday, January 4, 2010

P90X: Day 30 and 31

Well, I forgot to blog about my workout last night. I figure it'll be easier to just consolidate the two days into one post though considering the circumstances. I say that because I worked out late last night, doing Plyometrics, and then worked out at 5:00 AM this morning with Back and Biceps. The two workouts are so close together it feels like I hardly got a break, but I did pretty well with all things considered!

I'm starting school again on Wednesday, and if I don't get into an early morning schedule now I'll easily just drop off the whole P90X plan in favor of a worthless extra few hours of sleep each morning. I've long been planning to start working out early in the morning, but have had such a difficult time implementing it. I will say one thing, it comes at a high price (at least for today). That price is the lack of ANY form of sleep or rest last night and an extremely high intake of caffeine. Yeah, you heard me right... I pulled an all-nighter. This has long been in the making though. With an early school schedule, I have to get on a daylight schedule and the only way I can see how is to deprive myself of sleep through the night and become so tired the next day that I'm forced to sleep early and therefore wake up earlier. It's pathetic really that I've not been able to fall asleep until 3:30-4:30 AM every morning, and have been sleeping in until around noon every afternoon. I lay in bed, restless and agitated each night, unable to fall asleep. I'm just so sick of it, and drastic measures were required. I feel great now after having worked out, and of course after an entire pot of strong coffee and 2 cups of double bagged green tea. I know, it's horrible for me... but besides just the exercise and nutrition benefits of being able to wake up so early every day, it's an absolute must for me to be able to succeed in school. It's worth it.

Anyhow, I noticed increased performance in the Plyometrics workout last night, but only slightly. My endurance is slowly increasing, but I still tend to drop off towards the end of the workout (especially for such an intense workout as Plyo). It seems like the first 30 minutes are great, and after that I really get fatigued pretty easily. It's pushing through it that counts though, and I never cut it off early. This morning's Back and Biceps workout was also fantastic. It's the first time I've run through this particular video, and I'm really happy to have a change in pace with the resistance workouts. I love working biceps, and looking in the mirror to see the visible pump I get from all the hard work. If only it lasted through the day! Regardless, my arms are incredibly sore and my back is tender in quite a good way right now as well. I have to pat myself on the back for this one... 5 AM workout with good performance.

I've also been trying to separate my resistance workouts and the Ab Ripper X workouts, because that fatigue I discussed previously has been seriously impeding my ability to perform the ab routine successfully. I'm planning on doing that later, after I run all my school related errands on campus, when I am a little less fatigued from working out.

Now, let's see if I can keep my nutrition on schedule while doing all these errands, and keep up this trend throughout the rest of the week once school starts. I'm sure that after a week or so of eating at the same time daily, and working out at the same early time, it will become second nature. I'm counting on it!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

P90X: Day 29

Well, with the problems I've been having with my shoulder, today's exercise could have been bad news. The schedule called for Chest, Back, and Shoulder. Pretty much everything in P90X that could potentially be bad for an injured shoulder is packed into this DVD. I made sure to stretch as thoroughly as possible before hitting play, and I'm so glad I did. I'm still very tender in the left shoulder, but I was able to do everything without any real problems. The workout is hard enough as it is, I'm not going to say I did everything perfectly, but I did my best and didn't let the injury hold me back. Of course, I was still careful. I think I'm pretty much in the clear now, and close to 100%. I'll still have to be careful, but with the proper amount of stretching and lots of focus on good form, I should be fine.

Anyway, the workout was rough today! My entire upper body really got the workout it needed, and I'm happy about that. I haven't yet done this particular workout, and it was a refreshing change of pace for the resistance portion. I feel like the triceps weren't really brought into focus throughout the first training block, with the exception of a few exercises and obviously as a secondary muscle group in many exercises. It was good to be able to work all my favorite upper body muscles at once though, and I really feel like it was effective. There were definitely lots of pushups in this workout, and towards the end they want you to do one handed pushups! I don't know if I could do those properly at the beginning of a workout, when I'm nice and fresh, let alone when my muscles are fatigued. I honestly couldn't even do them from my knees! I just had to do regular pushups during those parts, because otherwise I would be doing absolutely nothing with just one arm. I spent a good amount of time doing pushups from my knees today, but I always started out in standard position at least. That's somewhere I'd like to improve, and I would love to be able to bang out some one handed pushups as well.

Anyway, I feel like I've been hit with a bag of bricks, which is always a good sign on any workout day. I've got Plyometrics to look forward to tomorrow, and although it's extremely tough, it's a pretty fun and energetic workout to kick off the day. I know, I've been working out pretty late anymore, but with school starting back up on Wednesday, I've got to change over to a morning schedule. I won't be getting too much sleep tonight, as it's nearly 1:00 AM now and my alarm is set for 5:00 AM, but if I just do that for one day I'll be able to keep doing it afterwards.

There will be some definite benefits to waking up much earlier and getting my P90X done first thing in the morning. First of all, I feel like this will help me see better results. I've heard about all kinds of studies showing that you burn 300% more calories when you work out first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. I had to do this 5-6 days a week in the Army, and I know it worked well in that environment. Also, I'll be able to have an early breakfast after my workout, which will kick my metabolism into gear as well if I eat right.

Speaking of nutrition, I haven't been following the P90X nutrition plan. I've kind of just been modifying, trying to eat healthy and the right amount on my own. It hasn't been working for me, and I think it was naive of me to even try to bypass the prescribed nutrition guidelines that were designed to go with the workout. I spent a lot of time today going over nutrition, and I went to the grocery store to stock up on the right food. I then planned out a daily eating schedule that will allow me to eat small meals every several hours, which is generally the best way to boost your metabolism and lose weight. I am following the P90X Phase I (Level II) Portion Approach.

I know that it will be almost impossible to follow it unless I plan out my meals the day prior, so I spent some time planning out my meals for tomorrow. I know exactly what time to eat, so all I had to do was plug in the right amount of food and space it evenly throughout the day. Tomorrow will be the first day of some extremely serious dieting that will hopefully equate to drastic results. I've played the "feast or famine" game for far too long, and I'm using the new year and new school schedule as an opportunity to change the way I eat. I'll have an update on this tomorrow, and hopefully it will be all positive.

I'm coming at this with a serious attitude, because I'm so incredibly sick of being overweight and out of shape. I want to look and feel the best I can, and it's going to take a lot of work. I'm ready.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

P90X: Day 27

I did Core Synergistics today. That was the first workout I did in P90X (because I was going to do Lean at the time) and revisiting it brought back memories from almost a month ago. My shoulder is a lot better than it was, but I forgot just how many pushups were in this workout. I did as many as I safely could, then finished out the time with crunches, leg raises, flutter kicks, and variations to work my abs. It worked the core and didn't risk injuring my shoulder further. I did make sure to do each type of pushup though, just didn't push myself too far with it. The one I didn't attempt at all was the Reach High and Under Pushups. That was just simply too much strain to put on my shoulder. I didn't just stand around though, at least I worked my abs.

I'm glad that the injury didn't set me back too far. I'd like it to be at 100% again, but the fact that I can do any pushups at all right now is great. Of course, I'm not all that fantastic with them to begin with.

Either way, it's a new year coming up in a few hours, and my resolution is obviously to get in shape. I would like to get back down under 200, and I think that's a fairly reasonable goal. Looking back on basic training, I lost tons of weight in a fairly short period of time, and I know I can do it again. Of course, the temptation of an unhealthy diet, night time snacks, and skipping workouts was never there. We were forced to work out daily, we only ate when we were marched to the dining facility, and there was never really anything to tempt you but your own imagination. Memories of pieces of cake, chocolate, ice cream, and all those tempting sweets were all in your mind. I'll have to have more willpower now than I did previously, but I think I can manage.

Above all else, I'm going to be back in school on Wednesday. It's my first day at my new school too. I just finished up my associates degree for transfer at a community college, and I'm going to the University of Pittsburgh now. The classes will be much harder, and I'm going 5 days a week. It's going to be like a full time job, but more hours will be required than your average 40 a week. I'll have no choice but to work out early in the morning. Maybe I can think about Calculus and Physics tests while I'm working out, and realize that the exercise is the easy part!

Well, a happy New Year to all! It's the last day of 2009. I'm using 2010 to change my life.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

P90X: Day 26

Well I actually did X Stretch today for the first time, because it wasn't optional this time around. Looking at my schedule though, I think I screwed up and was supposed to do that yesterday, and Core Synergistics today. Yoga X the following day, then rest, which would bring me back into the mastry phase for week 5. Since I despise Yoga with a passion, I'll just do Core Synergistics tomorrow, then either do Yoga X on my rest day, or something else to make up for it. That will get me back on schedule.

The pain in my shoulder is definitely still there but only when I put stress on it, and it's not nearly as bad as it was. It's certainly not 100% but I think by the time any real stress is put on it in week 5 I should be fine. I'm glad I let it heal a bit though.

The X Stretch was awesome. Jeff and Lisa both recommended I try it, and I should have listened earlier. Some of the stretches are pretty difficult, and seeing anything from Yoga X make its way onto this DVD definitely made me cringe just a little bit. Regardless, it's done and I'm feeling better because of it. Let's see how it makes me feel tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

P90X: Day 25

So I got back on board today, but not exactly with P90X officially. I went to the gym today, EARLIER than normal, and did some cardio and abs. I was supposed to do Kenpo X, but going by some advice I received, I decided that it may be more risky with my shoulder to do that. I haven't ran for a while, and it was a little brutal on my knees, feet, and legs... but it was just good to be working out in general.

I'm going to try and work out earlier tomorrow also. I think working late at night was really bad for me in a lot of ways, and it screwed up my sleep schedule. I am hoping to eventually work out at around 5 or 6 AM every morning, but it takes some easing into.

Monday, December 28, 2009

P90X: Day 24

Well, I haven't worked out in a few days now. I've been as physical as possible, but I haven't done the P90X workouts for each day. I'm hoping to get back on tomorrow, but between my knee and my shoulder I'm not sure what I can really do. Upper body is too limited by my shoulder, lower body too limited by my knee, and cardio is pretty much out of the question as well. It's feeling better, but not good enough for the somewhat extreme P90X workouts. If I follow the schedule I should be on, tomorrow will be Kenpo X. Since there won't be any real contact or weights involved, I should be ok to do it. On the other hand, if I take it too hard and move too quickly I could easily overextend myself. I think I'll try it anyway and just make sure to ease into it. Either that, or I'll just go to the gym and do a makeshift workout not exactly on the P90X plan.

Oh well, I'll get back on track here soon. I didn't have the first month I really wanted to, and I'm considering just starting the whole program all over again or going to the gym to get more well rounded, perfect my diet, refine my schedule, and go at it again.