Friday, January 28, 2011

P90X ~ A Recap

It has now been 6 days since I "finished" P90X ~  "Finished" because as I have found out, P90X has now become a lifestyle for me.  I'll explain.

But first I must dispense with a bit of business.  I am eternally grateful to one particular friend who provided the last bit of motivation needed to get the program started and finished.  I first refereed to this source on a previous post: "Motivation Comes From the Most Unlikely Sources".  Thank you from the bottom of my now stronger heart for that push you gave me.  You know who you are!

As I went into the program I had defined my goals to be simple but specific:  I wanted to have a stronger upper body,  I wanted a stronger, tighter core and wanted to loose some "fat".  I did NOT want to have bigger, bulkier muscle mass.  As a triathlete this is not what you're after.

I have been bombarded with requests for "before" and "after" pictures.  Apparently, as it appears to me, the success of P90X is mostly measured by a drastic change in physique.  Well, mine did not.  My shoulders, arms, biceps, triceps and back have a tad bit more definition but nothing that will land me in the cover of any magazine.

I did NOT do the P90X Diet.  That's a topic for another discussion.

My change came in the form of strength and fat loss.  I lost 4 pound of body weight during the program.

Pre P90X I could do 25 push ups.  The last 3-4 were pushing the envelope.  But we can say I did 25.  Last night I pushed 100... the last 5 hurt.

Pull ups... Oh, dear dreaded pull ups. Pre P90X I couldn't do "1".  That's right, not even "1".  Last night I managed 10.  The last 2 hurt like hell, but kept in form!

To measure core strength we can take Pre P90X "In & Outs".  The count at the start was 27.  Last night's count was 45.  This is pretty amazing considering the back issues I carry with me.

Percentage of body fat went from 19.0% Pre P90X to 9.6% today. This one item alone made the whole program worth its weight in gold.

So what's next?  I will continue to do P90X workouts.  Not at the intensity and quantity as before, but I will continue to do them.  The plan calls for two or three, shorter versions per week, Plyometrics and X Stretch after a long run or a long ride.

I am by no means a fitness expert but I did learn a couple of things during this journey.  Specially how to prepare myself mentally to enter into the program and how to stay motivated even during those days when I didn't want to do it.  The biggest comment I heard was:  "WOW!  I've never known anyone who actually finished this thing."

I have received advise from a host of people during the past five years.  For this I am forever grateful. I feel that the time has come for me to give some back.  If you're looking to do this program but don't know how to get started, stick with it and finish, drop me a note via the comments section below.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

And Now I Run For A Cause

We all exercise to be healthy.  That's why we start anyway.  Along the way, other things come into the picture, sometimes is a challenge, a dare, a goal, a mission, a cause!

I have used all of the above mentioned reasons to continue to exercise, but a "cause" that I deeply cared about I had not found.

That is until now.

Soles4Souls hit a nerve and after some research and thought, I decided to join their cause.

Here's what Jessica Crate, Soles4Souls Active Director has to say:

"My name is Jessica Crate, and I am excited to be representing the ACTIVE division of Soles4Souls.  I am dedicated to using my talents to engage people with the mission of my favorite charity:  Soles4Souls, has stepped up to lead the Soles in Motion ACTIVE Team.

Running and being active motivates me to stay healthy, be more social, set goals, and encourage those around me.  However, my athletic ability would not be possible without the right pair of shoes.  I go through several pairs of shoes a year, but what happens to those shoes when I'm done?  Let's keep "paying it forward" by extending the life of the shoe to another child or person in need.

My dream, goal and vision is to use my running ability to raise funds and awareness so that a pair of shoes is not wasted, but donated or recycled and given to people in need so that we can share the incredible experience of what being ACTIVE can do for you.  I am personally committed to running every race I enter this year to engage athletes to donate shoes at each event, help events and athletes GO GREEN by becoming more eco-friendly, and raising funds with every mile for Soles4Souls ACTIVE.  I will be present at local, major and nationwide 2011 events and am running to raise $1 with every pair of shoes for each mile I run.  I am currently training to qualify for the Olympic Trials and coaching a group of Melbourne (Fl) athletes, whose goal is to contribute to Soles4Souls mission to collect 11 million pairs of shoes in 2011 and ship them all through participant and volunteer donations through the Soles4Souls fundraising program.

There are many different ways in which you can get involved and help.  I will be coming back soon with details!
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Friday, January 14, 2011

It's A Matter Of Knowing Why

Over the past few days I have been asked often, through my different social media sites, DailyMile, Facebook and Twitter how I was able to complete (although as of this writing I still have 8 days to go) the P90X program.  (I'm proud to have friends that have faith that I will finish this!)  I have been asked to write a review of the results achieved.  This will come as soon as the program is completed.

What I wish to address today is the matter of "How".

On an earlier post, "Motivation Comes From the Most Unlikely Sources" I outlined the intentions I had for tackling this program.  In a nut shell, I wanted to take the off season to work on my strength and core conditioning, it was/is as simple as that.

However, the question has been asked often, more than I could have ever imagined:  "How have you been able to stick to this?"  followed by "I know someone that started and never finished", or "I bought the program and its collecting dust on the shelf."

The commitment to tackle an undertaking of such magnitude is no different than any other goal you set for yourself.  On my other blog I recently discussed How To Keep Your New Year's Resolutions.  This is no different.

I can add to the advise provided on that post one more insight.  "You must know why you want to do this."  Wanting to do it is just not enough.

My goal for this year is the Ironman Louisville.  I have known that in order to have a better shot at success I must  improve my strength and core conditioning.  That was step one.

Step two, was researching several options.  Analyzing pros and cons and coming up with a plan that would get me there.  This is where P90X came in.

Getting up at 4:30 in the morning was an adjustment I had to make.  Changing my eating habits was another.  Accepting that it was going to be "hard" was just another.  It took about three weeks for me to get into the mindset that I "was" going to do this, regardless of the above mentioned "changes".

Every time I press a weight, do a push up, a pull up, a chin up, a lunge, a squat, a jump, a tuck, a hop, a curl, I know that this could be the repetition that takes me to the finish line in a more efficient manner.  So I go on.  NO matter the pain.

It's not easy and it will hurt.  It will require work, dedication, commitment and mental strength.  But hey, it's only 90 days, right?

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Plyometrics and the Triathlete

After 80 days of P90X, Plyometrics has become one of my favorite routines.

But having a specific goal in mind, I set out to do a little informal research on the benefits of Plyo for the triathlete.  Here's what I've learned.

First off, what exactly, is Plyometrics?  Plyo refers to exercise that enables the muscle to reach maximum force in the shortest period of time.  The muscle is loaded with a lengthening action followed immediately by a shortening action.

Muscles and tendons have an elastic type nature to them. Body moments involved in activities such as running, and to some extent in cycling, use the elastic nature of muscles and tendons to store energy and then release it like much like a rubber band to propel the body forward. This is known as the stretch shortening cycle.

This cycle is evident primarily in the cycling and running portion of the triathlon.

Run cadence and cycling cadence are key factors when determining efficiency in triathletes, along with distance per stroke. On the bike we try to maintain a cadence of 85-95 rpm in order to keep our legs turning over quickly. Run cadence actually closely matches cycling cadence, as the most efficient athletes try to maintain that 90 rpm cadence.

There are a host of Plyo exercises that help you improve your running and cycling cadence.  Work these into your regular schedule or training program and the results you see will substantial.

I have personally found that the P90X Plyometrics routine has improved both my running and cycling cadence.  I ran the fastest 5 mile run on Thanksgiving Day and every long run since starting the program has been faster and stronger plus my bike speed has increased by 3-4 mph (albeit on the trainer so I can wait to test the improvement on solid road).

P90X Plyo is a lot of fun and a lot of hard work. I always find myself looking forward to the day when I can do this.  It is recommended that no more than two times per week.  On the mornings when Plyo is scheduled (like tomorrow), it takes no second thought or a hit of the snooze button on the alarm clock to get out of bed.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm A Junkie Yes I Am A Junkie Is What I Am

Okay, it's not what you think!  Let me explain...

A few weeks back, during a routine visit to our office, I ran into a friend who has been following my adventures and misadventures. Every time I see him, he has a question to ask; "How's P90X going?", "How's your running?", "How's your back?", he shows genuine interest in what I'm up to so I usually take some time to go over my latest with him.

During this particular visit we talked about my future plans.  I told him that I had registered for Ironman Louisville.  After he told me I was nuts, he proceeded to ask about my training and what it would entail.  Again, he told me I was nuts.

At that time I was about half way through P90X.  He told me he had purchased the program, but like most people who do, it was sitting on the shelf waiting for someone to make use of it.

He asked what I did to stick with the program.  I told him that it was part my Ironman Louisville training plan.  When I told him that on top of doing the daily P90X workouts, I still had to do some swimming, cycling and running to keep my base, that's when he said:  "You're a Junkie"!

"No, I'm not" was my instant reply.

"Yes, you are" he said. "Think about it, what defines a junkie?" he continued.  "Someone who is hooked or can't get enough of something."  he added.  "A fitness junkie is what you are."

I smiled.

So, if what I do defines me as a "fitness junkie" then I guess I have no choice but to plead guilty as charged.

"I'm a Junkie Yes I Am A Junkie Is What I Am."
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