Monday, December 29, 2008

Chasing a Dream

After years of thinking about it and wishing for it . . . and a couple more years of procrastination and finding all the reasons why I shouldn’t pursue my dream, I finally decided to just go for it and start my training to become a certified yoga instructor. I am both excited and scared. I do worry that all the reasons I conjured up for not going through with it are still valid. There are some poses that I’ll never be able to achieve. I still have old injuries and funny body parts that will not cooperate in some poses. I am also a little old for a new career adventure. But regardless of all these things I still want to pursue it. Even if I never get out there and teach a real class, at a real studio, it means a lot to me to have the training. Yoga has always fascinated me and my desire to learn more is getting overwhelming.

Due to my current schedule of having way more things to do than time to do it, coupled with the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere, I decided to try a ‘distance learning’ course. This won’t be the first study-at-home certification course I’ve taken. A few years ago I became a certified ‘interior redesigner’ and I was very impressed with the course. I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of it. I knew I wasn’t going to switch careers, but instead I gained a lot of valuable knowledge that I feel enriched my life. I’m taking the same approach to this yoga training. Although I don’t feel that a study-at-home program is the optimal way to achieve training certification, it will certainly teach me a whole lot more than I currently know about yoga.

My course package arrived just before Christmas and so far I’ve read 90 pages of the text book. My head is already bursting from everything that I learned. It is amazing how much more to yoga there is than what meets the untrained eye. Up to this point I’ve spent the past 7 years just exercising my muscles without really understanding the benefits of the postures and movements. My brain is hungry and eager to learn more and more. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to start my journey, but I sure am glad I’m on my way.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chakra Balancing Yoga

I find it a little eerie how I never took any interest in chakras before this month and then I all of a sudden felt compelled to buy that Chakra Healing book I wrote about in the previous post. I swear the book found me in the book store. I wasn’t even looking for a book for myself. I just happened to pick the book up and I knew I had to have it. Then, only a couple of weeks later, I was sent a brand new DVD to review — Chakra Balancing Yoga by Sharon Gannon. Do you believe in coincidences? Or do you believe that there are no coincidences? Either way, I’m thrilled to be introduced to chakras. I’m completely fascinated by what I’ve learned so far.

I tried this DVD out today and it was a very interesting experience. I picked the perfect day for it. I was home alone and stayed in the coziest fleece that I own. I didn’t bother with hairspray and make-up and just wanted to be comfortable all day. It was the perfect setting for my first chakra balancing experience.

The video focuses on how to open the seven energy centers of the body to achieve physical and emotional balance. The goal of the exercise is to find new energy, relieve stress, feel more whole within, and more united with the world around you.

This was definitely a gentle and slow yoga routine, focused more on the mind than the body. The video guides you through poses, affirmations, and chants that open and balance the chakras. The 55 minute video is broken up into different segments — one for each of the seven chakras. You can go directly to any particular chakra that you feel needs awakening, or simply go through the entire series for a total chakra balancing. I completed the entire video in one sitting for the complete experience. I have to say, I was happy that I was alone in the house because at first I felt a little silly with the chanting. Every pose involves chanting of the mantra associated with the particular chakra. Once I got over the uneasiness with the chanting and just let myself go with it, it was exciting. Unlike all other yoga routines that I’ve done at home, this one did not allow my mind to wander away from what I was doing. I found that the chanting made holding the poses much easier. Instead of thinking, “How much longer?” I was focused on the chant which makes the time pass quickly.

The video asks you to think back to your past and pinpoint different people or circumstances that may need healing. I love how it explains how events in your past have a direct affect on your life today. The video forces you to focus and reflect with the affirmations and chants. I have never been able to stay focused on just yoga during any yoga routine in my life. This was the most focused my mind has ever been. As far as my chakras being balanced, I guess I need to learn a little more about them to be able to tell. I am very excited to have discovered this and will continue to do everything I can to unblock and awaken my chakras.

Learn more about the new DVD and watch a sample here.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Chakras Personality Test

I recently bought a fascinating book called “A Handbook of Chakra Healing.” I’m learning all about the seven chakras, their meanings, and how to awaken each of them. The book included a great little Chakra personality test to see which of your chakras may be blocked and what areas you are more developed in. I loved it and want to share. Hopefully I won’t get arrested for copyright infringement.

Click on the images to bring up bigger versions that you can print out and read. The first graphic above includes the test — 28 yes/no questions.

Once you complete the questions, you should try to replicate the image in the second graphic, by drawing circles and coloring each corresponding number with a colored pencil (as shown in the second graphic) for every yes on your test. My sample graphic shows my completed chakra test so you will have to start from scratch to make your own.

The third graphic shows examples of different chakra personality portraits. What areas are you strong in? What areas are blocked? Check out the book for more info on unblocking your chakras.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

More 10 Minute Trainer Observations

I dusted off my 10 Minute Trainer DVDs this weekend and decided it was time to get moving. A recent injury has kept me completely unable to do any form of exercise for the past three weeks and it’s been Hell. I thought that 10 Minute Trainer would be a good way to jump back into an exercise routine.

Yesterday I started with my favorite of the 10 Minute Trainer videos — Cardio. That name is so deceiving because it leads you to believe that it’s only going to give your heart a work out. I think they should rename the video to Buttinator because, just as I suspected, my butt is killing me today. Since I woke up with sore muscles I choose the Yoga video for today’s workout. During those incredibly blissful and fast 10 minutes it occurred to me how the yoga video is the easiest and most pleasant of the five different 10 Minute Trainer videos. How ironic considering that the Yoga video is the longest, hardest, and most dreadful of the P90X videos. Doing this video makes me remember all the reasons why I love yoga. P90X had me seriously doubting my affection for yoga. In fact, I think I almost started to hate it. Yikes, I can’t believe I just admitted that. It’s all Tony’s fault. But I’m back to loving yoga again so all is well.

One of my random observations after watching these two videos leads me to wonder what the heck Tony Horton did to himself between P90X and 10 Minute Trainer. I remember enjoying not only his great personality, but his handsome good looks during the P90X videos. Now I almost can’t bare the sight of him. He looks completely fake and plastic. WHY on earth would he do that to himself? I personally think that it’s even more impressive to be in great shape if you’re honest about your age. It’s easy for 25 year olds to look ripped, but how many folks in their mid 40s or above do? Turning 40 is what motivated me to do P90X in the first place and now that I’m a P90X grad, and a 40 year old woman, I am coming to terms with the fact that my age is showing. Looking in the mirror is getting harder and harder, but at the same time I’m growing more and more proud of the fact that, for the most part (and from a distance), I still look the same as I did when I was 25.

So here is the picture that I intended to post from the day I started P90X. This is me 3 weeks after my 40th birthday and 2 months after completing P90X. And my husband who is 53.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Free Wallpaper

I featured this quote in the November YogaDudes digital newsletter and what great timing that I found a free desktop wallpaper with the same quote and a nice November calendar on it. Please use the following link to download the full size version. Once the full size version appears in your browser, right-click and choose "Set as Background."

Click here to get the free download.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Free Upcoming Yoga/Meditation Retreat in CT

Debbie Bennett, a CYI from Virginia, will be in Eastern CT for a few days and is hosting a free yoga retreat. Her retreats focus more on the esoteric side of yoga practice, importance of ahimsa or nonviolence (including vegetarian diet), meditation, yamas and niyamas. She has brought it to the level of the everyday practitioner and the retreats are very powerful for transforming our life intent. Her retreats are always free, sponsored by Science of Spirituality as a community service. The event will take place on Saturday, November 8th, from 10 am - 3 pm at:

First Church Fellowship Room549
Storrs Road, Mansfield Center, CT (at intersection of Routes 89 & 195

To Register call 860 487-3597

Friday, October 17, 2008

Doga - Yoga For Dogs

Have you ever heard of Doga - Yoga For Dogs? When I saw an ad in my local newspaper for this last month I just had to check it out. Was it a joke or was the studio really holding a yoga class . . . for dogs?

Well, it was a real yoga class for dogs. Now you may have to stretch your imagination a bit and use the term "yoga class" a bit loosely. But there was a real yoga instructor and a handful of people with their dogs and their mats. I knew this was going to be a challenge for me because my greyhound (Peanut) doesn't know how to 'sit' and is not very fond of obeying commands – unless the command is 'lay there and don't move.'

It was quite an interesting hour. Not sure either of us got much out of it, but it was certainly entertaining. Here's the class in a nutshell - a Peanut shell . . .

First we needed to make eye contact, which is not an easy task with a aloof greyhound, but Peanut did her best.

Here she is showing off a brand new trick that she didn't know she could do.

Here she appears much more interested in Daddy and the camera than in yoga.

Looks like I'm the only one doing any yoga here. Peanut is just relaxing.

She's just not getting it. This is supposed to be 'updog.' Not 'lay-there dog.'

Wait, she's catching on. That almost looks like a 'down dog.' I'm so proud!

And then she figured out where the treats were coming from and it was all over!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Tough Week

I started off this week with my first trip to the gym in months. I can really only bare to be working out indoors when the weather is too cold be outside and I haven't lifted since completing P90X. For some reason I assumed completing the P90X program would keep me in tip top shape for a year. Boy was I wrong. I lifted on Monday and Tuesday with my insane husband trainer. It was hard and I felt weak. I hated it.

On Monday we concentrated on chest and I didn't find it too bad. I was sore the next day, but it was a good sore. I like it when I know that I did something the day before. I went back to the gym on Tuesday for more punishment. This time we did nothing but biceps. On Wednesday I was very sore, or at least I thought I was very sore. I had no idea how much the soreness would intensify as the days went on. I thought Wednesday was bad, but Thursday was much worse. I had a hard time just getting through the normal course of the day. Lifting my arms past shoulder level was simply impossible and there wasn’t a square inch of my back that didn’t kill if touched in any way.

I actually starting to have feelings of, “I’m getting to old for this nonsense? Why do I do this to myself? I think I should retire from torturing my body.” I was getting comfortable with giving up on the idea of killing myself to stay in great shape. Life would be so much easier if I just let go of this impossible ideal. And this blissful thought lasted for at least 14 hours.

Then last night I went to line dancing class. I talked to a new friend and got the report on how she did in her very first triathlon. She really inspired me and I made a comment like, “You go girl. I wish I could do it.” That led to her saying, “Hey, maybe next year we can do it together as a team.” My eyes immediately widened and twinkled. I jumped up and shook her hand, “You’re on. Let’s start training in the Spring.” I went home so excited I couldn’t sleep.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Shiva Rea – Flow Yoga For Beginners Review

I recently tried another Shiva Rea yoga DVD. This one was Flow Yoga for Beginners. It is so interesting to explore different styles of yoga. I have been limiting myself to the same style of hard-core, sweat-and-tear-inducing yoga for the past 7 years. This ‘flow’ style of gentle yoga is really a breath of fresh air.

This particular DVD is broken up into 5 sections:
  • Foundation flow
  • Backbend flow
  • Relaxing and flexibility flow
  • Standing pose flow
  • Shavasana
Don’t hold me to the exact titles, but those are the basic sections. The best part is that you can use the menu on the DVD to go directly to the one you want (if you didn’t want to do the entire 70 minutes in one sitting). This is a big plus for me as I’m usually pressed for time and often in the mood for particular movements over others.

This morning I practiced with the entire video. The Foundation series got off to a slow start. It was mostly just breathing exercises and gentle movements. I think the term “meditation in motion” is a good description. Beginners will get an excellent overview of the different terms and positions from this segment as it’s a great foundation for the rest of the video. For me, this was a challenge because it struggled to hold my interest. Luckily each segment got better and better. Read on.

The Backbend segment got a little more interesting. New movements were introduced and each one flowed nicely into the other. I just love this concept of ‘flowing’ movements. It really makes the poses more interesting and easier to do. Staying in any position for more than a few seconds is not only very challenging, but slightly boring. Shiva almost always has you moving some part of your body. For instance, in a seated twist position you will stretch one arm up over your head with each inhale and bring it back down with each exhale. You will be amazed how much this adds to an otherwise boring pose. Great concept!

The Relaxing flow segment is all done on your back. The name implied relaxation and I settled in and wondered if I would fall asleep on my back. But that didn’t last very long. I went from gentle, easy moves to other challenging stretches that had my legs shaking. It kept me awake for sure and was a good combination of relaxation and work.

The Standing pose flow was my favorite. I guess this is where I have the most experience and feel the most at home. And once again, the same poses that I’m used to were presented in a slightly different ‘flowing’ way that made them easier and more fun.

The Shavasana section . . . well, I never experienced a Shavasana that I didn’t like! Who doesn’t love Shavasana?

I would recommend this video to anybody interested in starting yoga for the first time, as well as for more serious athletes that might want to practice these sessions after other work-outs. These segments offer the perfect ending stretch.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Introducing Yoga Chick Tees by YogaDudes

Quite possibly the cutest of all the YogaDudes t-shirts, this one features three hand-drawn chicks in yoga positions. These 100% combed, ringspun cotton tees offer a classic fitting with feminine styling and cute short sleeves. The shirts have contoured side seams that flatter the figure and are made of super soft baby jersey knit. These shirts are available in both teal and white. They cost $19.99 and are available now in our shop.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

New Shiva Rea Creative Core + Lower Body DVD Review

I just got my hands on the brand new Shiva Rea Creative Core DVD. I was pleased with the video length. At just 24 minutes I will have no problem adding this to my busy schedule. I really seem to struggle with videos that last over an hour and are not broken into segments that allow me to choose which chapter I want to view. This Core workout is perfect for my short attention span. And better still, it’s broken up into 3 separate parts so that also makes the time feel shorter.

This was my first experience with a Shiva Rea routine. At first I struggled with her style, but it didn’t take me long to realize that this is exactly what I need. Let me explain . . . I have been doing yoga for approximately 7 years and with every single routine I am hell bent on getting my pose ‘just right.’ I spent more time twisting my neck to look at either the instructor or the TV and worrying about if I’m doing it exactly right than I do enjoying the sensation of the pose. I am used to slow, methodical, and precise. Well, Shiva style is very flowing and free. This was a big shock to me and at first I was lost and frustrated. However, it was also the first time that I just let go, let loose, and didn’t worry so much that I was doing exactly what she was doing. In fact, she encourages you to do your own thing. Wow, what a concept.

Each segment was short yet powerful. They engaged both the lower body (thighs) and the core. Actually your arms get a bit of a work-out too. Every motion flows right into the other and my favorite was the rocking bridge. This concept of quick motion in yoga is really new to me and quite frankly, fun! Shiva gives beginners alternates for some of the moves that are more challenging. There is one balancing move that I couldn’t do, but now I have a goal. I have many yoga DVDs that I dread having to do (the P90X yoga tops that list), but this one will always be a pleasure.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Are My Limbs Too Long For Yoga?

During my yoga routine this morning I couldn't help but wonder if my limbs are simply too long to achieve some proper poses. For instance, I can not sit in staff pose without having bent elbows or raised shoulders. It just doesn't work. When I force my shoulders down and my elbows straight I end up with my butt in the air! If my arms are longer than my torso I just don't see how this pose can work properly for me.

Now you would think those long arms would help when I have to grab my big toe and stretch my leg. The longer the arms the easier the stretch, right? Well, that would work if my legs weren't even longer. So if the leg is freakishly long compared to the arm where does that leave you, besides with a bent knee. Sigh. I have come to the conclusion that some body types are perfectly proportioned for yoga while others are not. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm perfectly proportioned to do. Yoga and buying clothing are certainly not it.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

10 Minute Trainer Abs

Am I the only P90X grad that hates the 10 Minute Trainer Abs video? I would take Ab Ripper X over this thing any day. Why am I finding it so dreadful? What is wrong with me? Please tell me I'm not alone here. I am a huge fan of all the other videos, but this one will take some time to grow on me. In fact, I'm not quite sure I'll continue it. I may just slip Ab Ripper X in its spot. After all, Ab Ripper is only 5 minutes longer, but yet it strangely feels shorter. Go figure.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Real World P90X

This morning I did my 10-Minute Trainer. Not sure why . . . I was just about to head outside to help my husband gather and stack our firewood. Boy was I thinking about Tony all morning. I kept reflecting back to the P90X Cardio video where you pretend you are picking something up in your garage and putting it on the shelf. Do you see that stack of wood above? Every two of those pieces of wood represent one squat. Squat down to pick them up and throw them into the trailer. Then bring the trailer to the shed, reach over, grab two pieces, pick them up and twist to hand them to my huband who stacked them, for hours. Each piece of wood averaged between 5 - 10 pounds (some more). Now THAT beats the pants off of any P90X session I ever did. But let me tell you how happy I am that my legs and back have been conditioned by P90X. Otherwise I probably wouldn't be able to move right now – forget about getting out of bed tomorrow.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More 10 Minute Trainer Reviews

I'm in love! Tony Horton's 10 Minute Trainer videos are brilliant. So far I've done 4 of them and loved every one. As you may have already read, the Cardio one was incredible and left me sore for at least 3 days. I'm still in shock over that.

Since then I've tried the Total Body, Abs and Yoga. I'm not a big fan of the rubber bands, but if you have a good set of dumbells the Total Body is superb. I used by 10 and 15 pounders and got my heart pumping. My husband used his 20 lb weights and he also thought it was excellent. It definitely helps if you are familiar with some of Tony's moves, but if not you catch on very quickly after watching the video only once.

After conquering Ab Ribber X I thought the 10 Minute Abs workout was going to be child's play. I was wrong! I was actually hoping for the same moves, but they were completely different and tough. Part of my problem was the fact that I was barefoot and kept slipping. I would definitely recommend wearing sneakers for this work-out.

This morning was Yoga and there's no doubt this was a million times easier than the P90X version, but still a great addition to the total routine. Yoga is ESSENTIAL to any well rounded workout. I was happy that given the fact that I've been slacking with my yoga I still managed to stay somewhat flexible. Now that I've joined the "40 Club" I can't slack with the flexibility workouts.

All the videos waste no time and jump immediately from one move to the next. If you have to stop and watch the first couple of moves, you've missed half the workout, but don't despair. . . it only takes one viewing to be ready for some serious action the second time around. Part of our biggest complaint with P90X was the amount of wasted time as Tony explained things or we waited for the duration of any given exercise when we were ready to move on to the next. Well, that problem is completely solved here. It's very fast moving and before you know it, you're done. LOVE THESE THINGS!!!!

Monday, July 07, 2008

10 Minute Trainer Revew 1

I can't believe that I'm about to share this information . . . I'm embarrassed to say that as a P90X grad the Cardio 10 Minute Trainer kicked my butt. How sad is that? Either I am pathetic or that video was awesome.

Here's the deal, I woke up on my 40th birthday and decided to give a video a try. I was still in my pj's and since it was my first viewing I didn't even give it my all. I was more curious to check out the video than to really work out. I did all the exercises with no bands and they really got my heart pumping! It was great. The 10 minutes flew by and when I went to walk downstairs after the mini workout I could feel the pump in my legs - as if I just biked. How could this be? Is there really a switch that gets flipped the minute you turn 40 that makes you feel old? I was disgusted with myself.

And to make matters even worse, when I got up the next morning I could not believe how sore my butt was! I know exactly what moves got me too. It was those skaters. i did them nice and deep and let me just tell you - they work! I've been sore for 3 days . . . from a 10 minute workout, in my jammies.

I am thrilled with the Cardio video and can't wait to try the rest. I hope the workouts are really great and it's not just me being old! Stay tuned for more.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A P90X Dream Come True

So I've been planning to try to maintain my new found P90X-induced strength and endurance. I had all kinds of good intentions of continuing to do at least one video per week, or at the very least Ab Ripper during one of my lunch breaks. Sadly, I've done nothing in the past month even remotely P90X related.

But recently I talked to my friends over at Ultimate Fitness Gear. They informed me about a brand new Tony Horton video series called "10 Minute Trainer." This sounds WAY too good to be true. I was enticed and ordered up not only the 10 Minute workouts, but also the P90X Plus videos. A girl can dream, right? I'm not quite as excited to give those a try, but I'm filing them away for some indoor winter torture.

I am, however, planning to test drive these new 10 minute work-outs starting next week. Granted, I'm not a good test case for losing weight. All I'm interested in doing is maintaining my strength and cardio without the huge time commitment that P90X involved. So stay tuned to see how it goes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New YogaDudes Tank Tops on Sale

The sale on YogaDudes tank tops will be extended into July. Beat the summer heat with one of these adorable and comfortable ribbed tanks. Regularly priced at $15.99, theses tanks are currently on sale for $11.99. Visit the YogaDudes shop to place your order.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

One Month After Completing P90X

I can’t believe how quickly an entire month passed by. I’ve been incredibly busy with work and home projects and I guess you can say that I’ve been slacking with the working out. I had some feeble intentions of popping a P90X video in once a week – just to keep myself in check. But sadly, it hasn’t happened even once in a month. Sigh.

However, with that said, the few times that I did do some form of physical activity I was quite pleased. We have taken a couple good kayak rides. Normally the first few of the season are particularly hard on my shoulders. I usually have to take paddling breaks every 10 minutes. But not this season. I paddled hard and strong for the entire ride. I felt like I could paddle all day (into the wind). My arms and shoulders were strong and I could feel my abs engaging (remember that word?) the entire time.

The best success story is my first ride on my ‘real’ road bike. Since the day I bought it, I’ve never been comfortable on it. Every ride results in a sore neck and back. Not this time . . . I planned a short 20 mile ride for our first trip. Unfortunately we got completely lost and the ride turned out to be about 35 miles. I felt great on the ride. My legs were strong. My lungs were pumping effortlessly. Despite feeling good on the bike, I was sure I would pay for it the next day. The next day came and nothing. No sign whatsoever that I rode at all. Now THAT was amazing.

Last week I decided that I better start lifting again. After all, my upcoming 40th birthday was part of my motivation for starting all this nonsense. So here I am a month out and I intend to pose for some pictures on my birthday. Time to hit the gym! I lifted 3 times this week and now I remember what it’s like to be sore. I have to say, I was sore for the first 2 days of P90X and never again. But lifting with my husband KILLS me. Now looking back it all, P90X didn’t seem that bad after all. The time commitment was by far the hardest part.

It’s been a long time since we lifted regularly, but I’m still stronger now than I was before P90X. I’ve increased my weights in just about all my exercises. I’m just thrilled that the guys in the gym shake their heads in disbelief when they watch me lift. I am definitely a wolf in sheep’s clothes. I may still look a little scrawny, but I got some muscles under those clothes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Post P90X Report

It’s been almost a week since completing the P90X routine. I’m having a ball filling up that extra hour + per day and, so far, I haven’t missed it at all. This past weekend I was very busy with landscaping projects. It was hours of digging holes, ripping up sod, racking heavy dirt, planting shrubs, moving and assembling rocks, pushing wheel barrels, a thousand squats up and down . . . . The whole while I was thinking, “P90X is nothing! Landscaping is the REAL workout.” At many times I was thankful for all those core exercises of “pick something up and put it on the shelf.” Tony even said, “This is real world” and he was right. It paid off. If I had a quarter for every time I squatted down to pick up a clump of sod . . . I was exhausted by the end of the weekend, but the great news is that I wasn’t the slightest bit sore on Monday. I was expecting to be too sore to get out of bed. I’m very pleased.

And today was the first time we went kayaking in over a year. I remember the beginning of kayaking season in the past. My shoulders would ache and I simply could not row the entire lake. Luckily for me, my husband and I ride a tandem so I could just stop and rest any time I want. But not today. Our first day out and I was as strong as can be. We ventured out to a new lake, bigger than the one we are used to, and the whole way back was bucking stiff winds. I loved every minute of it. I could feel my entire core engaging (remember that word? Tip of the day . . . engage). From my abs to my shoulders to all the muscles in my arms, I felt incredibly strong.

P90X really works!

Hopefully my next test will be a bike ride. Can’t wait to see if my legs are as strong as my arms and abs.

Friday, May 09, 2008

I Survived P90X

I did it! It's over! And I feel great. Not many things on Earth can feel better than completing your last P90X workout. Tonight is Friday and this is a typical rest day. I won't get the full effect of being DONE until I wake up tomorrow morning and just lay there in bed and wonder what I'll do when I get up. It will be the first weekend in 3 months that I don't have to get up to an hour-long workout. What will I do tomorrow morning? Or every day after work for that matter. I wonder if I'll feel as though something is missing from my life. I might have to take up a new hobby to fill all that extra time. Wait a minute . . . I have some dusty bikes hanging in the garage that I hope will fill that time.

Overall it was a great experience. I have a nice sense of accomplishment and I'm proud of how strong I am. I didn't gain or lose a single pound, but I do look better, firmer, leaner, and more defined. I get a lot of questions like, "Now what are you going to do? Will you continue the P90X work-outs?" In the short-term, I do not plan to continue with the videos. But perhaps at the end of the summer I will do a couple videos per week. Perhaps even the new P90X Plus videos (gulp). I will however get back to the gym regularly for my 15 minute weight lifting blasts. Hopefully those will help maintain my new found muscles and strength. For sure I will continue with regular pull-ups and push-ups. My new goal is to be able to do as many push-ups (in one set) as my age. So far I'm good. I can bust out 39 men's push-ups with no problem. With any luck I can keep this up for the next ten years.

I welcome any fellow P90X survivors to post my little "survivor" badge on their own blogs. BUT you have to have successfully completed the entire thing - scout's honor.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My Last Core Routine

Yesterday was my last P90X Core routine. I swear I used to like that video. It’s been 4 weeks since I last saw it and I was actually looking forward to revisiting it. Here I was, thinking that I’m 4 weeks further along and therefore much stronger than the last time I tackled Core. Well, I was wrong. It wasn’t any easier at all. Maybe I’m getting a little too over confident. Sigh.

Or maybe I’m just not as good at doing Cardio routines first thing in the morning with no food in me. This morning was my last Kenpo X and I always liked Kenpo. But yet I still dragged through, unenthusiastically . . . watching the clock, dreaming about a bowl of cereal. Today was highly unusual. I never attempted weekday morning workouts and doing them at 6 AM just stinks. But I don’t have to worry about that anymore. Three more little days and I am done. Yiiippeeee!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Reflections After 12 Weeks of P90X

Today was the first day of my last Recovery Week, and I gotta say, it feels GREAT! Last week I couldn’t help but to keep saying, “This is our last Plyo. This is our last Legs & Back” and so on. And now I’m saying, “This is the last weekend we have to get up and do P90X.” I’m not even sure the reality of it all has really set in.

This morning was Yoga X and this was my best yoga to date. Maybe I’m just on a high that I only have ONE MORE TO GO. Or maybe this was the first time I did yoga after a rest day. What a difference only one little day off makes. It really re-energizes me. My legs felt strong. My arms felt strong. I achieved great chatterungas throughout the entire session. OK, no push-ups in between plank and down dog, but come on, I’m not crazy! The best part was reverse warrior . . . when I dropped my arm down my back leg I noticed how incredibly tight my thigh felt. This pleased me greatly.

I definitely feel as though I’m in the best shape of my life, which is amazing seeing as my big 4-0 is soon approaching. For sure I am stronger than I’ve ever been. I have yet to get on the scale since I started P90X, but then again, I rarely weigh myself. The numbers on the scale are never really my concern. The only thing that matters to me is how I feel. I doubt if my weight has changed at all. If anything, it may have gone up since I converted some fat to muscle.

I have noticed some subtle changes in my body. For instance several of my jeans that were once my “tight jeans” have gotten baggier. I think some of my weight has redistributed. I also think my arms are bigger and more defined (especially the day after Back & Biceps). But all in all, with clothes on, you would never notice a difference in my before and after pictures. And speaking of those, I never really took ‘before’ pictures, but do plan on snapping a couple pics next week, when I’m completely done.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Week 12 Completed

What a wonderful feeling to be done with the last real week of P90X. And it couldn’t have come soon enough. This afternoon, out of nowhere, my seasonal allergies hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. Almost instantly, I went from feeling perfectly fine to feeling like I was going to pass out. The sinus pressure in my head was causing my entire face to hurt, my teeth and jaw to ache, and gave me an all-over nauseous feeling. Yucko

Coming home and changing into my workout attire was the last thing I wanted to do. The couch was looking so very alluring. But it was my LAST day of week 12 and to date, I haven’t missed one single day. There was no way I was wimping out. So I fired up that Kenpo X video and off I went. I got through it better than I imagined I would. The worst, or funniest, part was during cool down. I stood with my legs far apart, reached my arms up high and proceeded to completely lose my balance, in one of the more ungraceful episodes of my life, and nearly ended up on my behind (with an embarrassing little yelp to boot). Thank God it’s over

I will reflect more on the ending of Phase 3 later. Right now I can’t resist that couch any longer.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What Day Is It?

I realized something today? For the past couple of months my husband and I haven't referred to days by their proper names. I know that when Karlo asks me, "What day is it?" he's not asking if it's Monday or Tuesday. What he really wants to know is "Which workout are we doing today?" So when he asks me, "What day is it today?" My answer is always, "Today is Plyo" or "Today is Kenpo."

Well today was the best Tuesday ever because when Karlo questioned, "What day is it today?" my answer was, "Today is our LAST Plyo." Let me write that one more time . . . "Today is our LAST Plyo." I'm still taking that all in. I can say goodbye to Plyometrics until next year. Will I miss it? Not for a long time. But there may be a day somewhere in the future that I do. In the meantime, I am more than happy to file that DVD away in a safe place.

Monday, April 28, 2008

P90X Week 12

We are getting down to the wire now and I couldn't be happier. This is the final week of the real work-outs and next week is our final recover week. I'm counting down the days. Last week was a good strong week and I wanted this week to be just as strong. It started off great with Legs & Back and a good strong Yoga session. Today, however, was tough. Both my husband and I managed to completely skip lunch and not eat all day. By the time we got home, we were both starving, but did our Chest, Shoulders & Tris workout anyway. I was dead after the first set of slow push-ups. My word those are hard - and I love push-ups!

We pushed on and made it through the hour, but it wasn't easy. I got three quarters of the way through "two speed twitch push-ups" and collapsed onto the floor. I said, "I feel like a mashed potato" and Karlo said, "Please don't mention potatos, I'm starving." That was good for a nice laugh and it energized me to get up off the floor and finish the workout.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Perfect P90X Schedule

I just completed my second week of my own custom Phase 3 P90X schedule. The first week didn’t go very well as I didn’t take the muscle groups into consideration before rearranging the days. But last week went much better. I managed to do yoga on the weekend AND have Friday off as the rest day. I must have gotten the order right this time because I felt good and strong each day. I’m hoping this week will be just as successful.

Here are my custom weeks for Phase 3. I would highly recommend them if you’re interested in yoga on the weekend and Fridays off.

Weeks 9 & 11

  • Saturday – Legs & Back, Ab Ripper
  • Sunday – Yoga
  • Monday – Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper
  • Tuesday – Plyometrics
  • Wednesday – Chest & Back, Ab Ripper
  • Thursday – Kenpo

Weeks 10 & 12

  • Saturday – Legs & Back, Ab Ripper
  • Sunday – Yoga
  • Monday – Chest, Shoulders & Tris, Ab Ripper
  • Tuesday – Plyometrics
  • Wednesday – Back & Biceps, Ab Ripper
  • Thursday – Kenpo

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Push-up Machine

Last night was P90X Chest & Back and that marks my second time with this video. I liked it as much this second time as I did the first. I am strong with push-ups and find it fun. By the end of the video I did 225 push-ups (with my knees never touching the ground) and 80 (assisted) pull-ups. I rest my foot on the 'cheater bar' for most (but not all) of the pull-ups. The 50 minutes seem to fly by with this video and my brain receptors don't get nearly as excited when they see the 'cool down' words on the screen. Every day I'm feeling more and more excited to be getting closer and closer to the end of the 90 day commitment.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Brain Receptors

Despite my week going very well, last night was a particularly rough night. Tuesdays are always hard P90X days because they are the one day of the week that we have to stay late at work. Getting home an hour and a half later than normal just throws off my entire night. You see . . . I need to get everything done before America Idol!

So last night we rushed home and my husband announces that he’s going to skip our work-out, and in instead take the dogs for a hike. I was ticked. It was because of him that we were late and now he’s leaving me to do Plyometrics by myself while he has fun with our dogs? Sometimes life is so unfair! I was not a happy camper. I determined last week that having him around really helps me and having him out walking with the dogs just makes me mad, jealous and ruins my work-out. Plyo was not getting off to a good start.

But I was a trooper and got through the entire thing alone. It was at the end when I was reminded of a Dateline (or maybe it was a 60 Minutes) special about drug addicts and their brains' reaction when they were presented with images of drugs. The receptors in their brain went crazy just from looking at images of drug paraphernalia. That’s when it hit me that the brains of P90X athletes must experience the same reaction when they see those glorious words ‘COOL DOWN’ come up on their TV screen. God, I love those words. I think they are now my two favorite words in the English Language

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pinched Nerve

This evening was Shoulders & Arms and I was sailing through pretty well. Then, after my first set of Side, Tri, Rise, I went to lift myself up using my elbow when I suddenly felt the pain of 100 needles stabbing me square in the elbow. Oh . . . my . . . God did that hurt. I simply could not believe the pain. I could swear that I was just bitten by a poisonous snake and the venom was searing through my arm. Luckily, this happened to the arm that I just finished and I was able to do the next side with no trouble. But the pain was still there when it was time to do the second set of Side, Tri, Rises. Even with the pain, I did 20 on the painful side and 30 on the non-painful side. Since Tony said, "If anybody at home does 26, I'm comin' to your house" I just had to do it. We'll be expecting you Tony!!!

I have got to be cheating with these Side, Tri, Rises. I don't find them challenging at all. I feel like I can do them all day long. I must be using my obliques to pull me up. Is that possible? Can I cheat on these? I'm watching the folks on the video and we all know how strong they are. They look like they are working hard and I'm barely exerting myself. I MUST be cheating.

Fifteen minutes after the work-out was complete my elbow still hurt and my pinkie finger was completely numb. That was the strangest sensation. I don't want to experience that again anytime soon.

Nice Turn of Events

Last week was bad. I felt tired and weak and was all around losing my desire spark for P90X. But I think I learned my lesson and this week I made a new schedule. So far we did Legs & Back and then Yoga. Both were good strong sessions – probably the best yet. I must have done something right because I just noticed that my legs are a tiny bit sore – a good sore . . . "it feels like I worked out" sore. Hmmm, now that I think about it, that may have come from gardening this weekend. But either way, I feel good and I’m not dreading working out tonight. In fact, I’m looking forward to it. I plan to tackle Ab Ripper X at lunchtime to get it out of the way. I find it much easier to break up the two work-outs rather than doing Ab Ripper immediately after the lifting sessions.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Vertical Punches?

Tonight was Kenpo and I sailed through it. It sure does feel nice to complete a work-out with ease, given my shaky start to the week. And tonight I was on my own. My husband couldn't join me, but I still managed to be full of energy. And the very best part . . . it's now Thursday night and that means I'm off until Saturday morning. What a great feeling that is. I LOVE Fridays!

Without Karlo joining me during the work-out session today, I had to get my laughs from the video. I'm still wondering what "vertical punches" are. Tony cracked me up every time he referred to straight arm punches as "vertical." Were we supposed to lay on our backs to throw those punches? I think Tony might be a little confused with vertical vs. horizontal. Somebody should let him know the difference.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm Back

I’m happy to report that yesterday was P90X Plyo day and I sprung back to life. Thank goodness. It was the first day of the week that my husband joined me and his infectious, bouncing energy must have rubbed off. Maybe that was my problem all along. I was just missing him. I enjoyed the Plyometrics routine and decided that it is one of my favorite videos.

Tonight was our first experience with Back & Biceps and again, it wasn’t too bad. I felt much better than I had during the beginning of the week. We often struggle with biceps exercises at home because we don’t have enough dumbbell weight to challenge my husband. And I seem to be in an awkward stage where 10 pound dumbbells seem much too light, but yet I’m too spent to do too many reps with 15 lbs. I think tonight’s work-out was the only one that really gave me instant soreness. My arms feel like they got rolled through a pasta machine and I’m sure I’ll be sore tomorrow.

But I have to say, the pull-ups are much more pleasant these days. My husband installed what I call a “cheater bar.” Here’s a picture of our set-up. It illustrates the obvious benefit of a post & beam home . . . fast and easy pull-up bars in almost any room. If you look closely you will see a small piece of wood nailed up against the post. I use this to rest my foot on (and cheat) during most of the pull-ups. Now if I could just find a way to cheat so the skin on my hands stops falling off.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It’s Official

I’m getting weaker. And I don’t like it.

This entire P90X week has been dreadful and I can’t figure out why. I’m unmotivated and I actually feel weaker. Last night was Chest, Shoulders and Tris and I had a good attitude going in. I know I’m strong in this area and last week I positively kicked booty with Chest & Back. I was a push-up machine. So I expected to breeze through last night’s work-out. Not!

I felt tired and I struggled to do many of the moves. I’m getting disgusted with myself. Is it just because it’s now nice outside and I’m resentful of the fact that I’m stuck indoors? This entire week I’ve been working out alone because my husband was traveling. I think that makes it harder. It’s just plain more fun to work out with a buddy. It motivates me and my husband always keeps me entertained. Last night was particularly dreadful as he just got home from a 6 hour drive and didn’t want to work out. Instead he went for a hike with our dogs, as I retreated to the ‘torture room.’ That just stunk.

The upcoming three weeks will be among the longest weeks of my life, but I’ve made it this far and I refuse to quit. I hope I’m not alone in experiencing this Phase 3 slump. Please, somebody . . . tell me it’s not just me.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

OK, Maybe it's Getting Physically Harder Too

What is going on? I think I'm going backwards now. Last week I chocked up the unbearable Yoga X to the 'push-up/pull-up bootcamp' the day before. But yesterday I did Legs & Back and this morning yoga was dreadful again. This is very discouraging. Three weeks ago, I could feel myself improve in every aspect of Yoga X. Now I'm feeling weaker. This is the second week of true "P90X Classic Version" and previous to these past two weeks, we tackeled Yoga the day after Core. I really think that makes all the difference. Actually, with our old routine, we did Kenpo, Rest, Core and then Yoga. That seemed to be the perfect set-up for the long and challenging Yoga. But trying to follow a tough day of hard lifting, it just sucks.

After screwing everything up last week, I tried to build myself a better schedule that took the major muscles groups into account when shuffling around the work-outs. Today is day 2 and I'm already wondering if I did the right thing. There must be some way to rearrange the days so that Yoga X falls on a weekend. Maybe next week I'll start the week with Yoga (following the rest day). That just may be the smartest solution. We'll see . . .

Thursday, April 10, 2008

P90X is Getting Harder

Not physically harder, but mentally harder. When we got out of work today it was 70 degrees and sunny. We both sat in silence during the commute home, dreading the fact that we had to go home and work-out indoors when our bicycles are just hanging in the garage, begging to be ridden. This stinks!

And I'm pretty sure that our poor dogs HATE P90X. If they could get to the DVDs they would chew them up — or at the very least, pee on them. The hounds have been neglected for the past couple of months and we are all getting sick of it. We used to come home and take the dogs for a hike. Now they just watch us disappear upstairs and come back down too hungry and tired to give them any attention.

Today was the last day of Phase 3, Week 1. It was Kenpo and I usually really enjoy Kenpo. But today I was a bit tired and sore from my disaster of a P90X schedule and my heart wasn't in it. I found myself thinking, "OK, only 4 more Kenpos to go . . ."

Learning as I Go

This P90X week has been a disaster and I learned my lessons for next time. I always think I’m being smart by switching up the workouts to best fit my schedule – for instance pushing Yoga X up to the weekend when I have more free time. Up until this point, the moving around of the days has worked out just fine. This week, however, not so much.

First, we tried doing Yoga X the very next day after the push-up / pull-up bootcamp. That was torture and Chatterunga was nearly impossible. But it didn’t end there. Last night was the Legs & Back video and guess what we did the night before? Plyometrics! Brilliant. My poor legs were dogging it and now today I’m sore and learned my lesson. If I’m going to switch the schedule around, I at least need to be mindful of keeping like muscle groups away from each other. By the time I get this right, P90X will be over. Ahhhhh, what a pleasant thought that is. Let me type that again . . . P90X will be over! I’m just going to sit here and savor that thought a little longer.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Week 1 of Phase 3

I decided to officially switch over from the Lean version to the Classic version for Phase 3 of P90X. Strangely, I find the weight lifting days somewhat easier than the other days. I think this is because I am so conditioned to extremely tough weight lifting routines. Tony doesn’t make me cry or make me feel as though I’m going to puke, like my husband does. And I didn’t realize that we were going back to Shoulders & Arms. For some reason that video just bores me. Throughout Phase 1, it was always too easy. This time I upped my dumbbells to 15 lbs on the biceps exercises. So I switched between 10 lbs for the shoulders and triceps and 15 for the biceps. That definitely poses more of a challenge, but I still find it boring and the clock drags. I also wanted to add the third weight lifting video because this week it’s Legs & Back and we are getting closer and closer to cycling season. I want to workout my legs more than anything else right now.

Yesterday was Plyometrics and we enjoyed it. The first time I did Plyo, I expected it to be undoable. The second time I was in dreadful stomach pain. But this time was a normal day and we did it in the afternoon, rather than the morning. I find that to be much easier. The biggest challenge that we will face in the next 4 weeks is the rising temps. Our house is normally nice and chilly – perfect for working out. But as the temps outside increase, so will the temps in our spare bedroom. I hate working out in the heat. Uuugh. Next year we have to start this program in January so we can be done by April.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Start of P90X Phase 3

This weekend we entered into Phase 3 of P90X and it started with a bang. I loved the Chest and Back video. It was nothing but push-ups and pull-ups for 50 minutes. And I gotta say, I kicked booty. I was a push-up machine. Even Karlo couldn’t believe how many push-ups I did. Where the strength was coming from, I don’t know.

One thing that helped me was following Tony’s advice on pacing yourself. He explained that the video was broken into two identical segments. So once you completed the first part, you were going to have to do it all over again. I kept this in mind and despite the fact that I had more in me, I kept all my push-up reps to 20, wanting to save some energy for the second half. And it worked. I was expecting to lessen my reps to 15 for the second half (the girl on the video was doing 12 on some of the exercises), but I continued to do 20 reps of every set (except for the ‘’sneaking under the fence’ ones). It was a blast.

But then I made the mistake of doing Yoga the next day. The schedule called for Plyo yesterday and Yoga a couple days later, but because Yoga is so long, it’s just easier for us to tackle it on a weekend. Well, just one day after the push-ups, it was torture. I simply could NOT go down to a nice chattarunga. My elbows were flaring out and I didn’t have the strength to control my move. I basically had to fall flat on my stomach. Uuugh. But I got through all the other parts of yoga with no problems. Next week we will have to switch up the schedule to fix this problem. There is a reason that the routines are mixed the way they are.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

P90X Phase 2 Completed

Yesterday was our last day in Phase 2 and it was actually our “Rest day.” So why was it that I woke up this morning more sore than I’ve been in weeks? We did our usual bicep blast yesterday afternoon and this time I increased my weights by 10 pounds. But I don’t think that was to blame for the extra soreness. It may have something to do with the new medicine ball we found in the gym. Karlo and I had fun throwing it back and forth to each other. Well, I had fun throwing it, but I wasn’t too crazy about catching it. As usual, Karlo was too rough with me and threw the ball too hard at me. Every time I caught it, I felt as though I just got rear-ended in a car wreck. My neck would snap as my body got thrown back by the weight of the ball. That has to be why my entire neck and upper back were sore this morning. So much for ‘resting.’

It feels good to have completed the second Phase. I feel all around stronger and I have improved on every single video. I can’t think of anything that I can’t do in each segment. I still have to use a chair to assist with some of the pull-ups (mostly the wide arm ones), but overall my pull-ups have gotten much better.

Other areas of improvement that I have noticed:
  • My leg strength has improved. I can do the wall swats almost with ease.
  • My cardio has gotten much better. The last time I did the bunny hops over the towel I realized that at the end of the one minute, I wasn’t even breathing hard. I stopped jumping and my breathing immediately regulated back to normal.
  • All aspects of my yoga routine have improved. I learned some tricks to get through the once impossible parts and my flexibility is astonishing me.
  • My abs have also improved greatly. It feels GREAT to be able to do Ab Ripper X without crying – still a little cursing and grumbling – but no tears.

We snapped a couple of pictures to document the end of Phase 2. I was pretty excited that my biceps are starting to get pointy :-)

I intended to take a picture of Karlo’s biceps, but I think his Popeye forarm is more interesting to note. I should also include a footnote here that Kalro looked like this before P90X. P90 is making him smaller (trimmer) not bigger.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Tip of the Day

Yesterday we did the P90X Cardio routine and I missed it. Now that we switched to Plyo, we only get to do Core during Recovery week. And it seemed so easy and SHORT. The whole video is 40 something minutes, which compared to the hour + seems like a walk in the park. I like it because it's short. My husband likes it because of Tony's Tip of the Day. Yesterday's tip was "Make sure you are eating enough." That was like music to Karlo's ears. Any excuse to eat MORE. So last night when Karlo returned from the kitchen, where he grabbed a handful of homemade Hungarian treats, and got a glare from me he said, "What?? Tony said to make sure I eat enough." Thanks Tony! Now there are no more precious homemade treats for me.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

One Question About P90X Yoga X

I only have one question. Is there anybody out that NEEDS to do a push-up between plank and down dog during the vinyasa session???? I have to know. It just kills me when Tony says, “Do a push-up if you need to.” I feel that I need a lot of things during these 45 minutes of hell and doing extra push-ups is not one of them. Why doesn't he offer, "Take a nap if you need to" or "Have a drink of water if you need to" or better yet, "Cry if you need to." Maybe in Phase 3 I'll need to do the extra push-ups, but right now, I don't feel the need.

One more day of 'Recovery' and then it's on to Phase 3. gulp

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Just Breathe

The tip of the day for the Stetch X video is “just breathe” and that sounds easy enough. But the truth is that breathing isn’t always easy – especially when you’re stretching. This was only my second time with this video, as this is our second P90X Recovery week. As you can probably guess, when given the choice to “Stretch or Rest” well, that’s a no brainer. We always opted to “Rest.” Not sure if resting is the proper term. We normally still lift weights at lunch time. The P90X sheet should say “Stretch X or gain an extra hour of your day.” I have nothing against stretching, but getting an extra hour in my day is glorious.

So last night was my second Stretch X video and my husband’s first. We were both not mentally into it. We were both tired. My husband must have yawned 50 times within the first 10 minutes. Then we got silly. Watching Karlo contorting his body is quite humorous (stretching has never been one of his strong points). But we both started laughing at the stupidest things. Maybe we are getting burnt out. We are losing our minds.

I have to say, I’m glad we stuck it out despite not having our hearts into it. The neck and shoulder pain that I’ve been struggling with for the past two months felt much better from the stretching. I was amazed, overall, at how much more flexible I have become since starting P90X. The increased flexibility is just as exciting as the increased strength. You know the saying, “you are only as young as your spine is flexible.” Don’t blow off the stretching!

Monday, March 31, 2008

A New Twist on Yoga

This weekend begins our second P90X Recovery week. Saturday we did the Core routine and I still think that is one of the best videos. Or at least it's one of my favorites. I still remember how sore I was after the first time doing it. I don't remember any of the other videos making me as sore. I think that's because I've been lifting weights all along. But the exercises in the Core routine, work the muscles that you didn't know you had.

Yesterday, I did the dreaded Yoga routine. The only reason why I sill call it 'dreaded' is because it takes so long. At this point in the program, I am able to do the entire routine and that feels great - a nice accomplishment, even for a seasoned yogi. My husband was very busy weekend and just couldn't afford taking the entire 93 minutes that the yoga routine requires. He is not quite as dedicated as I am - mostly because he often has to travel for work which makes sticking to the exact P90X routine impossible. Once you fall off the wagon, you're done. Which is why I am incredibly anal about not missing a single day.

In place of the hour and a half yoga routine, my husband did his own version of yoga. It's called Sword Yoga and I guess this is his creation. Look out Tony, Karlo may create his own version of P90X, but you'll need a big, bad, mean sword in order to do it. I have to tell you, I am strong . . . and I can barely hold this baby up. Check him out:

Friday, March 28, 2008

P90X Lean Version

Or not. As I have said many times before, our “Lean version” is not exactly what it appears. We added Plyometrics to the routine, and still continue our afternoon weight lifting sessions. If anything, our own custom Lean version is tougher than the P90X classic version. Take today for example. Friday is “Rest day” and this is what our rest day looks like:

This is what we call our Bicep Blast. That first set went on longer, but since I was getting bored filming it, I didn’t want to you bore you with too much of it. Karlo sets me up with enough weight to make me want to cry and then we stand facing each other and I match him set for set. By the time we are done, picking up my glass of water is usually a challenge. NOTHING in the P90X videos gets my heart exploding out of my chest like these biceps blasts. I always have to roll my eyes a bit when I see and hear the over-acting of the buff athletes on the videos, grimacing in pain and moaning up a storm. Come on, you can’t look that buff and be THAT challenged with the little dumbbells. I give them all an A for their acting. Spend 15 minutes in the gym with my husband. Now THAT will make you grunt and moan and THAT I’ll believe!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Posing for the Cover of Down Dog Magazine

Oooops, where did this week go? Although I've been slacking a bit with the blog, I have not been slacking with the P90X work-outs. Today ended Week 7 which means we start our second recovery week on Saturday. This whole thing has been going by faster than I expected. We are more than half done and I already feel great. Nothing feels greater than watching myself improve and get stronger. I am noticing so many areas where I improved. For instance, I'm ready to "pose for the cover of Down Dog magazine." That line of Tony's cracks me up every time I hear it. I've been doing yoga for over 6 years and never did Down Dog feel as good as it does now. I feel as though my body is made of steel. My heels are planted squarely on the ground and my arms feel strong enough to hold me there all day. LOVE IT.

I also want to mention Ab Ripper X. In a blog posting a few weeks ago, I made a comment that I'll never be able to do all the exercises in that routine. Well, I was wrong. This week I did it. Still challenging, no doubt, but I did it! And today my abs feel hard as a rock. As a matter of fact, I never really felt them engage so much during Kenpo X. I'm on my way to the '6 pack.'

I was talking to somebody today that mentioned that I seem to enjoy the 'high' of taking on a big challenge and then soaking in the sense of accomplishment. He was referring to a big project that I'm in the middle of, and he has no idea how much he nailed me. When I think back to the decision to start P90X, that was exactly what I was after. I even explained to a friend, "I want the challenge of having a difficult goal - just to see if I can do it." My motivation wasn't to lose weight or even to get into great shape. I just wanted to torture myself to see if I could take it. Then, at the end, feel that sense of accomplishment. My friend didn't get it. She suggested I stick bamboo under my fingertips for torture, commenting that, "At least that wouldn't take an hour per day."

I'm sure there are lots of people reading this that can understand my quest for accomplishment. I think most of the reason I cycle long distances is for that feeling. I've had some great rides in my life, but then again, I've also had many dreadful ones. In telling stories about the dreadful ones, people always question, "Why do you do it?" Why do you climb Mt. Everest? Because it's there, I suppose. And if I wasn't such a cold weather wimp and didn't think the climb would kill me, I would probably want to do that too. But for now, I'm just happy tackling P90X.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Half Moon Yoga Pose Trick

I think I got it. I figured out how to do those impossible one-legged standing poses. To date, that series of 'standing on one leg' poses was the only part of the P90X Yoga X that I couldn't fully do. And it was buggin' me. I could do just about every single exercise on every single video, as good, if not better, than the buff chicks in the videos. And yoga is my thing so I HAD to be able to do the entire routine.

Well, this morning was my first time lasting through the entire series of Half Moons and whatever the other poses are called when you're standing on one leg with the other in the air. I finally discovered the trick. Instead of keeping my standing leg slightly bent, I simply made it as straight as I could. This seemed to take a lot of pressure off of my burning thigh muscle, and the pose went from a thigh strength endurance test to a balancing act. With my standing leg straight, my muscles were no longer doing all the work. All I had to do at this point was balance my weight. Yes, it's still ridiculously awkward, but now that I know the proper form, I can work on improving the balancing act.

I tested my theory by sharing the new discovery with my husband, who also struggles with these unattainable poses. To my surprise, he agreed that my suggestion helped him and he was able to get much further along with the second leg. Now I'm looking forward to Yoga X again next week. And as luck would have it, next week is another recover week so we get to face Yoga X twice in one week.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Plyometrics Revisited

What a difference a day can make! Just a few days ago, I took my first stab at Plyo and it went amazingly well. I set my expectations for an impossible workout, but instead I found it very doable and even fun. That changed drastically today.

I had a few things working against me today — the biggest being horrific stomach cramps that started at 4 AM and kept me awake tossing and turning in agony. I never experienced the pain from a miscarriage before, but I'm betting it feels something close to what I felt this morning. After a few sleepless hours and several trips to the bathroom, for lack of any other methods of relief, it got to be 9:30 and I couldn’t put off P90X any longer. How on earth was I going to get through a work-out today? We normally do Core on Saturdays, but I wanted to switch it up with Plyo for 2 reasons: 1) my stomach was already in enough agony, and 2) I had a tougher time with the leg work-out when it immediately followed Plyo. My bad knee wasn't too happy about it. So Plyo seemed the smartest thing to do today. Well, the smartest thing to do would have been to skip the work-out all together, but I'm way too committed for that.

So I went through with it. And it was torture. So many things were working against me. Working out in the mornings is always harder, but this morning I was in so much abdominal pain. Then I had that weird phenomena where your stomach doesn't seem to be attached to the rest of your innards. Is there a technical word for this condition where your stomach makes horrible gluncking noises every time you jump? I hate that. Imagine doing Plyo with all the gluncking and sharp pains. Then there's my chronic low blood pressure. I think jumping around in the morning with no food in me is especially challenging. I was constantly dizzy and graying out.

I kept thinking that God was trying to punish me. I didn't eat any meat yesterday (Good Friday) but it felt like I must have. Maybe I swore or lied on Good Friday. There has to be some reason that I was being dragged through the firey pits of Hell this morning.

All I can say is that I'm very proud of myself for getting through it all. It wasn't pretty, but I did it. I kept thinking about how much fun I had the first time and how I made the work-out seem so easy. I even inspired a friend that doesn't really care too much for exercise to want to do Plyo. Then it occurred to me that I may have sugar-coated the routine. I had visions of my friend buying this video and attempting it . . . Then immediately driving to my house to beat me silly. In fact, I'm sure she would get a better work-out from beating me than from trying to do Plyo. If you're investigating P90X and considering taking on Plyo, just make sure you're ready for it. Don't attempt it if you are not feeling your best. It's will take everything you got to get through it, so make sure you have what it takes to start with.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Plyometrics for the First Time

Last night was our first time doing the Plyo video, which is basically "jump training." As I mentioned last week, we decided to modify our P90X “Lean” version by substituting Cardio for Plyo. There were a couple different factors that lead me to the decision to do the Lean version to begin with. One was that I didn’t want to give up my normal afternoon weight-lifting sessions, as I KNOW those are doing the trick. But also . . . Plyo just plain scared me! I thought it best to avoid it.

But after doing several Cardio sessions and not being at all challenged, I thought it was time to step it up. Tony refers to the Plyo routine as “the mother of all P90X work-outs.” He also says something like “Plyo puts the X in P90X.” (gulp) All his chatter during the warm up terrified me. But actually, when it came right down to it . . . it wasn’t all that bad. In fact, it was sort of fun! The best part is that most exercises only last 30 seconds. And as Tony says, “You can do anything for 30 seconds.” No matter how bad or hard it is — it’s temporary. There was so much variety and the hour went by pretty fast. I look forward to doing it again. The only bad part was . . . it was impossible for me to stay awake until the end of American Idol last night!

I'm very pleased that I didn’t have too much trouble with my bad knee (which was a big fear). It was sore immediately after the work-out, but today it feels fine. I’m also amazed that my muscles are not sore today. This stuff must be working! Where is my bike? I can’t wait to tackle a hill.

You can catch a sneak peek at the Plyo video here:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Who Knew?

After last week's Chest, Shoulders & Biceps routine I made some personal goals for myself . . . one being to be able to do clapping push-ups. Since last week was our first time with this routine, I didn't even attempt to try them. I thought for sure I would break my nose.

It's funny how much braver and more confident you get the second time around on each video. The first time is terrifying. You have no idea what to expect. You are unsure what weights to try. You are lost trying to follow all the moves. You are convinced that everything is super hard and unattainable. But then the second time around, you feel like an old pro - more confident just knowing what to expect.

So today, I decided that I was going to give the clapping push-ups a shot. And to my surprise, I could do them! Who knew? I got so excited that after the entire session was over I went to grab my camera. Now please keep in mind that this video was taken after an hour of grueling push-ups and dumbell exercises. My arms felt as though they were pulled through a pasta machine. But I still managed to bust out a few extra push-ups for the camera.

Please be careful looking at the rug - may cause dizziness!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tranquil Yoga . . . Or Not

It might have been tranquil . . . had I not gone through the entire night last night without actually falling asleep. I had one ice tea at lunch time and it did me in. The caffeine was still surging through my body after midnight and kept me awake all night. This isn't the first time this has happened to me. I can't drink caffeine at any time of day - period.

Instead of sleeping, I laid in bed and thought about WORK, of all things, for hours. What is wrong with me? I was actually looking forward to finally being able to get out of the bed and start yoga. I had a positive attitude going in, but the lack of sleep must have sent me into negativity. I didn't feel as strong as I did during last week's session. The things that I can't do (and will never be able to do because my body just doesn't bend that far or move that way) really bugged me today. I thought I have come to terms with my body's funny quirks, but apparently I haven't.

I complained out loud, "Why am I SO FAR from being able to stretch like that?" (in cobbler's pose). I’m not THAT inflexible. Why was this bothering me so much today? Then, at one point, Tony was explaining the proper form to holding your arms in the air before reaching over to sitting forward stretch. Just holding my arms up was uncomfortable, never mind the stretching. He jabbered on and on about the proper form and I felt compelled to blurt out, "Just shut up and stretch already." My husband just laughed at me and said, "OM, tranquil and clear mind." I told him to shut up too ;-)

Take Tony's "Tip of the Day" to heart and make sure you really clear your mind before doing your next yoga session. It can make or break the entire experience.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fridays are Rest Days

And I love them! Yesterday was Kenpo, but in addition, we did a bicep blast during our lunch break. I guess I’m missing biceps since we moved into Phase 2, and no longer do that video. Which leads me to the fact that we are going to modify our routine a bit . . . We are currently doing the Lean version of P90X. The basic difference is the amount of weight lifting days. Classic requires 3 days of lifting, where Lean only requires 2 days. However, we have been supplementing by doing extra lifting in the afternoons. This means we are still getting at least 3 days of lifting per week. We concentrate on whatever muscle group is not getting hit with P90X. In addition, next week we are going to ditch Cardio and add Plyometrics (jump training). Cardio just isn’t challenging, and I’m eager to see if we can do Plyo. This one scares me, and my bad knee, but I want to give it a shot. I don’t think I can hurt my knee any more than the last time I did squats with my crazy husband/trainer. He doesn’t seem to understand the fact that my muscles can withstand a lot more weight than my knee can. I no longer trust him with my leg workouts. He’s fired as my trainer when it comes to legs!

I haven’t posted any real photos in the last few weeks. I guess this is because I have come to the realization that I’m not really going to change all that much. After looking at all the before and after photos on, it’s apparent that the girls don’t really transform much. Most of the girls posted in the success stories where in good shape to begin with, and realistically how ripped can a girl get? So instead of photos of my same old (hey, wait a minute . . . not literally “old”) arms, I’m going to start to post videos of me doing the P90X moves.

Here’s my first video of pull-ups. I can only do 1 or 2 pull-ups more than I could when I started, only now I can pull up from standing – without jumping up. (Please note, this is not shown in the video thanks to my husband’s slow shutter finger.) You will see that I only come down until my elbows are at 90 degrees, but my goal is to increase the angle, in addition to increasing the reps. I ultimately want to do 10 reps, with more travel. When I realized that the video didn’t start soon enough, my husband said, “Just do it again.” And I would . . . only Friday is rest day – sorry.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Tail Was Dragging Today

I don't remember a day that I dreaded doing my P90X work-out more than I did today. Wait a minute . . . I don't think I EVER dreaded doing it before today. But this afternoon, I was exhausted. I have to blame my husband because his cell phone alarm went off at 3:15 AM and woke me out of the most blissful, deep sleep. I was not a happy camper. After that, I tossed and turned and never could fall back to sleep. That set the tone for the rest of the day.

On the 30 minute commute home from work, a sat there in the car cherishing every minute of the relaxing ride. I wished it would take just a little longer so I could catch a little longer snooze. I should make a note here that my husband and I work together, and I am the passenger during the commute. I was not snoozing at the wheel!

We got home and I let out a big sigh . . . . "uuuuuugh, do we have to work-out?" I made it flawless this far and I'm not breaking my perfect record. Luckily, I already did Ab Ripper X at lunchtime, so that would help lessen the pain. Tonight was Legs and Back and considering how stinkin' tired I was, I think I did great. I felt freakishly strong and breezed through most of the entire work-out. I did more pull-ups then ever and the only thing that killed me, as usual, was the skin on my palms (and I wore gloves today). And now that it's all over and my tummy is full from my stir-fry dinner, I'm feeling better and more awake than I did all day!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

That's What I'm Talking About

I may have been getting a little too comfortable with P90X. After doing the same routines for 4 weeks, it was getting a little ho hum and not too challenging. Well, THAT changed last night.

I was very anxious to start Phase 2 and experience a brand new video. Last night was that experience. We tackled Chest, Shoulders and Triceps and my goodness, it was challenging. I was still proud of myself. Despite not being able to do everything in the routines, I still kicked the butt of the chick on video. I only had to drop to my knees on some of the push-ups, where she was on her knees for all of them.

My new personal goals:
  • I want to do real one-armed push-ups.
  • I want to be able to do the push-ups where you clap in between - or better yet, flying push-ups.
When I woke up this morning, it felt like I got run over by a truck. But now I'm sitting at my desk, amazed that nothing is hurting. My arms feel fine. Maybe it will take 24 hours for the soreness to kick in.

I'm eager to try this video next week just to see if and where I'm making improvements. I will never forget watching the movie G.I. Jane with Demi Moore. It inspired me so much, I was ready to join a boot camp after seeing it. I want to be G.I. Jane, but I'm not shaving my head!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Things To Note After Completing Phase 1

I'm very excited to have started Phase 2 of P90X. Here are some of things that I took note of this past week:

  • My downdog has improved greatly. I can comfortable stay in down dog for as long as required in the video with very little to no discomfort. Down dog has always challenged me in the past and now I consider it a resting point.
  • I just realized that I can pull myself up to start my chin ups. In the past I have always jumped up to begin. I would jump up, come down and count the next trip up as #1. Now I can just simply pull myself up from the chair (or the pull up machine in the gym). This amazed me. I still can't pull up from a dead hang, but we'll see where I am at the end of Phase 2. I still think it will take a miracle to pull up from a dead hang.
  • I can now hold chatterunga (is that how you spell it?) for several seconds longer than I could in the past.
  • My legs feel stronger and tighter than I dreamed they would. I feel as though I biked the day before - every day! We really only concentrated on legs one day out of the week, but apparently all the other exercises hit the legs enough to keep them tight.
  • All of my kicks in Kenpo are much higher than when I started.
  • I can pick up my legs higher, faster and easier in 'steam engine' after completely Phase 1. - All of the ab work is much easier than it was when I first started. My abs improved quickly and drastically.

Basically, I am better conditioned in every aspect. I feel stronger all around and my cardio came back quickly. I already feel "ready to ride" and we still have two Phases to go.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

New Photo

I just realized that I didn't take my Week 3 photo. I've been 'home alone' all week with nobody to take a picture of me. So I let a MacBook do the work . . . and my bicep after 3 weeks . . .

OK, not really. Have you ever played with the morphing and distorting features? Yeah, I may have distorted my bicep a bit. Gee, that was much easier than actually doing all the lifting!

Tonight will be my last Phase 1 session. It's a yoga night and for some strange reason, I'm really looking forward to it. I guess I'm just excited to start Phase 2. The coworker who discovered P90X last year and started this whole craze is visiting from the West Coast this week. He brought with him the new P90X Plus videos. I haven't ventured to try them yet, but I heard they are killer. I guess we'll be doing that next winter. Gulp! He also mentioned that he didn't really see major changes in his body on his first run with P90X until the Phase 3. That is interesting. I guess I still have a long way to go.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

One More Day of Recovery

Today was the Cardio day of my first P90X recovery week. And I have to say, it seemed really easy. At only 43 minutes total time, the whole session seemed so short. All the other days are just at, if not over, an hour. This was like cheating. I noticed that I can do everything in the video in perfect form, as fast as the folks on the video, and for as many reps. This pleases me greatly. I just wish I can one day say the same about Ab Ripper X.

Earlier today I went to to visit the user forums and check out some sucess stories. It was a bit discouraging that all the before and after photos of the men are all amazing. They all look ripped and the makeovers were inspiring to look at. But the girls, however, did not have the same amazing results. The first thing I noticed was that most of the girls already looked good before they started the program. I guess that tends to end in less amazing results. I know I fall in this same category. I never really expected my looks to change much. Too bad P90X can't make my face prettier or my hair nicer ;-) I will have to resolve to the fact that, in the end, I will look the same. But I'll feel much better - that's for sure. I already feel great.

P90X Stretch

Yesterday was my first Stretching session. It was difficult with my screaming neck pain, but I have to say . . . I felt a little better when it was over. Well, not just because it was over, but because the muscles in my neck and back were a little less tight and therefore a little less painful. That was good news. The bad news is that it didn't take more than a couple of hours to tighten back up again.

Later in the day I was reading a yoga blog that I recently discovered. To my delight, the writer suggested a book that looks like it really may help. It's called "The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook". When I visited the link to the book, it showed where the trigger points are in the neck and that is the EXACT spot where most of my pain lies. From those trigger points, the illustrations showed where the pain can radiate too. Also exactly what I'm experiencing. It has gotten to the point now where the muscles are pinching some nerves causing my teeth to tingle. This is getting ridiculous and I'm getting worried. I made it this far into P90X. I can't stop now.