Friday, February 29, 2008
Maybe just like the meditation thing – the pain in my hands redirects the pain away from my arms. But I still think the pain in my hands is worse. At least when I jump down from the bar, my arms are completely free of pain. The stinging in my hands lasts for the rest of the night. As if I don’t already have “man hands” (I guess I would prefer to call them “piano hands”), the rough and callused palms are not making me feel too girly.
And since I don’t have an amusing antidote from my last two workouts to share, I’ll share this instead. Today I had to sit through a big company meeting at work. All sorts of topics came up and one was an anonymous request from a female coworker. Somebody had requested that more ‘female specific’ weights and equipment be added to our gym. The response to this was, “Paula doesn’t have any trouble with the weights in the gym. I’ve seen her curl more weights than most guys!” I don’t think I had a prouder moment at work.
P90X – BRING IT
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Today I attended my first real meditation class at a yoga studio. I've been trying to mediate at home and I set my goal very low. All I try to do is sit still and mediate for five minutes a day. It sounds easy, but it's really not. Lately I've been so tired from all the P90X work-outs that I fall asleep during my five minutes. I break my session into: 3 minutes of affirmations, followed by one minute of my "things that I'm grateful for list," and the final minute of calming and blanking the mind. It is during this measly ONE MINUTE that I fall asleep. Pitiful.
Because of my tendency to fall asleep during less than 60 seconds of doing nothing with my mind, I refused to let myself get too comfortable during the meditation class. Some of the ladies laid down with pillows under their heads and blankets wrapped over them. I wouldn't have lasted 30 seconds like that. So I sat on a pillow in crossed legged pose. I got through about 10 minutes when I couldn’t take it anymore. The class leader explained that we should breathe through any discomfort. Can somebody please explain this concept to me? How to you 'send breath to the pain' to make it go away? It just doesn't work for me. The more I focus on the pain, the more it hurts.
So I adjusted into a more comfortable position and after I got over the fear of having to clear my throat and the annoying tickle of my wool sweater on my face, I did manage to clear my mind. In fact, I was quite proud of myself at just how much I was able to focus on my breathing with all the things going on in my busy day. I'm excited to continue this class and hope that it helps me with my at home meditation too.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
And I really think that those people on the video are totally acting it up. I'm watching the chick closely as she's grimacing with her 10 pound dumbbells. NO WAY. I mean come on . . . she can do multiple pull-ups from a dead hang and she expects me to believe that she's working hard with 10 pound dumbbells - when I'm doing the set with 15 lbs. I'm not believing it!
Sunday, February 24, 2008
And I'm not sure what was different about today. Was it because I had the WHOLE room to myself and wasn't worried about trying to squeeze us both into the small space? Was it because it wasn't first thing in the morning and my muscles weren't tighter than normal. Or was I just in a different state of mind because I was all alone and falling into the whole mood of yoga? Or am I just plain getting stronger? Maybe it was all of the above. I just had a really good session today. There is only one part of the video that I still can't do and that's the standing on one leg, bent over, with one arm in the air poses. Killer. I'm just not there yet. But I can do everything else and keep right up with everybody on the video. And THAT is encouraging.
Overall, despite my husband slacking on the yoga session today, we had a great weekend. He did plenty of extra work as he had a few hours of snow shoveling to do Friday night and Saturday morning. After our one hour of Core work-out yesterday, we took a 2 hour cross-country ski and today we went for two separate 2 mile hikes in the snow. Even though there are several inches of snow on the ground, I'm starting to get Spring Fever. I can't wait to get back on by bike (one of my bikes, any of my bikes)!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Aside from Superman, I enjoyed the rest of this morning's Core segment. This is a fun one. Not as much fun as Kenpo, but still fun. I feel as though I'm transported back to being a kid at soccer practice. I think my husband has those same feelings, but he's at wrestling camp. There is something to be said for the adrenaline rush you get when you're with a group and the coach is yelling words of encouragement to you. Granted, our group is only the two of us, plus the four folks on the TV, but the experience is similar.
One side note, I can't believe how much better my Down Dog has gotten in 2 weeks. Not only is it easier to hold the position, but my heels are comfortably sitting on the floor and I feel incredibly strong in the pose. This really has me wondering how I'll feel 10 weeks from now. It's exciting to think about. It seems to me that there are really only going to be 3 painful weeks to the entire program. The program is broken up into 3 phases where you do the same routine for 3 weeks and then have a recovery week (with no lifting). The next phase starts up with a whole new set of routines and that first week is hard. But the second and third each get easier. Just when you got it down, you go into recovery week and then start the new phase.
Today starts the first day of our third week . . so here are some pics of me at the end of the second week.
Friday, February 22, 2008
This P90X journal has already inspired a few of my friends. So far three of them are seriously considering joining me with this new training routine, one being my cousin (actually cousins – husband and wife). The biggest reason for starting this whole thing was that I thought it would be fun to do it with my husband. The two coworkers that got us into it, both trained with their spouses and had a ball. Now, I’ve been training with my husband for years, but that has been different. He has been my trainer, being mean, pushing me too hard, yelling at me. That’s not fun at all. I wanted something that we could both do together – equally. I know just having him there would motivate me. I’m not so great at pushing myself all alone. If nobody is looking, it’s too easy to cheat. But having each other there motivates us both.
So last night we were side by side kicking and punching our hearts out. Karlo is very intense, in everything he does. He works like a machine and breathes like one too. I was listening to his mechanical breathing with every punch and kick and thought, “Wow, he’s so serious.” Then I imagined how much fun it would be to work out with my cousin. This guy is a riot – always cracking jokes. I was imagining all the funny things he would say at all these moves we were doing. I was cracking myself up just thinking about it. Jamie, if you and Eileen start this program, you will have to video tape yourselves so I can watch. That could be the best P90X video journal ever.
Tonight is our rest night and this completes week two. I feel great. I have a little soreness in my neck (from the original neck pull in week one) and my butt is still sore for the Legs night. I may do the stretching video tonight, mostly because I’ll feel guilty as Karlo spends hours outside shoveling snow on his “rest” night.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Last night (Legs, Back & Abs) was by far the toughest day for me. It’s really the only day that is unpleasant. And it really bugs me too since my legs have always been much stronger than my upper body. But things are shifting. I’ve been lifting all winter and I slacked off for nearly the entire biking season last year. My legs are just not what they used to be. But that will change!
On top of having weaker than normal legs, I also have a bad knee which really challenges me, not to mention bums me out. As if all of my physical activities are not hard enough, I have to add to it the sheering pain when my bones scrape together from the lack of cartilage in my knee. I have suffered with this problem since high school and it only gets worse every year. How depressing is that?
So last night my knee was giving me problems right away during the warm-up jog. I should be wearing a knee brace, but I'm not. Then I insisted on using weights during some of the lunges, despite Tony’s advice for “people with bad knees.” I really should have listened to him! Add to that the fact that we got a new pull-up bar which is thicker than our old one. I struggled with getting comfortable on it. I tried wearing gloves, but that didn’t stop the burning feeling like my skin was falling off. Sigh. It just wasn’t a good night.
Oh, and then there’s the fact that I promised a picture of our pull-up set-up but my whining, pain-in-the-butt husband wouldn’t let me take a picture of him. So the cat is out of the bag – he doesn’t look like the guys on the video. There, now you all know! But the fact is, he still looks great and one day I’m snapping a picture when he’s not looking and posting it. So there!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Before deciding to do this P90X work-out, I had a little jest going with the co-worker that ultimately inspired us to do it. She explained this whole routine and the thought of working out 60-90 minutes a day just sounded like torture to me. According to my husband, if you can lift weights for more than 15 or 20 minutes, then you are not lifting enough weight. He believes in going to failure – and quickly. So I joked with my friend Michelle and said, “You do your 90 minutes a day for 90 days and I’ll continue to lift 15 minutes a day and at the end of the 90 days let’s compare our muscles and our strength.” I still have no doubts that I would be stronger and more ripped, but I would not have the total body conditioning that P90X is giving me. So what could be better than doing both?
I’m strategically picking the lifting routines as to not burn out the muscles I’ll need at night for P90X. Since last night was Cardio and I didn’t get enough of a bicep workout the night before, it seemed like a safe bet. Karlo burnt me out in 15 minutes, but it felt good. This morning as I type this, I’m marveling at the fact that I’m not yet sore from it. Is it coming later today or is P90X helping to reduce the amount of soreness I normally feel after a torture session with my crazy Hungarian trainer? Oh, did I ever mention my husband’s background? He started wrestling at the age of 6 and wrestling was his LIFE until his mid 20s. He achieved his life long dream of making it to the Olympics at the exact same time he got his ticket to immigrate out of Hungary into Canada. It was a very hard decision, but he decided to go for the long-term better life in Canada over the gold medal (that I have NO DOUBT he would have won at the Olympics). If anybody is used to a life of training and training hard, it’s him.
OK, I haven’t said a word about last night’s Cardio session. There isn’t much to say. It’s getting too easy. My most challenging part of the last night was “Superman.” For some reason my shoulders do not like "flying." I’m looking forward to tonight’s pull-ups. We just bought a new bar and I’ll take a picture to share.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
My husband used 20 lb weights for the entire segment. That means that he's already matching the buff dudes in weights only my husband is beating them in reps! My husband is 53 and these guys look like they are in their 30s. We are kicking bootie in this particular segment.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Today was supposed to be Cardio day, but since it was Sunday and we had more free time in the day, I decided to switch our schedule up a bit. I thought it would be wiser to do yoga on Sundays because yoga is 90 minutes long and at our current schedule, yoga just happens to fall on the one night a week where we come home from work an hour later than usual. So we are switching our 90 minute yoga day with the 30 minute cardio day. Makes perfect sense to me and I can't see why that would harm our routine.
I wondered if doing this killer yoga routine first thing in the morning would be even more grueling than doing it after work. Although I'm much better rested in the morning, I'm also much stiffer.
I'm happy to report that I got through this yoga session easier than the first time. I think mostly it was a mental thing. Last time I felt so discouraged being so tired and weak at the halfway point. I didn't think I would make it through. But today I was wiser. I knew that the really hard parts would be over at the halfway part and I was therefore in a better mental place. I felt stronger than the first week and got through most if it without too much whimpering. One thing I want to note is the difference I feel when in Down Dog. I used to feel challenged and uncomfortable holding Down Dog for too long. Now I feel like Down Dog is a welcome resting position and I'm so much more comfortable in it. That is good news for sure.
My most challenging part of this 90 minute routine right now is the one leg balancing poses. I could do Tree with no problem and the other standing poses. But the pose that requires one leg and one arm in the air - my goodness - I need a lot of improvement there. I'm finding those poses quite impossible at this point.
It feels good to have yoga behind me for this upcoming week. I'm much happier doing yoga on the weekends when I'm not so distracted by the hunger pains in my stomach as my body yearns for dinner.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Yesterday was our first rest day from the program and to tell you the truth, I missed it. I actually snuck up to our work-out room and did the very short 5 minute Ab Ripper 100. This was a series of 10 different ab workouts - each for only 10 reps, giving you a total of 100 ab exercises. It went fast and was pretty painless. Since it only took 5 minutes, it felt like our night last night was so long and such a night of leisure. That was the great part. I have to say that committing to this program is not only hard physically, but it's a big time commitment and I'm sure we will find that to be the most challenging part of the whole deal.
So today we started our second week. It was back to the Core session and I was curious to see how it would go since we have now been through every work-out that we will face for the first 4 weeks. We would be a little better prepared. At the very least I would know what to wear for each different day!
You might find it interesting to note that today was harder than the first time! I think this is because 1) we didn't have to stop and watch a few reps of every exercise to figure out what we were supposed to do and 2) we had more confidence that we could actually do the whole thing. So needless to say, we both worked much harder. The first day, I felt intimidated and was just happy to get through the hour without a heart attack. But today, I wanted to keep up with all the buff chicks. And all I have to say is what is up with the super buff chicks getting on their knees during some of the pushups? I didn't!
And one more thing to note, and this I love. Today I wore a pair of capri (sort-of) tights. They just came out of the drier and yet they fit me looser than they did last week. Is it possible that I am already trimming down a bit? I find that hard to believe, but I got on the scale and I was 2 pounds lighter than I was 2 weeks ago. They may be because I ate oatmeal and cereal for dinner just about every night the week before starting this program (only because my husband was away and I was too lazy to cook for one). But then again, it may be from just one week of this program. I also want to add here that we are NOT doing the diet portion of this program. Losing weight is not a goal for me. I am 5'8" and I weigh 119 lbs. If anything, I'm expecting to gain a couple pounds by turning my soft legs back into the hard biking legs that I used to have.
I also decided to take pictures of myself every Saturday morning to visually track the progress. The truth is, I don't expect to change all that much from the "Lean" program, but you never know. Here's me after week one:
Friday, February 15, 2008
Anyway, back to Kenpo . . . it was about an hour long and no weights or other equipment were needed. We just went through several different rounds of punching and kicking the air. That may sound pretty easy, but it’s intense. If you do the moves properly and really put some uummff into it, you feel it everywhere.
I was fortunate to have experience with every move they did. If I never took kickboxing classes, I would have probably been a little lost. There isn’t really any instruction. The video just jumps right into every move at a very fast pace. But even if you do get a little lost, the following weeks will just get easier as you become more familiar with the moves.
When I woke up this morning, the first thing I felt was my entire back ache. I remember exactly how this used to feel from my kickboxing days. Muscles that you didn’t know you had start to bark at you. I love it! Despite the fact that I’m hurting a bit, I feel great.
Today is our first rest day and that means that I won’t be lifting at lunch time or doing any P90X at night. Oh, by the way, I lifted yesterday (chest) at lunchtime. I lifted to failure like I always do, but still had plenty of energy for Kenpo. I’m trying to hit different muscles during the afternoon so as not to poop myself out during P90X. When I told my other P90X friends that we are doing the “Lean” version, they called us “pansies” but the truth is, I think I’m getting an even tougher all around workout by continuing my lunchtime lifting sessions. By the time my 12 weeks are up I'll be able to kick the butts of those that called us pansies!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Yesterday was Legs & Back, followed by Ab Ripper. Legs and Back was a series of standing leg exercises, mostly with no weights. How hard can that be? Well, it was pretty hard. I usually pride myself on having very strong legs, but we are out of biking shape. I have a bad knee and doing too much weight in squats has always been a challenge. My thighs can take much more than my knee can. I made it through all the leg stuff, but it was hard.
And in between each set of leg exercises we had to do pull-ups. Yuck. All different kinds of pull-ups: wide arm, narrow arm, hands wrapped around the bar one direction, then reverse the direction. I knew I wouldn't last very long doing multiple pull-ups so I used the back of a chair for assisted pull-ups. Even that was hard. And the worst part . . . I never tried doing a pull-up with my hands wrapped around the bar, in what I consider a backwards way. During my first pull-up I felt something snap in my back and instant pain up to my neck. Just what I needed. I've been in a lot of pain ever since that moment. The rest of the workout became doubly challenging.
After an hour of this, we still weren't done. Next it was Ab Ripper and it's called that for a reason. I have always had amazingly strong abs. I compare my abs to my greyhounds. They lounge around 99.5% of their lives and still look like buff athletes. They don't deserve to look the way they do. They don't work at it. It just comes naturally. Well, that has always been my abs. I guess I'm very lucky that way. But still, last night showed me that I have a long way to go in building more strength. There were very few exercises that I could do the full 25 reps. I think after the 15 minute blast, if you did them all, you would have done over 600 ab ripping moves. Good grief, I need a donut.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
The biggest challenge for me was the length of the video. It was an hour and half long and watching the clock was very de-motivating. After 45 minutes of not stop strenuous poses I was ready to collapse and then when I looked at the clock and thought "we're only HALF WAY through," I almost gave up. But, to our delight the session shifted from agonizing variations of sun salutations to balance poses. These poses weren't terrible easy, but at least they didn't make my muscles want to explode. From there we went to some floor work and just the thought of sitting of laying down thrilled my soul.
I was expecting to be sore this morning, but I'm not. That's interesting. I am, however, always tired. Since we started this P90X program have been falling asleep at night the minute my head hits the pillow and having deep restful sleeps. It will be interesting to see how quickly my body adapts to this new routine. I would imagine everything will get easier as the weeks progress.
Monday, February 11, 2008
This was the first P90X video that required equipment. I wasn't sure we were totally prepared as I didn't know what sort of dumbbell weight increments we would need. The sad part is that we had over 800 lbs of free weights that we practically gave away last year because we didn't want to move them to our new house. Seems pretty lazy for folks so interested in staying in good shape. And as a result, we only have one set of 10 lb and one set of pathetic girly 3 lb dumbbells, along with some heavy duty resistance bands. My husband used the bands for the entire work-out and I used the 10 lb dumbbells.
I have to say, I was extremely proud of myself. I'm fairly certain that the super buff chick on the video used mostly 10 pounders and I kept right up with her in every single exercise. The video leads you through every set and asks you to record how many reps you did and what weight you did them at. This is to track your own progress as you make your way through the 90 days. Day one, an hour of lifting with weights, and I'm already keeping up with the super girl on the video. This was a huge high for me! I am much stronger in my upper body than I ever gave myself credit for. I guess my husband's militant weight lifting sessions have really paid off. As a matter of fact, I never really got hot during the entire workout. The folks on the video are sweating up a storm and I literally still had goosebumps. I should add a footnote here for those of you that don't know me. I am always, always cold and almost never sweat. Plus our heat is turned way down and we live in CT so the room was pretty chilly. But STILL, I would have thought I would have been working harder.
So it looks like I'm off to the store to buy some 15 lb dumbbells. If day one of weights didn't challenge me, it's time to increase the weight. I can't wait to see how sore I'll be tomorrow. One this is for sure, no matter how sore I am, it will be NOTHING compared to the pain I've suffered under my husband's coaching rein. I'm ready for the pain. That's one thing I've grown very accustomed to. Bring it on.
But it wasn't as bad as I expected. Our first workout was called "Core" and strangely, none of my core muscles hurt. I was expecting my abs and obliques to hurt, but instead all my soreness was in my rear end. My entire butt and upper back of my legs felt like they have been torn apart. This made me very happy, as this is the one part of my body that I feel really needs help. I don't think I'm alone within the female population with this one.
We got right up out of bed and slowly shuffled to our work-out room. I had no idea what today's target zone would be and I was pleased to find out that it would be cardio. At least cardio doesn't rip muscles. So we started it up and the first 10 minutes were the warm up. Most of the is warm up entailed yoga and I both me and my husband were pleased because we feel at home with yoga. Only this was hard yoga. Good grief, I barely got through it and the whole while I'm thinking . . . "this is the WARM UP?" We had to go through several positions of plank, down to push-up pose, to upward dog, back to plank, another push up, up to downward dog, one leg in the air . . . Over and over. I'm lucky I didn't break my nose trying to do all those push-ups. They threw in a few warrior poses, which despite the fact that they were deep and difficult, they still felt like a relief. By the time the warm up was done, I was exhausted.
Or at least I thought I was. The minute the rest of the real cardio kicked in, I came back to life. The video is so much fun and always changing. It's exciting right now because we have no idea what to expect. I assumed it would be 30 minutes of non-stop jumping around, but all the exercises were greatly varied. There was lots of kickboxing and that thrilled me. I used to do kickboxing for years and loved every minute of it. I felt right at home with all the old moves. I really had a ball and was very proud of myself with my performance. I thought, of all the videos, cardio would be the most challenging. Now this is not to say that tomorrow I won't be twice as sore. I'm already feeling more muscles tightening and rebelling. But I'm not complaining. I do love that feeling and I'm very accustomed to it .
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Just to give you some background, I am 39 years old and my husband just turned 53. To make him feel better on his birthday, I switched the candles around to read "35." He honestly looks and acts more like 35 than 53 and I think he's going to have an easier time getting through this program than I am.
We have both stayed in pretty good shape for the past several years. We have been together now for over 6 years and during this time we keep very active biking, kayaking, hiking, lifting, doing yoga, to name a few activities. But at the same time, we live in CT and it's just plain difficult to keep in good cardio shape in the winter time. Although we have free access to several indoor cardio machines, they simply bore me to tears. I can pedal on a real bike all day and cover incredible distances, however I think I’m gonna die after 2 miles on a stationary bike. I just can't do it. At this point in the winter, we have been trail running just about every day for the past 3 weeks, but that, and a little Zumba dancing for me, has been the extent of our winter cardio.
Our first training DVD was "Core" fitness. I have to say it started out pretty good. I was able to do just about every move, but not as many reps as the chiseled robots on the video. These people just make me sick! Yes, it's inspiring to see perfectly fit human beings, but it's a little depressing at the same time. It's hard not to mumble under my breath and call them names. But overall, I kept in good spirits.
The best part about today was that it didn't require the use of much equipment - just some dumbbells. We are trying to do this routine in a spare bedroom and space and equipment may pose a challenge. The piece of equipment that is scaring me the most right now is the chin up bar. I have to say that I'm pretty darn proud of myself, as I can already do about 7 pull-ups, but not from a dead hang. I can only come down until my arms are at 90 degrees - so it will be my goal after 90 days to do 10 pull-ups from a dead hang. Ouuch, it hurts just thinking about that . . . But we'll see.
So we got through our 55 minutes today without too much whimpering or complaining. Overall I feel pretty good about our first day. I can't wait to see how sore we will be tomorrow and the thrill of not knowing what the next video will be is very exciting. I love the format of the DVDs and the lead dude is very motivating. I know it's very early to give a rating, but after today, I give it a 2 thumbs up!
Saturday, February 09, 2008
I have to thank my personal trainer for all my strength training. He happens to be my husband and we just happen to work together at a company that offers us a full gym. This is a huge perk that I'm very grateful for, and it wasn't like I felt unfulfilled and desired some different kind of routine. I just sort of got sucked into the excitement of it all. Some friends at work had started this program and just hearing about it every day ignited my curiosity and my desire to see if I could do it too. Now, I learned many years ago that I can't keep up with these nutcases that I work with. Several of them have done Ironman triathlons and they also enjoy biking up Mt. Washington. They are a bit out of my league, but still their enthusiasm is infectious. So here I am , hoping that I don't kill myself.
After the initial hurt and resentment that my husband felt when I informed him that I wanted to try this program, he agreed to attempt it with me. It took a while to explain to him that I wasn't seeking a better personal trainer and that I didn’t think he wasn't doing a good enough job. To further appease him, I decided to do this program in the "lean" version, which is just less upper-body strengthening than the "classic" version. We plan to continue our lunch time weight lifting sessions while doing this P90X program. Our ultimate goal is to jump on our bikes in the Spring as if this long cold winter never happened. Nothing is worse than that first ride of the season. The hills seem like mountains and your lungs feel like grapes. I hate it.
I'm sorry if this blog turns into a P90X journal for the next 90 instead of a place to turn for yoga inspiration and tidbits. I hope my journey through this enduring ordeal does inspire you in whatever form of exercise you do.
Monday, February 04, 2008
Recently a friend told me about a fitness dance class that she was taking at her favorite yoga studio. This friend swore I would LOVE this thing called "Zumba." This peaked my curiosity and I went to the trusty Web for more information. What I found was amazing. I had no idea that hundreds of yoga studios and dance studios across the country and around the world are offering these Zumba classes. Was I living under a rock?
This Zumba dance is rooted in latin dancing - lots of moving of the hips. It's fast and fun and I can't believe it has taken me this long to discover it. If your local yoga studio is offering these classes and you haven't already given them a try, you should. It so much fun, it really shouldn't be called exercise at all. It's like eating candy and being told that it's actually healthy and good for you.
To learn more about Zumba visit their website here: http://www.zumba.com/. If your yoga studio does not offer the classes, search for classes on the site by your town. Chances are you will find something near by. And if all else fails, you can buy the DVDs and have some fun at home.