Tag Archives: athletic

P90 Week 5

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Looking at my 30 day progress pictures, I saw some definite improvements, especially in my back and upper midsection. Something that I didn’t directly notice in the pictures yet saw in my daily life was that my biceps and triceps are more hard and defined, and my legs are a lot harder and sturdier. Plus, as is the case with consistent exercise, my face appears less puffy as well.

Sculpt B has proven itself to still be one of my favorite workouts of all time, because it’s both classic and progressive, incorporating old school routines like classic curls and 7/7/7 curls from Tony’s original Power 90, while also invoking P90X3-esque routines like balance curls and push-up+side arm balances (aka “The Crab Special”, a name that made me more hungry than anything else. Yes, I know it’s treif.). What I also like about it is that the entire routine can be done with dumbbells so, unless you prefer it, you can do rocket rows with dumbbells.

Sweat B is a definite improvement over its Month A predecessor, making its moves slightly more complex by adding on extra twists (i.e. downward strikes + sprawls instead of just sprawls). Plus, seeing Maddy strike and kick her way through this routine not only motivates me to keep up with her, but she also reminds me of Alice (aka “Pain in the Alice”) from P90X3, who proved herself to be nothing short of a bonafide badass in routines like The Challenge and MMX. The major downside of this lies not in the moves themselves, but within Tony’s incessant need to copy the modifying performer’s English accent. Ugh. As for Ab Ripper B, I’ll be honest…I didn’t do it. I don’t really have the time to add ab routines on top of 35+ min routines (though I should), but it’s basically Ab Ripper A with some added moves.

I also sampled the 22 Minute Hard Corps Cardio 1 workout, which absolutely kicked my ass but it was over in practically no time. It’s basically repeated sets of moves like step-back lunges, side-to-side lunges, and (holy &%$!)…burpees. Lots of burpees. I can tell this is going to be fuuuuunnnnn.

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P90 Week 4 / “Month A” Review

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And so ends Month A. How I hardly knew thee.

I’ll miss you all…Jim, with your ripping 61-year-old biceps putting my 26 year-old twigs to shame, Stella (STELLAAAAA!!!) with your awesome Lara Croft braid and your horrible, horrible form (though mine isn’t much better), Christy with your refusal to do anything Tony says, and of course, Dakota. No matter if I’m going north, south, east, or west…you’ll always be in my heart. Because your “advanced” level shenanigans inspired me to crank up my heart rate.

So yeah, I got through it. I did very little Sweat A + Ab Ripper A, but that’s ok because I did most of my Sculpt A workouts and substituted cardio with yoga sessions, which made me sweat like Chris Christie on stage with Donald Trump. Here are my thoughts on the workouts:

Sculpt A

Like I had mentioned in a previous post, I have never been a weightlifting guy. I think that stems from the fact that I was always overweight growing up and a lot of what helped me (temporarily) lose weight was running and other forms of cardio. That, and I always assumed the sole purpose of lifting weights was to get you big. It’s not. It’s prolonged calorie burn, and like Tony says during lunges (in a voice so flamboyant it makes Richard Simmons sound like Arnold): “BURNING SENSATION! Which means calories are burning, which means you’re gonna lose weight and look good.”

Sculpt A is an awesome and accessible introduction for people who have never so much as lifted a dumbbell yet will still provide one hell of a challenge. It’s a total body workout that includes both isolating moves (standard curls, swimmer’s presses, pulldowns) and moves incorporating the multiple areas (rocket launcher kickbacks, weighted kayak lunges, Sawyer chin pulls). You do 16 reps per move, take a break midway, then do slightly harder versions of those same moves. For instance, you’d start with half pushups in the first round, then start with walking half pushups in the second round. Overall, it’s a quick yet effective calorie burner that novices and pros alike will get a lot out of.

Sweat A

As I’ve said, Tony isn’t a big cardio guy. Shaun T just straight up annihilates him when it comes to cardio workouts, while Tony offers more in terms of resistance (two sides of the same ridiculously shredded coin). So, while it has its moments that I got a lot out of (particularly its MMA moves), this workout really didn’t do it for me. Not because it was too easy, because it did make me work up a sweat, but because it just kind of bored me. It’s one of those “have to” workouts that I ultimately ended up substituting yoga in its place. I prefer cardio set to a rhythm, which is why Les Mills COMBAT is and will most likely remain one of my favorite home workout programs of all time. It’s rhythmic, fun, energetic cardio that keeps you moving because it’s set to a musical tempo. Here, the background music serves just as that: background noise. Not terrible by any means, but not particularly motivating either. I say try it out a few times, and if you like it, great. If not, do something that makes you giddy as a [something giddy] to work out.

Ab Ripper A

This is actually where Sweat A improves a bit, with its immediate followup of Ab Ripper A. This 8 minute core routine, if done correctly, will make your midsection sore and make you feel like you put in genuine work. All of it is floor work, though, so if you’re a standing abs kind of person, then you’re out of luck. Thankfully it’s relatively quickly, and as someone who HATES working his abs, I’ve been through more torturous routines.

Saturday Special

This is a P90X3 workout.

Okay, it’s not, but since this weekend workout has a time length of 30 minutes and the fact that it will make you sweat a ton (and whine a little) by its end puts it in the same category as Accelerator or anyother X3 cardio routines. It’s fast-paced cardio and abs (standing and floor) that puts you to work for half an hour but makes you work. It’s one of those “hate it but I love it” workouts that is a challenge no matter what month you’re on, because you can always go faster or intensify your moves. Definitely an improvement over Sweat A for sure.

So yeah, this was a good month and I’m already noticing myself slimming down and fitting into jeans that were too tight a month ago. Up next is Month B…

BUT.

The peer pressure of Facebook has proven itself too much for me, as I have been invited to participate in a #SummerStrong fitness challenge group. This means that beginning April 4th, I will be committing 60 days to Tony Horton’s brand new military-inspired fitness program 22 Minute Hard Corps in lieu of the second half of Month B, all of Month C, and the first half of P90X3 Month 1. My reasoning is simple: I get to satiate my desire to try this (really cool-looking) program out and get a free t-shirt at the end. What I may do to appease my OCD desire to finish P90 is to create some weird hybrid of the two, but we’ll see.

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P90 Week 3

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Greetings, nonathletes!

So, despite my initial determination to complete as full and unadulterated a P90 calendar as possible, I’ve realized how much I actively dislike Sweat A + Ab Ripper A and have instead opted to switch in yoga workouts instead, making this a strength training + yoga hybrid for the time being.

This past week, I did the following workouts:

Mon: P90X3 Yoga + P90 Sculpt A

Tues: P90X3 Yoga

Wed: Rested

Thurs: P90X3 Dynamix – A dynamic stretch routine co-developed by Olympic athlete Malachi Davis.

Fri: Moving heavy boxes (yep, counting it as a workout)

Sat: Yoga Booty Ballet Pure and Simple Yoga – Hey, don’t knock it till you try it. As silly as its name is, it’s an ass-kicker.

Sun: PiYo Sweat – To make up for Wednesday (and a Saturday of St. Patrick’s Day festivities), I tried the BOD sample workout of Chalene Johnson’s PiYo program.

This week, I’m reincorporating more of Sculpt A to not only reintroduce my body to resistance training, but also to adequately prepare myself for next month’s Sculpt B workouts. I’m particularly excited about this since I feel Sculpt B is one of the best resistance workouts I’ve ever done. On the remaining days, I’ll alternate between various BOD yoga routines and make sure one of them has cardio, so ideally, PiYo Sweat or Jericho McMatthews’ Half & Half cardio + yoga BOD workout.

I’m really excited about pushing my body further with the relaxing yet challenging and sweat-inducing power of yoga and the adrenaline rush of lifting iron and cranking out pushups and pulldowns.

Whatever it is you’re doing (or thinking about doing), “do your best and forget the rest.”

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P90: Week 1

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P90 may be called the “on switch to fitness” for people who haven’t worked out in a long time (or ever), but as someone who’s dabbled with INSANITY, P90X and X3, I can safely say that P90 is definitely a challenging program…if you make it challenging.

Any fitness expert could easily dog his way through this stuff and not get anything out of it. But by upping your speed, weights, squat and lunge depth, and overall intensity, you can make this legitimately hard to finish, especially if you focus on your overall weaknesses.

Case in point: I opted for the Sculpt calendar (3 days lifting, 3 days cardio) because I’ve always been more of a cardio man. I recognize that I need more lifting in my life to prevent bone and joint issues, to burn calories longer, and to be an overall stronger and fitter person. But what I’ve realized is that I actually enjoy Sculpt A more than Sweat A + Ab Ripper A. Maybe it’s due to the fact that deep down, even the most cardiophilic of men still have a primal desire to lift heavy things and put them down. Regardless, it’s still a fun butt-kicker of a workout. Sweat A + Ab Ripper A are nice, but Tony Horton is an admitted cardiophobe, so while you will sweat (I should hope so, it’s in the title), it probably won’t be the most fun you’ve had working out.

In terms of my diet (the REAL challenge), I have been very healthy and on top of my vitamins and water intake, but I will fully admit I could use a bit more discipline and order in the food department (pizza and wings were had this week, and that’s all I will say…also, pineapple and green peppers go very well together).

Still, not bad for my first week.

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Update and thoughts on Les Mills COMBAT so far

So sorry for the absence! It’s been a hectic past couple of weeks, but rest assured I have been getting my workouts in except for 3 days when I was out of town at a convention, busy as heck and low energy. However, I’m back on track with COMBAT and currently doing a 3 day Shakeology cleanse to kickstart my nutrition back up. I also have a cold though, so working out has been the LAST thing I want to do, but I’ve been pushing play anyway.

So, I have to say that Les Mills COMBAT might honestly be what my Beachbody Coach calls a “soulmate” workout: a program that you actually kind of look forward to doing on a daily basis. I thought INSANITY was my soulmate workout, but I just don’t really have the same passion for it that I do for COMBAT. I keep saying this, but I just love the sense of control and power it inspires without wearing me down mercilessly or taking up a ton of my time. I’m most likely going to be doing a Les Mills PUMP-COMBAT hybrid this fall, which I’m really looking forward to even though I don’t love PUMP quite as much as COMBAT. I’m confident the addition of more weights will be good for my body. Hell, I might just do a P90X-COMBAT hybrid instead. Hmmm, we shall see.

I can’t promise I’ll be updating daily during the coming weeks due to some big changes going on in my life, but I will chime in whenever inspiration strikes. I owe it to you guys, and myself.

Keep it real and *kisses fist* stay with the fight.

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Les Mills COMBAT Day 9: Power HIIT 1 and T-Rex Tuesday!

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Greetings, Nonathletes!

Today, I met my nemesis in battle again, and while I may not have been able to perform every single burpee-pushup-jump-squat and had to modify the occasional lunge and lower my weights again, I did a LOT better this time around than before!

This should have been more obvious since I did INSANITY, but I’ve found that the secret to overcoming high intensity interval training, especially workouts like this which utilize both calisthenics and fast-paced weight training, is a clear mind and an absolute determination pre-workout. That applies to any and all workouts, sure, but personally, these plyometrics and clean and presses required me to psych the hell up and NEED to win, NEED to finish as much as I can, NEED to meet my friend fatigue head on!

Oh, and I may not have completely overcome the workout, but don’t worry…I’m doing it again on Thursday. Oh, joy.

My nutrition today was spot on, although I got another really bad craving, this time for Buffalo Wild Wings and their infamous Wing Tuesday, or as I like to call it, T-Rex Tuesday (Chickens evolved from T-Rexes, right?). I’ve been getting nightly cravings a LOT recently, and tonight’s was stronger than ever. I wanted nothing more than to slam 12 wings, tossed in their signature Hot sauce, juicy and falling off the bone, accompanied by some crispy and soft potato wedges covered in cheddar, paired with a nice little side of blue cheese dressing and some Seagram’s 7 whiskey.

But as I’ve said, I want to transform my body, my soul, and my mind more than I want a quick junk food fix, and that’s why I didn’t eat that despite wanting it more than ever. It takes strength to prioritize what’s important long term over what’s important in the heat of the moment, and I might slip up and indulge now and again, but not tonight. And not tomorrow. Not anytime soon. Not until I feel that I truly have EARNED the right to indulge, after I’ve put in work and done something GOOD for myself because that’s what I deserve. That’s what we all deserve.

Keep it real and *kisses fist* stay with the fight.

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Les Mills COMBAT Day 8: Combat 60

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I have to say, doing Combat 60 (which is more like Combat 54, but that’s ok), I felt like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the night before. I felt powerful, unstoppable, completely focused. My front and back kick combos were on point, my footwork was getting noticeably faster, and in general I had a really solid workout. While the MMA workouts might not be as excruciatingly exhausting as INSANITY (that’s what we have the HIIT workouts for), they require an intense amount of focus and discipline if you want to burn as many calories as possible. Maybe it’s in my head, but thanks to LMC, I’m already noticing myself slim down a bit.

Later that night, I had some cravings again. It’s always in the evenings, I very rarely want Taco Bell in the morning or afternoon. I guess it’s just the psychology of wanting a reward like that at the end of the day, since I’d reward myself with food like that almost all the time after class ended during college. But you know what I did? I talked to my Beachbody Coach. She’s always been there for me and is an amazingly kind, intuitive and strong individual, and she helped break down why I was craving that food, and explained that eating crap like that isn’t cool or awesome or funny, it’s disgusting and not indicative of what makes a person strong. Now working out 5-6 days a week and eating things your body loves, now that’s a different story. I just want to take this time to thank her from the bottom of my heart, and thank all of you for the likes. Feel free to comment and engage in discussion as well, this blog isn’t just for me, it’s for nonathletes (AND athletes!) everywhere who have something on their minds.

Keep it real and *kisses fist* stay with the fight.

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Welcome, Nonathletes or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Discipline

One day in college, a classmate of mine mentioned an idea for a new student organization called “The Nonathletic Club”. Now, as an unabashed couch potato, this sounded great: a club celebrating the joys of dismissing the elitist institution of athleticism. After all, in high school I could barely make a shot in basketball, let alone dribble the damn thing down the court.

But as he continued, it became clear he had a different idea. It wouldn’t be about not playing sports, it’d be about playing them as best as we could. It’d just be us amateurs playing to learn, to improve our athleticism, and most importantly, to have fun.

“Oh okay, cool,” I replied, and gradually changed the subject. As I said, I hated athletics because I thought I was naturally untalented, but I’ve realized there’s more to it than that.

I hated them because I lacked discipline.

I used to play little league until I turned 7 but stopped caring about sports and running around in the fresh air. I became complacent; playing sports was hard, but watching cartoons and playing video games was easy! Besides, schoolwork was hard enough. I felt like I deserved to sit on my butt and do things I liked when I wasn’t busy.

Inevitably, my lack of discipline caught up to me in the form of added weight. When I turned 11, puberty hit me like a ton of bricks and I started gaining even more. Not to mention I LOVED to eat, particularly all those yummy comfort foods: sugary breakfast cereal, burgers, fried chicken, ribs, ice cream, nachos, LITERALLY the whole enchilada. Oh, and my 5-6 daily sodas and no water. Add that to a strict regimen of Nintendo 64 and watching South Park reruns till 4 AM and you have one unhealthy, obese young man.

This continued into my teenage years. In junior high, my poor decisions made me the target of jokes and insults, leading me not to change my ways, but to keep on eating to ease the pain. I eventually decided enough was enough and I sought to lose weight in summer 2003, and I did…through artificially sweetened meals, snacks, and sodas, but it was a step in the right direction, sort of. But that didn’t last long, since without a real long-term plan, I returned to my old ways.

When I was 16, however, I lost a ton of weight, probably due to a naturally heightened metabolism; I never worked out aside from the obligatory one day a week of gym class. I even lost a little more by graduation, finally making me a size large on a good day. Thanks to chance, I spent my summer full of confidence, and I felt amazing.

Then I went to college. I’m sure most of you know where this is going.

I became a full-time student with a part time job. I was introduced to the necessity of any college student not living in Amish country: alcohol! I experienced dating, and its disgruntled sibling rejection, which inevitably led to more alcohol! And because man cannot live on whiskey alone, add delicious comfort foods into the mix. Most of my meals seriously either consisted of McDonalds, Taco Bell, and wings w/ potato skins with hard liquor and a river of Coca-Cola. It doesn’t take a genius to know this knocked me up more than a few pounds and down a few pegs in terms of my self-esteem.

This culminated one summer evening as I was having dinner with a friend. I was attracted to her and not the other way around. She told me that while I displayed confidence asking her out before, she added that in order to show even more when talking to other girls, I should lose some weight. It offended me on a personal level, even though I didn’t let it show. She apologized but the damage had been done.

I told myself what upset me was that she called me fat, even though she didn’t. What really upset me was the fact that I actually was overweight, even obese, and I had refused to acknowledge it. To my own credit, I WAS a full-time student, and even if I could find time to work out, I’d have no idea where to start and I couldn’t afford a personal trainer. I could do cardio, that makes you lose weight, right? No weights; I don’t want to become a bodybuilder. I have to watch what I eat, but vegetables? Gross! I don’t want no discipline! I’ll just be obese forever, it’s in my genetics after all, so why not eat, drink and be merry?

Cut to February 2012, weighing in at 265 lbs. I hadn’t seen my friends since the week before Christmas break, and I was shocked to finally see they were both in noticeably better shape than before. I asked them how they did it, and both gave me the obvious yet overlooked reply of “diet and exercise”.

That’s when something happened.

Seeing my peers take control of their lives and embracing their own discipline sparked something inside me. Call it healthy competition among friends or a sudden realization of my own power and self-worth, but something within me told me to MOVE.  Stop making excuses. Stop going through the motions. Stop eating crap all the time only to feel like crap the next day and just MOVE. And so I did.

One cold February evening, I went to my college gym and got on a treadmill. And I walked. Then ran a little. Then walked again. Then ran some more. By the time an hour and 15 minutes had passed, I had put in more consistent physical work in that block of time than I had in months, even years, and I was absolutely exhausted and drenched in my own sweat.

And the weirdest thing was that I loved it.

Dopamine. Serotonin. Norepinephrine. Brain-derived neurotropic factor. All released, having a party in my brain. It gave me a high that eclipsed any swig of alcohol or any bite of comfort food. It was the sweet fruit of my harvest, and I felt absolutely incredible. Invincible. Powerful. On top of the world! So the next day, I did it again. And again. And before I knew it, I was walking and running multiple nights a week. It became my new “addiction”, which unlike drinking and bad eating, was actually really good for me.

I soon joined Planet Fitness and improved my cardio skills with their treadmills and ellipticals over the next 2 months, occasionally playing with the weight machines and taking a few personal training sessions. And lo and behold, along with a slightly improved diet, I was losing weight! I went from 265 to 235, and I experienced a surge of confidence I had never felt before in my life. Additionally, I noticed I had improved focus, and even started seeing the world in a more positive way. After all, when you like yourself, you like the rest of the world more. Discipline, something I had shunned for over a decade out of fear, was finally playing a role in my life and making me happier than I ever expected.

My college graduation gift was INSANITY, something I fell in love with after first watching the infomercial: a 60-day total body conditioning home workout, dubbed the hardest ever put on DVD. I was beginning to plateau with my routine anyway, and it looked like exactly what I needed: a rigid, well-designed routine with plyometrics and body resistance training, not just cardio. Even sprinters need to mix up their workouts, right?

INSANITY was the hardest thing I ever had to physically commit to in my entire life. I could barely finish half of a workout for the first few weeks! I found myself gasping for air and taking tons of breaks, calling the instructor Shaun T every insult in the book. But my body was transforming despite the pain and the fatigue and the weaning away from unhealthier foods thanks to its strict nutrition plan. Over the next few weeks, I noticed I could last a little longer each workout and perform moves I previously couldn’t. By mid-July, I lost around 25 more pounds. I had gone from pushing 270 to bordering 210 all in a few months through digging deeper and eating cleaner than ever before. Not bad for someone who used to down orange soda and burgers on a daily basis, right?

Over the next few months, I continued INSANITY and even added in weight training with resistance bands, which I learned aids with fat loss just as much as cardio. There were times when I slipped, sometimes for weeks, even recently, but what never changed was the fact that I had the knowledge I needed to pick myself up: exercise, proper nutrition, and of course, that stubborn little friend of mine, discipline. Starting next week, I am committing to 60 days of LES MILLS COMBAT, an MMA-inspired cardio and strength routine, and recharging my diet with 80-90% nutritious foods again, including Shakeology. I am also lucky to have the support of my family and friends, working toward their own fitness goals, and an amazing Beachbody Coach who has challenged me, inspired me, and kept me accountable every step of the way, reminding me of how strong I am when I don’t realize it.

So, why did I name my blog The Nonathletic Club? Basically, I’m using my colleague’s idea and putting it into motion for people like me: The nonathletes. The nerds. The “fat” kids. The awkward kids. People who were picked last in gym class. People who have an unhealthy relationship with food. People who don’t know the first thing about how to work out. People who used to work out but forgot how to. People who WANT to change their lives and their self-images and their confidence, but were never able to embrace their own discipline.

If you fit any of the above at all, I have this to say:

Despite popular belief, fitness is not just for the elite. It’s not for the athletes we root for on Sunday nights, the Abercrombie and Victoria’s Secret models plastered on billboards, the actors with money to blow on personal trainers. It’s for every single one of us, ready for us to take and use to become the best “us” we can be. We don’t have to be celebrities or people with 6% body fat and washboard abs who can crank out pullups and crunches like they’re going out of style. We are allowed to be “imperfect”. We can struggle with our workouts and our nutrition. We can have love handles and loose skin and (gasp!) even stretch marks. What matters beyond anything else, is that we follow as Tony Horton says: “Do your best and forget the rest.”

Most importantly, never, ever forget that you are beautiful, at your heaviest, your weakest, your leanest, your strongest. You are more powerful than anyone, including yourself, says you are. You have the ability to change your life, to do things you once thought were impossible. I don’t care if the only exercise you’ve ever done was run to the donut shop, you are capable of the infinite. You can take that discipline, that thing you always thought was a monster, and use it to transform your life. You can demolish your cravings and free yourself from the prison of comfort eating. You can get into shape and become the best athlete you can be. And I can help, because like you, I struggle more than I care to admit. But regardless, I pick myself up because I know I’m worth it, and so are all of you.

Thank you for reading, and welcome to The Nonathletic Club.

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