Sunday, May 24, 2009

P90X Day 90 - Yoga X, Cardio X, Grouse Grind

Today was exciting, and not just a day 90 kind of exciting.

I started off the day with Yoga X. I am not a huge, huge fan of it like some of you are (and to be honest, I only did it fully about 5 times during my 3 months and supplemented another workout in its' place), but today was a little bit unusual and I was relaxed, calm, and very into it. All the worries of the day just melted away. My quads were on fire after I held those angle poses where you drop one arm behind your back and then join the fingertips together. I have yet to grab my wrists; just the tips work fine for me, thank you. I'm getting much better at the Yoga Belly 7 series. Anything core related is something I still struggle with and will work on in the future.

Once that was completed, I decided on Cardio X instead of Interval X+ and got the breath going. Wasn't sweating too much so I could tell that there were big improvements since day 1. After a quick bite to eat, it was decided that we would do the Grouse Grind, and I had never done it before, so this was going to be a first for me.

Now you are probably wondering what the Grouse Grind is. If you live anywhere in Lower Mainland, B.C., you will have heard of it. Most call it "the Grind" or "Mother Nature's Stairmaster". Simply put, it's a gruelling hiking trail located in North Vancouver on Grouse Mountain.

I found a site which has excellent information on the Grind with some great pictures of the trail if you so care to read:

At first we didn't know what kind of terrain or time we would expect to finish at. During the colder months, the trail is closed because of the snow buildup and the treacherous conditions on the mountain. Seeing as it was such a fantastic day (about 16 C or 60 F) and not a cloud in the sky, I decided on two t-shirts just in case. If it was warmer, I could take off a shirt, and if it was colder, I could leave both on. I was told that most people take about 2 hours to do the entire thing. With my group, we decided that 1 hour, 20 minutes was a good starting point since none of us had completed it before.

The first 1/4 of the Grind was mild which really quickens the breath. I saw a couple with 4 children, two of which could not walk on their own, turn back before this point. Probably not the best idea to bring young children as it's almost guaranteed that they will run out of energy before the top...meaning that you will have to carry them the rest of the way :) It was around this point where I had quickened my pace so much that I had left my group behind. I was in a league of my own. I stopped counting the number of people I had passed once that number hit 50. I really have to give it to Plyometrics for building up my quad and calf strength because both muscles were on fire by the time I hit 1/2 way.

It was about this time that the sweat started pouring down and I had totally forgotten to take off my second shirt, but I was following this other gentleman (the only person who I encountered on the ascent who I did not pass) and I was totally in the zone, so I was soaked from my neck to my stomach in sweat. After each set of steps (which there are about 2800 of in the entire hike) I would be looking for the next marker to gauge how much farther I actually had left. To be honest, I didn't see the 3/4 marker and I didn't even realize I was completed the Grind until I saw the snow on the top near the lodge! I quickly ran to the nearest clock to check my "Grind Time". Our group goal was 1 hour, 20 minutes and I had traversed it in 47 minutes! Not too bad for a first timer. I hear that anything under an hour is pretty good, nowhere near the record, but still pretty good. I really have to credit P90X for all of this. Not in a million years would I have thought of doing this hike. 3 months ago, I would have not been in decent enough shape to do it in an hour.

I waited about 40 minutes for everyone else to reach the summit and stop cursing me for leaving them behind on the trail and we all sat down for a congratulatory pitcher of beer and sunbathed on the patio deck overlooking the Burrard Inlet. It was such a satisfying treat, for not only completing the most insane backyard hike ever created but also for sticking through 90 days of the X.

And guess what? On Monday, we're starting another 90 days.

Brought it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

P90X Day 86 - Core Synergistics

Hi peoples.

Really quick post. As you can see I haven't been blogging much lately. Things have been really hectic not only with working out but with actual work too! I've been staying true to the plan and the efforts are paying off.

This is the final week of the last phase (made it!). It doesn't seem like it is over though. I don't feel that P90X is truly a 90 day program. Incorporated with a few other workouts, it can be a lifetime thing, 365 days a year for the rest of ones life.

Today was Core Synergistics. Still not loving the Plank to Chaturanga Run and my shirt still does not stay down when I do them, hahaha, but I push through. All other moves have gotten easier, Sphinx Pushups, Bow to Boat (ugh!), so I do not envy you all doing the P90X Lean :).

Keep crushing play! I know I am! The last day is so close, I can taste it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

P90X Day 76 - Kenpo X

I did Kenpo X by myself today. My group decided to do Legs & Back (which I will do tomorrow) and I stuck to the schedule. I really can't afford to stray and start doing the workouts out of sequence. Seeing as though we just did Ab Ripper X yesterday and Plyometrics the day before that, my abs and legs get the necessary days to recover. The schedule is so intricately thought out which is why I love it so much. And since every day has a set workout to complete, there isn't a lot of exercise juggling for you to deal with.

Just some quick things about Plyo from a few days ago. Lots of hopping, knee tucks, and jumps. I felt really great afterwards and I really got low in my squats. The first two months of Plyo I didn't really feel much in my quads in terms of delayed onsetmuscle soreness, but I did get very bad cramps in my calves. That has since been a thing of the past. I really have to push and get extra out of Plyo by getting my hands in the air whenever I get the chance and getting super low and holding my squats. The third phase of P90X has really brought about changes. My quads are starting to get definition, and my calves are just amazing looking. You should see when I stretch up onto my toes.

Yesterday's Shoulders & Arms was okay as a group, but in retrospect, I really enjoy working out alone with freeweights so I can pause to change weights. Since we started doing P90X as a group, us 5 guys have weights with removable plates. You can kind of see that it takes a while to switch weights between exercises so we each take a mean weight that can be used across a few moves without pausing the DVD. Sometimes I will do Upright Rows with 20 lbs which is really light just so I can do 16 reps of Static Arm Curls with good form. The way it's being done is not balanced at all and I am considering just doing all the lifting at home and doing Plyo/Cardio/Kenpo at work. But until then there isn't anything we can do until we all get a set of weights. A set! Maybe I shall invest in my own.

Right now I don't feel anyone else has really kept up with me in terms of the schedule: one workout a day with or without Ab Ripper. I see that one or two of the guys will just lift heavy and not care about form at all, rushing through the exercises. Being tired is not an excuse to skip Ab Ripper. I'm also easily miles ahead in terms of nutrition. I've stopped drinking liquor (for now), cut out all unnecessary sugar and fat from my diet, and upped my water intake. I've really stopped going out to all restaurants and eating at home. I've not only saved money but I can really control what I eat. By doing these things I've shed a lot of fat, but there is still some left that I want to get rid of. I will eventually weigh myself to get an accurate body fat % as I am really curious to know the number. Sure being strict with everything is a pain, but I'm getting far better results than everybody else and I'm loving it!

So onto Kenpo. Great workout, sweat inducing for sure. I focused largely on my breathing today and found I had extra energy for the water break to bring my heart rate up. I used to love Kenpo X the most, but since starting have found it a bit repetitive and useless other than for the cardio purpose of P90X. My favorite would be a tie between Chest, Shoulders & Triceps and Back & Biceps as those really blast your muscles like no other. Nonetheless, a very fun workout that I look forward to every week. I should probably mix in Kenpo Cardio X once I get the DVD for it. Looking forward to round 2 as there are only 2 weeks left!

Monday, May 4, 2009

P90X Day 71 - Chest & Back w/ Ab Ripper X

Things didn't feel right today.

I wasn't sweating as much as I used to. Before the first water break, I usually break out into a flop sweat. I don't know what it is about my body, I just sweat a lot. I'd say that I was sweating more during Ab Ripper than the main workout, which is unusual. I cranked out about 15 reps of each pushup, a few less on the Declines and Dive Bombers, and I started using my pushup bars again which have been sitting in my closet for 2 weeks.

As I was doing my pushups, my chest felt warm, so something was definitely going on, but I wasn't as fatigued this week. I did more than the usual amount of pullups today, which really surprised me; not as much chair. I think it was the breathing. As they tell you, breathing is everything. Maybe I've been holding my breath this entire time, but I felt really good with this workout and things were going as they should.

Ab Ripper was not the greatest, but I managed to do all 50 reps of the Mason Twists which I've only been able to do once before. So proud. Things are coming together. Under 3 weeks left in the program, so I definitely can not stop now. Keep pushing play. =D