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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Adding Goals


So, I was watching "The Biggest Loser" from last Wednesday night. It was essentially a "where are they now" episode catching up with past contestants. Good episode and it shows the importance of finding balance and learning how to live healthy for life.

One segment was with a guy who recently competed the Ironman Triathalon in Kona, Hawaii. While he didn't finish in the required 17 hours to be considered an official finisher, he finished 3 minutes after the cut-off time, he still finished. Watching this had me extremely motivated. Here's a guy who still was a "big guy." He didn't look anything like the rest of the competitors. But, he started the race, and finished it.

It got me thinking. I turn 30 in another couple weeks. In the back of my mind I've thought that I should run a marathon "some day." Well, I'm only getting older, and if I don't go through with it soon, I'll probably never get around to it.

So, I'm officially announcing my goal of running the 2010 Chicago Marathon. I'll need to work back into running shape and build a base up. My goal is to be running 30-35 miles a week by late spring of 2010, then start training for the Marathon in June of next year.

Keep checking back here for updates on how I'm doing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week 1 P90X...Good and Bad

So, Last week I started P90X again. Here's a word of caution to those of you that have done P90X and are coming back to it after a long layoff or injury etc.

FORGET WHAT YOU DID BEFORE!!!

I made a vital mistake when I started this last week. I remembered my numbers from my previous workouts. Since I've done 2 rounds of P90X over the last year, I know what my body is capable of. Last fall, I started with a 3 pull up max, and 4-5 months later I was at 18.

So, what did I do wrong this time? I remembered some of the numbers I've hit before. I pushed myself way too hard for essentially starting from scratch. Chest and Back went pretty well. I pushed myself for extra reps here and there. I went into Plyo on Day 2, no issues. My arms were a bit sore. However, on Day 3, my arms were on fire. The tendons around my elbows were throbbing constantly. I never experienced this kind of pain during my previous experiences with P90X.

There's a fine line between working hard and feeling the burn and being injured. I think I was pushing myself past that line. The pain in my elbow joints was terrible. I was choking down Advil just to get through the day on the weekend. So, I did some light cardio.

I'm starting P90X over again this Wednesday. I'm going to hold back a bit here and there. While my mind is strong enough to push through, right now my mind is further along than my body is ready for.

So, there's some of the new challenges of getting back into a workout program as tough as P90X after an extended absence. I'm not saying one should dog it and hold back, but listen to your body. Know the difference between post workout soreness, and "that doesn't feel right."

Take care and Bring It!

John

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Where the heck have I been??

Hey everyone. I have to say a big "Sorry" for being out of the loop the last 2 months or so.

Things have been pretty crazy for me. I've taken on a lot of "extra-curricular" activities you could say. Those of you that know me well know that I'm a self described "gun-nut." Well, that hobby led me to start a new program at my gun club. Myself and another member have started up our new Action Shooting department. That's been requiring a lot of my time and passion the last couple months. My workouts have slipped. Well, slip is a forgiving term. They've been almost non-existent.

So, I'm working to get back on track. This Saturday is our club's Zombie Shoot. I've been spending hours and hours organizing this event and its finally coming together.

The big news from me, starting next Tuesday I'll be starting up a round of P90X. It's been a while and I need to get back into the groove with Tony and the kids.

Unfortunately, my lack of activity has caught up with me. I'm back up to 200 lbs. Which means I've put on about 5-6 lbs from my low weight. If you can find a "good" in my lack of activity is now that when I freak out, its because I'm at 200 lbs, where a bit over a year ago, it was because I was at 218 lbs. At least I haven't let myself go that far.

I'll be dusting off the PowerBlocks and the pull up bar and knocking out Ab Ripper with the rest of you all soon.

You'll be hearing from me more!

John

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fit Test Day 1 Results, Day 15 Results



Day 1

Day 15

1. Switch Kicks
2. Power Jacks
3. Power Knees
4. Power Jumps
5. Globe Jumps
6. Suicide Jumps
7. Push-Up Jacks
8. Low Plank Oblique

42

46

85

29

9

11

13

36 (18x2)

47

52

107

43

11.5

18

22

44 (22x2)



Some of these numbers have completely impressed me and I am so proud of myself for the progress I have made so far. Then there are the switch kicks...they are killer! A Beachbody Facebook Friend told me that if you do them really quick, the momentum helps and you can do more. What I don't get is the one leg is up and as soon as it is down the other is coming up. I always want to do a little hop in between and I think that is what is slowing me down...but there is always Day 36, Day 50 and Day 63!!! Bring it on!

~Monica


Pure Cardio / Cardio Abs


I did this workout last week alone because John had to go to a meeting. He worked out early and I worked out late. Yesterday we did the workout together and I couldn't believe the amount of sweat that was dripping off of us. Are the workouts getting harder or am I working harder to get a better workout?

Until John pointed out the fact that the Pure Cardio part of Pure Cardio lasts fifteen minutes, I just looked at it as a workout with a warm-up, stretch, workout and stretch. Did you realize this? There are fifteen workouts, one minute each. I guess my goal during the workout is to do as much as possible with my eyes closed and just listen to Shaun T. I like when he gives you the seconds left so that you feel like you just HAVE to get those last 3, 5, 10 reps in! The only problem with that is when he turns to a member of his team and says "take a break" and all the sudden I realize I have stopped doing my reps. I have to remind myself that he is not actually talking to me.

I know John wrote a post about how motivating he is, but I just want to reiterate that I completely agree. If I had an entire gym to workout in and knew that I could do my workout without stepping/tripping on a ________ (insert cat, chair, kitchen island, dog, etc. here) during the workout then I would do the workout with my eyes closed so that I wouldn't keep glancing up at the clock and the workout session to see when the next break is!

When that was over we still had Cardio Abs to do. We were feeling pretty good after the Pure Cardio cool down and stretch, but now we were going to work the snot out of our core. I don't love the ab workout like I love Turbo Jam: Ab Jam, but I do enjoy that you do jumps and other original (to me anyway) moves that work the core. The C-sits are killer the further you get and by the time we had made it to the high and low plank alternate knees, our arms were totally giving out. I think I could have worked my abs more than I did if I didn't have to steady myself on my jello arms after they had completed the Level 2 Drills, 8 Push ups and Push up Jacks in the Pure Cardio workout.

All in all, it was a tough workout, but we got through it. It felt good after and as I have noticed so far with INSANITY, no matter how hard I push during...I always wish I had pushed harder after!

~Monica

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Week 1 INSANITY Report

"COME ON Y'ALLLLLLLL!!!!"

Sorry, that phrase is stuck in my head this week as I've finished up the first week of INSANITY with Shaun T. This is the first program I've done with Shaun T and I have to say I'm starting to become a fan. "Hip Hop" abs never really sounded appealing to me because a.) I don't like Hip Hop, and b.) I don't dance.

However, I've been really happy with INSANITY. The program on day 1 started with the Fit Test. Day 2 was Plyometric Cardio, which as you can tell from Monica's previous post tore us both up. The rest of the week has gone with a nice flow. However, everything has Cardio in the title. This is a program designed to shred you. If you've been struggling with those last 5 lbs like I have, I'm reasonably sure that this program will give you an amazing opportunity to get out the chisel and show off the abs.

The one thing about this program that has me totally pumped is that the cast isn't perfect. In most workout videos, its obvious that they went through the workout 2 or 3 times, and edited together a seamless workout where no one misses a beat. I remember seeing one workout program on Fit TV where the camera cut between two angles of someone doing some bicep curls. In one angle she had a 10lb weight, the other angle she had a 15lb weight. It was hilarious.

Well, you don't get that in INSANITY. It's obvious that the cast in the video were giving their all and leaving it out on the floor. Sometimes, they don't have enough, just like you will at home. It's refreshing to see someone in a fitness video, face down on the floor, pounding the floor in frustration that they can't get in another rep. Shaun T will come over and if he sees that someones form is in the crapper, he'll kick them out and tell them to go get some water and come back. To me, this shows me a genuine workout that really does the trick.

Week 2 starts today with some Cardio Power and Resistance. I'll be there ready to go. Can't wait to crank out some push-up jacks!

John

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 2 Ouch!

When I walked in the door today after a busy day at work, John was walking down the stairs. "Did you just finish your workout?" I asked him. He had on workout shorts, no shirt and was drenched in sweat with a towel over his shoulders. "No, I've been done for a half hour" he answered. "Really? You look beat!" I replied. "I don't know, maybe it's been fifteen minutes..."

John, I now understand. After he answered my question he continued to tell me how killer this workout was going to be. When he was done, he decided maybe he shouldn't have said anything. I don't know what look I had on my face, but I am sure it was close to sheer fear.

So when I started the video an hour later, I was prepared for anything. Day 2 is called Plyometric Cardio Circuit. It's plyometrics the entire way through the workout using circuits to keep you moving from one action to the next. Even the warm-up is a circuit. So you begin by doing a move at a reasonable pace, such as high kicks. Then you do the next move also at a reasonable pace. Once you have done all of the moves you begin again...but you go faster!

The music is great, Shaun T is very motivating...and the best part? These people are not actors (not that any of the Beachbody programs use actors), but these people are sweating, cursing under their breath and shouting out in pain! I know its tough...take a break if you need it...you can do it! Then the camera pans around the room towards the end of the workout showing close-ups of these people...and they are smiling! I kid you not, I smiled right back at them!

This is going to be hard and painful, but man is it going to be AWESOME!
~Monica

INSANITY Has started




Been a while since I've posted. I know, crazy. I simply was burned out on working out. I realized how little time I was spending with friends, I wasn't enjoying the summer, so I basically took a couple weeks off.

Well, time's up.

Monica and I started INSANITY yesterday. The fit test is tough. I'm wondering what the heck I got myself into.

I'll be blogging throughout INSANITY. Come back for updates.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Week 3 kicking off

Hey everyone. Monica and I are still going strong with P90X. I'm continually impressed with how well Monica is doing. And let me tell you, if you can manage to do a workout program with your spouse, significant other, friend etc, it makes things so much easier.

Its great having her there to motivate me and vice versa. She pointed out a problem in my form that I've been doing wrong probably the entire time I've been doing P90X. I help her out with some tips and tricks to get through dive-bombers. We help each other and keep each other motivated. Its a great feeling.

This weekend was a good one for us. We didn't have any plans. I helped out at the club this weekend on Saturday and Sunday morning. We got our workouts in yesterday, took some naps, and watched our friend's dog, Kona. Kona and Buster (our puppy) spend their days wrestling, napping and staying out of the way of our cat.

Well, we're in the middle of week 3. Recovery week is just a few days away.

Keep bringing it.

John

Friday, June 26, 2009

Second Amendment Freedom Rally

Monica and I are at SAFR Chicago today. A great excuse to bust out
our "gun grabber" shirts.

You can find them at www.zazzle.com/johnkopecky

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ouch...Yikes I'm sore

Hey everyone. My blogging effort lately is going to be limited. My role at work has expanded a lot lately. It's a great thing for me as I recently received a promotion etc. However it has me a lot busier and I don't have as much time for blogging etc. So, you won't get as much of my rambling BS here at toughfitness.com.

Anyway, I wanted to give you a quick report. Monica and I have completed 3 days of P90X and have some Yoga X in store for tonight. I'm so proud of Monica. To see her grunting through Chest and Back, Plyo and Shoulders and Arms makes me so proud of my babe. I couldn't imagine her doing these workouts a year ago. Yet yesterday, she was saying how she didn't have enough weight for an exercise. Way to go Babe!

I have to say my injury set me back a bit. My back isn't bothering me right now, but taking as much time off as I did was necessary. However it has me a lot more sore going though these P90X workouts. On Monday, I could barely straighten my right arm completely. However, P90X works, and yesterday's Shoulders and Arms workout limbered up my arm real quick.

I'll keep you posted. I'll try to get in 2 posts a week at least.

Keep pushing play folks!

John

Friday, June 12, 2009

Worst Blogger Ever

I've been rather busy with work lately. And I've been recovering from my back injury slowly but surely.

I don't have much to report lately. However Monica and I are starting P90X tomorrow. We're going to go through it together day by day. We may continue through the entire program, or stop it when Insanity finally releases. We're not totally sure just right now. We'll feel it out as we go.

Talk to you soon.

John

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Not much to report

I have to say my back injury has put me into a funk. I haven't worked out regularly in 3 weeks. I've managed a few workouts, and I do a lot of stretching and occasional pull-ups as those help my back pain. However, I haven't been on a routine.

I'm heading out to Denver and Colorado Springs for a couple days and hope to get a workout in with my cousin Chris who's almost done with P90X. When I get back, I'm confident my pain will be manageable and I can get back into a solid routine.

More to follow...

John

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Healing

The last 10 days have kinda sucked.  I tweaked my back about 10 days ago while running.  I didn't realize it to the next morning when I had some sharp pains in my mid back.  I've been unable to really workout.  However, I'm healing nicely.

I don't have a lot to post today.  However, the lesson is to listen to your body.  If your back hurts so much that at times its hard to breathe, you need to take it easy.  I visited a sports chiropractor and he's helped out a lot.  I still have some more work to do to get my back to 100%, but I'm well on my way.

I'll ease back in to some simple workouts over the next week and I plan on making sure I'm at full strength by the time I get back from Colorado (we're going out for a family wedding the last weekend in May.)

Take care, I'll keep posting.  

John

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Flip the mental switch: I'm an athlete!

Monica and I have loved watching this season of the Biggest Loser on NBC. While I get slightly annoyed that the show seems to focus only on weight loss, and less on body fat, the inspiration one can gain from the show is enormous. One thing caught my ear yesterday while watching the finale.

The winner of the show, Helen, said something to the effect of "I'm an athlete now."

Its that simple folks. Helen changed her mental attitude. She now sees herself as an athlete, able to take on any task with some determination.

I don't think I've yet made that switch in mental attitude myself. Sure, I've gotten in great shape. I'm more fit than I have been in a long time. Yet I haven't yet started to think of myself as an athlete.

Making this mental switch is critical. When your mental filter starts to look at the world through the perspective that "I am an athlete," your decision making changes. You start to focus on these factors throughout the day.

When deciding what to eat, you think, "what would an athlete eat?" When you are digging for that extra motivation in your workout, simply letting that inner voice in your head scream "I'M AN ATHLETE!" will make it easier to dig down and find that extra 10% of effort.

Every decision comes from a different motivation when you stop thinking of yourself as someone trying to lose a few pounds, and start focusing on the fact that you are an athlete, and your body is your tool to accomplish your goals.

So, to the world, I'm declaring "I'm an athlete."

Can't wait to see what happens!

Bring it folks.

John

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yardwork X

So, I had a busy weekend these past few days. I got ambitious and decided to pour a small concrete slab in my side yard so my garbage cans have a place to sit. (Joys of home ownership huh guys?)

Well, going back to Thursday, I went for a jog. I did about 2.5 miles, nothing crazy. On my way back I was feeling great and decided to try to keep running ahead of a couple that were leisurely riding their bikes on the street as I ran on the sidewalk. I kept ahead of them for a good half mile, then they realized what I was doing. They sped up, I tried to keep up for maybe another 200 yards and gave up. It was a great little run.

On Friday morning however, I had a real tight back. In fact, I was stuck in one place for about 2 minutes as my back seized up. I managed to get down on the ground, do a cat stretch, and upward dog, and the noises my back made when it popped scared my dog. It was kinda funny.

As Friday went on, my back felt much better. However on Sunday, I was moving a wheel barrow around and my back tightened up yet again. Yup, Yardwork X bit me in the butt. I managed to finish pouring my small concrete slab, but paid the price. I've been taking it easy the last couple days, doing some stretching and slowly easing back into my workouts. I'm going to try to do Burn Intervals tonight with Monica, but will take it easy.

That explains the lack of posts recently. I've been slightly laid up, and feeling like an idiot for managing to get myself a bit injured. I'll be fine though. The one lesson I've learned is that while doing ChaLEAN Extreme, I haven't been doing any Yoga. I think this is a big factor in my injury. I'm going to find a way to fit in some Yoga X into my routine to make sure I stay limber and don't get hurt.

Thanks guys, keep pushing play.

John

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Do you need a coach?

Hey everyone. Great to get some good feedback from you through email lately. Thanks to those of you that reach out to me with questions and comments. Also, to whoever actually purchased two of my shirt designs yesterday, another big thanks. That was pretty cool!!

I get this question occasionally. People will have registered at the Team Beachbody website, or become a club member, and never hear from their assigned coach. Let me explain a bit of what is going on. As a coach, I get customers assigned to me now and then. The vast majority are restricted, meaning that Beachbody provides me the name of the customer, but no contact information. So, if Joe Sixpack signs up as a club member, he may have me assigned as his coach. However, if he doesn't want his email to be shared with me, I have no way of reaching out and contacting him.

So, for those of you that want to hear from your assigned coach, make sure to opt in for emails.

However, if you want a specific coach, you can get a new coach assigned to you. I don't want to "take you away" from another coach if you've been working with them. However, if you were assigned to a random coach, and want a new one, send me an email and I'd love to help you on your fitness journey.

On a side note, I'm absolutely loving the Push Phase of ChaLEAN Extreme. Its really forcing me to push my limits and lift heavier than I have in a while. I'm loving the challenge.

Take care my friends, push play, and remember;

Hope is not an action plan.

John

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Insanity

The more I hear about this workout, the more I want to put myself through the ringer and go for it. I was slightly nervous when I started P90X. However, "Insanity" has me terrified yet excited at the same time.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

New Coach Alert!!!!

The Tough Fitness Coaching Team is absolutely rocking right now.  We've got another coach in the organization.  Jennifer Jones, welcome to the team.  Check out Jen's Blog!

For any of you wondering "what is this Beachbody coach" thing.  Here's a short video.





If you're interested, send me a quick email and let me know!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Shirt Designs!


buy unique gifts at Zazzle

Hey guys, I designed these shirts and thought some of you might get a kick out of it.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Looks like my Summer may be getting INSANE!

Saw this promo for one of the newer programs coming out from Beachbody this summer. This program looks crazy! I'm really looking forward to giving this program a try.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Thanks for the motivation

Just wanted to say a quick thanks to a few of you out there that responded by email to my last blog post. You guys know who you are.

So yes, I'll admit it. I've been eating at McDonalds. Its soooo close to my office. I'm in the office about 1-2 days a week. However, its so easy to slip in to the Micky D's when I get hungry. I need to get back into the habit of packing my lunch. This new office I've been in the past couple months has made it a bit harder to eat healthy during the day.

When I started P90X I was actually working out in the Detroit Michigan area and my work had me set up in an apartment that literally was a 2 minute drive from the office. Getting a healthy lunch was no issue since I'd simply just go "home" for lunch and make myself something quick and healthy.

Now, my office is a 70-80 minute drive one way in and I have to leave at 6:30 in the morning to make it in by 8AM. At least I only have to do this one day a week. However, this commute and situation has given me every excuse I want to not pack a lunch and eat healthy. I also was self-rationalizing that "its only 1 day a week."

So, thanks to those of you that gave me the nice verbal beat down I needed to squash my excuses. I brought my lunch with me today. No excuses baby!

Thanks

John

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Time to get Extreme Baby!

OK folks, forget what I may have said. The "Push" phase of ChaLEAN Extreme is no joke.

The "burn" phase focuses on synergistic moves, shooting for 12 slow controlled reps. It's a great workout, but not as intense as I was used to during P90X.

I started my first Push workout the other day not knowing what to expect. The warm-up was standard. Then Chalene says to pick a weight for 6-8 reps. First move is bicep curls. I challenged myself, set my power-blocks for 40 lbs each and got started. I've never attempted to curl more than 35 lbs an arm before. To get through 8 reps at 40 lbs an arm was a great feeling. The rest of the workout was similar. I was trying heavier weights than I had ever used before and doing great. Sweat was pouring out everywhere. When I got done with the workout, I knew I had really broken through a mental barrier in my workouts.

The one problem I've been having lately is my diet. Some really exciting things have happened at my work lately and I've been given a lot more responsibility. I've strayed a bit with my diet mainly because my schedule has been all over the place. I haven't been preparing a good healthy lunch. I've been trying to hit up Subway, but I won't lie. The Golden Arches have called my name once or twice and I've given in.

More to come soon. Sorry for the lack of time between posts.

John

Friday, April 17, 2009

BRING IT! Week

As of this afternoon I will have finished up three weeks of ChaLEAN Extreme. In the official schedule, I'd be slated to do one more week of the Burn Phase and then continue on the the Push Phase. As a P90X grad however, I've become accustomed to having "recovery weeks" on the 4th week of a program. The P90X recovery weeks are awesome, not because the workouts are easier, but the fact that they shock the system a bit with different exercises.

I'd argue that the ChaLEAN workouts, while difficult, aren't to the difficulty level of P90X. Also, I don't want to lose the amazing progress I made during P90X in one critical area; pull-ups.

So, I've concocted my own schedule for this 4th week. Instead of a recovery week, I'm going to make it "BRING IT!" Week.

Here's what my schedule for BRING IT week will be.

Day 1: Chest and Back, Ab RipperX
Day 2: Plyometrics
Day 3: Core Synergistics
Day 4: Burn Intervals and Ab Burner from ChaLEAN Extreme
Day 5: Legs and Back
Day 6: Kenpo X
Day 7: Rest/Stretch

This should give my body a good shock and keep the progress coming. It also will have 2 days of workouts with large amounts of pull-ups. I'll keep everyone posted on how this goes.

Thanks for reading.

John

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Seeing Progress Again!

This will be just a quick post from my phone this morning. I've been
trying to not be so forthcoming on this blog on how I have been
stalled in my progress for the last 6 weeks, give or take. The lack of
internal motivation and not seeing measuresble results was the
catalyst for me to stop P90X in the middle of the round and start
ChaLEAN Extreme.

I'm happy to report this morning that I've shown the first real
progress in my fat loss in a while. I haven't seen the scale below
195 since getting back from our cruise in January. I broke through the
193 barrier this morning.

Keep pushing play,

John

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Best part of being a Beachbody Coach!


As some of you know, Monica and I have become Beachbody coaches. Some of you probably have no clue what being a coach entails. I wasn't so sure what it meant when I started P90X and even when I started coaching.


In a nutshell, Beachbody coaches are there to help people pick a fitness plan that works for them, and provide the motivation to help people succeed. Sure, its a way to make some extra money (and some people a lot more than some extra cash!)


However, the best reward of coaching is when your friends and family start a program, rely on you for some motivation, and end up succeeding. I have to say I'm so proud of two guys in particular, Dan and Nick who both have had great success with P90X. They took the bull by the horns and kicked some serious butt at the program.


Another thing about coaching that motivates me is that it gives me one more level of assurance to keep pushing myself. How can I possibly represent fitness and Beachbody if I'm not out there working my tail off during my workouts? Being a coach helps me stay motivated. The financial rewards are starting to materialize and that makes it even better.


Keep pushing play, and keep bringing it! And if you're interested in learning more about the Beachbody coaching opportunity, email me and let me know.


Monday, April 6, 2009

My first week with ChaLEAN Extreme


So, I'm starting to get into the second week of ChaLEAN Extreme.


Let me just say I love this program. Now, as I've said and I will continue to say, I'm a huge P90X fan. But, I sure needed a change of pace to get my mind back in the game. ChaLEAN Extreme has fit the bill.


Let me start off by saying that a lot of guys will probably look at ChaLEAN Extreme, see the cute blond on the cover and think, "This isn't for me, this is for chicks." While the target audience of ChaLEAN extreme is obviously women, the workouts will get your blood flowing and muscles pumping no matter what side you take in the "seat up vs seat down" debate.


As some of my more longtime readers will know, I love the Core Synergistics workout of P90X. What I like so much about Core Synergistics is that the moves always work more than just one body part at a time. That is the philosophy of ChaLEAN Extreme. Every move in the workouts is a synergistic move. You're rarely if ever just working one body part. For example, you'll do a squat with a bicep curl, or a lunge with a deltoid lift etc. These exercise get you working hard and quickly at that.


Another good thing about ChaLEAN is that for some of you that have been working with P90X for one or two rounds may be getting a bit burned out at the time commitment required. P90X requires at least an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes a day. ChaLEAN workouts are considerably shorter. So this could be a great maintenance workout for P90X grads out there.


Take care folks, keep bringing it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Diet vs Exercise

This video is a great visual illustration of how making mistakes or cheating on your diet can affect your results. A lot of people think, "I work out, I can afford to eat some fries, or drink a double whip white chocolate mocha."

Think about what you're doing. I know I'm not the perfect example of this. I've been struggling a lot with this lately. I'm not gaining any weight/fat. However my frequent straying from my diet has stalled my results.

Check out this video. Why I don't agree with the sentiment that Cardio isn't important. Its critical for your overall health. However, why do all the work if you're going to waste all your back breaking hard work and effort with your diet.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

ChaLEAN Extreme


From John:


This is just a short post. I'll get a more complete first week review this weekend.


I LOVE ChaLEAN EXTREME! This program is fun, and tough. Just what I needed to get me out of the funk I was going through in my workouts. Don't get me wrong, P90X is a killer workout, but any program starts to get to be a bit "blah" after six months with the same routine.


Like I wrote, I'll get a full week 1 report this weekend. In the meantime, let me just say that Burn Intervals, is an awesome workout. And its fun for Monica and I to do together!


Take care, keep pushing play, and remember:


"Hope is not an Action Plan."


John

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Month 2, Week 3, and Repeat


From Monica:

With the Burn Month down and the Push Month halfway through, last week I struggled. I admit it, I was slacking. Part of it was that John's motivation was down and the other part was just me being lazy. It's like when you are heading to work and you know you are going to be late. You start thinking up a million excuses when in all reality, you are just running late...that's it. I can't blame my not working out on John when it's my own fault. From what I have noticed, I love the lifting workouts and I am excited to do those. The cardio workouts, however, still kill me every time I do them. For some reason, they just have not become any easier.

So, this week starts Week 3 of ChaLean Extreme Push Month for me...again. Yes, I am repeating just Week 3. The hardest part is getting behind on my planned schedule, but I have really enjoyed this month and I don't mind repeating one week. It must be that my confidence is boosted when I look back over my tracking sheet and am completely overjoyed with the amounts I am lifting.

You see, I started CEx doing the Burn Phase and just testing out the weights I should use to fail at ten to twelve reps. When I began the Push Phase in early March, which shoots for six to eight reps, I jotted down the heaviest weight that I had lifted in Burn and planned on moving one "weight" up on each of the similar workouts. I say "weight" because I am using Power Blocks, like John is, but the female (lighter) set. The weight ranges from 3 to 24 pounds in threes. I am telling you, these weights are fantastic! The point is that now that I am starting Week 3 again, I am looking back and seeing numbers up to 24 pounds on my tracking sheet. I can't believe it...I am maxing out my weights!

If you know me at all, you know I am a bit of a penny pincher, so my immediate response is to worry about spending more money on weights, but then I have to step back and realize what I have accomplished. Out of the three different squats on Push Circuit 1, I am lifting 24 pounds on two of them. The other is a single-leg squat where I am lifting 18. Another big improvement is my push ups, also in Push Circuit 1. They are at the very end of the workout and they are done SUPER slow. I was lucky to get 5 weak push ups completed during my first session. Yesterday on Week 3 (number 2), I did 7 Super slow, Super strong push ups. I guess in the end I can say that this kind of strength is the kind I have always wanted and wasn't disciplined enough to accomplish. I wonder if I feel like John did when he could do a whole set of pull ups along with Tony. Whatever it is...it sure feels great.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Just like Jack Palance

From John:

Quick Post today.

I was out in the front yard the other day and for some reason got in a Plank position while in the yard. On a whim I tried to do a one armed push up.

Now, in the middle of Chest, Shoulders and Triceps I've never been able to do one armed push ups. This exercise comes in about 2/3rds of the way through the workout and by then my arms and chest are pretty tired.

However on Sunday morning I was nice and well rested. I was able to crank out 5 or 6 one armed push ups with decent form. Its good to try out some of the moves you struggle with in your workouts when you're well rested. This changes your mindset from "I can't" to "yeah I can" real quickly!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Needing to change my game plan.

I reach a milestone today. Its been 6 months since I started my journey to fitness with P90X. I don't know the exact calculations, but I've probably filled up the equivalent of a small kiddie pool with sweat over the last 6 months.

My wife has had to do a lot more laundry since I've started. All those workout clothes add up. (I love my wife, she spoils me. Thanks Babe!)

I'm now able to crank out a set of 15 pull ups, when I started back in September, 2 pull ups were tough.

However, despite all the progress I've made with P90X, I'm starting to hit a wall. I'm seriously running out of motivation. It's not that I no longer wanting to work out. The other day on Tuesday I went for a jog which quickly turned into a brisk run. I loved it. My point is that I'm a bit bored with Tony Horton.

Tony, if you're reading this, "It's not you...it's me." LOL. Any time you do the same workout program for 6 months you're bound to get to the point where you need to change it up. I've noticed a severe lack of intensity from myself lately. Maybe you guys out there reading have picked up on it. The intensity has been there when I start a workout, but the mental intensity hasn't been there throughout my day. As a result, my diet has suffered, and I'm not as focused.

That being said I have a new game plan. I go on a business trip to Philadelphia and in turn New Jersey and New York next week. When I get back, I'm going to start to do ChaLEAN Extreme with Monica. Well, Monica is on week 7 or 8, so I'll be starting from the beginning. I'm sure we'll find a way to work out together as the schedule allows. (We actually got to work out with one another last night by doing CEX Burn Intervals and Extreme Abs.)

The one modification I'm going to have to make with CEX is to find a way to fit in pull ups. I don't want to lose all the progress I've made in this area.

Thanks to all of you reading. I also want to say a special thanks to all of you who checked in on me regarding my previous post about Ab Ripper. It helps me to realize there are a significant number of you out there reading.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Need help!

From John:

I have a confession to make.  I've been skipping Ab Ripper X.

It all started about 10 weeks ago before I went on vacation.  I started separating Ab Ripper X from my workouts.  I found I could do a lot better on Ab Ripper if I had some rest time between Ab Ripper and my main workout.  Its so much easier to to Ab Ripper well when you've had some rest.

I got in a habit of doing Ab Ripper later in the evening after my workout.  Or I'd do it early the next morning before work.  What started to happen a few weeks ago was that I'd do my main workout, tell myself I'd do Ab Ripper the next morning, then not do it.  Instead of getting Ab Ripper in three times a week, I got to the point I was doing it only once.

Then it happened last week, I went the entire week with no Ab Ripper.  

Let me say clearly, I'M NOT PROUD OF THIS!

Yesterday I didn't let myself come up with any excuses.  I let the DVD roll and went straight into Ab Ripper like the old days.

What I need from some of you that are reading is to check in with me.  I need some help in the accountability area.  Send me a facebook message or IM asking if I've been keeping up with it.  I need that accountability check to help keep me in line.

Other than that, things have been going well.  

Thanks for reading folks!

Keep pushing play (and not hitting stop early.)

John

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Crappy Workout!

From John:

First off I'd like to congratulate Demi Bean for becoming a P90X graduate.  She is also a Beachbody coach and has shown amazing results.  Great job Girl!

I just finished up today's workout.  It was a really hectic day.  Monica and I went to the range to meet my brother.  I got to try out my newest handgun, a Springfield XDM .40.  The gun shot great.  Monica and I both got to mess around at the range and Monica took some time and looked for her own gun.  Who'd have thought I'd marry a girl that wants a Glock?  After that we hit up Subway, split our usual Oven Roasted Chicken Breast sub and did our  grocery shopping.  

When we finished up our shopping at two stores and got home, we had to slap another coat of paint in the kitchen.  I took a quick nap, then woke up to do my Chest, Shoulders and Triceps workout.  The first half of the workout went great, then I just started to "bonk" in the 2nd half.  My reps and weights couldn't keep up with the week before.  I think the problem is that I didn't eat that much today and just didn't have the fuel in my body to keep going.  

But, you have workouts like that now and then.  I know I pushed myself, I got to the failure point on every single set.  But sometimes you just don't have it that day.  You can't dwell on these days.  Just simply write your notes down, talk about what you think the problem was, and focus on the next day's workout.  As Tony Horton says, "Just do your best and forget the rest."

Now, time to go to a surprise party for a neighbor.  Should be fun.  I'm bringing my MGD 64.  

Keep pushing play!

John

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Counting Calories

From Monica:

Yikes! I know...you read the title and are already downsizing the window as you read this. Stop! Don't! I promise that counting calories isn't as hard as you might think it is.

First of all, what are you eating anyway? Usually the same types of things from day to day that are actually easy for you to determine the calorie count of. I don't know about you, but I am not eating baked goods everyday which I would agree are probably the hardest foods to figure calorie counts on. Dessert for me has included grapefruit with Splenda (82 calories for the whole thing), Popcorn (175 calories to split a bag with John for non-hydrogenated and buttered), a banana (100 calories) and decaf coffee with creamer (coffee is less than 5 calories, the creamer is about 17). These things are all very easy to figure out.

The first thing you have to do is determine how many calories you should shoot for. I am 5'5, 132 lbs and I work out at a high activity level 5 days a week. John went to the Beachbody website for club members and found the calorie intake calculator. We calculated that I need 1698 in calories for my stats and activity level to be able to burn .5 pounds of fat each week. With the heavy weight lifting, I will build muscle in those areas, so my weight will probably not drop...but my body fat % will.

The key is writing it all down. I calculate my calories on my breakfast and write it down. Then I pack my morning snack, my lunch and my afternoon snack and I go ahead and write that down at the same time (I personally recommend packing your own snacks and lunch. That way you are regulated on what you can eat). When I get home from work I tally up my day, add in anything I didn't write down and determine what I have left for dinner and "dessert".

I have been doing it for 8 days now and only cheated one day! Now to show just how realistic I am being, let me paint you a picture. I work at a bank. I sit at the front desk and I socialize with almost every customer who comes in and leaves. On my desk is a jar of candy for customers. Across from my desk by the entry is a plate of cookies. The teller line has candy jars with Jelly Bellys, lollipops and caramels. Almost every week it is someone's birthday or another special event that leads to people bringing in goodies. These are the temptations that I deal with daily, and I am not talking about the R&B group!

One more piece of advice is to think about everything you eat. For instance, a regular Oreo cookie is 55 calories (how about half a grapefruit?), ten Jelly Bellys are 50 (how about coffee with creamer?), A fun size candy bar is about 100 (how about an entire banana?). Seriously...you are fueling your body and if you are working out, then you are wasting your time if you aren't watching your diet. Just take a shot at it like I did and let me know how you do. I can't believe how easy it is and that I have accomplished 8 days of this. It feels awesome!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm the worst blogger ever!

From John:

I'm sorry guys. I haven't posted in over a week. Work has been getting busier for me which is a good thing. I haven't missed any workouts, but to be honest, I haven't been in the blogging mood lately. Also the previous week was a recovery week and besides saying how much I love Core Synergistics, its hard to say too much about recovery weeks.

The last couple days have been fun. I didn't start week five on Saturday as planned since Monica and I had a lot of errands on Saturday and had to babysit our niece and nephews while my sister and parents went to the funeral of a family friend. So I started on Sunday and did doubles, substituting Cardio X for plyo this week.

Yesterday was Back and Biceps. What a difference between the last time I did this workout. I upped every weight significantly and pushed hard. On my last strip set, Monica came by to watch or give moral support. In the middle of one of the sets I shouted at her to come help. She figured out what I meant and gave me a little spot to get the weight up the last 2 reps. Thanks babe! Its amazing how much easier it is to push yourself when you have someone there cheering you on and willing to land a little bit of a hand to spot you.

Diet has been pretty good, but not perfect. Yesterday I ate too many carbs because we need to go grocery shopping. Monica, we need to buy salad!

Thanks for your patience...how is everyone else doing out there. I'd love to hear from your comments.

John

Monday, February 23, 2009

What about the "Real World?"


From John:

P90X is an amazing program to get you looking fantastic. But what about the real world? Does it transfer into real world strength and flexibility? What I mean by that question is that we all know P90X can make you look fantastic, but does the program help you in your daily life? Does it make you stronger on a functional level.

I have to say the answer to that question is a resounding "YES!!!"

This winter, despite Al Gore's objections, has been a pretty rough one here in the Midwest. We've had lots of snow, lots of cold and I can't wait for it to go away. To get back on point, that snow has resulted in me having to shovel our driveway on a frequent basis.

Last winter I was doing absolutely nothing for myself physically. I wasn't exercising on any level. My only real physical exertion was going out to shovel the drive way. The process sucked. I'd huff and puff my way down the drive way. Soon after I was done, I'd come inside, my clothes wet from perspiration, and my back and core muscles would be very sore. I'd be forced to pop a few Advil a couple hours later to ease the pain in my back.

This year has been completely different. Monica has been surprised how fast I've cleared the driveway. On Saturday she agreed to have hot coffee waiting for me when I was done. She looked out the window and was caught off guard when she hadn't started the coffee and I was already shoveling the sidewalk to my neighbors house. To top it off, when I was done, I wasn't winded, I wasn't sore.

The funny thing is that I didn't really even realize what the difference maker has been until I thought about it last night. The work I've been putting into my workouts has resulted in not only loose fitting pants, but I've become functionally stronger in every area. My flexibility is up which makes me less prone to injury, my strength is up to levels I've never been at before. All in all, this program is making me stronger in every area, and I love it.

I'm on Recovery week 1 of this round of P90X. Yesterday was one of my favorite workouts, "Core Synergistics." This workout absolutely kicked my ass the first time I tried it back in October. Now its a workout I look forward to so much because it just works the entire body from head to toe, and every exercise engages the core muscles. If I was stranded on a desert isle and forced to pick only one P90X workout to have while there, this would be it. (Plus the back of the DVD would make a good signal mirror.)

Till next time guys, keep pushing play.

John

Friday, February 20, 2009

3 Weeks Down!


From John:


This being my 2nd round of P90X, the 21 day milestone isn't as special to me as it was the first round. However to me its still an achievement. I'm looking forward to the first recovery week of this second round. I really like Core Synergistic, and now that I've replaced YogaX with the Fountain of Youth Yoga from the Tony Horton One on One DVD series I don't dread the Yoga workouts.


This week was awesome. Let me say I love the "Legs and Back" workout. The fact that I was able to do 87 pull ups over 8 sets of the Legs and Back routine had me pumped. I'm trying to up my number a bit each week. It's awesome to think that 100 pull ups is a realistic goal that is in my sights.


I do have to say that I'm still not seeing a drastic change in my numbers. My weight is still hovering around 195 and my body fat is level at about 12.5%. I've asked for advice from a few other Beachbody coaches and have a game plan to get through this wall. I'm beating down on the wall, but its only going to crash if I stay persistent.


Thanks for all your support.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Thank You Chalene


From Monica:

Well, I am three weeks into ChaLEAN Extreme (CEx). The first thing I want to share is what keeps me doing it every day. It's all her...Chalene.

Okay, so I am doing my workout to a DVD. I can choose to start it or I can choose to ignore it and plop down on the couch. What keeps me doing it is this idea in my head that I have an appointment with my trainer and I have to be there everyday ready to do my best. If I come home and imagine that my trainer is waiting for me (at my own house no less!), then I am more likely to do it. I am not a girl who would stand someone up!

With that said, I also have John who has his trainer waiting on him too. Now we can't let two people down! When John mentioned something tonight about doing our workouts later, I decided against it. First, I would rather get it done, have my recovery drink and make dinner than put it off as the last thing of the night. We all know how hard it is to peel ourselves off of the couch after having dinner and watching a show or two. Second, Chalene is upstairs waiting for me and I am not going to make her wait. She even says that there is nobody else who wants me to get in shape more than her and I believe her. Look what she's done for me so far!

The second thing I want to share is what the Burn Circuit piece of this workout is all about (the first 30 days). In summary, it is mostly heavy weightlifting. Chalene alternates between upper body and lower body during these workouts. She advises to use lighter weights on upper body and heavier weights on the lower body. I have used anything from 3 pounds to 18 so far, depending on the muscle group. Another thing she does to keep the lifting interesting is that she keeps you moving. For instance, you might do a lunge, lift a row, dip down and then stand up only to go down to another lunge. For the most part these "Burn Circuits" are intense, heavy lifting workouts.

The other days include first, a Burn Interval and Ab Burner day and second, a Burn It Off and Recharge day. Burn Intervals take the same lifting done on the other days, but Chalene has you use one light weight the entire time. Then she makes you work just as hard by increasing the reps. The Ab Burner only lasts about ten minutes, so it works you hard, but keeps the workout from lasting too long. Chalene pushes hard on the Burn It Off day again combining weights and cardio. Afterward, however, the Recharge (or Yoga) is awesome and totally brings you down from the intense workout before it. You also get 2 rest days a week, but I choose to do Turbo Jam on one of my rest days...because it is so much fun!

I'll keep the information coming, but for now I just want to give you a taste of the workout I am doing...and let you know why I am having such a great time doing it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Accountability!


This last week has been a great one for me in my workouts. I've really "brought it." and seen some interesting numbers in terms of reps, weights used etc. I was really proud of my performance on Wednesday. I was able to do 86 unassisted pull ups in my legs and back workout. I won't say my form was perfect on every rep, but I did my best and brought it big time.


Now, to the point of this post. The key to success in P90X or any workout program is having accountability. That is to say, you aren't going it alone. Someone else has a stake or interest in your performance. This past week, I was lucky to have my lovely wife Monica give me the kick in the ass I needed. Twice I uttered the phrase, "I don't want to work out tonight." To which she quickly replied, "No!!! You're working out."


Now, some days I'm the hammer to her, this time it was the other way around.


We aren't always in the right mood to get in a workout. Its so much easier and more comfortable to sit on the couch, cuddle up and relax etc. To have a partner that can stare you in the eyes and encourage you to "Bring It." is key.


If you are lucky enough to have a spouse be your accountability partner in your workouts, then you know how awesome it is when both of you are working with similar goals in mind.


Thanks Monica for keeping me honest this week.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feel Stuck


From John:


I'm probably overreacting, however I feel like I'm stuck. I'm doing well at the workouts this past week, but I've been stuck at 195lbs and about 12-13% body fat for a couple weeks now. I know I just got back from vacation and I'm only 12 days into my 2nd round of P90X.


However, I just have a weird feeling that I'm not doing everything possible that I can to improve my fitness level. For those of you that have been following, my goal is to get to 8% body fat this round of P90X. The fact that is even a reasonable goal speaks volumes about how far I've come. I would never imagine saying that back in September when I was almost 26% body fat and sitting at about 216 lbs.


Getting back to my point. I don't want my feeling of being "stuck" turn into a reality. So, I'm going to do the following.



  • No more eating after 8PM at night.

  • Get a doubles workout in at least one day per week. I'll try to do this on Saturdays. I'll add either CardioX or a little running to my daily routine.

  • Count calories. I realize I need to revisit the nutrtion guide. I'm still eating with the same goal calories I had when I was 216 lbs when I started the program. I need to look into what I can be doing better.

  • Re-read "Nutrient Timing."

Thanks everyone...I know this posts sounds like rambling. But I needed to get that out there in writing. Success in reaching a goal requires constant evaluation and course corrections.



Bring It!


John

Monday, February 9, 2009

Long Time Coming

I have been working out using Chalene Johnson's ChaLEAN Extreme for the past ten days. Prior to that, I completed almost three months of Turbo Jam. I admit I have not been this active since playing volleyball and basketball in high school. Sometimes I remind myself of the days when I would attend school from 8 am to 4 pm and then spend an hour and a half...sometimes two in practice.

That was about ten years ago. Since then I have done the bare minimum to keep in shape and healthy. I've joined gym after gym, followed quick workouts in magazines and attempted to run around my neighborhood. None of these things stuck and none of them gave me results.

In just three months I am on the way to the body I had out of high school. I owe my thanks to John. This last September John was living in Novi, Michigan during the week and driving home to see me on the weekends.

All of the sudden, during his company's conference/vacation, John realized he wasn't fitting in his pants anymore. With a nod from me and extreme determination inside himself, John began P90X. I sat at home during the week working on my bachelors and doing nothing for my body. It wasn't until John hit his 90 days and I saw his results that I got interested in doing something for myself.

The first week of November, John talked me into Turbo Jam. I didn't think I could handle P90X and I wanted something really fun. Turbo Jam mixes kick boxing, cardio and dancing into a high-energy, motivating workout. Two days in and I was hooked.

After completing eleven weeks of Turbo Jam, we went on our 6 Year Anniversary/Graduation cruise. We both had rocking bodies and didn't mind strutting our stuff. The best part was that we worked out on the cruise doing yoga, cardio and walking...and it was fun.

Back home, John asked me if I was interested in ChaLEAN Extreme (CEX). I decided to give it a try partially due to another Beachbody Coach, Jessica. She wrote on Facebook and in emails how much she loved CEX.

I am ten days into CEX. I can't wait to tell you what I have been doing so far and how good I feel!

~Monica

All I wanna do...is P90X

I never have been a huge Sheryl Crow fan, especially after her ramblings of only using one square of toilet paper. However I thought this was cool, another endorsement for P90X.



Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tough Day for a Workout

Yesterday was a bit weird in my workout life. I had a bit of a headache in the afternoon. Monica and I got home from work and we both went to start our respective workouts. (By the way, for those of you that have been reading a while and remember the times when I was travelling back and forth to Michigan...well, I love being home every night.)

As soon as I started my warm up my headache got bad. My right temple started throbbing. I literally could feel my pulse throbbing in my temple. I actually did pretty well in the workout, but the pain in my head was terrible. I pushed through the pain, but only completed the first half of the P90X workout.

The half I did complete, I did very well. I did at least 10 pull ups per set for the 4 sets of pull-ups I was able to do. I did pretty well at the leg exercises as well. However, I knew I wouldn't be able to get through the entire workout.

By the way, if any of you reading this are doctors and think I need to go see a doctor let me know... :-)

I've almost finished up week 1 of my 2nd round of P90X. I have to say, despite the troubles I've had this round, its been so much easier to get through this workout since I have the workout habit already ingrained.

Till next time.

John

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Author Coming Soon!

No, I'm not going anywhere.

However, one amazing person I know has been doing Turbo Jam for 3 months and just started ChaLEAN Extreme. That person is my lovely wife Monica.

She's going to be dropping by and writing about her experiences with ChaLEAN Extreme while I'll be writing about P90X etc. Her first posts should be up by the end of the week. I'm very excited of Monica's commitment.

Back when I first started P90X, I sat down with Monica and asked her for support through the program. I needed to know that she was willing to help me out, even if that meant her sacrificing having ice cream around the house etc. She's been amazing throughout. Its so much easier to stick to a workout regimen if your spouse is on one as well.
So Thank you for welcoming Monica as another author here on Tough Fitness.
John

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Round 2 Days 1&2


Hey everybody. I'm so pumped to be back in the P90X routine. I went on a long 7 night cruise with my wife. We worked out almost every day on the cruise, getting in 4 days of Yoga, some circuit training, walking 4 miles on the boat etc. I took a few days off between getting back from the cruise and starting another round of P90X yesterday.

Yesterday was Chest and Back. I started out very strong, exceeding all my numbers, reps, weights etc from my last time of P90X. Then something crazy happened. All my strength disappeared and I felt sick to my stomach. I actually had to take a minute, puke my guts out, then rest 5 minutes before finishing up the workout. It was so abnormal for me. I don't know what the reason was, but I guess I definitely brought it.

This morning I did a nice Plyometrics workout. Its amazing the difference I felt today doing Plyo vs when I started back in September. I pushed nice and hard today.

The goals for this round of P90X is to get my body fat down to the 8-9% range. Currently, I'm at about 12-13% body fat. (I was 25-25% when I started in September.)

More to follow.

Keep pushing play.

John

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dan Gregart P90X Day 30 Report.

My buddy Dan just got to day 30 of P90X. He has had some great results and I asked him to write a little write up on his impressions of the first 30 days. Dan gave me a ton of good info and I'm going to share it all with you. Thanks Dan.

***********************************************************************

P90X – Day 30

If you would have told me that I would progressed this far in just 30 days I would have been ecstatic. My goal coming in to P90X was to revolutionize my health and to change my fitness habits FOR GOOD. I really didn’t believe that my results would get anywhere near the results I saw on the infomercial, but I was looking for some way to draw a line in the sand. I’ve fought my weight my entire life and have struggled so badly lately due to the nature of my job (insurance agent). Then, around the time of my son’s birth in mid-December, I got to that “sick and tired of being sick and tired” place and decided to purchase the system. I was also motivated by an upcoming company trip to Maui in April! On day 1, I was actually pretty nervous! I knew that the workouts would be tough and it had been so long since I had done any intensive training that I was fearful that I wouldn’t be able to keep up and that I would lose my motivation. After Chest & Back, I came upstairs in my house and spent the next 20 minutes dry-heaving on my back porch. Tony kicked my ass, made me puke, and I just knew that I was on to something! After Plyometrics the second day, I was hooked completely. I found myself clapping at the end of workouts and yelling at myself between sets to keep myself motivated. The idea of not being able to get through the workouts left my mind completely. I just loved how Tony would remind me that I could pause the DVD and catch my breath. I also loved the different intensities on the exercises. It made me feel encouraged when I couldn’t do what the people on the screen were doing. The idea was that if I just kept pressing play and pushed through every workout, I would see results; this was so encouraging to hear, especially after spending my first Yoga session stumbling and falling over the place! The funny thing that I’m seeing now is that I CAN do a lot of the things that I COULDN’T do before. The progress I’ve seen in terms of strength and physical appearance have been great, but the strides I’ve made in the areas of flexibility, balance, core development and explosiveness have been a big surprise.

I really can’t stress to people the importance of the nutrition plan. I am a carb-addict and have had issues for YEARS with digestion and energy. I always felt sluggish and bloated regardless of my commitment to exercise. The P90X Nutrition Plan has weaned me off sugar and introduced me to the wonderful world of fruits, vegetables and natural foods! I never knew they were out there! One of the biggest surprises for me has been how good I FEEL. Without going into too much detail, my digestive system isn’t backed up any more. I don’t get that post-meal bloated and sluggish feeling. And the amazing side note to this is the fact that I’m eating more than I ever have! I can eat a meal and feel really hungry within a few hours! Before P90X, I honestly can’t tell you the last time I truly felt hungry. Even today, as I sit here at work typing this, I need to get something to eat, and this is only 90 minutes after eating a whole-wheat bagel with natural peanut butter (thanks John) and sugar-free strawberry preserves! My system feels like its cranking at all times and I can literally FEEL the fat being burned. It’s a feeling that is quite addicting.

Today, I feel like I’m in the meat of the program. I’m dropping about .4 lbs per day and adding weight and reps to my workouts each time I do them. I can’t imagine what the next 30 days will bring. I’d like to drop another 10 lbs. (I’m focusing on lean muscle and not muscle size) and get to the point where I can get through the entire Yoga session without having to skip a pose or position. My thought is that if I can drop 10 more lbs of fat in the next 30 days, the final 30 days can be all about getting truly ripped. I never thought that I could be the guy on the beach with the muscle definition and the flat stomach, but I can see it now. Its only 60 days away. But the great thing is that I don’t have to think about things 60 days away. My job is to push play tonight and push myself whenever and wherever possible. The results will be there in two more months.

Thanks to John Kopecky for his help in getting started and staying on track. I feel like I’m part of something that’s going on over the whole world. Thanks for bringing me into the fold brother. More updates in 60 days!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

St. Thomas, USVI

I'm waiting patiently for Monica to buy some jewlery in a shop and
figured I'd uplidd a photo.

Doing well on vacation. We've done 2 yoga classes. I've done a
shoulders and arms workout from memory (even ab ripper x).

Monica and I walked 9 laps of the ship this morning which is a bit
over 3 miles. We've easily walked another 2 miles plus around St Thomas.

Diet has been spotty, but I'm on vacation.

Take care.

John

PS. I love the iPhone. Have 3G AT&T network in the middle of the
Caribbean.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Beachbody Coaching

Some of you are curious what "Beachbody" coaching is all about.

I thought you could watch the following video.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

See you next week!

Hey everyone! Monica and I just pushed off. We're signed up for 4
yoga classes. Should be a great week.

Push play while I'm gone.

John

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Time For A Vacation!!!


All that hard work and I finally get to play!

Monica and I leave tomorrow morning early for Miami. On Saturday, we board the Norwegian Dawn for a 7 Night cruise. The cruise will be over our 6 year anniversary and will probably be the last vacation we ever take without kids for the next 25 years or so (if things go to plan.)

I sure have to say that all the hard work put into P90X has been really cool. I'm looking forward to this vacation so much. Part of that is because I have absolutely no qualms about taking my shirt off anymore.

I'll try to post a photo or two of us when we leave Miami while we still have cellular coverage. After that though, it will probably be at least a week without a post here from me.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Weird feeling

The DVD was rolling. I reached down, grabbed my set of dumbbells and started to work along with Tony Horton and the gang. The move was corkscrew curls. For those of you that are unaware, they are like regular curls, yet at the bottom your palms are facing behind you instead of a normal curl where they would face in front of you.

So, I started the curls. In the middle of the move I looked down and a weird feeling came over me. "Who's freaking arms are these?" I thought. My bicep was well defined, veins and arteries were pumped up and visible. It didn't look like my arms at all. I kept pushing, feeling as strong as ever. I didn't want to stop but eventually the burn got too much and I couldn't squeeze out another rep.

It was such an awesome yet odd feeling. To all of a sudden get a dramatic reminder that all the hard work you put in is bringing results...that is what it is all about kids.

Keep pushing play.

John

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why I became a Beachbody Coach.


You know what's been more exciting than my own journey with P90X?  Its been talking to others that were in a similar situation as mine.  I have some friends that have been out of a regular fitness routine, not at their best level of fitness.  A couple of these folks have seen my blog, seen my results photos, and my success so far has motivated them to get on board and try out P90X or another Beachbody Fitness program such as ChaLEAN Extreme.

One of my buddies called me up and was absolutely gushing about how he loved the first week of P90X.  I forget his exact quote, but it was something along the lines of, "Dude, this has been awesome!  I'm 100% into this program!"  How cool is that?  My success has resulted in not only improving my health, but its going to change his life for the better.  I'm sure down the line someone will ask him what he's been doing and will be motivated by his success as well.

Here's the truth why I became a coach.  The primary reason I became a Beachbody coach was not to make money (although the extra cash coming in has been nice).  The real reason is that I had a long history of starting a program and quitting.  I knew that starting as a coach would be drawing a line in the sand for myself.  How could I be a "coach" to others if I wasn't sticking to a program myself?  I thought that by making an extra commitment to others by coaching, it would be a strong motivator to keep me into the program. (It worked!)

Going forward, the success of my friends that I am coaching will continue to motivate me.  I invest some time in them, help them reach their goals and get to enjoy the results.  

If you're looking into helping others improve their fitness, and are interested in coaching shoot me an email at john@toughfitness.com  

You can also check out my coaching page.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

P90X...What to expect.


I have to say, I DID NOT write the following. It has been sent around the P90X world and I've received it from a few folks. If you are the original author, or know who is, please let me know so I may give them credit.


RESOLVE TO EVOLVE

Clarity, like the fine edge of a newly sharpened blade. You have a plan, a goal, a schedule; you have your nutrition down to a point. Your workouts are intense, you suffer daily. You are making sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night to ensure adequate recovery from your brutal regimen. You are even doing your own version of "Doubles" whether its
20 minutes of HIIT, running, swimming or any other form of cardio three days a week to burn even more fat. You have a clear mental picture of what you want to accomplish during your round of the X, you have your "mind right". So what should you expect? I'll give you some insight so there are no surprises.

DAY 1 - 30 (PHASE 1 - APPROXIMATELY)
1.) This is the adjustment period. Your body is getting into the schedule and tempo of your workouts. It is adjusting to your new nutrition habits. Expect some differences, perhaps not the drastic visual differences you crave but your clothes will become baggier.

2.)
Stay the course during this period. I have had allot of people say to me "Something is not right, I'm not getting as lean as I should be."

This is normal; during Phase 1 you are priming the body and stoking your metabolic fire. **YOUR BODY DOES NOT SPOT REDUCE FAT! I REPEAT, YOUR BODY DOES NOT SPOT REDUCE FAT! **

Your body will take body fat off in "sheets". What I mean is that it will reduce your overall body fat evenly. Where we hold the largest amount of body fat largely depends on genetics and gender. Women tend to hold their body fat in their butt, leg, hip region. Men generally hold their body fat in their waistlines. This is what to watch for in this Phase: loosening of your clothes, stay off of the scale and above all, remain patient and continue to work hard.

DAYS 31-60 (PHASE 2 - APPROXIMATELY)

1.) This phase is where your body kicks into high gear. You are getting stronger and leaner. Expect dramatic results during this Phase as long as you remain disciplined and suffer daily.

2.) WHAT TO EXPECT: You will start to see that your outer extremities, (Forearms, calves, upper back, shoulders) generally where people hold the least amount of fat, will start to get leaner.

3.) Where you hold the most fat will improve but not to your impatient satisfaction. Why? Because as your body removes the fat in "sheets" naturally the leaner sections of your body will show definition the quickest.

4.)
REMAIN PATIENT AND STAY THE COURSE!

DAYS 61 - 90 (PHASE 3 - APPROXIMATELY)

1.) This is the Phase to let it all hang out. It's an all out assault on body fat. Your metabolism is in high gear, you have noticed a drastic improvement in definition throughout your entire body and your most stubborn pockets of fat are carving away.

2.) This is the time to do some extra workout sessions. Walk after dinner, take an extra bike ride. Skip rope, box, and do something extra to burn more calories and more fat.

3.) At the end of this Phase you want to be standing tall on Day 90, proudly take your after pictures and be able to say, "I worked as hard as I possibly could have during the past 90 days, I BROUGHT IT!"

So there it is, what to expect during a Phase of P90X. If you have any questions and would like to discuss some of the finer points of what I have described above, please don't hesitate to ask.


Friday, January 2, 2009

Another Year Older...different mindset.

Well, I turn 29 years old today.  

I'm one year away from cashing in on a bet with my dad.
 
When I was about 7 or 8 years old, my dad, old dog Annie and I were swimming in the cove at our old lake house. Annie was a gorgeous yellow lab.  She was my personal pillow while watching TV from about age 6 to 18.  But that's another story.

Anyway, my dad and I were swimming, and I made a joke about my dad's "beer belly."  My dad told me that I too would have a beer belly when I was 30.  I said, "nuh uh."  We then made a wager.  The bet was whether or not I would have a beer belly on my 30th birthday.  The amount of the wager was $100 (I was counting on inflation.)

Now, the details of this bet were a bit sketchy.  We have no set definition of what constitutes a "beer belly."  But, I guess its like that one supreme court justice said.  "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."

My next 365 days will be focused on making sure I cash in on that bet.  My dad claims no knowledge of the wager.  However, my mom was tanning on the dock at the time and she says that she remembers the discussion.  So I've got that going for me.

So, my goal for this year is to get down below 10% body fat by May 1, and stay there for the rest of the year.

Take care friends, keep pushing play.

And remember, "Hope is not an action plan!"

John