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.


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


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!


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!


All I wanna 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.


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.

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.