Friday, March 30, 2012

my husband is MacGyver!

My husband is super handy.  From building outdoor balcony seating to living room shelving to carrying me to bed when I fall asleep on the couch -- he's really indispensable in my life.  I thought I knew the full extent of his helpfulness.

I was wrong.  Check out this amazing pull-up assist he made!  It's 2 resistance bands connected to one handle and then fed through the arm attachment (which you attach to the bar and put your arms in bent to do core exercises).  Well guess what also fits in the arm attachment -- YOUR FOOT! 

John's home-made pull-up assist! 
I am super psyched about this because it means I did 5 -- FIVE -- pull-ups with assist in each round of the 2nd complex of PAP Upper!  Which means I did 20 assisted pull-ups! 

Calories Burned = 504
Average Heart Rate = 127
Peak Heart Rate =165 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Checking in on my goals

When I started the program, I had the following goals for this program

  1. Follow nutrition plan as described in the P90X2 materials (minus the 5 cheats)
  2. Be able to do 1 pull-up by the end of the program 
  3. Get a 4 pack before summer 2012 
  4. Reduce my body fat to 20%

I'm not on track to reach any of my goals, well, maybe the one about having 4-pack abs ;). I am surprisingly okay with it.  Given how achievement-oriented I am, I expected to be way more disappointed, but I actually feel pretty good.    

I should clarify -- I'm working toward my goals, but I'm not confident that I will be able to reach them all by the time this first round is over.  I am also not sure that I WANT to reach them -- for instance, to get my body fat down to 20% (which means a decrease of at least 4%), I'd have to really restrict my diet, and I've learned that I'm not willing to do that. 

Maybe it's a result of the unexpected outcomes, like having more sustained energy throughout the day, being able to get through the workouts (even with modifications) and being proud of that, knowing I'm getting stronger, having visible changes in my body, increasing my flexibility.

Yesterday afternoon, when I did yoga, I noticed that my chattaranga was much better after having done Superman during PAP Upper.  What a surprise!  My low back was simply stronger and more flexible! 

So, at the end of the day, I'm really happy with my results, even if they aren't what I had originally anticipated. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

PAP Upper - Week 1

So, the people in PAP Upper get really sweaty.  I did not get as sweaty as them.  I think I needed to work a little harder -- again, the first workout is always a little weird to get used to.

Again, 2 complexes, 4 workouts each repeated 4 times in a row with a water break in between the complexes.  One of the exercises I was most proud of was the Plank on Med Ball.  I couldn't do it for the whole 60 seconds, but I could do it better than I expected!

And again, the workout was fast and fun.  And there's a lot of room for improvement!

Calories Burned = 479
Average Heart Rate = 126
Peak Heart Rate = 169

Sunday, March 25, 2012

PAP Lower - Week 1

I am so glad to have started Phase 3.  That last recovery week was like cheating week. I guess I may not need 7 whole days of recovery, but something closer to 4.  Good to know.

Today I got to do PAP Lower.  PAP stands for Post-Activation Potentiation -- Tony Horton says "You've probably never heard of that before."  No kidding, it sounds completely made up.  But, as I read on the Team Beachbody website, it was a killer workout.

2 "complexes" -- which are four exercises each, repeated 4 times in a row with a 5-10 second break in between each exercise.  Then a 1 minute water break in between each complex.

I wasn't terrible in the first complex -- step up lunges, side-to-side & front-to-back single leg hops, skater plyo leap, and Tony's triangle.  I can't even really explain these right now because of time, but I promise I will.  Then I got into the second complex and was pretty bad at the squat reach in which you balance on one leg, squat down over a medicine ball, and then extend your arm and leg in opposite directions -- they were doing 8, I made it up to 6.  Then this complex includes killer katherine lunges with height, monster slalom (which bothered my left knee), and side bridge lift (which I could only hold for 5-8 seconds at a time, compared to 30 seconds.

BUT, I LOVED this workout!  It was fun and fast.  The warm up was different too, which was a welcomed change of pace.

Calories Burned = 774
Average Heart Rate = 143
Peak Heart Rate = 182

Friday, March 23, 2012

Skipped workout

For the first time since I started, I skipped a workout last night. When I got home, I just did not feel like doing yoga. I needed to work on a manuscript for an article I'm working on - but it turned out that there weren't that many edits. But I just did not want to workout. So today I will be doing yoga.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Slow Week

Recovery Week always seems to creep by.  Perhaps because the workouts are less intense.  Perhaps because I feel less need to really eat the 1800 calories I should be eating because I'm working out less.  Perhaps because the workouts alternate between Recovery + Mobility and Yoga.  Whatever the case, it's slow.

BUT, I'm resisting the urge to move on to the next Phase without it.  I feel like the recovery gives me a chance to rest, regroup, and heal in preparation for the next phase.

I'm really excited about Phase 3 Performance.  I haven't yet viewed the DVDs, but that's on my list of things to do this coming weekend.  There are no workout sheets for it, evidently because there isn't enough time in between the exercises to do anything but catch your breath (according to something I read on the Team Beachbody website)!  We'll see!

In other news, John has finished his first month of P90X2!  I keep asking if he wants to write a blog, but I think I am going to just put my computer in front of him and see what happens. ;)   

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pictures at the End of Phase 2

I am going into Recovery Week which means Phase 2 is coming to an end.  I've really enjoyed this Phase and have been feeling great, getting stronger, but I'm not sure that the results are visible.  Also, in this last week, I didn't really eat all the meals the right way.  Even this morning, I'm not feeling up to breakfast.  Maybe it's partly the diet cheating?   

Here's the progression of pictures from Phase 2 on March 17, Phase 1 on February 12, and before I began on January 12.    

Friday, March 16, 2012

Base + Back Week 4

I wish I had started working the negatives for pull-ups sooner.  I am feeling muscles I didn't know I had.

Yet the little voice in my head says that perhaps it was too ambitious to think that I could get to a pull-up in 3 months.

I'm trying to ignore that voice.

So I'm at the last Base & Back workout.  I enjoy this workout a lot -- the balance of plyo and pull-ups is pretty cool.

Plus, I'm getting a lot better a Superman Banana X and Oblique Roll Crunch, mainly by engaging my core more.  Huh, I guess there's something to that. ;)    

No Kip Pull-ups [modified]: 12/40-50 lb RB --> 12/50-62 lb RB (5 negatives)
Plyo Frog Squat: 22 --> 27
Wide Leg Close Grip Chin-Up [modified]: 12/40-50 lb RB --> 12/50-62 lb RB (5 negatives)
Chair Jump: 20 --> 20
Chin Pull: 12 (6 each chin-ups and pull-ups)/40-50 lb RB --> 16 (8 each)/50-62 lb RB (8 negatives, 4 each)
Plyo Lunge Press: 16/3 lbs each hand --> 30/3 lb each hand
V-Pull Ups: 12 (6 each arm)/40-50 lb RB --> 24 (12 each arm)/50-62 lb RB (5 negatives)
Surfer Spin: 22 --> 22
Kippy Cross Fugly Pull: 15/40-50 lb RB --> 16/50-62 lb RB (5 negatives)
Jack-in-the-Box Knee Tuck: 16 --> 20

Calories Burned = 647 (compared to 731 in Week 1)
Average Heart Rate = 125 (compared to 133 in Week 1)
Peak Heart Rate = 170 (compared to 172 in Week 1)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shoulders + Arms Week 4

I really do enjoy the Shoulders + Arms workout and am sad to see it go.  I think I like it because it's only 7 exercises and it's fast-paced.

I'm getting better at Ab Ripper -- but every time Tony Horton says "Time for Abrinome, oooh, everyone loves Abrinome,"  I say, OUT LOUD, "I hate Abrinome."  Also, while doing Gate Bridge Lift this time, I turned off my damn heart rate monitor, so whatever I've written below is based on an average of the last 3 weeks.

In other news, I weighed in this morning and gained 2 pounds this week.  Let's review -- red wine, and CHALLAH.  My work bought delicious preztel challah for a program, and because we had a bunch left over, I took it home for a dinner party.  Then we had even more left over, so throughout this week I've been eating it.  I think I've had like 5 rolls.  Otherwise, I've been pretty good this week, so I'm pretty sure that eating bread has messed me up.

Also, let's talk timeline.  Since I've been doing 4 weeks of workouts and then 1 week of recovery, I'm in a 5 week rotation.  Recovery Week starts on Sunday (hallelujah!) and then I have Phase 3: Performance.  I'm thinking I'll only do Phase 3 for 3 weeks then go into Recovery, since I've gotten so exhausted in Week 4 of the other Phases.  So, that means I should be with the program by April 21.  I'm also reminded that next week I need to spend some time reviewing the new workouts for Phase 3: PAP Lower and PAP Upper.

Here are my Week 1 to Week 4 stats:
Balance Curl: 16/15-20 RB --> 16/25-30 RB
Arnold Press [alternating arms]: 5 each arm/15-20 RB --> 10 each arm/10-12 RB
Overhead Tricep Pull: 12/15-20 RB --> 12/10-12 RB
Six Direction Shoulder Fly: 6/10-12 RB --> 10/3 lb each
Crazy Eights (8 curls with one arm with the other in an isometric hold, then switch): 32/10-12 RB --> 32/25-30 RB
Y-T Fly: 8/3 lb each --> 12 3 lb each
Rocket Launcher Tricep Kickback: 16/3 each --> 20/3 each

Calories Burned = 571 (compared to 585 in Week 1)
Average Heart Rate = 118 (compared to 118 in Week 1)
Peak Heart Rate = 154 (compared to 157 in Week 1)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Swollen arms

For the first time in my life, my upper arms are actually swollen from working out. I noticed this when I tried to flex my arms to check out my beautiful biceps. ;) There was no definition where there was some last week. Besides that, my biceps are still hurting when I try to straighten my arms. I feel like a guy with huge muscles who can't lower and straighten his arms by his sides. I think more ice is on my agenda tonight.

In other news, I am exhausted this morning. This happened last phase in Week 4, which suggests to me that I should probably do these phases for only 3 weeks, and then move into Recovery Week. It could almost be blamed on the time change, but since it happened last phase too, there's more to it than that.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chest + Back + Balance Week 4

It's the beginning of Week 9, which means it's the last week of Phase 2 of the workouts.  The time is flying by!  As you might remember, I started working the negatives in the pull-up part of the Back + Base workout, and continued this again today.

This is the first workout I have done while still sore from a previous workout!  YAY!  And BOO!  My biceps, triceps, and lats are still wondering what the hell I did on Friday, and more importantly, why I did it.  As a result of this soreness, I wasn't able to maintain some of the resistance band weight that I got to last week.  But, given that soreness and I haven't been meeting lately, I'm okay with it.

Here are my numbers from Week 1 to Week 3 or 4 (depending on which exercises I worked the negatives on):
Pull-Up X: 15/40-50 lb RB --> 15/40-50 lb RB (I actually did 15 at 50-62 lb RB during Week 3)
Plyo Push-Ups: 9 --> 12
Core Crunch Chin-Ups: 8/25-30 lb RB --> 10/50-62 lb RB (3 negatives)
Push-Up Side Arm Balance: 16 --> 17
Lever [modified]: 20/25-30 lb RB --> 12/25-30 lb RB (I think I did this exercise wrong in the beginning,which  is why I was able to do more at the beginning)
4-Ball Push-Ups [modified]: 12 --> 18 (I did these on my knuckles, lifting one leg at a time, and alternating legs every 3 push-ups)
Chin-Pulls: 12 each/40-50 lb RB --> 12 each/50-62 lb RB (4 negatives each) (You do two chin-ups and then 2 pull-ups, and repeat)
The Impossible/Possible [modified]: 8 --> 10 (I put my feet on a small footstool and then put my hands narrow -- you're supposed to put your feet on a stability ball and your hands on a med ball and then do a push-up, I'm not there yet)
"L" Pull-Up: 12/40-50 lb RB --> 15/25-30 lb RB (I did 15 at 50-62 lbs in Week 3)
3-Ball Plyo Push-Up [modified]: 10 --> 10 (I did this with my hands on the floor, doing a push-up, then moving from the left to right)
Vaulter Pull-Up: 34/40-50 lb RB --> 30/50-62 lb RB (8 negatives) (You put one hand in a pull-up position and one in a chin-up position for 2 reps, then switch hands)
Elevated Stability Ball Pull-Up [modified]: 8 --> 12 (The idea is that you put your hands on a stability ball and put your feet on a plyo box -- I put my feet on a small footstool and put my hands on the floor under my shoulders)
In & Out (1 rep wide, 1 rep narrow): 20/40-50 lb RB --> 22/40-50 lb RB (I did 22 with 50-62 lb RB in Week 3)
Swimmer's Push-Up [modified]: 10 --> 10 (You're supposed to do this on 4 med balls -- yes one for each appendage, and then lift opposite hand and feet, then do a push-up.  I skip the med ball part)
4-Grip Pull-up: 12 each/40-50 lb RB --> 6 each/50-62 lb RB (2 each negatives)
Double Wide Push-Up: 10 --> 12
Double Wide Pull-Ups: 15/40-50 lb RB --> 15/40-50 lb RB (I did 15 with 50-62 lbs in Week 3)
Chattarocker: 3 --> 3 (still really working on this!)
Towel Pull-Up: 20/40-50 lb RB --> 25/50-62 lb RB (5 negatives)
Plyo Push-Up: 8 --> 8 (getting my feet AND hands off the ground!)

Remember how when I first tried doing the Superman Banana X and the Oblique Roll Crunch I just giggled on the floor the whole time.  I've started to figured them both out much more!  Granted, they aren't perfect, but they are getting better!

Calories Burned = 758 (compared to 591 in Week 1)
Average Heart Rate = 126 (compared to 114 in Week 1)
Peak Heart Rate = 168 (compared to 160 in Week 1)

Friday, March 9, 2012

917 calories!

So, Base + Back -- pull-ups and plyo -- we meet again.  This time, I worked the negatives on every other pull-up exercise.

I am so sore already.  It is so much harder than I thought!

Then, half-way through the workout, John gets home and cooks bacon.  Seriously?  You might remember when Mom cooked bacon when I worked out at my parents' house.  It does not inspire me to get done earlier; it actually makes it harder.

Then, the fire alarm goes off.  Seriously?

I took Falkor on a walk (perfect timing), and tried to keep my heart rate up by running in place (which isn't as good as I hoped).  John was supposed to bring the cats out -- but while trying to get the second cat into the carrier, the first one tried to get out, so he was fighting them as they alternated in trying to get out of the carrier.

Then the carrier door falls off.

Poor John.

All this to say I worked out for 90 minutes instead of the normal 71.

Calories Burned = 917
Average Heart Rate = 130
Peak Heart Rate = 174

Thursday, March 8, 2012


When I looked at the scale today, I didn't worry about the numbers.

P.S. I'm craving carbs. {11:27 AM}

P.P.S.  When I practiced yoga at the YMCA, I was frequently distracted by the kids playing in the courtyard.  When I practice at home, I'm distracted by Falkor.  I let him out on the balcony to enjoy the beautiful weather after being cooped up in the house all day, and he just whines whenever someone walks by on the back walkway.  So I spend several minutes saying, "Falkor, stop it!" and I am distracted.  At least until I make him come back into the apartment and he gets into his bed to chew on his antler and his rope.

Calories Burned = 343
Average Heart Rate = 99
Peak Heart Rate =  146

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shoulders + Arms IS fun!

Truthfully, the 52 minutes of Shoulders + Arms goes by much faster than the Ab Ripper.  Seriously!  It is perhaps the most fun workout -- perhaps because it is 6 exercises repeated 3 times.

On the plus side, I actually did the Oblique Roll Crunch right!  The way I knew that is because my core actually felt like it was working the whole time!  Engagement engagement engagement!  Hooray!

Calories Burned = 490
Average Heart Rate = 111
Peak Heart Rate = 150

Food Update

Sometimes, the food is just right.  The Herbed Veggie Soup and Chicken Salad Pita are delicious.  I made the individual Meat Loaves for the second time last week and actually followed the recipe correctly, so they were much better than last time!

I can do without most of the salads, except for the Broccoli & Chicken Salad which is amazing. So, John and I have decided to stop making them in general.

I love grapefruits -- we're eating them every week.  I love them more now that we have grapefruit spoons -- who knew they were so amazing! I also love the Soy Sausage Muffins from P90X and the Breakfast Quinoa. 

Oh yeah, and we're eating ProMax bars -- especially the Cookies n Cream, Nutty Peanut Crisp, and Cookie Dough.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hotel Workout

Turns out working out in the hotel isn't that different.  I put the door attachment in the bathroom door because it had the most space around it.

These are my resistance bands hanging over the bathroom door in my hotel room.  Worked out pretty well!
Yes, that's three resistance bands that I'm using.  It ends up being about 50-62 pounds.  I was doing the Chest + Back + Balance workout, so it's alternating push-ups and pull-ups.  It was kind of fun figuring out how to do the push-ups that have my feet up high using the furniture in the hotel room.  I guess I should be grateful that I had a "king" room, which had an extra super cute low wing back chair that I could put my feet on.  

Starting this Friday (when I do Base + Back) I'm going to start working "the negatives" -- starting at the top of the pull-up position and lowering myself down slowly.  John says this will help me get to pull-ups faster, and since I'm starting my 8th week, I'm getting a little anxious that I'm not going to get there.

On the plus side, when I was working out, I caught a glimpse of my arms in the mirror.  Naturally, I flexed to see how it looked, and OMG, my bicep is clearly visible-- it's this nice bump!  I'm so excited. 

I didn't do Ab Ripper in yesterday's workout because of time. I had to ice my knee a little bit because I strained it oddly the day before, and then had to get ready for breakfast with Erin before I went to a meeting! 

Calories Burned = 561 
Average Heart Rate = 127
Peak Heart Rate = 164

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I LOVE Foam Rolling!

The only workout I look forward to is Recovery + Mobility.  Don't get me wrong, I like the other workouts.  But I long for Recovery + Mobility so I can spend my time on the foam roller.  It hurts, but so good.

I am in Seattle for work today and tomorrow, and at first I planned to leave my foam roller in LA.  But, then I realized that after sitting on a plane for 2 hours, and given the wildly successful foam rolling experience I had last week (in which I foam rolled my hips for 30 minutes and this week they feel amazing!), I decided to bring my foam roller with me.

I am so glad I did!  I feel so much better, especially since I did Base + Back last night, so the soreness is just starting to set in (yay!).  In fact, it's my legs that are sore, so I must have done those plyometric exercises really well (I know I did more reps this time... but I'm not going to go into right now.)

Now, working out in a hotel room is interesting.  I am in a nice hotel, but I still had to put the carpet out of my mind as I did my exercises.  Then I had to wash my hands and feet when I was done.  Also, this carpet was kind of slippery, so it wasn't as easy to stay in downward dog at the beginning of the workout for very long.

Calories Burned = 300
Average Heart Rate = 93
Peak Heart Rate = 125