Monday, April 30, 2012

Guest Blog - John's reflection on his heart rate

John again, guest blogging on Kenna's site. So, first things first. I got sick last week. So sick that I was sleeping 18-20 hours a day in between walking the dog and taking cold medicine. (If I owe anyone a phone call, let me know. I was a little out of it.) Admittedly, I continued to do the Phase 3 workouts for one of the four to six hours I was awake even though I was struggling and sneezing and generally unable to hold a plank for any time worth counting. I realize that rest was probably a better idea, but I made my commitment to this thing, and well, even though I was incredibly uncomfortable, and a little gross, I had some energy to burn from all that sleep.  I couldn't do much more cognitively than follow directions so why not let Tony order me around. Also, I was home alone, not potentially exposing other people at the gym. It seemed to work out. I did my best, and didn't listen to the rest.  

Personally, I was shocked that I was even getting sick with all the exercising and nutritionising :) we've been up to. Up until this week, I was ready to call P90x2 the equivalent of an apple a day, an insanely ripped 52 year-old pushy punny motivating apple named Tony Horton, but an apple none the less.  We usually have gotten sick at least once or twice by this time of the year, but up until this week it hadn't happened. Okay, so it did happen. I got sick, the world didn't end. I slept a lot. Today was the first day I've had a relatively clear head. 

So what happened? We went to Disneyland, walked billion miles and had a great time with friends and family. When we got home, I took the dog (Falkor) on a three mile run, and then I did the P90x2 Yoga. Now that I'm mostly well again, I'm feeling fantastic. Two things: 

1. I hadn't run since starting this routine because I was getting plenty of exercise. Why would I?

2. My average beats per minute on this run dropped 16 beats over a similar distance with four minutes shaved off my time. I could have run another three, but Falkor looked tired. He kept stopping to pretend to pee, but had nothing in the tank.

On January 28th, I ran 2.7 miles in 31 minutes with an average heart rate of 167 bpm. Today I ran 2.8 miles in 26:40 with an average heart rate of 151 bpm. I've been tracking all of my exercise since the beginning of the year. The P90x2 stuff is a little harder to quantify because the more in shape I get, the harder I push, so my heart rate stays pretty consistent, and I still feel pretty foolish at the end of every workout. I still can't do as much, as fast, or as hard as the folks on TV, but the running is a benchmark I can't ignore. Everyone has fast and slow days, but the heart rate doesn't lie. My current average heart rate for all of my runs taking into account the varying distances is 162. I haven't run in six weeks, and my bpm today was still 10 below that. I should have been a wreck. 

I guess I'm posting right now because I don't want to forget this feeling. These workouts can feel a little... a lot daunting. I'm not feeling any less like throwing up at the end of many of these workouts, and the results sometimes seem so incremental as to be imperceptible. So, if I have any advice today, it's that if you're struggling right now with wanting to continue, find whatever physical activity you liked to do before you started this program and go back to it. See if you notice a difference. Or, if you're just thinking about starting P90x2, go run out and, well... run, or play hoops, or flag football, or whatever you like. You'll be too tired to do it once you start the program, but pay attention to your last at bat. Then see how it feels to go back as the program comes to the end.  I didn't plan to run 3 miles today. Falkor looked a little pent up from being inside while we were at Disneyland so I thought I'd run around the block, but I felt so good I just kept going. 



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Insanity...for 20 minutes

I'm at a conference for the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology ( in San Diego. I didn't bring all my workout gear with me - why deprive John the ability to do pull-ups? Instead, I brought the Pure Cardio Insanity workout. I figured it would be a good introduction to what we are planning to do in Hawaii in 2 weeks (OMG).

I was sweating within 3 minutes. The warm-up was a workout in and of itself; I know because I had a technical difficulty with the sound and had to stop after the warm up because I couldn't hear anything. With P90X3, I probably would have toughed it out, but not with a new workout.

All that said, I could tell it was going to be a great workout and I can't wait to try more in the series in a few weeks!

Calories Burned = 250
Time in Zone = 14:02 (62%)
Average Heart Rate = 139
Peak Heart Rate = 179

Monday, April 23, 2012

Round 2 Begins

Yesterday I started P90X2 again!  This time around, besides continuing to work on my pull-ups, I want to work on my balance and continue to strengthen my core.  Plus, I wanted to generally improve in all the exercises in this round  As I've already said, I'm not going to be as strict on the nutrition restrictions -- we all know how well that turned out.  But, as my friend Julie says, 80% good nutrition is still good.

Yesterday I did X2 Core (you can read about my initial experiences here and here).  Last week I took some time to set goals based on how many I was able to do in the last week I did this workout.  Below is the run down of where I started in January to Week 4 of Round 1 to yesterday

Sphinx Plank Crunch: 13 reps --> 20 reps --> 20 reps
Warrior 3 Cross Crunch: 10 reps --> 10 reps --> 10 right/8 left (my hip was bothering me yesterday)
Single Leg Walk Out to Sphinx: 5 Right/4 left (3 touch) --> 5 Right/Left (1 touch) --> 5 Right/Left (2 touch)
Half Angel: 4 Right/Left --> 8 Right/9 Left --> 10 Right/9 Left
Roller Boat: 10 --> 12 --> 12
3 Speed Med Ball Pushups (30 secs): 0 on MedBall/8 on ground --> 0 on Med Ball (I couldn't get to this)/12 on ground --> I tried to this on the MedBall and realized I really need to watch the example more closely
One Leg Lateral Leap Squat: 12 (3-4 touches) --> 12 (3-4 touches) --> 14
Core Circles (40 seconds): 40 seconds on ground --> 40 seconds on stability ball --> 40 seconds on stability ball
Holmsen Screamer Lunge: 13 Right/14 Left --> 15 Right/Left --> 15 Right/Left
Med Ball Dreya Roll: 0 --> 14 with 8 lb Med Ball --> 13 with 8lb Med Ball (my goal was 15)
Plank Burpee: 8 --> 14 --> 3 on ball with each leg up
Banana Ball Switch Crunch: 10 --> 17 --> 12 (goal is 20)
3 Point Squat Press with Med Ball: 12 --> 15 with 8 lb Med Ball --> 15 with 8 lb Med Ball
Slo Mo Balance Climber: 10 on ground --> 20 on stability ball --> 20 on stability ball
X2 Diver: 5 --> 5 --> 5
Ryan Sphinx Twist Crunch: 4 Right/3 Left --> 9 Right/8 Left --> 8 Right/Left
One Leg Burpees: 8 --> 10 --> 6 (I started this exercise on the Med Ball, but again, need more instruction)

So, I improved on most of the exercises, and still have room on others.

Calories Burned = 560
Time in Zone = 37:35 (67%)
Average Heart Rate = 131
Peak Heart Rate = 179

Oh yeah, today I did Plyocide, and I still want to die.  Taking 5 weeks off that workout made it hard to get back to.

Calories Burned = 632
Time in Zone = 40:02 (72%)
Average Heart Rate = 141
Peak Heart Rate = 179

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pictures at the end of Phase 3

Here are my after pictures (4/13) next to my before pictures (1/12). 

You can definitely see I'm more toned in my abs! 

My shoulders and back always did look good. ;)  You can tell the difference in my hips too! 

 Check out my bicep and my beautiful tricep muscle!


(1/12 --> 4/13)
Weight: 134.1 --> 135.7
Body Fat Percentage: 24.1 --> 23.9
BMI: 21.8 --> 22.1
Chest: 34" --> 35"
Bicep: (r) 10.75", (l) 10.5" --> 11" (r & l)
Waist: 27" --> 27"
Hips: 35" --> 34"
Thigh: (r) 22.5, (l) 22.75 --> (r) 23", (l) 22.75"

Fit Test 

(1/12 --> 4/21) 
Pull-ups: 0 --> 1 (from standing)
Vertical Leap: 11.5" --> 14.5"
Push-ups: 8 "regular" --> 16 "regular"
Toe Touch/Flexibility: +5" past my toes --> +7" past my toes
Wall Squat: 1 min. 32 secs. --> 1 min. 48 secs. 
Bicep Curls: 30 with 10-12 lbs resistance band --> 13 with 15 lbs weight
In & Outs: 30 --> 39 
Jumping Jacks for 2 mins & Still Able to Breathe: Yes --> Yes
Heart rate immediately after jumping jacks: 170 --> 174
Heart rate each minute after jumping jacks: 131-110-95-91 --> 128-109-106-98 (weird)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Alert! Alert! Guest blog post

Okay, so Kenna just recently finished Phase 3 of P90x2. I thought I might help out while she is between phases. 

Today was my first day of Phase 3, and I just "completed" my first P.A.P. Lower workout. I put "completed" in quotes because my legs were so shaky during the fourth round of the second half of the workout that I kept failing or falling. So far, it is the hardest leg workout I have ever attempted. Between being dizzy, wanting to vomit, and my legs going all wobbly, I collapsed during the final moments just before cool-down and sort of muscle-spasmed for a few moments. I've never felt so weak/depleted. That being said, here are my list of the hardest workouts of P90x2 in order or crazy.

  1. P.A.P. Lower (see above)
  2. Balance & Power - The first time I tried it, I cursed Tony Horton. Literally, I couldn't stop saying during the workout, "F**k you, Tony Horton! It's not funny."
  3. Base & Back + Ab Ripper - Pull Ups, Plyo, Pull Ups, Plyo...

Oh yeah, while I'm spouting P90x2 stuff, don't eat raw onions before working out. Seems pretty simple, but one of the meals calls for a broccoli salad with raw onions. Eaten at lunch with a 4pm workout is bad for anyone involved. By that I mean you (the onion eater) and anyone who wishes to be in the same house that evening. 

I would tell you more, but, like they say in every video, I've done my best, and I forgot the rest. 



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

clearing the mind

I love how P90X2 (and to some degree all workouts) help to clear my mind.  I mean, it's hard to consider how to respond to this or that or think about drama when you are standing on one leg trying to do half moon or twisting half moon or 5 Warrior 2 lunges with your thigh burning. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

PAP Upper Week 3

So, here we are in the final work out of Phase 3.  We finally ordered an actual weight set -- although the bands have been AWESOME and the 3 lb weight we have gets the job done for the most part.  But, in the PAP Upper Renegade Rows exercise (on dumbbells you do a push-up, then a row with each arm), the 3 lbs was pretty easy.  So, in the same visit to Big 5 when I picked up my super cool LA Gear training shoes, we tested a set of dumbbells.  See, in the P90X2, they have hexagonal weights, but in order to have a good set, we needed round ones.  John was worried that when I did the Renegade Rows, the weights would roll away from me and I might get hurt.  So in the Big 5, I took my heels off and tested it out.  We agreed that I should use the yoga mat to give the weights a little bit more purchase.

It worked great!  The additional weight might not have been enough, so next time I might go from 10 lbs to 15 lbs.

Other improvements in this phase I've discussed a little -- like being able to do 6 plyo push-ups on my knees rather than 4 ugly regular ones.

I also went from resting 4 times during Plank on Med Ball and 3 times during Superman to 2 times and 1 time respectively.  I really wanted to be able to do both for the whole time, but it just didn't work. Oh well, something to work toward next time.

Plus, since it is the last day of the Phase, and with only a week of Recovery left, this round of P90X2 is basically done, I decided to try out the pull-up one last time.  See the videos below of the pull-up attempt and chin-up attempt, respectively:

You know what this means?!  I DID A PULL-UP!  Goal accomplished!  They weren't the prettiest things, but they got DONE, and now I can improve from there!

Calories Burned = 504
Average Heart Rate = 128
Peak Heart Rate = 164

Thursday, April 12, 2012

PAP Lower Week 3

So today was the last PAP Lower workout.  After two-and-a-half weeks of listening to Tony Horton tell me that I shouldn't wear running shoes for this workout, John and I finally went out and bought some inexpensive training shoes at Big 5.  Although I wanted the pink LA Gears, I ended up with black LA Gears. LA GEARS! Seriously, I did not think this brand still existed!

The shoes did make me feel a bit more stable, so that was a plus.  AND, I realized that it didn't matter what shoes I was wearing, because I'm working out on laminate flooring, my feet are going to slip.  So, since I'm using my yoga mat to pad up my elbow, I used John's yoga mat to provide some stability for my feet.  And hallelujah, on the last round of the Side Bridge Leg Lift, I was able to hold the pose for the entire 30 seconds on each side, with my arm raised in the air (which somehow made it seem easier!).  This has been a difficult exercise for me, and I thought I would need to be content with just staying in the position with my hip up, but bringing my leg up and down to rest.  Today I just breathed, and rocked it!

Here are some other things I improved on:
  • Step Up Convict - from 3 lb weights to 8 lb med balls in each arm, adding a heel raise at the top of the position.  
  • Squat Cross Reach - from 5 ugly reps to 8 pretty reps 
  • Skater Plyo - I could always do the 8 reps, but I definitely got faster and more powerful doing them 
I still need to work on my one-leg line hop and my monster slalom.  I'm just not confident with my left knee on the monster slalom.  

It occurs to me that I have not gotten a cold since I started this workout.  I mean, usually I get a cold sometime in the first few months of the year.  But nothing.

I'm looking forward to Round 2 of P90X2.  Here are some things I'm looking forward to in particular:
  • Adding running, alternating 3 miles and intervals each week
  • Adding the push-up in between upward dog and downward dog in yoga
  • Continuing to work on the pull-up
  • Continuing to work on this blog
  • Med Ball Push-ups 
  • Having pizza (John and I agreed to have some when he is done with his last phase!)
  • Doing Insanity the week we are in Maui in May
Calories Burned = 691 (compared to 774 in Week 1) 
Average Heart Rate = 139 (compared to 143 in Week 1) 
Peak Heart Rate = 177 (compared to 182 in Week 1) 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

3 workout days left!

This morning, as I was completing yoga, I realized that I only have three more workout days left in this phase -- PAP Upper, Lower, and Recovery+Mobility!  OMG!  Then I'm taking a week of Recovery+Mobility before starting Round 2 of P90X2.

I've been working harder during the PAP workouts, trying to hold positions longer or do more weight or use one fewer resistance band on my pull-up assist.  I don't necessarily feel like I am getting that much better at the PAP workouts.

We'll see how I am doing on my goals tomorrow and Friday -- I'm weighing in tomorrow and doing measurements and pictures on Friday!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Modified Plyo Push-Ups

Earlier in the P90X2 workouts, I was doing Plyo Push-Ups and felt pretty strong.  While I couldn't clap at the top of the push-up, I still felt pretty awesome for being able to get my hands (and sometimes feet) off the floor more than once.

Then I got to PAP Upper, and the Plyo Push-Ups are explosive, meaning fast.  Before, I would do 1 or 2, take a little break, maybe I'd get to three, but they weren't explosive.  Right, so now I haven't been feeling so awesome.  I'm okay with the fact that I could do 4 of the 6 I'm supposed to do, but I just wasn't sure I was getting the maximum benefits of the explosive nature of the movement.

Then I watched the modification.  Now, why didn't I think of that before?  In the workout, the woman Christine is doing her plyo psuh-ups on her knees.  So I thought I'd try it.


I did 6 modified plyo push-ups and CLAPPED at the top of each one!  Hooray!

In other news, it's harder to blog about this third phase.  Maybe it's because I'm not tracking my reps and weights as much or because it's so repetitive that I risk boring myself and you with the recounting of it.  I like it and feel stronger each time, so that's a plus.

Calories Burned = 526
Average Heart Rate = 132
Peak Heart Rate = 172

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Not Missing Plyocide

As I sit on the couch on my rest day, watching John do Plyocide, I keep thinking how much I DO NOT miss Plyocide.  Although there's not as much variety in the workouts in Phase 3, since it doesn't have Plyocide, I don't feel like dying as much.

The Phase 3 workouts don't have a workout sheet, but I think I'm going to make one for myself so I CAN keep track of my reps and improvement.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


It is after midnight and I am still awake. With no caffeine, 2 glasses of champagne at Jeannette's bridal shower, and a beer for good measure, I am still awake. Perhaps the extra carbs are working. Or perhaps reading Josh's dissertation and doing laundry is also riveting.

I do enjoy this being up late thing though. Figures it is on a night I'm home by myself. Week 2 if Phase 3 starts tomorrow!