Friday, March 6, 2009

This Is Just The Beginning

I was a skinny kid growing up. I was active, even though I did not play any sports. However, that changed when I got to college. I ate whatever I wanted to, which was usually fatty or fried foods, did not exercise, and I started gaining weight. This continued after college as well, and I continued to gain weight. My health suffered.

Pre-college (1988), I was a 30" waist, 120 pounds.
Post-college (1995), I had a 33" waist, 150 pounds.
After graduating college, I continued eating unhealthy foods, and the pounds continued to come on.

In 2007, someone I knew had a collection of fitness videos from a company named Beachbody. Power 90, Yoga Booty Ballet, Slim In 6, Power Half Hour, Turbo Jam, Slim Series, Yoga Booty Ballet Master Series... I was impressed, and asked if I could borrow Hip Hop Abs. I tried the different workouts of Hip Hop Abs for two weeks.

On July 1, 2007, I officially began my fitness journey. I weighed 176 pounds and had a 39" waist. In addition, after a visit to my doctor, my diagnosis was:
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol (319 total to be exact)

I worked out to Hip Hop Abs every day. I enjoyed the program so much; I bought the next level from Beachbody called "Hop Hop Abs Ultimate Results, Level 2". After completing Hip Hop Abs, I began Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results. Before completing Ultimate Results, I wanted to kick things up to another level by using a different workout. I borrowed Power 90.

Since I enjoyed Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results, I worked out to that AND Power 90.

Hip Hop Abs is a 30-day program. Power 90 is a 90-day program.
During those first 30 days, I worked out to Power 90 AND Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results. When I hit day 31, I started experimenting with other Beachbody programs, mixing them with the Power 90 workout. As I worked out to Power 90, I mixed in Slim in 6, Hip Hop Abs, Power Half Hour, Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results, and a stretching program titled Ho' Ala Ke Kino (which stands for Awaken The Body.

During this time, I visited my doctor, and he checked my cholesterol again. The result - 253 points. After working out consistently for almost three months, I dropped my total cholesterol 63 points. Even though it sounded good, I heard a voice in my head say "that's not good enough". Why? Because I knew, I could do better than that.

I saw a Beachbody advertisement for their program "P90X", which was an extreme version of Power 90 along with many other types of workouts. Karate, yoga, stretching, core work, ab work... I knew that I was not ready for it yet, but wanted something more than just Power 90. Luckily, Beachbody had a program titled Power 90 Master Series was prepared me for P90X. I did two rounds of it - Standard, and Lean. During the Power 90 Master Series, I dropped some weight and some inches, which was very positive. Many people on Beachbody's message boards told me how many moves from the Master Series are in P90X. I felt confident about that. I believed that after doing the Power 90 Master Series for six months, I was familiar with the moves used in P90X, and thought I would be able to handle it...

As a side note, I contacted the CEO of Beachbody on my MySpace account, explaining to him about my Beachbody experience and my medical history. I have epilepsy, controlled through an anti-seizure medication, and I have been able to live a seizure free life for over ten years. I am very comfortable about discussing it because my epilepsy is a part of me.
Epilepsy is part of who I am, but it is not just who I am as a person.

The CEO suggested that I send a message to Beachbody's news team - Beachbody Network News (BNN). I did. Several days later, a representative from BNN contacted me, saying that they wanted to do a story on me. Two weeks later, BNN came out to my place to film my story. After they left, I continued working out with the Power 90 Master Series. The weekend that I was going to begin P90X, the story aired on BNN.

That Sunday, I began P90X Classic. For anyone reading this that is unfamiliar with P90X, P90X is a workout program created by TeamBeachbody with 12 different videos, which cover weight workouts, cardio workouts, stretching, yoga, and abs. After studying it, I wondered, "which one should I start with?" I chose to do the three P90X schedules in this order:
P90X Classic, P90X Lean, P90X Doubles

In retrospect, a better approach would have been: Lean, Classic, and Doubles. Well, I learned for the next time. :)

P90X Classic pushed and pulled me. There were moments where I brought it and moments when I backed off. After week 13, I felt like I needed a break - but I did not take one because I started P90X Lean. By this point, I was used to drinking about 60 oz of water a day.

Around this time, I had my quarterly doctor visit. Fortunately, my results were good - my epilepsy meds were in check, and they were in the correct levels. My cholesterol was around 232. Once again, that voice in my head said "not good enough, push harder". This time, I changed it up.

Halfway through P90X Lean, I thought, "Should I kick this up a notch in Doubles?" I approached my girlfriend, and borrowed her Turbo Jam videos. The first month of P90X Doubles, I was also doing Turbo Jam. Turbo Jam was the "starting workout" and then I would go into the P90X workout. It kicked things up, it challenged me, and I liked it!

Since I liked the Turbo Jam workouts, I purchased "Turbo Jam Fat Burning Elite" from Beachbody. I mixed that in there as well.

When I was in stage 2 of P90X Doubles (cardio workout + weight workout), I had the quarterly doctor visit - and this visit blew my mind!!! My doctor checked my vitals, listening to the heartbeat on my left arm and made a puzzled face. He started shaking his head and said, "This can't be right", and went over to my right arm and started listening to the pulse. He took off the stethoscope and said, "I don't know what's the matter with this thing." I'm like, "Hang on a second". (I was wearing a heart rate monitor on my left wrist)> I checked it, and it read 72 bpm. I read that to my doctor, and without missing a beat, he looked at me and said, "Stop taking the heart medication, you don't need it anymore."


In addition, my doctor also did some blood work to check on my cholesterol level, and THAT blew my mind even more than the blood pressure.

Now, my cholesterol has had its difficulties over the years. As an adoptee, I do not have any family or medical history to go on. I have always viewed my history as ME. I have had a high cholesterol since 1990 (age 20), and it has progressively gone up and down over the years depending on my physical activity or my cholesterol medication. On a visit to my doctor in December 2008, my cholesterol reached an all time low - 156 points!! This was a HUGE accomplishment, considering that two years earlier, my cholesterol was 319. This is a 163 point drop in cholesterol over two years!

As I continued P90X doubles, I remembered that the Beachbody Coach Summit was coming up in March 2009. I scheduled workouts with two Beachbody trainers, and started using their workouts in preparation for the coach summit (as you will never know what they would do). I admit I went "off the reservation" and schedule for P90X, to prepare for the summit. I did that because I chose to. I needed to refresh my memory for many of the workouts. I practiced, I did the workouts, and I am confident that I will do well - in either workout. My girlfriend is also a Beachbody coach, so we are both excited to attend. This trip is both business and personal. Business - as we will learn from other Beachbody coaches; and personal - as we will be able to meet many coaches we have spoken to on the message boards for a very long time.

Once we return from the coach summit, I have already set-up a plan on "what do I want to do next". As someone (probably from the movies) once said, "You have to go back to the start, and go forward to do it again". Instead of taking a cardio approach and mixing in weight workouts along the way, I'm doing something different.

I am going to start with Power 90. Beachbody's original program by trainer Tony Horton, which was the basis for the Power 90 Master Series, P90X, and P90X+, and One On One. Take what's learned and used in ONE program, and apply it to the NEXT, as you continue in your fitness journey.

This is the order that I will be doing them:
1. Power 90
2. Power 90 Master Series (standard program)
3. P90X (classic program)
4. P90X+ (classic program)
5. Creation

#5, the "Creation", was designed by fellow Beachbody coaches Joey Petri and Mark Briggs. This utilizes workouts from P90X, P90X+, and One On One. The reason why I am doing this one LAST is that everything that I am doing will lead up to it. The exercises learned in P90 (or Power 90) will be used in the Power 90 Master Series, and they'll be used in P90X... and since I haven't tried P90X Plus or One On One (which is where the workouts from Creation are from), I'll just find out about them when I get there.

On March 16, 2009, I am going back to the beginning with Power 90. Then as I complete each program, I will progress to the next stage, and see where that takes me. If my calculations are correct, the order of workouts will take me to the Beachbody Coach Summit 2010. I have a lot of work to do in the next year, but I WANT to do it.

I will be back here from time to time to blog and fill you in on my progress, as this is just the beginning...


Perry Tinsley said...

VERY impressing and amazing story James. Way to go. I need to go into the BNN archives and check out the story. Just inspiring and shows dedication and determination. Great goals too. I'm proud of you!


James P. Manganiello said...

Thank you, Perry. What can I say, I refuse to quit! The title of the BNN story is "Staying Fit In The Face of Epilepsy" and it was aired 5/1/08. I couldn't find it in itunes, but I did find it on youtube.
What I hope to do, is to pass on this determination, dedication, and consistency with others, showing that their hard work will pay off.

I still have a lot more work to do, but I'm confident that I will get there. Thanks, Perry!