Monday, July 27, 2009

Power 90 Master Series (last phase of Power90)

As I had initially mentioned a few blogs back, I would be kicking up Power 90 by adding workouts from the Power 90 Master Series. This past week, I began the 5-6 series, or Power 90 Master Series workouts. These are the last workouts that I will be doing before I begin P90X Classic on August 9, 2009.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had my setbacks, but I wasn’t going to let that get to me. After the tweak in my lower back by lifting 30 pounds, I dropped the weight significantly to 12.5pounds. I received a Twitter message from a fellow coach who said, “Dude, what are you doing?!?!? Lifting heavier is better!” I hear where he was coming from. I called him a few days later, and I explained my reasoning for lowering the weight – to protect my lower back.

When I dropped the weight, I increased the reps. Although I was lifting 12.5pounds, I was doing 20 reps per exercise – so I was still getting a burn. Throughout the week, I gradually increased the weights by 2.5 each weight workout, but I kept the same reps. At the end of this week, I was lifting 17.5pounds and doing 20 reps. It was an ultimate burn, and I liked it and hated it at the same time. But you know what, I knew that if I stuck with it, that it would eventually pay off in the end.

Saturday morning, I woke up and worked out to “Recovery 4 Results” from Beachbody’s One On One series. Now for anyone who isn’t familiar with personal trainer Tony Horton, he has over 25 years as a personal trainer. He has created multiple workout programs through Beachbody ranging from super-stacking programs like Ten Minute Trainer to extreme exercise programs such as P90X and P90X+.

“Recovery 4 Results” had stretching, light weight workouts, a little yoga, and it allows you to help recover from a strenuous workout the day before. Once the workout completed, I felt great, my muscles no longer hurt, and I was ready to start the next week.

I’m jumping back to Power 90’s 3-4 series JUST for this week. I want to get in a few more workouts from the 3-4 series. The week after that will be my final week in Power 90/Master Series. Then, on August 9, I begin P90X.

Have a great day everyone! ONWARD!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Weight (the kind you lift)

No, this blog post is not about gaining weight or losing weight, it's about LIFTING weight. Yeah, I'm talking about the weight that you use when you're doing arm curls, arm extensions, even dips. Yes, weight related exercises.

For the past 45+ days, I have been doing an accellerated version of Beachbody's exercise program, Power 90. I've been sick, I've pulled a muscle, but I am still here and I am still working out, until my latest setback.

My arms gave out.

When I first did Power 90 a year and a half ago, I started with 3 pound weights (please, no laughing) and increased it over time. I started that low because I had absolutely no strength in my arms. Once I completed that, I started the next level - the Power 90 Master Series. I had hoped that this program would prepare me for P90X. During the Power 90 Master Series (or P90MS), I began with 10pounds. I ended my second round of P90MS by lifting 25pounds. This was a huge accomplishment for me and I was very proud of it.

When I began P90X, I went back to the beginning of lifting 10pounds, and I'm glad that I did. The workouts were intense, and they tested me - literally. By the end of my third round of P90X, I was lifting 25pounds with my arms. So I was back to where I was at the end of P90MS.

During that time, I drastically improved my health statistics. Now, I wanted the physical results to match my health results.

So I went back to Power 90, but I did an accellerated version it. I was doing well by the end of the second phase (the 3-4 phase), and then I ran into problems with the weights. I increased the weight from 25 to 30pounds - and that's where the trouble started. I started feeling pain in my lower back. In the following weight workout, I wore a weight belt to protect my lower back and I did less reps. It felt as though the belt was preventing me from lifting my best, yet it was protecting my lower back from injury. It was a catch 22.

I admit, I did not complete the 3-4 series to the best of my ability. But, I am not digressing. I am pressing forward.

Tomorrow morning, I begin the Power 90 Master Series, or 5-6 series. Instead of increasing the weights, I am increasing the reps. During the 3-4 series, I lifted 25pounds with up to 15reps per exercise. As I begin the 5-6series, I'm dropping the weight again - purposely - to work on the endurance. I'm starting with 20 pounds. Even if I'm doing 15-20 reps, it's working the muscles just as hard as if I am lifting a heavier weight. Although some people may disagree, this will end up helping me in the end. If I can do more reps with a lower weight, this will make it easier over time as I increase the weight - primarily because I will be protecting my back, I won't be losing my form, and I will be much more confident of what I am doing.

In addition to doing the primary workouts from P90MS - Sweat 5-6 and Sculpt 5-6 - I will also be doing the other workouts as well: Core Cardio, Cardio Intervals, Plyo Legs, and Upper Middle Lower. In addition, I will also be doing a workout from the One On One series titled "Cardio Intervals". It will

Some may say that I'm taking a step back. I believe that sometimes one needs to take a step backward before progressing forward. If lowering the weights and increasing the reps helps develop the endurance of my muscles as well as strengthening them over time, then I am doing exactly what I am expecting.

The results will show up in time. I have time.

I do not have a video for phase two, yet. That is in process. I hope to have one up soon. When it is complete, I will post it here.

Onward, and forward...

Monday, July 13, 2009

P90X In New York City

On Saturday, my girlfriend and I drove to NYC (yes, we drove into NYC to try something different, we usually take the train) for a P90X workout at Chelsea Studios. The workout was P90X’s Core Synergistics. After doing the P90X program three times, I know how CS can push you. I didn’t workout this time, by choice. Instead, I filmed it with two different video cameras. Beachbody coach Nazly Jordan took photos at different times throughout the workout. So, between the photos and video, we should be able to put something together. 

Sunday, we planned on heading to New York City’s Central Park to meet up with Jimmy Hays Nelson and several other coaches. Jimmy does a P90X workout in Central Park on Sunday mornings at 10am. I intended on filming that workout and making one video to post on youtube. Unfortunately, our timing was off. We left a little late and the train we took in NYC dropped us off at the opposite side of the park. Even though we didn’t get to workout with Jimmy and his group, we had a great walk through Central Park followed by a great walk on the streets of NYC as well.

There will always be a “next time”. So until then, have a great week!!!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


I have always heard the phrases, “the suit makes the man” or “the right outfit improves your appearance.” In the movie The Shawshank Redemption, Morgan Freeman’s character asked this question, “How often do you look at another man’s shoes?”

I have lived with scoliosis all of my life and I’ve known that my posture was hunched. When I was diagnosed with it there were two options – a back operation and recovery time, or a back brace. I did not want a back operation or the rehab time associated with it (six months in a body cast, and then six months in therapy learning how to stand, walk and sit again) because I always thought there was another way. I also didn’t want a 6” metal rod inserted into my back to straighten the spine either. When I started exercising two years ago, I found that other way.

Exercising improved my “calmness”. It developed my muscles, strengthened my bones, which also helped straighten my posture and improve my appearance. Exercising helped me in more ways than I had ever expected. For that, I am truly grateful.

The other night, I was standing up, and I looked in a mirror noticing my posture – hunched. I knew that there was something I had to do about it.

A few weeks ago, I slipped and fell on the floor of my parents’ kitchen because I wore out the threads on the bottom of my sneakers and I did not have support.

I went to Modell’s sporting goods with the intent on buying new sneakers for casual wear. While there, I learned that the width of my feet had changed, and I had been “squeezing” into my sneakers. I tried on wider sneakers, and something happened. I stood taller, stood straighter, and my back did not hunch! I was excited, and I tried on a pair of cross training sneakers to use while working out. I put them on, took one step, and BOOM, I stood taller, straighter, and I felt better.

When I got home, I worked out with such intensity with the new sneakers that I was blown away! I worked out harder, much more intensely, and I sweated more. I loved it! I absolutely LOVED it!!! When I finished, I was covered in sweat and felt fantastic. I was so motivated, so enthused, and I couldn’t wait to get home from work every day or wake up first thing in the morning JUST to workout!!!

One positive result from standing straighter is that I see more of a change and definition in my physical appearance. In just a few days, after working out this way, I’ve been pulling the belt on my jeans one extra notch because other wise it is too loose!

I can’t wait to have my next set of photos taken to see what the results actually “show!