11,000 is a Large Number

My P90X2 results video went over 11,000 views today. I have to thank everyone who has viewed and shared it. I had someone tell me the other day that they are three weeks into P90X and their reason for getting started was that I motivated them. It took a while for this to register with me. It was for this exact reason that I became a Beachbody Coach. It is for this exact reason that I post here about my diet and exercise and share my pictures and videos.

On a sort-of-related note, I took Avi to the spray park in Spencerport today, followed by lunch at her favorite restaurant, Abe’s (it’s and honest meal). While there I was flipping through the Living Section of the paper and I saw two articles that caught my attention.

The first of which offered tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while on vacation. This was of particular interest to me, as we will be leaving for 1o days in Cape Cod next Friday. Among the tips were get exercise in the morning so that you can enjoy the rest of your day, plan your meals and snacks so you are not caught trying to find healthy choices, and bring easy to carry workout equipment with you. Luckily for me, our trip coincides with my recovery week. Next week is the final week of my P90X2/Asylum hybrid, I will treat the week in Cape Cod as recovery and be tackling the Body Beast when we get home.

I plan on running at least 4 times in Cape Cod. I will also do yoga on the beach. I am packing my Rumble Roller. We also walk a few miles every day between the beach and Provincetown (many of those walks will have a 40 lb 5-year old on my shoulders).

For food, I am planning on bringing and grilling lots of chicken (although I have joked about a total-seafood week). I will also be bringing my Shakeology and whey protein. On a sort-of side note, I think I have mastered the art of blending Tropical Strawberry Shakeology. I mix 1 scoop Shakeology. I scoop vanilla whey protein. 8 ice cubes. A small handful of Dole frozen tropical fruit. And almond milk mixed with orange juice. The stuff comes out amazing.

Our trip is not going to turn into one 10 day long cheat meal. I will continue follow the same basic dietary guidelines I have established for myself while we are there, while also remembering that we are on vacation and I am allowed to enjoy myself. I am already resigning myself that when we go to Fenway to see the Red Sox and Tigers, there will be very few healthy options on the menu.

The second article I found in the Living section had to do with the importance of keeping a food journal, especially for women. I have written before about the importance of tracking food. I thought I was eating healthy my first few rounds of P90X. It wasn’t until I began using MyFitnessPal and following the 1900 Calorie diet posted to the TeamRIPPED website that I realized just how wrong I was. It is nearly impossible to be honest with yourself about what you have consumed in a day, and how those calories fit into your dietary goals if you are not keeping a record. Either through an app like MyFitnessPal, or with a simple pencil and a piece of paper. Anyone who is looking to lose body fat has to be calorie deficient (take in less than they burn in day) while also hitting specific percentages of carbs, fats and proteins. The best way that I have found to do this is by using MyFitnessPal because it does all of the math for you and tracks those essential macro-nutrients.

Danielle is in the middle of her fourth week of ChaLEAN Extreme She is loving it and I can say that there is already a noticeable difference in the way that she looks. ChaLEAN is a toned down program similar to P90X. It is not as extreme as P90X and is geared towards women. But I can honestly say, the few times I did a workout with her (using heavier weights) I was sweating my ass off along with her. The workouts are shorter (in the 35-45 minute range) and fast paced. They are a combination of resistance and cardio exercises based on the principal that muscle burns fat. I am hoping Danielle will guest-post a full review here along with before and after pictures when she is done.

With finishing my X2/Asylum hybrid next week, I will hopefully have a chance to take some after pictures. If not, any we take on vacation will have to suffice. I can honestly say I have never been in this kind of athletic shape. It is ironic that we are going to Cape Cod and I am feeling so good about how I look. Because many of the “before” pictures I have used in my posts, videos and as motivation to get in shape were taken there in the summer of ’08.

If you have found my video motivational, please keep sharing it. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that 11,000 people, most of them total strangers have viewed this thing already. If you would like to sign up to have me as your coach, you can follow the “Join My Team” link on the top right side of this site. It is free to sign up and only takes a few minutes. For those of you have already gotten in touch with me, keep up the good work.


Don’t Skip the Yoga

I just finished my weekly round of X2 Yoga. I am still experiencing that euphoric feeling I always get afterwards. I know a lot of people who have done P90X hate the yoga, and I understand why. It is long, it is repetitive, and although it is “hard”, most people do not see the benefit.

I was never one of those people. Although X1 Yoga is really long (90 minutes) and somewhat repetitive, I did it every week and loved it. One of the major improvements in P90X2 is the yoga. It is about 60 minutes. It moves fast. It feels like a workout. And when I am done, I feel freaking amazing. Everything that was sore or tight or just didn’t feel right (my back is still bothering me) feels better after X2 Yoga.

My advice to anyone that is working out and does not take a day, or even two a week to focus on recovery, mobility and flexibility is not getting the max benefit that they could if they were to incorporate something like yoga.

I actually take three days a week. On Wednesdays I do P90X2 Recovery and Mobility (with my Rumble Roller) along with X2 Ab Ripper. On Saturdays I do X2 Yoga, and on Sundays I do Recovery and Mobility (or at least 30 minutes of foam rolling) followed by Ab Ripper X from P90X.

I have felt infinitely better since I started taking Wednesdays to do additional recovery. Don’t skip the yoga.

P90X2/Asylum Hybrid- Strength Phase

I can honestly say I did not think I would be this sore.

I did X2 Shoulders and Arms on Sunday and X2 Chest, Back and Balance yesterday. I was a little worried about Chest, Back and Balance because of my “injured” Lat muscle, so I took it easy on some of the pull-up moves. I actually feel pretty good today (not any more sore than usual).  On Monday my arms were killing me from Shoulders and Arms.

I think that my soreness speaks to the effectiveness of P90X and P90X2 because I have been doing similar, if slightly different routines for over a year, and yet I am still able to push myself to the point of sore muscles. Muscle Confusion works. When I did P90X2 for the first time, I did 3 weeks using the traditional Strength Phase workouts, a recovery week, and three more weeks doing the bonus DVDs that came with my kit. I think for this round, I am going to do a full month with Chest, Back and Balance and a recovery week. Followed by a full month using the bonus DVDs and a recovery week. I was a little disappointed with my 90 day results from my first round and I think it was because of the four weeks of PAP at the end. If I do the PAP workouts, it will be for a week at the end, just prior to our vacation to Cape Cod the last week of July. The other option I am considering is doing the Strength Phase workouts right up until then, treat the week in Cape Cod as recovery (with running, yoga etc.) and do a few weeks of PAP when we get back (I am leaning towards this).

If you didn’t see, the X2 Crew video posted to YouTube and TeamRIPPED.com this week:

I can be seen doing Pistol Squats and my before and after shots are near the end. I continue to believe that having the support of people doing similar programs is instrumental in achieving great results.

I have a few more samples of Shakeology available. I would love to get these sent out this week. Let me know if you are interested in receiving a free sample and I will get it sent out. Shakeology continues to be the essential foundation of my daily diet.

On a sad-ish note, I sold my motorcycle last night. I am glad that I sold it because it will give us the financial flexibility to do some things around the house that we want to get done (anyone know anything about building a deck?) On the other hand, I already miss having the freedom to just jump on the bike and go whenever I wanted.

I recorded this video while doing X2 Yoga on Saturday:

I have a long way to go until I can hold this for a full minute.



Saturday Morning

I am sitting here drinking my coffee and preparing myself for some X2 Yoga on this gorgeous Saturday morning.

The house is incredibly quiet and I am finding myself overwhelmed with the lack of activity. I have no idea what to do with myself today.

Quick change of subject… I try really hard to not freak out over Avi getting older. I try to remember that no matter what I do, or how much I stress, she is going to grow up. And I can either enjoy the journey, or spend all that time stressing over it. Having said that, she turns 5 in two months and that reality is hitting me like a truck. Parents gush about their kids, it is what they do. So to sit here and talk about how amazing she is, I know I would sound like every other parent who thinks their kid is the greatest thing on the planet.

However, Avi is tremendous. She is easily the most emotionally developed 4-almost-5-year-old I have ever encountered. She understands things on an emotional plane that most children are not even aware of. I am finding it increasingly difficult to not shower her with everything she could possibly want. I don’t know that 5 is some kind of milestone, but it feels like it.

She made this for my kids at school:

Dealing With Injuries

If you are working out hard, especially at home (as I know a ton of you are) you are going to experience some pain at some point.

Something is going to hurt, something is going to get pulled or strained or sprained.

I am the absolute last person who should be talking about this. Because when it comes to injuries from working out, I am notorious (just ask Danielle) for trying to work through the pain.

I have been dealing with an unhealed broken wrist since 2005 which forces me to do all my push ups on my fists. Instead of getting it looked at, having surgery or seeing someone who knows what is wrong with it, I just push through.  Nothing I do stretching or icing-wise makes any difference. It hurts all the time. If you check out my YouTube channel, you will see videos of me doing Crane to Handstand from X2 Yoga on my fists because I cannot do it the traditional way.

I was also in a car accident in October. My car was rear-ended and my right lat muscle has been sore ever since. Nothing I do seems to make a difference. It it just sore. I foam roll, I stretch, I have strengthened it and nothing has helped. Once again, like my wrist, I am sure what I need is some rest and rehab. Unfortunately for me, I am too stubborn to take the time I really need to recover. I know that every time I do a pull-up (or Asylum Strength like this morning) I am only aggravating the injury.

I spend a ton of time on my foam roller. I try to do everything right, but the one thing I really should do, that I don’t is take some time off.

My fear is that I have a tremendous amount of momentum going right now. I am over 450 days of working out, every day but rest day. I don’t want to lose what I have gained. I am sure there is something else I could be doing. With the weather turning nicer, I could potentially run more, or do a few months of just Insanity, which doesn’t include any pull-ups.

For the time being, my way of dealing with pain and injury, is to not deal with it at all, but just push through it. Which I am well aware, is only going to hurt me in the long-run. Maybe it is time to rethink my approach?


“It’s About the Journey”

I was finishing up Balance and Power last Friday (I’ve said it before, I love the Foundation Phase workouts in X2) and I was reflecting on how far I have come and where I am going on my journey towards living a more healthy and fit lifestyle.

During the cool-down and stretch Tony starts talking about how fitness is “all about the journey”. What he means (I think) is that goals are great, losing weight, gaining muscle, getting fit for a vacation etc. are all worthy reason to work out. But in the end, it is the journey towards fitness that matters. The goal is something to shoot for, but getting there, pushing play in your own way, every day is ultimately what it is all about it.

This fits in exactly with where I am at with my life right now. There are a lot of things that are reaching their culmination at or near the same time. I finished my first round of X2 a few weeks ago, I am going to be wrapping up my first year teaching in about a month, my Master degree (should) be finished in August. The way my mind works, I often find myself too focused on the goal, on the outcome and the journey towards that goal gets lost.

If I don’t find a way to focus on the moment, to live here, now, days and weeks can slip by without really noticing.

With this in mind, I am trying to focus on what matters today. Am I doing the best job I can for the kids I teach, today. Am I being the best father I can be, today. The best partner, the best brother and son. The answer is, no. I am not. I need to refocus my energy both physically and mentally on living, now.

This goes hand in hand with my workouts. I finished X2. I set a goal, 90 days to the best of my ability. I focused on both diet and exercise and I think I did really well with it. There are things I could have done better, but I think I brought it every day, the best I could that day. But X2 is finished, those 90 days are over. So now what? I joined a group doing an X2/Asylum hybrid, mostly because I needed the schedule. If I am focusing on the journey, I cannot at this time focus on the “90 day challenge” aspect of it.

So what does this mean? Well, I know it doesn’t mean I am going to stop working out every day (although I allowed myself to sleep in this morning, I’ll work out this afternoon). I am going to continue to bring it every day and stick (mostly) the schedule the guys I am working out with are following. But I am going to focus less on 90 days as the goal.

Like when I finished P90X for the first time and found myself wondering, what do I do now? How do I keep this momentum going? I have to refocus my sights. I have had to realize again that it is all about the journey. Getting X2 in January, joining the X2 Crew on Facebook and killing it for 90 days was great, but I don’t think that type of mentality is sustainable. When I started with P90X (as my first P90X YouTube video stated) it wasn’t about a 90 day workout/diet fad, it was about changing my life. It was, and still is, about finding a sustainable means for achieving my health and fitness goals.

I was explaining this to Danielle the other night. What I said was, when I started X2 it was like my body was going 90 down the expressway. I am not going to pull over at a rest stop for McDonalds, but I am going to put the car in cruise control at 70. Maybe by the end of the school year I will be ready to hit it again and really kill it. Until then, I am going in cruise control. I need to divert some of my mental and physical resources to other priorities to finish the school year.

I realize reading what I am writing that this sounds like I am quitting. Let me be clear, I am by no means quitting. I am going to do P90X2 or Insanity: The Asylum every day. These are the hardest at-home workouts ever sold, and I bust my ass doing them. All I am doing is adjusting my mindset. That is all.

I have established some really healthy habits. I eat super clean, every day. I workout for at least an hour every day. I practice yoga. I play outside with Avi. By establishing these habits, by making these healthy choices second nature, I am able to relax a little mentally and put the car in cruise control. I am able to enjoy the journey.


Make a Calendar- Stick to It

One of the keys to my success has been that I make a calendar, and stick with it. For me, one of the major reason I was stuck in the fitness doldrums was that I took far too relaxed of an approach to my schedule.

I, like many people, would go to the gym, warm up on the treadmill for 10 minutes, and walk around for an hour looking for machines to use with very little rhyme or reason to what I did.

That all changed last March when I began P90X. I had a schedule, I had a plan and I stuck to it. I tweaked the P90X schedule so that I had Yoga X on Saturdays (it is 90 minutes long and was far too long to do in the mornings before work). I stuck to the schedule and had really good RESULTS.

With my first round of P90X2, once again I decided to start off by sticking with the calendar. The only small change I made was moving Yoga to Saturday mornings. I love having yoga on Saturdays, it just feels like the perfect way to end a week and kick off the weekend.

I think what days you do which workout is less important than having a plan. I know myself. I know that if I came downstairs at 5:15 am, and had to make an on-the-spot decision about which disk to throw in, I would cop-out and pick the easiest one, every time. It is my natural inclination to revert to the path of least resistance, it is just how I am wired. Knowing this about myself (know thy self, right?) I go into each 3 month round of P90X, or whatever, with a plan. I create the calendar ahead of time I know, not guess, but know, ever day what I am going to do. I have tapped into to some other RESOURCES for helping me create hybrid schedules.

Making a calendar, and sticking to it has been one of the most important keys to my success with at-home workouts.