Sunday, January 27, 2008

Final Thoughts On P90x

So its been about a month since my last P90x workout. And I've had some time to think about what I got out of the program. Personally, to get to the point, I think P90x is one of the best strength building workouts out there. For the money, about $120.00 for the DVD's or videos in VHS format, and another $100.00 to $150.00 for extra equipment like dumb bells or resistance bands and a pull up bar, you really can't beat it. P90x was truly like having a personal trainer come to my house each and every day and work me out. I got stronger and faster in record time. The only thing that didn't happen was I didn't lose a lot of weight while I was doing the program. I attribute that to two things. Number 1 was diet. For P90x to work the way you will see in the infomercial, on the website and elsewhere, you have to follow the diet. There is no getting around this. And I found this out first hand. You can see this in my photos.

The second reason, I didn't see the weight loss or muscular definition the program was famous for was I was also doing an average of 8 hours per week of triathlon training on top of my 6 to 7 hours of P90x specific work. The problem here was that with the additional activity, my caloric intake was greater and my body was probably in "starvation" mode thus not burning fat as efficiently as it could/would have had I not been doing the extra cardio work that is necessary for triathlon training. This extra cardio work also takes necessary energy,nutrients, and rest time from your body that would normally be used for actually building muscles.

I started P90x weighing in at 162lbs on day 1. By day 30 I was actually up to 165lb. By day 60 I had dropped back to 162lbs. And on day 90 I weighed in at 160lbs. From the pictures you can see the overall shift in where the weight was carried. But what is interesting is what happened after I stopped doing all P90x work and just went back to my normal triathlon specific work. Two weeks after P90x, I weighed in at 158lbs. And four weeks after P90x I weighed 155lbs. My only explanation for this is the increased muscle mass developed from P90x upped my metabolism which then burned fat more efficiently once I stopped doing the P90x workouts. My body must have deemed my caloric intake as sufficient and the additional recovery time allowed my body to burn off any excess body fat that was no longer seen as necessary to maintain the two different types of workouts simultaneously. This is just a guess, but it is the only explanation I have.

To illustrate, here are some of my P90x photos:

If you need more details or want to see more pictures, check out these links:

If you just want a quick overview of how the program is structured you should take a look at these two links:
Week 1

Week 1 Caveat

If you just want to know what I thought of P90X after a year, check out this link:
P90x One Year Later.

If you want to see pictures of what I look like now compared to what I looked like when I started, check out this link:What I Look Like Now.

If you have questions about P90X and Triathlon look here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Picture Says It All - The Date Says The Rest

There really are so many things a picture can say that words just don't quite cover. For example to the casual observer, the mile marker pictured above could indicate the beginning, or the end, of a loop around Austin's Town Lake. But for the purposes of this blog it is going to represent something else. For example, just by simply "being" the number zero, it represents the amount of times I've run in the past 6 days. And it also represents the number of hours I've trained in total for the past 6 days. It will also represent the number of times I've been out of my house in the last 5 days. And its also how many times I ate solid food for the first 4 days of my 6 day training hiatus.

6 days = 6 BIG FAT GOOSE EGGS "0 0 0 0 0 0 0" in my training log.

I had the flu. That sentence seems reasonable enough taken on its surface. But there's a little more to it than that which is why I'm pretty annoyed by the whole idea of having spent 6 days experiencing a virus. This is where the "Date" comes in.

March 25, 1997. This is why I'm annoyed. March 25, 1997 was the last time I have had the flu, a cold, a stomach virus, a cough, a runny nose, or any sort of illness. Upon hearing me utter the words, "I'm sick," my friend Kathleen responded, "I don't think I've ever heard you say those words before."

My acupuncturist was more direct, "But you don't get the sick?!"

I know this people. And to be honest I am at a loss. My diet was good. Actually it was better than normal so, I don't expect to find the reason for coming down with the virus there. Looking over my training log, my training hours were reasonable. Wednesday was the last time I worked out. Nothing major. 30 minute swim and a 5 mile run. The only thing left was that my work schedule had changed and I wasn't sleeping as soundly as normal.

DING! DING! DING! We have a winner!!!

Not sleeping as soundly could have far reaching consequences in terms of actual recovery and optimal immune function. The take away is to always monitor the quantity and quality of your sleep whenever a change in your routine is significant enough to cause even slight physical distress or an alteration in your sleeping patterns.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wish You Were Here

This was an awesome day to be in Austin, Tx.

Aside from the weather, today's workouts were pretty good.

I rode for about an hour and a half with DuShun and his buddy Dave. For the most part this ride was pretty tame except for the parts where DuShun found the motor on his bike and hit the gas. Hard. I have sort of a love/hate relationships with these rides. They are excellent tests of my fitness and my cycling skills. And today showed I have improved a lot. There was no watching DuShun roll away from me on the slightest incline. There was no heart rate explosion while trying to catch DuShun. There was no falling off his wheel when he went to sprint. Today I covered every move. And I didn't go into my red zone to do it. I was right there with his wheel as my single point of focus for every single move except the last climb to the finish. It wasn't that I didn't go for it because I did. I didn't get a flat tire either. No. What happened was I got completely owned by a better rider.

I really need to see if I can get a bike shop to loan me some sort of power meter to put on DuShun's bike. Because the speed that he flew up that last climb today was just unreal. X-files unreal. My guess his he had to be pushing well over 1000 watts. And he was seated. Did I mention DuShun doesn't climb out of the saddle much? It was just plain scary.

After my ride I came home and ate a small bowl of oatmeal, a banana, a glass of fresh juice, and some almonds. Then I went for a 10 mile walk. This took about 3 hours. I like long walks like this because they seem to help my legs recover faster from the daily running. This is the second 10 mile walk I've done this week and I've still managed to run every day as planned. After the walk I stopped at Daily Juice and had a small Cosmic Trigger.

This was a really, really good smoothie. But an even better long workout day fuel source. I had no problems with fatigue or dehydration or nutrient deficiencies after a small cup of this stuff. These are the ingredients: blueberry, cherry, banana, fresh coconut water, raw cacao, raw maca, hemp protein, raw almond butter, flax oil, extra virgin coconut oil, vanilla, spirulina, Himalayan Salt, raw agave nectar, camu camu powder, msn sulfur.

All I know is after this thing I was able to run 3 miles then swim for 3000m.

I finished off the day with a big salad. Now I'm going to bed.

Friday, January 4, 2008

This Is Why We Roll

One Sunday morning, I was sitting on my bike waiting in front of a friend's house while she got her stuff ready for the long ride we had planned that. One of her neighbor's, a well dressed woman in her 70's, pulled up in her car on her way to church and asked me why two nice looking young people like us weren't going to church that fine morning. And a fine morning it was. The air was cool, the sun was bright and peaking through thin, wispy clouds that were high in the sky. It was early and there weren't many people up or out so, the roads were almost empty. In other words, cycling nirvana.

I smiled. Then I asked, "Church is supposed to be God's house right?"

"Why yes it is," she answered though a little perplexed by the question.

"Then as long as we are outside on these bikes, I can assure you we'll be right in the middle of God's living room."

The video I'm posting on this blog made me remember that story. It also made me remember that I've never come back from a bike ride angry. I've gotten over breaking up with girlfriends after a single (albeit pretty long) ride. I've resolved lost jobs and found money on my bike. I have celebrated birthdays and made more new friends than I can count on my bike. The best Christmases I've ever had have been while cycling with friends or alone on my bike. I've taken so many 1 and 2 hour vacations from my own front door on my bike I've lost count.

So in the true spirit of giving from me to all of you, this is why we roll....

As usual in terms of full disclosure, I stole this cool vid fromhere.