Tag Archive | P90X

why yoga doesn’t suck

Two weeks into P90X and I’m really feeling fantastic. I’ve only lost 1 lb. but that’s ok. I feel stronger and I feel more confident. I haven’t been as strict as I should be with the dietary changes but I’ve tried to at least shift my thinking toward eating to live and not living to eat. It’s difficult. I love food. I love yummy fattening food. But the interesting thing is that in working out this much my body has quickly stopped craving crap. Doing something good for my health is starting to spill over into my cravings as well. Gives credence to the phrase, you are what you eat. If you sit on the couch and watch TV all day, your body will follow suit and desire potato chips and ice cream. If you get off your tush and do 6 days of P90X a week, your body will desire/need/crave healthy fuel to keep it going. It’s remarkable. I have been jonesing for lots of protein, whole grains, fruit, and LOTS of veggies. I can feel my body asking for those things. My brain however is always late to the game and is still a little bit stuck in junk food habit world. I can feel my body yearning for fresh vegetables, but still my hand reaches for Ben & Jerry’s. I have found myself eating junk food, looking at it and thinking “I don’t even want this! Why am I eating it?” I don’t think I have the answer to that questions except to say that food like that has been more about an emotional habit rather than nourishment. Bad habits die hard. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight, here’s what I have to say to you, it’s so f*#$^*ing hard!! SO hard. I feel your pain and I’m right there with you. The journey continues. But I didn’t come here today to write about food. I came to write about…

Yoga. You’ve heard me say it before. I don’t like it. I guess I should say, I didn’t like it. I never thought I would ever like yoga. For whatever reason I found that it made me more anxious rather than less. Not the desired affect. Yoga is part of the P90X regimen and I made a decision before I even began the program that I would not like that workout day. Yesterday I learned a very important lesson about the dangers of making preconceived judgments. The lesson is, don’t.

Yoga X is hard, really hard. Maybe not to a yoga afficianado, but I really have nothing to base it on since I haven’t gone to a yoga class in years. Perhaps to all my yoga teacher friends out there it would be a walk in the park. To me, it’s incredibly challenging. The first week of P90X is challenging in its entirety. Yoga rolls around by day 4. By then, I had already pulled a muscle in my stomach. Try doing a chaturanga with a strained abdominal muscle. I hated it. On top of the pain and discomfort, Yoga X was 90 minutes long. To me it was 90 minutes of torture and I made the decision that I would always dread this workout.

Fast forward to yesterday. Day 4 of week 2. Yoga day. I went through my entire day at work dreading going home to do Yoga. I just kept thinking: 90 minutes of torture. 90 minutes of pain and me feeling disgruntled. 90 minutes is forever. I got home and figured I would just get it over with as soon as possible. I quickly put on my workout clothes and got out my mat. 90 minutes. Ugh. Then I stopped. I paused for a moment and realized that I wasn’t doing myself any favors by building up this 90 minute workout as an eternity in my head. It was all relative. 90 minutes at Disneyland goes by like 30 seconds. Why did this have to feel like forever? I let myself be still for a moment and allowed yoga as a meditative and spiritual practice have an affect on me. After all, what is 90 minutes? In the scope of my day, 90 minutes is a small slice. In the scope of my life, it’s a tiny blib. In the scope of the universe, it’s practically non-existent. On a cosmic level this 90 minutes was both meaningless and precious. Meaningless in that it was a practically immeasurable amount of time in the span of the universe. Precious in that within such a tiny time frame I had the opportunity to breathe and meditate and learn something that may change my life forever. Every moment is like that isn’t it? Within every moment we have the power to change the world, and yet those moments are so tiny. Incalculable power within immeasurable blips of time. Isn’t that what makes humans incredible? We are smaller than the dust on the back of an ant, and yet we have within us the ability to comprehend the wonder of the universe. It’s a miracle. In my jump to decide that I would forever hate 90 minutes a week of yoga, I hadn’t realized that I was flushing away 90 minutes of precious time. Time that I could never ever get back. Time to strengthen. Time to breathe. Time to center. I had this revelation in a fleeting instant and it immediately opened my eyes. Before I pressed play I decided that I wouldn’t all of a sudden decide that I was going to love yoga, but I wouldn’t let my negative experiences of it in the past shape my present. I began with an open and inquisitive mind.

I loved every minute of it. I found a part of myself that I had not previously been acquainted with. I felt strong. I felt calm. I felt peace. I won’t say that 90 minutes flew by, but neither did it drag on. It had no meaning. It did not mean an eternity. It did not mean a quick flash of time. It was a series of moments that I savored. I learned a very important lesson about presence in that time.

It was still hard. Incredibly hard. I was grateful for the physical challenge as it forced me to focus and not get caught up in what just happened or what would come next. I have often said that I didn’t like yoga because it didn’t get my blood pumping. I love to run. I love kickboxing. I love these things because they are high impact and incredibly aerobic. I like to feel the sweat come out of my pores and the blood pump through my veins. These things keep me from getting distracted. They keep me from thinking about anything else other than breathing and form and one foot in front of the other. In this sense running has always been very therapeutic and meditative for me. Perhaps the yoga classes I’d previously encountered were not challenging enough. Perhaps I didn’t challenge myself enough. Perhaps I made too many snap judgments. I’m not sure. I do know that yesterday all that changed. I discovered the physical challenges and benefits of a strong yoga routine, and more importantly I think, I discovered the power of savoring each moment as a precious gift. Every moment that passes is a death. A death of time that you will never get back. What you choose to do with your moments of time is a series of life or death decisions. A series of gifts.

I’m definitely looking forward to yoga next week. It does, after all, not suck. 

P90X – let the torture begin

Well hello there! It’s been awhile hasn’t it? Hope you didn’t miss me tooooo much. I’ve had a lot going on in the past couple of months and I have many exciting new things that I’d like to share with you. First things first though. To get back on track, let’s talk fitness. 

We’ve been doing “okay” with our running schedule. I say that in quotes because we’ve actually been doing terribly with our running schedule, BUT, not completely in vain. As I mentioned in a previous post, I want to shave some serious time off of my Disneyland Half Marathon pace this year. The past two years have been great; but we’re gearing up for year 3 and it’s time to kick it up a notch! I need to progress to the next level of runner-dom. I’d like to run as close to, if not under a 10-minute mile for the majority of the race. I believe I can do it, and I know what stands in my way. All I have to do is create a plan of action to remove the obstacles from my path.

#1, Weight. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (except this time I’ll try and listen to myself), excess weight is really the number one factor that will slow you down. Muscle is one thing. Yes it weighs more so what I’m saying may sound counter intuitive, but muscle does something for you. Muscle helps move your blood around, gets oxygen to your lungs and propels you forward. Muscle is important and necessary, but it won’t matter a lick if you’re covering it up with dead weight in the form of fat. Fat is a dreaded enemy. It’s just like running with sandbags around your waist. Or with two small children holding onto your ankles.  Or carrying bricks in your pockets. Whatever visual works for you. It’s no good for a runner. So, in creating a plan to get to a 10-minute mile for the Half Marathon in September, I must include weight loss at the top of the priority list.

#2, muscle. A lean body is important for speed, but as I mentioned above, so is muscle. Running uses pretty much ALL of the muscles in your body in one way or another but it doesn’t necessarily build those muscles for you. Sure, it does to a point, but not to an optimal point. For example, a strong core is so crucial to strong running. It keeps your form tight, keeps you balanced, regulates your breath, alleviates pressure on your back. I could go on. However, running itself is not going to give you the strongest core possible. I’ve been running for years and I have a somewhat smallish waist, but I do NOT have a strong core. I used to. When I was doing Pilates religiously. I’ve never built a super strong core JUST from running. That’s just one example. The same could be said for your arms, legs and back muscles. For the past three years, running has pretty much been the sum total of my workout regimen. That’s all well and good, and I have excellent aerobic capacity because of it, but my body has plateaued. I’m not building up any new muscle by running, and it’s muscle I’m going to need if I want to speed up. So there we have #2 on the action plan. Build muscle.

Those are the two priorities right now. If I can drop some pounds and build some lean muscle, I know that I can get down to 10 minutes and under on race day. Now how do I do it? Lose weight, build muscle. Well, what can I say. There is one major zeitgeist in the fitness world right now that is pretty sure to do the trick. I’m finally jumping on the bandwagon, and taking on P90X.

I’m always late to these sorts of things. I hear about the latest fitness fad and I figure it’s just that, a fad. Everyone gets excited about it and in a couple of years something new comes along. Blah blah blah. That may be the case, and P90X will certainly lose fashion and join the ranks of outdated fitness crazes with Tae Bo and Jazzercise, but for now, I’m in. My friend Ryan did the program and sent me before and after pictures. I was so frickin’ AMAZED at what I saw, that I was sold. I think crazes are probably crazes for a reason. They work.

So that’s what’s happening on the road to Tahiti! I know that’s it’s going to be impossible to continue a 6 day a week running schedule AND stick to the P90X program. I’m not going to set myself up for failure in trying to accomplish that. I’m still going to run though. For. Sure. I can tell there are certain P90X days that are going to be easy enough on my body that I’ll still be able to do 3 mile runs. Shoulders & Arms for example. Totally. It was a tough workout on my arms but I could still run. Plyometrics on the other hand? No chance in hell. That one knocked me on my back for the entire day. Holy guacamole that was hard awesome!

I started the program last week while I was up visiting my Mom and I just have to share a funny story. I certainly got off to a hilarious start. Not sure if that’s what Tony Horton had in mind, but what can I say, my mom and I always end up laughing together. So here’s what happened. I can’t do pull ups… yet. They tell you to never say never in P90X but for now, ain’t no way. So instead I’m supposed to anchor my resistance band in a door jam; but my mom’s living room is this big open space and there were no door jams nearby. So instead, I had my mom hold on to one end of my resistance band while I did my workout. Let’s just say, I think she got a workout too. It was hilarious! Maybe you had to be there, but just look at the expression on my mom’s face!

hey, it worked

There was almost as much laughing in the first workout as there was me cursing and screaming in agony. Good pain though, good pain. I’ll tell you who’s having the last laugh…

curse you Tony Horton and your bazillion death push-ups!

So, in a nutshell, if you are looking ahead towards the Disneyland Half Marathon (or any upcoming race) and want to shave some time off your pace, consider jumping on the P90X bandwagon. It’s going to be hard work. That became very clear within 15 minutes. (I won’t even go into my arch enemy, Ab Ripper X, in this post).  But I know the payoff will be so sweet!