Thursday, March 29, 2012

A few quick updates

Worked out a few times since I last updated. Here's what happened.

Last night I came home and the Tapout XT discs were in the mail! Ya, I'm a sucker for new workout DVDs, especially MMA ones.

I popped in the Muay Thai one. It was an awesome workout. Much crazier than Kenpo X, but definitely didn't feel too beyond me. And there were a lot of familiar faces (MMA fighters) in it. Very cool workout.

This morning I got up for my run, but it was too cold. I did Body Blast for PT 24/7 instead. I usually like these DVDs, but this one for some reason felt way more Tae Bo than regular workout. Ya, they're all Billy Blanks DVDs, but this one felt more like his old stuff than the new stuff I like now. Still, decent workout.

Came home, did some work, and then the group came over. We ran, and I did my 20 minutes for TSC. Not for the efforts/intervals, but 20 minutes of laps still felt good.

Finished with some lifting, easy lifting, but still barbell lifting, and then the ab ripper from Tapout XT. I don't know the actual name, but it was a good ab workout.

So decent few days. One more day in the week and I'm ready!

Bring it!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Days 2 and 3 of TSC

Days 2 and 3 of the Transformation Super Challenge are complete! Here's how they went down.

Last night I got home, and as promised I completed my 20 minute run. Well, sort of. This thing calls for 20 minutes of straight running. What I got was 10 minutes of straight running (just over a mile), followed by walking a lap and then running a lap. A lap is a lap around the park near my house, and 5 laps equals a mile. Overall I did 2 miles on this run/walk, but considering I ran the first mile straight and 2 miles total is more than I've done in years, I was thrilled.

After that I was pooped and pretty much passed out the rest of the night, aside from eating an amazing healthy dinner prepared by my beautiful girlfriend.

This morning I got a bit of a late start, but hit the gym around 7:40. Today is chest and back day, and I got through the vast majority of it. I like the super set concept (a set of 15, 12, 10, 8, and then one for as many as possible), and that's how the workout goes for two back exercises and two chest exercises. There's pushups and situps after that, each to as many as possible, but I ran out of time as I've gotta head to the office. I'll have another workout tonight, and I'll start with those.

Overall a good two days of work. Can't wait to see some results!

Bring it!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Worked out last night and this morning

Alright, I've got two workouts to document. The first was last night. The group came over around 7, and we hit the park at about 7:15 to do some laps. I need to get better at running so I pushed myself hard. It's 5 laps around the park for 1 mile, and I ran 3 of those laps. My buddy Anthony and I walked the last two, but I actually think I could have kept going for the full mile! Definitely not 3 miles, yet, but I felt good and that's what matters.

After that we headed back to the house and hit the gym. My back's still rough, but better, and my legs were hurting me from the morning's leg workout from the Transformation Super Challenge, so I kept that in mind as we hit the weights. The group started with bench and I still want to work on some heavy lifting, so I did 3 sets of 10 at 135. My back was feeling rough after that though, so I decided that was it for weights for the night. Squats felt like they'd be way too painful, though Thursday I have every intention of getting back into them.

We finished the workout with the new Ab Ripper X2 from P90X2. I was iffy about doing abs with my side feeling the way it has, but the workout actually went pretty well. We had a few issues with room in the gym for everyone; there's a lot of stuff in this workout that has you going left and right, back and forth, and my garage just isn't that big. But overall we all did it and had a great time getting to the end! I actually dug this workout a lot more than the original Ab Ripper, probably because I've done it WAY more times than I can count (though if I really wanted to count, I could go back through the blog).

So that was last night. I'm slowly getting back into my workout mode again, even though my side/back still hurt, and as soon as possible I can't wait to start lifting heavy again.

This morning I woke up with every intention of running. For TSC I'm supposed to do 20 minutes of either running, biking or rowing, with different intensities for different amounts of time. Unfortunately I'm kind of a baby when it comes to cold weather, and it was a lot colder than I thought it would be this morning. I went into the gym to try rowing on the Total Gym, but decided instead to do one of the Turbo Fire Workouts. Yes, I have an obsession with DVD workout programs. I figured the 25 minute HIIT workout would be good to start the day with, and sure enough it was! This thing was a killer. Yes, it's definitely a "girly" workout, in the sense that it's hip hop music and a lot of aerobics, but it was still a great workout. I need to do these workouts more often!

The morning HIIT workout got my blood pumping and I felt pretty great (dead) after, which is where I am now. But this isn't going to count for my 20 minute run. I'm going to do that tonight when I get home, when it's a little warmer. Then I'll probably round that out with 1 more half hour workout in the gym and call it good.

So that's what I've got. Nutrition has been excellent lately. I'm eating a lot of apples, smaller portions, and dinners have been healthy. Last night I made chicken in a tomato spinach sauce with some tortellinis. The pasta probably wasn't too healthy, but I only had one serving. I've gotta get ready for Summer, so I'm really pushing it hard in and out of the gym!

K, time for work. Bring it!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Feeling better and the start of the Transformation Super Challenge

Alright, it's Monday morning. I've officially been hurt, or sore, or sick, for 2 weeks and 1 day now. That's about 2 weeks longer than I'm willing to accept, and this morning I finally said "screw it" to whatever my body's been upset about. Working out is medicine for the body, and with less than 10 weeks to Summer I'm going to give it all the medicine it can take!

I've been wanting to start the Transformation Super Challenge that I found online a few weeks ago. It's a 10 week program, but in a break from my normal routines it is not a DVD program. In fact, it's actually a gym program, written out the same way that I like my DVD programs; each rep, the time in between and all of the exercises is spelled out for me. Perfect! It takes the thought out of the workouts. But the best part? It encourages 3 additional workouts per day! Why's that important? Since I finished my first round of P90X over a year ago I've been doing some form of doubles any time I try to work out, and I've been thinking that that's hindering whatever benefits I'm supposed to gain from that program. Not a lot, of course, but the additional work is taxing my muscles, making me tired for future workouts. This program, on the other hand, is designed to include these extra fun workouts, and while 3 additional a day seems extreme I am taking a lot of comfort in knowing that I'm meant to do more work on top of this program.

With all of that in mind, I got into the gym around 6:45 this morning. Today, day 1, is legs day, consisting of lunges, squats, Romanian dead lifts and calf raises. Since the program's a little bit propitiatory (I had to check a box saying I wouldn't share the e-book) I'm going to leave the rep counts out, but I will say that this program has you doing 5 sets, going from a high amount of reps in the first set to a low amount in the second to last set, followed by as many as possible on the last set again. The weights go up with each set except for the last one, which uses your first weight. I started with lunges, and got through the first 3 sets. Unfortunately, this is where I took a dive. I've been sick/sore for a while now, and the last few days my lower back's been killing me more than anything (aside from the possible gallstones, which still suck too). That, and I really haven't touched my legs in the gym for 3 or 4 weeks. So after that third set I really felt myself hit a wall. In the program there's a note that if you don't have weights to do body weights for a high number of reps. So I finished my as many as possible set on lunges, which was kind of pathetic, and then did body weight stuff for the rest of the exercises. The calf raises I used weight, but not a lot. I figure I'm doing this program to get back into health (not just shape) so easing into it didn't bother me too much.

Despite the lackadaisical workout my legs do feel pretty great right now. I'm thinking next week or the week after I should be able to actually keep up with the pace of the legs day.

So that's it, the beginning of the Transformation Super Challenge! It wasn't my best workout and I wish I could have powered through it a little stronger, but I've got a wedding to go to in 10 weeks (the length of this program) and the weekend after that is a big outdoor music festival that I want to look awesome for, so it was start now or probably not make it in time.

Well, time to start getting ready for work. Tonight I'll see how I'm feeling and might do a 30 minute workout before the group gets here, to count for one of my 3 additional workouts.

Bring it!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Back in the gym

Alright, I'm officially back into working out. I'm taking it easy though. I got started last night with a quick 1 mile jog, which felt ok. I went back and forth between jogging and walking. I felt the stones jumping around when I ran too long. Still, it felt good to be moving.

I didn't touch the bar, as promised, but I stuck to the Tower 200 and did the first half of Shoulders & Arms from P90X. I wasn't looking for an intense workout. Just something to get me started working out again, and nothing that touched my abs, chest or back (for the gallbladder reasons).

Overall it was a lame workout for me, but I needed a lame workout. I'm feeling much better today, though still not 100%. I'm hoping to be over this whole thing soon, whether that means home remedies or surgery. I'll keep you posted.

Incidentally, I found a new workout program today called Tapout XT. It's another MMA style 90 program. I don't know if I'll do the actual program, but I love the MMA workout DVDs and figured I'd pick it up. It said it was only $39.95, though after I hit purchase I found the tiny fine print that said 3 payments of. It's bullshit, but I wanted it and had already hit purchase anyways.

So ya, I'll probably give that a try soon. As soon as I recover I want to kick the workouts into high gear, like 2 a days. Summer's coming up and if I can spend 10 weeks or so getting ready I think I'll be looking great!

So that's my story. No workout tonight, probably none tomorrow, and Sunday I hope to be back into the swing of things full time.

Bring it!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Health problems holding me back

Alright folks, it's been almost 2 weeks since I've really worked out. I worked out last Monday, and a little bit last Thursday, but that's really it. I woke up after my cousin's birthday party over a week ago with intense pain in my upper right oblique area. It's been hurting ever since. The doctor thinks it's gallstones. I'm getting more tests done, but until the pain goes away the gym's kind of going to be a trick. I'm planning on getting in there tonight with the group and working my arms and doing some cardio, but until the pain goes away I'm steering clear of abs and the bar. The bar is only freaking me out because it made the ab pain become really bad back pain last time I touched it.

So that's my story. I'm pretty sure this means no ESP-XC for a while. Not sure what I'm going to do with that, if it means starting over or what.

I'll keep you posted how tonight's workout goes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

ESP-XC Day 21: Strength Upper Body AND the return of Starting Strength

So as I promised, I have restarted Week 5 of ESP-XC! Here's a quick recap.

Friday I didn't work out. Heather's restaurant's grand opening was that night and I went to the restaurant after work. Bitchin' party! There were so many people and the food was incredible! A lot of drinks were present too. Great night!

Saturday morning my cousin Miles and his buddy drove in for the Miles' 21st birthday. We got some sleep, saw my folks, another cousin drove in, and then the five of us (me, 2 cousins, 1 girlfriend and 1 cousin's friend) headed down to Bellagio for a night of ridiculous nonsense. Vanessa, a good friend, met us there as well. We ended up having an incredible night filled with amazing food (like stupid of the best meals Vegas has to offer!), nightclubs that overlook the Strip, gambling that actually resulted in winnings for everyone, and more nonsense. There was one negative to the night, but I'm going to leave it out because I want to remember his birthday with a smile for the rest of my life.

I mention the birthday because Sunday, oh man, I was DEAD! I didn't sleep much, went and ran errands for part of the day, so that night I was zonked (good word, right?) and didn't get to work out.

Enter Monday.

Monday morning I was still very tired, so after I got home from work is when I popped in the DVD. I did the workout last week and it's awesome. A good, normal weight lifting routine for upper body, focusing mostly on chest and back. There's a lot of stuff done on the ball too, like flys and bench press. It was a great workout.

Afterwards the group came over. We did a few laps around the park, then got started on Starting Strength again, this time with a few modifications. Vince hurt his shoulder a few weeks ago, so we decided to do Front Squats instead of regular squats. Much harder, and at 135 I was struggling! That said, I did complete them and will be adding weight on Thursday. I did 5 sets of 5 by the way. Since we're only running this program twice a week that's what I'm focusing on.

Next was bench press, and I did 3x5 at 155. I realize I just said I want to do 5x5, but I hurt my back somewhere in the night and that was me calling it quits. The group did ab ripper after, but my back hurt too much.

So overall good workout, and I like that we'll be adding in strength training again twice per week. Tonight I'm going to hit up Legs from the Strength phase. Wish me luck!

Bring it!

Friday, March 9, 2012

I've kind of screwed up, but I'm not giving up!

K, life has severely gotten in the way of my fat free jewness this week. Some stuff came up Sunday, so workout didn't happen until Monday. Then some more stuff came up on Wednesday. Then I tried to catch up on the ESP-XC workouts by getting up early on Thursday to workout, only to find out after the workout that I'd done the wrong workout! Then more stuff came up Thursday night so I couldn't work out before the group came over. Then Friday, today, I ended up getting up at 5am to do some work, and tonight I'm supporting my amazing girlfriend in her restaurant's grand opening, so long story short, I've screwed up ESP-XC. Normally I'd say that's 4 weeks of working out down the drain, but here's the new view on things....I still worked out this week. I worked out almost every day, except Wednesday of course, and last night I had a great workout, so the way I'm looking at it is I can still start Week 5 again completely from scratch, starting on Sunday. Should work, right?

With that in mind, I want to document yesterday's two workouts!

I woke up early and hit play on Cardio/Combo from the Strength phase. This was the one that wasn't supposed to be until the end of the week, but I read the instructions wrong (AKA didn't read the instructions) and did this one instead. Overall it's a fun workout! Much more interesting than the last cardio/combo. I like that there's actual kicks, and most of the combos are original and really fun. I mean, not incredibly original, but much more than the last DVD. Also they use hand weights a lot to build shoulder power, which I thought was awesome!

So that was yesterday morning. That night I came home, cleaned a little bit, and then the group came over for workout. Somehow we ended up talking for longer than normal, and didn't get started until 8. Since most people have to leave by 9:30 I decided no weights for me (and anyone else interested) and instead hit play on Game Day from Asylum. This workout is still a blast and everyone did it with me! It was great! We ran the mile, did the wrestling moves, surfed a was fun. Then we wrapped it up with Ab Ripper. Good stuff.

So that's the last few days. Tonight will be celebrating, tomorrow I'm celebrating my cousin's 21st birthday (happy bday Miles!) and then Sunday I'm back into workout mode, starting Week 5 of ESP-XC all over again!

Wish me luck!

Bring it!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ESP-XC Days 20 through 22

Wow, I'm a few days behind on the blog. Life's been keeping me pretty busy, but I wanted to get something documented real fast.

I wrapped up the Endurance phase of ESP-XC on Friday with Legs. It was a few days ago, but I'm pretty sure it was a decent workout. Not great, as being the end of the week some of my energy had been zapped already, but not bad either. I'm happy to be rid of this workout though. Legs are my least favorite thing to work out and this one's a killer workout.

I took the weekend off.

Monday I got started on the Strength phase with the Upper Body workout. This felt much more like the traditional weight training I know. 3 rounds of slow upper body movements, focusing on 8 to 12 reps and going slow with heavy weight. Then the same 3 rounds are repeated, followed by the finale. I don't know why I'm drawing a blank on the finale right now, but I know it was hard. Overall awesome workout and I really pushed.

The group came over that night and we did the usual stuff. Lots of lifting and sparring/grappling. The fighting stuff is excellent cardio. We even went for a jog around the neighborhood. It was good.

A quick note, the group workout's have lost focus since we switched away from Starting Strength. There's been talk of getting that program started again, possibly starting Monday. I'll keep you posted what we decide.

Finally I did the Legs workout from the Strength phase of ESP-XC last night. Again, this one felt like normal weight lifting to me. Three rounds again of slow heavy movements, then repeat the 3 rounds. The weighted frog sit for the finale was brutal, and there was a part 2 on the finale too. I forget what that was, but it was hard.

So overall great workouts the last few days. I'm looking forward to making more progress in ESP-XC. I think tonight I have a dinner date with the girlfriend, which may push tonight's workout back a day. I'll keep you posted on that too.

Bring it!

Friday, March 2, 2012

ESP-XC Day 19: Endurance Cardio/Combo and the group workout

Last night I got home, got a load of dishes and laundry started, and hit play on Cardio/Combo from the Endurance Phase. This is the last time I get to do this workout before moving on to the Strength version.

Overall I'm going to say this wasn't my best workout. I don't know why but I felt distracted. I think I was thinking about dinner (I'll get to that in a minute). I made it through the whole thing, but my focus just wasn't there. Honestly I like this workout, but after a few weeks it's starting to feel very basic. Don't get me wrong, it's hard, especially the low to high stuff like the burpees and half burpees, but the combos I have down pretty well and have for a while, so they lose some of the excitement. There isn't even a single kick, only knees. And if I ever fought, I'd definitely be a kicker.

So with that in mind I had a great first half and a lazy second half. Not my best workout, but fortunately the group was coming over after.

I got dinner started just before everyone came over, but I got ambitious and preparing dinner took a little longer than I wanted. Everyone was waiting for me, which I felt bad about, but Heather's been under a lot of stress lately and I wanted to make sure she had a great dinner. I made turkey meatballs stuffed with ravioli. Yup, stuffed! They were awesome, but a little dry. I tried to make them healthy, which meant not a lot of sauce.

Anyways, after I got dinner in the oven we hit the gym. I was focusing on striking speed since that was what I was/should have been working on in the cardio/combo workout. I did 4 sets on bench for speed/reps and did well. I used the door gym a lot and worked on strikes, and I used the Billy Bands from PT 24/7 to work the shoulders.

For kicks we decided to put on the Strength Cardio/Combo DVD. Some folks wanted cardio ideas and I wanted to see what I was in for. We only watched the first half, but the strikes were a lot more fun! And everyone that was doing them looked like they enjoyed it.

We finished the evening with Ab Ripper X. No one really likes Ab Ripper, but we all feel great when it's done. Overall I had a great ab workout and was happy with my progress.

So that was the workout. FYI, the diet's been going really well. I started using the Lose It app on my phone and tracking food is helping.

Tonight I have Legs from Endurance, and that's the last workout in this phase. I'm ready!

Bring it!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

ESP-XC Day 18: Endurance Core/Balance

K, I'm actually writing this on Friday morning, but I had a test blog (long story) posted yesterday and decided to just edit it so the dates line up a little better.

Wednesday night I came home from work, sat around for 15 minutes, and then hit play on Core/Balance from the Endurance phase. This is the last time I get to do this workout as I'm moving on to the Strength phase next week.

I'm going to miss this workout, but I'm curious what's next. It's a really good ab workout, but it goes back and forth between abs and balance. I have really good balance, so those parts are a nice breather, though I am really working on making my balance better in those instances. The ab stuff is a lot of holding, and I held stuff longer in this workout than I have in any of the previous times I've done this. I almost got the Supermans for the whole 2 minutes too, which is huge progress! And the iron bridge (lie on your back with your legs 6 inches off the ground) I held for the entire minute. It sucked but somehow I did it!

So ya, great workout. I'm ready to see what the Strength phase of Core/Balance has in store for me.

Bring it!