Posts filed under ‘burn more calories’

Week 2 of P90X

I’m halfway through Week 2 of P90X.  It’s a terrific program.  So challenging.  Ab Ripper X, which I did tonight after doing the shoulders & arms workout, makes me use LOTS of foul language.  It’s tough, man!

The hardest one for me, though, is Yoga X.  That’s the one I have to do tomorrow.  I’ve always found yoga hard.  The longheld poses that seem to stretch the muscles endlessly kill me.  It will take everything I’ve got tomorrow to stick with it.  I can do kick-ass cardio and multiple weight reps forever (well, not really forever, but you know what I mean), but yoga… yowsa!  Sheer determination is the only thing that gets me through.

And, it’s a bit of a shame that it’s so tough for me because yoga is extremely good for you.  The whole mind-body thing is very important to good health and battling illnesses and stress.  I need to do yoga, even if I don’t want to.  As much as I recognize the importance of mind-body workouts, I have trouble making myself do ’em.  I need to work on it, and this is an unexpected benefit of doing the P90X program.

I wonder, will I get “ripped” like the people in the ads?  I have some muscle definition, but it’s hard to imagine myself all cut like “those people”.  Supposedly it’s possible.  I just want to complete the program and lean out.

I’m a little apprehensive because we will be traveling on workout days over the next several weeks, so I will not be able to do all the workouts.  I will bring DVDs with me and do the workouts on the computer when we go to San Diego next weekend.  But, the week after we’ll be camping on the Grand Canyon, and I doubt we’ll bring the computer with us.  It’s a constant challenge with the life I lead with my fiance to stay on track.  There are ALWAYS special circumstances.  In fact, it’s really more of a special circumstance when there aren’t special circumstances.

I should give myself kudos for being able to adapt and adjust, but instead I usually feel frustrated and like I’m doing it half-assed.  Bottom line: I can only do what I can do, and clearly it’s worked for the most part.  I keep having to tell myself that!  Boy, it takes some of us a long time to internalize the message, eh?  🙂

Anyway, I’m really enjoying P90X so far.  It’s great to be so challenged and to know that after another week, new challenges will come.  It’s great to save some money and to be home at night where I can do laundry or other things while working out.  P90X rocks!

June 11, 2009 at 3:03 am 3 comments

A new month… a new workout routine

Pole dancing has been amazing.  I’ve learned so much, and I’ve gained a lot of physical improvement.  But, now that the wedding is fast approaching, money is becoming an issue.  The $100 a month I’ve been spending can be better used elsewhere.  Plus, I think it’s time for me to shake things up again.

So, tonight was Day One of P90X.  I bought the program nearly a year ago, before my literal transformation.  I didn’t start it beause I discovered pole dancing.  Now that I’ve decided to make the switch to something less expensive and home-based, P90X is perfect.  Tonight’s Core Synergistics workout was awesome!  There were all kinds of moves I’ve never done before, and there was a whole lotta sweatin’ goin’ on!

Tomorrow night is Cardio X.  I’ve done that one before; it’s a good one, too.  Looking forward to it!

June 2, 2009 at 3:48 am Leave a comment

More Pole Pics

The first picture is of a pose that I think is called The Lady.  It doesn’t look like much, but holding on by your thighs and one hand is challenging.  Normally, you lean your head back and arch your hips up more than I am in this pic.  We wanted to show my face.  My hips need to be arched more, but I’m close on this one.  As with the strength holds I describe below, it has taken me several months to develop the muscular ability to do this pose.  It’s deceptive, as is much of pole work.

Another part of what we do in pole class are strength holds: poses that build our strength so we can do more maneuvers on the pole.  They are much harder to do than they look.  It took me several months to be able to do these two poses.  I could never hold them for any length of time.  So, I’m really thrilled at the progress I’ve made.  🙂

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img_4936 img_4938

May 2, 2009 at 10:08 pm 1 comment

Replacing P90X with the Pole

Back in the summer, I got P90X and had grand plans of embarking on the program after recovering from my surgery in August.  Well, life never goes quite as planned, and shortly after I could start exercising again, I discovered the pole fitness studio.  I was hooked!  It’s such a challenging workout – deceptively so – that I don’t have the stamina – or the desire, at this point – to do the P90X plan.  I still do several sets of stairs at work every weekday (usually 10), but otherwise the classes at the pole fitness studio are the only ones I do: pole dancing classes of varying levels, lap dancing, go-go dancing, and Booty Camp. 

I am excited to report that, after three and a half months at the studio, I have finally been able to invert (go upside down) on the pole.  Yay!  It’s a HUGE and exciting accomplishment for me.  Here are some pics.  I’ve also gotten better at handstands against the pole, so here are some pics of that as well. The inversion pics were taken at home, on my pole in the bedroom.  (Yes, my fiance’s friends tell him he’s a lucky man all the time. 🙂 ).  The handstand pics were taken by J, a student at the studio.  She’s an amazing woman.  A yoga instructor fromNew York, she has the most amazing physique.  She has tremendous control and can perform extraordinarily beautiful moves on the pole.  My friend from the studio, M, and I always say that our goal is to reach J’s level.  For right now, I’m just happy to have gone upside down!

poleinversion13 poleinversion22 

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March 13, 2009 at 1:47 pm 1 comment

The hard truth about weight loss

As great as my weight loss success has been, I frequently get discouraged by how long it has taken and how hard I still have to work to keep the pounds off. Shows like “The Biggest Loser” and magazine covers featuring women who’ve lost hundreds of pounds in a few months… rather than inspiring me, they bum me out because they make me feel like my results are not good enough.

So I was actually happy to read MSNBC’s “Forget low-fat — calories count more in dieting”. It provides details on a federal study that followed participants for two years and really confirms what I know to be true – as much as TV and magazines want to convince me otherwise.

1. Calories count. It doesn’t matter how you lower them – by cutting out carbs or fat or whatever; they just have to be lowered. The bottom line is that you’re not going to lose weight unless you consume fewer calories (or burn a bunch of them off through extremely high levels of exercise).

2. It takes a l-o-n-g time to lose a relatively small amount of weight. We don’t want to hear it; we are SUCH an instant gratification culture. In this study, participants lost an average of 13 pounds in six months. Most people I know would be disappointed instead of happy.

3. Chances are, the weight’s gonna come back. “…all groups saw their weight creep back up after a year. At two years, the average weight loss was about 9 pounds while waistlines shrank an average of 2 inches. Only 15 percent of dieters achieved a weight-loss reduction of 10 percent or more of their starting weight.”

I have been doing this for six and a half years, maintaining 117 pounds off. Sometimes, I’ve lost a bit more, sometimes a bit less. But, overall I have maintained – and continuously exercised – for an extended period of time. It’s taken a tremendous effort, and it’s still really, really difficult. This study is affirming. Whew! I don’t have to be so hard on myself! I am doing a terrific job, considering the odds are clearly against me. Based on this good news, I’m giving a shout-out to myself… and a reminder to be gentle, patient and understanding when I struggle.

February 26, 2009 at 4:40 am 7 comments

Exercise may just be the “miracle pill”.

Looking for a miracle?  Lace up your running shoes for a minute or two.

British researchers have discovered that a mere 7 minutes of vigorous exercise every week can ward off Type II Diabetes.  Yeah… you read that correctly… only *7* minutes a week can prevent one of the most debilitating diseases plaguing our country today.  And you don’t even have to do it all at once.  In the study, the participants rode exercise bikes four times daily in 30-second bursts for two days a week.  That tiny bit of exercise significantly improves the body’s ability to process insulin. 

That’s some seriously amazing news.  It astounds me that such a miniscule amount of exercise can have that huge an impact on our bodies.  We can all fit that in every week; there’s no excuse for not doing it.

The same day I read about this study, I saw Frontline’s program on Parkinson’s.  Two sets of monkeys were used in a MPTP test.  (MPTP is a byproduct of a narcotic that has been shown to cause the same signs and symptoms as Parkinson’s disease.)  One set of monkeys was sedenetary.  The other set exercised regularly on a treadmill.  After a period of time exercising or not, the monkeys were injected with MPTP.  The sedentary monkeys immediately demonstrated the symptoms of Parkinson’s.  The physically active monkeys, however, showed almost no signs of the disease.  Even their brain scans were different.  The exercising monkeys had much healthier brain scans than the inactive ones.  All from walking on a treadmill consistently.

As a society, we focus almost exclusively on how exercise can help us lose weight and look better.  But it goes far beyond our looks.  The benefits of exercise are extraordinary on levels we haven’t even begun to realize.

All this a good reminder for me when I get discouraged about not looking “hot” enough or not getting my spins right in pole class.  Those aspects of exercise are really immaterial in the grander scheme of things.  The exercise I’m getting every day is helping me in ways that are literally cell deep, preventing all kinds of nasty conditions that I may never know I was risking.  That is truly a miracle.

February 5, 2009 at 3:00 pm 3 comments

Tips from the Belly Off! Diet

Men’s Health started an online weight-loss community called the “Belly Off! Club” back in 2002, and since then, club members have lost almost 2 million pounds.  Yowsa!  That’s alotta pounds!!  Their book, The Belly Off! Diet, is not due out ‘til April, but MSN is giving us a preview of some of tips contained in it.

  • Cut out refined grains and sugar
  • Eat more protein, healthy fats, fiber-rich fruits & veggies, and whole grains
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Lift weights at least three times a week.
  • Do cardio workouts, especially interval training

None of these are particularly new methods for slimming down, but it never hurts to reinforce good techniques through repetition.  And, because this books is written by men for men, it might reach a whole new audience that doesn’t always respond to more typical diet plans.

January 24, 2009 at 6:33 pm 2 comments

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