Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shakelogy for Weight Loss = FAIL

I weighed in this morning at 182.6 lbs. I started the experiment at 182 lbs. Now .6 lbs might be considered a rounding error but when it comes to weight loss Shakeology didn't seem to do anything. 

Oh well, at least it tastes good. I prefer the chocolate flavor to the Greenberry flavor though. As for all the added vitamins and nutrients, I'll just have to take their word for it. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Shakeology Experiment Coming to a Close

Tomorrow will mark the end of my one month experiment with Shakeology. I don't think the weight loss is going to be that significant. When I weighed myself on Sunday I was 181.8. At the start of the program I was 182.2. So .4 lbs. A rounding error.

I only had one day that I didn't have the shake for either breakfast or lunch. So the weight loss aspect was a bust for me. Perhaps someone who is significantly overweight will benefit from Shakeology, but I can't say it will do the job for someone looking to lose those last five pounds.

During the month my blender gave up the ghost so I bought a Magic Bullet. I love it! It lets you blend just about anything quickly and easily. One thing I noticed is that if you let it go too long your smoothie becomes more like a Frosty.

I'll announce the weigh-in results on Thursday, April 30th.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Shakeology - Still Going

OK so I disappeared for a while. I went to a practice round at the Masters and then had some travel for work. I've still been conducting my Shakeology experiment though. I plan to have a weigh in Sunday morning April 19th.

My eating and drinking during my trip to the Masters was less than stellar. I did have a Shakeology shake for breakfast each day. I don't like it very well when it is mixed only with water. It definitely tastes better when mixed with milk or almond milk and a few ice cubes are thrown in. I've tried adding bananas and strawberries and even blueberries. That only slighty affects the taste.

I also decided to take a week off from working out. I got lots of walking in at Augusta but otherwise I did no exercise. In many ways it was good. Some niggling pains and injuries had a chance to heal. I'm not sure if seven (plus) days without exercise is a good idea but I think I will take three or four day breaks every few months. This is in addition to the rest day I have every week.

My eating this week has been a lot better though I did succumb to pizza and a glass of wine Friday night. Otherwise I haven't had any alcohol since Saturday April 11th. I did resume working out on Monday April 13th with an upper body massacre. 12 sets of push ups and 12 sets of pull ups. 20 push ups each set and 10 pull ups each set. I did a wide variety of push ups and pull ups. I was very sore for a few days after that.

I did IntervalX on Tuesday and the Road Warrior One on One workout on Wednesday. Fountain of Youth yoga on Thursday. These workouts are great and very easy to do in your hotel room. I did P90X Legs & Back today along with Ab Ripper X. Will I ever stop hating that workout? (I do love the results it provides though).

Let's hope the weigh in goes well tomorrow.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Shakeology Experiment - Before Photos

Shakeology Experiment - Day 4

Day four of the Shakeology experiment. The goal is to lose those last seven pounds in 30 days by replacing one meal with a Shakeology replacement shake. I'll list each day the supplements I take, my workouts and the food I eat and beverages I drink.

Thursday April 2nd 2009

1 Equate Complete Multivitamin
2 Rexall fish oil softgels (2400 mg)
1 Origin CO Q-10 softgel (100 mg)
1 Nature Made Vitamin E softgel (400 I.U.)
1 Spring Valley High Potency B-Complex vitamin tablet
2 tsps Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with 1 teaspoon of raw and unfiltered honey and 8 ounces of water. (Twice a day)

P90X YogaX

Two eggs, 3 slices of ham, ¼ cup of prunes, 2 slices of Ezekiel bread 8:00 am
1 small banana 12:00 pm
Shakeology Greenberry Shake with 1 cup of almond milk 12:00 pm
Mixed nuts and dried cranberries 3:30 pm
Crockpot Orange Chicken with sweet potatoes 6:30 pm

Hot chai tea with stevia 8:00 am
500 ml bottled water during workout

Hot chai tea with stevia 3:30 pm
500 ml bottled water 7:30 pm

YogaX with sore arms today. Fun!

The UPS truck didn’t arrive in time for me to have a chocolate Shakeology shake for lunch. It did arrive around 5 pm so I think I'll try it for breakfast tomorrow.

I finally found some recipes on the Beachbody website.

I plan to weigh myself tomorrow morning. Time to see if a week of Shakeology meals has had any effect.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Shakeology Experiment - Day 3

Day three of the Shakeology experiment. The goal is to lose those last seven pounds in 30 days by replacing one meal with a Shakeology replacement shake. I'll list each day the supplements I take, my workouts and the food I eat and beverages I drink.

Wednesday April 1st 2009

1 Equate Complete Multivitamin
2 Rexall fish oil softgels (2400 mg)
1 Origin CO Q-10 softgel (100 mg)
1 Nature Made Vitamin E softgel (400 I.U.)
1 Spring Valley High Potency B-Complex vitamin tablet
2 tsps Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with 1 teaspoon of raw and unfiltered honey and 8 ounces of water. (Twice a day)

P90X Ab Ripper X
P90X Back & Biceps

Two eggs, 3 slices of ham, ¼ cup of prunes, 2 slices of Ezekiel bread 8:30 am
1 small banana 11:30 am
P90X Results and Recovery Drink 1:30 pm
Shakeology Greenberry Shake with 1 cup of almond milk 2:30 pm
Mixed nuts and dried cranberries 4:30 pm
Pork loin baked with sweet potatoes and apples 7:30 pm
Fat free, sugar free chocolate pudding 9:00 pm

500 ml bottled water during workout
Hot chai tea with stevia 8:30 am
500 ml bottled water 7:30 pm

I felt full longer after having my Shakeology shake today. Maybe because I had a real breakfast today and I had my shake one hour after having my recovery drink. I wish I could find some recipes for it though. The chocolate flavor is supposed to arrive tomorrow. Probably not in time for lunch but I’ll hold out hope.

Photos will be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shakeology Experiment - Day 2

Day two of the Shakeology experiment. The goal is to lose those last seven pounds in 30 days by replacing one meal with a Shakeology replacement shake. I'll list each day the supplements I take, my workouts and the food I eat and beverages I drink.

Tuesday, March 31st

1 Equate Complete Multivitamin
2 Rexall fish oil softgels (2400 mg)
1 Origin CO Q-10 softgel (100 mg)
1 Nature Made Vitamin E softgel (400 I.U.)
1 Spring Valley High Potency B-Complex vitamin tablet
2 tsps Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with 1 teaspoon of raw and unfiltered honey and 8 ounces of water. (Twice a day)

P90X+ InvervalX+

P90X Results and Recovery Drink (in place of breakfast) 9:30 am
Shakeology Greenberry Shake with 1 cup of almond milk and four strawberries 12:30 pm
1 small banana separate from shake 12:30 pm
Almonds, dried cranberries and an apple 3:30 pm
1/4 cup of dried prunes 6:00 pm
Salmon, brown rice and steamed vegetables 7:30 pm
1 square of Dove dark chocolate 9:30 pm

500 ml bottled water during workout
Hot chai tea with stevia 10:30 am
Hot chai tea with stevia 5:00 pm
1 5 oz. glass of red wine 7:30 pm

I wondered if the strawberries would make the shake taste differently. They didn't. I couldn't taste the strawberries at all. The shake tastes Green. I'm not sure how else to describe it. It tastes kind of like green tea ice cream. It isn't an unpleasant flavor by any means, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

The goal is to be more Primal with my eating today. Made a grocery list and will make sure the pantry is well stocked with primal food items. No Life cereal or spaghetti today!

I did have a P90X Results and Recovery drink for breakfast again this morning. I didn't intend to but I wanted to workout in a fasted state and the workout seemed harder than usual. The intervals workout has you doing 15 moves and each one lasts a minute. You go at a moderate pace for 20 seconds, a faster pace for the next 20 seconds and then all out for the last 20 seconds. After the first round you have a one minute break and then you repeat the exercises in reverse order for another 15 minutes. It's a great workout!

Tomorrow will have a standard breakfast (eggs, lean ham).

Here are the stats:
Weight: 182 lbs.
Waist: 32"
Body fat %: 13%

Monday, March 30, 2009

Shakeology Experiment - Day 1

Day one of the Shakeology experiment. The goal is to lose those last seven pounds in 30 days by replacing one meal with a Shakeology replacement shake.

I'll list each day the supplements I take, my workouts and the food I eat.

Monday, March 30th

1 Equate Complete Multivitamin
2 Rexall fish oil softgels (2400 mg)
1 Origin CO Q-10 softgel (100 mg)
1 Nature Made Vitamin E softgel (400 I.U.)
1 Spring Valley High Potency B-Complex vitamin tablet
2 tsps Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with 1 teaspoon of raw and unfiltered honey and 8 ounces of water. (Twice a day)

P90X Ab Ripper X
P90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

P90X Results and Recovery Drink (in place of breakfast) 9:30 am
Shakeology Greenberry Shake with 1 cup of almond milk and 1 small banana 12:30 pm
Almonds and dried cranberries 3:30 pm
Life cereal with 2% milk 4:30 pm (can I make it until dinner?)
Spinach salad with slivered almonds and balsamic vinaigrette dressing 7:00 pm
Whole wheat spaghetti with bolognese sauce
1 small corn bread muffin

500 ml bottled water during workout
Hot chai tea with stevia 10:30 am
Hot chai tea with stevia 4:30 pm
1 5 oz. glass of red wine 7:00 pm

Some days I do my workout in a fasted state and then have a recovery drink in place of breakfast. I had my recovery drink at 9:30 am and my Shakeology meal replacement shake at 12:30 pm. I was extremely hungry between 11 am and 12:30 pm. After finishing the shake I'm no longer feeling hungry. We will see how long that lasts. I hope to make it until 3:30 pm before having an afternoon snack.

Ab Ripper X is not a fun workout. You probably could have guessed that from the name. There are 11 moves in about 17 minutes. For most of the moves you do 25 reps and the last one, the Mason Twist, you do 50 reps.

OK dinner definitely was not Primal! We didn't plan ahead and had nothing else in the house to eat. Grok would have gone hungry but he also slept in a cave. I'll take my lumps and resolve to do better tomorrow. We are planning out a menu for the rest of the week.

Shakeology: Didn't really notice any difference after drinking my shake. In fact I needed a nap this afternoon but that was probably a vestige of my Saturday night poker game that went way too long.

Day 1 in the books. Not a stellar start to my experiment but then again I shouldn't game the system by eating that much different than usual. The whole idea is to see what this product does for me (and to me).

Shakeology Experiment

Beachbody has just released a new nutritional supplement called Shakeology. You can learn more about it here.

I'm a fan of whole foods so I'm always skeptical about "wonder products" that are supposed to be a panacea for a multitude of ills. I recently became a Beachbody coach and they sent me a package of the Greenberry flavor of Shakeology. The past couple of weeks I've not been very good with my eating and I may have imbibed a bit too much when getting together with friends and relatives who had come out to Colorado for some skiing during their Spring Breaks. So this weekend I crafted an idea to do an experiment.

For the next 30 days I am going to replace one meal a day with a Shakeology shake. I am going to continue to do my workouts every day and I'm going to resume eating my healthy, mostly Primal meals and snacks the rest of the day. I will create a post each day that describes what I plan to eat (or have eaten), my workout, and any other relevant statistics. I want to see if Shakeology does indeed do all of the things it claims to do. My goal is to lose seven pounds in the next 30 days. Seven pounds! That doesn't sound like much but I have been stuck at 180-182 for a while now and of course those seven pounds are around my core, the most stubborn area of fat deposits for men.

I plan to weigh myself and take measurements once a week and post them in my Monday blog entry. Now there will be some challenges ahead of me over the next four weeks. First I am going to Augusta next week to see a practice round of the Masters. I'm not expecting sympathy from anyone, but I realize that this will present me with opportunities to eat "not so healthy" food and to possibly have a beer or two along the way. On the plus side I should get some good exercising hiking up and down the verdant but hilly fairways of Augusta.

I also have a couple of business trips coming up this month. But this is real life and I shouldn't try to set up ideal circumstances where I never have to leave the house for 30 days. So the goal is to drop my weight down to 175 and get the body fat percentage at or below 10% all without starving myself or feeling deprived. Here we go!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


So yesterday's post talked about Tony Horton's advice for making a plan, sticking to it, and doing it, forever. Essentially forming a habit. Humans are creatures of habit, some more than others. My twenty year old son is very habitual and fortunately has mostly good habits. His eating, exercising, and studying habits would be the envy of anyone. Unfortunately a lot of Americans have bad habits that are holding them back and keeping them from realizing their full potential.

On our trip back from Jackson Hole on Monday we stopped in the town of Rawlins Wyoming for lunch. There weren't a lot of healthy food options (at least within a stone's throw of the Interstate) and our hunger got the best of us and we ended up choosing a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant. Upon further consideration I think McDonald's would have been a better option. Anyway we perused the menu and quickly determined that Taco Bell offered no food choices of redeeming value. The KFC menu wasn't much better but they did have a grilled chicken option that seemed like the least of all evils so we both went with that.

It is a rare occasion when I visit a fast food restaurant these days and I have to say I was appalled by the experience. The food was awful! Really devoid of taste. I was tempted to ask for my money back. I looked around me and saw nothing but sad, overweight (many obese) people shoveling this slop into their mouths. I could certainly tell that no one was actually enjoying their food. In a society where 20% of our meals are consumed in the car I can only assume that we eat this way out of habit.

Mark Sisson has a good post about creating good habits here. If you have some bad habits that you would like to break read this.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Here's The Thing

Tony Horton (P90X guru) posted this today:

Life with exercise creates a completely different journey than a life without it. Making the time for exercise means that you're setting an intention to have a great life. Life without exercise means you're setting an intention to miss out on a better life. The quality of your life improves with exercise and it will get worse without it. Period! Your weight loss is a minute piece to the overall health and fitness puzzle. Every time you exercise you improve your fitness, health and quality of life. You always feel good afterward and you allow your mind and body to become less vulnerable to illness and injury. Every day you decide NOT to exercise your health, fitness and quality of life diminishes. You become more vulnerable to illness and injury and the energy and enthusiasm (feeling good) for a better life is not there. This is true for everyone. No exceptions.

Make a plan, stick to the plan and do it... forever!

I had the pleasure and privilege to hang out with Tony last weekend in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Tony led a group of us through four intense yoga workouts, each one lasting at least an hour. I have never sweated so much doing yoga as I did last weekend. The fact that there were about 15 other sweaty people in a fairly small room probably contributed to my sweatiness but there is also something about working out in front of "The Man" vs. on a video that makes you push yourself.

Getting up for an 8 am yoga class on a Saturday and Sunday morning isn't at the top of my list of pleasureable activities, but it was amazing how good I felt at the end of each class. The choices we make every day, big and small, have a much bigger impact on our lives than we realize. I have resolved to start every day with at least three Sun Salutations. When I get out of bed I can barely reach my shins when I bend over but after just 10 minutes of yoga I can reach the easily reach the floor and I feel invigorated and ready to face the day.

So I'm going to issue a two week challenge. Instead of crawling out of bed and heading for the coffee pot every morning, spend just 10 minutes (or 30 if you have the time) doing some yoga. If you've never done yoga you can learn how to do Sun Salutations here. Then have a cup of coffee if you so desire.

Friday, February 20, 2009

How's Your Health This Winter

P90X workouts can take a toll on your body and if you aren't eating enough and taking your supplements, and getting enough rest between workouts you are more likely to come down with a cold or the flu. Extreme workouts like P90X can weaken your immune system (though in the long run they will lead to a stronger immune system as you improve your health and fitness).

Nothing is more frustrating than getting into the groove of your P90X workouts and then getting sick and having to stop working out. During my first round of P90X I got sick with the flu at the six week mark and ended up missing five workouts. When I recovered I simply restarted the week I was on when I got sick and it ended up being P97X.

Some people make the mistake of trying to workout when they are sick. If it is the flu you probably won't feel like working out. Listen to your body. Stay in bed and recover. Opinions differ on what to do when you have a cold. Some say if it is a head cold then go ahead and workout. If it is in your chest then you need to rest. I'm a big believer in the theory of rest and recuperation to get over an illness. Exercising when you are sick isn't going to make you healthier (you won't sweat a cold virus out of your system). Don’t let short term goals or your ego get in the way of common sense. Are you going to even remember in a few weeks or a few months that you missed a few workouts?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure though. If you haven't gotten sick yet congratulations. Here's hoping you stay healthy through the rest of the season. Make sure you are taking your supplements and getting lots of rest.

This article contains some more tips on staying healthy for about $4.00 a month. Much cheaper than any cold or flu medicine you might buy.

The contrast showers are a good way to wake yourself up in the morning but aren't particularly fun, especially on cold mornings.

I've been taking Cod Liver Oil and Apple Cider Vinegar each day for about a month. Wal-Mart sells a Norwegian Cod Liver Oil in the supplements section for about $8.00 a bottle. It is orange flavored which has to be better than the real flavor. The consistency is a little unpleasant but you get used to it. In addition to the Omega-3 it contains, cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin D. If you live north of an imaginary line that passes through Atlanta you probably aren’t getting enough sunlight exposure in the winter for your body to manufacture an adequate amount of vitamin D.

As for the Apple Cider Vinegar, make sure you get a bottle that has "The Mother" in it (check the label). Bragg is available at Whole Foods and health food stores. Don't use the typical brands found in the supermarket. Instead of following the recipe in the article, I've been using the recipe on the bottle. You mix 2 teaspoons (not tablespoons) with water and a teaspoon of honey. It tastes kind of like a bad wine but it isn't intolerable.

Hopefully these tips will help you stay healthy this winter and keep you charging ahead with your P90X goals.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


No I'm not talking about seeds here. I'm talking about a butt-kicking good exercise you can do when you have limited time, limited space and no access to any exercise equipment.

I did a set of these last night in place of my usual Kenpo workout and let me tell you they work!

Tony has you do something similar in the IntervalX+ workout and he calls them Carlito Three Way Push ups but you only do them for one minute (twice) in that workout. With Burpees, the idea is to do a set of ten, rest for a minute, then do a set of nine, rest another minute, do a set of eight, etc., right down to doing a set of one.

You should be able to the full rotation in less than 15 minutes. By the time I got down to five reps I decided to shorten the rest period to 30 seconds. Then at the end I decided to throw in a final set of 10 to bring the total to 65 reps. It's a great interval workout that combines strength training with cardio exercise.

So how do you do a Burpee?
  • Start in a standing position with your hands over your head
  • Squat down and place your hands on the floor
  • Jump back to plank (push up position)
  • Do a push up
  • Jump your feet to your hands (so you are in a squatting position again)
  • Jump up in the air with your hands over your head
Then just repeat that sequence for the prescribed number of reps.

Mike Rowe from the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs has a good video demonstrating this technique:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Don't Go to Bed Hungry!

There aren't too many things I disagree with in the P90X nutrition guide (it lays out a very sensible eating plan in my opinion) but one item that has caused some consternation and may have caused more than a few people to give up on P90X (or at least the nutrition portion of the program) is the advice given on page 7:

"...Try to finish your last snack approximately three hours before you hit the sack. This will help keep undigested carbs from being stored as fat. If you do need to break this rule, a small protein shake would be the snack of choice before bed, as it can help your recovery during sleep."

It is pretty rare to find agreement among all the experts in the areas of nutrition and exercise, so not surprisingly there are a number of dissenters who think the above information is based more on conjecture and myth than on science.

For example, Mark Sisson (who developed the P90X supplements) has this to say about eating before bedtime:

The Myth: Eating after 8 p.m. prompts weight gain.

The Truth: No need to feel bad about those late night snacks! In reality, your body has no idea what the clock reads, so you’re ability to metabolize food will be no different whether you’re sitting down for dinner at 6 p.m. or 10 p.m. What is more important when dining late at night, however, is to eat healthy foods - including lean meats, healthy fats, and plenty of veggies - both to ease digestion and best fuel your body for restorative sleep!

And Doctor Dr. Rob Shmerling says this:

Perhaps you've heard this advice before: Don't eat before going to bed. People most often give this advice to people trying to lose weight. The logic behind this advice sounds reasonable: If you eat and then go to sleep, your body will convert the food you ate into fat rather than using it right away as fuel. Ultimately, you'll gain weight.

But is this true? I have been unable to find any study that specifically asked and answered this question: When total calories are kept constant, does eating at night (whether just before bed or in the middle of the night) lead to weight gain?

In fact, I could find no compelling evidence that eating late at night or just before bed matters one way or the other. It is likely that total intake over a 24-hour period balanced against calories burned through one's daily activities matters much more than what time a snack or meal is consumed.

I too can't find any scientific research that supports the "no eating before bed" rule.

On the other hand in many countries, like Spain, people eat dinner very late in the evening, often after 10 pm. Yet Spain has an obesity rate that is nearly 1/3 the amount of America's.

What is important is that, as Mark mentions, you make healthy choices, but that rule applies no matter what time of the day you eat. If you are trying to lose weight and following P90X you still have to work within the calorie and portion limits specified for your phase and level in the nutrition guide. But there is no reason to go to bed hungry because you fear that whatever you eat after a certain point in the evening will turn into fat overnight!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Body Weight Exercises

You've probably heard of body weight exercises before. You know, push ups, pull ups, any sort of strength training that involves nothing but your own weight. Well today's entry is about taking it to a whole new level.

Is there something in the water over in Europe? First those crazy French are purported to have invented Dwarf Tossing. Now there is a gym in London where you can literally lift people when working out. It is an interesting concept and given the growing unemployment rate it is nice to know that you might be able to find work as a human dumbbell.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Plate Lifting

Here's a great Primal exercise you can do if you have any Olympic weights. It is great for the hips and quads:

Lay a 45-pound plate on the floor in front of you; you'll need about 20 feet of clear space ahead. Squat, wedge your fingers under the side of the plate closest to you, and drive upward with your legs. When the plate is vertical, guide it forward until it is flat on the ground again, but on its opposite side (don't just let it drop to the floor and bounce).

I do three sets of 24 flips (12 across the room and 12 back). It seems easy at first but your quads will be begging for mercy pretty quickly.

Do this after you've completed your regular strength training workout. I do this twice a week (Monday and Friday).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Primal Energy Bars

I just love these bars! I was addicted to "protein bars" but realized I needed to kick the habit because while they were high in protein, they were also high in other ingredients that aren't so good for you.

These bars have no flour or grain and no sugar (other than what might be in the dried fruit you use).

They can get a little crumbly so I recommend baking them for 8 minutes instead of 10. Watch them carefully when you put them under the broiler. It doesn't take long to brown the coconut!

Another tip of the hat to and Mark Sisson for providing this delicious recipe.


1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup almond meal (simply pulse a 1/4 cup of almonds until it creates a course flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (check your local health food store)
1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of raw honey
1/2 cup unsweetened whey protein powder (or 60g)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries or blueberries
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut to sprinkle on

Method: On a cookie sheet, toast nuts and shredded coconut until golden brown. In order for them to cook evenly, you need to shake up the tray at least once during cooking.

Once toasted, pour mixture into a food processor and pulse until nuts are chopped and the mixture becomes coarsely ground (sort of the consistency of bread crumbs).

In a mixing bowl, melt coconut oil and almond butter (about 30 seconds). Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. Add vanilla extract, honey and sea salt. Mix thoroughly.

Fold in nut mixture, almond meal and protein powder until mixed thoroughly. Add whole egg and mix thoroughly.

Fold in blueberries/cranberries.

Press mixture into an 8 by 8 loaf pan.

Cook in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle a ¼ cup of shredded coconut on top and place under broiler until top begins to brown. Let cool for 10-15 minutes.

Cut into 12 pieces/bars. Enjoy or stack on wax paper/parchment and store in an airtight container.

Nutrition for 1/12 of the batch:
Calories: 184
Fat: 15.4 grams
Carbohydrates: 6.4 grams
Protein: 7.5 grams

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

P90X Rules For Success

OK, it’s nearly three weeks into the New Year and some of the resolutions may have already gone by the wayside. If doing the P90X program was one of your resolutions I hope you are still going strong with it. Based on some of the messages I have seen posted on various Internet boards there are a few points that need to be driven home if you want to be successful. I’ll call them my P90X Rules for Success:

1. Know that you are not smarter than Tony Horton (at least when it comes to fitness).

Tony and BeachBody spent over a million dollars developing P90X. They conducted test groups and consulted with nutrition and fitness experts during the development process. They learned what works and what doesn’t work. So when you get it in your head that you can modify the program or deviate from the workout or nutrition schedule and still have great success, you are being egotistical. Look, if you knew more than Tony about this stuff you wouldn’t need P90X. You wouldn’t be overweight and/or out of shape. So you hate Yoga? Do it anyway. You think you eat healthy food, follow the nutrition guide anyway and measure your portions.

2. Follow the Nutrition Guidelines.

What you eat, and how much, accounts for 80% of your body composition. Don’t think you can have that piece of cake and you’ll just do a bit more cardio. Not all calories are created equal. That piece of cake is going to have an impact on your insulin production and blood sugar levels for several hours at least. No one is perfect but the more you cheat the more you adversely impact your results. Also don't think "I eat healthy, I don't need to follow the nutrition guide". You need to eat the right number of calories and the right percentages of protein, carbs, and fat. Following this rule alone will account for the majority of your success with P90X.

3. Don't overdo it.

With exercise, after a certain point, less is more. Don’t plan to do Plyometrics three times a week, or add an hour of running on each of your strength training days to “boost your calorie burn”. P90X is an intensive program (the X stands for Extreme). Give your body a chance to recover between the workouts. We live in a microwave society and want instant results. But our bodies don’t respond well when too much stress is placed on them. 90 days is a short period of time and you’ll get great results if you just follow the program.

4. Lift heavy weights!

This applies to the women as well. You are not going to “bulk up” if you lift heavy. Big muscles require testosterone and men have 40 to 60 times more testosterone than women. I promise, you won’t end up looking like Starla in Napoleon Dynamite. Even most men can’t build really big muscles (think Arnold) because we just don’t have the genetics to do so. That said, everyone will get better results if they lift a weight heavy enough to only be able to do 8-10 reps with good form. Yes Tony says do 12-15 reps if you don’t want size, but remember the videos where made about six years ago and a lot has been learned since then. BeachBody’s newest program Chalean Extreme has everyone lifting heavy weights. It is the best way to change your body shape.

5. Have a good recovery drink after a strenuous workout.

Chocolate milk in and of itself is not an adequate substitute for the P90X Results and Recovery Drink. Yes it has the same ratio of carbs to protein and it has Vitamin D, but that’s about it. A good recovery drink will have lots of vitamins and minerals as well as L-Aginine (promotes production of human growth hormone) and L-Glutamine (blocks cortisol and promotes muscle growth). It also contains a small amount of creatine (helps to supply energy to muscle and nerve cells). A protein shake is not a recovery drink either. They serve completely different purposes. Now you don’t need a recovery drink after every workout. You should only have one after your strength training workouts and Plyometrics. If you’ve really “brought it” during KenpoX you can have one then as well. Make sure you take it as soon as possible after your workout is complete (typically after Ab Ripper X). If you are trying to lose body fat you can reduce the serving to one scoop. This will save you money and calories and give you most of the benefits of the full serving. You can still get great results on the P90X program without buying the P90X Results and Recovery drink, but you need to have some sort of recovery drink.

6. Stay off the scale.

Put the scale away for the next 90 days. I mean it. The scale only tells part of the story and can be very misleading. During the next 90 days you are going to be burning fat, building muscle, retaining water, shedding water, and all of these things will lead to yo-yoing numbers on the scale. It is virtually impossible to gain (or lose) five pounds of fat in two days, but the scale will tell you that you are five pounds heavier or lighter. A better measure of progress is how your clothes are fitting. You can also take measurements with a tape measure and check your body fat percentage using calipers. But really you should only do this once every 30 days. You can (and should) take pictures every 30 days. They will definitely tell a different story to what you see in the mirror every day.

7. Avoid processed food.

The food you eat doesn’t have to be expensive and you don’t have to shop at Whole Foods to eat well. Yes it will cost more than the processed junk you have been buying, but you don’t have to eat steak or salmon every night. The menu plan in the nutrition guide is there to show you what you should be eating. Try some of the recipes but know that most people follow the portion plan. A good rule of thumb is to shop the periphery of your grocery store and stay out of the middle aisles (that’s where most of the processed junk resides).

8. If you want success you have to plan.

Plan your menus a week in advance (or at least three days). Get to the store and get the items you need, especially snacks. Don’t wait until you are hungry or temptation will win out and you’ll reach for the junk. You also need to plan your workouts. This part isn’t that hard since the P90X calendar tells you what to do on which days. But you need to set the time of day that you are going to do your workout and then NOTHING should take precedence. (OK, I know life happens, but the season premier of American Idol or Lost does not constitute an overriding emergency).

9. Don't miss workouts.

Travel for work or vacation is no excuse for not working out. If you have a laptop most likely it can play DVDs. Get some resistance bands (the B-Line bands are the best) and a door attachment so you can do pull downs in place of pull ups. Better yet order the Power Up Chin-UP from (tip they sell the B-Line bands as well). These handles fit over any door and allow you to do pull ups anywhere you go. They weigh a grand total of one pound. If you have room in your suitcase you can put in a yoga mat and block. Otherwise just use a hotel towel.

10. Do not substitute or skip workouts you don't like.

No you can’t substitute one or more workouts for another. Well actually you can. I mean it’s your program; you can do whatever you want. But you’ll really be compromising your results. CardioX is not a substitute for YogaX (even though it has a few yoga moves). Tony considers Yoga the fountain of youth and the most important workout in the P90X program. It provides strength and flexibility and it identifies your weak spots. The first time you do YogaX you are going to wonder what in the world is going on. It’s hard! Keep trying; you’ll get better at it. It may not become your favorite workout, but then again it might.

11. Be kind to yourself.

No one is perfect. You are going to make mistakes and bad choices during the 90 days of the program. Don't let a slip up derail you from the program. Resolve to do better and move on. While a round of P90X lasts 90 days hopefully you are making a lifetime change and you will continue to eat a healthy diet and exercise 5 to 6 days a week for the rest of your life.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Primal Experiment

What is The Primal Experiment? Well on January 1st, 2009 I took Mark Sisson's Primal Challenge. I've created this blog to talk about my ongoing experience.

The biggest step in the Primal Challenge (at least for me) was cutting out grains from my diet. I've always loved bread in just about any form. I've also loved cereal, rice, and starchy foods so this has been no small undertaking. I'm now nearly three weeks into the challenge and I have to say it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. I have stumbled a few times along the way (blueberry pancakes at IHOP!) but I figure following the Primal Blueprint 90% of the time is better than nothing.

I'll also be blogging about my exercise experience. In January of 2008 I started doing P90X. Its been over a year now and I've completed two full rounds and one partial round (interrupted by varicose vein surgery on my leg in August). I'm now in my third round of P90X and I've added some workouts from the P90X+ and Tony Horton One on One DVD series. I'm also working to incorporate some "primal" exercises into my routine and I'll be talking about my successes (and failures) with some of those.

So who am I? Well my name is Dave Fish. I'm 46 years old and am married with four children. I've had a longtime interest in strength training but like a lot of Americans I found myself overweight and lacking in energy. In the past year I have lost 37 pounds and nearly six inches off my waist using the P90X home exercise program. My progress started to stall in November and I started looking for ways to get it going again. A few months ago I came across Mark's website and his arguments for living a Primal Blueprint lifestyle made a lot of sense. I decided that I would shave my head and drink the Kool-Aid and give it a try in 2009. (I'll write more about the Primal Blueprint in an upcoming entry).

Finally I would like to share some of the knowledge I've gained in the areas of fitness and nutrition over the years. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and I'll do my best to answer them or point you to a resource that can.

Thanks for reading and I hope you find it entertaining and informative.