Halfway to INSANITY!

I'm two workouts away from the midpoint of Insanity.  It's been a busy few weeks since my last post so just wanted to provide an update...

Went on vacation last week with my family and some friends of ours.  We all stayed with my sister-in-law.  The interesting thing is, in addition to myself, the husband and wife of the other couple are also doing Insanity (they're actually responsible for getting me into this mess!)  My wife thinks all three of us are crazy. 

So in addition to having to establish a bathroom schedule for 5 adults and 4 kids, we also had to establish a schedule for Insanity workouts in my SIL's basement since we are each on different weeks of the program.  Without fail though, I was up by 7 in the morning and working out by 8 for the three days we were there. 

Saturday, I was back at home and had to come into work early and run a few errands.  The combination of vacation and going to work early (and on Saturday) had me drained.  I took a two hour nap with the expectation that I would pop up and be ready to get my last workout of the fourth week in.  But I just couldn't get my mojo.  I even drank a cup of coffee (which is odd for me at 5 in the evening) but my body just wasn't ready.  But as the evening went on, I KNEW I had to get up and get going!  Once I put "Plyo Cardio Circuit" in and started warming up, I became a man possessed!  I completed the warmup like never before and made it through more of the workout than I had in the past.  Week 4 was officially complete... with a bang!

Fast forward to week 5 which is the "Recovery Week".  While it is a lighter week than the 4 previous weeks, there's still plenty of sweating.  This week is VBS at our church, I have volunteered for support 2 days of the week so I am going to have to get creative to get the workouts in because it's not over until 9.  By the time I get the kids home and get them in bed, it'll be late but that's ok, I'll just have to deal with LATE NIGHT INSANITY!

Motivation for MY INSANITY!!!

I have managed to make it through 2 1/2 weeks of INSANITY. I cannot lie, it has not been easy. But then again, if losing fat was easy, we'd all be skinny wouldn't we?

 My lovely wife is fully supporing me from cheering me on (despite thinking people who do INSANITY are INSANE) to keeping the kids occupied while I jump around in the family room in front of the TV for 45 minutes a day. The compliments she gives motivate me to keep going day after day.

I typically work out in the evening after work or after the kids go to bed and sometimes I feel like I just have nothing left in the tank. But keeping these loving comments and actions from my wife in the back of my head help me to put that DVD in and start working out. I have frequently started with the mindset that, "if I'm not into it or just too tired, I'll just stop" but I have yet to stop until the torture, I mean, workout is over!

But in addition to those compliments from my wife are several other reasons I get up off of the couch and "go to work"...

1) The comments many of you leave on MFP when I complete a workout. Even the "WTGs" and "Great Jobs" serve a great purpose!

2) The "likes" on Facebook when I complete a workout. (I have my MFP account setup to update my FB account with MFP updates.)

3) The messages that say, "How are you doing on INSANITY?" via MFP or FB

4) Those that see me in person and ask how I'm doing with the program.

And last but not least, the biggest motivation to "DIG DEEP" when I don't feel like it is...

5) When someone says I have motivated them to start working out in some capacity. It doesn't have to be INSANITY. It can be walking around the neighborhood or taking a class a couple of days a week but they have decided to do SOMETHING.

So what can you take a way from this??? You can do like I did. Tell as many people you come across that you are making a commitment to do something and be specific about it. Post your updates to MFP and link your MFP updates to FB so your friends can check on you.

If your FB friends get tired of seeing your updates and ask you why you always post those updates, tell them them your motivations!

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After a Week of INSANITY, It's Contagious!

Today starts the second week of my INSANITY.  Week 1 flew by without thinking twice.  A couple of observations I've made during my first week:

1) You do not have to keep up with the people in the DVD.  Go at your own pace.  They may be "up" and you may be just going "down" but take your time to complete the exercises.  Afterall, you don't just go out a run 2 miles, you work your way up to it.

2) INSANITY was originally named "The Beachbody DNA Retreiveal Workout" due to the massive amounts of sweat that pour off of your body I'm considering buying some kind of mat that I can put down on the floor because my wife will eventually get tired of me using the family room carpet as my own personal towel.

3)  "This &@#$ is bananas!" Hey they're not my words!  I'm just saying what was said.  Now I do agree....

4) It's easier to get up off of the couch when you a) have people stopping by your page to comment or b) clicking "like" on Facebook when you post that you've completed another workout, or c) can call on a friend who knows what you are trying to achieve to say just what you need to hear to get up and get going.

5) You need a warm up for the warm up.  The INSANITY warmup is crazy.  The first time I did the warmup, I was ready to unlace my shoes when we finished and then he said, "We'll stretch and then we'll go to work."  I'm sure I wasn't the first one to utter unkind words after that statement.

6) The actual INSANITY workout is short, but intense. It's like running 2 miles at a sprint. Most of the workouts have averaged about 40 minutes as a whole but you warm up for about 10-15 minutes, stretch for about 5, and cooldown/stretch at the end for about 5 minutes.

These are just a few things that come to my mind right now.  I'll share more in coming 8 weeks.

This is the first day I have done INSANITY while my family was home.  Normally, I would get home early, change clothes and get it in before they came home or time for me to pick the kids up but as luck would have it, I didn't get home in time from work and had to go right back out to pick up the kids from summer camp.  

I had made it clear to my daughters that the family room TV was mine tonight!  They could go upstairs and watch TV but I had working out to do.  To my surpise, my 10 year old says, "Daddy, I want to work out with you tonight."  I figured she'd workout for a little bit, lose interest and go on about her business but she stuck it out with me doing "Cardio Power & Resistance" for the entire time!  All through the workout, although I didn't much breath left, I managed to keep encouraging her.  There were times where she did stop but she got right back to it and we finished the race together.  Not only did she make me proud of her, but unknown to her, she pushed me to keep going at times when I wanted to stop.  That's not to say I didn't stop at all but I stopped less than the last time I did CP&R.

After I gave her a high-five for sticking it out, I made her her own protein smoothie.  As we're sitting there sipping our post-workout refreshment, she says, "Daddy, what are we doing tomorrow?"

That's right my oldest daughter is now suffering from INSANITY like her dad.

 Tomorrow is "Pure Cardio".  She thought today was bad? You'll have to come back again to find out what she thought of the non-stop mayhem fest known as "Pure Cardio."

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My Understanding of INSANITY!!!

Yesterday was day 3 - "Cardio Power & Resistance".  In a nutshell, you're doing multiple rounds of 2-3 circuits of bodyweight exercises with minimal rest between exercises.  Now when I previewed "Cardio Power & Resistance" yesterday morning, it didn't look that bad.  I would have had no problem dropping down to the floor and giving you pushups or doing bodyweight squats if I went from sitting in a chair to executing those exercises.  However, when you're already panting heavily from the warmup alone (there should actually be a warmup to the warmup), it gets to be a bit more difficult!

Determined not to just stop completely, I chose to modify many of the exercises by the second circuit.  So instead of squatting and exploding into the air and leaving my feet, I just squatted and stood back up. Instead of doing "moving pushups", I just did standard pushups at a much slower pace but I didn't stop.  Truth be told, I still burned 600 calories even though I went at a much slower pace and modified many of the moves.  Burning calories is good!  So is not having a heart attack from trying to keep up with the people in the DVD which coincidentally, also took breaks before time was up!

If you're considering starting INSANITY or any DVD workout, you have to do like I did and understand that you aren't going to look like the people in the DVD on the first week (or second, third, or fourth for that matter).  You may not have the stamina to endure the full circuit nor the gracefulness to look as good as them (for this reason, I'm glad I was home alone) so you have to check your ego before you push play.

Today is supposed to be a light day. It is "Cardio Recovery".  However, I approach this day with apprehension since the warmup is intense enough to require a warmup.  It's not like the warmup in P90X where you're doing arm circles, chest stretches, tricep stretches... Oh no, the INSANITY warmup is like running 1/2  mile and then saying, "OK, now let's really get to work!"

Tune in tomorrow to see if "Cardio Recovery" should be renamed to something else!

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Experiencing INSANITY on a Daily Basis...

I've resolved to completing all 60 days of the INSANITY workouts.  I originally started on Monday with the intent of doing 3 days of strength training and 3 days of INSANITY because of the fear of losing the muscle I have since INSANITY is pretty much cardio.  However, being the Excel geek that I am, I did a quick spreadsheet to get an idea of how much muscle I would lose assuming 80% of my loss comes from fat and found that a very small percentage would be muscle loss.

So enter day 1....

First was the Fit Test.  I found that I am NOT fit!  I really didn't need a DVD to tell me that but now I am fully aware of how far I am from fit.  The Fit Test is about 30 minutes and is to be done every two weeks and record results to see your progress.  Truth be told, the Fit Test could serve as a workout in itself.  However, there are several other workouts to keep me busy so I won't be doing any extra workouts anytime soon.

Then there was day 2...

Day 2 was supposed to be Tuesday but my hankerin' for lifting weights found me in the gym.  I couldn't help myself.  So day 2 was actually a day late.  This was "Plyo Cardio Circuit".  Forty minutes of rapid bodyweight squats, football drills, ski jumps, and other exercises that caused me to stop and stare at the TV as if to say, "You want me to do what?".  I also found myself stopping several times to catch my breath and wipe the sweat out of my eyes.  I've never been one for headbands or bandannas tied around my head but I may have to invest in a few because the amount of sweat was ridiculous. 

I did make it to the end and actually enjoyed it in an "I know I am going to look and feel better in 60 days" kind of way.  As for weight training, I'm going to at least finish up this week and see how my body feels to determine how much (I still have to get my fix) weight training I can do and still give it my all for INSANITY!!! 

 Today is day 3 -- Cardio Power & ResistanceResistance?  Maybe this is where I get some strength training???  Tune in tomorrow to find out!

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Eat More to Lose: A Study!

For as long as I can remember, I have been doing my best to shed the fat.  I have really busted my behind in the gym.  Endless cardio sessions and going 110% with weights.  Now while my diet hasn't been "Prep to step on stage" worthy, it hasn't been "cakes and pies" either so I've come to the conclusion that it has to be my diet!

So I've finally decided to increase my calories.  For as long as I can remember, I've eaten around 2000 calories using Katch-McKardle (assuming no exercise and then adding in my exercise calories as I go).  I'm bumping it up to 2700 calories (using Katch-McKardle and using an activity factor for working out 3-5 days per week) in hopes of jump starting my metabolism. I weighed in last Friday and won't step on the scale for two weeks.  While I am curious to see when the changes occur by checking my weight daily, I tend to fall off the wagon when I don't get the results I want. 

I've read so many times of people who have lost by eating more.  I plan to either prove or disprove that logic.  The way I see it, if I continue to workout 3-5 days a week and utilize good nutritional sense for 80% of my 42 meals each week, I should see, if nothing else, an increase in muscle.  To be sure, I'll re-check my measurements and re-calculate my body fat before I check my weight.

 I am my own guinea pig!

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It's Not All About the Calories Anymore

Week 3 of P90x. Not doing it at home nor doing the official program. I may do lat pull downs or inverted rows instead of pull ups. I may run instead of plyo. But I do work hard each and every time I work out.  I often have to sit on the floor against the wall right where I finish working out to get the energy to change clothes and go home.  Yes I said go home.  I like to do my workouts in the gym when possible. The kids are gone for a couple of days so time is not as demanding because I don't have to pick them up from school and there's no homework to help with.

My goal is to complete 12 weeks of P90X but more of the intensity and duration than the exact exercises.  At the end of the 12 weeks, I hope to have lost inches around my waist.  Truth be told, I really want to lose about 20 lbs through this first round.  I know it's not good to let the scale be my gauge but sometimes you just want that instant gratification that you are on the right track.

Today was shoulders and arms. I did most of the program as specified today but I did do DB lat raises and preacher curls instead of 2 angle shoulder flyes and Cohen curls. Didn't do abs though. I haven't done Ab ripper X yet but i do normally do a circuit of abs. Maybe not the 300 and something but i usually get in at least 2 circuits of 100. 

My BP has been high and that scares the hell out of me! I don't want to take meds so my options are to change my diet (I already exercise). Tuesday, I had 5,000 mg of sodium.  Funny thing is, I barely exceeded my calorie goal.  So i've reduced my planned mg of sodium down to 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Since I've noticed how much sodium is in foods I eat, I've started planning better and eating less salt. I had no idea 2/3 cup of liquid egg whites has 250 mg of sodium. As much as I hate to waste an egg yolk, I'll be buying eggs in bulk since there's no sodium in regular eggs!  And don't get me started on eating out!  Subway is full of sodium. Chick Fil A too!  One thousand mg for a dang grilled chicken sandwich! I thought I had been doing good by going to CFA and Subway but i may have been doing more harm than good. 

Yesterday and today have been pretty good though. Worst part of the day today was going to a Mexican restaurant and eating a soft chicken taco and chicken burrito (both without cheese) and maybe 6 chips. It's a good day when the worst thing in your diet is the amount of sodium in the chicken and tortilla shells!

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Vacation is No Excuse Not to Work Out!

Had a great vacation in Atlanta!  Even though we left Friday, I had to get a quick chest/shoulder/tricep workout in before we left.  I mean what excuse did I have not to workout on my day off? 

Saturday, ran the 5K.  Much to my surprise, I was a lot faster than the one time I ran 3 miles in preparation for it.  Especially if you consider we ran down several hills and back up the same hills.  My one training session was on flat, level ground.  My bubble was quickly popped when I found out that the course was shortened due to complaints from passersby about traffic being blocked.  Apparently, the walkers were taking longer than anticipated and the streets would have to be closed too long so they made all of us cut it short.  But it was still a good run!

Monday, woke up and found an LA Fitness where I could get a workout in and stay on my Mon, Wed, Fri schedule.  It was worth the $5 fee. 

As a sidenote, this gym did have clocks with second hands that work but still no 35 lb. plates (see previous blog).

From a diet perspective, I managed to do pretty well.  My vacation wasn't all egg whites, chicken breast and veggies but it wasn't an endless buffet of nachos, chicken wings, and pizza either. However, I did treat myself to a hamburger and baked sweet potato with salad on Sunday at a steakhouse without regret.  After all, I danced with my wife Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and ran a 5K (or portion thereof) on Saturday.

I refuse to beat myself up anymore because I stray off the beaten path.  I just have to make sure I minimize the straying and when I do stray, get right back on to continue my journey!

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My Random Questions on my New Gym

Last year, the gym that I have gone to for a number of years closed its doors without prior notice to anyone, not even the trainers.  However, before they closed, they transferred my membership to a national chain that has more equipment and a more amenities (I got over the "they didn't even tell me" real fast!).

So as I continue my quest for better health at my new gym, a couple of things have crossed my mind:

1) Why doesn't the second hand work on any of the clocks in the free weight area?  I'm shooting to keep rest to no more than 45 seconds between sets but the second hand on all the clocks just has this tick where it moves forward a second and immediately back a second.  I suppose I could count the total ticks to get my 45 seconds...

2) Why are there no 35 pound plates in the gym???  I don't know what exercise I was doing but I took a 25 lb. plate off of the bar and went to look for a 35 lb. weight to put on.  I spent 20 minutes looking around the gym for a 35 lb. plate.  One thing I like about this new gym is there are "plates o' plenty" in the free weight area.  Whatever apparatus you are using, you don't have to take more than 2-3 steps to find a weight tree stocked with rubber coated, handle-having plates.  Now that is sweet!  No walking across the gym because the guy next to you has eight of they gym's sixteen 45 lb. plates on the bar. 

I suppose I understand the logic though.  I could just add a 10 lb. plate to the 25 to get 35 but it got me to thinkin'... Why have 45 lb plates then?  Should I ever reach the levels of benching 315 lbs. (not that that is my goal, but I'm just sayin'), why not just grab ten 25 lb. plates and two 10 lb plates?

Again, these are just my random questions about my new gym!


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Number of sets and reps to lose fat???

Looking through old M&F mags for a new program to start tomorrow.  Considering one that has 5 sets at reps of 6, 6, 6, 10, 12, 12 for most exercises.  Assuming I have a caloric deficit and doing at least 3 days of cardio, will this lead me to fat loss?  

Like to know your thoughts.... 

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Dusting Off and Old One


I was able to get my workout it tonight after my wife got her workout in.  It's 2230 and I'm shooting to get in bed in the next 30 minutes.  I dusted off an old book I had Abs Diet last night and decided to do a circuit workout.  By today, I had second thoughts because I didn't have the energy but I figured I'd give what I had.

core circuit (2X)

crunch on exercise ball

roman chair knee raise

russian twist with 25 lb plate

back extension

bridge 2@30 sec 

abs diet circuit (3X through)

db squat

db bench press

lat pd

db shoulder press

db upright row 

cable tri pd

leg extension

db curl

seated leg curl

I was able to keep the rest to a minimum between exercises although for a minute, I thought I was going to do a mad dash to the nearest trash can do a single rep of an involuntary reverse thrust.  However, the urge passed and I finished all three circuits.  

I was trying to go low carb today (<125 g of carbs) and did pretty good.  I ended up at about 180 g with the chocolate milk post-workout. 

Tomorrow is an hour of really low intensity cardio.  I think I'll use the bike tomorrow to get re-acquainted with it.  This would be a good day to catch up on my reading.

More later... 

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Some Progress

My daughters came home yesterday after two weeks of vacation.  All together, they've been out of school for 6 weeks.  For 4 of them, they've been travelling which leaves us at home.  Had plenty of time to workout in their absence.  Even got in a little gym time with my wife.  So yesterday, I skipped the gym.  I spent the day with my girls since I hadn't seen them in two weeks and school started today.

I actually got to bed before 11 last night with the expectation of getting up, having my study time, and going to the gym.  Clock went off at 4, I turned it off and went back to bed.  Finally got up at 5.  Spent my time doing my quiet study but never made it to the gym this morning.  To some, that may be a setback but seeing how I normally put my quiet study off for going to the gym (and it sometimes doesn't get done), I'd say I made tremendous progress today.  Now I just have to get up a little early to get my workouts in.

My wife's time to go to the gym is this evening and I want to be in bed by 10 tonight so may not make it tonight with such a small window.  I'm gonna try but if I don't, I've got a whole lotta pullin' to do in three days to make up for the missed days.

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Keep it Within the Limits!

Goal today was to complete 50 minutes of cardio and keep my heart rate between 113 and 129 bpm.  That was hard to do.  I normally keep my HR in the mid 140's to the mid 150's but I have to follow the plan.  Now a few years ago, I would be struggling to keep it up as high as 129.  Today, was just the opposite.

 But I'll stick with the plan and see what happens.

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1 for You and 2 for Me

The only thing that is consistent in my life is change!  I left work with the full expectation of hitting the gym early enough to finish my workout and help my wife with the program I put together for her.  However, a couple of things came up before I could get there (consult Mom on buying a new car).  But I was determined to get to the gym. 

Eventually, I made it to the gym the same time as my wife.  I walked her through a full body workout for about 30 minutes using the machines in the gym. For now, I think the machines will get her re-acquainted with working out again.  We'll gradually phase in free weights.  I also did the same workout along with her to show her the form and the range of motion on the exercises. She would do a set, I would do a set and so on throughout the workout. 

All exercises were 3 sets of 15 on machines:

Seated Leg Curl

Chest Press

Seated Row

Side Lat Raise

Bicep Curls

Tricep Extensions

This left her 30 minutes to get her cardio in.  I complimented her on her effort and sent her off to the elliptical.  And if left me time for another full body workout!

All exercises were 3 sets of 12-15:

Pushup on BOSU Ball

Single leg SLDL ss/ with shoulder presses

Reverse Grip Pull up ss/ with One Arm Tri Cable Extensions

Reverse curl with olympic bar

At this point, I was pretty much exhausted since I worked at a faster pace to prevent getting kicked out of the gym mid workout due to closing.  We actually managed to finish about the same time so everything worked out. 

We've got about 4 more days before the girls come back home from vacation with my SIL.  Hopefully, we can get one more full body workout in before then so she can fly solo.

Make it a great one!

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Stepping out of Her Comfort Zone

Well day 2 of my journey comes to a close.  Not a bad day if I say so myself. Tonight was the first hour long cardio session.  Tonight's equipment of choice was the trusty treadmill.  After a warm up of 5 minutes, I walked for 2 minutes keeping my HR in the 109-113 range and then for 1 minute in the 113-129 range.  Repeat 16 times and cool down.  

About 1/2 way through my stroll, my wife came in to do her cardio.  I had let her know that I would be there and I had put together a workout that she could do (see earlier blog entitled, "Rant" ARE YOU KIDDING ME?";) that would take her about 30 minutes 3 times a week.  I am no personal trainer but I figure I can at least show her which machines to use to get a good workout.

I spent about 20 minutes just walking her through various exercises for the whole body.  I also showed her alternate exercises in case a particular machine is busy. As she worked out, the guy who works at the gym every night (whose name I still don't know but he has managed to learn everyone's name that comes through the door by his third time seeing them) stopped to cheer her on!  "Way to go" he said.  I also encouraged her at the completion of each exercise.

As far as the gym she was excited about, I'm not going to ask her what she has decided.  The special ends next Wednesday.  If she decides to join, I will support her and cheer her on.  Either way, she is stepping out of her comfort zone (cardio only) and I applaud her for that.  

 Til tomorrow...

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