Round 10, P90X3, Days 57 – 63: Fecund

pollenThe word of the week has been: Fecund.

Spring is literally in the air here in Atlanta. The air is just full of pollen wafting about and settling on everything. Its effect on me is that it makes me very tired. Its effect on tennis play is that it’s easier to make line calls.

I was moving very well this week on the tennis court. One of my opponents joked that he was going to require me to pee in a cup after the match because I was getting to all the balls. Also, I was feeling pretty confident about my general ability to put the ball in the desired location I was aiming. That, plus we won the match.

I’m now in the third third of the P90X3 program. I remain a fan of the workouts and the results. I’m considering just doing a second round of X3 when I finish this one.

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Round 10, P90X3, Days 50 – 56: A Little More Better

sat-improving-paragraphsThis was the last week of P90X3′s Block 2 and an opportunity to revisit some routines that were last performed at the end of the first block of the program.

To be perfectly honest, my mood has been vacillating each day in this second block as I monitor my weight, results and how I’m feeling physically.

My weight, which was 155 lbs. when I started this round, remains at 155 lbs. OK, I realize that 155 lbs is thin for a 6 footer, Yet my body continues to cherish that gooey blob in my belly. And throughout this round, I’ve weighed in at 155 lbs +/- 1 lb regardless of diet, or added in caloric burn from tennis and hiking/trail running. So, I’ve been feeling frustrated at my inability to effect change, say get down to 150 lbs. Something I assumed would be very easy.

Yet these Recovery weeks at the end of each block offer the opportunity to assess changes that come over the course of weeks. While my weight has been constant, I have definitely realized gains.

In Isometrix, the routine of static yoga poses that had me tumbling and stumbling in my first attempt, I was able to do all the moves very well, with good stability. Even Pilates, now having completed my second go at it, went much , much better. I have experienced good gains in mobility and flexibility. On the tennis court and while hiking I also have a more explosive step when advancing.

The Yoga, for me continues to be too frenetic and short in duration. But I think I’ve come up with a good solution. Throughout this round, I’ve been continuing to do the Tai Cheng Neural Reboot 4 stretching sequence at least twice a week. (I’m getting better, and closer to my goal of being able to do a full split.) Anyway, my Yoga solution is simply to add in this reboot sequence to the end of the Yoga session. It successively resolves the remaining kinks the yoga fails to address in the 30 minutes. And it reminds me to keep my posture straight.

I also had the chance to do the CVX routine for the last time this round. This is the cardio routine that incorporates weights into the moves. The last several times, I’ve been lifting a 10 lb med ball. So, this being the last session of CVX, I loaded up with a 12 lb med ball. That was very difficult for me, just those 2 extra pounds over the course of 30 minutes. I was able to stay with the 12 lb ball throughout with decent form, though at a slightly slower pace.  Even though my arms no longer worked by the end, I was happy.

Now I’m into the final Block 3, which introduces a couple of new routines to keep things interesting. Looking forward to seeing what they’re about.

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Round 10, P90X3, Days 44 – 49: Righting Wrongs & Setting Things Straight

jackAs I power through the P90X3 routines each day, I listen and laugh at Tony Horton’s banter. His stupid sense of humor helps me keep things in perspective. But today, during the MMX warm up sequence,  something was said that I feel compelled to correct.

When we’re warming up, doing Jumping Jacks, Tony Horton states that they are named after none other than Jack LaLanne. Now I don’t want to start some kind of epic battle with Mr. Horton by calling him a liar in this public, worldwide forum. Yet it would be a disservice to you, my loyal readership, to let this total, complete falsehood go unchallenged.

In fact, Jumping Jacks are not named after Jack LaLanne. This is an urban legend, promulgated by lying fitness professionals who use their media soapbox to lie to their customers. And the customers, typically, are so invested in the effort of just trying to survive the routine that they lack the intellectual resources to question the lies being laid at their feet.

The truth is that Jumping Jacks are named after the traditional toy of the same name (source: So, shame on you, Tony Horton. Shame on you for abusing your stature in the home fitness industry to so mislead us, your slavish sycophants.

250px-Triangle_001But the deception doesn’t end there, no. The whole Jumping Jack incident got me questioning other things I had merely been taking for granted. Another lie comes in the naming of the so-called “Tony’s Triangle.” We are lead to believe that this leg routine is named after Tony Horton. But a little digging on the internet again reveals a truth that is far different. In fact, Tony’s Triangle is named after the famed Antonio Stradivari (1644–1737) who, in the 16th century, invented the triangular shaped musical instrument on a lark to get out of a bar tab. The instrument, originally called “Antonio’s Triangolo,” was later anglicized to “Tony’s Triangle.” Horton had nothing to do with it.

It was about this same time last year when I uncovered the P90X Legs & Back Sneaky Lunge controversy. At the time, I assumed no malicious intent on Tony’s part. But now, with these other inconsistencies, I’m sensing a pattern. And it’s not a good one.

Milestone: I’m now half way done with this P90X3 round. I can only imagine what other lies await my discovery.

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Round 10, P90X3, Days 39 – 43: It Smells Like… Victory!

apocalypsenow-kilgoreSo even though I haven’t been feeling my best, I’ve been slogging through the past several days, just keeping at it. And then something happened.

I played tennis.

And we won!

This is good because since the onset of my tennis elbow about a year ago, what very minimal play I had was severely compromised by my hesitation and ability to fully use my arm. Well I used it this past weekend and, while it’s a bit achy, it didn’t hurt at all during play. The only issue, really, was just my incompetence from lack of play and practice while going through this incredibly slow healing process. And it’s good we won, because for the past year my focus hadn’t been on winning. It was entirely in assessing my arm’s ability to survive a match. So this weekend’s win was about figuring out mentally how to win when not playing particularly well. So, it was a good start to the Spring Men’s doubles ALTA season.

With P90X3, I’ve been increasing my weights. Just minor increases have a major impact with these repetitive sequences. Pull ups–especially those slow eccentric negatives–remain weak, but I am feeling the benefit.

And I hit a milestone yesterday: for the first time ever in an MMX (and I can also include Kenpo X in this) routine, I punched myself in the side of my head. Fortunately, my punch lacked any significant wallop. But it was somewhat chastening.


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Round 10, P90X3, Days 31 – 38: I’m Feelin’ Mighty Low

mighty-lowI’ve been dutifully pushing “play,” in this second block of P90X3. But since Sunday, I’ve been feeling very weak and tired and drained.

I attribute this to adding two, 5 mile fast hike/trail runs into my weekend activity. And not eating enough to offset the additional burn.

So even though these workout routines are only 30 minutes long, you can still apply yourself and experience the cumulative effect of the consecutive days and weeks of activity. During Eccentric Upper, in particular, I was definitely wanting in ability. But today was Yoga, and so I’m starting to come back to life.

Weakness aside, I’m really enjoying this second block of P90X3. We’re lifting weights again, something that has been missing from my life for far too long. And the Eccentric Lower and Triometrics routines should be very good for Tennis movement.

Tennis practice tonight, if it doesn’t rain. It will be a good opportunity to test my elbow and rediscover my range.

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Round 10, P90X3, Days 26 – 30: Feeling Kinky

block2Milestone: Into Block 2, and one-third done with this round.

For the past several days I’ve been feeling a bit kinky. Specifically, in my neck. I’m not exactly sure what brought it on. Probably going into plow pose too quickly. Over the weekend, I did some extra foam rolling of my T-Spine, which has helped. It’s almost fully resolved.

We also experienced some terrific weather over the weekend, so I took advantage and each day went on a fast 5.5 mile hike, with some jogging, down by the river. It was good to get out and move with pace.

Because of all the walking, I again switched out my rest Dynamix routine in favor of the Tai Cheng Neural Reboot 4. This does a much better job for me facilitating recovery for tight legs. Plus, I had that kink in the neck.

This week I started the second block of P90X3 and a series of new routines. Eccentric Upper was a good upper body workout, where you extend the muscles slowly and then quickly contract. I kept the weights fairly low as I learned the moves. I was really humbled on the various pull ups where you go negative on a three count and then pull up for ten reps. I wasn’t able to get to ten reps on several of the pull ups moves. But the routine was very effective: I am feeling it today.

So I was still quite achy as I started up today’s Triometrics routine. It’s a plyo workout, where each move has three progressively more difficult versions. I enjoyed this one, and thought the instructions helped me better with my form than some of the other P90X3 routines I’ve done so far.

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Round 10, P90X3, Days 24 & 25: Accelerator & Pilates

pretzelOK. It’s official. I suck at Pilates. Pilates is hard. I thought I would be good at it because I’m pretty good at yoga. And because my core is strong from doing all these routines. I wasn’t. It was ugly in the house today.

But it wasn’t entirely my fault.

Yes, I was humbled by my apparent lack of flexibility. But in my defense, the P90X3 Pilates routine goes at a very rapid pace, with little prior instruction. Just to get the breathing right, I think, would require multiple iterations of this routine. Unfortunately, Pilates doesn’t show up very often in my “classic” schedule. I like a challenge, though, and I’ll probably incorporate it a few more times than scheduled to achieve some level of competence.

Yesterday’s “Accelerator” routine was the closest I’ve seen a Tony Horton session get to something approaching Insanity. Close, but not quite. Still, it was a good 30 minutes of cardio. I’m enjoying the diversity of the workouts so far with P90X3.

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Round 10, P90X3, Days 20 – 23: Wait. What?

Calories-in-Banana“Don’t put Banana and Hammock in the same sentence”–Tony Horton

Somehow, during the end of the Dynamix routine, this comes up. And let me just say, it’s hard to hold a banana pose when laughing.

I’m now into the fourth week of P90X3. It’s a recovery week, and with it I have the opportunity to be exposed to some new routines. Yesterday’s Isometrix was basically a half hour of static yoga poses, each held for 45 seconds. In general, I performed well. Although closing my eyes on one of the poses proved surprisingly challenging at first. Not the closing of the eyes–that was easy. It was the maintaining the balance pose with the eyes closed that was a bit problematic at first. It was interesting how my mind’s eye thought I was falling out of balance. I had to clear my mind (which many would agree doesn’t take much effort for me) and then all was good with the eyes closed balance pose.

Isometrix was a pretty decent routine. I see that, as with Pilates, it only shows up three times in the 90 day calendar. I may substitute with some of the multiple Dynamix routines. Gripping stuff, I know.

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Round 10, P90X3, Days 16 – 19: Gaining

GainNo, I’m not gaining weight. I’m getting back some of my upper body strength. As in: I can now bench press not one, but two, cats!

As I’ve been going through this third week of P90X3, I’m finding everything is proceeding much mo’ betta.

Even the cardio yoga wasn’t as annoying. I guess it’s because I’m more familiar with the sequence. I did that one-legged “Ted’s Chair” pose with ease.

But, more importantly, with yesterday’s “the Challenge,” I found myself: 1) looking forward to it and 2) increasing my reps. I was feeling good.

With today’s CVX, I continued to use a 10 lb med ball on all the weighted moves. This is a much needed routine for be. I know because my shoulders burn, repeatedly hoisting that ball over the 30 minute session.

And now, I’m heading out to do a 5.5 mile fast hike down by the river. It’s beautiful out there: 65 degrees and sunny. Gotta go seize it.


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Round 10, P90X3, Days 12 – 15: I Hate Having to Repeat Myself

orderYesterday, after losing my mixed doubles tennis match with particularly uninspired play, I was wallowing in my misery with teammates and neighbors as we watched the remaining matches. As I took a sip of the tepid, tasteless beer on that dreary day, one of my teammates (apparently one of the very few that does not subscribe to this blog) asked if I was still doing that P90X “stuff.”

I took a breath, and counted backwards from 10. I hate having to repeat myself. And everything I have to say on the matter is painfully detailed here in this blog. But it was a social situation, so I replied, that yes, I continue to do it and am now in what is the third iteration of P90X: the aptly named P90X3 program.

Then I made some joke about if they had to ask, then it obviously wasn’t working. And that, in fact, Beachbody–the company behind P90X and all these routines I’ve been doing–had filed an injunction against me and this blog ordering me not to publicly acknowledge that I’m doing–or have done–any of their workout programs. Apparently, the fact that I’m doing and have done these programs is damping their sales. When people see me they just think “well, this P90X thing is surely a total waste of time.” Hey, you shoulda seen me before, was my weak protest. But to no avail.

So, now I’m not sure what to do. Another workout program? Not as easy as it sounds. Crossfit has me on a monthly retainer to stay away from any association with their program. And that contract goes for another four years with an auto renewal clause.

I filed an appeal and got a temporary stay, allowing me to continue this blog, wear my P90X3 hat and discuss yoga at cocktail parties. Hopefully, I’ll prevail.

Meanwhile, I’m pressing on. I started week 3 today. I increased my med ball in CVX last week to a 10 pounder. On Sunday, prior to my shitty tennis play, I opted for a Tai Cheng Neural Reboot session over Dynamix. This was a good decision, regardless of the tennis outcome. And with today’s Total Synergistics, I also amped it up a bit with slightly higher weights.

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