Round 15: The Beast in Me


Was Gaston modeled after P90X star Tony Horton?

If not for the beast within us we would be castrated angels.
~Herman Hesse

I’m now into week 4 of this round and it’s something of a recovery week, which is appreciated. Yesterday, while swinging my kettlebell, I had to drop down to a lighter bell earlier than I’d hoped. I was just so sore and completely out of gas. Why? Well, two days prior, I’d done the P90X3 routine called “The Challenge.” It’s a routine that just alternates eight sets between push ups and pull ups. Now heavier (still 160 lbs), those pull ups aren’t what they once were. But I set my goal at 25 push ups and 10 pull ups for each set. And yes, in those final sets, my pull ups were not consecutive. But I did them for a total of 80 pull ups and 200 push ups. And that, that is what caught up with me yesterday as I was doing my kettlebell routine.

So far this round, I’ve managed to stay on schedule. I’ve also played some poor, uninspired, uncoordinated mixed doubles tennis. My knee continues to recover. The hamstring that tore seems healed, though still somewhat stiff, perhaps this is scar tissue. My movement on the tennis court is poor and I haven’t tried to force it to a higher level, not trying to do too much, too soon. Yeah, there was no risk of that this past month. Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll be in better form and more fully recovered as the men’s doubles season starts. I’ve opted out of singles because that’s just too much right now.

Over the weekend, I watched Beauty and the Beast (in 3D) on BluRay HD. I hasn’t seen it since my son was little. All I can say is “wow.” In high definition, in 3D, with uncompressed audio, it’s a reference-quality flick. And Gaston, that villain, was he modeled after Tony Horton of P90X fame? Damn if he doesn’t look exactly like him!

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Round 15: A New Hope

P90X_X2_Round-14My last attempt at this hybrid ended first by adjusting the schedule, then by acknowledging that I needed to quit to allow for my hamstring to heal.

Now, months later and five pounds heavier, I’m still not 100% but there’s no pain, just awareness of the issue. I spend January swinging kettlebells without any deep squats and riding a stationary bike. Now, with a new month, I’m feeling that I should dip my toe in the water and try to get back into a more diverse routine.

So I started this hybrid again yesterday. It begins with the kettlebell and I swung it heavy (16 kg) in Round 4 for 4 out of 6 moves before retreating to the 12er in the Skogg Roots DVD. Still attentive to my knee/hamstring issue, I’m only doing very shallow squats. And again, with today’s P90X3 Total Synergistics, I refrained from any plyo moves and kept those squats shallow.

It feels good to be on a schedule again.

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2015’s Top 10 Posts

Once again, it’s time to commemorate the year’s top 10 posts for this blog. The Top 10 represent the posts which have the most visits during the course of the calendar year. Given this, recent posts are at a disadvantage because they haven’t has as much time to accumulate hits.  Again this year, the tennis elbow saga dominated the hit list. So much so, that I should probably petition to get a commission of Thera-band revenues.

But it wasn’t all about recovery. P90X/Insanity related posts remain popular as well as my rants about getting a scholarship in the State of Georgia.

I’m also happy to report that my initial Austrian Hut to Hut post came in at number 7 as well as my wonderful Teton Crest Trail account at number 10. I re-visited the Alps this year with my son and that post (below) very nearly reached the top 10.

  1. Tennis Elbow Rehab with the Thera-band Flexbar & Tyler-Twist Protocol
  2. My P90X-Insanity Hybrid Review & Results
  3. P90X-Insanity Hybrid, Day 0: Fit Test & Schedule
  4. The Zell Miller Scholarship GPA Requirement is Seriously Flawed
  5. Round 4 Hybrid, Day 0: Insanity Fit Test
  6. P90X Day 0: Fit Test
  7. Pitztaler Runde 2013: Hut to Hut Hiking in Tirol, Austria
  8. The Case for Eliminating the GPA Requirement from the Proposed Zell Miller Scholars Program
  9. My P90X Review
  10. Into the Tetons. Our 4 Day Backpacking Trip Along the Teton Crest Trail

As the author of this blog, I offer up some additional favorites of my own. These 2015 activities capture the fruits of my labor, as it were:

Thanks for visiting this blog. Have a happy and healthy New Year!


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I Just Did 100 Push Ups

100-SignYes. Cutting to the chase, I did it. Just a few minutes ago, I was finally able to muster the will to do 100 consecutive push ups. Upon completion, I collapsed to the floor!

After failing in my first attempt at the 100, I repeated weeks 5 and 6 of the hundred pushups program. This time, I was able to perform those sets better than the first go round. And after finishing up the final day of week 6, I rested for two days before attempting the 100 consecutive.

Push ups are a great exercise. They have really helped improve my upper body strength. And, hopefully, the lack of lower body stress gave my injured knee the help it needs to recover. Anyway, now I can stop obsessing about push ups  and get back into a more diverse training regimen.

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One Step Forward, Two Weeks Back

rewind_iconAfter my complete and total failure last week to perform 100 consecutive push ups, I was forced to confront my demons. Having fallen just 10 short of the desired outcome, I had to look within and ask why. Why did I choose to fail? Anyone can do 10 push ups. Why did I opt to not do those mere 10 to achieve 100? What kind of self-loathing had held me back? Who am I? What is the meaning of life?

OK, OK, it wan’t quite so existential a crisis. But, damn, I was close. Maybe I could do it.

About 20 minutes after I finished my last blog post, lamenting the 90, I felt an actual surge of energy. “What the hell,” I thought, “go for it!” So I got down and push-upped some more. This time, peaking out at 60. I decided right then to try for the 100 again after taking a day’s rest.

So, now two days later, I attempted to crank out 100 push ups once again. This time, committed to challenge and overcome the voices that say “stop” when the goal is in sight. And this time I managed… 88.

Look, I know that I’m not going to receive much sympathy for my plight. After all, I realize that this is in the 1/40th of a percent of first world problems. But it is a goal, even if it’s arbitrary and based on a decimal system Weltanschauung. I did decide that the failure was not mental, because this time I was really telling myself to push. And there was no power left to get one more, let alone the needed 12.

The push up program advises failures who seek more punishment to go back two weeks, and redo weeks 5 and 6 before attempting the 100 again. So that’s exactly what I’m doing. Yesterday was Week 5, Day 1, Column 3 Redux. My results were better than the first time I did that round. Progress.

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100 Push Ups: Close, But No Cigar!

CA_NoSmoking-225On Monday, I completed my final week of the 6 week, 100 Push Ups program. Because I was able to do 30 consecutive push ups in my initial test, I was able to begin in Week 3, making this only a four-week program for me.

I then allowed myself a couple of days rest before attempting my final test today. The objective was: 100 consecutive push ups.

Well, I came very close to that goal by successfully doing 90 consecutive push ups. So close, in fact, that I’m sitting here wondering if my shortfall was due to mental rather than physical shortcomings. I think I will try again tomorrow, or Saturday. If I still miss the 100 mark, then I’ll revisit weeks 5 and 6 and see where that takes me.

Honestly, I’m surprised I got to 90 today.

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Another Exhaustion Test

what-muscles-do-push-ups-workWell, I made it through week 5, with better success than Week 4. I still needed to break up my final “max” set into smaller subsets, but–hey–I was working.

My cumulative push up count on Day 3 was 201 over the course of 8 sets.

After resting for a day, today I steeled myself up for another exhaustion test. I told my brain to tell my body I could to 60 consecutive push ups. Surprisingly, I managed to crank out 62. A strong improvement from my max of 44 just one week ago. So, I’m feeling accomplished and inspired to keep at it.

Tomorrow begins week 6. This is supposed to be the final week of the program to enable me to do 100 consecutive push ups in the exhaustion test following week 6. We’ll just have to see what I can do.

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Failure at Forty-Four

GlennStephens-Lotus-Eleven-AII finished up the third and final day of Week 4 of the 100 Push Ups program, again having to break my final two sets into smaller sub-sets to get all the reps in. Over the course of the five sets, I did 160 push ups.

Then I waited a day to rest before doing my exhaustion test.

Today, all rested and hopeful, I set out to do the exhaustion test with a goal of completing 45 consecutive push ups. I did 44. I reached complete failure after the 44th push ups and could not lift myself back up to get to 45.

Satisfied that I gave it my best effort, I went to the chart to see what guidance was offered about proceeding. It said if you completed “more than 40 consecutive push ups,” proceed to Week 5, Column 3. I looked at the reps in Week 5, Column 3. It is a major increase from Week 4 (where I reached failure). So I’m not yet sure if I will attempt that, or scale back a bit to the somewhat less demanding Column 2.

Either way, I’m fairly pleased with my progress thus far.

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One Hundred Push Ups

A knee injury has sidelined me from tennis and many of the workout routines I employ to try to stay fit. To occupy myself with an arbitrary goal, I’ve decided to try the 100 Push Ups program. The appeal is straightforward:

  • It’s a seemingly impossible goal
  • It requires no capital expenditure
  • It’s only 3 days/week

In fact, all you need is gravity and perhaps a mild case of OCD.

In any event, I started this a couple of weeks ago. I performed the initial fit test, which is to just get down and do as many good form push ups as possible. I did 30. This allowed me to advance directly to Week 3, Column 3 of the 6 week program.

As I worked through the three days in Week 3, I did all the required push ups, though it was certainly getting more difficult with each day, especially as I completed the final “max” set.

Today was Week 4, Day 2. Set 4 and the final set 5 brought me to failure. I was unable to perform 25 consecutive push ups in set 4. I did what I could: 18, pause, then 7 more to 25. Likewise, in set 5, I did 20, paused and then 16 extremely weak, poor form push ups to sorta get to 36.

I don’t really mind the failure. It’s necessary if one is to progress. But the end of this journey sure seems impossible as I write this. I’ll continue to Day 3 (which has even more reps/set) doing what I can muster. From there, another fit test will decide if I need to repeat Week 4, or advance to Week 5.

Thus far, I must report I’m surprised at how tired this makes me and how the push ups are felt not only in the obvious places such as chest, back and arms, but abs and even quads!

Also, at the outset, I felt that 3 days/week was rather tame. So I planned to supplement off days with kettlebell work and yoga. After today’s failure, I now realize the arrogance of my thinking. Maybe I’ll insert Tai Chi and yoga and allow more recovery for the upper body.

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2000px-Coda_sign.svgIt’s been over two months since my last post.

Why the silence?

Well, back in June, I injured my left knee playing tennis. Since then, I had been refraining from tennis though I was able to continue walking and hiking and backpacking without any issues. But after my return from Austria, the knee started getting worse.

So I started shifting days around in my hybrid routine, avoiding legs and plyometric exercises. I also started doing much more yoga and rehab work. This was all resulting in extremely gradual improvement. Enough so that I signed up for singles tennis for the fall season.

Well, my first match went three sets. And I won the match, but lost the battle because for the entire week afterwards I was limping around with a very unhappy knee. Ultimately, even doubles tennis play needed to stop. And my 111 day hybrid routine? Well, after 80 days of selective routines, I eventually ran out of exercises that didn’t involve the legs, so I stopped that too. Honestly, just not doing anything (even yoga) seemed to help calm things down with the knee.

I met with my ortho guy. My x-rays were, of course, great. And he (like me) suspects tendinitis. So now I’m on Feldine for a month. Three days in and it’s a noticeable improvement. These tendon issues are so damn frustrating as I age, because it’s such a slow process. But, mentally, it’s good to feel that things are now moving in the right direction after having been stuck with a compromised knee for so many months.

I was enjoying that hybrid and will likely restart it in the future. I liked the variety.

Last week, to give myself a random goal, I opted to do the 100 push ups regimen. It’s a multi-week journey that is designed to build the doer up to being able to successfully execute 100 consecutive push ups. During my initial fit test, I knocked off 30. This allowed me to begin in the third week of the program. I did week 4, Day 1 yesterday. Damn, that last set is just exhausting and it brought me to failure.

On alternate days, I’m swinging a light kettlebell for some mild cardio and movement. Oh and yoga as well when the kettlebell seems like too much.

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