Tag Archives: Fitness

P90X again?

Whenever I catch up with friends, whether at work or anywhere else, this question always comes up: are you still doing P90X?

Well, friends, yes. Yes I am. I’m actually starting another round of P90X this coming Monday. And I’ve got a few new faces looking to come along for the ride with me on this one. I couldn’t be more excited for them. Like I’ve mentioned before, I love being a coach for people who have made the decision and commitment to make positive change and progress in their lives. I’m good at helping people reach their own conclusions about what needs to be done and at making people realize how unnecessary it is to stress, in general. (You can either affect change, or you can’t. Stress is the inability to cope with that reality, in my opinion. But, I digress.) And when it comes to P90X, the commitment to the program is a commitment to positive change and progress.

I’ve thought about jumping onto other exercise regimes. I’m a fan of what Team Beachbody has to offer, and things like Insanity and T-25 Focus came to mind, with the big sell on those programs being how little time it takes per workout. The workouts from P90X, comparatively, need more than an hour a day, which was starting to seem like too long a time to commit after my 2nd round at it. But I think the real reason I was looking elsewhere was that I was beginning to get bored of the routine.

So I took a break. I still kept active, but I didn’t work at it nearly as hard as when I was in the program. And then the holidays arrived and oh, how the food appeared. The wonderful, tasty, so-bad-for-you-but-you-can’t-resist food made its way to my gullet. And I indulged. And it was good. And I realized that you can balance the good-for-you with the not-so-good-for-you and not blow up and rebound back into your pre-P90X self. Sure, my weight would flex up and down, week-to-week, but I remained stable. I could have real pizza again and I remained stable.

And with that realization, I knew that breaks were okay. We all need them, not just because the work is hard, but because breaks from anything consistent can make you crave for that consistency again. The recently boring eventually becomes un-boring again. And the routine that you’ve gotten used to and that you know gets results becomes the go-to routine, once again.

And that’s where we are now. I know P90X works. And I’m going to make it work for me once again. If you thought those photos from April of last year were impressive, just you wait.

Bring it, 2014. I will be.

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-Mickey

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Let’s go. Again. Because dedication.

Welcome to the new year. Welcome back to my goal to write something every day for an entire year. Last year, I was able to ride all the way into May (I think) with consistent posts, thoughts, randomness, and hopefully something interesting to read every day. You saw my mind, dumped onto the page, through it’s highs, lows, and places to go — couldn’t resist the rhyme — and this is me inviting you back.

How did your 2013 work out? Mine literally worked out. As in, I worked out. A lot. You saw it. The good news is that I’m still fitting into the plethora of smaller clothes that I had to dig out/re-purchase and I have no plans of having to look at bigger clothes ever again. In fact, just like last year, I’ll be starting off January with a round of P90X, this time with some new faces that I’m happy to have joining me. I love being a coach or a mentor, especially for people who have made the decision to accept that they need a coach or a mentor. I’m always open to people who haven’t made that realization yet, and I might gently nudge those folks into making such a realization, but I think it works the best when the desire for change comes from the self. Deep. Or not. Whatever, I believe it.

So I didn’t get re-fat. Sweet. Now I’m going to work on becoming stronger and finally getting rid of the gut for good. Chip away, chip away, and sculpt: that’s what I’ll do over the next 90 days and beyond. But aside from riding fitness momentum into 2014, the artist-me will be riding his own momentum as well. A re-mounted project, a newly-funded project, and of course, the elusive first album are all a go for the first quarter of the new calendar year. I’ll spare you the details for now — I need that content for future posts *wink* — but let’s just say I’m excited.

I’ll do a full recap of highlights and lowlights of my 2013 year a little later on. As a quick summary, I was able to achieve about 70% of what covered my vision board. Today, I’ll be making a new one, but rather than just wiping the slate clean, I’m just going to modify the board. Again, I was able to achieve a lot of what was on that board, so I can safely remove those items and replace them something new, something to grow on. I’m getting on that right about…now.

Happy New Year, friends. I’m excited, not for what the year will bring to you and me, but for what you and me will bring to this year.

Poppy New Year!

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-Mickey

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Hello, June!

Don’t worry, I’m still here. And it’s June! Many wonderful things will be happening this month, and I’m looking forward to it all, but I won’t give it all away just yet. I’ve got to spread those out into some fun and memorable (with a side of inspiring) posts for you to read during this eventful month.

Speaking of eventful months, how about that May? Was it as eventful as mine? Right, how could you tell when my last post was published for May 7th? (Well, I guess that’s one way you could gauge just how busy May was for me, but let’s continue.) Yes, it actually was a very busy May, and while being “too busy” was the excuse I would use in 2012 for not keeping up my post, this was actually a case of not having enough hours in a day unless I wanted to forego sleep! It was month full of projects, mini road-trips, taking up new activities and filling my day with them, highlights and heartbreaks (sounds like a sports-related post right there), lots of hangouts, and social fun-times in general. What was I doing in May? Living life for me.

And living for myself means taking care of myself which, in all the schedule-filled goodness of May, means getting more sleep. P90X round one was a huge success, as I posted previously, but one big factor that was starting to catch up with me was a lack of sleep. And while I thought a couple of instances of normal to longer-than-normal sleep would get me back up to speed, it turns out my body needed more. So I tried my best to give it more and if that meant I had to cut down on a part of my daily routine, it would have to be from things that wouldn’t take away from my health and fitness. So that meant that daily posts, among other computer and tv screen-involved things, would be lower in the priority chain. But worry not, for I have drafted a post for every day of the month — I at least started a post for every day so that I would have at least a starting point for each day and still maintain the habit of logging into WordPress to write every day — which means that I’ll be multi-posting every day until that May month is all filled up. We should be back on track to a post every day before the month is done.

But that, in a general overview of a nutshell, is what’s been going on. Thank you to everyone who asked when the next post was coming, keeping me accountable and feeling good that people do enjoy reading my ramblings. Now that I’ve got this amazingly busy life a little less busy and better time-managed, let’s get this 365 working again, shall we?

You stay classy, planet Earth.

– Mickey

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The buzz of spring and summer.

I don’t know what it is right now, but in Toronto, you can feel the excitement of spring and summer. Maybe it’s because we’ve been so teased and tormented with cold days and snow in the middle of April, and now we’re feeling the reprieve. Maybe it’s because NHL playoffs actually mean something to us this year and we’re all excited to see our Blue & White back in the post-season. Maybe it’s just the sunlight and the warmth, but whatever it is, I’m glad it’s here.

I’ve posted about spring and all that I enjoy about it and what it brings. One thing that’s starting to happen, as it does pretty predictably every year, is that my project inbox starts to overflow. Offers start coming way, I start taking on interesting project posts from friends in need, and I really start to get the hard-working me in gear. I find that I’m more quick and agile at handling tasks when the sun is out. Even though I do most of my work indoors with pretty much no sunlight coming in, just seeing it during my commute and knowing that it’s warming up the day gets me energized to get work done. Maybe it’s because I just want to get out into the nice weather that I suddenly become better at finishing my tasks quickly with higher quality results, but either way, I’m at my most efficient when the forecasts are being friendly.

Of course there’s also spring cleaning that gets me going in these seasons. The renewal of spring is a beautiful thing and it usually means the re-organizing of my entire life, but a big part of that is the re-organizing of my room, workspace, and digital inboxes and storage. Part of that this year will be going through my closet to sift out the clothes that are officially too big for me now. I’m hoping that by doing this, it’ll force me to never go back to that bigger, much less fit, lazy guy who used those clothes. I’ll probably still keep the t-shirts and the hoodies, because I like having those pretty big and some of them are just too awesome to give away — I’ll keep them for my hip-hop self — but I’m pretty set on wearing those older (and also recently purchased) better fitting clothes. (It still hasn’t sunken in that the right shirt size for me is Medium. Jeepers.)

Keeping in line with the healthier, fitter, more athletic me, I’m ready to get into sports again. It has been far too long since I’ve played basketball, baseball, golf, tennis, and pretty much any other sport you can think of. I recently responded to a friend who was looking for a tennis partner and we’re aiming to play at least once a week. There was one year, a few years ago, when my brother and I learned how to play tennis — thanks, YouTube! — and we tried to play anytime we could. There were nights where we would play until the lights went out on the public courts. We even signed up for a winter tennis membership in our hometown so we could play in that big bubble dome. I always lost to him, but it has still been one of my favourite sports to play. (I’d like to think that I could beat him now, but I’ll wait for the end of this second go at P90X before I test out that theory. And yes, we really did learn how to play tennis from internet videos. We even took real classes afterwards and we were more advanced than what that instructor taught us.)

Excitement is in the air, folks. And it’s all because the sun is back in charge.

– Mickey

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Every end is a new beginning: P90X Round 2, Day 1.

And so with the end of my week-off between rounds of P90X, we start all over again with the second foray into bringing it. I was the last of this new workout crew that I’ve apparently gathered to do my routine for the day and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by the results. I pretty much hit all my previous numbers out of the park for this workout, and it really shows just how important rest is to the body, not only in the short term every night with a good amount of sleep — something I need to get better at for this round of things, because I think it will greatly increase the quality of my results — but in the slightly longer term as well. A week off of extreme workouts has seemingly done wonders for my pushups, and apparently a ten-pound increase in dumbbell weight is a perfect amount to feel the burn, but surprisingly easy to adjust to. (I was expecting to not even get to the 8-10 rep range, but apparently it’s just right.)

It just feels great to be back on it again. I can honestly say that I missed the daily workouts. The break was nice, but I found that even just the last couple of days preparing for round two had me more focused than other day of the break week. It actually like more than just a week off, which I think is a testament to how much this program has changed me. To feel the absence of a workout as something that I wish I could “fix” would not have even skimmed across my mind in January. That me would have been content with ending my day with hours online and sleep right after. But that me is long gone, and the new me just doesn’t feel right without a workout. (Again, it is important to take that rest week and I probably could have squeezed in a rock climb or break dance class somewhere in there, but I’m glad I opted for rest.)

So here’s to a new beginning to an end that will come, but will again just open up another beginning. I’m taking my body to physical levels that I’ve never before experienced or seen on myself. I’ve had a glimpse of the unhealthy side of the spectrum of my (poor) health potential, so I’m very excited to see what lies in store this August when I get to the furthest I’ve ever been in physical fitness.

The times they are a-changin’ in my personal reality. And it’s about time, too.

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– Mickey

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P90X Round 2 – Day Zero.

So Monday is the big return to P90X, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve got some new future P90X graduates coming along for the ride. My good friend, Kelly (whose movie reviews you can find at The Lazy Critic) and I just did our fit tests to see our starting points for this round. For me, this was also my exit fit test from the last round — I know, I should’ve done it at the start of the rest week — and it was great to see and feel those results. Seeing my numbers for this test just makes me extra excited for the increases I’ll see close to August. And it was great to start at day zero with someone completely new to the program as coaching him through the warm-up and the test really solidified my own knowledge and processes in this program. Also, having someone looking to me for guidance and advice means I have to really stay on my game so I can lead by example. (Add that to the dozens of friends who read my P90X round one wrap-up, and you’ve got a lot of people keeping me accountable!)

And I was also really satisfied with my Day Zero results. My max push-ups are their highest, I surprised myself in actually being able to do close to a full standard pull-up — I can do a chin-up completely unassisted, but still working on the pull-up — I’m more flexible, especially at the waist (as a successful sitting toe-touch indicated) and the ease of cardio-like movements (i.e. two minutes straight of jumping jacks, where the last 30 seconds has you going as fast as you can) was surprising. I probably could’ve gone another two minutes before feeling winded, which was far from my reality in January. I think I’m more ready and more excited to jump into this round than I was to start the whole thing in the first place.

Also on board for round 2 is my good friend and roommate, Emma, who, as I’ve mentioned before, was one of the catalysts for this entire journey. We’ve both been wanting day one of this second round all week, and I’m glad to see her ready to jump into it again. This kind of journey is always more fun when you’ve got company, and as exciting as it is to have a rookie on board, having an experienced teammate is just as important. Because if there’s anyone who can definitely keep me accountable, it’ll be the person I have to see at home everyday doing the same program as me.

And apparently, we’ve got a fourth on board, also a newcomer and also a good friend of mine. I don’t know much about what she’d like to do and what her preparedness level is in terms of equipment — she’s got the fitness level for this for sure — but I’m excited to have her along for the journey as well! I introduced her to the program with Yoga X, and we did that routine together once. She’s done a bunch of yoga before, and even she said that these are movements and poses that she hasn’t tried previously, and I think that’s got her interested. I’ve yet to confirm the details, but it looks like we’ve got some superheroes-in-training lined up for this round.

Round 2, you’ve got company. We’ve been waiting for you.

– Mickey

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XXL to M: The completion of P90X (Round 1)

I had an early morning shift and, in my rush to get to work on time, I forgot my uniform shirt. This isn’t really a big deal as we usually have some spare shirts kicking around the back just in case of situations like this one. When I got to work, however, the only sizes they had left were Extra Small and Medium. Now me, liking my XXL shirts more 90 days ago than I do today, thought that M would be too tight a shirt, even with my new body. I threw it on, and it was tight to get it over, but once it was on, to my surprise, it fit. And it wasn’t that tight. I went to the washroom to make sure it was sitting right and adjusted it and even then, from front and from the side, it fit. And not only that, but it made me realize, visually, that my upper body has a bit of a V-shape to it.

Holy crap. My shirt size is Medium again.

That’s one of the biggest achievements, for me anyway, in my completion of my first round of P90X. And that’s not to take away from all the other crazy changes I’ve experienced throughout this leg of the journey: weighing in 35 pounds lighter than Day 1, finally able to do a pull-up with no assistance, running without feeling exhausted after a minute, seeing noticeable growth and definition in muscles, eating better than before and more balanced than ever before, having more energy than I know what to do with, seeing situations with more focus and better perception, and just overall enjoying everything more. It’s just that the last time I was at this weight and size, the big indicator of reaching my goal was the change in my clothing. But this time, I have the energy and passion to keep going and not just maintain where I was before.

The P90X program works. It gets results. But the real key to it is that it’s still all up to you. What you put into it is what you get out of it. As cliché as it is, it’s the truth. And what that entails is not only exercising every day, but also eating better, eating for energy, and fuelling yourself for your workouts. I hesitated to use the nutrition guide in the first week, but decided to jump into it and found out that, according to my measurements, the calories I had to take-in were actually more than I could handle. So I had to adjust it down, and I still found that it was a lot of food. This diet isn’t a diet as you would normally think of it. It’s just better eating instead of less eating. You have to eat fuel your workouts, and you don’t want to fuel your workouts with crap just like you wouldn’t run a Mercedes-Benz with regular lawnmower gas. Your body is a luxury car, a temple, a rainforest. Take care of it.

But what’s next? Well, round 2, of course! As has been recommended to me, this week has pretty much been a break from the program (recovery week included) and I’ve just been keeping moderately active. It feels weird, as I just want to jump into workouts right now, but the rest is really recommended for better results in the second round. That doesn’t mean I can’t go out and do other things — I’ll probably hit up rock climbing sometime this week or some other fun physical activity (like parkour in Toronto?) — it just means that I’m giving my body a chance to rest and re-focus.

But I’ve still got a lot of work to do, and if the changes through this round were any indication, I’m going to new levels I’ve never seen before in my own personal fitness. (Visual abdominal muscles on me? Never has happened before, but I have a feeling the first-time-for-everything axiom is going to come true by August.)

Proof is in the pudding. Or the pictures. Again, there is still work to be done, but round 2, be prepared. Mickey is coming.

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– Mickey

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