Tag Archives: health

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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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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Oh, right. Thank you, again!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I sometimes like to write about my day somewhat cryptically, talking about things like moving, or creating things, or staying motivated and positive seemingly for no reason. The truth is, what I write is most of the time because of something that happened during the day that made me think. I don’t always mention that as the reason behind each post because I try not to just make this exclusively a daily online journal, so I’ll usually just jump right into my thoughts about the event without going into the specifics of the actual event that inspired the post.

That being said, with yesterday’s post being exactly that situation, I totally forgot to stick my pattern of monthly gratitude to you, the reader! So here we go!

Thank you again for following along on this journey with me. I truly believe that taking this third attempt at a 365 blog seriously has helped me to also stick to my fitness goals, and because of my dedication to writing here everyday has caught the attention of many people I had never known before, it has kept me motivated and accountable to get to where I am now. It all ties in together: my vision board, the habit of daily writing turning into the habit of daily exercise, the encouragement of friends and strangers enjoying my writing becoming a visible, growing (but still humbly small) community of fellow writers, fitness-minded people, and people also starting their own journeys have made this blog become one of the farthest reaching things I’ve ever done on the internet and has helped me to become the healthiest and most fit I’ve ever been.

So once again, with all my heart and soul, I thank you for stopping by once in a while to see what pops out of this unpredictable mind of mine. I’m humbled and extremely grateful whenever someone comes up to me at work, or when I’m out with friends and family, and says that they’ve read my blog and it has inspired them to make changes in their lives. I never would have thought that my simple goal of writing anything, really, would turn into something worth reading, let alone inspiring or even remotely life-changing. But as I started to give those little messages of push and inspiration at the end of a lot of my posts, I realized that this is now part of what this blog does. This is a reading place meant to keep me motivated by sharing that motivation with you. It just so happens that the result of that might mean you may feel motivated too. And I love that.

It’s hard to believe that, sometime next month, I’ll have reached the halfway-point of my first successful 365. Yes, that’s right, I’m calling it. There’s no going back now. I’m seeing this baby all the way to the sweet, sweet end (and most likely beyond.) So thank you for keeping me motivated, inspired, and accountable. This wouldn’t be what it is, and I wouldn’t be who I am, without your support, no matter how small.

You rock.

Image by ~hailthekid.

– 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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Power of smoothies.

In the journey to a healthier me, I’ve finally made it to the last week of the P90X program. It just keeps getting better, as I’ve mentioned before, with gaining more strength, speed, and agility, losing a lot of weight at a healthy pace, and seeing my body at its healthiest so far, with definition and muscles in places I’d never thought I’d see.

One of my favourite things, however, from this whole program has been something I’ve had almost daily from the nutrition guide side of things: the smoothie. More accurately, the guide calls it a protein shake, but it’s one of the things I look forward to the most in my everyday meal consumption. I love it because it’s homemade, easy and quick to make, and most importantly, it’s freakin’ delicious. It’s like dessert for dinner (or lunch), making me feel like a kid not listening to the babysitter when I have it, except that there’s no worries of getting a timeout. (That never happened, but you get the picture.)

It’s an especially great choice for me since my schedule is so packed that I’m usually doing my workouts at night, which means my last meal of the day tend to be really late. And since I’m following the no-carbs-before-bed rule (or at least trying to do so, though it’s been more like two hours before bed instead of three) it’s become the perfect meal for my unusual hours.

I usually go for the strawberry-banana combination, but because of a lack of time to get more strawberries over the past couple of days, I’ve discovered the extremely delicious peanut butter-banana combo. (All of this is within the guidelines set out in the P90X nutrition guide. Awesome.) It has become my new instant favourite, and to make up for the lack of strawberries, I’ve been using more ice to make it more of a slushie than a smoothie.

But either way, it’s my favourite meal of the day, the easiest meal of the day, and a great way to start or finish my crazy-busy days. (Though I will say that it’s hard to top my homemade mini-pizzas — also nutrition guide approved — so I’ll call it a tie.)

Want to try it out? Here are my recipes (for my weight and activity level — make adjustments for you since this essentially yields two tall glasses)

Protein Shake
1 cup strawberries (alternative berries or 1tbsp peanut butter also work)
1 banana
1 cup skim milk
1 cup ice
2 scoops protein powder

Put ingredients in blender. Blend until smooth. Taste the magic.

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– Mickey

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