Category Archives: P90x

Spring Training Week 4 – Recovery Week!

Relaxing in La Jolla on Friday!

Relaxing in La Jolla on Saturday

I wrapped up my recap for Week 3 with a promise to take it easier this week. I pushed it hard for 3 weeks straight and I could tell my body needed some R&R. I’m happy to report that I did take it easy, listened to my body when necessary and I came out of the week feeling good. Although my total volume was still relatively high, intensity was way down. In case you’re catching up, I’m finishing week 4 (of 13) of P90X3, 6 weeks out from Rock n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon (still time to sign up and save $10 with discount code FITFATALESD)  and 10 weeks from the San Diego International Triathlon (Olympic distance – code SDITNIC5 gets you $5 off).

We did it! 4 weeks of P90X3 complete!

We did it! 4 weeks of P90X3 complete!

Monday

Full rest day. This was my first complete rest day in almost 4 weeks (oops). I slept in and made plans with a friend for dinner. After dinner I took a walk with mike but that was the extent of my exercise!

Tuesday

AM: In the morning we had our very first P90X3 “Transition Week” workout. It was called Isometrix and I absolutely loved this workout! It basically alternated some sort of planking with some sort of yoga balance posture or isometric lower body move. Each move was 45 seconds per side. For example, plank with right hand and left leg in air followed by 45 seconds of holding Warrior 3. This workout would definitely be a good one to help you get better at both yoga and achieve the 5 minute plank!

PM: After work I got in 45 minutes of easy spinning on the trainer while watching Grey’s Anatomy. I’m sad that I finished Season 9 which is the last season available on Netflix. I’m debating buying Season 10 or waiting for it to come out on NetFlix – likely not until after the summer! Decisions, decisions.  Or pay for Hulu Plus and suffer through commericals.

Wednesday

AM: Because both Allison and I had Friday off of work, we met up for our weekly run on Wednesday morning. Both of our legs were heavy and we ran 6 slow miles. It was fun to chat with her and I was glad to have someone to run with.

Thursday

AM: P90X3 Accelerator & Pilates X . These were both new workouts for us in Transition Week. Accelerator was a full body cardio workout which included plenty of push-ups. Pilates was mat Pilates and many of the moves I was familiar with due to my love of reformer Pilates. Tony didn’t take it easy on us for recovery week – the Pilates moves he picked were the hard ones! Mike kept saying that it was basically a 30 minute Ab Ripper workout. Pilates is all about the core!

PM: I came home tired and had decided I’d run 5 miles. On my ride home I drove by the coast and saw the runners and for some reason had NO desire to run. I got home and delayed the run as long as possible and then decided to run to the Kook and back (4.2 miles). Once I started running I thought I’d feel better but my legs were like LEAD. Soooo heavy. I haven’t felt this lack of energy on a run in a long time. I ended up only running 3 miles which I literally never do. I almost just turned right around at the 1 mile marker and made it 2.  I knew then that rest, stretching and foam rolling was needed. Since I didn’t do the P90X3 Dynamix workout (which is the optional workout assigned to the only rest day in P90X3, similar to the option X Stretch), I decided to spend 30 solid minutes stretching and foam rolling. I discovered that my hips were extremely tight and that my left IT band was sensitive. After 30 minutes of stretching and rolling, I felt WAY better.

Stretching very tired legs at the lookout after my run

Stretching very tired legs at the lookout after my run

Friday

AM: P90X3 Yoga. I really realized during this workout how much stronger I’ve gotten over the last 4 weeks. The moves came much easier and I was able to hold them all without breaks.

Saturday

AM:1.5 mile warm-up before the FCA 5K Race (race report soon). My training plan called for a time trial this week so I used this in place of it. More on that later.

Selfie at the 5k!

Selfie at the 5k!

With two friends and former coworkers at the 5k

With two friends and former coworkers at the 5k. Loving the Oiselle Distance shorts in fresh green!

PM: With one last P90X3 workout and a long run to get in before the end of the weekend, Mike and I opted to do P90X3 CVX (cardio/plyo type moves with a weight) on Saturday afternoon. I actually had quite a bit of energy for this one and didn’t have to modify a lot of the moves ilke last week when I was did this one after another hard workout.

Sunday  

Easy 10 mile run with Mike along the coast. I was worried my legs would be sure tired like they were on Wednesday for this one but they weren’t! It took a few miles to warm up but I felt pretty good. Effort was easy and pace was slow and we chatted the entire way. In the past Mike and I didn’t run together much and I’ve really been enjoying his company as he has joined me on several long runs lately! After the run I made us a healthy breakfast (sweet potato hash is my new jam!) and we headed to my Grandma’s house for the annual Easter egg hunt and Easter dinner.

Throw back photo to one of my first Easters! Apparently the the love of pink started young.

Throw back photo to one of my first Easters! Apparently the the love of pink started young. Thanks Grandma for the making this adorable dress.

Cousins on Easter!

Cousins on Easter!

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Instagram filtered version of the same dress

Nutrition wasn’t good this week. I kind of threw in the towel and let my PMS hormones (sorry but it’s the truth) take over and excuse myself from digging in to the candy jar at work and eating sweets after dinner. Plus with a vacation day on Friday there was more beer than desired over the weekend. It’s nothing to get upset about but Mike and I certainly aren’t following the P90X3 nutrition plan even close to as strictly as we did when we completed P90X. Overall I did cook quite a bit and it was all vegan and healthy so I’m sure it’ll all shook out just fine but it’s not going to get me the results I got during the first phase. I keep going back and forth between wanting to follow it strictly and really see what will happen and telling myself “YOLO” and saying screw it.

Thanks Mom for the sugar high!

Thanks Mom for the sugar high!

Overall, I feel stronger and better than I did 4 weeks ago. I also want to write a review of P90X3 Phase 1 so I’ll go into more details there. But – I do have to say, training for a TRIATHLON and a half marathon while doing P90X3 is clearly not easy. I’m sure you’ve noticed that I am not swimming and my biking is not my top priority so it always falls to the wayside.  I really want to get in 2 bikes a week and after the half marathon I’m going to bump it to 3-4 a week but for now…whatever I can do will have to work!

Totals:

  • Miles Run ~23.5
  • Hours Biked: 45 minutes (fail)
  • Strength/Stretch: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 7.5 ish hours

Do you add recovery weeks into your training? 

All Sweat is Created Equal

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We’ve all done it – judged someone for the workout they choose to do.

It’s second nature to feel that whatever YOU are doing is the best or is right. Runners tend to think a long, satisfying run is best. Weight lifters crave the burn in their muscles and the accomplishment of adding weight to the barbell. Zumba lovers can’t wait for the latest routine to be released so they can master it. Yogis are searching for the perfect combination of breath and movement.

I’ve tried a lot of different workouts and every one has its pros and cons. There is no perfect workout – instead there is just a perfect workout for you. And that perfect workout is also not timeless – it changes by the day, month, or year. 

Although it is natural to believe your current favorite workout is best, I’m very open about the fact that I appreciate and accept ALL types of fitness activities, not just the ones I participate in. It is one of my biggest pet peeves when I hear someone saying that someone else’s workout routine isn’t effective, considered good, or worse, they think it’s pointless or dumb. NO workout is pointless. If the only way for someone to get out of the door every day and get their heart pumping is to attend a Zumba class, then go get your Zumba on! Walking, elliptical, CrossFit, P90X, running, triathlon, Yoga, ballet, cycling, mountain biking, hiking, pilates, barre classes, boot camps, WHATEVER floats your boat, GO DO IT! If it makes you happy, it’s right.

The inspiration for this blog post is actually because of a few things that Tony Horton says in some of the P90X3 workouts. He mentions several times that his workout is superior to the elliptical machine. The elliptical is very different than P90X and there are a several reasons why someone would use it instead of an at home fitness program. I don’t personally use the elliptical anymore but when I was in college it was my jam! Did it get me in the best shape of my life – no, but did it make me healthier? Yes. I definitely agree that if your goal is to increase muscle definition or burn more calories, P90X3 is probably the way to go. But if your goal is to go to the gym and be social with friends, get your heart rate into Zone 2 for a while, or whatever reason there is, and you chose the elliptical, so be it!

My blood has absolutely boiled reading comments on social media from Cross Fitters challenging running as a sport (disclaimer – I know not all Cross Fitters are this way). I’ve also heard runners lament CrossFit as being too intense, focusing too heavily on appearance and competition which can lead to injury. I’ve listened to Tony Horton bash the Elliptical. I’ve heard men at the gym laugh at women who do Zumba and even my dad commented recently that a relative of ours has “only” been doing Pilates, as if this wasn’t really a workout. No one workout is right for everyone. Runners get their high from moving across land faster and faster and don’t want bulky muscles weighing them down. Cross Fitters want to be able to squat twice their body weight and likely have no desire to run a marathon. Those women doing Zumba are having fun with their friends while burning calories and don’t need a PR to prove anything to anyone.

We’re all different and we all do what works best for us. I will admit I have judged others for their choice in workout at times in my life, but I’ve been making a conscious effort to ignore these thoughts and not make judgments. We’re all doing our best. If you’re getting your heart rate up, you’re increasing lifespan, reducing stress, increasing your brain power, decreasing your susceptibility to disease and depression and making yourself happier. To me, that’s all that matters.

All sweat is created equal!

Have you ever been hated on for the sport or fitness activity you love? How did you handle it?

Spring Training Week 3

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Happy running in Oiselle Flyte Tank and Lesley Knickers

This week was a big one! At this point I am 7 weeks out from San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon and 11 weeks from the San Diego International Triathlon. I realized this weekend that this is the first time in nearly 3 years that I have trained specifically for a half marathon. It feels good to focus on a goal and hopefully all the hard work I’m putting now will help me with a  solid performance at Rock n’ Roll and also set me up for a successful fall marathon (TBD).

This was week 3 of P90X3 which means we did the same workouts as Weeks 1 & 2 but that next week is recovery week. Then Phase 1 will be finished and we’ll move on to Phase 2, with nearly all new workouts. P90X is all about “muscle confusion” so the workouts try not to be too repetitive and exactly as soon as your body gets used to the workouts you’ve been doing, it’s time to switch it up. It also keeps things interesting that way!

This week was a big one and I called it the “calm before the storm.” I had very few obligations outside of work and working out, so I was able to get in a lot of workouts. Soon I will have a lot of commitments, particularly on weekends which won’t allow me to do as much as I did this week (which is totally ok because all of those commitments are fun things like bachelorette parties, holidays, weddings, birthday parties and vacations!). Knowing this, I stuck to my plan this week and tried to get the most out of it.

I wasn’t sure how this week would go as I came out of last week pretty tired. I also had a busy week at work and carried a bit of stress with me which caused me to have some pretty bad nights of sleep. I could definitely feel my legs were heavier this week after two intense weeks of training but bizarrely by the end of the week, I was feeling great. I have a feeling a lot of it has to do with my renewed focus on supplements. I’m using VegaOne Performance Protein several days a week, VegaOne Recovery Accelerator after hard runs, and drinking a mix of high quality gluatmine and BCAAs 1-2 times daily. Nutrition wise, I made fewer exceptions and ate tons of whole foods including veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. There were still a few treats of course but overall it was definitely a 90/10 week or better.

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Monday: 

I slept in and then after work Mike and I went out for a very, very slow 4.5 mile recovery run. I wore my heart rate and kept it in zone 1 or 2. My legs were heavy and the pace was slow but the run did it’s job!

Tuesday: 

AM: P90X3 Total Synergistics – Core, push-ups, pull-ups, lunges – this workout has it all!

PM: Short Hill Repeat Run (6 miles). I ran about two miles to a hill on the coast (which I always hate coming back from a long run!) and did 8 x 50 second HARD effort hill repeats. The hill wasn’t super steep but steep enough to really feel it at the end. Luckily the hill was just about the right distance. I jogged back for recovery and repeated. I was tired at the end but not exhausted. I ran home for a total of about 6 miles.

Sunset During Tuesday Night Hill Repeats

Sunset During Tuesday Night Hill Repeats

Wednesday: 

I slept in again, definitely feeling like I needed it. After a long, stressful day at work I was able to get in P90X3 Agility which felt like a stress reliever!

Thursday: 

AM: This is when the come back started to happen! I felt revived after more sleep and woke up early for a double P90X3 workout to try to catch up. I did P90X 3 Yoga X followed immediately by The Challenge. The Challenge is the workout where you pick a number of push-ups and pull-ups and try to make your goal for each set. There are 4 push-up moves and 4 pull-up moves and each are completed twice, for a total of 8 sets of each. Plus, a bonus round. This time I set a goal of 17 push-ups and 10 (assisted) pull-ups and I was able to do it! I did all of the wide and standard push-ups on my feet and the military and staggered push-ups on my knees. Then during the bonus round I did another 13 push-ups, 10 pull ups and held a plank for 1.5 minutes (I couldn’t physically do any more push-ups!!!). My upper body strength is coming back slowly bur surely.

PM: After work it was time for the key workout of the week – a 6 mile run with 2 x 15 minute tempo segments (1 min rest between).  My legs were feeling a bit heavier and I knew that I wasn’t going to have the killer run I had last week. Knowing that a recovery week was coming, I wanted to get in this workout and do the best I could. I was happy that after the 1 mile warm-up I was still able to hit beat goal pace for the first 15 minute tempo which had a decline and a tailwind. The second 15 minute segment wasn’t as great since I was going uphill and with a headwind but I was still able to manage a pretty good performance! Overall I was happy with the run and although slower on average than the prior week, I know it did the job.

Friday: As usual, I met up with my friend Allison for our Friday morning run. We ran 6 miles easy and started Friday off right.

Saturday: 

The boys getting our bikes ready for the road!

The boys getting our bikes ready for the road!

A friend of mine is training for her first Ironman and as a new cyclist, she is very eager to get out on the road as much as possible. Although I haven’t been on my bike outdoors for nearly 7 months, I figured I could handle one of our old Ironman training routes. Mike and Jeremy also wanted to join and Mike didn’t want to do the coast (i.e. flat) route I suggested, so we headed inland for a very hilly route that was part of our favorite Ironman training route.

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Me & Brooke at the halfway point representing ACTIVEx

I really enjoyed myself and was pleasantly surprised by my endurance and definitely a bit disappointed by my speed (or lack thereof!!) especially on hills. I found that my legs were just not strong enough to keep up with my breathing. This could also have something to do with the fatigue from the week but likely also that I’ve just lost a lot of my power there. I think that the P90X 3 workouts will definitely help get some of that strength back, as well as getting back out on the hills!

In total we rode nearly 40 miles with about 3,000 feet of climbing and 3,000 feet of descending. 

Determined to get in all P90X3 workouts this week, after a breakfast burrito and some relaxation time, Mike and I put in P90X3 CVX for 30 more minutes of cardio. This is the workout that incorporates a weight into the cardio so instead of focusing so much on getting my heart rate super high or getting deep into the squats and lunges, I carried a heavier weight and focused more on upper body. It helped but I was pooped by the end.

Sunday: 

Starting the run with Mike

Starting the run with Mike

12 miles with 3 miles @ marathon goal pace. I was guessing my legs would be heaving on Sunday and they weren’t as bad as I anticipated. Mike and I met up with Asia and Jeremy for our long runs. This was Asia’s final run before she leaves for Boston to run the Boston Marathon and I really wanted to join her. Luckily our workouts meshed pretty well so we were able to run almost the entire thing together. Asia and I ran the first 8 miles of the run super easy and slow and enjoyed each other’s company (the heaviness in my legs went away at mile 4) and then we picked it up for 3 miles, averaging just under an 8 minute mile (Asia’s marathon goal pace). I felt surprisingly good during this portion and my heart rate wasn’t too out of control despite the fast pace. I often found myself naturally falling into the 7:40s and having to remind myself to hold back. It felt good. I finished the run energized and feeling great!

Attempting to get a selfie with 4 people while running is not recommended

Attempting to get a selfie with 4 people while running is not recommended

After a healthy breakfast, a nap and some relaxation, I finished up the final workout of week 3 of P90X3 - The Warrior. I actually felt really good during this workout. It consists of four sets of four moves – first an upper body move (usually involving plank and/or push-up), followed by a cardio move, then a core move and finally a leg move. Pretty much all moves are full body but there is definitely more emphasis on one part in each. I really like this workout – it may be one of my favorite so far.

We just crushed the 3 mile race pace segment!

We just crushed the 3 mile race pace segment!

After writing this recap I realized that I definitely am in need of a recovery week more than I even realized! I’ve gone really hard the last 3 weeks and this week is a much deserved recovery week. I can’t let all the hard work I’ve been doing go to waste because I didn’t rest enough! Those BCAAs, glutamine and VegaOne can only go so far. I’m making a promise to myself right now on this blog that Week 4′s training recap will include A LOT of the word “easy” (today was a complete rest day so I’m on to a good start!)!!

Weekly Totals: 

  • Miles Run: 34.5 miles
  • Miles Biked: 40
  • Hours Strength: 3.25
  • Total Time: 11.75 hours

Spring Training Week #1

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I haven’t posted weekly training recaps since Ironman CDA training but I decided to start for my “Spring Training” plan as I call it because I want to keep myself accountable. My 3 main goals for this training cycle, which ends just before the 4th of July are:

  1. Complete P90X3 (which means completing 6 strength 30 minute workouts per week for 13 weeks – due to travel plans in June we will likely finish just before the 4th of July weekend).
  2. Put down a solid effort at the Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon (June 1) using a plan using the principles from Brad Hudson’s “Run Faster.”
  3. Finish strong at the San Diego International Triathlon (Olympic distance – June 29)

I’m not putting any time or age group goals on my races. Instead, I want to race them strong. I know I’m going to be very fit for both these races and I want to race them without time pressure. Just see what is under the hood.

Week 1 went well. I had planned to get on the bike this week, but triathlon training will have to start in week 2. Although we’re not following any nutrition plan, we are trying to make less exceptions and make it more of a 90/10 ratio. I’d say we achieved about 80/20 instead, with Friday and Saturday being a bit questionable but today we got back on it. Overall I feel good about what I put in my body this week despite some indulgences.

Here’s how it went down:

Monday

PM: P90X3 workout number one – “Total Synergistics,” a full body workout which includes push-ups, pull-ups, core work, squats, lunges and much more, working more than one body part/group in every move.

Tuesday

AM: P90X3 “Agility X” which is sort of like plyometics – jumping and running around the living room. Our living room is pretty small so this one was a little tough but I just modified by jumping up and down a bit more than side to side.

Lunch: Threshold Run. 1 mile warm-up with 2 x 15 min @ half marathon pace with 5 min recovery jog between, 1 mile cool-down. I did this run at lunch on the trails and I was surprisingly speedy and felt great. My times were WAY faster than my tempo run from the previous week and I finally felt like I was officially recovered from the marathon. I love progress!

Wednesday -

AM: 6 mile easy run with my friend Allison. Totally easy and fun run. My legs were now VERY tired from the P90X3 workouts but the miles went by quickly since I had a friend to keep my mind off of them.

PM: “X3 Yoga”. Since this is only 30 minutes, Tony tried to fit as much as possible in. I think that this 30 minute session covered the same number of moves as he covered in 60 minutes of P90X yoga -we just held everything less. It was pretty tough!

Thursday

AM: 6 miles easy with strides (with Asia!) plus 2 x 8 second steep hill sprints. Legs were still heavy.

PM: P90X3 “The Challenge” – 30 minutes straight of push-ups and pull-ups. This workout was tough!!! I use the P90X pull-up assist for my pull-ups so that I can do them but it doesn’t make it any easier! My chest, back, and arms were sore for days after this one.

Friday

AM: SLEEP! I needed to sleep in after three early mornings.

PM: “CVX” Holy crap. This was basically full body plyometric moves all while holding a weight. I held a 5 pound weight and it was tough. I was absolutely drenched in sweat at the end of this workout. It might be my favorite!

Saturday

10 mile progression run with last 30 minutes at moderate effort. Mike ran with me and my legs were tired (surprise surprise) at first and it took a while to warm-up. We ran pretty slow but once I got to 30 minutes to go, I picked it up and was easily running in the low/mid 8s which felt good. Sometimes running faster actually feels better!

We spent a large portion of Saturday spectating Ironman California 70.3 which is only a 20 minute drive north from Encinitas. We got there in time to see the pros on the run course, and walked right by Andy Potts as he started on his 2nd loop on the run. We also saw Heather Jackson, local triathlete who placed second, as well as many other extremely speedy pros working hard. I had two friends racing as well as knew several people from social media out on the course and it was a great time. Asia and Jeremy came out too and we were reminiscing about 2012 when we all raced it. I got major race envy and was plotting how I could race it next year.

Beautiful Course at Ironman California 70.3

Beautiful Course at Ironman California 70.3

Team WODS spectating this year instead of racing

Team WODS spectating this year instead of racing

 

Go Stephen!

Go Stephen!

That night we went to a 90s birthday party and had a great time dancing to 90s songs and reminiscing about our favorite TV shows, movies and teen crushes (hello Andrew Keegan and JTT – who’s with me!?). I dressed as Ty from Clueless, Asia as Kelly Kapowski and Mike and Jeremy as Kris Kross.

Kelly & Ty

Kelly & Ty

Kris Kross in the house!

Kris Kross in the house!

Sunday

After a fun night of partying, we slept in late, took a walk with our coffee, and cleaned before finally putting in the final P90X3 workout of the week – The Warrior. It was full of great core moves as well as some plyometric type lunges and squats. Another sweaty one. We planned to get on the trainers later in the afternoon for a spin but a nap won.

It was a great start to P90X3. Mike and I are really amped on the program and excited to see where it takes us. It will definitely be a juggle to get in triathlon training on top of it, but P90X3 and the half marathon are my priority for now. I hope to include at least two bike rides or spins per week in the coming months and then after the half marathon focus mostly on the bike and the swim in the final 3 weeks leading up to the triathlon.

Totals:

  • Strength Training: 3 hours
  • Running: 28.5 miles
  • TOTAL: 7 hours 40 minutes

What 90s character would you dress up as for a 90s party? What strength move is hardest for you (assisted pull ups is mine!)?

Our P90X3 Journey Begins!

The whole reason this blog exists is because back in January 2011 Mike and I decided to “push play” on our first P90X workout DVD. We completed all 90 days of the program while also following the fairly strict nutrition plan and training for our first marathon (the marathon was 6 weeks after we finished). I am dead serious when I tell people that P90X changed my life. It elevated my interest in health and fitness from moderate to extreme and it changed my body, attitude, and overall health for the better. The strength I gained from P90X gave me courage to dream big and sign up for my first Ironman and the belief that I can qualify for Boston one day.

p90x results woman

I was so embarrassed to share these photos at first!

It’s hard to believe that it has been over 3 years since then. Our lives have changed in so many ways yet stayed the same in so many others. Instead of dating less than a year, we’re now married. I weigh 15 pounds less than the day I started P90X in 2011, have run 4 marathons and am now an Ironman. During P90X, particularly Phase 1, we consumed turkey, chicken, fish and dairy in mass quantities. Now, we follow a mostly plant based diet and I haven’t eaten chicken in nearly two years. But, we still live in our tiny apartment steps from the beach and we still attempt to workout in our living room despite the tight quarters. Mike and I still love and support each other and we are still passionate about fitness.

Although strength has definitely still been a part of my fitness routine since Day 90 of that first round of P90X, there has never been a commitment to it as intense as then. After the marathon, I set my sights on the Ironman and then qualifying for Boston. Strength has always been extremely important to me and I’ve dabbled in various ways of maintaining it but never more than two or three days a week. I’m happy with how my body looks now but I miss the strength that I had during P90X. I was able to bust out over 30 push-ups and now I grow tired quickly after 10. My legs were stronger and hills were easier to climb. I could do an unassisted pull up!

P90X3

When Beachbody came out with P90X3, I knew it was the perfect program for me right now. I really want to continue the foundation I’ve built in running and I love to do a triathlon or two in the summer but I also want my strong, more muscular body back. I made serious gains in endurance in 2011 due to the strength I gained during P90X and I think that I can make more gains in running with P90X3.

The reason I knew P90X3 was the best move is that it’s only 30 minutes a day. A total of 3 hours of strength a week spread out over manageable 30 minute workouts. The workout can be done in the morning with a run at night (or vice versa) or if a dual morning/evening workout isn’t possible, I could do two P90X3 workouts in one day or add on one P90X3 workout at the end of a run or spin. P90X is an amazing program but the number one criticism is how long it is (on average 1 hour 15 min a day) and P90X3 has the solution. Another great aspect of P90X3 is that it requires the same equipment as P90X – simply a pull up bar, dumbbells or bands, and a yoga mat.

On Monday I took my “before” photos and my measurements. Despite weighing less than I did on day 90 of P90X, my measurements showed me that I’ve lost some muscle, which I definitely expected. My advice to anyone doing any Beachbody program is to be sure to take before and after photos and take measurements! So many people email me (I’m a Beachbody Coach) lamenting their lack of weight loss in the beginning of these programs even though they say they feel better and look better. Weight isn’t everything! Measurements and a before photo will tell you way more about your results than your weight ever will (case in point that I weigh 3-4 lbs less than my 2011 P90X “after” photos yet my waist is nearly an inch bigger).

p90x3 p90x results p90x woman results

Monday was also Day 1 of the workouts and now we’re on Day 3. We also watched the intro DVD “How to Accelerate” and even spotted ME making a cameo appearance!!! After I submitted my P90X results to a contest on Beachbody, they contacted me about adding me to the infomercial. Apparently they’ve also used some of the footage for this video!

Doing Ab Ripper in the P90X3 "How to Accelerate DVD"

Doing Ab Ripper in the P90X3 “How to Accelerate DVD”

So far we’re really liking the program. It is 90 days with 3 phases with varying workouts, just like P90X. The workouts go by super fast and have very little warm-up and cool-down (sometimes the countdown on the video stops at 30 min and then continues with a cool-down) and there is no rest between moves. You basically are working your entire body hard for the full 30 minutes. The moves are a little more complex than P90X (in order to get multiple muscle groups working at once) but not so much that it’s impossible to do them. I’m not able to do any pull-ups yet I can still get a great workout in using a chair or the pull-up assist. The yoga is super rushed and definitely NOT zen, but I actually really liked it. You have to just take it as it is – a workout, not a yoga practice. P90X yoga was 90 minutes and it was the chief complaint of most P90Xers. And…I know it’s working because I’m SORE!!!

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Our P90X3 Calendar to help keep track of the workouts

If you’d like to join me in completing P90X3 you can purchase here: http://www.beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/fitnessfatale (click Shop Team Beachbody and find it under fitness programs).

Do you like the idea of home fitness or do you prefer to work out at the gym or outdoors? 

P90X Update and Chin Up Assist Review

p90x pull up assist

Mike and I are now through with “Week 4″ of our modified P90X routine – but it’s been 5 weeks. Due to weekend trips, vacations, schedules, me trying all these fun new classes (hot yoga, Dailey Method’s new Dailey Interval, Xtend Barre), it took us nearly two weeks to get through our final week. Our modified schedule is basically as follows:

Weeks 1 & 3: Chest and Back, Plyometrics (I skipped this week 1 since I was still recovering from the marathon), Shoulders & Arms, and Legs and Back

Weeks 2 & 4: Chest, Shoulders and Tris, Plyometrics, Biceps and Back, and Legs and Back.

Between these four core P90X workouts I was doing the above classes, running about 3-4 times a week, and even got some hikes in on our trip to Ventura! For me, variety has been key in keeping me interested and excited about working out. Although I still love running VERY much (hence why I’m still running quite frequently), I’ve been having a great time getting some of my muscles back.

My muscles actually seem to remember my old P90X days. For example, week one of Chest and Back I could only do about 15 traditional push-ups. By week 3 in the same workout I was able to do 25! My strength is coming back and it feels great.

chin up assist

One change to this round of P90X was that I have been using the P90X Chin Up Assist. This handy little contraption hooks on to the pull-up bar and allows you to get the normal range of motion for a pull-up without actually being strong enough to lift yourself up. Although I worked my way up to being able to do two consecutive unassisted pull-ups during my first round of P90X, I’ve lost that strength (I actually have yet to attempt to do a pull-up this round, I should really try!).

The P90X Chin Up Assist has been incredible. Although I’m not able to do as many reps as I was using the chair, it really works my back muscles the way a pull up or chin up should.  I used to kind of half ass my pull ups using the chair because it’s really hard to not push all your weight into your feet during that method. The Chin Up Assist gives you some extra help but there is no cheating – you have to do the work to get yourself up. If you are strong enough to do pull-ups, you can start doing unassisted and then when you get tired, switch to the chin-up bar to get those extra reps and extra results!

p90x pull up assistance for women

p90x chin up assistp90x chin up max

The Chin Up Assist comes un-assembled but it’s easy to put together (trust me, if I can, you can). Once you’ve got it together, you just hook it onto the middle of your pull up bar and then put one foot int the stirrups. Then you put your other foot on top of the first foot (it’s important to put both feet in to avoid uneven weight distribution). Once you’re strapped in, you lift yourself up! You can adjust the resistance of the straps as you get stronger to provide less support. The lower the strap hangs, the less resistance.

The Chin Up Assist costs $39.90 and you can buy it on my website here: http://beachbodycoach.com/esuite/home/fitnessfatale (click Shop Team Beachbody on the right side and then Equipment and Gear click Chin Up and Push Up and chose the “Chin Up Max”). In my opinion it’s totally worth it and will definitely help you get the results you are looking for with P90X or any workout program that involves pull-ups.

The reason I was completing this 4 week P90X program with Mike was because he was wrapping up his 90 day program. Now that he’s finished, we’re still determining what to do next. More P90X? P90X2? Or something else….we’ll see.

Do you do pull-ups? Would you find something like the chin up assist helpful? 

P90X or Insanity?

I’ve had several people ask me recently which is better – P90X or Insanity. I believe both programs are awesome ways to get in shape with the comfort and convenience of your own home. I’ve had success with both programs,  but personally I prefer one over the other, especially for runners who are also training for a race at the same time.

Insanity vs. P90X

P90X Lifting!

P90X Lifting!

To start, here are the some  of the differences in the programs:

  • P90X is 90 days, Insanity is 60 days. 
  • The average P90X workout is 1 hour 15 minutes. The average Insanity workout is 45 minutes.
  • P90X includes weight lifting (i.e. you have to own weights) and Insanity requires no equipment
  • P90X includes two days of cardio whereas Insanity has cardio included daily.
  • P90X has three phases, each three weeks long with one recovery week. Insanity has two phases and one recovery week.
  • P90X Fit Test is completed only at the beginning and end of the program.  Insanity fit test is completed every few weeks to measure progress.
  • P90X nutrition plan has 3 phases, Insanity nutrition plan is the same throughout (with an increase in calories during the 2nd phase).
  • P90X is led by Tony Horton, a personality that some hate and some love (I personally love him) and Insanity is led by Shaun T, who has a very in your face attitude toward fitness.

P90X (My P90X Results Here)

real p90x results women

My P90X Results!

Pros

  • P90X is a strength training program. If you follow the program as intended,  you will see some serious changes in your body.
  • Although it is primarily strength, you will see increases in cardiovascular health and flexibility through the plyometrics and yoga DVDs.
  • If you plan on training for a running or endurance event while completing P90X, you will find it is a nice complement. Since only two of the workouts are serious leg exercises, your legs will get stronger but won’t constantly be fatigued and affect your runs. Schedule your runs on upper body days.
  • The P90X Nutrition plan fits well into an average person’s eating schedule – three meals and two snacks a day and is fairly easy to follow, especially once you figure out your portion sizes. 
  • I personally think that you will get more impressive results with P90X. The weight lifting component won’t make you (as a girl) bulk up – instead, it will create a thin body with lean muscle!
  • P90X has such a variety of workouts that you will never get bored.
  • P90X comes with worksheets to track your progress as you do each workout. I found these extremely motivating because I would look at my prior week’s workout and always try to do more reps or increase my weights. I think this was a huge factor in my success.

Cons

  • P90X requires equipment so it not as easy to do on the go and also there is more initial investment to purchase weights and a pull-up bar (or you can use bands which can be taken to hotel rooms).
  • Some people really dislike Tony Horton and his corny jokes.
  • P90X workouts are an average of 1 hour 15 minutes, 6 days a week which could be time consuming for some.

Insanity  (My Insanity Results Here)

insanity or p90x?

Doing Insanity!

Pros

  • Insanity is a very intense cardio program. It will increase your cardiovascular fitness and burn a ton of calories. You will literally be dripping sweat within the first 5 minutes.
  • Since Insanity’s workouts are fairly short so it fits well into a busy schedule.
  • Insanity can easily be completed in hotel rooms and on the go since it requires no equipment.
  • Since you do Insanity’s fit test so often, you will see tangible results in your cardiovascular fitness and strength which provide motivation to keep going.

Cons

  • Since Insanity is SO cardio focused and leg-focused, I found that it affected my runs. My legs were often tired and it had a negative affect on my attitude during runs as well as my performance during them. 
  • Without weights, I found that Insanity didn’t give me as much of a sculpted look as I had hoped. Although the program definitely builds muscle, I found that I had more success with P90X.
  • Since Insanity is so repetitive, I found it boring at times.
  • Insanity won’t provide you with a ripped upper body. Although you may see some changes in your upper body, not a significant portion of the workouts emphasize upper body.
  • I had a harder time following the Insanity Nutrition Plan because it is based on 5 small meals a day. I didn’t like eating a mini meal at 10 a.m. and another at 2 p.m.

In Sum

I always recommend P90X over Insanity, especially to runners who are looking to complete the program while training for a race. Although the workouts are shorter with Insanity, I found the intensity on my legs affected my runs. P90X, on the other hand, worked well to compliment my runs. I found the P90X nutrition plan easier to fit into my lifestyle than Insanity’s.

Regardless of which program you chose, your results will be based on your level of effort. Following the nutrition plan is key (or a variation of it) and getting all your workouts in is important. More important than always doing the workouts is always doing your best and pushing it hard. As Tony says, You have to BRING IT!

Disclaimer – It’s hard for me to completely judge the differences since I had weight to lose before starting P90X and I followed the nutrition plan very strictly during P90X. I had amazing results with P90X. When I did Insanity, I was already in fairly good shape and didn’t follow the nutrition plan (yet still lost a bit of weight without dieting). I also only did 3-4 Insanity workouts a week and combined it with triathlon/running.

For more information about P90X or Insanity or to purchase a program, check out my Beachbody website here!

Also, I have all my P90X information on my P90X Resources page. I documented how I combined P90X with running.

2012 Goals Recap

I love setting goals and working toward achieving them. It’s a big reason why I love running and endurance sports so much. In January I set 5 goals for myself to accomplish in 2012 – let’s see how I did!

1) Finish Ironman Couer D’Alene. Since this was my most important goal, it was the focus of most of my year and I did accomplish it. I don’t take it for granted that I was able to get to the start line injury free and was able to complete the entire race. I have more respect for the Ironman distance now than I did when I signed up for the race and more than when I wrote this goal last year. So many things could have gone wrong but luckily, nothing major did and I became an Ironman on June 24, 2012. I have never worked so hard for a goal in my life and it was a wonderful feeling to run down the finisher’s chute knowing that my hard work paid off.

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2) Run a Sub 1:45 Half Marathon. I definitely failed at this one! I didn’t set the half marathon distance as a priority this year and only ran 2 of them – one shortly after the Ironman and another shortly after I finally began to gain some of my lost fitness back after recovering from the Ironman (and barely PRed with a 1:51). Despite that, this goal was pretty lofty and I actually don’t think I realized how hard it would be to accomplish when I set it. Nonetheless, it will remain a goal of mine, hopefully to be achieved in 2013!

A Barely New PR at Long Beach Half

A Barely New PR at Long Beach Half

3) Complete P90X2. I didn’t even try this one. I had the idea that post Ironman I would have so much energy and excitement to continue double workout days and I could somehow manage to do P90X2 while also training for half marathons and attending all my friend’s weddings. Instead, I got into Dailey Method and slept in more days. I don’t regret it- I deserved it after a year of intense training for the Ironman!

4) Run a Sub 3:50 Marathon.  When I originally set this goal, I wasn’t sure I was going to even attempt it at Surf City 2012. However, once I was able to do my 10 Yasso 800′s at 3:50, I decided to just go for it at that race. The worst that could happen would be that I blew up but at least I tried! Surf City was a great race – although it was quite warm for February (70s and sunny!), Asia and I both had a great race and were shocked at how easy the 8:45 pace felt for the majority of the race. At the end, Asia and I cheered each other on during our times of doubt and we both achieved our goal of sub 3:50! I’m not sure I could have done it without her (or with Jeremy who ran me in the last 1/2 mile when I was exhausted).  I’m also glad we went for this goal at Surf City because I didn’t run another marathon this year.

My Race Goal on Macaroni Grill Paper Table Cloth

My Race Goal on Macaroni Grill Paper Table Cloth

Sub 3:50 Glory at Surf City Marathon!

Sub 3:50 Glory at Surf City Marathon!

5) Podium at a Triathlon. I knew there was no chance of a podium at either Oceanside 70.3 or IM CdA, but I figured if I entered a sprint or Olympic I’d have a shot since I ended up 3rd in my age group at my first Olympic triathlon in 2011. I entered the San Diego Classic in September without much motivation to train but luckily my residual Ironman fitness carried me to the finish line 2nd in my age group!

On the Podium!

On the Podium!

Considering the weight of my primary goal of completing IM CdA, three out of five goals isn’t bad! I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t come closer to the half marathon goal mostly because my big goal for 2013 is to qualify for Boston and I surely need to have the fitness to run a sub 1:45 half to do it. However, I actually feel fairly confident that if I were to run a half marathon today (with some taper, of course) that I’d be pretty close to my goal. But I guess we’ll have to wait until 2013 to find out!

The theme of this year was some serious strength and growth in my fitness in the first half of the year followed by some disappointments in the second half. I had naively expected to come out of the Ironman a much faster and stronger runner, whereas the reality was that I just really needed a break. I was mentally and physically exhausted and I needed to focus on recovery as well as spending time with friends and family. The result of which was a few disappointing races, but I’m ok with sacrificing a PR or two for mental health and relationships! Because I took the time to rest and mentally recharge, I am excited going into 2013 and ready to achieve some new goals!

What was your #1 goal for 2012 and did you achieve it? Did you also get excited and set too many goals like me!?

My Parents’ P90X Results!

Last March after my Step-Mom and Dad came to watch me complete my first half Ironman, I could tell there was a bit of an curiosity from them about what I had gotten myself in to. They had followed my P90X journey last year via my  blog while they were living in Paris (my Dad’s company sent him for a project), had come out to cheer me on at the Surf City Marathon last year, and then spectated my half Ironman. They had plans to come out to watch my full Ironman and I think at this point they really registered just how much P90X had changed my life. Not only did it change my physical appearance, it also helped me gain confidence that I could in fact conquer the feat that is an Ironman triathlon.

My parents actually purchased P90X in December of 2011 with the intention of beginning in the new year. But things came up and they put it off. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how they would handle the program. It’s difficult and going from little activity to 6 days of a week of “bringing it” can be intense. I’ve known a lot of people to start the program but few to finish. It takes some serious commitment to get through P90X.

In early August, I received an e-mail from Denice (my Step-Mom), saying that they had found the P90X they purchased back in December and they were going about purchasing the equipment. She also said they intended to follow the nutrition program which I highly advocated since I think nutrition is about 80-90% of weight loss.

A quote from an e-mail from Denice after they did the fit test:

“We tried the pull-ups – bwahahahahaha!”

P90X was difficult for my parents in the beginning. Besides working in the yard, they haven’t been exercising much in the last few years. They spent several months in Paris enjoying delicious rich food and put on some extra pounds. They didn’t let any of this stop them. They gave their all in every workout and found that they made progress faster than they thought. After the first time they did yoga (1 hour 35 minutes and definitely a difficult version of yoga!), Denice e-mailed me telling me it was the most difficult workout of all for them. By the end, it was one of Denice’s favorite workouts.

About a month in, the scale hadn’t moved much for them, but they were seeing great results in their bodies and in their strength. They didn’t give up and kept going, pushing play every day and preparing their healthy meals. They had a few cheat meals but didn’t let themselves over-indulge often. Soon they were seeing their weight drop – first a few pounds then over ten each. They didn’t want to stop and kept going! Denice went for a run during week 10 and felt great. My dad joined her soon after and they began to run more frequently.

Day 90 came along faster than they expected and my parents were officially crowned P90X graduates. Between them, they lost 35.5 pounds and 7.5 inches off their waists. They feel amazing, energized and younger than ever. They aren’t laughing at pull-ups anymore AND they signed up for their first half marathon!

Fit Test Results (Final fit test results first, original results in parenthesis. Description of moves here)

Pull ups:  Denice= 1 (0), dad = 4 (1)

Push ups: Denice = 31 (15), dad = 50 (25)

Vertical leap: Denice =9.5 (9), dad – 10 (11)

Toe Touch: Denice = 5 (2), dad = -2.5 (-6)

In&Outs: Denice = 102 (16), dad = 64 (16)

Wall squat: Denice = 2:00 min (1:10), dad = 1:53 (1:07)

Body Measurements & Weight Changes

Weight loss: Denice = -15.5 lbs, dad = -20 lbs (!!!!!!)

Waist: Denice = -3.5 in, dad = -4 in

Hips: Denice= -2.5 in, dad = -3.5 in

Chest: Denice = -3 in, dad = -3 in

Before and After Photos

p90x before and aftersDad & Denice Before P90X

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Denice Before P90X

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Dad Before P90X

p90x before and afterDenice After P90X

p90x before and after over 50Dad After P90X

I am so incredibly proud of my parents’ hard work and I am so excited that they want to continue what they’ve started. Their plans are to incorporate P90X into their training for their first half marathon in May! We are also planning a hike up Half Dome in Yosemite with them this summer.

Getting amazing results with P90X has nothing to do with your fitness level before your begin. It’s about your commitment  If you want results, you WILL get them with this program. It’s not easy but it’s worth it!

If you want to join my parents as P90X graduates and gain strength, speed and confidence, you can buy it from my Beachbody site here! If you have any questions a bout P90X you can email me at nwoyski at gmail dot com.

My 2011 Fitness Journey!

2011 was certainly an amazing year. Although I’ve always been interested in fitness and have regularly worked out, this was the first year that I took it to a whole new level. I learned so much about how to train, how to fuel my body and how to balance a hardcore fitness routine with work, friends, a relationship, community service and family. I feel very lucky to have lived a very healthy life in 2011 and even more glad that I had good friends and an amazing boyfriend to share in my fitness journey. 
 
Here are some of my highlights:
 
January – Wrote my first Fitness Fatale (then called Femme Fatale: Conquering a Marathon with P90X) blog entry! Achieved my goal of a sub-2 hour half marathon and started P90X.
Taking the Fit Test Before P90X
February  – Didn’t drink alcohol, soda, coffee or eat any white bread/pasta, cookies, candy, etc. for an entire month during Phase 1 of P90X. Lost 8.5 lbs in the first 4 weeks! Officially started training for my first marathon and did my first double workout day (P90X in the morning, run in the evening).
 
March - More P90X and half marathon/marathon training. Mike turned 30 and we jumped out of a plane to celebrate!
 

Crossed That One Off the Bucket List!

 
April – Did my first unassisted pull-up. Ran the La Jolla Half Marathon in 1 hour 54 minutes, 5 minutes faster than I ran Carlsbad 3 months earlier, thanks to P90X! Finished P90X with a total weight loss of 10.8 pounds and 2.25 inches off my waist. Gained a new sense of confidence in my body and fitness ability.
 
May – Became a Team Beachbody Coach so that I can help others achieve their fitness goals! Ran 18 miles through 4 cities with Mike and also ran the longest run of my life wtih my running group, The Vavi Running Club.
 
June- Finished my first ever marathon with two great friends by my side in 4 hours and 2 minutes! Road a road bike for the first time in my life and competed in my first triathlon, a practice beginner tri put on by the Tri Club.

Post Rock n Roll Marathon

 
 
July- Competed in my first sprint triathlon and signed up for my first Olympic triathlon, Half-Ironman and Ironman all in one day (and my credit card got shut off from spending too much!)
 
 
August – Ran the AFC Half Marathon nearly 10 minutes faster than the prior year and also recevied the Triple Crown medal for competing 3 San Diego half marathons in 1 year. Was the 3rd woman to finish the TriClub Beginner Triathlon.
 
September – Finished 3rd in my age group at the TriRock Olympic triathlon.
 
October – Started coaching Girls on the Run and also started the Insanity Beachbody program. Biked my first half century ride. Wrote my 100th blog post.  
 
 
November – Discovered the Sufferfest cycling DVDs. Ran the Father Joe’s Thanksgiving Day 5k.

Turkey Socks!

 
December – Finished Insanity. Finished my first season of Girls on the Run and ran as a Runny Buddy in the 5k.

Girls on the Run Team Encinitas

Thanks to everyone who reads my blog! This has been such an action packed year for me and I know that 2012 will be even better!
 
What was your favorite fitness achievement of 2011?