Archive | March, 2013

P90X Phase 1 Results

19 Mar

Currently Adam and I are entering week 7 so I thought I’d catch up and put our results from Phase 1 (the first 4 weeks).  These results are based on following the nutrition guide (with a few cheat meals – Adam’s birthday etc.), running a couple times a week (Kelly), and doing a minimum of 6 workouts per week (sometimes 7).

Tape Measure Results:

(Kelly in blue, Adam in green, in inches)

Waist:   -1.5     (-1.75)

Chest:   -1     (+1)

Hips:   -.5     (-1)

Calf:   0     (0)

Bicep:   +.5     (0)

Other Results:

Body Fat %: Unfortunately we didn’t get our fat caliper in time to have a before and after – but we should have some movement on it for the end of phase 2.  I can confidently say our percentages are down even without the exact measurement.

Weight: We weighed ourselves back in October for our first round, but didn’t weigh ourselves again at the beginning of this round (dang!).  I don’t own a scale and don’t have one conveniently available.  Additionally I really didn’t want to get caught up on numbers so didn’t harass any neighbors to locate a scale.  That being said I would estimate I have lost between 4-6 lbs. of fat since October.  Maybe around 2 lbs. for phase 1? So it’s definitely working! I will likely try harder to find a scale at the end of this round to have a complete start and end number at very least.

Overall Fitness: Wow am I stronger!  I can run faster and longer and I truly think a huge portion of this is P90X.  I feel healthier and happier.  So on top of the actual results, there have been many ‘side-effect’ results.  Adam made the comment, “You seem like you!” I take this to mean that I’m happier and less tired :) Always a good thing!

So far so good – looking forward to our next check-in soon!

-Kelly

Race Recap: Shamrock Run!

18 Mar

Okay – so this wasn’t really a race race…but there was a start/finish line and a chip so I guess it counts!

This past Saturday morning (right after Match Day – rough I know!), Adam and I ran in a 4 mile Shamrock Run and Walk. I haven’t run something with Adam in quite some time so it was great to have him out there with me.  Additionally, he hasn’t gone on a run himself in many months so I was also a bit nervous.

This run was also a great opportunity to celebrate St. Patty’s Day!  Truthfully it’s one of my favorite holidays – but right now I’m in a musical which is making my schedule pretty hectic.  Doing this race was our way of celebrating St. Patty’s Day, and we joked, celebrating in a P90X approved fashion.

Conveniently, the start/finish line was about a mile from my apartment so we jogged and got a nice warm-up.  I was also doing this race as a part of my 8-mile long run.  Doing these mini races has been a really fun way to complete my longer runs.  We got to the start with just a minute or so to spare and jumped in line with all the decked-out leprechauns and green tutus.  It was quite a sea of festive people; there was no shortage of exciting people-watching.

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The gun went off and we took off around the circle. I gave Adam specific instructions that I didn’t want to complete my run in the record 8:09 pace of last weekend’s race.  That pace was unheard of for me, and I wanted to be cautious.  I didn’t want the race excitement to get to me and push faster than would be safe.  I’m a little paranoid about injuries!  Ideally, I wanted to be between an 8:30 and 9 minute pace (given I had to run a total of 8 miles).

The course itself was really very neat.  It started downtown and went to another close neighborhood and looped back.  Another reason I was interested in this race it would allow me to explore a new part of town that I don’t usually run in.  I have definitely added this to my potential trails for long runs!  The weather was beautiful- sunny and around 40.  This actually caught me off guard. I have been running in gloves and a hat for so many months that I didn’t really know how to dress.  I ended up going with pants and a t-shirt, and Adam did shorts and a long sleeve.  Both of us felt pretty good temperature-wise, so it was a good choice.

Adam did great, but I could tell he wasn’t feeling amazing.  His knee was giving him trouble, so it wasn’t the most enjoyable run for him.  Last spring Adam was running much stronger than me, so this was a sure sign that my running and fitness has improved.  We stayed together and had a nice brisk pace. I was able to maintain a somewhat one-sided conversation – another sign that my asthma was under pretty great control.

As we neared the downtown again we just had a mile to go.  I was hoping to pick up the pace (that’s exciting I had more juice in the tank!), but Adam’s knee at this point was really giving him a lot of trouble.  We kept a constant pace and happily neared the end!  With a smile on my face we crossed the finish line.  I felt like I had plenty of energy left, which made me super happy.  Also – it was good because I still had another 3 miles to run.

Afterwards we stretched, claimed our hard-earned banana and water, and walked around downtown for a bit.  After a short break I headed off to complete my run, and Adam walked home to make breakfast.  Yet another successful long run/race hybrid!  Next week will actually be strange with no race…well, yet.  Who knows what Saturday will bring!

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Running together for St. Patrick’s Day!

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The canal dyed green for St. Patty’s!

Hope you all had a fantastic green holiday!

-Kelly

Match Day Excitement!

17 Mar

Ahh Match Day.  For those of you that know nothing about Match Day, it is best summed up as the day that medical students work towards for 8+ years.  It is the day where all students know where they will go for their residency.  Adam is in his last year of med school, so we had the pleasure (or torture) of going through Match Day this past Friday.

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What is Match Day?

Residency placement is unlike the normal job interview process.  Instead of interviewing at locations, gathering offers, negotiating and choosing the best one, you rank them and are ‘matched’.  Adam interviewed at many schools across the country, and once he completed all his interviews, he submitted a ranking.  He could rank the schools in whatever order he’d like, but the list would then be compared to the programs’ own rank lists (of all the students they interviewed).  All of the information is put into a computer and the results are spit out, matching each student with a slot at a program.  This is the way it works for all med schools and residency programs across the entire country – insane, I know!  You can learn more about the match process here if you’re curious.

The Ceremony

Adam finished his interviews in January and ranked the programs in February.  I was an absolute wreck going into the ceremony Friday.  I ended up taking a day off of work to experience it with him.  The ceremony was also live broadcast so family and friends could join in across the country.

Students were called up in groupings of 5 and handed the envelope with their placement. After receiving their envelope, they could open it on stage to announce it to the room, open it in line, or take the envelope and leave the room.  They even provided a screen for students to go behind if they wanted some privacy to open their results.  Adam and I opted to go up on stage together (you could bring a loved one with you if you so desired –  wives/husbands, brothers/sisters etc).  We also decided to open the envelope on stage instead of opening it a few minutes prior.  We wanted our family/friends to see our reactions.

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The ceremony started at 12 and was over at 1pm.  All of the results were posted online at 1 (actually 1:05), so it needed to be short and sweet.  Adam had a financial aid meeting from 9-11am before the ceremony (talk about not being able to pay attention!).  I had breakfast with my family, who was in town visiting, and then headed over to meet up with Adam.  I expected to be nervous – but I honestly didn’t expect to be quite that worked up.  It was a lot of emotion.  Adam is very gifted so I knew he would be okay (this is my chance to brag about how proud I am of him!), but still you never know…

We made our way up to the room of the ceremony and sat with a big group of friends.  Noon hit and the first group of names were called.  I couldn’t believe my nerves – I wanted to be sick!  The minutes ticked on and his name wasn’t called.  Finally a few friends were called, but still no Adam!  It reached 12:40, and I was actually starting to relax.  The more time  went on the more resigned I was that whatever was in the envelope couldn’t be changed.  Finally around 12:52 Adam was called!  We anxiously went up to the line for the stage.  He was handed his envelope, and we sort of mindlessly made our way closer to the stage.  He grabbed my hand and we were up.  I stood behind him as stepped up to the microphone.

The Result!

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“I really hope this says Gryffindor”

Opening the envelope.

“Hi I’m Adam, and I have matched into Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville!”

Shakingly make our way off stage and hug…a lot.

We made it!  We know – the information was now in our hands. Vanderbilt is a great school, and Adam was very excited to be placed in such a fantastic program.  I’m so proud of him!  This will bring some complications as Nashville is about a 4 hour drive, but we’re excited as we start figuring out what this match means.

Guess we need to buy some cowboy boots :)

-Kelly

Running and P90X: the perfect match?

16 Mar

Currently I am on week 6 of P90X and training for a half-marathon.  Somehow I always thought strength training and training well for a race were somehow mutually exclusive.  I thought that I could throw some strength training in here and there…but my main focus had to be running.  I’ve also always thought that I had to run a minimum of 4 days a week.  Well, all of these perceptions changed when I decided to do my combo P90X/half-marathon training.  I’ve been surprised and delighted at how hand-in-hand it has been working so far.

Why am I doing this?

Well, I initially was doing P90X and was just finishing phase 2 when Adam wanted to start over to join in.  (Adam started with me but is in his last year of med school – things have been beyond hectic for him).  With his schedule more free, the idea of a workout buddy again was appealing.  I agreed to abandon my first round and begin “round 2” or really more appropriate “round 1.5”.  The same week of starting “round 2”, my lunchtime running buddies were discussing their upcoming half-marathons.  Up to this point I had been on the fence about doing the mini.  I did it last year with less than stellar results and more importantly I had to pull out of a different half in October due to knee problems (not really resolved). I thought for sure it was too late and I had too little time to train appropriately (especially given my knees).  Well – a quick google search showed me that not only was the race not sold out, many people train doing 10, 11, or 12 week programs.  I still had plenty of time!

I mulled it over, still unsure.  I asked Adam if he would be joining me if I signed up.  He said he’d think about it.  Hmm.  I thought about it for another few days.  After googling P90X and running, I took the plunge and signed up (what a thrilling moment!).  I found several examples of folks who successfully trained for marathons while doing P90X – surely I could do it with a half!

I told Adam what I had done secretly hoping he’d say “Oh good!  Me too, me too!  I want to sign up.”  That wasn’t exactly how it went down.  It was more like “Babe, I’m so proud of you!  This will be so good for you!”  The lack of “we” made my heart sink a bit.  Point blank I figured I should ask “Are you doing it with me?”  I knew the answer – it’s the weekend before graduation from med school…not great timing.  He confirmed my suspicion with a “No I really don’t think I can…it’s just going to be so busy.”   That evening I was pretty bummed out, but by morning I felt super empowered!  I hadn’t done a race on my own in quite some time and that’s how I started out running: alone.  This was my chance to return to my roots!

The only catch with this brilliant race plan: I had already committed to P90X.  I told Adam that P90X would be my priority and my running would have a more secondary focus.  I.e. I’m not going to give up a P90X video to go for a run.  Once the priorities were straight in my head I knew what I had to do: map it out.  I found a training plan, made some modifications, and mapped it out on the good ol’ shared google calendar.  It was a lot – but not too much.  I knew it was doable and I could be successful.  Fast forward 5 weeks and I’ve been delighted at my hybrid training.  Absolutely delighted.

What does my training look like?

  • Running:
    • I run three days a week.  Two of those days are 3 and 4 mile runs.  I do these at lunch with co-workers…meaning I probably won’t ever get above 4 miles for my midweek runs.  Prior to signing up I had been running with co-workers through the winter so I had some conditioning left over.
    • I do a long run every weekend.  For example, this week is: Tue- 3, Wed- 4, Sat- 8.
  • P90X:
    • I do P90X a minimum 6 days a week (7 when I can).
    • Adam and I do the videos first thing in the morning (around 6 or 6:30, sometimes earlier if needed). We settled on doing them in the morning due to other evening commitments.  At first I hated it.  But now it’s awesome getting it done and out of the way.
    • We do P90X typically in the order prescribed, though sometimes we might make some slight switches due to commitments.  For example we switched Kenpo and Yoga this week because we have more time Sunday to do the 1.5 hour video.

How have I liked it?

There are not enough words to express how much I have enjoyed this training method.  P90X has made me sooo much stronger, and it is really showing in my runs.  I used to think of 9:30 as a fast run… now 8:30 is a fast run.  I also feel better when running, just stronger and more fit.  I don’t feel like I’m dragging as much.   I also feel less prone to injury.  Being in great shape makes me feel like I’m a little more protected from over-use injuries.  I have been downright shocked at how much my running has improved.  It’s likely not 100% P90X, but still a huge portion.

Is it doable?

Absolutely.  I have found this far more manageable than anticipated.  I love the dual training, and I really am looking forward to my mini in May.  I don’t want to put pressure on myself, but I think I might be able to break 2 hours (fingers crossed).  More importantly, I think I will have a great race: a happy race!  As the runs get longer, they will undoubtedly get trickier to fit into my schedule, but I’m confident that with good planning I can make it work.

Tips if you’re planning on training for a race while doing P90X:

  • Plan ahead.  Make sure you have your schedule mapped out and know what you’re doing when.
  • Don’t miss a workout.  If you skip a workout with the idea of “doing it later”, it’s super challenging to find the time to squeeze it back in.  When double training, you don’t have the time to miss a workout from either plan.
  • Eat more on the days you are running – I add an extra fruit and extra snack on these days to ensure I have enough fuel.
  • Take stretching and yoga seriously.  With all this training you need to keep your body injury free: yoga and stretching are fantastic ways to do this.
  • Believe in yourself – it can be done it, just takes commitment and persistence.
  • Do mini races as a part of long runs on the weekends. I did my 10K last weekend which turned my long run into a fun event.  This weekend Adam and I are doing a shamrock shuffle as a part of my 8-miler.  This makes it feel less like training and more like something fun I’m doing on the weekends.
  • Just bring it!

Happy running!

-Kelly

Have you ever trained for 2 different things at once?  Was it successful?

P90X Nutrition: Eating by Post-it Note!

14 Mar

Don’t be intimidated!

One of the most intimidating pieces of the P90X program was the nutrition guide.  I remember reading it and initially thinking, “I can’t eat what?” and, “How do I calculate and keep track of all this?”  I read through it a few times and tried to process it before mapping out my game plan.  It seemed like a lot to learn, memorize, prepare, and understand.  Now that I’ve been doing the nutrition plan for about 6 weeks, I can say I’m really “in the swing of things.”  It certainly does get easier and more reasonable with time. And it is well worth the initial effort to learn it.

There are two things Adam and I do that make the nutrition plan more manageable: track and measure.  Before you close out the browser at the thought of the work to track and measure (and maybe not wanting to be that neurotic) – hear me out!  The main reason Adam and I go through both steps is to ensure we are eating enough.  During the first 3 weeks of the program we didn’t have a food scale.  We bought one and bingo: I found out I was previously under-eating significantly in protein and overeating fruit. My guessing skill turned out to not be quite so skillful. “Hmm that looks like it’s about 3 oz. of meat.”  Let’s just pause and think about that statement.  I have no idea what 3 oz looks like.  And unless you studied nutrition or bake/cook/measure things a lot, you likely also have no idea.  So…if we all have no idea what 3 oz. of turkey looks like, how are we making sure we are eating that amount?  Well the fact of the matter is: we weren’t.  Enter the food scale and our lives are changed!  We know we are eating correctly and are much happier because of it :)  A satisfied Kelly is a happy one.  Adam and I used a couple simple tips to better track and measure what we are eating.

Tracking what you eat

Knowing what you eat is half the battle.  If you track what you eat, you are much more likely to stay satisfied on this eating plan and have success transforming your body.  There are many methods for tracking with P90X. The top three I have found: an excel spreadsheet, MyFitnessPal app (MFP), and our way: post-it notes.  If you’re interested in the spreadsheet way – I found 3 or 4 out there while searching for resources online, or you can create your own pretty easily.  You could also try MFP.  This is a free app that tracks calories (among other stats) by manually inputting foods online or into your app.  The other recommendation I’d give is how Adam and I have tracked our food: Post-it Notes!

We have found our post-it note method to be highly effective for several reasons:

  • It’s simple.
    • It can’t get much more simple than a couple of boxes on a post-it note.  This method takes the program from overwhelming to easy by visually displaying the food available. You always know where you stand.
  • It’s portable.
    • I take my post-it note to work and home again.  I stick mine on my desk at work and can easily mark it off as the day goes by. When Adam is home he sticks it on the microwave.
  • It’s task-oriented.
    • It’s like having a to-do list for food.  How satisfying to put that x in the box (I’m not kidding, it really feels awesome)!
  • We don’t forget.
    • Because it is easy to use and no frills we never forget to make and use our post-it notes.  We also never forget to eat food or forget what we ate earlier in the day.
  • It instills good habits.
    • At this point I’ve made enough post-it notes to know what amount of food I should be having each day – but it took a daily post-it note to get me in the habit.  I still use them because I find it so useful and effective. I will likely use them once I’m done with P90X.
Here is an example of Adam’s post-it note for Level 2 Phase 2:

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Initially (probably the first 2 weeks), we had calorie amounts per serving listed next to each type of food.  This helped remind us that each box represented that number of calories.

Here is my note, with calorie listings:

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You’ll also notice boxes for water and vitamins.  This has been especially crucial for me.  I really struggle to drink enough during the day (or really ever).  I was always dehydrated (and getting headaches) and the boxes are a great incentive to work through the bottles of water.

Our post-it note method could easily be modified to add other reminders such as other supplements or shakes etc.  But truly my favorite part about this approach: it isn’t complicated.  We used the portion plan and eating is as simple as checking off the boxes (well not that easy – but you get the idea).  We have been able to easily adapt the notes through the phases as well.

Measuring what you eat

The second key to success with the P90X nutrition plan is measuring your serving sizes.  This has been a relatively new discovery for us – but woah what a game changer!  I think I had a mental hurdle with the whole idea of a food scale.  To me that was one step too far over the line to crazy neurotic land. I’m Kelly – fun loving, live in the moment, life-is-too-short-to-diet…and measuring food to the ounce seemed to go against this mentality.  Additionally, in high school I had some habits of disordered eating and didn’t want to potentially walk down a bad path of getting a little obsessive about food.  But the more I read and re-read the nutrition guide the more it made sense to me to actually measure our portions.  We broke down and bought a scale (25 bucks) at Walmart and have been weighing things out for a couple weeks.  A couple of interesting discoveries so far:

  • 50 calories worth of veggies is A LOT.  Like an entire pepper a lot.  Prior to the scale I was under estimating the amount of veggies I could eat.  Say hello to more satisfaction.  More food :) 
  • 100 calories worth of almonds is a lot less than I anticipated.  I was eating probably 200-300 calories worth of almonds that was supposed to only be 100.
  • 3 oz. of meat is a decent amount.  I’m so sad to think of my little turkey sandwiches pre-scale.  My real 3 oz. turkey sandwiches are so much more filling!
  • I’m actually less stressed about food.  Now that things are weighed out I know exactly what I’m eating.  I don’t stress that I didn’t eat enough or I ate too much.  I just check off my boxes and don’t worry about it.  What a relief to not stress about food!
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What a little game changer!

As you can see, we found a lot of unintentional positive consequences of a scale!  One big trick with measuring and making this process easier is what Adam and I have coined “Chopping Parties.” Once a week we get out the cutting boards, tupperware, snack bags, scale, and a TV episode and go to town preparing all of our snacks and portions for the week.  This front loads all the effort and allows the week to be an easy grab and go for meals.  I’ll have another post on chopping parties, but the main take-away is that planning ahead is required to be successful with this plan.  You cannot wing it.

To sum it up:

Find a tracking method that works for you and stick to it.  Tracking is crucial to make sure you are eating enough calories and in the appropriate categories.  Measuring your servings goes hand in hand with tracking.  Be confident that you are eating a “true” serving.  Both of these strategies take the guess work and stress out of maintaining the P90X nutrition plan.

-Kelly

How do you track your nutrition plan?  How have you successfully stuck to the P90X plan?

Race Recap: My First 10K!

12 Mar

This weekend was exciting for many reasons!  First, it was Adam’s birthday.  And for those that know me, they know birthdays are big!!  I absolutely love celebrating birthdays.  I threw Adam a surprise party with a lot of helpers, and we had a wonderful time.  I also had a very dear friend visiting this weekend making it even more special.  The last reason this weekend was so exciting: I ran my first 10K!

Had you asked me last Friday morning if I thought I’d be running a race this weekend I would’ve had a resounding “um no, I have a long run” in response.  But my what an afternoon can change!  I went out to lunch with a few co-workers and one of them shared a bit about their race this weekend: a 10K race as a part of the training series for the Mini-Marathon.  It was just .8 miles shorter than my long run planned.  And, conveniently the start/finish line were only about a mile from my apartment.  The race started at 8 am and I was planning on getting my long run (7 miles) started at 7:30 am.  Can you say destiny?  I asked a few more questions and soon I was sold!

That afternoon I signed up and paid the 12 dollar fee.  And soon after registering the nerves started.  That little flurry in my stomach was the unwelcome familiar pre-race feeling. My last Indy Mini was a disaster in terms of nerves.  I was so nervous. So nervous that I made myself sick – I had a stomachache the entire race and burst into tears at the end of it; not pretty.  I hadn’t trained well enough to put that much pressure on myself. I desperately wanted to do well: it was Adam’s first race and I wanted to help him get to a sub 2-hour time.  Instead, he ended up practically dragging me to the finish line in 2 hours and 6 minutes by some miracle because I had managed to give myself montezuma’s revenge.  Ever since this race I’ve had a complex of sorts about running (racing really).  But I knew doing this 10K would help me relax about racing and get back into the swing of things.  The rest of the day I worked tirelessly to take my mind off the race.

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All signed up: My long run officially turned into a race!

Saturday morning my alarm went off and my stomach wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated.  I changed clothes (a balmy 34 degrees), ate half a bagel (daring, I know), and took a few puffs of my albuterol (I have asthma).  My plan was to run the extra mile I needed before the race just to get it over with. I took off toward the start line with heavy legs.  They felt pretty tired so I just mentally told myself to relax: this was for training purposes only!  My timing was just about perfect: 1.2 miles to reach the start.  I slowed, stretched, and just tried to keep warm until the start of the race.

My least favorite part of races: the very beginning.  Well… probably the first mile or two of a race.  I know I’m not alone in this sentiment but man, I really don’t enjoy it.  A couple reasons: my strategy is to finish strong and fast.  Therefore, my initial pace is somewhat slow and steady.  I tend to get passed in the first mile or two and then pass those same people at the end (not all of them – I wish ;)).  As usual, I got somewhat discouraged during the first part.  I had to remind myself continuously that I had a strategy and that I know my body.  I had to focus on my goals and ignore others around me.  Well, I’m glad I listened to myself.  Around mile 4 I started really picking up my pace and found myself in my favorite position: “hunter”.  By mile 5.5 I felt like I was flying.  I felt strong and confident.  Mile 5.8 I started having some issues: I had a major side cramp.  I kept up my pace as best I could and held strong to the finish line.

Previous to this race my fastest training run to date was averaged 8:38 for 3 miles.  This run happened 2 weeks ago and blew my previous 9:04 average at 4 miles, out of the water.  I was elated at 8:38 – I felt like I was king of the world!  All day I floated on a cloud: maybe someday I can get over my asthma and be fast!  During this race I thought it was possible to average 8:30 – I just have been feeling fast lately and my breathing has been giving me less trouble.  Well – I came in faster than 8:30 miles.  I came into the finish uncomfortable with a side cramp, but delighted at my time: 50:36. That’s an average pace of 8:09! Just last year I was happy when my training runs came in under 10 minutes!  I couldn’t believe it.  I hugged Adam and my friend Katie at the end of the race.  They had walked over to watch me finish and both shared in my excitement and shock.

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Super sweaty but happy!

This 10K not only gave me confidence because my race anxiety before the run was greatly reduced, but I also had a fantastic time!  What a feeling!  I’m hoping to sign up for more “short” races like this one – I’m thinking the more I race the less nerves I will experience before the race.

Do you experience nerves before races?  What have you done to stay calm and reduce race-day anxiety?

P90X Without the Nutrition Plan

12 Mar

Ooo…my absolute favorite thing to google before starting P90X:

“P90X success without the nutrition plan”

I googled it many a time hoping I would get a different result.  Isn’t that the definition of insanity?  Doing things over and over again expecting a different outcome?  Well, with this particular search I really hoped that I would find something, anything out there saying “Hey if you eat healthy food, you will have the same results!  And if you cheat only a little, you’ll still have great results!”

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Well…the fact of the matter is: the nutrition plan is a vital part of the P90X program.  So much so that Adam and I have often remarked “Wow, nutrition is probably 70-80% of our results.” It hurts to read, I know – it hurts to type!  I just wish it weren’t true.  But the bottom-line is: to have the absolute best results possible you need to use the nutrition plan.  

Now you may be thinking, “Kelly, how do you know that?”

My credentials in this matter: I did P90X without the nutrition plan and then with the plan (back to back).  I did my own experiment, and I have been shocked at the results of it.  When I mean results I’m referring to: physical changes (muscle gain, weight loss), overall health (I just feel better than I did before), and ability to stick with the program (when you are working so hard on the nutrition side, you are extremely motivated to never miss a workout.)  Just to give you a little background, here is the premise of my experiment:

Round 1:
  • Exercise: Completed on average 4.85 workouts per week (never did X-stretch). Ran a couple days a week at lunchtime.
  • Nutrition: Ate “healthily” – lots of fruits and veggies, average amount of carbs, and plenty of 100 calorie packs to keep my calories low.  Didn’t count, measure, or stress about amount.

Results: Lost weight, saw improvements in strength and fitness from Oct – Feb. (3 weeks in there I did only 4 workouts and those weeks I redid the week.  I chose to start P90X right over the holidays so it was a challenge for sure!)

Round 2:
  • Exercise: Average of 6.25 workouts a week. Trying to fit in X-stretch when possible. Running 3 days a week (average of 10 miles a week). Adam and I are currently on week 6 of the program.
  • Nutrition: Strictly following the plan.

Results: Losing weight much more rapidly (saw more results in first two weeks than first 6-8 weeks without following the nutrition plan). Easily seeing more definition.  Mentally feel much better.  Energy levels are up.  Dare I say, I’m more positive about things?  I’ve been surprised at the overall (total body) transformation I have been seeing when combining the workouts with the nutrition plan.  I didn’t realize how much you are what you eat.  If you fuel your body, you really will perform everywhere better.  This has been an eye-opening experience for us. Especially since I thought I always ate healthy!

So what am I not eating now?
  • Processed anything: no more 100 calorie snack packs or “calorie-light” options. I’ve had 1 or 2 in desperate situations, but try to pack lunches to avoid this.
  • Caffeine: Gave up diet soda for this one (and let me tell you, I used to drink a LOT of coke zero)!  I still have caffeine free soda a few times a week, but I’m working on getting this one to 0.
  • Lean Cuisine: I used these as an alternative when I didn’t have time to cook.  Now Adam and I plan in advance our dinners and grocery shopping so we always have healthy, whole dinners.
  • Sugar: No more desserts at the office – oh this one is a toughie!  I stay away from candy and sugary snacks.  I did have some cakes and treats for Adam’s birthday last Saturday, but that was the first time in weeks…and it hit me like a brick wall.  A very uncomfortable brick wall that I did not enjoy.

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What am I eating now?
  • Lots of veggies: measured out into my new “calorie pack” – really just an appropriate serving size.
  • Less fruit: I used to eat a ton of fruit (probably 4-5 servings a day).  Now I have measured out portions.
  • Real dinner! I’m cooking more now and trying to eat dinners with protein and veggies.
  • Tea: Lots of tea at work (caffeine free).  And I’m finding the more days I go without lots of sugar the more delicious the tea tastes!
  • More protein: I’m eating measured portions instead of “what I think looks good”
  • Less carbs: This was really hard during phase 1, but man was it effective. Now when I eat carbs I’m working to eat more whole grains and just better carbs.

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To sum it up:

You can have success with P90X without following the nutrition plan.  However, it will not be nearly the success you would see if you followed the plan.  Trust me, it’s worth learning and committing to the plan.  Your body will thank you!

Happy eating!

-Kelly

“If you’re committed to eating healthy, its time to start investigating whether your food choices are as wholesome as you believe.” -Unknown

Getting Started with P90X: What we use and what you need

11 Mar

P90X: Extreme home fitness!  You all have probably seen the infomercials.  They claim amazing fitness results right in the comfort of your own living room.  I have been doing this very program since late October (2012) with wonderful results.  I originally got P90X years ago and dabbled in the videos without making it successfully through a complete round (I ended up moving to a new state and life happens).  I enjoyed it the first time but never saw the full potential because I never fully committed.  When I moved jobs (and states) again I was determined to make fitness and my health a real priority and started Round 1 on the morning of my first day at the new job.  Ambitious, huh?

My boyfriend Adam and I are in it together and have enjoyed the intensity of the program.  Our first round we ate well but didn’t follow the strict nutrition plan.  Well, the holidays hit and we got a little off track in both the healthy eating and the workouts (Adam had some major commitments come up and wasn’t often able to squeeze workouts in).  We decided to start again the first week of February with Phase 1; this time with the nutrition plan.  After several months of completing the videos, I want to share the equipment we have used, what was critical initially, and what we have purchased as an add-on. (Note: I am not affiliated with Beachbody or the P90X program – these observations are just opinions of a user of the program).

The P90X list

Here’s what Beachbody says is required:

  • Set of Dumbbells

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  • Chin-Up Bar

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Here’s what they say is optional:

  • Yoga Mat

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  • Push-up bars

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  • Yoga Block

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  • Heart Rate Monitor

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  • Resistance Bands

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You can find out more from Beachbody in their P90X FAQs.

What I have found:

Beachbody is really pretty spot on.  The required stuff really is required.  I would say to successfully complete the program you need at least 3 different sets of dumbbells.  That being said… I did the first round with just 1 set (5lbs) and still had results.  For our “Round 2” we ended up really going with more of the optional equipment. And I’m glad we did.

Round 1 Equipment (Owned previously or purchased):

  • Chin Up Bar: I can’t do pull-ups yet, but Adam definitely needs this one! They sell these at Dick’s or online for between $30-60.
  • 5lb, 20lb dumbbells: 5’s for me, 20’s for Adam
  • 1 Yoga Mat: Adam already had a mat, I had to watch enviously from the carpet.
  • Resistance Bands: We bought this on our Round 1 shopping trip – I use them for pull-ups. They are nice to have for traveling purposes, too!
  • Perfect push-up bars: These were great for me.  I have wrist issues so they helped to take some of the pressure off.  I wish I had bought bars more similar to the ones in the videos though. Hindsight is 20/20.

Was it enough?

Tricky question.  Was it enough to do P90X?  Yes.  Was it enough to do P90X well?  Not quite.  We really could’ve used more dumbbells.  That was the biggest missing piece.  In many ways our first “round” was a “pre-90X.”  We did the exercises, got used to waking up, got used to working out, and had a chance to test out P90X.  Results were there, but not nearly what we have been seeing in Round 2.  In our case, going with just the required equipment was a cost-effective way to make sure we liked what we were doing.  After Round 1 we could say: YES!  We like this program, and we are ready to get the equipment needed to really be able to bring it.  At the start of Round 2 we knew we wanted more equipment and we were ready to commit to it financially.  All of the equipment we bought we knew we could incorporate in the future in other fitness regimens. For us, it was a great investment.

New Equipment for Round 2:

  • 8lb, 10lb, 15lb, 25lb dumbbells: Now we can really push ourselves and appropriately complete our exercises.   We bought simple dumbbells (the cheapest we could find) and they have been great.  Our ‘set’ doesn’t match, but again gets the job done. I use the 5, 8, and 10 lbs while Adam uses the 15, 20, and 25lb-ers. We also just bought a weight rack – totally optional but have enjoyed our newly organized closet!
  • 2 Yoga Mats: I caved and got one.  I definitely like having it.  Makes Yoga a little less slippery than carpet!  These aren’t too expensive and you can find them online pretty cheap.
  • Food Scale: This should be required.  What a difference this little guy has made.  I feel so passionately about having a food scale for P90X that I’m going to do a whole post on it. Ours was 25 bucks from Walmart.
  • Fat Caliper: Wish we had this from the beginning!  It’s nice seeing our fat percentages go down, but it would’ve been great at the start.  This was 5 bucks online.  You will need another person to measure you.
  • Soft measuring tape: Also wish we had this one from the start.  Very cheap online.

Round 2 equipment has brought us to the next level. We are able to really fully do P90X.  None of our equipment (from Round 1 or the additions in Round 2) has been “a waste” or is not used in a given week.

What I’d Still Like:

Even with the added equipment for Round 2, there’s still one remaining piece I’d like:

  • Yoga Block:  I’m pretty bad at Yoga, and I really think this would be very helpful.  One block is all I’d need, but I do feel it will make a difference.  I plan on getting a block soon, though they seem a little overpriced to me!  I’m pretty frugal, so 20 bucks for a Styrofoam block seems a lot!  At this point, however, I know I would use it, and I know I would like it.

To sum it up:

To do P90X you need weights (at least 3 different sets of dumbbells) and a bar (or bands for most women) for pull-ups.  Everything else is optional.  Using the optional equipment can help take you to the next level and allow you to fully complete many of the exercises and videos. If cost is a concern, invest in the dumbbells and bands at first.  As the weeks go by you will get a feel for your needs and as finances allow, add on new pieces of equipment.  Or you can save up and do a bulk buy like us on Amazon (free shipping :))!

Keep bringing it!

-Kelly

What optional equipment have you found the most useful for P90X?

Welcome and Hello!

8 Mar

Welcome!

Wow! This is exciting stuff – my blog has finally arrived! I will try to restrain my exclamation points – but let’s just say I’m excited this day has arrived :)  I have been planning this in my head for several months now, and it’s exciting to put those dreams into action (or words rather).  First, let me say welcome to the blog and I’m excited you are reading it.  Second, I want to give you a little background behind the why and purpose of this blog.  Let’s begin…

The Why

So why a blog?  Well, there are many reasons but I’ll give you the big ones.  And because I like organization, I’ll give them to you in a list :)

  1. I have read many blogs over the past few months as I have started transforming my fitness (and life).  I have found them invaluable.  The best ones have been inspiring, fun, informational, motivating, and interesting.  But most of all, they have truly helped me! I want to be able to help others in the ways my favorite blogs have helped me.
  2. I have learned a lot over the past couple months and I want to share!  Over the past 5-6 months I have put a renewed focus on my overall health and fitness.  I started doing P90x, running more again, eating healthier meals, and focusing on being a healthier me.  Along this journey I have learned so much.  My head is bursting with little tips and strategies that I have found helpful, and I love the idea of being able to record this information and share it with others on a similar quest.  I’ve spent a lot of time searching for info online about P90X resources, running articles etc. and thought, “Hey why not help someone else out by putting information in one place!”  I think there is something to be said about sharing experiences.  If my family doesn’t want to hear about it – why not put it out there for folks who do ;)
  3. I love creating and having projects.  I really enjoy being creative, and a blog is a terrific way to express myself and do something with the right side of my brain.  Having a blog sounds fun to me, plain and simple!
  4. It’s accountability. Let’s be honest, sharing experiences about health and fitness is a great motivator and a great way for me to continue to push myself and learn more about health and fitness.  Doing research “for my blog” will be a wonderful way for me to continue to grow and learn. Win-win I say!
  5. I have enjoyed blogging in the past.  While living abroad, I kept a travel blog and enjoyed the experience a lot.  That blog was only for friends and family, but it was a great introduction to blogging.  I have been doubting my ability or credentials in blogging about running and health (which is why it took so long to get this started), but I know my passion for the topic will give me a lot of joy!  I hope you enjoy it too.

The Purpose

So what will this blog be about?  Well, I tried to pick a name that would be straightforward.  So you might’ve guessed…

  1. Races: I want to share information about running, racing, jogging, sprinting, walking, and anything in between.  Whether it is running shoes, race day chronicles, or general training information, I want to share my experiences of continuing to improve as a runner.  I’m not a professional (by any stretch of the imagination), and I run because I enjoy it and to stay healthy. I plan to share my journey of an everyday woman working to keep running and running well!
  2. Reps: So I started this little thing called P90X a few months ago, and I’m hooked.  I never really did weight training previously (honestly I was nervous I would bulk up, and truthfully I’m still a little nervous).  BUT – I can’t believe how much stronger and better I feel overall now that strength training is a regular part of my life.  I hope to share my P90X experiences, tips, and opinions.  I also plan to continue with other weight training programs and chronicle my experiences here.
  3. Ramblings: Because this is a personal blog, I wanted to leave the door open to whatever my heart desires!  A few of these potential ramblings include book reviews, recipes, travel experiences, personal milestones, music, product reviews or anything inside/outside of the world of fitness and health (broad, huh?).   I plan to sprinkle my ramblings in here and there for a bit of fun.

Well now that you know the purpose and the why I guess it’s time to begin!  Likely over the next few weeks/months I will blog as much as possible.  I have literally 30 different post topics written down from the past few months of my journey – I feel like I need to play catch up!  I keep jotting them down with the intent to write “as soon as I have a blog.”  Well, that day is here!  Once I’m caught up I will likely slow to a more normal cadence and see where this takes me.  Happy reading!

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson

-Kelly