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The T3sk3y Defenestrator

Reflections on P90X Phase II

I cannot believe that it’s already been 28 days since the end of Phase I.  The four weeks of Phase II really flew by – which means that it’s time to take a look back at how it went.

Phase II – like Phase I – is three weeks of hard resistance+cardio work and one week of recovery.  The resistance workouts are different than the ones in Phase I but the cardio workouts (Plyo, Yoga, Kenpo) are the same.  Here’s what the weekly schedule looked like:

  • Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps.  This workout was harder than anything in Phase I and really hurt the first couple of times.  There’s nothing like trying to do one arm push-ups after doing several dozen push-ups of other styles.  I never did have much luck with that one!  Generally, I couldn’t lift my arms after this workout.
  • Day 2: Plyometrics.  This is probably my favorite single workout in P90X.  Very hard, very exhausting – but it’s a good burn..
  • Day 3: Back and Biceps.  I’ve never looked forward to doing chin-ups as a break before, but spending 30 minutes focusing on the biceps makes them rubbery very quickly.
  • Day 4: Yoga-X.  Still not my favorite since I prefer dynamic high-impact exercise over standing in a painful position for 90 seconds at a time for 90 minutes.. but I’m absolutely getting better at it.
  • Day 5: Legs and Back.  This was very hard during Phase I – It’s getting much easier as I get stronger.  I could sit and listen to just the audio from the calf raise exercise all night long.  Go Sophia!
  • Day 6: Kenpo-X.  I find that I need to push myself pretty hard during this exercise to keep my heart rate high.  I love the workout, but it is one of the easier ones.
  • Day 7: Rest.  It’s still Rest-X in my book.

The Recovery Week (which I completed today) looks like this:

  • Day 1: Yoga-X
  • Day 2: Core Synergistics.  This is a solid full-body workout that has a little taste of everything.  Not sure which is tougher – Plyo or Core.
  • Day 3: Kenpo-X
  • Day 4: X-Stretch.  I hate X-Stretch.  Stretching for an hour isn’t really a good use of time in my book, so I substitute Cardio-X to amp it up a little..
  • Day 5: Yoga-X (again!)
  • Day 6: Core Synergistics (again)

Even though Phase II went by much faster than Phase I did – I found it took a little more intestinal fortitude to keep on track.  I did manage to keep pushing play every day, but there were some days I really wasn’t in the mood.  I think the chief problem was that the ‘shiny’ wore off somewhere around week 6 and the reality about how much time and effort it takes to keep hitting play sunk in.  There was a day (during week 5) that I had to quit Yoga-X after 45 minutes because it was making me violent with impatience.  Like I said.. I’m not good with static exercise.

The diet got better during Phase II as well.   To recap, Phase I was very high in protein and very low in carbs.  Phase II replaced a protein slot with a carb slot making it possible to have a carb source in every meal.  This was a much easier diet to follow and is actually probably a good long-term maintenance diet.  Having said that, I didn’t really follow the P90X diet well and just stuck to small portions/1 carb per meal/low fat.  As a result, I had more energy for the workouts and more free time since I wasn’t hand-making everything.  I also continued my 2 lbs/week loss in spite of Super Bowl & Birthday parties.

Physically I was less tired due to increased carbs and acclimating to a heavy workout schedule.  I was bedeviled by some low-back strain during weeks 6 & 7 that didn’t help the workouts but ended up not hurting them either.  It just meant that I took a week off from Ab Ripper-X to let it settle down.

The results?  I’m now down 16 pounds since January 3rd.  I’ve lost 5 inches around my mid-section and everyplace is much more toned up / firmed up.  For the first time in my life, I’m starting to get a butt.  I didn’t realize that it was possible to overcome my genetics inherited from a long but proud line of buttless people.  My clothes are starting to become baggy – but I’m going to hold off until the end to stock up on some new spring/summer threads.

Phase III starts after my rest day tomorrow.  It’ll be alternating weeks of Phase I and Phase II exercises – all done at maximum effort.  The diet swings to even less protein and even more carbs & fruit to give me the energy to go full blast.  With luck, I’ll leave another eight pounds in the pain cave.

Five weeks left!


Reflections on P90X Phase I

This year, I went out on a limb and gave our family the best gift I could give..  a chance to dial the biological clock back a few years.  I plunked down my $139.80 at for a copy of the P90x Extreme Home Fitness Program, wrapped it, and put it under the tree for “The Teskey Family”.

P90x is a hardcore exercise and nutrition plan for people that are in generally good shape and want to get in even better shape.  It’s a 3-month program that changes both the workout routines and the nutrition plan every four weeks making sure that your body never settles into a routine.  It’s pretty intense – and I was not used to a 6-day/week workout.  I wouldn’t recommend it if you haven’t been off the couch in months.

I’ve been in various stages of decent shape in my adult life – sometimes more, sometimes less.   Since I crossed 40, it’s been more less than more.  Even though I typically bike a couple of thousand miles each summer, I’m not very well-rounded in my fitness.  I could bike 70 miles, yet my arms would be exhausted by the end of the ride from holding my body upright.  I reasoned that dropping some weight and improving my overall strength would make me a much stronger rider.  I also knew it would be a hit with Heather.  It’s not every guy that could give his wife a workout program for Christmas and not get in trouble for it.. but my wife is a fitness nut and I knew she’d totally get into it.

As of today, I’m done with Phase I (the Fat Burner phase).  I thought I’d take this opportunity to reflect on my experiences thus far.

Before starting the program, a fitness test accompanied by measurements and photos was required.  I was able to meet the minimum starting requirements in all areas but the pull-ups.. and I knew this was a weak spot.  My nearly 7 foot wingspan did me no favors in this department.   Here were my starting measurements:

  • Starting Weight: 248.2
  • Body Fat: 30.6%
  • Chest: 48in
  • Waist: 41in
  • Hips: 44in
  • Right Thigh: 25in
  • Left Thigh: 25in
  • Right Arm: 14.5in
  • Left Arm: 14.5in
  • Belly: 45in

For the sake of all that is decent on the Internets, I’ll spare you the pre-flight photos.

After that, we were off and running with the workouts.  Here was our routine for weeks 1-3:

  • Day 1: Chest & Back + Ab Ripper X.  (75 minutes) I’ll summarize this workout as: Pushups, Chinups, Pushups, Chinups, Pushups, Chinups, etc.  When completely exhausted, do 350 crunches.
  • Day 2: Plyometrics (60 minutes)  Plyo is jump training – and it’ll send your heart rate to the moon.  A very intense workout, but fast-paced and fun.
  • Day 3: Shoulders & Arms + Ab Ripper X (75 minutes) Curls and presses of every variety.  Besides lots of crunches, Ab Ripper X has lots of ways to do leg lifts
  • Day 4: Yoga X (90 minutes) – This breaks down into 45 minutes of Flow, 30 minutes of balance and stretching, and 15 minutes of a special hell called “Yoga Belly 7”
  • Day 5: Legs & Back + Ab Ripper X (75 minutes) – This is actually the hardest workout for me – I’m smoked at the end.  It is an hour of lunges and squats salted with chinups and the 3rd consecutive day of Ab torture
  • Day 6: Kenpo X (60 minutes) – Kenpo is kickboxing.  This is an intense cardio workout, and it’s my favorite of the week.
  • Day 7: Rest or X-Stretch – By day 7, I always chose the “X-Rest” option as I called it.

The fourth week was a recovery week made up of two rounds of Yoga, a round of stretching, a round of Kenpo, and two sessions of “Core Synergistics” – a full-body core workout.

While all of this is going on, we were following the strict Phase I nutrition plan.  Phase I is called the “Fat Shredder” because it’s a very low carb and low fat month.  My rules were basically that I couldn’t have more than 3000 calories a day and it had to be broken down to 50% Protein, 30% carbs, 20% fat.  This meant that I had to give up carbs almost completely.  It’s actually really difficult to get 1500 calories by way of protein!  Having 10-egg white breakfasts weren’t uncommon in our house.

So, what happened?  Was it worth it?

Absolutely!  The changes are both objective and subjective.  I’ve lost 9 pounds in the first four weeks, and I look much different in the mirror.  It’s surprising how much things can change in that short of time with some extremely hard work.  My gut is smaller, my face is less puffy, my shoulders are broader, and I’m getting the beginnings of a gun show.  I sleep like a stone and I haven’t needed any antacids since I started.  My posture is better, my energy level is increasing, and my flexibility has improved.  Based on the results from Phase I, I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen over the next two months.

Heather’s doing great too – she started at a better place than me and she’s already starting to rock a six-pack.

Here are a few random thoughts after Phase I:

  1. It is a huge time commitment.  Between dedicating 90 minutes a day to working out and preparing a high-protein low-carb low-fat diet, it eats a big chunk of the day.
  2. I do find myself looking forward to the workout each day!
  3. I often didn’t eat enough.  It’s really hard to ingest as much protein as is required, so I’d just not eat.  This would result in some days (and mornings) where I felt positively velcroed to the bed.
  4. I’m not a big fan of cottage cheese.  Egg Beaters Whites are better than expected.  Clif Builder’s bars are the best tasting, Pure Protein bars are the worst (bad steak/iron aftertaste in a chocolate bar is no bueno)
  5. I’m pretty sure I look ridiculous doing Yoga.  Actually, I probably look ridiculous doing most of the exercises.  Some poses still aren’t in my arsenal – Warrior Three is a mess!
  6. We went all-in with the plan and we haven’t missed a day of workouts.  We also swear by the P90x Recovery Drink and Animal Pak workout multivitamins
  7. Having a partner going through it at the same time has been key – we don’t workout at the same time, but we love sharing our war stories at the end of the day and it’s very motivational.
  8. You can do it with the resistance bands – but using dumbbells is way better.  We picked up some PowerBlocks on Craigslist for $175.

Tomorrow I start Phase II.  We get to re-measure and take new photos.  It also means a whole new set of workouts and a change in diet.  A little less protein, a little more carb.  I’m pretty excited about that change!

I’ll post numbers as soon as I get ’em..

Time For More Defenestration

Has it really been 18 months?

The last post here was in February 2009.  Lots has happened since then, and frankly.. this blog hasn’t been a focus while I’ve been launching Mark Teskey Photography and Mark Teskey Architectural Photography.  Like Douglas Adams said:

I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.

It seems like one of the places where I need to be going forward is here.. I’ve lacked an outlet to talk about stuff that interests me in a longer format than the 140 characters of Twitter allows.  It’s going to be about everything from technology to bicycle racing to pinball to travel to.. well, you get the idea.  As before, if(month(date())==4 && dayofmonth(date())==15, ReaganQuotes(), NoPolitics());

Just lost most of you, didn’t I?

It’s good to be back..

Whitewater Restoration – stick a fork in it

.. ‘cuz it’s done.

After 9 months and more orders from Pinball Life, Marco Specialties, Bay Area Amusements, and Pinball Resource than I care to count, I crossed the last to-do off the list of restoration tasks.

Restore White Water - playfield view

Restore White Water - playfield view

I’ve had a bunch of pesky little tasks for the past couple of weeks to resolve – like coloring the white edges of the decal with a blue paint pen.  It’s a little detail, but it really makes it look professional.

The last task was to do something I’ve never done in pinball restoration – weaken the flippers.  Everything I’ve learned has been how to make the flippers nice ‘n strong.  This machine had the wrong flipper coils when I bought the machine – but they were okay with the worn linkages.  Once I rebuilt the flippers, the flippers turned into cannons that threatened to destroy all the expensive new plastic parts.  To rectify, I went one step weaker with the coils and that did the trick.

White Water - Upper playfield view

White Water - Upper playfield view

Pictures from the entire restoration odyssey are here on my SmugMug site: Whitewater Restoration

In Russia, the Pig Launches YOU

I really don’t know if this is legit – some posters have claimed this is from a recent movie – but I think it’s really funny.  If it’s real, it’s so Soviet Union.  If it’s not – it’s so Soviet Union.  To me, that sort of negates the importance of the authenticity.

Either way.. here’s the footage of the mortar launch system test.  Click on the thumbnail to get the full-sized images.

Soviet Pig in Mortar


I was forced to cry uncle this weekend on the topic of Facebook.

Truthfully, I hate it.  But – I realized that I’m missing out on a big chunk of the Web 2.0 experience, so I’m giving it a whack.  It’s also really useful for publicity when you are a photographer.

So – I’m trying to figure out how to glue the Defenestrator with Facebook and not having much luck.  There’s an official plugin, but it only works on blogs hosted at WordPress, not self-hosted ones.  There’s a plugin called Wordbook – but that apparently doesn’t work with the version PHP/XML (or something) installed on here.

Now I’m down to a straight RSS feed.  We’ll see if it works!

In the meantime – send me a friend request to Mark Teskey!

What we do when Mommy is away..

The first thing that we do is practice our Karate:

William working on his Karate moves

William working on his Karate moves

Next, Elizabeth eats things that Mommy doesn’t let her eat.. like her fingers!

Mommy wont let me suck my thumb

Mommy won't let me suck my thumb

What mommy doesn’t know WON’T HURT HER!

Take that, Mommy!

Take that, Mommy!

But, don’t worry Mommy.. I’m keeping a good eye on my little sister.

William watching out for his little sister

William watching out for his little sister

Hey daddy.. do you think you could do something about my hair before starting to play in the studio?

See the rest of my daddy’s pictures at his SmugMug site: Studio Light Practice pictures

Who says I don’t post any pictures of Elizabeth?

By the number of requests rolling in, I apparently need to post more pictures of little Elizabeth.

So.. for those requesting.. here you go!


Elizabeth in her Exersaucer

Elizabeth in her Exersaucer

A nice summer break from blogging

Yeah, it’s been a month since I’ve posted.  Blogging is (for me at least) a binge ‘n purge activity.  I go through periods of time where it’s just not the most important thing in my world.  That’s pretty much how the summer went.  Once fall comes, I’ll be back in to my normal blogging pace.  I hope.

What have I been doing while I haven’t been blogging?  We’ll.. here’s a catch-up post.

  1. The Olympics.  I’m a huge addict, so is my wife.  We have a DVR.  This is a bad combo that led to us trying very hard to watch every single broadcasted minute.  Since it’s old news now I’ll stick to general impressions.  Overall, the coverage to human interest story ratio was much better than past Olympics.  I also recall seeing at least one competition where the US wasn’t in the medals.  Both of these are big improvements.  I’m also not a big fan of the team sports, so I skipped through all the basketball / volleyball / softball matches.  I also think I prefer the Winter Olympics overall.
  2. The Tour de France.  Two multi-week sporting events back-to-back is a LOT of TV watching.  Actually, it was three since this came right on the heels of Wimbledon.  I can’t say I watched as much of this as previous years.. but it really felt like it was a real competition this year so I still enjoyed it.
  3. Restoring my Williams Whitewater pinball game.  I’ve been in the garage the past couple of weeks sanding, mending, bondoing (it’s a word now!) and painting the cabinet.  I’ll finish that up tomorrow when Bryan Kelly helps me put on the decals.
  4. LOTS of family & friend events.  This includes weddings, birthdays, baptisms, barbeques, parties, and many more.  We certainly got out this summer!
  5. I finished Half Life 2!  That’s two video games completed in one year – an unbeatable record for me.  Wow, what a game… I see why it was pretty much game of the century.

That’s it in a nutshell.. I’m sure I’ll write more on some of these topics in the near future.  Keep tuned!

View from the Arboretum

Most people go to the U of M Landscape arboretum to take pictures of the flora.  Not me!

It was their annual ice cream social last night – and we attended along with the Tufvanders and the Tjornhoms.  Somewhere around when we finished our picnic dinners, a pretty gnarly looking squall line cruised overhead causing us to duck indoors for cover.  Though it never actually rained on us – it did produce a fantastic rainbow and some cool skies at sunset.

If I were a real photographer, I would have scrambled to find the perfect landscape to frame the rainbow.  As it was, I was busy being a real father soothing a little guy that fell and bonked himself.  So, I had to settle for a ‘grab shot’ as we were loading strollers into the truck.  I’m still happy with it..

A rainbow over the Landscape Arboretum

A rainbow over the Landscape Arboretum

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