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The T3sk3y Defenestrator

P90X – a look back on 90 days of “Bringing It”

I hit a milestone recently that many strive for and many fewer succeed at: I completed all 90 days of P90x.

I’m sure most people that launch in to the routine have really great intentions of doing the whole thing, but in reality – it’s very difficult to dedicate 90 minutes a day to working out and even more time to eating healthy. †I’m also sort of amazed that we did it right in the middle of cold and flu season and ran the table without so much as a sniffle.

Phase III was a mix of Phases I & II. †It was an extra week longer, too – 5 weeks instead of 4 to make it a full 90 days. †Weeks 9 & 11 used the Phase I schedule and weeks 10 & 12 were on the Phase II schedule. †At the end was another “Recovery” week. †The quotes are deliberate – the Recovery week was brutal the way I did it. †The normal Recovery week is supposed to be:

Core Synergistics, Yoga, Kenpo, X-Stretch, Yoga, Core Synergistics, Rest.

I did this instead:

Core Synergistics, Yoga, Kenpo, Cardio-X, Plyometrics, Core Synergistics, Cycling 30 miles, Back & Biceps (had a random make-up).

Yeah, that’s all of the nausea-inducing chuck-fests back to back to back. †My body was wrecked after that run of workouts – but I dropped a final three pounds.

Like before, I’ve got some random thoughts on the phase and the program in general..

  • I was dumbfounded at how much stronger I was when I went back to the Phase I workouts in Week 9. †I basically doubled the reps and/or weight across the board.
  • I never thought doing 300 pushups in an hour would become sort of commonplace.
  • I did get to the point where I could knock out a half-dozen chin-ups, but I’ve still got a long way to go before being able to do multiple sets of pull-ups, chin-ups, wide grip pull-ups, etc.
  • I never really did get to a point where I dominated the Ab Ripper-X workout. †I got a lot better – but I’ve got a long way to go before I can do it straight through at full speed doing every rep.
  • X-Stretch is really a complete waste of time. †It’s all the worst parts of Yoga and it’s numbingly dull. †I did it once and successfully vowed to never repeat it. †I substituted Cardio-X to actually get some sweat going.
  • The ‘high carb’ third phase of the diet really didn’t work for me. †I’d soar and crash so bad with that many carbs that I either had to keep a constant drip of pasta going or I had to change it up. †Ultimately, I went with a 2400-calorie diet that limited fat intake.
  • I started having my recovery drink during the resistance workouts to keep my energy high and it made a huge difference. †I wish I would have figured that out earlier.
  • I finally came to peace with the Yoga workout that I struggled with in Phases I & II. †I started doing it late at night and I started playing my own trance-y music (Maserati!) instead. †That made all the difference – I didn’t get impatient since it was the end of the day and I got into the moment with music that took me someplace.
  • My Yoga mastery improved a lot – the only thing that really escaped me was the 5-minute “Warrior Three/Standing Splits/Half-Moon/Twisting Half-Moon” sequence. †I’d invariably get a severe cramp in one um, “cheek” and have to take a little break.

So.. was it worth the commitment?

Though I haven’t done the final measurements yet – I’ve lost 21 lbs since 1/4/11. †That translates into about 5 inches around my belly and two around my waist. † I didn’t really feel fat before.. but looking back, I was. †Being roughly six-and-a-half feet tall, extra weight could hide everywhere. †The difference really hit home this weekend when I purchased some 34″ waistline jeans. †I was struggling to get in to 38″ jeans at Christmas!

The biggest benefit I felt when I went for my first 30-mile ride with Balance Cycling to Wayzata and back. †I had far more power and energy in the first ride of the year than I did during my last ride of the year last fall. †Heck, I had more power than I’ve ever had on a bike – I wanted to keep going faster, and faster, and faster.

So, what’s next? †I made some big changes to myself and I don’t think I’m overstating the situation when I say that I think that I rolled the clock back five to ten years. †I want to continue to improve on that – and I’d like to drop another 10-15 pounds by the end of cycling season. †To get there, I’m going to keep up my better eating habits and I’m going to target 120 miles/week on the bike. †Then, when the weather turns foul again next fall/winter.. Heather and I will look at doing P90x again, or perhaps Insanity. †Now THAT (i.e. Insanity) looks painful..

My Recommendation: BRING IT!

 

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 Amazon.com 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..

The Value of Focus

This is post #400. † It’s amazing looking back that the Defenestrator made it this far. †Whether it makes it beyond post #400 remains to be seen.

I’m going to talk for a bit about the value of focus. †Since the start of the Defenestrator, the focus has been simple – whatever is interesting to me. †The only forbidden topic is politics – which isn’t interesting to me. †Major exemptions were granted for elections and tax days, but that’s it.

The problem is that it was always kind of easy to find topics since there was no focus. †The downside is that it was sort of everything to some people – and nothing to most people. †My photography friends don’t care about pinball. †My pinball friends don’t care about my travel adventures. †My family doesn’t care about either photography or pinball. †Well, they do – but not enough to go to my blog every day. †When you know nobody’s reading – it’s tough to stay motivated to post!

Back in November I decided to focus. †I launched a new blog over at T3imagery.com to be tightly focused on being a photo blog. †The idea is simple – one photo per day, every day. †This gave me the opportunity to showcase my favorite pictures and tell a little story about them. † That way, people that are interested in that topic will continue to find interesting stuff every day.

The results?¬† Three months in, I’ve found it to be really rewarding. †I’ve had a nice boost in hits due to cross promotion on Facebook and Twitter¬† And – in the thing that means the most – I’ve had more nice comments from people in three months than I got in five years of the Defenestrator. †It’s also challenging me to create content – one picture per day eats up your good stuff really fast!

So, what now for the Defenestrator? †I’m certainly going to keep the lights on. †It’s minimal effort to keep things running. †Honestly, it’ll probably continue to be a little more sporadic in that I’ll only create content when something blogworthy happens. †I just don’t have time to blog for blogging’s sake. †I’ll still probably post travelogues since that serves as a great way to capture memories for the future. †I’ll also probably continue to show off pinball things since that’s a big chunk of what I do. †I suspect though it’ll never be as rewarding as the focused effort I’ve got going at T3 Imagery.

So – if you lose your way – focus!

Only four more days of Hell left

Since we’re talking about Hell on Halloween..

I’m going to briefly break ranks on my pledge to never talk about politics except on April 15th.† Since apparently the frontrunners are allowed to go back on pledges, I’m going to do the same and utter one short statement.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PEOPLE, SAVE YOUR DAMN MONEY AND STOP SENDING ME CRAP AND POLLUTING MY TELEVISION.† I’LL VOTE FOR ANYBODY.. AND I MEAN ANYBODY.. THAT PLEDGES TO CONSTITUTIONALLY LIMIT CAMPAIGNING TO ONE MONTH.

Yep, one month.† That’s it.† If you can’t get your message out in a month – you either don’t really believe in it or you aren’t persuasive enough to win anyway.

Who the heck has been running the country for the past fourteen months, anyway?

Rant off.

Oh, I want this to happen so bad.

I really hope the Vikings sign this guy right now:

Brett Farve as a punk

Number Four at Eighteen

Oh, don’t get me wrong.† I hate him as much as any red blooded Vikings fan goes.† Why then am I so excited about having him play for the ‘Queens?

See – it’s like this.† Several years ago – and my wife will vouch for this – I predicted he would end his career with the Vikings.† When I made this rash prediction, I was told in no uncertain terms that I was nuts and that he’d finish his career with the team he led to the Super Bowl.

I disagreed, and explained one simple fact.

All great quarterbacks come to Minnesota to die.

Let’s look at the list:

  • Archie Manning
  • Jim McMahon
  • Randall Cunningham
  • Warren Moon
  • Jeff George
  • Brad Johnson

.. and so forth.

Anyway, I swore it would happen someday – and when it did, all would fall to the ground professing my genius.† Actually, I’m not looking for anything other than acknowledgement of having called it back when nobody would believe me.

Imagine my surprise when the rumors started that he wanted to come out of retirement and perhaps wanted to play for the Vikes.† Of course, it really wasn’t that much of a surprise.. I *knew* it was going to come to pass.

Who is that fella?† It’s Brett Fahvvvv-reh.† Faaaav-rah.† Faaaahhhv-reee.. ah, whatever.

Miscellaneous Raves – May ’08

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a raves posting.. so here are ten things that I’ve run across recently that ROCK (in my opinion):

1) The BlueAnt Z9 Bluetooth headset.† I’ve been through a few headsets.. this one WORKS.† It pairs well, it has good audio quality, and the noise reduction does a good job at filtering out road noise.† It’s really tiny, too – I have to be careful to not put it in a pants pocket and run it through the wash.

2) Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites.† I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for some reality TV – and the season of Survivor that wrapped up last night was one of my favorites yet.† I sure didn’t predict the winner – but I guess I can’t argue with Parvati’s game.† It’s just unfortunate that a couple of my favorites went out early due to injury or treachery (Penner, James, & Ozzy)

3) Good stylii.† I lose about one stylus a month for my phone – so I buy them frequently.† I got stuck with some really crappy ones after my Washington trip and it was hell during the four days it took to lose or break all three.† They really sucked due to bad build (tips fell off, one broke in half) and not fitting – a single flick would send them flying.† I now have good ones with built in pens.

4) The Skyfire mobile browser.† If you’ve EVER tried to use a sports site like foxsports.com or any other big complex page from a mobile browser, you’ll understand this one.† Skyfire preloads the page on the server, then sends a low-res picture to the mobile.† When you zoom, it sends just the chunk you are looking at.† It’s still in closed beta – but it looks promising!

5) Classic Playfield Reproductions and Pinball, Inc. Without these two making playfields, plastics, backglasses, and ramps – restoration would be a lot tougher!

6) Theories that I figured out years ago.†† I’ve always said it would rot to be an activist because you walk around torqued off about something all the time.† That’s a bad way to go through life.† Somebody else agrees with me: The Economist

7) Lemonheads.† Yum.

8) Adobe Lightroom.† I resisted initially – I’m now a believer.† It’s the shiznit for organizing, managing, and preparing digital photos.

9) The Spring Biking Class at Balance Fitness: I got a six week riding class at Balance Fitness from my wife for my birthday.† No, it’s not spinning.† It’s actually on bikes on trainers indoors.† All I can say is that worked hard enough to nearly vomit six weeks in a row – then I set a personal record (PR) my first ride home from work.† For those interested – 26 miles in 1:24:00.† That’s a full minute faster than my best time.

10) Herald of Leshrac: Stealing land, flying, and growing?† Sign me up!

My Tax Day Exemption

As I’ve recapped on every Tax Day for a third consecutive year.. I’ve got one and only one rule on the Defenestrator.

Thou shalt not talk about politics.

So, as to not talk about politics and to keep my own rule, I’m going to let others echo my sentiments about the day. Some are wise, some not so wise, some are just plain colorful – but I agree with all of them on this particular topic.

We use our tax dollars to pay some bureaucrat to kill a mountain lion, dig a hole and bury this precious beast. No one gets to eat it, nobody gets to buy licenses, fees and taxes themselves. And that’s only after a mountain lion has killed somebody! Oh my God! And the Osbournes are still No. 1! – Ted Nugent

The trick is to stop thinking of it as ‘your’ money. -Revenue Auditor

Your federal government needs your money so that it can perform vital services for you that you would not think up yourself in a million years. – Dave Barry (US columnist)

If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don’t get wet you can keep. ~Will Rogers

America is a land of taxation that was founded to avoid taxation. ~Laurence J. Peter

Why does a slight tax increase cost you two hundred dollars and a substantial tax cut save you thirty cents? ~Peg Bracken

Unquestionably, there is progress. The average American now pays out twice as much in taxes as he formerly got in wages. ~H.L. Mencken

The nation should have a tax system that looks like someone designed it on purpose. ~William Simon

Did you ever notice that when you put the words “The” and “IRS” together, it spells “THEIRS?” ~Author Unknown

And finally.. to close out this tax day – on which you will still be working for the government for another month – a couple from Ronald Reagan:

We don’t have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven’t taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much. –Ronald Reagan

Millions of individuals making their own decisions in the marketplace will always allocate resources better than any centralized government planning process. –Ronald Reagan

Happy Tax Day, everyone..

Yet another one of my ideas – stolen.

Apparently, somebody has been granted a patent for a small phone that docks inside a PDA.† It’s a great idea – except that it would have been really useful about five years ago.† Now that Smartphones are out, this is sort of past it’s prime.† Still, it would be really nice to have a very small phone when all I want is a phone – and the entire enchilada when I’m in power user mode.

Here’s the catch.† The reason I think it’s a great idea is that I’m going to throw modesty to the wind and take full credit for this one.† I thought of this in about 2000 and failed to act on it back then.

This isn’t the first.† Let’s recap the list of “million dollar ideas” that later turned out to be real products:

  1. Caffeinated water – Thought of this in ’91 – by ’93, Water Joe was on the shelves
  2. Movie theaters that have double wide ‘cuddle seats’ (also useful for people that enjoy a bit too many jumbo popcorns with extra butter).† Check – most stadium style theaters have some of these.
  3. Docking cell phone / PDAs.† Check!

Ah, I just need to act on some of my ideas.† Here is the link to the full story:† Link

Like I said..

I think a few people in Portugal don’t like Nickleback either.

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