Monday, March 7, 2011

Back to the drawing board

What a year. I'm back to this blog after basically a full year away. I definitely didn't stop working out--in fact I feel the past year has really solidified my workout strategies more than any other time in my life. Now I know what works, what I like, and what I can sustain.

So what happened to this blog? Well, quite simply, the first time around, P90X was not sustainable. The biggest reason for this was that I didn't have any equipment in the tiny basement room I was renting, and had just moved to Canada from the US with nothing but a single suitcase and my cats, so I was relying on the gym for weights, pull-up bars, etc. The other reason was time: all told, because I didn't have a car and was relying on the bus, it was taking me a solid three hours to get to the gym, do the entire P90X workout for the day, shower/change for work, and then go to work. Just not sustainable.

I basically kept doing modified versions of the P90X workouts every other day or so, or whenever I could make it to the gym. But then during the summer, I got really motivated to work out due to an upcoming high school reunion of sorts (I haven't even hit my ten-year reunion yet, but all the choir kids were getting together for a mini-reunion). On the same week as the reunion, I was going to go to the Outer Banks with my family. I decided I wanted to impress in a swimsuit and also impress my former classmates, so I started looking around for a more sustainable, convenient home workout option.

Enter Bodyrock! If you've never been to, check it out. Zuzana and Freddy, a husband-and-wife team who are both ridiculously fit, come up with daily HIIT workouts that they film and clearly explain. The best part is, most of the workouts use only bodyweights--I think the only other equipment ever used is a kettlebell, a jump rope, a pull-up bar, a dip bar (which I don't have, I just use a chair/bench/table/whatever's nearby), and a Gymboss interval timer. I managed to assemble all of these items for less than 100 bucks. The other great thing about Bodyrock is that the workouts are 20 minutes tops, and usually end up between 12 and 15 minutes. And they're incredibly effective. No overtraining and exhaustion, no three-hour gym trip, no expensive equipment.

So last summer around May I started doing a Bodyrock workout in my backyard every day. I added some of my own ideas to the workouts, too, being that I could take advantage of being outdoors in a backyard that was woody, with variable terrain. I basically did interval workouts, about 1 minute on/30 seconds off, with exercises ranging from kettlebell swings to pushups to hill sprints to plyometric jumps, and more. I lost a little weight and really toned up, and ended up looking great in my swimsuit later that summer.

Then winter came, and without the space in my room to really work out effectively (seriously, NO SPACE at all), I turned back to the gym and my workouts sort of petered off into the typical 3x per week, strength + treadmill routine. It was boring. I did get a puppy, and when she was old enough I started taking her for runs and it got me back into running, which I love. But all in all, I was really glad to move back to the States in December, where I now have a big bedroom with plenty of space for workouts, and where it's not so cold when I want to run.

The past couple months, though, I've really been slacking. I've been averaging maybe 2 Bodyrock workouts a week, 2 runs a week, and general laziness otherwise. I've also been lazy about my food. This, combined with winter weather that has me moving around a lot less, has led to some noticeable weight gain and a loss of muscle tone. I'm not too happy with myself (I think I probably look the worst I've ever looked), but thankfully, I know how to fix it. I just need a jump start.

So, I'm doing P90X again. The time commitment is much less severe this time around, being that I have the equipment (pull up bar, resistance bands) and space to be able to to it at home. It's just about an hour a morning. I won't be doing the Yoga X day since I do yoga anyway (more on that in a minute), and I'll do the Kenpo X if the mood strikes me, but otherwise will probably leave that out too. I'm doing this--leaving out days--because of a couple other fitness things I have to squeeze in:

1. I'm signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon in October and need to train for that.
2. I'm doing a five-week intensive yoga teacher training in Victoria, BC this summer, and have to get serious about my yoga. No more "oh I'll do yoga if/when the mood strikes a few times a week". I have to do five yoga practices a week, period.

Another motivator for me right now is the fact that I'm going to be dressed skimpily in a hot yoga room about six hours a day for the entire month of June, and I want to look good. Right now I'm not happy with the way my flabby, untoned self looks in my yoga clothes.

I've set up my workout schedule so that it's sustainable and so that I incorporate five runs and five yoga practices per week. I don't think this will be too much because my runs are mostly low-mileage for the time being, with the longest one I might do being 10 miles. Once I get back from yoga training, I'll ramp up the mileage in preparation for the marathon. I'm also hoping that P90X will get me to a place where I can maintain my fitness with Bodyrock, yoga, and marathon training. I just need to shock my body right now and I saw great gains with P90X last time.

I'm also going to be really diligent about my diet. Primal all the way! I've been great with staying away from wheat and grains lately, because they so obviously affect me poorly, but I decided I also need to fully cut out the dairy, and to spark a weight-loss mode, cut the fruit for a few weeks. I'm basically doing Whole30, but I am eating a whey protein shake post-morning workout (it's my breakfast), and I find it unnecessary to give up the small amount of caffeine I enjoy in the morning. But otherwise, no dairy, processed sugar, continuing with no grains or white starches, and no fruit for a month to see if it has an effect. (I'm not counting avocados or sweet potatoes as fruit, both of which I view as essential parts of my diet, especially with all the running).

The end! Back to ripping! Honestly, the hardest part of it might be waking up with the douche extraordinaire (though a truly great trainer and a very fit individual) that is Tony Horton. He makes me stabby.

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