Monthly Archives: April 2014

P90X3 – The Incinerator!

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I always seem to forget how busy this time of year is with my job. Luckily, in another week the chaos will slow  W A Y down. Thank goodness.

The last workout I blogged was my failed attempt at an Eccentric Lower + Pilates double day. Despite the fact that I am ridiculously behind on the blogging turf, I haven’t missed a workout. Instead of compiling all the days into one log blog, I’d like to address the 2 brand new workouts separately.

DAY 33 – Incinerator

My Friday was absolutely bonkers with interviews, a percussion concert, and then dinner with my dude. A workout was just not in my cards. I had to rearrange my days this week but that was okay. I actually NEEDED that day off earlier in the week; I woke up with a very strained tendon in my upper hamstring Friday morning… not pulled but definitely not normal. One of the moves from Eccentric Lower really aggravated the tendon in my underbutt 🙂 but the day of rest that I shifted to Friday allowed it to relax – that and sitting with a tennis ball under that exact spot!

Incinerator is a burn out exercise. Each muscle group is approached from a weighted or body weight move and a max reps move. By the end of the duo, that muscle should be exhausted.

  • Renegade Row – Hold plank with a dumbbell under each hand. Alternate which dumbbell you pull up into your arm pit.
  • Pull Ups
  • Floor Flys – Lying on your back, hold two dumbbells up to the ceiling. Keeping the elbows slightly bent, open your arms until triceps hit the ground
  • Push Ups
  • Rocket Launcher Row – In a deep lunge with chest over the thigh, pull weights up into arm pits.
  • Chin Ups
  • “A” Press – Lying on your back, hold two dumbbells together up to ceiling. Bend the elbows until they touch the ground at your side then push them up and back together.
  • Military Push Ups
  • Monkey Pump – Holding two light weights, elbows bent 90 even with shoulders, bring the weights together in front of you, open them back up, press up to ceiling, return to 90 degrees, then rotate the arms so that the elbows stay in the same place but the weights are now toward the ground. Return to upward position. That is one rep. THIS WAS EXHAUSTING ALL BY ITSELF!!!
  • Pike Press – With hands on power stands, get into a tight downward dog and then lower head toward the ground in an almost vertical push up. These are a challenge, and so I love them.
  • Pterodactyl Flys – In a deep lunge with chest over thigh, lift straight arms out the side.
  • Flipper – AKA Dolphin Push Ups – In a forearm plank, push up into dolphin pose then lower back to forearm plank. I’ve recently discovered that I have really terrible flexibility in the back of my shoulders which makes dolphin a very difficult pose for me to do well. I’ve added some stretches that address the muscles of my shoulder blades to my everyday routine.
  • Popeye Hammer Curls  – Just plain ole hammer curls
  • Kneeler Curls – In a knee down lunge, lean over thigh and curl weights up to shoulders.
  • Hail to the Chief – Lying on your back, hold weights straight up to the ceiling with palms facing in. Lower one weight straight down toward ground (and face). Switch arms.
  • Skyfers – Sitting on the floor, push up into table then bend elbows while keeping  your hips high. Like a reverse push up almost.
  • Arm and Hammer – Curl up then hammer down.
  • Rocket Launcher Kickbacks – In a deep lunge with torso leaving over thigh, pull elbows up behind you and then straight them back keeping elbows high. This completely wore my triceps out to the point of cramping. 🙂 

Incinerator was quite good. Obviously, it’s an arm heavy workout, but I enjoy those. I was still a bit sore from Eccentric Upper from 4 days prior(!), but this was thoroughly enjoyable and did incinerate any energy that was left in my little arms! 🙂

 

 

 

I EAT

To all the critics out there:

I EAT.

Not only do I eat, but I eat extremely healthy 95% of the time. The interesting thing about eating healthy is that it doesn’t generally add to your food stores AKA fat.

About 2 years ago, I started eating mostly vegetarian after watching a string of horrific food documentaries. Yes, Shanna (my semantic-crazed sister), mostly vegetarian. I eat fish regularly, and very occasionally I eat other meats. My diet is primarily vegetarian. And while I’ve cut out milk, I still do eat cheese and yogurt.

A lot of calorie excess goes away when you cut out meats. Some of that comes from the type of preparation and the sauces; some of that comes from the kinds of food you are cutting out. Despite that, I keep track of what I’m eating throughout the day. In the past I’ve used Lose It!, but I recently switched to MyFitnessPal as it has a better database for restaurant and supermarket foods. I don’t use these apps necessarily for the calorie counting but more for the accountability that comes from having to log a candy bar.

Along with the workout program, the P90X line of products comes with a nutrition guide that helps you know what to eat and how much. You answer a series of questions about your size, your daily lifestyle/energy expenditure, etc, and then it gives you a calorie level to aim for. As a woman of 130lbs or less, with a moderate activity level outside of working out, and wanting to maintain my current weight, I am allotted 1800 calories a day. Knowing that the average daily calorie consumption is estimated at 2000 calories/day and knowing that I am a fairly small girl with a slight frame to begin with, 1800 calories/day is a fair frame within to work.

The nutrition guide further tells you how many servings of protein, carbs, and fats you should have per meal or per snack. Throughout the course of the day, 50% of my calories should be healthy carbs (veggies, fruits, healthy grains), 25% proteins (for me through eggs, egg-white based protein powder, nuts, yogurt, etc), and 25% healthy fats (nuts, avocados, coconut and olive oils). Although I don’t follow the exact spreading out of each of theses servings like the guide suggests, my daily intake hits this almost exactly based on the diet analysis of MyFitnessPal… another reason I log everything I’m eating.

Here’s an example of my daily log:

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This is from today. I haven’t logged dinner yet as John is making fish tacos right now, but this gives you an idea. Based on the percentages from above, each day I am aiming for 225g of healthy carbs, 40g healthy fats, and 135g of protein. I probably won’t make it to my protein goal today, though I’m usually pretty good about meeting that on a normal school day. I’m already 3g of fat over, and my sugar intake was crazy high because of the maple syrup from breakfast. Plus, there was that bloody mary… 🙂

A normal day looks more like this:

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The numbers at the bottom are off as I had accidentally given MyFitnessPal the ability to determine my numbers, and it changed all my settings. This was pre-sushi dinner with John, so my protein numbers would have gone up dramatically, as would the calorie count. 🙂 My vegetable intake wasn’t as high as it usually is due to sushi time.

I’m not a numbers nazi, but I also think there is nothing wrong with knowing exactly what is going in. I definitely haven’t always held myself accountable to what I choose to eat, and there are still moments when we, say, visit In and Out Burger at 11:30pm. I have eaten an entire bag of cheese puffs in one sitting by myself. I can for certain do the same thing with a huge bag of Funions, and in a moment of extreme stress eating, I have allowed myself to consume a case of Butterfingers over the course of about a month… yes, a case… but we were getting ready to take the band to Seattle, and Jenna was pregnant… Let’s call it sympathy eating. 🙂 But now that I know what it feels like to eat healthy and in the right configurations, I feel gross and sluggish when I eat poorly.

When I graduated college I was 20lbs heavier. I lost a lot of that when I started cooking at home. My current weight has remained steady for about a year and a half which, yes Mom, is heavier than I was in high school. Interestingly, in the last year, my weight has remained the same yet I have gotten smaller and dropped a pant size… Science and nutrition tells us that I have converted fat to muscle. 🙂 Woohoo!

So, yes Mom, I eat. 🙂 You can cross that particular item off your list and worry about me for so many other reasons. 🙂

My Attempt at a Doubles Day & Eccentric Lower

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This has been a crazy week. Crazy is the wrong word; stressful is far more accurate. Despite the stress, or maybe because of it, I’ve enjoyed my 30 minutes with cheese-ball Tony. Tuesday morning I noticed that my right middle finger was aching a bit. I’ve mentioned my terrible joints, but this is a new development. Long story short, I think that in my efforts of catching myself in some moment of poor balance, I must have hyperextended my poor double jointed finger, and I’m now ending the third day of 3 brand new jacked up joints… It basically hurts my finger to breathe. 🙂

YOGA

Last week I mentioned how much I loved Pilates and Isometrics and vowed to make my yoga day a doubles day from now on. Well… Monday completely shredded my upper abs in a combination of pull/chin ups (which works my core like crazy!) and Ab Ripper X. They hurt like a bruise to touch. Once I finished my yoga, I flipped it to Pilates, and 3 moves in I realized this was a bad idea. My abs needed rest and recovery, so my doubles day will have to wait until next week. 😦

On a high note though, I had marked improvement on a few of the yoga moves! My airplane with your head aimed at the ground was MUCH better, as was my half moon on both sides. Twisted half moon was even decent on my right leg. 🙂 I still prefer my normal hour long Ashtanga routine, but it’s not bad for an abbreviated yoga workout.

ECCENTRIC LOWER

Today was my first round of eccentric lower. I was actually hoping it would be a little more hardcore that it was, but then again my left underbutt 🙂 has continued to cramp off and on all night, so maybe it will end up being rougher than I thought in the moment.

Just like eccentric upper, all of the moves focus on extended time in the tension half of the move followed by a burst out of tension.

  • Squats – Slow down, fast up, with weights
  • Lunge – Same as above, with feet remaining stationary
  • Sumo Squats – Wide leg squats
  • Weighted Pistol – One leg squats with opposite leg held out straight and high in front
  • Side Kick – Using a chair for balance, hold the outer leg parallel to the ground. Slowly pull knee into chest, keeping leg parallel, then quickly kick it back out. This is the move that is making my underbutt cramp.
  • Front Kick – Standing on one leg, hold the opposite out straight and high in front. Rest a dumbbell on the top of the extended thigh for resistance. Slowly pull foot toward butt and then quickly kick it back out.
  • Albanian Squat – One leg lunge with back foot resting on a chair.
  • Adductor Lunge – Step out into a wide leg lunge, bending knee slowly. As you return to standing kick stepping leg out straight to the side.
  • Cross Reach – Stand on one leg with the opposite knee held high. Holding a weight in the opposite hand, quickly punch it across your body while moving basically into Warrior 3. Return back up slowly.
  • TT Plus – Same as Tony’s T from pilates but with slow then fast movements.
  • Bridge Kicks – On your back, quickly push up into a one leg bridge, then slowly return to ground.
  • Hip Flexor Splits – THIS ONE WAS NOT DOABLE FOR ME CURRENTLY. I am discovering that my hip flexibility is comparatively poor. My hip flexors give me problems in lots of yoga poses. You are supposed to basically sit/balance on your power bars and then hold your body weight up into a split leg V. You then pull your legs in together and then quickly kick the legs back apart. I have the abs for it. I have the balance for it. My hip flexors said NO. I stopped the DVD, did some deep hip flexor stretches and then did my version of this move one leg at a time. :/
  • Calf Dog – While in down dog, stack one foot on top of the other. Quickly push up high onto toes, and then slowly lower heel back down.

This workout presents some moves I’ll need to improve for sure. Here’s hoping I hurt tomorrow!!! Maybe this will be the block that gives me some serious glutes! 😉

Day 30 – Triometrics: the Ass Burner

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I realize I’m only 2 days into Block 2, but I am loving these workouts! Both Eccentric Upper and Triometrics have left my body exhausted and sore, that’s always a great sign!

I’m still wildly sore from Eccentric Upper. My lats, shoulders, and back hurt… in the best possible way! Luckily, I have a massage tonight! I had completely forgotten about it until I received my reminder email yesterday, and it couldn’t come at a better time. 🙂

TRIOMETRICS

This is a muscle burner. The “trio” part comes from each move having 3 different intensities within the time given: 20 seconds for “low” intensity, 20 for medium, and 20 for hardcore. Most of the moves I did all three levels, but there were a couple that continued the medium for 40 seconds instead – mostly some of the plyo moves.

  • Calf Raise Squats – Squat then reach over head on tip toes. Level 1 – reach for ground, 2 – touch the ground, 3 – fists on the ground
  • The Duper Skater – One leg deep squat with free leg reaching behind you. Level 1 – reach, 2 – kick in front, 3 – kick + touch floor with hand
  • Frog Jumps – Wide leg squat with a hop at the top. Level 1 – fingertips in prayer, 2 – fists to floor then to sky, 3 – palms to floor with tuck jump
  • Warrior 3 Squats – Squat while in warrior 3. Level 1 – arms to the back, 2 – airplane, 3 – arms reaching forward
  • Speed Skater – Just like in block one. Level 1 – 1 hop, 2 – 2 hops, 3 – 3 hops
  • Superman Lunge – Alternate lunge with torso kept leaning forward. Level 1 – step between lunges, 2 – skip, 3 – plyo
  • Sumo Kick – Wide leg squat reaching to ground, then at the top alternate legs with a snap kick. Level 1 – fingers to ground, 2 – fists to ground, 3 – palms to ground.
  • Run Stance Squats – This is kind of like the Spiderman move of block one, alternating which foot is in front. Level one – step between alternating legs, 2 – step and touch the floor, 3 – plyo
  • Iso Squat – One leg squats. Level 1 – opposite foot behind you, 2 – ankle touching ankle, 3 – opposite foot in front.
  • Slater Squat – A lot like a burpee :/ Level 1 -step back up, 2 – jump down and back up, 3 – jump up and tuck jump.
  • Duper 2 – One leg squat with opposite leg out to the side. Level 1 – leg out then knee up, 2 – leg out and touch the ground, 3 – leg out and straight the whole time and touch the ground
  • Jack Squats – Wide squat then hop to chair staying low. Level 1 – reach to ground in squat, 2 – tap the floor, 3 – tap and then X jump instead of chair
  • Hell’s Chair – Chair with right leg up, then left leg, then normal chair
  • Kablam – Right leg lunge, squat, left leg lunge. Level 1 – step between moves with hands in prayer, 2 – arm up and skip, arms swinging plyo

Seriously, triometrics made my butt BURN!!! Hardcore burn! I was tired and sweaty immediately! I’m a little disappointed because I’m not sore yet, and it’s 1:30pm… I was truly anticipating lower body hurt, but maybe it’s not designed to bring soreness as I still have Eccentric Lower later this week.

Block 2 makes me feel like a bad@ss!!!

BLOCK 2 = New Workouts! Eccentric Upper

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May I just say that I’m super pumped to be starting the new block! 🙂 Part of me is slightly bummed that block 1 is done solely because I had finally figured out a lot of the moves just in time to get something completely different. But different can also mean exciting!

ECCENTRIC UPPER

Tony describes “eccentric” as the part of a move in which the muscle lengthens. This whole workout focuses on the lengthening of the muscle through the “negative” part of the move, example being the down part of a push up. I had just commented to my sister last night (who BTW is doing P90X3 also right now with her husband) that I was going to miss The Challenge, but I can assure her and everyone else that Eccentric Upper picks up where The Challenge left off. To make these moves achieve an eccentric focus, the push ups take a 3 count down with a 1 count up while pull/chin ups also use a 3 count lowering and 1 count back up.

  • Standard Push Ups – All of my push ups were done with power bars on my knees today, except the burn out. Tony suggests that you suck it up and do it on your feet with a smaller range of motion to engage more core. Next time I’ll try that.
  • Standard Pull Ups – I did a strange version of assisted… I was really trying to wear out my arms today. (I was successful FYI.) Knowing that the bulk of the energy was to be spent on the lowering, I used the chair to get up and then lifted my legs on the way down so that I was lowering my full body weight.
  • Military Press – Push weights above your head and close together then slowly lowering until triceps are parallel to the ground. I have enormous shoulders, so I used my lighter 5lb weights.
  • Military Push Ups – I’m really focusing on making my elbows graze my sides as I do these.
  • Chin Ups – See standard pull ups.
  • Deep Swimmer’s Press – Starting in a half curl position with arms parallel to ground, quickly complete the curl up then twist arms up into a press. Slowly lower back down to half curl.
  • Fly Push Ups –  basically wide arm push ups
  • V Pull Ups – Technically these are wide arm pull ups in which you pull your chin to one hand lower and then pull up to the other hand. I instead used the bands and did a basic wide arm pull up band pull. You quickly pull the bands down and then slowly allow them back up. I really felt this in my lats.
  • Upright Hammer Pull – like an upright row with a bicep twist up at the top
  • Staggered Push Ups – I was just happily pushing away and missed the fact that you were supposed to 5 then switch which hand was in front… Instead I did all 10 before I realized my mistake, requiring me to then do 10 on the other side. BONUS! 🙂
  • Rocket Launcher Row – Standing in a wide lunge and leaning your weight over your front leg, these are like military rows as you pull the weight into your arm pit keeping the elbows close to your sides.
  • Lateral/Anterior Raise – Holding the weights like hammers with thumbs up, extend your arms to shoulder height out to the sides, lower, then do the same in the front.
  • Plyo Push Ups – No plyo for me. I don’t trust my wrists for this right now. Instead I did 15 regular push ups.
  • Vaulter Pull Ups – just like those from The Challenge
  • Pterodactyl Flys – In another wide lunge, body leaning forward, lift the weights to shoulder height out to the sides.
  • Rocket Launcher Kickback – Wide lunge, body forward, tricep kickbacks… I did this with 8lbs… Should have done 5.
  • Flip Flop Combo – Curl up, hammer down slowly.
  • Tricep Skyfers – These are kind of like tricep dips… Actually, they are tricep dips, but you make a stomach-up table with hands on your power bars, 1 leg up in the air, and then dip down.
  • Kneeling Preacher Curl – In a lunge with one knee on the floor, curl those biceps!
  • Burn out – Burn out for this was a push up/pull up combo again. This time it was 1 military push up then 1 wide arm pull up, followed by 2 of each, then 3…

I love The Challenge, and I love this one as well. I have always been exceptionally conscious of my arms; my upper arms like to hoard body fat. By the time I was about 24 I was definitely noticing an increase in their circumference. I can hear my mother saying, “Oh my gosh! You never had fat arms!” And while it is true that I never had arms that waved in the wind or were the size of small tree trunks, shirts that fit my body were obviously tight on my upper arms.

The thing about arm and leg fat… well all fat in general… is that it has to come off of everywhere for it to come off the places you want. I started speed walking a 3 mile trek everyday, which allowed me to wear my cute little green polka dotted shirt with the tuxedo pleats(!), but it wasn’t until I started doing yoga that a little pose called Downward Dog changed my arms. And then a couple of years later, my dude introduced me to P90X Shoulders & Arms and then the muscles started to chisel out. 🙂

Neat!

I ended with half of Ab Ripper X before I decided I was exhausted. 🙂

Stay healthy!

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Bam! Block One DONE!

BLOCK ONE DONE

End of Transition Week: X3 Yoga + Dynamix

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I said it before, but I really loved the transition week. 🙂

I made Saturday my rest day and turned Sunday into a double day of X3 Yoga and Dynamix. John did them with me, and I’m pretty sure he enjoyed them also.

X3 YOGA

I’m getting much better at holding my upper body below my knee while in crescent. I attribute most of that to the fact that my legs are getting stronger in general. Half moon has gotten exponentially better on my right leg, though my left was terrible today. I did a great Ted’s chair on my right leg, but my left leg didn’t happen at all. I’ve discovered over the past couple of days that my left hip is far more open than my right hip, which I think is bizarre since everything else is looser on the right side of my body. My crow has consistently improved this last month as my arms continue to strengthen, but today I was almost able to straighten my elbows in the pose like a big kid! 🙂 🙂 🙂 It’s super neat to see improvement.

John and I are both used to doing MUCH longer, far more intense yoga routines than that of X3 so while there might be a couple isolated poses that need growth, the routine as a whole is not overly taxing. When we did Dynamix John commented that he worked up more of a sweat during that half hour that during the yoga.

THOUGHTS AFTER BLOCK ONE

  • All Yoga days are going to be double days of Yoga/Isometrix or Yoga/Pilates
  • Sometimes it’s better to take a breather so I can give more energy to the next move (Warrior).
  • Sometimes it’s better to push through without pause to keep my heart rate up (CVX).
  • I didn’t do enough push ups or pull ups if I can do another one.
  • Cardio days are not the days to start with a 30 minute Ashtanga warm up. 🙂
  • If you aren’t seeing results, you either A) didn’t exert your all or B) eat more than you need each day.

P90X3 is pretty great. 🙂 I’m excited for Block 2!!!

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Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa, Tomatoes, & Black Beans

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STUFFED PEPPERS WITH QUINOA, TOMATO, & BLACK BEANS

  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1/8 cup quinoa
  • 4-6 grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 can drained black beans
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 spoonfuls Native Texan Restaurant Style salsa
  • 1/8 cup Weight Watchers low fat mozzarella cheese
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder

Prepare the grill.

Cut the tops off 2 deep red bell peppers and clean out the innards. Grill over direct heat until skin softens and chars a bit.

Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan, just cover quinoa with water. Add shallot and SPG. Cover, stirring periodically until rings pop. Mix in tomatoes then cover until tomatoes start to juice. Add black beans and salsa. Stir. Cook until beans are warm. Remove from heat and mix in cheese. Set aside.

Once peppers are blackened, spoon in quinoa mixture. Return to grill over indirect heat for 10-15 more minutes, or until pepper has completely softened.

Serve with tasty beer like Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus. 🙂

 

I ♡ Transition Week!

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Three wonderful date nights in a row have kept me from blogging on time, but I’ve been good at keeping up with my workouts! Promise!

WEDNESDAYPet Shop Boys with my dude + several hundred of the strangest collections of 40somethings ever.

Before hitting up Pet Shop Boys, I found my 30 minutes to sweat with some Accelerator. Perhaps because my mind was on the night’s events, I was not mentally engaged in this workout. I expect that the next time I do it, I’ll enjoy it more than I did Wednesday. The actual moves weren’t particularly rough, but it is EXTREMELY plank heavy. My wrists were aching by the end of the routine. I looked for ways to move my weight from the wrists to the forearms, but some of the moves just didn’t allow for  it – like Plank Walkers.

Donkey Kicks – I think I’m really going to like this move once I’m more prepared for it! How can anyone NOT like this move! It’s like trick poses in yoga with a cool kick thrown in there! 🙂 🙂 🙂

THURSDAYCode Blue with my dude (really good cover band that one of my student’s dad plays in)

Pilates… <3<3<3 I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed pilates. Let me try… I loved it so much I did it twice! Seriously. As soon as my first round of pilates was over, I immediate started the workout again. Not only was it fun, there were moves that I was shocked were so hard for me (like Scissor Ball or The Pretzel), and I wanted a chance for redemption!

FRIDAYno school followed by Grand Budapest Hotel & Le Madeleine with my dude

I woke up yesterday morning with seriously sore hips and lower back. Pilates worked them hard! Doubly hard in fact. 🙂

CVX yesterday – it was great. I sweated like a pig, but I didn’t feel exhausted like CVX makes me feel sometimes. After some water, I found that I can now do three unassisted chin ups in a row. 🙂 John was going to be coming over later in the afternoon, so with some extra time to kill before he got here…

I DID ANOTHER ROUND OF PILATES!

I know, I know… It’s just a lot of fun, and with Pilates not in the Classic mix much at all, I want repetitions to improve my form on a lot of these moves. John got to my house just as I was finishing The Pretzel. I look super awkward as my hip flexibility is far from where it needs to be for this workout, but to make sure that wasn’t his final impression of his chick working out, I demonstrated my new found chin up strength and performed another 3 consecutive chin ups! That’s what I like to call definite progress. 🙂

 Just for fun… Here’s one of my favorite moves from the Pilates workout: V Rocker. 🙂

 

 

World’s Grossest Smoothie… In My Opinion

WORLD’S GROSSEST SMOOTHIE

  • Spinach, arugula, raddichio blend
  • 3/4 golden delicious apple
  • 1 scoop Jay Robb Vanilla Egg White Protein Powder
  • 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1 tbsp cacoa nibs

Super frickin’ gross.

🙂