All posts tagged exercise

One month done, two to go! I slacked off a bit during the recovery week, skipped a couple days because I didn’t feel well, but came back with a vengeance yesterday with Shoulders Back and Triceps, followed by a systema class (1:30), I was exhausted, but today I feel great. I am still a bit unnerved by not losing any weight, even though I am more toned. Bye-bye love handles! Now do I see slight physical changes in my body. After some research, it seems like this is normal. Your body goes through a 3-4 week period when it doesn’t know how to react to the shock and stores water. Most videos I found on Youtube show a certain pattern depending on body weight. Overly overweight people change the most during the first month, losing a lot of fat, probably because of the diet change. Those in a decent, though not perfect shape, like myself, see changes mostly in the second month. Skinny or already toned people progress rapidly throughout the program. That is my observation anyway. My slow metabolism might require a second round.

I have by the way replaced Kenpo X, which I find ridiculous, by my Systema class. If it doesn’t fall on the right day, I will then modify it to be more Systema-like. I mean constant and rotational movements as opposed to stop-and-go action.

Yoga feels better, since I am getting noticeably stronger. Still, 1:30 is a long time. At least I mostly do enjoy it now, but for a few poses.

One word of caution here.. The temptation to slack off and quit is great at this time. Fortunately or not, I am stubborn and hate not finishing what I set myself to do. I might even up the ante by going to two or three Systema classes per week, as opposed to one. I was able to complete Ab Ripper X without pressing the pause button on Sunday, what a great feeling! I have only one regret after one month, and that it not being able to do a single pull-up yet.

X Stretch which I had not tried yet turned out to be a great routine. No sweating here, just a nice, comfortable warmth and great stretches, some of them you would have already done in the warm-ups and Yoga X. I would definitely suggest anyone to do it during their recovery day every week. It is like a nice body massage, and leaves you with the satisfaction of doing something that day.

Core Synergistics is a very hard workout. You pretty much work your whole body. I was not able to do all the exercises, and don’t expect to, probably until phase three. I suggest you to watch any workout you haven’t done before actually going ahead, because otherwise you lose a lot of time learning the moves and your first session gets botched up.

Shoulders Back and Triceps: Lots of push-ups, some I could not do like the one-handed version. I had to go buy ten-pound dumbbells for certain moves. You end-up with a lot of weight above your head, working those shoulders and triceps. I hit the pause button a few times to catch my breath, but finished nevertheless.

One third of the way through, and I am still impatient. The changes I see do not come fast enough, but I am pushing myself hard, and can’t do much more.. I will take my 30-day photos tonight and hopefully there will be a visible difference. A couple people have noticed and told me so, but I can’t see it much. Maybe on a screen side-by-side, it will be more obvious. I just need to be patient and not give-up. Tonight I have Plyometrics, followed by a Systema class, if I’m not too exhausted. That will be another 2:30 exercise day in a row.

Two weeks completed! Almost, I am about to do Yoga X on my day off, since I skipped it a few days ago and did Ab Ripper X instead.

To my surprise, I gained 5Lbs the first ten days! Disappointing, since I am hoping to drop 15Lbs during the twelve weeks. It turns out that this isn’t unusual at the beginning of each phase. The body reacts to soreness by storing water everywhere. I did reduce my calories intake a bit, and bingo, I am back down to 203.5Lbs. I know such small changes mean nothing, but it keeps me motivated. I hope to reach 195Lbs by mid July. That would be of course more than a 5Lbs fat loss, since I am also putting on muscle mass. I did replace Kenpo X by a systema class plus Ab Ripper X, and it easily made up for it. I was wondering about dropping Yoga this week, but I am committed to this program, and I can’t start cheating now.

Creatine: I got myself a kilo of creatine. It definitely seems to help getting a few more reps at the end, especially when doing abs. I didn’t load as much as product manufacturers suggest (20g/day for 5-7 days), but did 15g/day for five days. Now I take 5g 30 minutes before a workout.

Kenpo X: I have much to say about Kenpo X. Consider it a cardio workout, and nothing else. The P90X book calls Kenpo a “raw street fighting style.” I disagree. Do not hope to use your Kenpo X to defend yourself, or you might get in trouble. The punches are ‘stop-and-back’ classical karate style with a lot of tension. There are a couple problems associated with that. First, why hurt your joints by stopping your arm in mid air and pulling back? This sudden reversal of kinetic energy is wasteful and pulls quite a bit on your joints. Second, when you punch someone, you want the energy generated by mass and movement to transfer to your target, not bounce right back to you. Translation: You must keep a loose shoulder for your punch to be efficient. Instead of stop-and-back, I punch in a circular or elliptical motion. I do not slow down my punches at any time during this motion. If I was to hit something, most of the energy would be transfered. Same for the blocks. If you don’t have to block, don’t. Redirect attacks with circular motion. I try to keep constant motion during Kenpo X, no linear back-and-forth movements. You could do the same for kicks, but I left that part unchanged. After all, this is not a self defense workout, but a cardio one. I might post a video here later to explain those changes.

Legs and Back: Probably the easiest of the resistance series for me. Easiest doesn’t mean easy.. I think my daily bicycle rides, though short, helped me quite a bit. Not much to say here, just that it is a sound, classic workout, like most of the others.

X Stretch: I haven’t tried yet. The last day of weeks 1 through 4 is supposed to be either off or X Stretch. Since I skipped a couple days, I had to catch up during my day off.

After two weeks of training, I can’t see any difference in my body shape yet, and it is too soon for that. I am just happy to be sticking with the program. 1:15 of exercise a day actually takes much more time. Consider meal preparations (6/day), shopping, calorie counting on fitday.com, more showers, more laundry… So, I estimate more like a 2:00 to 2:30 daily commitment. I still try to go to my Systema class once or twice a week.

Two more weeks and I will be posting about the recovery week four and my results at the end of phase one. And now, on to Yoga X. I hate that one… Oh well…

I just stumbled on this article: Half Singapore children suffer from allergies: study. I had never heard about allergies before 1993, when I moved to the United States. The only ones I knew of were serious, and potentially fatal, like my mother being allergic to penicillin. Seasonal allergies or other common types seen today simply did not exist.

Call me a dirty Frenchman if you want, but the cause seems obvious to me: The modern obsession with cleanliness. Singapore doesn’t surprise me, because it is one of the cleanest cities in the world. Not that I have anything against that, I like cleanliness too. However, when the practice goes too far, it poses a threat to all of us. I think that our immune system, if not challenged once in a while, will not be able to defend us when we really need it. I am not asking you to go lick your toilet bowl or the next stray dog you see on the street! If I didn’t live in Florida, I probably would shower every other day. I don’t use hand sanitizers. I don’t mind getting dirty working outside, eat fruits and vegetables I just pulled from a tree or the ground.. We need to get exposed to germs, the benign ones anyway.

When I was a kid, I spent all day playing outside, getting scrapes on my knees, cutting myself, eating things that should have been cooked or cleaned, and coming back home covered with dirt. My parents didn’t seem to mind. It was just what children do. These days, a child won’t be admitted to school with the sniffles. Let them all catch that cold or chicken pox, and be done with it.

The media has us all in a panic about swine flu. Before, it was bird flu, and before that, Spanish flu.. What is it going to be next, fish flu? We get flu every year. Some people die from it, mostly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions; nothing new here. It’s just the flu. You don’t need to sanitize your hands twenty times a day or stay home because of it.

Allergy medicines are big business. Schering-Plough made billions with Claritin. Doctors will push allergy medicine as much as they can. Are the possible long term effects of those drugs better than the discomfort they treat? For some maybe, but overall, I doubt it.

If you want to stay in good health, have a good personal hygiene, but don’t be obsessive. Let go of the bleach a little, and don’t sterilize everything you eat or touch. If you get sick, well, you’re just exercising your immune system. If you have kids, protect and watch over them, but let them be kids and get dirty playing outside. You will make them stronger adults. Avoid loading yourself up with over-the-counter anti-allergy medicine. If you have a problem, see your doctor, but remember that he wants you to buy the stuff.. Eat healthy and exercise, that is probably the best way to a healthy body and mind.