Exercising – Part III

Who would have thought I’d be extending the last two points to talk about exercising again?  Not me.  But, I’ve decide to write a little more about what I’m doing for exercise.  As I discussed in the last post, I’ve decided to move forward with my P90X / INSANITY! hybrid workout.  M-W-F I’m doing the P90X weight lifting routines and then T-Th-Sat I’m doing the INSANITY routines.  So far I’ve been doing Plyometric Cardio Circuit, Cardio Power, and Pure Cardio.  I still haven’t decided on what sort of abs exercises to do since I’m not a big fan of either P90X’s or INSANITY’s abs workouts.  I actually like the abs workout that Ask Men has listed on their website here.  This week I’ll start adding these 10 exercises to my M-W-F routines and see how these do in bringing more definition to my abdominal area.

Of course, most of this workout is pretty much for naught if I wasn’t changing my diet to.  I’ve been shifting to more vegetarian meals for breakfast and lunch then having my favorite protein for dinner.  Which, although this isn’t how you should eat, it’s how I do it since I’m mainly doing my workout at night or when I get home for work so after working out I get an automatic diet control on my dinner since exercising reduces your want of food.

As it stands, I’ve just finished my second week in my new workout routine, by slowly adding to it I’m not overloading myself with anything and learning what my body does and doesn’t like and how to adjust my insulin appropriately for the workouts.  When all is said and done I hope I will have created a workout routine that I can continue for a very long time and keep myself healthy, fit and happy.  Which in the end is all we can ask for in this life: to be healthy.

Exercising – Part II

Well, I misjudged just how out of shape I was and found out I was in better shape than I remembered.  I reached my goal of sub-10% body fat; and now it is time to start doing the muscle gain.  So I believe what I’ll start doing next week is 3 days of Insanity! workouts and 3 days of P90X workouts.  Of course, the P90X workouts will be the M-W-F ones that focus on building muscle mass / strength and the Insanity! ones will be my favorite cardio ones — haven’t decided which ones just yet.

Hopefully this will put me on the path I want to get the body I want.  Even if it doesn’t, the exercise itself does amazing things for the rest of my life, so I don’t see why I’d want to stop doing any exercise, but changing it up to get the body I want could definitely be in the cards assuming what I’m doing doesn’t get me there. 🙂

Exercising

If you read my blog with any sort of regularity (which I’m assuming the answer is no since I don’t even update it regularly like I probably should) you know that I was going to try doing a new workout routine.  Well, after a lot (and I mean a lot) of false starts, I’m finally getting back into the habit of working out.  Unfortunately, I let school get in the way of my working out and it wasn’t exactly the best thing for me to do.  So, starting last week I restarted Insanity! to work on removing the fat I let add up on my body.  However, I’m not going to let school take all the blame since I also began to eat more sweets and other more unhealthy things than I probably should have.

Now, do I think that I’ll attempt my hybrid Insanity! / P90X?  I don’t really think I will, but I am going to work in actual muscle building workouts since as much as I love cardio, it removes a lot of fat but doesn’t do a lot to add bulk to my frame.  And if you’ve ever seen me I am a pretty skinny guy who could use a little more bulk.  So, is doing a P90X / Insanity mix the right thing to do?  Or should I take a more traditional weight-lifting routine approach?

If I was going to do Insanity / P90X I think M/W/F would be P90X and T-Th-Sat (maybe even Sunday depending on how I feel) would be Insanity.  But, if I’m aiming toward the traditional weight-lifting since I have access to a weight-machine, I suppose I could do a lot of exercises on that (which I’d have to look up which ones to use).

Oh well, I’m just rambling at this point because my first order of business is to get back to eating more healthily and knocking off the fat I’ve accumulated.  Until then, I can back burner  / slowly research the weight lifting routines without impacting what I’m currently doing.  Feel free to chime in in the comments section if you have an idea for what I should be doing.

And, since it is Memorial Day, I want to thank all the Armed Forces for being out there and putting their lives on the line and this is a day of celebration and we should all be having a great time! Happy Memorial Day!

My new workout routine

Now that I’ve had a few weeks to sit back and analyze P90X and Insanity and decide what I do and don’t like about both of them, I’ve come up with an exercise routine that I’m going to try out for one month and see if I like it.  Since this is a lot of experimentation, I’m sure there will be some messing around with the format.  Now the basic idea I’m running with is that I really enjoy the Insanity workouts in general, just I wish they’d have some upper body workouts to supplement the cardio portions of it (you don’t have to tell me that gaining muscle isn’t the point of Insanity, it is the dropping the fat that is).

Looking at P90X, I found the warm-up and their stretching during the workout routines to be pretty weak, but the X-Stretch and Yoga routines I found to be excellent.  Some of the weight work outs in P90X I thought were too focused on push-ups and pull-ups or chip-ups, and I’m not really a fan of pull-ups and chin-ups.  I also disliked the Abs routines on both P90X and Insanity.  I know they work, I just don’t know if they are the most effective way to truly define your abdominal muscles.  With that in mind, I found two exercises that could encompass all the muscles that need to be worked in order to gain the nice looking abdominal muscles everyone wants.

Now, without further hesitation here is my workout schedule I intend to follow for one month to see how I like it:

  • Exercises and routines done every week
    • Sunday: X Stretch
    • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Myotatic Crunch, Cat Vomit Exercise
  • Exercises done by week
    • Following Insanity 1st month routine but before the cool down stretch, do a pared down P90X routine for the correct week

I’m sure there will be some fine-tuning, as I figure out exactly how much working out I can stand each day. 🙂

Insanity Final Fit Test and Overall Review

A little late, but here it is…

Welcome to the last bit of Insanity, my final fit test and review of all the disks included in the package.

Sunday: The Final Fit Test

So, the Final Fit Test.. here is what I’ve done before, and what I’ve reached:

Exercise Count #1 Count #2 Count #3 Count #4
Switch Kicks 62 63 x 70
Squat Jacks 46 46 x 50
Power Knees 59 80 x 90
Power Jumps 21 32 x 35
Globe Jumps 7 11 x 11
Suicide Jumps 9 15 x 16
Push Up Jacks 5 20 x 25
Low Plank Obliques 30 38 x 44

Overall Review

I believe Insanity! was completely worth doing.  It provided fun workouts and Shaun T wasn’t annoying so listening to him for six days straight for nine weeks wasn’t bad.  The first month of workouts all burn about 600 to 700 calories a workout, then in the second month, the workouts burn over 1000 calories.  The second month really, really, really sheds the fat.  Of course, the intensity of the workouts are on a whole other level.

I’d suggest that if you can’t hack the second month to redo the first month to build up the needed endurance and strength to handle the second month.  The second month of workouts are definitely aimed at people who are in great shape and just need that last little push to remove some of the stubborn fat from their bodies.  If this isn’t you, I think doing the first month again is a good idea because you know you can handle the first month routines and pushing yourself harder in those is going to do you good.

Now, for the things I didn’t really like.  First the warm-ups were good, but I didn’t like getting my heart rate really high and then just stopping to do stretches after nine minutes of warm up.  I didn’t hurt myself during the warm ups, but I’m pretty sure it could happen and that would just stink given you could have easily done 3 minutes of warm up, do the stretches then finish the last 6 minutes of the warm up.  The stretching I liked, I thought they did a good job of stretching out the muscles you are going to use for the workout.. with one exception.  They never stretch out the calf muscles.  So I ended up stretching them out myself since you’re doing so much jumping and bouncing side-to-side and up-and-down that it well worth the extra 20 seconds to stretch them out.  Another big issue is no where do they explain how to do the exercises correctly.  I would have liked to have seen a disk where they only showed the exercises in a slower pace so that you could see exactly what made a good rep vs. a bad one or ways to modify the exercise if you couldn’t do it exactly because your arms or legs were feeling like rubber.  The one last thing that annoys me is the glut of Beachbody trainer run sites that all say the same thing and don’t give a good thing saying what they do and don’t like about the workout.  They just repeat the exact same thing over and over and over.

I would recommend Insanity to people as a way to lose weight; however, there are caveats.  First, you need to be able to jump and hop and move around fairly well for it to be effective.  Secondly, you need to be a self-motivator.  You are not going to survive or even finish Insanity otherwise.  Thirdly, following their food plan is good and all (it isn’t that poorly planned out), however, for some people it might not be very optimal (e.g. type I diabetic, etc).  And lastly, be prepared.  It is hard, it is harder than any other workout I’ve ever done.  I’ve sweated more, I’ve jumped up and down more, and I’ve done more push ups in two months than I ever did before.  Also be prepared to modify some of the exercises and stretches since you know your body better than someone on a DVD.  If a muscle is tensing up, pause the disk, stretch it out, and go back to it.

Individual Disk Reviews

Insanity! comes with 10 disks in the normal package, 12 in the deluxe package and 13 in the highest package.  Here are my thoughts on each of them:

Disk 1: Dig Deeper and Fit Test : This is the first disk you’ll watch when you get started on Insanity.  It’ll give you the generic pep-talk and tell you to be ready to work harder than you’ve ever worked before.  You’ll see the Fit Test multiple times, so get used to it.  It isn’t that hard and it’ll move really quickly — just keep a pen and paper or a laptop computer near you when you’re doing it to record your results.

Disk 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit : This is one of the standard routines you’ll see a lot of.  At first it seems like a lot to take in, but by the end of the first month, you’ll still be tired at the end of it, but feeling a lot better.  I think it’s called plyometric since you’re supposed to be hopping up and down more in this one than others; but with how fast you do all the routines, they really start to blend together.

Disk 3: Cardio Power and Resistance : They tell you these are power moves, but like I’ve said before, a lot of the exercises all feel the same.  This one does put more emphasis on doing the exercises with explosiveness which should help build the lean muscles (assuming you do them right).

Disk 4: Cardio Recovery and Max Recovery : Calling these two routines recovery is a misnomer.  Recovery is sleeping and resting, not doing exercises.  Anyway, the cardio recovery is used during the first month, while max recovery is used during the second month.  I concentrated on doing all the exercises perfectly as opposed to trying to keep up with all the people on the disk.  Neither of the routines ask you to do anything extraordinary so take it for what it is, and stay relaxed while pushing yourself just a little.

Disk 5: Pure Cardio and Abs : For some reason, I really enjoy the pure cardio disk, even though there are no designated water breaks.  As with all the Insanity disks, it starts out easy (somewhat..) and speeds up while asking you to put as much power into it that you can.  You’ll be drenched in sweat by the time the cool down stretches occur.  However, once they’re done, you’ll be wondering why you haven’t started another workout.  Of course, that is where Cardio Abs comes in.  It is a quick 16 minute abs-centric workout with a quick warm-up (since you’re already pretty warm from your previous workout) and then right into exercises.  There are no crunches, but it is still really rough.  I liked it though.

Disk 6: Cardio Abs : I don’t know why they put it on a disk by itself, when it is on disk 5.

Disk 7: Core Cardio and Balance : I liked this workout a lot and wished it was in the regular rotation of workouts instead of seeing it six times in a row.  It does a lot of balance-type exercises along with some exercises that really freaking burned.

Disk 8: Max Interval Circuit : Think of the interval circuit stuff above, then add an additional set of exercises.  The warm-up routine also changes slightly, you’ll find yourself doing exercises in warm-up that you were doing as part of the main workouts in the first month.  The workouts definitely turn it up a notch in the second month.

Disk 9: Max Interval Plyo : I never knew there were that many ways to do push-ups… now I do.  Be prepared to be worn down, the workouts now start pushing a full hour and they don’t slow down then speed up as in the first month.  You push pretty hard to really hard — not learn the exercises to really hard.

Disk 10: Max Cardio Conditioning and Abs : Welcome to the cardio conditioning routine that lasts about an hour with no set water breaks (take breaks btw).  It is rough like all the Max stuff, but you’ll find yourself getting accustomed to the routine near the end much like the first month.  It’ll be bad, just not as bad.

Disk 11: MAX Interval Sports Training : Now, these last three disk come if you picked the crazy-insane-deluxe-edition or whatever they call it.  You don’t need them to finish Insanity, they just add a little variety.  This one is tough, and I almost felt like not doing this disk and dropping back to the one they suggest when you do it the first time, but since I’m stubborn, I did it anyway.  He uses a lot of exercises from various sports so if you’ve ever seen football drills, basketball drills, or taken a martial arts class a lot of the exercises won’t seem so foreign to you (a good thing).

Disk 12: Insane Abs : Instead of 16 minutes abs workout, you get 33.  You also get more of a warm-up and a much longer routine.  I can’t say there is much more to write home about than that.  It is harder than the first abs disk of course, but you’re used to it by now :).

Disk 13: Upper Body Weight Training : Imagine doing the moves you’ve done before, but with free weights.. you’ve basically got this disk down.  I’m not so sure how I feel about this disk, even after watching it a few times.  Maybe once I go through P90X I’ll have a better view of what I think of it.

Weekly Review Logs

You can also read over my weekly workout logs here:

Insanity Week 9 Review

Here it is, the homestretch, what I’ve been playing for.  Only seven more days and I’ll have completed Insanity!  You’ll notice that I’m not talking a lot about the workouts, right now.  I’m saving my thoughts on all the workouts for the final review of Insanity so I can write about each one in more detail to describe them in more detail.

Monday: Max Interval Plyo

Well, got the new desktop in today, set it up, and did Max Interval Plyo on a nice new screen.  It looked nicer I suppose, but in the end, I was still sweating the same amount as before — so it wasn’t some magical device that would increase the amount of calories burned while reducing the amount of sweat.  Calories burned: 1138, average heart rate: 157bpm, maximum heart rate: 188bpm.  Also did a two mile bike ride with the puppy, so a little extra burn to the burn I already had.

Tuesday: Max Cardio Conditioning and Insane Abs

Another killer workout today, but damn, it feels great!  Calories burned 1397, average heart rate: 155bpm, maximum heart rate: 186bpm.  And as you can already guess, on top of all this was a two mile bike ride with Einstein.

Wednesday: Max Interval Circuit

Again, Max Interval Circuit, boy do these workouts seriously wear you out.  But, it is kinda funny, a few hours later you feel like you could go do them all again.  I suppose it is the joy of cardio workouts.  They drain you out quickly, but a nice rest and you’re ready to go again.  According to Mr. Polar FT-7 Heart Rate Monitor, I didn’t burn nearly as many calories as I thought I would have at 1097 (I must have been taking it a little too easy), but, everything else seems to around normal in terms of heart rates, average: 157bpm, maximum heart rate: 189bpm.

Thursday: Max Interval Sports Training

Here I am, at Max Interval Sports Training again, should be my third time, but ended up being my second time.  Calories burned: 1236, average heart rate: 155bpm, maximum heart rate 188bpm.  Like before, a sweaty hard workout, that in the end is enjoyable (if only for the results).  Only two more workouts and then the last fit test.

Friday: Max Interval Plyo

Calories burned: 1211, average heart rate: 155bpm, maximum heart rate: 189bpm.  One more day.  Oh yeah!  Didn’t get the chance to run with dog today (but don’t worry, he got his run without me).  Tomorrow, the last day.  Max Cardio and Insane Abs!  Then Sunday, the final fit test, then a trip to Alaska, then starting up P90X.

Saturday: Max Cardio Conditioning and Insane Abs

Yes! The end!  And even better I finished two projects on the same day: Insanity and the fuel cell installed, the new headers installed and splitter installed on my 911.  A very productive day — I even managed to make sausage balls and cookies as well.  Look forward to tomorrow when I do the final fit test and give a review of every disk in the Insanity series and what I thought of them.  Oh, before I sign off on Insanity completely: calories burned: 1298, average heart rate: 158bpm, maximum heart rate: 191bpm.  I’m glad I did this workout inside, it was stupidly hot outside and in the workshop where I was working on my 911.

General Week Nine Thoughts

It’s over.  I gave myself a pat on the back.  But there is still more to come.  Being at 11% body fat and skinny is good, but a little less than 10% and having muscles is even better.  So there is my new goal with P90X.  A little more fat loss and more muscles.  And now, the infamous bullet list of things:

  • Heart rate monitor
  • Gatorade
  • Blood Glucose tester nearby (if you’re diabetic)
  • Keep pushing, it does end.  And you’ll feel better for it.
  • Setting goals is easy, keeping them is hard.
  • Any extra cardio you can do is an even better thing.  For instance, my bike rides with my puppy (not so much a puppy anymore, but he still acts like one).