Fitocracy

One of my goals for this year is to be in good enough shape to be able to compete in the Tough Mudder that is occurring in October here in central Texas.  I put my money where my mouth is and signed up for it.  Now I’ve got to put the pedal to the metal and get myself in enough shape to run it.

For me it is more of a two-fold exercise; first, I have to get into that shape and second, I have to not die while getting into that shape.  As you might already know, being a Type I Diabetic means I have to be a heck of a lot more careful when exercising because I could end up having my blood sugar drop to dangerous levels and end up dying or in coma if I’m not very careful.  However, challenges are fun and interesting and proof that I can do it despite whatever is holding me back so I think it’ll be a blast getting myself into the right shape to do it.  Anyway, back to the task at hand: getting in shape.  I wasn’t in the best physical shape thanks to stress and some long hours at work and school but it wasn’t the worst shape I’d even been in.. and I’ve got nine months to get into that good shape.

I initially thought about doing P90X and Insanity again, but having done those I was into doing something a little different; perhaps going outside for a change, especially since the tough mudder is a 12 mile obstacle course.  I need to get some running into my routine.  Working out with my friends from work would help me get into a routine, however, I was really looking for something that could turn fitness into a game.  And that is when I was introduced to Fitocracy.

Fitocracy makes fitness a social game.  Sign up for it with your friends, follow each other and Fitocracy assigns points to the exercises that you do and scores you.  As you do more exercises you’ll level up (just like a real-life RPG!) and open up quests and achievements along the way.  I’ve found that the more exercises I do the likely I am to look and see that I’m really close to finishing another quest so I go ahead and muscle ahead and complete the few exercises that I need to complete the quest.  Hopefully way before the Tough Mudder date I’ll be in great shape and I’ll be able to run through Tough Mudder like Arnuld through bad guys in Commando and I’ll look a heck of a lot better than I have in a long time (I don’t look that bad now, but you know, it always helps to look better :)).

Swing Your Sword by Mike Leach

Now, I know this book has been out a while; but, I just now got around to reading (and finishing it in a day).  First off, I think Mike Leach has brought a lot of good to college football: from an innovative offense to actually making his players graduate and even though I’m a Texas grad, I always loved watching Tech play (and occasionally beat Texas and our stale offense powered by Greg Davis’ patented low-powered East-West offense).  It’s a shame that they fired Leach because I used to know the game with Tech would be a great game.. now, it just stinks (even with Texas being terrible, it still isn’t a good game).

The book starts out with Leach talking about his upbringing and he throws in stories here and there and it rambles around; much like I imagine any conversation with Mike Leach would go (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).  He then talks about all his college coaching jobs and his various offensive philosophies and how to best run a football program.  Then, he also goes into detail about the whole Adam James scandal and you can probably figure out which side of the fence I fall on for that.

I can’t remember quite how long the book was other than the fact it took me one night to read it, so I’m going to say about 250 pages.  I found it well worth the time spent reading it, and it is an interesting book written by an interesting coach who is probably more interesting than the most interesting man in the world.

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. 🙂

P90X Classic – The Review

Now that I’ve finished off P90X, here is my retrospective of P90X (much the same way I did with Insanity).

Overall Review

P90X did what it set out to do and I believe it did it quite how.  However, I just didn’t get into P90X the way I got into the Insanity workouts.  I don’t know why; but it just didn’t work for me like I thought it would.  I found some of the workouts really worthwhile and other ones I found dull and I couldn’t wait for them to end.

I believe the best way to do the exercises is definitely with free weights.  The resistance bands, although really appealing, since they’re much easier to lug around than the weights don’t really have the oomph I’d expect from working out.  So splurge and buy some free weights if you’re going to do P90X.  Even if you find P90X not right for you, the free weights will always help you out.  I don’t think I’ll do another round of P90X as it is since it didn’t do a lot for me in terms of me liking it; however, I did find some of the workouts worthwhile, so I’ll be integrating them into whatever I’m going to do next.

All this being said, it is a great starting point for getting yourself back into decent shape where you are more in control of what you want to do to become healthier.  And there are workouts in P90X that I definitely want to do again.

Individual Disk Reviews

There are tons of reviews of P90X already out here on the web, so I’ll keep my reviews of them simple and to the point.

Chest and Back – You like pull ups? Well you’d better 🙂

Plyometrics – Like a weak version of Insanity.  It isn’t bad, I just prefer Insanity’s pace a lot more.

Shoulders and Arms – I’d have to watch it again, but again, this gave me a meh.

Yoga X – This disk and X Stretch are my two favorite workouts in P90X, although I’d give the edge to X Stretch since it is a shade more relaxed in my opinion.

Legs and Back – This wasn’t bad, just sort of, meh.

Kenpo X – In the end, I don’t really like this one.  The kung-fu / fighting stuff is a very personal choice and if you just don’t like it.. you just don’t like it.

X Stretch – My favorite workout.  I definitely intend to use this one in the future.

Core Synergistics – This reminded me a lot of Insanity’s workout they make you do between the first and second months.

Chest, Shoulders and Triceps – I do like this one a lot.  I don’t know if I’d do the exercises exactly like this if I did it again, but I’d definitely use some of the exercises.

Back and Biceps – another one that I found really good, I’ll have to work on picking and choosing which ones to do.

Cardio X – Once again, if you want cardio and plyometrics.. Insanity is the only way to go.

Ab Ripper X – This was done every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  It burns, it hurts, but it does a good job.  Although, I’m more interested in seeing if there are better exercises to exercise the abs.

Weekly Review Logs

P90X Classic – Week 13 of 13

And, the last week of P90X for real.

Monday: Yoga X

Guess what? It’s still long and still burns.

Tuesday: Core Synergistics

Hitting the core muscles, hence the “core” part :).

Wednesday: Kenpo X

Feel like fighting? Not me, but I do like the punching and kicking.

Thursday: X Stretch

Much like Yoga X, I like this one a lot.  In fact, I might like it more than Yoga X… I still haven’t quite decided yet.

Friday: Core Synergistics

Once again, hitting the core muscles.  I think these need to be stressed more than a lot of the other muscle groups honestly.

Saturday: Yoga X

The last workout of P90X Classic.  I’m almost going to shed a tear, or not :).

Sunday: Rest

Rest! Yay! I completed one round of P90X Classic.

Weekly Thoughts:

This cool down week, was pretty nice, now I’ve got to figure out what I want to do afterward.  Do I start another round of P90X? Do P90X+? Or do some combination of routines that I think will be more fun?  Perhaps mix in more Insanity routines with a some weight exercises to get everything the way I want?  I dunno, so stayed tuned to see what I decide.  Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.  I’ll have my complete review of P90X posted sometime soon.