Friday, October 28, 2011

Motivation, and working out with others....

P90X, and all the Beachbody products, are programs on DVD. The intention is that people can workout at home and that is the attraction. Going to a gym can be intimidating. Everyone else seems to be in much better shape there (Planet Fitness certainly has tapped into a rich vein with their policy of no grunting, muscle heads, etc.), and of course one had to actually get up, get dressed and GO to the gym. Working out at home eliminates the excuse of having to get out to the gym.

Not that working out at home isn't without its hazards. One of our basement light fixtures is missing a globe because one son hit it while working out. Some workouts are better done upstairs because with all the jumping the ceiling in the basement is low. . And of course, the same lack of motivation that keeps you from going out to the gym can also keep you from putting in the DVD and pushing play!

In my house, sometimes the big problem is that with 4 of us doing two different Beachbody programs and at different days/phases sometimes we end up having to wait and schedule around each other to use the DVD player. Some mornings we have one working out in the basement, and another working out in the kitchen playing the DVD on the computer.

Results can be a great motivator, and having so many of us in the house doing these workouts also motivates. "What workout did you do?" "How was it today?" are ways we keep each other pushing play (not to mention comparing aches and soreness in the evening). And others find motivation with the Beachbody on-line community on Team Beachbody and through Twitter and Facebook.

Today, in a few minutes after my wife finishes her INSANITY workout, I am going to be doing something I have never done. I am working out, P90X legs and back, with my 15 year old son. The DVD is enough pain. Should be interesting to see this young, fit, black belt do circles around this still getting in shape 45 year old! Wish me luck!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Government help to end the trend?

Our local paper, The Detroit Free Press, has an article today about how the government is considering various approaches to ending the trend of obesity. This includes school breakfast/lunch program changes, taxes on soft drinks, and requiring posting calories/fat content at fast food outlets (we saw this last one at work in California, and influenced my sons' choices at our very RARE visit to a fast food joint, while on vacation). But I think ultimately it is about personal responsibility!

Those who want to be healthy must make healthy choices. And I am not sure I agree that the government could decide what is a 'healthy' choice with all the food industry lobbyists doing their best to influence decisions. The Free Press article writes of a healthy breakfast at a local school of wheat bagels, juice and milk....all high sugar/starch choices, with NO PROTEIN. A meal like this has a high glycemic impact which means the kids get a sugar buzz first hour of school, sleepy afterwards from the crash. I remember those days in boarding school when had waffles or pancakes. Hyper students first hour from the starches and sugary syrup, napping in second hour class. Breakfast in the Kelly household this morning? 2 scrambled eggs with about 2 cups of veggies each or organic oatmeal with cinnamon and vanilla /no sugar (lower protein in this one, but the boys will follow with a snack of nuts later in the morning).

So perhaps the question is whether government can influence health choices? Perhaps, but ultimately those who want to make poor choices will do so. Those who want to make better choices will go out of the way to do so. Making sure government doesn't interfere with being able to make good choices might also be a part of the challenge. For adults perhaps it will be business requiring fitness for health insurance coverage. In the schools offering ONLY healthier school lunches, removing soft drink machines and the like, and increased gym would go a long way. Ultimately it is about a society creating a culture of fitness one person at a time.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

P90X - The genius is in the order of workouts?

As I am in the midst of week two of P90X (and I have done this program, but not with the dedication of this round), something interesting has occurred to me.

You probably know that the big deal of the program is "Muscle Confusion". The program is organized in three phases. The first phase, first three weeks, you do the same workout every Monday (Chest and Back), every Tuesday (Plyometrics), every Wednesday (Shoulders and Arms), etc. After three weeks your muscles begin to adapt to the routine of the workouts. In sports we call this muscle memory. You shoot lots of good free throws, or play catch with the baseball for hours so that your muscles know exactly how to throw the ball with just the right velocity, power, range. This is important when you play a sport. Practice makes perfect (actually...perfect practice makes perfect).

On the fourth week, called recovery week, the routine is switched up with less heavy lifting, more stretch and core stuff. Then you start Phase 2. In Phase 2 you again have the same workout for three Mondays, three Tuesdays and so on but they are different workouts Monday/Wednesday than phase 1, not only switching up exercises but how you work different muscle groups on those days.. Your muscles have become confused by the change from Phase 1 and recovery week, and now have to adapt and get stronger. Another recovery week at the end of Phase 2 and then you have 4 weeks Phase 3, alternating workouts from Phases 1 and 2 to further confuse and force the muscles to adapt and get stronger.

But this past week I realized something in the ordering of the workouts beyond the Muscle Confusion of the various phases. The order within the week helps to grow the muscles as well by working, resting, and working another part of the body in another way. Monday works upper body, on Tuesday that mostly rests while you work lower and cardio in Plyometrics. Wednesday upper body again, Thursday (Yoga) is a stretch of all of it, Friday Uppper and Lower (Legs and Back) and Saturday Cardio and stretching (KenpoX Karate). Abs are every other day, allowing them to rest and recover.

Maybe I am just a simpleton and it took me this long to realize it, but there is genius not only in the variation between the 3 Phases, but in the order of the week itself. And quite frankly, as someone with a relatively short attention span, the variety within the week as well as the phases helps keep my attention.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The mental battle for fitness

As we know, the key components of getting fit is input and output: diet and exercise. As a local radio commercial puts it "Move more, eat less." But overlapping that is the mental aspect of fitness.

There are two main themes that frequently come to mind. One is denial, and the other is the mental sabotage of the fitness routine.

Denial is that state of refusing to accept the need for fitness. Our mind tricks us into believing that we aren't really in bad shape, and we have a picture in our mind of a fitter person than we really are. St. Paul says in the 13th Chapter of his 1st letter to the Corinthians that we see now through a glass (mirror) dimly. Even looking at the mirror we can deceive ourselves.

For many, it takes an outside shock to help us out of that denial. Clothes no longer fitting, or for many it is seeing ourselves in a photograph that is the shock to the system that breaks through the denial, and that we have allowed ourselves to get so far out of shape!

The other aspect of the mental battle, particularly once we begin to workout out and eat properly, is a long ingrained self-image as one who cannot get into shape, and we sabatoge our workout regime despite the success we may be having. Tom Venuto wrote great article on this, found here

In a nutshell he says that we have to change our Self-Concept. Tom writes...

People who don’t understand self-image erroneously put all their attention on changing their eating and exercise behaviors, but the problem with this physical-only approach is that it’s not addressing the SOURCE or cause of the behavior. The source of your behavior is your mental self-image. You are more than just a body. You are a body, a mind and a spirit. You will always act - and can ONLY act - like the type of person you SEE yourself to be in your mind.

If you see yourself as a fat person, you will behave like a fat person. If you see yourself as a lean, fit and healthy person, you will behave like a lean, fit and healthy person. A fat person would never work out faithfully every day of the week, so why is it any surprise that someone with a “fat person” self-image would skip workouts? Their brain is programmed to skip workouts. Someone with a “fat person” self-image would never eat healthy, low fat, low sugar, low calorie meals, so why would it be surprising that they cheat on their diet and binge on junk food? After all, their brain is programmed to eat junk. Is this starting to make sense?

To make a lasting change, you must work on the physical AND the mental planes. Of course you have to change your lifestyle, exercise and nutrition habits, but the real secret is not trying to force new behaviors, but changing the self-image which controls the behabior. Put your energy on a new mental picture, and the new picture will create new behaviors. Best of all, the new behaviors that spring from a positive new self-image will come without as much effort or willpower because they’re hard-wired into every cell of your body. The “unseen forces” are now working for you instead of against you.

Tom then goes on to recommend a four step program to create a new self concept; 1) Create your new image 2) create a written description of your new self image 3) act the part 4) Reinforce the image daily...even hourly.

I recommend the link to read the article in its entirety! So whether you are in the "I'm not so bad" mindset which is preventing you from getting started, or trapped in a destructive mindset concerning that self image that knocks you off track of a fitness routine already begun you can get beyond it to get fit and stay fit!

Monday, October 3, 2011

3 weeks later....

Home from vacation! Lost a few pounds while gone and got a workout in almost every day except the last 4, when we had to leave our cruise ship in Cabo because my 13 year old son had to have an emergency surgery to remove his appendix.

We were going to go to a conference on Mackinac Island this week, but that is now been set aside, so I am starting P90X TODAY! Or should say re-starting with a real sense of purpose. Good eating, and not going to miss a day of workout (except for scheduled day off) for the next 90 days should product the results.

INSANITY was great (lost 40 pounds). Looking forward to the next 90 days of P90X and then P90X2 for the new year, God willing!