P90X2 Day 18 – Planning Recovery Week

It doesn’t seem as if it’s been almost 3 weeks since I began this P90X2 journey. I’ve really enjoyed the workouts thus far, however I am rapidly loosing enthusiasm for Recovery & Mobility. It’s twice a week and will have done it 6 times by the end of week 3. Recovery week means you do it 4 out of 7 days. That’s where I am at now; the cusp of recovery week. Phase 1 is recommended for between 3 and 6 weeks, coming off the back of P90x3 my core is good and I’ve upped weights and reps in every exercise in the workouts. I’m ready to move on after 3 weeks

I am not impressed by P90X2 recovery week it’s very different from X and X3 recovery weeks. P90x2 alternates daily for the week between Recovery & Mobility and yoga. X and X3 have a variety of workouts during said week. I enjoy variety and getting bored of X2 recovery and mobility is not making me look forward to next week. So what to do? I’m going to do the following routine for the week:

Monday: P90X3 dynamix
Tuesday: P90x2 Yoga
Wednesday: P90x X Stretch
Thursday: P90X Yoga – yoga only
Friday: P90X Yoga – balance section only
Saturday: P90x3 yoga
Sunday: Recovery & Mobility

Hopefully this will combine a good variety across this week. Recovery & Mobility may end up being just foam rolling under my own instruction, that will be the plan for Phase 2 & 3 also.

Regardless I’m loving these routines, they are challenging and with variety. I’m looking forward to phase 2 which will be 4 weeks and then another recovery week.

Keep bringing it, why? Because you can.

Yours in health & fitness

LLAP

Tony MacIMG_1131.JPG

Happy Thanksgiving & Cheat Meals

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends today, I’m thankful for my loving wife and kids who support me everyday.

It’s that time of year in general plenty of eating and drinking going on, not just in America but everywhere.  We have office Christmas parties, reunions, Thanksgivings, religious festivals etc; all big important events with plenty of food and drink.  **Danger Danger Danger Will Robinson** Unfortunately these splurges play havoc with training preparations and your health and we’ve all done it, yup me included, I’ve over done it at these things and we’ve all felt pretty rubbish the next day and the next day and the next day.  You can have more than your daily caloric intake at these meals.  So what are the options, well lets takes exercise first.  On the morning of these big splurges get some high intensity cardio going.  There are loads of options from running, cycling, studio classes or home workouts (I’m glaring at you Shaun T workouts) but its important to get the heart, lungs and legs going and begin a burn off.  Trust me this will be a great way to start your day and feel pumped for the day ahead.  Next is food, about a few hours before the big meal have a smaller meal, eggs and veggies for example.  But hey you are saying you will ruin your appetite for the big meal – exactly the point.  You won’t eat as much turkey, stuffing or creamed potatoes but you will have eaten some good source of protein, carb and fat before hand.  If you happen to be eating out as the server if you could have the veggies without the butter on top, or some brown rice or not to have the greasy option or just go vegan for the meal.  You entice them with a tip at the end.  Additionally you may want to just consume smaller quantities of the food on offer.  I am no fan of these low fat options about, I’d much rather take a quarter serving of the regular full fat option than a full serving of the low fat option.  Why? because the low fat options are typically further processed and have many more unpronounceable words in them including sugar.   Drinking well, I’m no fan of drinking, I used to drink but stopped about 7 years ago as I hated the feeling next day.  Life is short enough without wasting a day or 2 or 3 being hungover.  If you are going to drink please take a 10 ounce glass of water between each drink – you’ll drink less, feel better hydrated and hopefully not have a dire hangover the next day.

All of this brings me on to cheat meals throughout the year.  When I first started bodybuilding and serious training a had a cheat meal once a week – yup Saturday/Sunday night chinese or pizza it was my reward for a tough weeks work.  This was fine at the start with huge gains but as time went on fat started to appear.  Why because the huge caloric and macro nutrient content of the cheat meal was being turned to fat and wrecking my weekly progress.  So I started to eat differently rather than eat religious healthy 100% for 6 days of the week and binge on one day I took an 80-20 and 90-10 rule each day.  For 80% or 90% of the day I eat very clean and the remaining 20% or 10% I have little cheats the odd kit kat, gluten free cookie, 90% cocoa chocolate etc.  My health improved dramatically over time with this rule.  I still do have the odd cheat meal its never weekly or monthly more often every 6-8 weeks, why?  Because we need to fire up our metabolism from time to time, it adds variety and keeps the body guessing.  If you are preparing for a competition it will be different and tailored to your body.  This is only the system that continues to work for me.  You may be much different.  My most recent cheat meal was at Belfast Christmas Market with a yummy venison burger, yeah it was fatty but hey it tasted good and haven’t splurged like that since September.  I didn’t take any waffles, mulled wine, mince pies or treats so I was pretty happy with that.

One of my favourite cheats are Quest Bars.  Yum yum yummy, anyone who has tasted their cookies and cream or choc brownie knows what I am talking about.  In my opinion the cleanest cheat snack around today – they’ve even come up with crisps but I haven’t tried these.  I always keep a box on hand.  Great for out and about on the road, offices etc.  They are expensive but really nothing else comes close.

Finally be careful of binges but also of cutting out cheats, especially sugary ones from your nutrition.  I recently saw a fitness group doing a No Sugar November.  This turns into a Donut December.  The splurge happens in December when you think you can have some sugary foods and you just eat and eat.  Its not good and its something I always go back to – keep everything in moderation.  Have the odd donut a week, not every day, or chocolate bar a week.  I’ve a sweet tooth for chocolate I find a 90% chocolate slice a day keeps this at bay or if you can find it a chocolate protein shake that tastes nice.

But guess what if you don’t heed any of this opinion thats fine to, take it as a learning experience and move on.  If you do binge at an event take it as restart and redouble your efforts the next day, we all fall down and fail at times but we need to move on and not get bogged down in them. Don’t keep beating yourself up everyday about them, problems really appear very quickly if you are binging daily or weekly.

Keep it balanced

Yours in fitness & health

LLAP

Tony Mac

P90X2 Week 2 Thoughts & What’s your breakfast?

Saturday morning X2 Balance & Power in the books. This week I’ve upped just about every number in my workouts, be it weights or reps while still maintaining proper form and engagement. Really concentrating on that last point during X2 as a stable and engaged core means you can do the exercises without injury. Many exercises leave you open and exposed, to heavy a weight and bang goes a knee or your back. Injuries are not cool. The most I’ve used in X2 so far is 25lbs and that was rocket launcher bicep curls, everything else is on average 15lbs.

Also what you need to remember in X2 is that you are engaging a lot of smaller stabilising muscle. These are typically smaller and can burn out quickly so light weights throughout.

So onto breakfast, the top pic is my typical breakfast. It’s simply course cut oats in water (50g hence the scales) with cinnamon. The cinnamon is a natural fat burner. I then usually add something to it. At the minute it’s granola, Fuel to be exact. I normally take half a handful of it as it can contain loads of sugar. This one also contains some chocolate (part of my daily fix). Other times it’s a handful of fresh berries normally blueberries. I’ve never used frozen fruit as the processing rapidly increases the sugar content so be careful.

When heading out cycling a like a good stodgy breakfast so I normally take oats in water, cinnamon, blueberries and a handful of Fuel granola. I let the cooked oats soak into the granola and berries. Delicious and keeps me going on long cycles.

The question is what’s your typical breakfast?

Yours in fitness & health

LLAP

Tony MacIMG_1126.JPG

Get your greens – Hulk Juice

It’s well documented the importance of fruit and vegetable servings to be consumed on a daily basis, 11 not the Governments 5 as you recommended daily intake.

Getting these servings can be a pain, here’s my current greens juice to help you get those extra servings squeezed into your diet.

Ingredients:

2 handfuls of kale
1 handful of romain lettuce
1/2 handful of broccoli
2 celery stalks
Fresh coriander
1 apple
Flax seed
Coconut shavings
1 tsp Wheatgrass powder
Ice cubes
Some water
Some leucine for added BCAAs

Blend in the vitamix blender, or whatever type you have, some like it thicker find the consistency that suits you best.

A healthy greens drink that can be an effective pre workout drink

Enjoy!

Depending on the veg and season I change this up, variety is key in a balance nutrition plan.

Let me know how you get on!

Yours in fitness & health

LLAP

Tony Mac

IMG_0035.JPG

P90X2 Week 1 Results

A week of P90X2 Phase 1 – Complete and accounted for.  To be fair going back to hour workouts has been tough, but a week into it and I’m actually feeling much better than expected.  Weight wise I haven’t gained or lost, but purely on looks my core is significantly more toned and my shoulders are looking leaner.  I have to admit Saturday my legs, particularly my shins where very sore.

This programme has been supplemented with a good diet and adding a new greens juice.  I’ll post a recipe for that later.

Apologies for not posting this yesterday but it was hectic with a day out at the Armagh Planetarium to a Doctor Who Fan Event – Dimensions In Time.  A phenomenal event organised by the Emerald Garrison, our oldest loved the Tardis Console, the Doctors, the aliens and the atmosphere.  The youngest, eh, he wasn’t so fussed but then this is a little guy scared of Santa Claus!

So week one had a total calorie burn of 3,851.  Reviewing this against both P90X and Insanity this is a similar calorie burn but bear in mind there are only 4 intense workouts, one active recovery day (yoga) and 2 stretch/Recovery & Mobility workouts.  Focus T25 was less than half of this although thats to be expected.  One of the biggest complaints I ever heard about P90X2 is lack of calorie burn, one week in and I can’t find that to be true.  I will be keeping a weekly review of this and keeping an eye on it.

This morning was X2 Core again and I can happily say I upped all my numbers from last week in all exercises apart from the last one – one legged med ball burpees.  I just can’t do 12 in the time allowed, so I think next week it will be doing 12 in whatever time it takes. Sorry Tony but…I…will…just…have…to…pause..you, ok I’ll stop that as its annoying to type and equally read.

Looking forward to upping all my numbers this week.

Today I also used the last of my BSN NO Xplode V3 – our youngest was up late and therefore so was I and needed a little kick start this morning.  I’ll also be doing a review on it this week.

Until the next blog, yours in fitness & health

LLAP

Tony Mac

P90X2 Day 6 – X2 Balance & Power

736 calories burned in 63 minutes. That’s the power of this workout, by far the biggest burn this week and what a workout. Again pure core engagement throughout the workout. I struggled with split lunges as the stability ball just would not stay in the right place and the crawly crab press as I just couldn’t get up on the elbow with a 10lb weight so I had to drop the weight.

There were 3 rounds and no repeated moves here finishing up with a bonus round that again saw be struggle with a plank ball crunch.

But again this is the first time I have completed this workout so struggling and finding my place is to be expected.

Tomorrow is back to Recovery & Mobility, I’ll have a good idea of my weekly calorie burn at this stage and hopefully compare it to some of the other programs I have. I’m going to be repeated this week a further 2 times and assessing then whether to complete a recovery week or repeat for another week. Moving on to phase 2 strength requires a good core stability and strength, if it’s not there phase 2 won’t be effective and I will possibly end up injured. The last thing I have ever wanted to do is injure myself especially my back, once it’s gone it can’t be healed.

That brings me on to one of the real strengths of this programme you do up 6 weeks in phases not like the other programmes where it’s 3 weeks and recovery week in each phase. That really disappointed me in P90x3 was some great workouts like The Warrior and incinerator were only done 3 weeks total. I loved those workouts and would love to have seen more of them.

As I mentioned tomorrow is Recovery & mobility, I won’t be doing a post on it just my weekly total calorie burn and some general notes. Next week I’ll be posting about my arsenal of fitness equipment, supplements and nutrition.

Yours in health & fitness

LLAP

Tony Mac

Let’s talk about P90X Yoga & some alternatives

It’s hard if not impossible to have a conversation with anyone who has attempted or completed P90x without complaints arising surrounding Yoga. That’s my experience anyway, it is a behemoth at 90 minutes long and is by far the longest of any workout.

I’ll be honest I have never completed the full 90 minutes, never have and unlikely I ever will. I have completed the 90 minutes; simply I’ve split it into 2 parts. The first 50 minutes is yoga the second part is pure balance poses. So I split the workout like that. I did the yoga in the morning and if I had time I would do the balance poses in the evening. That’s option 1 and probably a very good option for most

The next alternative is Tony Hortons One on One series which has a yoga work out called fountain of youth. This is my go to yoga workout for P90X. It’s got all the good stuff and is a really fun 45 minutes including some great stretching routines at the end. The down side of this is you will need a region unlocked DVD – many codes are available online for free to unlock DVD players.

You may also swap in P90x2 Yoga (67 minutes) or P90x3 yoga (30 minutes) or 21 Day Fix Yoga (30 minutes). However you will need to have bought these programmes and spending extra £’s may now be in everyone’s budget.

For the wrestling fans it’s worth checking out DDP yoga previously know as YRG (Yoga for Regular Guys). This a yoga programme created by former wrestler Diamond Dallas Page (DDP). A number of former and current wrestlers from Jake the Snake Roberts and Chris Jericho follow this programme and have helped with rehabilitation. If you have some free time check out Arthur Boorman’s life changing DDP yoga results ( Arthur Boorman DDP ). This a fun routine with many moves renamed, warrior poses are Road Warrior and crow/crane is Black Crow etc. Routines range from 20 minutes to 50 minutes depending on the routine selected. Again it will mean you need to shell out for another full program.

You could go to a local yoga class – yes this defeats the purpose of working out at home but it’s a great way to ensure your poses are correct and get started in yoga.

Finally there are plenty of online resources from YouTube to apps that teach yoga with varying costs, lengths and abilities. These free resources are a great way to get some yoga moves into your P90x routine without spending any more money.

Yes P90X yoga is a behemoth, it’s the workout Tony always gets a hard time about due to its length. Perhaps running a close second is Kenpo X and Wesley Idols poor poor horse stance. Buts nevertheless the first 50 minutes of yoga are gold and should be the first stop for anyone doing P90x for the first time and it costs nothing. Even alternate weeks between the yoga and balance routine.

Any questions folks, just ask below!

Yours in fitness & health

LLAP

Tony Mac