Saturday, March 29, 2008

Our Party Is Now Three Strong...

No problem with that.

You ever notice how bad guys in macho action movies are pretty much just into bad stuff, no matter who it happens to? One of my favorite examples is in the film, Point Break (no one beats Swayze for unintentional comedy), when Swayze's character (incidentally, named Bodhi, as in The Bodhisaatva, or the enlightened one, for someone who robs banks, kills people, creates general mayhem--genius) lands in Mexico after a botched banks job. The guy on his team is supposed to pick up the entire gang but he doesn't even inquire about where the rest of the guys are. He and Swayze simply high five, utter some gutteral cretin yelp associated in action films (spring break parties, etc) with male coolness, and drive off into the sunset. "All our friends and colleagues were just killed. Woo-hoo. Doesn't get any better than that. High five!"

The title of this blog is from another film, Drop Zone. Gary Busey's character learns that one of his team has been identified and decided to take him out, which no one else on the team knows. During a jump he runs the guy into some electric wires, which you'd think would seem strange to the rest of their team. But, no. Upon landing they all whoop and high five, and don't even bother inquiring about why they'd eliminate one of their own. Busey then utters, "Our sky diving party is now four strong. No problem with that!" To which they all whoop and high five some more.

Soon after seeing this a group of us were bouldering when one of our group sprains his ankle after falling off a highball boulder problem. Our initial response is to help but one of us realizes how we'd behave if we were cool, turns to intercept us and proclaims, "Our bouldering party is now 3 strong. No problem with that." We all high five, walk to the next problem, and leave our (ex) buddy writhing on the ground in pain.

Macho-ness rocks.

Anyways, we now have three people doing this little round of P90X. All of us are cyclists and ex-climbers--I being the least ex of the bunch. So as I concoct this schedule it will accomodate some riding and, most likely, some climbing.

No problem with that. High five.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My P90X Journey

This isn't going to be a before and after success story but, since I'm about to begin a round of P90x I thought I'd re-record a little history of this project as I am one of only a few people who've seen it from its humble start to becoming the number one fitness program in the country. There used to be an online "scrap book" about its formation but it's been down for a few years. My account will be different, anyways (feeling a bit Deadwood-ish with this 'anyways' insert), since my involvement was more behind the scenes and technical. If you check in over the next 90 days I'll shed some light on its evolution. Besides an account of my suffering as I get back into proper birthday challenge shape, I'll recount a few yarns about the story of P90x. You'll learn a bit about why 90x was formed, why it works the way it does, and some of the stumbling blocks we overcame along the way.

Once again I find myself in terrible shape (this is relative, of course). I have some personal info that will serve as an excuse when it's announced but, excuses or not, this is a pattern that I often fall in to. It's really by choice to a degree. I enjoy the journey of getting back into shape. I also find recovery/rest/lazy phases important for not just body recovery but for mental stimulation as well. Without motivation all endeavors are compromised. My post challenge fallout generally begins feeling listless and ends when my motivation comes back. This year, it's a been a bit longer than normal.

This time, however, I have no huge objective to train for. This mean that my latest round of the X will be less abridged to accommodate my sports specific training than usual. I generally have a huge amount of outside training that I need to do, which changes the X routine. For example, here's my X schedule training for my 2003 birthday challenge:

P90x Training Schedule

This year I'm quite busy so I'm going to focus on recovery, overall body conditioning, and rehab to build myself back up to doing some bigger challenges next year. I still have some nagging injuries from last year's little epics. I have some arthritis in both my hands and feet--common for climbers/untrarunners etc. I have other issues in one knee and one foot. But both are more chronic than acute (though my December "ankle"--actually foot--sprain was worse than I'd originally thought). Anyways (really, if they can say this all the time in a show that wins heaps of writing awards...), the cure for nagging injuiries is to get your body into tip top condition. The fitter you are the more you resist breakdown. Doing sports all the time creates overuse and you become out of balance, muscularly. An intense program like the X brings everything back into balance, or homeostasis. And this gives you more capacity to thrash your body in whatever endeavors you pick up next.

So, okay, that's enough for today. I've a lot to do. I'm going to take before and after photos, which is something that I never do. Frankly, they won't look like too much. I'm out of shape but hardly fat--though I call myself fat constantly. What's really going to change is my performance. This will be huge. So I'm going to subject myself to a fit test today. Ohhhh, and it's going to suck. Bad. I can't believe that just a few months ago I was fit enough to do this:

2007 Birthday Challenge

Don't just train hard; train smart.

Fit Test

I knew this was going to be ugly as I'm about as un-fit as I've been in some time. Not fat or overweight but, decidedly, not fit. I'm going to post a before pic this week but nothing is going to do this program justice like the test I just took. Here are the vitals.

I almost never weigh myself and don't have a scale so that didn't happen. Frankly, I don't care. Ditto for body fat %. Those scales are wrong anyway. They only matter to tell you if you're going up or down, which you can also tell by pinching your fat areas. I don't expect--nor want it to--my weight to change much. I do expect my body fat to go down. It will. I don't need any stats.

Next up, pull-ups.

15, pretty strict. A bit of swing but no kip. Target at end: 30

Vertical leap, 18". Don't recall measuring this since high school when it was about 30". Also don't care much about it. Still, let's see if I can hit 25"

Toe touch, +4. I would think this will improve.

Push-up, 30. This is terrible. 60 is possible.

Wall squat, 2:30. Since I've never cared about such things, and still don't, I can only suppose this is awful. Doubling it seems reasonable.

Curl, 15 reps of 30 pounds. Don't do a lot of curls and don't care how many I can do.

In & outs, 45. I did this wrong and kept my upper body elevated. I remember doing over a 100 last time I tried. I supposed 120 should be my goal.

My HR was 56 when I began my warm-up. It finished the HR test at 170, counting (not monitor, which would be a bit more due to falling HR during count). Subsequent minutes at 100, 90, 75.

The worst thing is that I'll probably be sore tomorrow. Yikes.

Day 1 coming up. Tomorrow I'll post my schedule. Now I just need to write it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Performance Enhancing Your Lifestyle

Interesting article on the wires today about doping, and how it's not just for sports but a way of American life. Here's an excerpt:

Delaware senator Joe Biden did in 2004 during a hearing on drugs in sports, "There is something simply un-American about [using PEDs]!"

But it's not un-American. It's entirely American, that search for an edge, that effort to be all you can be, that willingness to push the envelope. That's what Andy Pettitte was doing when he took HGH. That's what Debbie Clemens was doing when she took HGH. That's what male collegiate cheerleaders are doing when they bulk up on anabolic steroids so they can lift more weight, or more female cheerleaders, according to author Kate Torgovnick in her new book, Cheer! That's what a rapper is doing when he receives a package of PEDs at his hotel. That's what Schwarzenegger was doing when he loaded himself with steroids years ago. That's what Kevin and Peggy Hart are doing in the privacy of their bedroom with their HGH and their "test," now as familiar a morning ritual as tea and toast.

And here's a link to the entire article:

Steroids in America: The Real Dope

Million Dollar Body

I have a great job. I was reminded of this last week at our first annual Team Beachbody Million Dollar Body awards show. I'm not a big awards show person. I don't watch them. Don't want to go to them. And even when I've been nominated it's not really the way I like to spend my time. I'm an experience person. In Beachbody's case, a behind the scenes person. I like working with our trainers and members and watching them develop great programs and helping people change their lives. I generally consider awards shows a waste of time because the real awards have already happened.


This show was cool. I mean really friggin' cool. You'd have to be one cynical son-of-a-bitch not to be moved by the events last weekend. I've got to say that in all of my years working with health transformations it never gets old listening to our member's stories. And seeing it up in lights with some major production values was pretty amazing, especialy considering that when I began writing for Beachbody we had four employess: Carl, Jon, Heather and Heather (all still here). In fact, I met Jon approaching the venue--the Grove, bathed in spot lights--who noticed my impressed look, glanced up at the splendor, back and me, and laughed. "Who would have thought?" he said.

The awards show was just part of the event. There was also a coaches summit meeting. It was great to finally meet many of the people I've been working with virtually, many for many years. Being out of the office it was also great to see my old colleagues as well. It was cool to see how far MDB has come in just a year (now more than 5,000 coaches) and inspiring to think of ideas on how the summit could improve next year and how we can more readily get information out there to the coaches, who relay it to the world. By the end of the weekend you could see that we're more than just a small fitness company; we're a movement that could actually have a profound effect on the obesity epidemic.

I've got to add that it was also surprising to see how many people actually read this blog. Thanks! You've inspired me to try and do better with its content. I guess I'd better come up with some challenges for this year, too.

For anyone who missed it, you can watch some video at:

Million Dollar Body

I make sure and sign up for next year. I'm already looking forward to it.

See you there!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

My New Hero

I don't understand retirement. Why would anyone spend their entire life figuring out what they want to do, getting better at it, and then quit?

I also don't understand slowing down, backing off, or abstaining from the things in life that make you happy. I tell this to people all the time and, generally, they react as if I'm either crazy or lying. My goal all along has been to experience life; find the things I like doing; and then doing those things until I die. Kind of like this guy who, as far as I can tell, has got it all figured out. 101 years old, working, training for races ("in my spare time"), drinking and smoking. I think I'm going to have to find myself a Pimlico Plumbers shirt. Cheers, mate.

"My doctor told me that if I take perfect care of myself for the rest of my life, I'll get very sick and die." - Rodney Dangerfield

Monday, March 03, 2008

What Could be Cooler Than A...

Birthday Challenge?

The more I see others doing them the more I can answer "nothing". Micah's challenge this weekend was epic. But more than that--because many things qualify as epic these days--it was cool. And fun. And, I'll bet if you ask him, he'd tell you that it was rather meaningful and life altering also.

Here is a slide show from Bob's web site.

Because they're so personal, birthday challenges seem to enable each participant to break through barriers and sort out some meaning about how we amble through life like little else I've seen. Unlike sports, classes, books or self-help seminars, all of which are designed for mass participation, the personal nature of these challenges gives them a uniqueness like little else. They may be ridiculous, serious, silly or extreme but one thing they all share is that they are a reflection of the personality and dreams of an individual. And what could be cooler than that?

Here are two challenge blogs that I posted today.



above pic: Catra and friends during 43 hours of running.