Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Hardest Part of Training

“The hardest part of training is making the decision to start training at all.”
– Wolfgang Gullich

There are basically three ways to go into a training plan:

1 – gung ho
2 – slow and steady
3 – just do it

At Beachbody our programs try and address all three. P90X attempts the gung ho approach. Step 1 in the diet guide is throw out your junk and it gets tougher from there. This tends to work because people buy the X after doing something else, so they’re ready for round two.

Our more “mellow” programs, like Yoga Booty Ballet, adopt a more mild approach where you start slow and eliminate negative things each week as you ramp up your training.

In between, we have the “just do it” approach where we provide a quick start guide for those who don’t want to bother with a lot of planning and just want to get started.

My general guide for training is the slow and steady. That in no way means it’s the best approach. It’s just the one that works the best for me. My everyday life is fun and active. To actually make up my mind to train requires me to play mind games on myself.

Gung ho is the most fun because it makes you feel like Rocky. Its downside is that when you’re fit to begin with you can end up inflicting a lot of damage, making recovery slower and maore painful than it normally would be. It can leave you feeling as though you’d rather be out playing which, for me, is a healthy option that’s not always the best for obtaining objectives. I also tend to injure myself when I do this. Not because it’s dangerous, in theory, but because I can be kind of an idiot when it comes to seeing how far I can push my physical envelope.

The just do it approach is too random for me. Since I exercise anyway, if I’m not training and I’m in a gym I feel as though I’m just spinning my wheels. I need a plan and an objective.

So I generally opt for slow and steady. When I begin a program I make it easy to stay on it. This way I’ll keep doing it because it’s not too different from my regular routine. As I make alterations to my program, I tend to get more motivated towards the ultimate goal of the training cycle. It also preps my body so that I’m less likely to overtrain once I get into crazy mode.

So this week is easy. I’m just making sure to get my exercise in and trying not to eat too badly. Next week, I’ll make a transition. The following, I’ll ramp this into three intense weeks that will finish off phase one.

But that’s just me. You need to find which approach works best for you. You’ve already done the hardest part, which is deciding to start in the first place.

vid: re-post of my project video to see if it plays better on You Tube or Facebook. This is why it’s easy not to train. It’s fun to just go climbing. But if I really want to do this entire linkage, training is a must. A lot of training.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Challenge Forum Is Live

We've set up a forum specifically for this 90 Day Challenge. You'll find it here:

90 Day Challenge Forum

During the challenge I'll also be answering mailbag questions that are directly related to these questions. So if you'd like a "best of" q & a emailed to you, sign up by sending an email to:

Of course you can use the boards anytime but this was set-up to motivate more people to access this great resource. It's primarily for answering fitness and nutrition questions pertaining to your challenge but you can use it to meet training partners, post before and after photos or aspirations, or banter about anything challenge worthy. See you there!

Video Of My Project

Here's a video showing most of my project. Before I left for my trip I had a goal of linking at least one of the two halves of the low traverse, then finishing the upper traverse to cap it off.

The first crux was just getting up there. A series of warm storms made the approach a bit of a post-holing nightmare. Once there, conditions were also fickle as the spring freeze-thaw was keeping things pretty soppy. I only found climbable conditions once, during the late-afternoon of my last day before we left.

The vid requires some interpretation. On the first angle a snow bank obscures my feet, but you'll get the idea. I don't have a tripod so I'm limited to where the camera gets set up. The low and high traverse I'm referring to are very close together. An obvious break forms the higher, which goes at V4. For the low traverse, everything below this break is on, meaning that your hands are often inches from a jug that you can't touch. A large boulder also sits in the way of linking the first few moves. I'll dig it out at some point. There are a few moves to link the two low sections I'm trying in this video. I move up after the first section at a natural transition, which leads into the upper traverse beyond its rest and straight into its crux section, making it a better boulder problem in itself.

For reference, every single move of the low traverse took numerous attempts to work out. Most of the holds are quite small, requiring me to have my body in just the right position to hold on. Some look easy as I've wired them, but I've fallen off every single move at least once. This means that I must fully concentrate on every move. Currently, when I reach the first move of the second half I can no longer hang on the holds--which are the best on the route--much less make a fairly difficult move. Linking this is miles away in terms of fitness needed. At least I have some new boots on the way that will hopefully solve one dilemma.

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Have A Pot

The rest of you is normal. Normal face, normal legs, normal hips, normal ass, but with a big, perfectly round pot belly.

Fabienne, Pulp Fiction

On return from a moveable feast across Europe I’ve grown a pot. My climbing and, hence, my goal for this program will stand a much better chance at realization if I lose it.

My fitness is okay. I was climbing grade 7s quickly in Europe, with pot. Sans pot, things should drastically improve.

The plan for the first two weeks will be as thus:

4 days a week of riding and/or running at aerobic pace (mainly) on an empty stomach, C workouts.

2 days per week of synergistic whole body exercising, B workouts.

3 days per week of climbing/climbing training, one A, two B workouts.

Week one will only avoid junk foods. Week two will be severely caloric restricted. Week three will be the start of another virtual Giro. Its plan will be determined later.

I’d also like to make a few improvements to this blog, with more added photo streams and video, as well as adding a lot of info targeted towards anyone doing a three month program.

For an analysis of A,B,& C workouts click here.

above: day one photo, with bruce, sportin’ the pot and looking the part of a craggin’ french baker.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

90 Day Goals

My goal is simple; to climb my project at the G-Spot (video coming soon). This may not sound like a full body experience but, given this may be harder than anything I’ve ever climbed, it will be. Until this challenge it was slated as a more realistic goal for next winter. I’m miles away at the moment. It’s going to take plenty of motivation. I’ll need to lose weight, gain power, endurance, power-endurance, and flexibility.

Plus, given I couldn’t walk a couple of months ago it seemed a tad irresponsible to set goals for biking or running. I’ll still try and do these as much as I can, even if just for wait loss, but the goal in this area is to continually make progress with my injury. That is all.

I also have a big agenda for next year and my climbing is further off for this than my biking. So, for now, I’ll focus on getting the climbing strength up to where it needs to be, which is much easier to do if I’m not exerting too much effort on other things. Once the base strength is there, I can maintain it while bring the running and cycling level back up—all provided that I rehab properly, of course.

I’m also throwing in some French study goals. Not sure what they’ll be, exactly, but right now I’m just going to commit to speaking some French each day. Voila!

pic: dope is strictly forbidden!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

90-D Challenge: Who’s In?

I’m starting a new 90-day training cycle/challenge and want you all to join me. It’s not a body transformation challenge or any type of money-making scheme. It’s just an offer to provide some accountability while I engage in something that I do all of the time. So I’m throwing a little challenge out there to my friends to pick some sort of goal you’d like to achieve in the next three months. Then, together, we’ll help each other achieve it. It doesn’t need to be anything specific. It can be to improve a sport, lose weight, gain strength, lower your blood pressure, learn a language, do a birthday challenge or kick sand in the face of the bully down at the beach. All that matters is that it’s something that you can’t currently do so that you’ll have to change your current regimen in order to achieve it.

It’s not my idea, actually. Jon and Bryan down at the office have been brainstorming about how to make Beachbody the fittest business in the world. This isn’t for bragging rights. It came about through extension of all the customer success stories. These are infectious, and got Jon thinking about how to get more people involved; just because it’s cool. So what we’re going to try is essentially is the core of what works so well for Beachbody, straightforward motivation and accountability.

My part of the bargain is free online coaching. All you’ll have to do is ask your questions here and in a Message Board thread I’ll start once we get rolling. Remember that you can comment on this blog anonymously (so you can be shy). For the boards, you’ll need to sign up but it’s free.

Over on the boards we’ll do what we do for all our customers, offer fitness tips and diet advice. So you’ll have access to me, Denis Faye, and many of our best coaches. All I ask is that you keep the questions in public. I get too many private emails to answer individually, so board questions always get priority because no matter how individual you think your question is someone else will ask it as well. As unique as we are, fitness and nutrition questions tend to be similar. And I should know, since I’ve been answering them for thousands (millions, technically) of people for nearly a decade.

As for what to do, it’s all up to you. I blogged on a round of 90X last year—tweaked to aid my sports, as usual. Poking around this blog could give you some ideas (try clicking on different labels). And the TBB Message Board Photo Galleries are always inspiring. Or you could have a look at Birthday Challenge. But there’s almost certainly something that you’ve always wanted to do but never dared to commit to. And these are the challenges that are most worth doing because, in the end, having just made an attempt will change your life.

Details will roll out over the coming week. I think the official start date is April 27 but I’m starting tomorrow. Why not?

Oh, and you’ll have to check back to see exactly what I’m doing. All I’m sure about right now is that it’s going to be hard. What fun would it be if it weren’t?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Shakeology Taste Test

This isn't really a Shakeology taste test. Nothing in its class compares so that wouldn't even be interesting. But read on and you'll understand a bit about why. I'm re-purposing something from my Mailbag.

Bobby from Norco writes:

I see that you have some fructose in Shakeology. You also have stevia, fruit extracts, and yacon, which I’ve heard is a sweetener. What’s the function of the fructose?


Bobby, have you ever tried to drink a greens formula shake for dessert?

This story goes way back. The official Shakeology story begins with Carl getting together with his wife, Isabelle, who chided him about “eating like a second grader.” Indeed, that was probably the catalyst for it to move into development but I’d been working on Carl for years prior. The first time I put a green concoction in front of him he just sat there looking at it. After a long pause he said, “I’m supposed to drink this?” I don’t think he bothered tasting it.

You see, it’s pretty easy to throw a lot of healthy ingredients into the same container. The trick is getting these things to be appetizing. If they tasted great, and were easy to prepare, we’d already be getting plenty in our diet. But up until Shakeology it seemed like anybody making an all-inclusive meal in a bottle was happy enough to fill it full of nutrients and let the taste fall where it may. The resulting formulations tended to taste like sand or—wait--Carl did try one of my concoctions. He said it tasted like he got dumped into a swamp.

Of all the obstacles we faced creating Shakeology by far the biggest hurdle was taste. Yes, Bobby, yacon is a sweetening agent. It’s also the most potent prebiotic known to man. The fruit blend is also sweet, and loaded with polyphenols as well. And stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar. But any chef knows the importance of not just adding ingredients but balancing them, and that’s what we had to do with Shakeology. The few grams of fructose powder used is to balance the flavor, and we went through many rounds of development before we got this right.

As for the results; I challenge you to pick up a “superfood” shake at the local holistic market and whip it up side by side with Shakeology. The only downside is that you may end up wasting money. I’ve still got a couple of jars of that stuff in my fridge that haven’t been touched since we finalized the Shakeology formulation.

Fitness Nerd

Here's a brand new addition to the Blog-o-sphere that's worth a gander.

The Fitness Nerd

It's going to be a portal to the lastest news and stories in health and fitness, along with a bit of savvy expose. The Straight Dope's already had a shout out, and here's an example of the commentary. Clearly, Denis knows his way around a keyboard.

In a report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, over half a million AARP members were surveyed, only to discover that those who ate more red meat and processed meat had a 22% greater risk of dying of cancer and a 27% greater risk of dying of heart disease.

Boy, I didn’t see that coming. No, wait. I did see that coming, because I’ve been told how saturated fat clogs arteries and excess salt causes hypertension since I was five-years-old. Had this article been written in 1954, Ward and June Cleaver might have been blown away, but this is 2009. Come on!

Oddly enough, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has taken exception to the findings. Yet another hard blow for the American cowboy.

You should all probably make it your homepage.