Saturday, November 28, 2009

P90X - Day One

Spiderman (age four) meant it with affection when he said, "Mommy, your butt is so nice and blumpy."

"Blumpy??" I queried, slightly afraid.

"Yep.  Nice and blumpy!" he answered with confidence.  

He then started poking each cheek in turn as if jabbing at two quivering bowls full of JELL-O.

"Balump, balump, balump, balump!!" he sang.

Yikes. Out of the mouths of babes indeed.  Yet another one of life's reminders that practicing what ya preach is a real biotch.

I know I've been slacking.  Remember the slippery slope?  Clearly the time has come for more than just commuter crunches and running in place whilst waiting for my Chai latte to heat up. 

So... my sister Ange actually bought me the full Beachbody P90X workout kit a couple of months ago.

This morning after Spidey's...um... compliment, I retrieved the dusty P90X box from the shelf where it's been sitting since it arrived. 

No time like the present, right?

Given that I did the whole "carpe diem" thing with the Quantum Wellness Cleanse as well, I'm feeling like this is a positive trend for me. 

It's November 28 and it would have been so "me" (in the past) to rationalize waiting until the first of December.  And then, since I'll be traveling... waiting until the next Monday.  Then, it would be almost Christmas and who starts a new fitness program right before Christmas?

Well, no excuses.  I'm starting today.

First, I had to do a "fit test" to make sure the P90X won't kill me. I passed the test without passing out. Whew!

I went on the Beachbody.com website, created my profile and entered all my beginning measurements and stats.  I watched Tony Horton's instructional "watch this first" DVD.  Miss M. took my new "before" photos.  (Yeah, I'm so not posting those until I have the "afters" to share!)

My first WOWY SuperGym workout is scheduled for 1pm today. Chest & Back plus Ab Ripper X

Somehow the word "ripper" in a workout routine should scare me, but I am a huge fan of the regular Power 90 program.   Bring it on!

If you are interested in the (probably boring) play-by-play, you can click on the P90X Updates link on my sidebar (or click here.)

Thanks in advance for your support!!






Jello image source: Kraft (though the image also appears on several other blogs as well.)

P90X image source: Beachbody.com
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Great (Grateful) Kids

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I have the urge to write something related to being thankful or turkey or pilgrims.  Something.

Reality check is I have twenty-four people showing up at my house in mere hours.  These people will want to be fed and sadly, the trough won't fill itself. (Party of 24, your feedbags are ready!)   There's also the house to clean.  And, I'm still catching up on the laundry I didn't do earlier in the week thanks to biz travel and a work week akin to being hazed.  (No sheep.) 

Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug.  This week I was the bug.

Long story well, longer, I really don't have time for blogging right now.  But here I am anyway.

As I just tucked my kids into bed I thought of something I do have time to share before it's time to put laundry load #8 into my fabulous LG SteamWasher. (Washing with water is so 1990's.)

Actually it's a blog topic I wrote about months ago, but I feel like it totally fits the occasion.

It's really about celebrating "Thanksgiving" every day (without having to sit with the top button of your pants undone.)

My kids and I have a "Secret" bedtime ritual. I've been sharing this exercise with nine-year old Miss M. for more than a year and recently started with Spiderman (age four) as well.

We share a nightly "gratitude list" with one another. This is typically framed by a simple question such as, "What were your favorite things about today?" We snuggle up close and quietly share all the good stuff of the day.

I'll admit to "leading the witness" a few times but it's become a wonderful way to emphasize appreciation for what we are so fortunate to be, do and have. My goal of course is to raise great, grateful kids.

My niner has heard The Secret by Rhonda Byrne on audio a few times by now.  So, she'll usually add in some extra universal sucking-up like, "I'm also thankful for our health... our happiness... and money and stuff."

Miss M. recently went through lengthy treatment for Lyme Disease and has had a heck of a time with it. I asked her if she really felt thankful for her health despite what she's been going through.

She replied, "Well, I'm really glad I know why I've been feeling so awful. And at least this is going to go away. Lots of kids have stuff that doesn't go away for like, ever."

This too shall pass. Special bedtime moments and yucky medicine too.

As you snuggle up with someone you love or alone with your thoughts, I hope you ponder all the good stuff in your life... and say, "Thank You."

Today, tomorrow and every day.

Carpe diem!

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Remember the Alamo

One of my “claims to fame” is that I look for life lessons and strategies in unusual places.

Okay, so I’m not actually famous. Yet. (Picture me miming the universal hand sign for telephone and mouthing the words, “Oprah – call me.”)

Anyhoo...

This week’s travels took me to San Antonio, Texas. As a nice treat, my hotel room had a lovely view of The Alamo. In fact, I was so close that I could have thrown a rock out my window and hit a tourist.

Luckily for the ridiculously loud couple wearing matching “Deep In the *HEART SHAPE* of Texas” sweatshirts, my hotel windows were bolted shut.

Yet, being that close to this national landmark got me thinking about how life can sometimes feel like a battlefield. (Oh crap – now I’ll have that Jordin Sparks song in my head for the rest of the day. Don’t you just hate it when that happens?)

According to the glossy literature in my hotel room, the "Battle of the Alamo" was unique in that there were many sides waging war. It was complex as well as challenging. Just like life.

Furthermore, the battle cry of "Remember the Alamo" has come to represent strength, honor and tenacity. These are certainly desirable attributes in life as well.

Luckily, most of us are not personally fighting against the minions of tyranny on a day-to-day basis. (If you are the exception and are just taking a break from your revolution to visit my blog of all things, it's an honor I'm sure!)

In our daily lives, we just have to pick our battles

It’s true. Sometimes managing life balance involves making quick choices about when to fight, when to flee and when to surrender. Or in an ideal world, when to act like a gentle leaf floating on a babbling brook, just going with the flow.

(Full stop.) We've already established that we do not live in an ideal world.  But it's a nice thought.

When I find myself at the battle line I ask myself, "What am I hoping to accomplish?  What's my goal?"

As I get older, I find that I am less likely to choose battles which are only fought to prove that I'm right or better or have a higher rank.  

My daughter wants to wear red and white polka dot socks with her purple dress? More power to her.  Hubby wants to believe that his way of organizing the pantry is best? Okey dokey artichokie!

As you think about sources of stress in your life, maybe this is something to consider. 

Sometimes you do have to set boundaries and fight for what you believe in.
On the other hand, sometimes we put forth troops of energy towards the wrong battles.  Even if we "win" does it really make our lives any better? You know, that whole winning the battle but losing the war thing. 

Today's Balance Beam message unofficially sponsored by Jordin Sparks, The Alamo and tacky souvenier shops everywhere:  Pick your battles.

Best,


Sing it with me! "Why does love always feel like a battlefield, a battlefield, a battlefield?  Better go get your armor..."


Photo source: Texas Bed & Breakfast Association
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Comfort Zone, Meet Growth Zone

I am sitting on an airplane ready to take off for a conference. Across from me is a clearly nervous but “put together” looking woman.

Picture an older version of Olivia Newton John in the movie, Grease (before she got all whored out.) Headband on perfectly coiffed blonde hair, pearls, cardigan in a unique color blue which just happens to match her eyes perfectly. She probably spent at least 25 minutes applying dozens of cosmetics - but in such a way so as to look like she is hardly wearing any at all.

For kicks, let’s just stick with the Grease reference and call her “Sandy.” If I didn’t hear her speak and didn’t know we were in Philly, I’d imagine Sandy having a southern American accent. However, Sandy is having a candid conversation with the stranger next to her, sadly sans drawl.

Sandy reveals with quick candor that she is completely terrified of flying.

Yes, it’s rude to eavesdrop but ya know, she’s right there and I have not yet received the necessary permission to use my approved portable electronic devices. Still, I am careful to appear completely immersed in my complimentary copy of the SkyMall catalog. A Deluxe Cushion Keeper for only $199 – well, look at that!

Sandy just celebrated her 50th birthday and yet this is only her third time on an airplane. Ever. She’s going to a funeral and to “take care of family affairs.” (Again I use my imagination and picture she is getting a big fat inheritance. Lucky Sandy!)

There is much conversation about missed trips and opportunities she turned down because of her fear of flying. Romantic getaways. Culinary school. The guy next to her looks like a priest accepting confession. He mostly looks straight ahead with his head tilted slightly towards her, noddling gently. If he's providing actual responses, I cannot hear them. (Probably a good guess he's not assigning Hail Mary's.)

As if counseling herself through some epiphany, Sandy suddenly seems to be questioning all of these sacrifices. Perhaps it is the fact that this particular travel occasion reminds her of how short life really is. Or perhaps it is because this trip is building her confidence in her ability to survive the experience of air travel.

As one of my greatest mentors once told me, “Increased confidence brings increased capacity.”

Right here on this plane I am witnessing personal growth. In my workshops for Personal Strategic Management I talk (and draw pretty pictures) of extending outside the comfort zone into the growth zone. The "rub" of course is that growth sometimes includes risk and fear. They don’t call it the “comfort zone” for nothing. Comfort feels better. Safer. Ahhh.

But what are we missing when we don’t venture out?

This is not a new concept I know. But think about it. How willing are you really to extend outside your comfort zone on a daily basis?

I’m not talking about jumping out of a plane here (especially not the one I'm currently traveling in, thank you). As a simplistic example -- how about just getting out of bed a little bit earlier to do some of the stuff we say we “don’t have time” to do for ourselves?

Bed comfortable. Awake (especially pre-coffee) uncomfortable. I get that.

People tell me that I am CRAZY to get out of bed at 5am to workout or meditate or start my workday earlier. But what pushes me to get going earlier in the morning is the relative comparison about what I will GAIN by pushing myself over to the realm of “discomfort” vs. staying in bed.

When I think about anytime I’ve been in a rut (big or small) or wished that things could be different, it’s typically been about my own fear or unwillingness to step outside my comfort zone.

Increased confidence brings increased capacity. Believe in yourself and get your arse out of that bed. Literally or figuratively, as the case may be.

As Martin Luther King once said, “You do not have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”


Best,

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Awarded by Three Lovely Blogs

I should probably have a disclaimer somewhere on my site about blog awards.  Although I think they are very sweet, I am certain to be delayed in my "acceptance" and I may or may not follow the rules.  It's just part of the whole life balance/prioritizing my time thing.  Please know it's not in any way a reflection of the giver or my heartfelt appreciation.

Once again... it's not you, it's me.


That said, over the past few weeks I have actually received the "One Lovely Blog Award" from three lovely fellow bloggers.



Lindsay at Lindsanity

Of course there are RULES.  Because I'm a big cheater and live to make things more simple, I've taken six lines of "rule text" and condensed it into two lines.

1. Post the award on your blog including the name of the giver and giver's blog link.

2. Pass the award to other blogs that you’ve newly discovered and let them know you've done so.

Easy enough.

Oh - did I mention I like to break rules?  Cool.

So, I am actually going to give this award to Miss Caroline Bender at Drawing In.   The truth is this is the first blog I discovered, not the newest.  But she really is lovely and long overdue for an award in my opinion.

Just in case there is a blogger hell where people who don't follow rules end up someday, I'll also give this to Hear Mum Roar whom I most recently discovered through Mom Blogger's Club.

Thank you to ALL my lovely friends!! 

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Slippery Slope

Welcome to a time of year when our already busy lives get cranked up a notch (or ten) on the stress-o-meter.

Work. School. Kids. Illness. House. Holidays. Travel.  Parties. Projects.  In the months of November and December, it all seems to amplify to some deranged crescendo. 

Taking care of ourselves is the MOST important thing during these crazy times. But what actually happens?

Right.

It's a slippery slope.  We start NOT taking care of ourselves because other things take time and priority.  Before long, we're more stressed and exhausted.  Even though intellectually we know we need to recharge our batteries and take better care of ourselves, the idea of investing anything more seems impossible.

In my Corporate USA job, I work with companies to help them maximize resources so that ultimately they are more strategic and save money.  Smart companies who are looking for sustained success are able to see that although there's some investment in this process, the gains are much greater. 

You can imagine it takes some work to get past no budget (aka "the lazy objection") and the misguided perception that the only time to invest in something is when it's already doing well.

Just like in business, we have to think about our life in terms of the strategic big picture.  This is why I call it "Personal Strategic Management."  

We have to prioritize and invest.   We have to get past our own lazy objections. Especially when things aren't easy.

In an ideal world, my goal is to have healthy habits every single day; eat well, meditate, exercise and live in a perpetual state of gratitude.

Okay well, in an ideal world my goal would be to have a personal chef, better genetics, my own tropical island and a perpetual vacation.

At this very moment, I can honestly say I'm not living in either of these scenarios.

Over the past couple of weeks I could feel myself on this slippery slope.  Working and traveling more have had exponential side effects: physical, mental and emotional.  Add being busier at home, more stuff going on with the kids, more family events.  Eating more crap.  Working out less. Feeling more stressed.  Exhaustion setting in while the treadmill of life just goes faster.

Recently I knew I was in trouble when someone offered me a second cupcake and I said, "Sure.  Why not?"  I didn't even want the flippin' thing. I was just too tired to say "no."

If there's the big yellow warning sign on my slippery slope, it has a picture of a cupcake on it. 

(I started to write a bunch of stuff about warning signs and how you know when you're on the slippery slope.  But usually if you're on it, you just know.  If you're not sure, ask me and I'll tell you.  And if you're asking me, you're on it.)

In my last post, I wrote about Carol Evans giving me some simple advice.  This wisdom also applies to taking care of ourselves.   DO IT.

So, "How?" you cry.  How? How? How do you do it?

I'll cover more in the next couple of posts but here are just a few initial thoughts which I know help me get re-focused on my core and walking on even ground again:

1. Martyrdom is so first century. 
I have to remind myself that in order to survive the next couple of months (never mind the rest of my life), I will need energy, health and strength.  In order to do for others, I must do for myself. 

The crazier things get, the more often I have to focus on this mindset.  I visualize what I want my holidays to be like for example.  Do I want to be a cranky, sniffling, tired, ugly mess on Thanksgiving?  Not so much.

The great thing about shifting perspective is it requires no extra time and I can do immediately.  Not on Monday. Not after the next event. Now.

 Remember me writing about BE --> DO --> HAVE?  This is a BE thing.

2. Food is fuel.
For many of us, eating habits are one of the first things we stop paying attention to when stress hits. 

Personally I'm more likely to go into fatigue induced "aw screw it" mode such as in the whole cupcake incident.  I have a lot of friends who say they eat the cupcake (or whatever) because they rationalize eating as a reward or a coping mechanism for dealing with all the stress.

In any case, it helps me to remind myself that what I eat matters. That it's even more important during the busiest times.
 
Before I eat anything I'm asking myself, "Is this going to give me the nutritional fuel and energy I need? Is this the best available choice I have right now?" 

Over the course of the day or week, this awareness has a cumulative effect which leads me to healthy (or at least balanced) choices. I find myself more focused on getting the variety of fuel/food I need. If I "carb out" in the morning for example, I make sure I get some kind of really good lean protein at night.

When I'm in a state of food mindfulness, I'm also more likely to think ahead and plan better.

3. Say "When."
One of my problems has been not setting clear boundaries around new tasks and responsibilities, particularly when it's to make someone else's life easier.    Not sure if it's altruism, leftover childhood trauma or pure ego but I'm investing in getting over it. 

I just bought two little signs which may help:

    "Poor planning on your part is not an emergency on my part."
   
     "I can only please one person per day.  Today is not your day.  Tomorrow is not looking too good either."

Feel free to borrow these as needed.

                                                                                            (But... back away from the cupcake!)

Best,

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Story of How I Started Blogging

Last week I attended the 2009 WorkLife Congress in NYC.

The purpose of such an event is to discuss and celebrate all the wonderful ways some companies help their employees feel a greater sense of work/life balance. This makes workers feel better about those organizations, resulting in increased retention and other positive outcomes. What might be viewed as "warmth and fluff" actually translates into measurable financial success.

As a confession, I admit that attending conferences always reminds me of things I don't miss from my old carnival days. Standing around at a booth for hours and hours until your feet are bloody stumps for example. Exhibitors desperate for even an ounce of relief actually pay extra for a half inch of padding on cruel concrete floors. I'm sorry but trade show flooring is as much "carpet" as the paper-like material used to make kids Halloween costumes is "fabric."

Luckily this event attracts a crowd of people which somewhat offsets the usual physical torture.

Not to knock the olden days of working with folks passionate about IT Asset Management and Enterprise Architecture. It's just really refreshing and fun to be around people (instead) who spend their whole day thinking about how to make others feel a greater sense of happiness and life balance.  The walls of the WorkLife Congress radiate with "people person" energy.

The epitome of this energy is Carol Evans, founder of Working Mother Media. Carol has her own category of ├╝ber passion which resounds with equal intensity whether she is on the big stage or interacting one-to-one.

Here's a little story....

Exactly a year ago, I was at this same conference talking life balance strategy with the other attendees.  I was in my element and having a whale of a time (not to mention eating like a whale.)  Upon learning about Personal Strategic Management and my love of writing, several people advised me, "You should talk to my friend Carol. She will help you." 

Over and over, the message was given to me that I had to meet this Carol person.  Everyone's friend and apparently someone who could give me some well-respected and sage advice.

I followed the yellow bridge road and connected the dots.  "My friend Carol" was indeed THE Carol Evans. On the last evening of the 2008 conference I had the opportunity to speak with her.  Carol was so warm and welcoming; in one instant I actually felt as though she was my friend too. 

Feeling comfortable and confident, I quickly explained my passion for helping people with life balance as well as my childhood dream of being a writer. 

She gave me a huge hug. Then still holding me at arms length, she secured my gaze as if she was about to share the secret to world peace. With her usual enthusiastic tone Carol said, "Do it!  Start writing!" 

Yeesh. Why didn't I think of that? 

I'm not being sarcastic.  Seriously. Why didn't I?

Carol then more specifically suggested blogging as a way to start my writing journey. 

I checked out the Mom Blogs on the Working Mother website and made a timid, unsuccessful attempt to win a spot.

Long story well, longer.... it took following my sister's blog and others for another few months before I finally created The Balance Beam.  Carol's words rang in my ears as I discovered how crazy easy it was to just "do it."

When I saw Carol Evans last week, it was so gratifying to be able to thank her.   In one encounter ala Wizard of Oz, my friend Carol inspired me to create what has been the perfect outlet for me.

Of course, I thank YOU for reading, following and commenting as well. 

It's really fun writing for the sake of writing, but I'd be lying if I said it isn't more fun seeing my words resonate with you. 

The real moral of the story is this:
         If there is something you've just always wanted to do... well, DO it!   Every journey begins with one step. Go for it. Take a step.  Today.

Your friend,

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

DAILY P90X UPDATES

Day 1: 11/28/09

This post is for the purpose of tracking my P90X workouts.  (I also have a more detailed log book which covers each specific exercise, reps and lbs. as well as a food diary.)

Apologies in advance for how boring this is... but hopefully the pictures will ease that torture.

This other post covers my reasoning behind starting P90X in more detail (and hopefully will make you laugh!)

Day 1 - DONE!
* Fit Test
* Weight / Measurements
* Before Pics
* Chest & Back Workout:
     - Modified the pull-up exercises to use cables
     - Used 40# on cables for most exercises
     - FYI - I hate doing push ups! (but I did them anyway; modified as needed)
     - Didn't "enjoy" this workout but pushed through
* Ab Ripper X
     - Love Tony's ab workouts!

Day 2 - DONE!
* Sore from yesterday but not to the point where I can't move (which is what I expected.)
* Plyometrics
     - Actually did enjoy this which surprised me since it looked so scary!
     - Modified almost every move
     - Got me thinking that P90X is perfect for people like me with exercise ADD.  Everything is broken down to 30 second increments which feels totally doable and never a chance to get bored.

Day 3 - DONE!
* Shoulders & Arms
* Ab Ripper X
* Leaving on a jet plane to CA later today so I really felt like I "didn't have time" to workout.  BUT I DID IT ANYWAY.
* Wanted to quit at 30 minutes but I KEPT GOING.
* Mainly used 10 lbs except for seated shoulders; for triceps, used 5 lbs and then no weight at all for the last couple tri sets

DAY 4 - DONE!
* Yoga X
* Really tired today from travel and  meetings but wanted to get my workout in (in theory).  I kept thinking, "Just push play. Just push play."  When I did and saw that the workout was 98 minutes I wanted to push STOP.  My mind was not in the right place during this... but I did make it through 45 minutes.  Will do the whole thing next time!

Day 5 - DONE!
* Legs & Back
* Great leg workout... the pillars are shakin!!!
* Had to improvise on the back exercises since I'm in a hotel room with no equipment.  Basically just did super isometrics and really focused in on the muscles.  My back is STILL sore from Chest & Back day so I don't feel too guilty.
* Heading home today and feeling pretty proud about maintaining my workout schedule on the road; something I have always been bad at.

Day 6 - DONE!
* Kenpo X
* My favorite workout of the week!
* Next time I travel, I'll remember that this is the BEST hotel room workout (no equipment needed)
* Great workout which went by quickly and was actually fun to do.  Then again, I like kicking and punching. :-)

Day 7 - DONE!
* Scheduled for rest day but woke up early and wanted to do something
* 30 min Treadmill plus Abs & Stretch

Day 8 - DONE!
* Chest & Back
* A little easier to get through this time (but still had to push through.)
* At one point Tony said, "Get out of your head & just show up!"  Totally what I needed to hear and need to remind myself.  Just push play.  Don't overthink this thing.  Just do it!

Day 9 - DONE!
* Plyometrics
* Hubby was *supposed* to be starting P90X with me so today I finally got him to join the fun.  He's pretty out of shape (don't tell him I wrote that) and has had a stiff back so I told him to go easy, pace himself, do the modified moves.  Of course he didn't listen (he's so freakin' competitive) and then only made it through half the workout.   Then the kids came down.  But I just kept going... while the three of them sat and watched me for the last 35 minutes.  (Kinda funny now that I think of it.)

Day 10 - OFF
* Today was supposed to be Yoga X but I was so exhausted from work (and PMS) that I just couldn't gear myself up.
* Ended up doing an hour on the treadmill plus P90 Ab 200 workout.
* Funny how that felt like a disappointment when in the past, I would have considered that a stellar workout!
Day 11 - DONE!
* Legs & Back
* Pretty rough, long work day... been up since 5am and didn't start my workout until 8pm.  Mentally took a lot to "push play"... but glad I did.
* Upped the cables to 50# total for the back exercises

Day 12 - DONE!
* Kenpo X
* I just LOVE this workout.  It was exactly what I needed today.  I must have a lot of pent up aggression or something because I totally enjoy the kicking and punching.  I was definitely giving it some gusto!!  Great workout - the time literally flies by.

Day 13 - REST
* This worked out well since I left for work at 6am, came home at 6pm and then had my daughter's Holiday Concert until 9pm.
* Slight head cold

Day 14 - DONE!
* Chest & Back
* Ab Ripper X
* Wasn't feeling great but decided to workout anyway.  Did about 85% of the Chest & Back workout as the pushups were giving me a major headache.
* Being Friday night, I usually would have a glass of wine (or two) but realized I didn't really need it.  (The head cold helped me abstain, I'm sure.  I love to joke about my love of wine and my "boyfriends" Rodney, Robert & Kendall... but I've only had a couple of drinks total in the past two weeks and I haven't missed it.

Day 15 - SICK!

Day 16 - DONE!
* Shoulders & Arms
* Today would have been plyometrics but since I'm still not felling 100%, decided to switch the days

FOOD ENTRY:
I know I should have done this 16 days ago but I was honestly overwhelmed by this BIG nutrition book.  But now that I have the workouts in hand, I feel like it's time to focus more strictly on the diet.  Not that I haven't been eating consciously.  I just haven't been following the P90X nutrition plan to a tee. More so just doing what I know from Power 90 which I now realise is different from P90X.
Better late than never though, right?

Based on the calculatoins, I should be having 1800 calories per day.  This is about 500 calories more than I am targeting now so this will require a mental shift for me.

Doing Phase 1 - Fat Shredder

I like the idea of the Portion Approach but I really need it broken out by meal, not the full day.  Too much to think about.

Meal Plan Approach is more my style, although I'll have to make substitutions to accomodate my dietary restrictions (little or no meat or dairy).

Working on a menu for the week...

Day 17 - DONE!
* Plyometrics
* I literally had to schedule this into my day and it was a tight squeeze!  But it felt good to push play and get it done.  Somehow it feels even better when I know I would have blown it off in the past. Crazy, busy day!
* Reminds me why I "preach" to others that we MUST take care of ourselves, even when everything else around us is insane. Today would have been a good day for me to have a pity party but now that I've worked out hard, I have the energy I need to cowboy up, think positive and keep going!

Day 18 - DONE!
* Okay so I did Yoga Booty Ballet, Advanced Fat Burning for an hour instead of 98 minutes of Yoga X. 
* It was wonderful and exactly what I needed!! 
* I got a killer workout, was drenched in sweat (even though my heart rate wasn't all that high) and I loved every minute of it.  I especially appreciated the meditation and the overall spunk of Gillian and Teigh.  Just perfect for a 5am workout on a Tuesday! :-)
* Ab Ripper X in the evening.
Day 19 - OFF
* Woke up at my usual time pretty much (5am-ish)... realised that I had to leave for work at 6am and would not be home until 10:30pm, so I jumped on the treadmill for 20 minutes.
* It was something anyway.

Day 20 - DONE!
* Pre-workout note (7am):  feeling the effects of the day (and evening) from yesterday.  No interest in working out whatsoever.  This is going to take some serious self-motivation.  Wish me luck.  Better yet, call me and tell me to get my &%@! sneakers on a press PLAY already.
* 8:30pm - Legs
* I almost bailed completely but decided to at least do legs (which is the area I need the most work on)
* Will add Back to tomorrow's workout

Day 21 - DONE!
* Kenpo X rocks!  Did the whole thing full tilt with no breaks and no modified moves. 
* I feel like if I had skipped yesterday, I wouldn't have gotten into it so well today.  Confirms to me that I always need to do "something" no matter how I feel.  Way too easy to get into a funk.

Day 22 - DONE!
* 60 minutes Treadmill
* Should have been a rest day but I've been eating chocolate chip cookies like they're going out of style so I figured I better do SOMETHING! 
* Really need to get my diet in order... have been pretty nutrition lazy the past couple of days
* Just three weeks ago, an hour on the tradmill felt like a huge chore.  Today I honestly could have gone longer except my kids were waiting for me to make dinner

Okay - So, the first three weeks of "Phase 1" are DONE!  It looks like this next week is focusing on core, cardio, stretching the muscles, feeling the effects of the prior three weeks and prepping for the next phase.

Given that this is also Christmas week, the timing is pretty perfect.  That said, I KNOW I need to stay (or rather, GET) disciplined about the food.  I'd say I've been about 80%... going to try to be on target over the next few days; expect that I won't be perfect on Christmas Day and then ramp it right back up. 

I'd like to see some results on Day 30.  I know they won't be as good as if my nutrition had been more stellar, but still....

Day 23 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet Advanced
* Some may consider this a "cheat" not to do Yoga X... but YBB is a pretty serious workout and even better, I enjoy it. Right now I need it to be easier to "push play" so I feel like it's a worth it to substitute the workout, work my arse off and enjoy the time.

Day 24 - DONE!
* Core Synergistics
* This wasn't bad.  I did enjoy the feeling of working multiple muscle groups at once and was really focused on keeping the core super engaged.  Something powerful about it.

Day 25 - DONE!
* Man oh man - I am SORE from yesterday!!!
* Kenpo X
* Pretty good workout.  My in-laws are coming over for dinner so I had to force myself to squeeze in the workout right after work but before dinner (which is usually "down" time.)  Asd always, glad I did!

Day 26 - DONE!
* Stretch
* Treadmill (60 min)

Day 27 - DONE!
* Core Synergistics
* Took my Day 27 pictures.  Definitely see progress!

This is actually the same bathing suit.  Its reversable so I thought the different patterns would help me remember the timeline better.  I mention this because a friend commented that the "first bathing suit" made my chest look droopy.  LOL!   Did I mention I've been doing something like 500 pushups a week??  Great for the pectoral muscles!
Day 28 - OFF
Christmas Day
(Not an excuse but wow did I EAT and DRINK!)

Day 29 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet Advanced
* Got right back into it... great workout.

Day 30 - DONE!
* 30 minutes Treadmill (early AM)
* Chest, Shoulders & Triceps
* Ab Ripper X
The new chest, shoulder, tri workout KICKED MY ARSE!  Serious workout but it felt great.  Afterwards I was trying to wash my hair in the shower and my arms were shaking!!!

Day 31 - DONE!
* Plyometrics
* Can definitely tell a difference in my fitness level.  The first time I did this workout, I had to modify almost every move and take breaks.  Today, I only modified a couple of the moves at the end but mainly was going ALL OUT and not taking breaks.
* Seriously sore (from yesterday) and shaky!

Day 32 - SKIPPED
* ouch! My calves from yesterday's "cross hops" are in serious pain.  Hurts so good!
* Have been on vacation the past several days and managed to get workouts in but not today. Will need to make it up!

Day 33 - DONE!
* Back & Biceps
* Ab Ripper X
* Did you buy tickets to the show?  The GUN show?  The pipes are pumped!!
* The B&B was what I would consider an "easier" workout in terms of the exercises being fairly simple, no cardio, no odd positions. I like it!

Day 34 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet Advanced
* Woke up at 3:30am (lots of crap going on; both parents in the hospital etc).  By 5am I decided to go ahead and get my workout in.  Glad it was Yoga day because I totally needed this one.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Day 35 - DONE!
* Legs & Back
* Ab Ripper X
* Seriously over indulged last night (New Years Eve)... was tempted to give it a rest today but decided to just push play and see how it went.
* For anyone reading this, THAT is the key.  PUSH PLAY!  Just do it.  START. A body in motion stays in motion.

Day 36 - DONE!
* Kenpo X
* Left lower bicep & forearm are still screaming for some reason (from earlier workouts); glad tomorrow is a rest day.
* Probably shouldn't have eaten 1/2 bag of salt & vinegar potato chips after the workout.  (Otherwise my diet was good today.)  Bad, bad, bad.   Tomorrow starts a new week and back to work.  So hopefully the routine will keep me on track.  Going to do some meal planning today which should help.

Day 37 - DONE!
* 60 min treadmill - walking
* This is a "rest day" so took it easy.

Day 38 - DONE!
* Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
* Ab Ripper X
* 45 min walking
* Didn't get to do the weights until evening... now I know what "bonking" feels like.  Not at all what I was picturing and so not fun.  This is the first time in 38 days this happened.  Combination of being tired and not consuming enough calories.  Luckily I had done some walking and Abs in the morning so I still feel like it was a productive day.

DAY 39 - DONE!
* Plyometrics
* 20 min treadmill
Once again, felt really tired during my workout tonight.  I think I just do so much better in the mornings.  At night I'm just spent from the day's work (which starts when I leave for work at 6am). I'm not working out until after the kids go to bed which is almost my bed time as well! I hate to think about waking up at 4:30am or something crazy but I may need to...

DAY 40 - DONE!
* Biceps, Back & Abs
* Meh.  (Another 8pm workout... killin' me.)

DAY 41 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet Advanced
* Did this in the early am and ROCKED IT.  Major sweat session. SO much better in the morning.  Felt great and I also really appreciate the meditations before/after.  Love these ladies!

DAY 42 - DONE!
* 60 minutes Treadmill (incline for 1/2)
* Should have been a legs and back day but once again it was late night and I knew I just didn't have it in me to do strength training.
* Felt good afterwards and feel like my legs still got a good workout.  No worries!

DAY 43 - DONE!
* Kenpo X
* As always, I love this workout.  Can definitely tell I'm in better shape.  I used to huff and puff after the X jacks but no more. 
* Feeling good!

DAY 44 - REST DAY

DAY 45 - DONE!
* Ab Ripper X (am)
* Chest, Shoulders, Triceps (pm)
* This was definitely a "just push play" night.  But once I started (as expected) I got into it.  I definitely feel stronger.  Did the CLAPPING pushups for the first time.  Woot!  Woot!

DAY 46 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet Advanced

DAY 47 - DONE
* 30 minutes treadmill (AM)
* Should have done Legs & Back but was up late with Miss M. working on her school project (procrastination is herititary apparently) and didn't have it in me at 9:30pm to start my workout.

DAY 48 - DONE!
* 20 minutes treadmill (AM)
* Kenpo X
* Ab Ripper
* GREAT workout, despite being in the evening. Really focused on keeping my core tight, using my body, lunging into the twisting moves. 
* With the exception of that one bad commute when I was stuck in traffic for two hours with a Tupperware container of baked goods (LOL!  Three peanut butter drop cookies didn't survive!)  I've been super disciplined about my food this week.  Tracking everything in FitDay.com is a HUGE help.  I realised that on prior days, even when I was eating "healthy" my sodium was WAY high - especially thanks to canned beans and veggies. (Learned that fresh or even fresh, frozen with nothing added is good.)  My stomach is so much flatter now that I'm more aware. Feels good!

DAY 49 - DONE!
* Back & Biceps
* Workouts this week are slightly out of order since somewhere along the line I lost my mind and skipped back/biceps and also plyometrics.  No worries!
* It's nice to do a workout where there's no risk of me just falling over (which can always happen in most of the other workouts!)
* Tony totally cracks me up.  And not to be negative or anything but I find Katie just slightly annoying.  Oh well!

Day 50 - DONE!
* Plyometrics
* Great workout. It feels good to know that just about a month or so ago, I had to modify every move on this workout... modified modifying in some cases!  Today I worked on jumping HIGHER and squatting LOWER.  Very gratifying!

WEEK 8 (it looks like the workouts will vary more by week now so decided I better also start tracking weeks too; my math skills are way under par and I can see myself losing track!)

Day 51 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet - Goddess Booty (yes, that's really what it's called.)
* 30 min treadmill
* Ab 200

DAY 52 - DONE!
* Core Synergistics - love to hate this; I think I broke a new sweat record.
* Since I worked out last night at 8pm... it took a little bit of cowboy-ing up this morning at 5:15am to get this done.  But I am SO glad I did.   Killer.  Awesome!
* 35 min shoveling cold, wet, HEAVY snow!  (I'm SO counting this!!)

Day 53 - DONE!
* Kenpo X
* Although waking up at 5am isn't always easy, I am ALWAYS glad when I do.  A little "fuzzy" getting started but then had one of my best workouts.  Sweaty Betty!  What a wonderful way to start the day!

Day 54 - DONE!
* X Stretch
* So, I'll admit I almost blew this one off (and in fact I think I did blow it off the last time it came up in the rotation.)  It's the opposite of the usual though:  I actually wanted to sweat this morning (sick, I know) and thought, "Stretch - what a waste of time. Who can stretch for an hour??"  But, it was 5am and I wasn't in the mood to argue, even with myself.  PUSH PLAY.    Turns out, I needed it.  I didn't realise how sore I was until I got into it.  And surprisingly, the 57 minutes or so went by pretty fast.  Almost relaxing even.  Now I know better!

Day 55 - DONE!
* Core Synergistics
* Great workout!  Was in my bedroom with limited floor space (width) so I did some alternative ab exercises in lieu of the banana sequences.  Still feel like my core got a good workout.

Day 56 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet - Hip Hop & Abs
* It was Yoga X day but (as I usually do) I decided to mix it up.  It's funny - I haven't done this workout in a while and I noticed I put a LOT more into it than I usually do.  I just love Gillian and Teigh -- totally motivating and fun!   For any ladies thinking P90X might be too much, I HIGHLY recommend Yoga Booty Ballet.  Every workout is total joy!

Day 57 - REST
* After reading the guide book that muscles grow during rest, I thought, "Yeehaw, Gonna do some MAJOR growing today!"  (Actually I just worked a 12-hour day today and wanted the rest of the time with the kids.  Glad it was a prescheduled "rest day!"

WEEK 9
Day 58 - DONE!
* Chest, Back & Abs
* Hectic morning, lots to do before leaving on a quick biz trip. LUCKILY I "just pushed play" in the AM because things got really crazy when Miss M's school called for me to pick her up with fever - only two hours before my plane had to take off.  Talk about scrambling!  I swear my kids are biologically programmed to get sick when I travel.

Day 59 - DONE!
* Plyometrics (on the road - Hello Philly!)
* Good hotel room workout but was very careful with my landings since this floor is pretty much concrete with 1/4" carpet on top. 
* This is a workout which gets way more fun as you get better at it.  Also discovered that as much as I like Tony, it's a lot quicker and more intense with my own music vs. his voice.  (Sorry Tony.)

Day 60 - SICK
Just a quick check in for Day 60...

In total so far I've shed:
* 6 lbs (currently at my "ideal" weight)
* 2" off chest/back
* 1.75" off waist
* 2.25" off hips (WOW!!)
* 1" off EACH thigh

And my body fat % is so much lower I'm having a hard time believing it's accurate - LOL! But I definitely am starting to feel "toned" instead of "blumpy"!

One thing which may not be as obvious in the picture but which is huge for me is that my bathing suit bottm now just sits loosely on my hips vs. feeling really tight. My ego is wishing I had "flexed" my arms more for the picture... I think the results are more noticeable in person.  I'll save the money shots for Day 90 - LOL!!

People say the BIGGEST results are in the last 30 days. I can hardly wait!

Day 62 - DONE!

* Shoulders & Biceps
* PM workout, seriously almost asleep when I pushed "play" but I rallied.  Ended up being a pretty good workout although I think I bailed out of the couple of exercises.


Day 61 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet Advanced
* Always a good workout; majorly sweaty!

Day 62 - DONE!
* Legs & Back
* Ab Ripper
* Couple of things I noticed:  I am up to 60# on the cables for my back exercises and also can do 100% of the wall squats with no breaks and no cheating.  Progress!!

Day 63 - DONE!
* Kenpo X (am)
* Treadmill 30 min (pm)

WEEK 10

Okay - so somewhere over the past few days (two? three?)  I've gotten off track with the workouts.  I'm blaming the 15 hour work days. I did jump on the treadmill a couple of times but no DVDs. This is probably "cheating" but since I want to make the most of this, I'm just going to call my next workout "Day 64" just so I can keep some sense of momentum.

Don't tell anyone. :)

Day 64 - DONE!
* Chest, Back & Triceps.
* Abs
* Realising, looking at my day 60 pics that I need to step it up on shoulders and triceps in particular.

Day 65 - DONE!
* Plyometrics
* Great workout.  Back in the ZONE baby!!

Day 66 - DONE!
* Back & Biceps; Abs
* Cardio Cleaning (Hey - I was sweating.  It counts!)

Day 67 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet: Goddess Booty and Yoga Core
* Funny how jaded I have become; needed to do BOTH workouts to feel like I had really accomplished something.  Miss M. did a lot of the exercises with me too which was fun.  Afterwards we meditated together for several minutes... good mommy/daughter bonding time!

Day 68 - DONE!
* 45 minutes treadmill (in lieu of Leg workout)
* Abs (still sore from the other day!)

Day 69 - DONE!
* Kenpo X
* Can really see a major difference in the way my clothes fit; weird to have pants be too BIG.  (Thank goodness for safetypins or I'd be flashin'!)
* I'd forgotten how much nicer it is to have a completely FLAT tummy.  I know self praise is no praise but I really do like it.  :)

Day 70 - REST

Day 71 - DONE!
* Chest & Back
* Abs

Day 72 - DONE!
* Plyometrics

Day 73 - DONE!
* Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps
* Abs
* The past couple of days have been weekend-ville and although I've been keeping up with the workouts, my diet has been less than stellar.  To the extent that it deserves a separate blog post.  Stay tuned!

Day 74 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet Advanced
* Felt good to have a truly great workout.

Day 75 - DONE!
* 60 minutes treadmill, varying speeds and max incline (in lieu of legs)
* Should have also done back and abs... no good excuse.

Day 76 - DONE!
* Kenpo X (meh)
* Abs
* Still not feeling 100% up to snuff; too many hours working and the stress there plus this new thyroid supplement I'm taking isn't agreeing with me at all.  Really WANT to rally though... I'm in the home stretch for cripes sake!  Get it together and bring it girl!!

Day 77 - REST DAY
* tempted to work out but thought maybe I really did need to rest day to regroup and get my arse in gear for this last two week stretch.

Day 78 - DONE!
* 40 minutes treadmill (early AM)
* Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (AM)
* Well, my strategy worked (I guess!)  Killer workout... felt good.  Kept visualizing my "after" photos and thinking about the symmetry and "cut" I want in my upper body. 
* Blew off abs but had done extra cardio, so I will catch up on ARX tomorrow.  Still feel good about the day.

Day 79 - DONE!
* Plyometrics
* Abs
* Well, my intensity from yesterday is evident in my major soreness today. But in all the right places. Hurts so good! 
* I am setting an intention here to be super focused on near perfect nutrition for this last two weeks.  I've been "pretty good"... usually on track during the week and "not so much" on the weekends.  Today being Saturday, it's a good test to see if I can really commit to clean, lean eating.   I'm also PMSing so it's a good thing I'm a girl who likes a challenge.

Day 80 - DONE!
* Back & Biceps
Did you buy your tickets to the show????  (heehee)  The guns are shakin!

Day 81 - DONE
* 60 minutes treadmill
* Abs
* Misc.
Okay, so today was Yoga day... but I have a good excuse this time for not following the prescribed regime.  The Bachelor - The Women Tell All was on.  I had to watch it.  Afterall, this is the most...dramatic...season... EVER!  (But at least I broke a sweat whilst watching!)

* SKIPPED DAY*  Since I'm so close to the end, I feel like I need every possible workout day.  Today was not a good day for me health wise.  Pretty much came home from work, went to bed and stayed there for 12 hours.  Haven't done that since... I can't remember when.  Not sure what triggered it.

DAY 82 - DONE!
Yoga Booty Ballet - Goddess Booty in lieu of legs.  Decided I needed to work the blumpy more than anything else.
* Abs (150 reps... ran out of steam; still not feeling 100% and majorly nauseous.)

DAY 83 - DONE!
* Kenpo X
* Abs (175 reps to complete from yesterday)
* My best workout of late.  It's fun to think about how I modified workouts to make them easier in the beginning and now I am modifying to make them harder!

DAY 84 - REST DAY
* Probably wouldn't have taken this but we had a major storm here (to mph winds)... so no power (or phone or internet) for 24 hrs.  Pretty much in lazy survival mode.  (Also didn't eat much.)

DAY 85 - DONE!
* Light yoga (no DVD)
* 90 minutes roller skating - it was a kid party but I used to love to roller skate so I got on there and really skated most of the two hours.  Tried to focus on keeping the belly in and small movements to work my hips and glutes... and legs of course!   Even got some tricep action going without looking like a complete idiot. :-)  Delts also a litttle sore the next morning but not sure why?
* Didn't make good food choices today but also didn't eat enough.  I was hoping to be fairly perfect about my diet this past week of the program.  Haven't shown that ability yet but I guess there's always tomorrow!

DAY 86 - DONE!
* Core Synergistics
* Great total body workout!

 DAY 87 - DONE!
* Yoga Booty Ballet Advanced
* Abs X
* Was on the road so this was a perfect workout for the hotel room

DAY 88 - REST DAY
* Flying most of the day so this worked out well

DAY 89 - DONE!
* Kenpo X
* Abs X
* Been loving the "silence plus cues" option... listening to my own music on my iPod makes this whiz by in the blink of an eye

DAY 90 - DONE!
* Core Synergistics
* It feels weird to type "DAY 90" since I don't feel like it should be over yet!

I will do a more lengthy "final results" post... but for now I'll just share that I lost 10 lbs (plus 2 more in the week afterwards), 11% body fat and 9" inches.  

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