Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thu. Jan. 31 Workout(s)

P90X Stretch X


Ouch! Had my feet over my head, lying on my back, leaned back... nice. Tried to get out of it SLOWLY, then BLAMO, my lower back went ouch. Darn it.

Sore, sore, sore... Will keep rubbin' it. Figures I'd mess up my lower back muscles during the STRETCH routine, right?

Busy day -- have a good one!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wed. Jan. 30 Workout(s)

P90X Kenpo X


Good ol' KARATE routine -- punching, kicking -- front, back, sideways -- jumping jacks in the middle to keep the ol' ticker hummin' -- then some blocks, high, low, up, down... punch, punch, punch! The recovery week is progressing nicely, nothing too insane, but changing things up, and I'm liking what I see in the mirror.

Lots going on at ProQuest these days as well. Check out the site I run here: -- have a good one!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tue. Jan. 29 Workout(s)

P90X Core Synergistics


Nice core routine, not at all the killer I expected it to be re: Ab Ripper X. Lots of moves to target the mid-section, mild sweat, nothing to get all that worked up about. Bringin' it in the recovery week!

The weather has finally warmed up a bit, and I'm anxious to hit the pavement for my regular 40 minute walk. Here's to a great Tuesday!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Mon. Jan. 28 Workout(s)

P90X Yoga X


Woah... recovery week, starting with Yoga. Felt a little strange that I wasn't banging out some serious pull-ups or jumping through the air with some early-week Plyometrics. It's all good though. This is the pause before the storm of the middle of the program.

I'm anxious (and a lil' scared) of the Core Syngergistics program coming up this week. So we've moved from three weeks of major arms/legs/back to centering on... well, our center, this week. Wish me luck!

Google Maps: Creepy

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Week 3 Photos + Sat. & Sun. Jan. 26 & 27 Workout(s)

Saturday: Kenpo X
Sunday: Stretch X? NOT Cardio X! instead (needed to feel the burn going into recovery week)

It's here -- the end of Week 3 -- 25% done. Attacked. Destroyed. Pwnd. W00T! My scale is reading 194 -- down from 200 when I started three weeks ago. A new diet, Tony in the morning, then 40 minute walks at lunch. Lots of sweat, my lungs are SOLID even in the cold air, and I'm feeling some big differences in my big ol' body.

I decided to get a lil' crazy with the photos, so I had Deb take some today. You know -- Day 1's, Week 3's, and I'll do Week 6's, then 9's, then the finals on the 90th day. The end of ROUND ONE of P90X, then it'll be on to a second set. Rockin' on! Have a great weekend everyone...

Reasons to Workout

As if any of us needed an additional reason to lose weight and keep exercising, check out this map from CNN. The obesity rate in this country is staggering, and I wish I had taken hold of my eating habits and overall health 10 or even 20 years ago.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Fri. Jan. 25 Workout(s)

P90X Legs & Back

Lunch: Walk

"Get ready to squat, lunge, and pull for a total-body workout like no other. While the main focus of this workout lies in strengthening and developing the leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves), there's also a handful of great pull-up exercises to give your legs a quick breather while you work the upper body."

15 pull ups a pop, tons of leg work, and, oh yes -- Ab Ripper X. Lots of pauses to max the 25 reps each, feeling the burn in my center stomach... woah, too nice. Sweated through the squats and loved the calves.

Lots to do today -- going to see Blade Runner The Final Cut at the Carolina Theater this weekend, nice -- enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thu. Jan. 24 Workout(s)

P90X Yoga X


Yoga is flat-out -- fun? cool? It's definitely relaxing, and sometimes downright hilarious. Some of the moves these guys think a normal workaday guy like me can perform make me bust out laughin'.

But through it all, this uber-long routine does an awesome job of getting blood to all parts of your body, make you focus on your balance and posture, and get you to challenge your muscles in amazing ways -- all while slowly building up an incredible amount of energy. It isn't cardio, it sure isn't resistance training -- but it IS a powerful workout in its own special way, and I love it.

COLD here in the Carolinas. We're always due for a week or two of this low-temp. stuff, but I know we'll be back in the 50's and 60's real soon.

Now for some much-needed rain... another story. Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wed. Jan. 23 Workout(s)

P90X Shoulders & Arms


Goodbye red band, hello GREEN band -- baby.

Except for the extreme outward and upward moves, I've moved on to the MONSTER green band for close moves, curls, etc. And now, the burn is back. I dogged it the first two weeks, 'twas a bit too easy. But now, the reps firmly pegged at 15, and the proper weight applied, I'm REALLY feeling those last 3-4 moves, struggling a lil' to make 'em happen, and I know the results are gonna show.

They are already -- my sunken sides are nearly devoid of spare tire! 'Course, the front center is still a bit soft. But between Ab Ripper 350 and the other routines, it's only a matter of time before my physical shock and awe campaign wins the hearts and mind of my stomach mucles. (See how I worked in a Bush-ism there? Not my proudest moment, but it fits.)

Finally feeling strong and better balaned on the Ab Ripper routine, pausing to max the 25 reps on all the moves. Honestly, though, my lower back feels pretty sore -- trying my best to focus on better moves to lessen the impact back there. Always been a problem for me -- soreness there on occasion.

Week 3 = insanely great. Will keep pushin' play and enjoying Tony and his team(s).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

U.S. Economic Outlook: Yikes

Worth a watch everyone. This daily news of sinking stock markets and the sub prime mortgage (hardly a "death pledge" as the Latin tells us) mess should make you, me, and everyone else very, very concerned -- especially as we get ready to elect a new President.

Tue. Jan. 22 Workout(s)

P90X Plyometrics

40 Min. Walk (in the freezing temps, thank you VERY much)

This morning, clock reading 5:46 a.m. (takes me 6 minutes to get outta bed, feed the cats, grab my water/towel, and sync up the DVD player with the TV), and I reach for the phat P90X DVD holder. Blam, second workout -- Plyometrics, Tony holding his perpetual Heisman move against the onyx background, muscles flexed to insanity.

And suddenly my brain does what it does best at this hour -- wanders. To a tune. JUMP by Van Halen. You know how that one goes MIGHT AS WELL JUMP -- JUMP! -- sweat flying in all directions. (Listen to it here.)

Would have been the perfect tune for this workout, though it would need to be sped up from 33 to 78. (Ack, dating myself there!) An hour of the most intense session in the program. Crazy heartbeat, amped to 82-86% of my target rate, perfect. Just crazy enough to burn max fat and calories while my muscles grumble and max out with every move. Perfect 30 second breaks, repeat the moves, and on and on and on.

When it was all said and done, many heart measurements taken, my Mio spit out its readings. Worked out a little over an hour, burned...


901 calories...

Nice, nice, nice.

Then a protein shake with strawberries and banana, modest meal to say the least. Some vitamins and water, and Will's awake and I'm rev'd up to play a little and get him ready for Kindergarten.

He got his daily two punches with max strength to his Dad's flabby stomach -- getting better! -- then adds three more before he makes me fake double-over in pain. I'm glad he's getting to watch his Dad work on his body and make himself look and feel better, more energy.

Just before he heads off to the bus, he whispers in my ear -- "It's a work night, so let's do a Tony tonight." OK, I say. "Karate, OK?"

Kenpo? On Will speed?

Sounds like the perfect way to spend an hour with my son tonight. ;)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mon. Jan. 21 Workout(s)

P90X Chest & Back

Week 3:
P90X The Third

Results achieved,
Sweat poured,
Muscles leaner,
Stomach fitter,
scale happier.

Aches and pains
Reps and form
Can't Do now

P90X + Diet
brings physical bliss,
No more carbo loading,
no more high calorie drinks,
caffiene a distant memory,
simple dishes, high quality
protein, vegetables, minor rices
Brain happy, stomach pleased,
FIVE small inputs a day,
mood elevated and even,
yawning in the afternoon
Alert, focused, driven.

Bringing it
P90X style --
the X has arrived,
and Week 3 fires
anew and STRONG
in the dead of January,
a year-long habit now into year two...
Of a long, long lifetime.

Thank you Tony.
Thank you Beach Body.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Weekend Workouts Jan. 19-20

P90X Kenpo X

P90X Stretch

Woah, lots to do this weekend. Had a blast Sat. with the ol' Kenpo KARATE -- fun stuff! Some snow down here in NC, enjoying it with Will and Deb. See you Monday -- and don't forget to take a moment to remember MLK.

Portal Bonus

Played the Orange Box yet/Portal? If you haven't, get it and DEVOUR it. If you have, you'll recognize this song from the end of Portal, one of the best games of 2007. Sung by the original author of the music -- enjoy!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fri. Jan. 17 Workout(s)

P90X Legs and Back

40 min. walk as normal, in the cold...

There's a move at the end of this workout that makes me smile... it's the Groucho move. All you P90Xers know what I mean. Penguin-like moves.

You squat down with legs pretty far apart, back straight, point your toes outward from your body to the extreme left and right sides, then put your right arm up and pretend you're holding a cigar. Then move forward and backward, squatted down, feet turned out, and feel the burn and pretend that you're Mr. Marx.

I like to imagine a big, fat, perfectly stored and fragrant Macanudo tucked between my fingers. Or a Punch, max ring size. Like a 55 or 60, short, 40 minute burn. Heck, any mild brand at that ring size that I can pilfer from my father in law's humidor.

Not that I have any experience with cigars... nope. Wouldn't dare to poison my body with one of those. Never. Heh.

Again, crazy great pull ups, doing 11 now full pulls up from 9 last week, wall squats are no problem, tremlin' fer sure, but feeling good, and those crazy inward/center/OUTWARD OUCHIES FEELIN' THOSE OUTWARDS calve moves are awesome.

Course, I get to the end and realize that I -- on the advice of a new P90X pal who emailed me yesterday -- hi John @ GSK/fittest DBA in there no doubt bringin' the X -- forgot to stretch then do the Ab Ripper then the regular workout.

So capping a crazy Legs/Back routine with a second, crazIER ab routine worked out OK, but without much gas. Lotta pausing and cursing.

This time, though, I was able to concentrate on flexing my ABS and not just keeping my balance. Probably 200% more ab flexing this week over last. Nice.

Busy day -- lots to do. And the P90X has me jazzed and ready to tackle it!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Getting Noticed: ProQuest eNewsletters

A big part of my job at ProQuest is to create, transmit, and evaluate the effectiveness of our email newsletters. (Archives are here.)

We have a large set of titles that require a huge amount of effort to pull off, from authoring by our product managers and creating customized student activities (thanks Carl!) to redesigning their look and feel (thanks Bethany!) and much, much more.

MarketingSherpa is an excellent site for online marketers -- and they took notice of our hard work and have us an excellent, concise, and hands-on write-up on our activities. Enjoy.

6 Subscription Strategies to Increase Renewal Rates


Subscription marketers often face a double challenge: convincing customers, who may not be the end users, to sign up for products, and then convincing the end users to use the publications so customers renew.

An educational marketer transformed their subscriber newsletters into publications that became teaching tools as well as product promotions. The change is working. Renewal rates, opt-ins, clickthroughs and Web traffic have increased as much as 40%.


Tim McLain, Marketing Manager, ProQuest, was finding plenty of customers for the company’s online research and education databases for K-12 educators. What he really wanted was to convince librarians and teachers to use the subscriptions purchased for them so renewal rates would increase.

To encourage use of those resources, McLain and his team developed email newsletters that focused on product features, updates and other support services. But the strategy was missing the mark.

“Our list was growing nicely, but we kept hearing from customers, ‘Product updates are all well and good, but I’m a middle school teacher who teaches Social Studies. Can you give me lesson plans so I can use [these tools] with my kids?’ ”

McLain’s team realized they needed a different newsletter strategy: one that would persuade librarians and teachers to actually use their products in their classrooms and libraries to encourage subscription renewals.

Open access for the next 7 days.
Thu. Jan. 16 Workout(s)

P90X Yoga X

Walk (in 39 degrees with rain!)

Hmmm... how to sum up today's Yoga experience? Lousy? Terrible? Well, maybe it wasn't that bad. I was able, in general, to do more moves this week than last, and was able to focus on form more than before.

That said, I found myself falling out of more moves this time around, and feeling, in general, more off-balance. When it was all said and done, I still felt pretty darn good, my body really awake with blood pumping to some areas that don't normally get it. So it's all good, though I didn't feel as good about today as last week.

Bleh, having a hard time writing today. Yoga is awesome, though, and I'm super-glad that it's part of P90X.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Goodbye, Brian

Today, I said goodbye to a friend of mine.

Honestly, we weren't very close. In fact, we were just acquaintenances.

My son, Will, loves to ride up the hill a little, turn left into the cul de sac, and play with Brian's two sons, Nicholas and Jackson. There were many nights, the sun going down, 30-60 minutes left in my workday, that Will begged me to take him up to their house to play.

Sorry Will, I still have to work a while... then the sun's down, dinner is on the table.

Another missed opportunity.

Brian Dry, Nicholas and Jackson's dad, was an outgoing guy. When I first met him, he shook my hand firmly, looked me in the eye, and had a sly smile. I knew in a heartbeat that this guy was a salesman -- I later learned that he sold cars for a living. He even tried to get me to buy the car he had sitting in his driveway. From his Mom I think, clean, looked great. Good bargain.

He was also quick to tell me about about how crazy-good any Duke sports team was... and is. He was fit, skinny maybe, and had a sense of strength about him. A solid Southern guy, who would probably always say yes if you asked him to go fishing.

I was more than a little shocked a few days ago to hear that someone up the hill had passed away from a heart attack. It wasn't clear from the very sketchy emails I got from others on our HOA board where and to whom this happened. All the email said was "young guy, 39, heart attack, ambulances and fire trucks at 5 a.m."

This morning I found out who it was -- Brian.

And he wasn't 39, he was... 38.

His funeral today (announcement) was jammed. Deb and I saw family, friends, too many to count. The sermon was all about "one more day" and what everyday can hold. It can hold the announcement of a birth -- I never cried so hard than the day William came into our home, I couldn't drive my car and had to pull off the road! It can hold a wedding, a special getaway. Or, a sudden death.

Heart attack at age 38, with two young sons and a wife. I don't have words to express what's in my heart right now.

I'll miss you, Brian. What little time we had together was shared through our sons, and I'm sorry we didn't get to know each other a little better. Lesson learned.

Today is all the lifetime we have. Let's be thankful and live it that way.
Wed. Jan. 16 Workout(s)

P90X Shoulders & Arms

Walk (it's COLD in NC today, hard to get my butt out the door!)

Back to the glamour routine. Not that I took it that way this time... nope. Looking back on my red-band using, low-rep first attempt last week, I shrugged it off and went for the green bands for the basic movements/biceps moves, and made my curls bigger in the red back for the others.

DEFINITELY felt it much more this time around, the burn was good, got some serious near-failure in many moves, and am noticing a reduction in size of my spare tire. Definitely from Hummer to Honda. (Civic, not Tundra!) When I do those hugger moves to keep my arms flexible I'm hitting my sides and feeling tight muscle this week, no FAT. Yessss... something is indeed happening. And it feels great.

I hit the Ab Ripper with new intensity as well, though I have to say it's pretty nasty just after finishing an hour workout. Had to pause four times to steady myself and finish the reps, but all 25 were hit with breaks. That's the way to go -- forget the rest, doin' my best.

It's killer-cold down here -- well, for a northerner who's gotten used to mild central NC weather pretty much year round. Already thinking ahead about mittens and something to cover my mouth for my lunchtime jaunt...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tue. Jan. 15 Workout(s)

P90X Plyometrics

40 Minute Walk (after lunch at Will's school!)

Today was, well... awesome.

Plyometrics = Jump Training, version 2.0, second try. And for the entire hour I felt my eyes leaving the screen to focus on my own body, movements, reps, balance, etc. Nice, nice, nice. The moves were coming back to me from my first try last week, so I was able to add more reps, more movement, push myself to 88-92% of my target higher heart rate, and overall, made an amazing workout for the day.

By far this is the X workout that makes me SWEAT the most. Huge and lovely drops. I mean, heck, we stretch, and before we hit move #1 the test group guy in the back who's the most insane/flexible/jumping ALL over the darn room for an hour/a NUTCASE, actually wipes sweat off his brow. Sweating. After STRETCHING.

Yup, this IS the routine that puts the X in P90X. It's no wonder Tony suggests to those with issues/problems getting through it to skip it and use in the Cardio X routine instead. That puppy isn't as intense.

But not me.

I brought the X today and lifted the bar a whole nother notch. And Mr. Horton's breakfast afterward? A protein shake with some fruit in it. BLAM, down the hatch, feeding my mini-cracklin' muscles within minutes of the finishing stretches, and ZOOM, my head is clear, my muscles happy, my stomach just full enough to make it happy and not at all sad or unfulfilled, and Will wakes up a few minutes later.

By the way -- my favorite thing to do just after these workouts? Turning my TV over to Discovery HD Theater and watching the first few minutes of Sunrise Earth.

My personal favs are anything that doesn't have screeching fracking birds or animals in it :) or anything where the cameraguy/gal finds angles that totally make use of the depth of field that high definition can offer.

Yesterday we got to see Puffins on a cliffside, half the screen were these gorgeous birds enjoying their little roost, and the other half was fuzzy water a few THOUSAND feet below with tiny white caps moving from side to side.

I love the vertigo and depth of field that only good, well-shot HD programming can provide. And I generally keep my body moving while watching, NOT sitting down, slowly, for the first 5-10 minutes to keep my muscles from tensing up... nice.

See you tomorrow, kids! "And they are kids, they're younger than me." Right Tony? ;)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mon. Jan. 14 Workout(s)

P90X Shoulders & Back

40 Minute Walk

Last week, it was all about the learnin'. New moves, a bit unbalanced, unsure about weight and reps, all that noob stuff. This week, V2.0 is in the house. Level 2/Week 2 = more reps, more weight, lots more pull-ups and chin-ups, and focusing on the Tony form that leads, in the end, when done right, to muscle FAILURE.

Heck yea, feelin' the burn. Near the end, added tons of push ups, and coming up from the ground I felt a mini-nuclear explosion in my left bicep. Like BLAMO mushroom cloud NOW YOU DID IT YOU'RE FORCING ME TO BREAK A LITTLE so I make more muscle later, me, I'm a left bicep, and I'm as happy as a little guuurl.

Beyond all that, it's also again coming to my attention how much I short-changed myself for an entire year. I was bringing it for Tony Power 90 style, but decided to lamely NOT follow the diet that came with it. Sure I was eating BETTER foods, but I didn't focus on exactly what they really wanted me to eat and when. I lost 23 pounds, but put on serious muscle, and my spare tire stayed in place the entire time. Too many carbs, not enough protein?

I'm absolutely amazed at how well I'm getting by with five small meals a day. I was never one for HUGE portions, but the mini-Tony meals I'm consuming now are feeding me just fine. I'm following Fat Ripper I to a T, sometimes making small modifications if I don't have a certain item in my stocks, but still nailing the general idea every... single... meal. Lots of fish, minor intake of brown/wild rice, some fruit here and there, nuts, etc.

I've yet to feel really hungry between meals, but I can, for the first time in my life, feel my brain crackle a bit when it's ready for more fuel, saying "look, OK, not much CARBS DARN IT so here we are 2 hours from my last intake FEED ME, BRAIN BIG, NEED FOOD ok? Please?" and I reach for a protein bar and a bit of protein shake to wash it down and yummmmy... tastes good, small mass in my stomach, not a ton of calories, but lots of high-glycemic protein that takes loooong to burn, and my brain goes ahhhhhh and I get on with my morning or afternoon.

I'm pushing play in week 2 and challenging myself in lots of new ways. I nailed 9 pull ups with assistance on the legs for every, single, rep, and my push ups are growing by 20%. YES!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sun. Jan. 13 Workout(s)

P90X Shretch X


Last night about 8 p.m. I was feeling pretty bad. A bit of the chills, felt a bit weak, and my calves were really aching. I was worried I was getting sick -- but I was pretty sure this was six days of lighter eating, focusing on protein, and lots and lots of activity that was finally catching up to me.

I was glad to see, before I hit the sack at 9:30, that today would be my first stretching routine. Nothing... but... stretching. And an hour of light duty movements and stretching was a very welcome present. My calves feel better, my entire body is refreshed, and although I notice areas that are still in a very small amount of pain, it's all for the good. I feel stronger, more relaxed, and ready to hit my second full week of P90X insanity.

Ready to push play into Week 2 Tony! Let's bring it together!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sat. Jan. 12 Workout(s)

P90X Kenpo X

40 minute walk

I gotta say that the final move in this workout is 100% insanely fun, crazy, and energizing. After a full hour give or take of punching and kicking in new, crazy ways, your legs and arms are burning, you've assaulted a make-believe person in front of you with numerous impacts ;) and then, when it's just about done, Tony has us do raised punches, as if we're punching a pinata above our heads.

Punch, punch, punch, punch... 20 down... next 20... faster, punch punch punch... 40 more... FASTER FASTER fists flying backandforthupanddown FAST FAST then the final 20 to reach 100 INSANELY FAST PUNCHPUNCHPUNCH then the 100 BLINKS TILT TILT AND WE KEEP GOING AND GOING!!!!!!

Think that captured it -- along with the huge grin on my face. Yup, that was Xtreme Tony. AND a heck of a lot of fun to boot.

My body feels well-abused, my walk with Dave, Noah, and William was refreshing, and the day down here in NC is bright and sunny.

Feeling good and ready for my Stretch rountine tomorrow to end my first full week with this crazy/cool program. I'm even more motivated today than I was when I started, I'm enjoying the diet, and when I look in the mirror I'm seeing results.

Can't WAIT to see how I'll look at 30, 60, and 90 days!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fri. Jan. 11 Workout(s)

P90X Legs & Back & Ab Ripper

40 minute walk, brisk in the windy/warm day!

Let's start at the end of this workout. OK, so, nearly an hour of awesome leg and back work.

That means squats, weight resistance to target the top and bottom of the legs, a crazy-long sequence that went right for my sorta-still-aching back of my lower legs, wall work (see small image for what that entailed), PLUS many sets of pull-/chin-ups. I managed 9 of each chin up sequence with the help of a chair till I failed. Nice improvement over earlier in the week sans chair support, but still focusing on my upper body to muscle failure.

But after all that great work, we get to the end, and Tony tells us that it's time for a recovery drink. Jup, right you are! So I head into the kitchen as the applause starts up, get the mix into the glass, and... huh? I hear talking. It's Tony again -- starting up the AB RIPPER 300+ routine.

Oops. Nearly forgot.

I'm wasted, ready to get some nutrients into meh, and now I gotta dig deep and get the ab work done. Ok, sure, no problem.

Nice, nice, nice stuff... Worked all the moves till I couldn't do any more, increased the quality of the moves over my first round, and managed 18-20 before failure. My core was lovin' it, and I could feel my legs moaning with... pain? A little. Love? Yea, some of that.

So Will and Deb head downstairs 15 mins. early and catch the end of the insanity. I think Will's eyes were a little rounder than usual, and Deb couldn't help a "you really worked out, didn't you?"

I brought the X dear, yup. Was a bit dizzy heading into the kitchen for my recovery drink, scramble, and the rest.

Feeling good, seeing changes in my muscles, and enjoying my daily walks. Cheers Tony, I'll keep pressing play this weekend!

The more I do this, the more I'm convinced that, indeed, this workout is 80% DIET and 20% working out. This is truly the first time in my life that I've made a solid decision to change my eating habits, and it's thanks to the diet guide in the P90X program. It tells me when and what to eat every single day. That's what I needed.

Enjoy your weeekend everyone! I'll be working overtime, on my body. Jup.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Making of P90X

I'm totally diggin' on P90X. It's only been a few days, but it's been a great start to an insane program. I'm sooo up for it, you have no idea.

And if you haven't checked out the P90X website yet, start with this video. Just a few minutes, all about what went into the P90X program. Looks like my kind of workplace! Well worth a watch. If it doesn't play right away, press RELOAD to kickstart it.

Pushing Play for Life

You want to see what one 40 year old biker/crazy dad/former heart attack victim turned proactive MAN could accomplish with P90X?

Here's a guy who went from size 36/38 pants *cough* me *cough* and worked through Power 90 then P90X, with some amazing outcomes. Watch his video right here. Again, you may need to reload the page twice to make it start playing. Darn Flash.
Thu. Jan. 10 Workout(s)

P90X Yoga X

40 minute walk

On a scale from 1 to 10, if we're talkin' flexibility and overall balance, I'm a pretty solid 5. Maybe 6. Right down the middle folks. Not at all super-flexy, but not unable to reach down and touch my toes or hold a basic stretch pose.

That said, this Yoga X routine -- clocking in at a whopping 90 minutes -- does a great job of helping me focus on flexibility, balance, and strength. Many of the moves were unfamiliar, of course, and trying to keep an eye on the Tonester whislt having my head turned away from the set was... not great.

And, I'll be honest, after the first 10 minutes were done, I wanted to stop. 10 minutes was about the grand total of Yoga time we got in Power 90, even if we weren't told that's what it was. Some upward/downward dogs, some warriors and a bit more, that was it.

But yikes... like all the other P90X routines, this one is pretty extreme. And I'm glad I checked the BB forums before I pushed play on this one. There's one move where you get on your back, put your hands/feet below you, and push yourself into the shape of a table/bridge. Great -- no problem, shakin' a bit, fine.

But then -- bingo -- the crazy peeps on the screen arch their backs. Think rainbow shape, arched back. CRAZY. No freakin' way. Ain't happenin'! Well, at least during my first week.

Then, later, we lay on our backs, legs straight up, then lean them back and OVER OUR HEADS down to the floor. Are you kidding me? In week one? With a solid 5 on the flexy scale? Nope. That's a recipe for ripping something, isn't it? ;)

Add to that about 300% more warriors/upward dogs/fancy dancers and my legs were quakin'. And at the end, I did my requisite OOOMMMsss. Cleansing. Nice. Fun even. Relaxing.

After it was all over, I ate my breakfast and assessed my body. Legs still sore? A bit less, but still sore. Rest of my body? Parts feel like they got fresh blood today -- as if they were starved/unused before now. (Duh.)

Am I just making it up? I don't think so. My forearms are mini-burning now, my back feels awesome, and my neck/head feel a bit like they're in a cloud. Rested, stretched, blood-rich, comfortable.

Perhaps I should have started this by saying that my main goals for today were:

1. Don't pull a muscle.
2. Do all the moves, focus on form/balance, not reps, but push as hard as I could without hurting myself.
3. Did I mention not pulling a muscle?

Success all around. Nice, nice, nice. I feel good, positive, cleansed, and stretched in ways I didn't think were possible.

I loved pushing play today.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Wed. Jan. 9 Workout(s)

P90X Shoulders & Arms

40 minute walk, brisker pace since I was doing arms/shoulders this morning, nice day in NC!

Workout number three is pretty silly stuff. Don't get me wrong -- it's pretty tough. LOTS of arms/shoulders with weight resistance. Tons of new moves over Power 90 3-4, and the group has a really fun time with it. Had a smile on my face more than once!

By silly, I mean what Tony means. This is a pure play vanity routine. It's targeting and ripping into the upper body muscles that everyone sees when we wear tank tops. Nothing more, nothing less. (But hey, what's an insanely extreme 90 day workout routine without some overtly buff-ilizer moves?)

I've noticed some body function changes while following the diet very closely. I won't go into detail, but I'm noticing that water products are going through my body much more quickly than before.

And as for sore points, it's in my legs. Back of my lower legs are pretty banged up right now. Which is crazy because we were workin' the arms/shoulders today. The shower was OK with over the head moves, but my legs were telling me they were pretty sore.

Looks like tomorrow's Yoga X will help restore some function and smooth out the sore spots.

Tony, I'm pushin' play, walking in the p.m., and it's all adding up to a positive focus in my brain and, hmm, am I *already* seeing some difference on my sides? Is the tire shrinking? I think so.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

MADTV: Apple iScrewed Me Again

LOL isn't this the truth. Love this iPod ad and Feist song -- but here's a new twist really getting to the heart of what Apple's been doing to their customers over the past year. MADTV, rock on!


In case you missed it, here's another MADTV spoof, with a bit of an "Iraq Attack" political theme. Nicely done.

Conan Goes Country

I remember watching the very first Late Night w/Conan O'Brien. I was working as the morning show producer at WGAL TV8 in good ol' Lancaster, PA. It was late, I was alone in the sprawling newsroom, and the small TV near my desk was tuned to our broadcast. (My shift to create the morning show was 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. Yikes.)

Conan came out, did his thing while I did mine (writing scripts and editing tape, making a crazy, crazy low salary while the anchors reading my work were getting, shall we say... more) and I enjoyed it.

Here's Conan on last night's show, without writers, doing his thing. Not too shabby -- rock on you RAFF lookin' late night host of hosts!

Tue. Jan. 8 Workout(s)

P90X Plyometrics (See below for calories burned)

40 minute walk

"Explosive jumping cardio routine (listen to Tony) proven to dramatically improve athletic performance." When Mr. "No One Outreps Me" Horton says in the opening seconds that this 55 minute-ish workout puts the X in P90X -- the extreme -- he isn't kidding.

All new moves, tons of jumping, squatting, leaping, turning, reaching, sweating... swearing. Yup, swearing.

Like the man says, "you can do anything f0r 30 seconds!" Sure I can. And when my legs buckle or my thighs quiver with 10 seconds to go and I can't move anymore... that's bringing it to the max, applying the X, sealing the deal. And then swearing. Just a little. Under my breath, while I recover from failing in those last few seconds. Darn it.

Next time, all 30 are MINE.

I knew this routine was going to be pretty insane, so I was careful to start my Mio, take lots of heart measurements along the way, and watch the calorie burning add up. After the full 5 minute cool down -- yea, we needed all 5 minutes friends -- my crazy cool and helpful watch read 890 calories burned. Freakin' insane.

Cool moment -- with I think 20 mins to go or so Tony takes a heart reading. He's in the low 150's, and I'm only 4 points behind. He's 43, I'm 36, so fairly close and both bringing it. (Of course he's ripped to the max and I'm... not.) And later he takes a measurement and brings down his heart rate from max to recovery in about 30 seconds and drops 20ish BP points. I come down about 12ish. Not a good, but not too shabby for Day 2.

And to top it all off -- check the meal plan (details/see the book I'm using) for the Fat Shredder I. Today's breakfast -- a recovery drink mixed with some fruit. Talk about swearing! But, true to form, I finished up the workout, headed to the kitchen, mixed up my drink, downed it, and BLAM. No hunger, a healthful buzz all around, and no internal crying about not having enough foodstuffs.

I'm sure come 9:30-10 that my bod will be more than ready for the snackin'. And that's cool.

Shower time was another study in a bit of soreness. Yesterday I could feel my back and arms and chest crying a little when I put my hands over my head.

Today, those guys were still moaning a bit, but more muscle groups were added to the chorus. Now it's more or less my entire torso, some of my back, the legs (not much), and new areas in my arms. Arms after a jumping/cardio workout? Yup. Dunno why, but there it is.

I do have to say that last night, after eating my fish and minor serving or ricey carbs, that I got a headache. I rarely get these. I'm guessing, purely, that this was my body and brain saying, look pal, your workout thingy, it's cool. And eating better/focusing on protein, great. But I need CARBS for brain/body energy, more, more!

Nope. I drank some water and left Deb and Will to eat some of the left over Xmas cookies, post-Spaghetti and sausage/sauce on their sides of the table. Yea, it all looked sooo good, even in moderation like I usually eat.

But so do those Day 90 photos (see video of one guy) I'm spying from my brothers and sisters finishing this program and following the meal plan. From fit to WHOA, thanks to no deviations.

Push play. Eat right. Burn calories. Bringin' it.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Making a Case: Optimisim

There's so much in the world to be worried about -- heck, it seems we've all be told to be scared for the last 7 years running. Here's a video from an awesome site called TED where notables give short talks on special subjects. Here's a recent entry on staying positive. Enjoy.

P90X Begins: Mon. Jan. 7 Workouts

P90X Chest and Back + Ab Ripper

40 minute walk

Tony Horton, you're a crazy, crazy man. Just when I thought you couldn't get any more animated or chatty, you pushed Power 90 to the next level AND somehow managed to amp up your personal energy by 110%. You're an insipration -- I mean, actual laughter during a crazy chest/back workout? Insanely great.

My body woke me up a full 20 minutes early this morning. And of course, with this being Day One of 90, how could I deny an early start to the most intense, exciting body transformation my body will ever experience?

I knew I was in for a treat when the DVD began. (Here's Tony talking about it.) The warmup was a real warmup, no dumbing down/robotic moves for the newbies like Power 90. And when we hit the workout, my first chin ups were right at the top of the routine. I managed 4 full pulls, then 2 more after a short rest, on every rep. (I know it'll get better, and next time I'll have a chair close up to help me amp up the reps and dial down the intensity. As I said before, there's a LOT of Tim to pull up folks!)

There was plenty of stretching and deep breathing between moves, so the pace wasn't a problem at all. I pulled 15-20 reps on all the moves besides the chin ups and, well, heck... those heart push ups. I mean, Tony, buddy, pal o' mine -- whoa. Just when I thought incline pushups were the bees knees, you went and added insanely close chest pushups? Ouchies!

In several of the moves, I experienced my first real muscle failure in many, many months. It reminded me of the start of both Power 90 levels in week one:

1. I experienced muscle failure near the end of several of the rep sequences and couldn't go any further. Ouch.
2. When I got into the shower later, I had a hard time getting and keeping my arms over my head. Again, ouch.

But ouch X 2 in a great way.

Then came the new and improved Ab Ripper routine. The 100 level was easy in Power 90 1-2. 200 in 3-4? Tough, but not un-doable at all. And after a year of doing 200 X 3/week, I could get through all 200 every time with some sweat and some soreness every time. (Honestly, though, no a lot in my stomach area.)

But 349 in P90X? Wow. The routine had all new moves mostly, and some are pretty hard to understand. I managed 15-20 of each, some more, some less -- with a goal of hitting 30 as we move forward. It hurt, I crashed several times, and I loved it.

Woot! (Or w00t, right dictionary gods?) I made it through Day One, have some chest and (mostly) arm pain, but it's the good pain.

On top of that goodness came a kick butt breakfast. No sooner was the cool down over and the water downed, than I was in the kitchen cutting up my strawberries, scooping my 1% cottage cheese, and making my mushroom scramble/omlet.

Post-workout, my body was aching and I could feel a small headache from a lack of nutrients. Within a few minutes of slowly eating my way through the meal Tony and his team planned for me, both went away. I still feel the good pain, but I have a ton of energy, my stomach is happy, and I'm alert as heck with the workday beginning.

Day One of P90X -- awesome. I'll fit in my usual noontime walk, intake the rest of my planned meals and snacks to keep my blood sugar high and the protein kicking the crap out of my fatty stomach -- and keep pushing play over the next 89 days.

Update: Scary. At pretty much exactly 9:30 a.m., my body told me it was time for more food. Got a tiny headache, stomach gave a little rumble, and I realized that, yea, Tony had a small shake and bar on the menu for pre-lunch. Gobbled it up, back to feeling good. Scary = obviously, these guys know what they heck they're talking about with this menu. Good stuff!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sun. Jan. 6 Workout(s)

Power 90 Sculpt 3-4 490 Calories Burned

Late Afternoon:
35 minute walk 400 calories burned

Again, felt great getting up at 5:40 this morning and bringing it with Tony. Was quiet, the cats were happy for yet another early feeding ;) and Deli watched me most of the workout from the nearby stairs. Bet he's thinking... wow. What... is... he... doing.

Man, was a perfect day for a walk here in North Carolina. Carolina Blue skies, about 68 degrees, a few clouds, lots of sun, and all the rest. Had a hard time at Apex Community Park, was so jammed we headed home and I finished up around the ol' neighborhood.

Also hit the chin up bar in the pantry four times today. Started only doing 3 at a time, 4th out the question. Been only 2 days? and I can pull 4 pretty easily. I wonder how many Tony will ask me to do in the P90X workout(s)? Man I'm so excited, after doing Power 90 circuit/cardio a few hundred times last year, to hit some new extended content/moves.

Headed out after the nice walk and just picked up a complete load of groceries to match what's in my P90X eating books. Looking forward to lots of PROTEIN and the usual lack of breads and other high glycemic foods.

The next 90 days will feature lots of working out with Tony/bringin' it, LOTS of eating (will be a challenge to walk that walk!) and, my guess is, lots of losing weight these first 30 days. Goodbye 40 inch waist, hello... a smaller one? LOL!

My P90X journey begins tomorrow -- Day 1, January 6, 2008. Woot! ;)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Sat. Jan. 5 Workout(s)

Power 90 Cardio 3-4 Ab Ripper 200 Burned 520 Calories

40 minute walk 410 Calories Burned

Still feeling very good about getting back on track post-holiday break. I'm feeling strong, getting through my 3-4's with lots of sweat but still some energy left, and decided to tack on today/Sunday to get myself psyched up for Monday's P90X debut.

Yesterday just before Will's bus arrived I put up my pull up bar in the doorway of our pantry. It's so high up and neither Deb nor I come close to hitting it with our heads, so I'm leaving it in place.

Since it went up I tend to try to do 3 full pull ups whenever I go in or out. Doesn't hurt really, but after 3 I can't get a 4th to work. There's a LOT of Tim to lift up that high folks. LOTS of Tim. ;)

Friday, January 04, 2008

$9.25 for a movie? Are you kidding me?

I've been known to hit the theaters from time to time. You know -- need to get away from the house, here 24/7 working and living, so an occasional flick is a welcome change of pace.

So since when is a movie $9.25? Reminds me of that old Dark Side of the Moon song -- "For want of the price, of tea and a slice, the old man died..." Looks like it's the matinee for me. Heck for $9.25 I could rent THREE movies.

Don't mind the old codger as he moans about the price of a movie. Nothing to see here...

BTW I am Legend -- excellent flick. Worth seeing on the big screen. No music for the win. Makes me wonder what I'd do if I was the last man on Earth -- Will got crazy focused and organized, worked out everyday, had a schedule, etc. Me? Guess it would be my chance to travel. Unlimited cars, unlimited fuel.

RadioHead: Scotch Mist

In case you missed my post a few days back, here's the incredible present RadioHead gave us for New Year's -- a semi-live performance of their new Rainbows album. Enjoy.

Fri. Jan. 4 Workout(s)

Power 90 Sculpt 3-4 475 Calories Burned

35 Min. Walk 410 Calories Burned

This morning my Mio says I burned 475 calories based on heart rate measurements over the 40-45 mins of the workout. Shame it can't measure my quads or biceps when my weight band bears down on 'em for 15-20 reps of each movement. Not to mention those 10 lunges with 5 squats in the middle of each -- hurts/burns so good!

It's amazing what a true workout *habit* can do to get your butt out of bed.

My alarm goes off at 5:40 a.m. every day, and as soon as it goes off my heart is pumping and I head down the stairs ready to rock. On those rare days when I'm away or decide (stupidly) to skip a workout, man, I feel it. I tend to feel some soreness in my back, or -- honestly -- get a bit of runny nose which lasts all morning. (Usually happens on that Sat. or Sun. morning I tell myself it's OK to sleep in.)

But when I workout, my back feels great and I have no other lame side effects.

Getting my shopping list in order today to have all the right foods in the house to jump into P90X on Monday for Day 1.

Can't wait to bring it!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Thu. Jan. 3 Workout(s)

Took my fit test, approx. 40 minutes in all. Worked up a light sweat.

Walked 34 minutes, burned 470 calories, stayed between 82% and 66% of my target heart rate.

5-6 PM:
Power 90 Cardio 3-4 WITH Ab Ripper 200

How do I know all this cool stuff? Check out the Mio watch. Like Tony says, we need to be aware of our heart rates to be sure we're training to the best/safest/most effective level. When you get the Mio, you tell it how old you are, what your sex is, your weight, etc.

Based on that baseline of info, here's the thing I like best about it -- before you start your next 7 days of workouts, tell the Mio you want to burn 3500 calories during the next week. (3500 calories equals one pound lost.)

Each time you workout or walk during the new week, START the timer on the watch and press the buttons to take your heart rate. Every few minutes, take your heart rate again. Look at the meter to be sure you're in the green and out of the red. When you're done working out, click STOP.

Mio will tell you how long you worked out, and how many calories you burned, and how far along you are on your goal.

It does a ton of other things, but I've only had the thing for a day. :)
P90X Prep: Fit Test

Prior to Day 1, Tony asked me to take his fit test. This is critical to be sure I'm ready for the rigors of the P90X program. And with a year of Power 90 under my belt, I was pretty sure I'd nail the test. And, sure enough, I did... but reading between the lines I can see that taking the last two weeks or so off because of the holidays took its toll. Can't let that happen again -- I need *daily* activity of at least 30 to 45 minutes of strenuous activity to keep my fitness level high.

Here's the details of my Fit Test...

Weight: 200 lbs. (21.8 pounds over ideal)
Body Fat: 24.1% (YIKES calculate yours here)

Chest: 43"
Waist: 40" (At my roundest portion/navel)
Hips: 42"

Right Thigh: 22"
Left Thigh: 21.5"

Right Arm: 14"
Left Arm: 14"

Resting Heart Rate: 63
Warm Up: (P90 Cardio 3-4 through yoga)
Heart Rate after Warm Up: 107

Pull-Ups: 3 (came up for a 4th but didn't clear it, ouch!)

Vertical Leap: 87" (standing) 96" (leap up) > 9" leap total (min. is 5")

Push Ups: 31 (min. is 15 NICE)

Toe touch: -2.75" from middle finger to toes (min. is -6" SWEET)

Wall squat: 1:23 @ 200 lbs (min is 1:00)

Bicep Curls: 46 w/red band (min is 10 KICKED IT)

Ins and outs: 41 (min is 25 AGAIN NICE)

Fit test, check. Well above the minimum reps across the board, pull-ups on target but a bit weak. Clearly my spare tire isn't helping matters! YIKES on the body fat, but it adds up, doesn't it?

Set to buy the necessary food items and ingredients this weekend to get the diet on course, and will start P90X on Monday.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

P90X Begins: Tim starts 2008 with a BANG!

It's hard to believe, but 2007 has passed us by -- and beyond all the usual stuff that fills a year, I'm overjoyed to report that a full 12 months of hard work on my flabby body have paid big dividends.

Back in January '07, I dusted off my old Power 90 DVDs and weight bands, and decided to make a go of it. My motivation? Two things -- the fat man in my holiday photos, and the knowledge that my little brother Drew was engaged and set to be married in November.

I had six months to lose weight so I could stand to see myself in a mirror come summertime, and then a few months more to really push hard and look awesome on Drew's special day.

When I started last year, I weighed 224 pounds and my doctor tested my cholesterol after taking a holiday from my statin (Zocor) -- 230. Both not great numbers at all for a 36 year old who's 5'11" tall.

In early January of 2007, I popped in Power 90 and started with the phase 1-2 DVD routines for a solid 60 days, then moved cautiously to 3-4 in March. (Read: I should have moved after 30 days, the 3-4 routine is more reps but not crazy hard!)

I also changed my eating habits, cutting out as much bread and pasta and desserts as I could, and adding in more leafy greens and whole grains. (Read: I made up my own diet, and it helped, but not much.)

Just before Drew's wedding I bought a new suit -- and was shocked at its size. Just a 42R! In all, I'd shed 23 pounds and a full 80 points of cholesterol (without expensive drugs) in 11 months with Power 90. I looked even better than I thought I would, and was loving how I looked in the mirror. (Despite my midsection still needing some serious work.)

But as Drew's great wedding came and went -- and some great photos were taken of my new bod, see above with my son Will and my wife Debbie -- I realized something I'd known for some time.

I'd plateau'd with Power 90 months ago, and I was having a rough time losing that tough belly fat up front. It was time for the next level, and I'm happy to have P90X in my hands to help me with this next huge phase.

I've read the diet guide, and am thrilled to have such detailed meal planning, scheduled times to eat, and plenty of places to track my diet over time. I know that following a strict diet over the next 90 days will do the trick -- that and Tony's new set of 12 kick butt workouts.

You can view my starter photo sets here. Lots to work with in terms of starting weight, no?

I'll be posting here on my blog as often as I can to keep myself and anyone who cares to check in updated on my progress.

The fit test is set for tomorrow morning (I normally work out from 5:40 a.m. to 6:40 a.m. daily, and my son gets up for Kindergarten at 7) and I'm going to start the diet and workouts on Monday, 1.7.

Join me and feel free to drop me a line anytime at timothymclain at or via AIM at Netpower555.

Keep in mind that this will be an off-the-cuff blog, typed in real time as I go from day to day, so please ignore any mis-types or other editing gaffs.