Monday, April 30, 2012

When the odds are stacked...

Don't give up, just keep trying. Its not over til the fat lady sings, so there is no point in quitting until time is up.
Over the weekend following a food treat my old friend Gout raised its ugly head. Making walking painful, let alone jumping, lunges and fighting stances. But instead of deciding it wasn't possible to carry on, I saw a challenge ahead and decided that it was time to fight harder, not retreat and admit defeat.
Thankfully the training schedule allowed for me to take it easy on my feet. Saturday was Kenpo, on not easy on the feet but better than Plyo for sure, so I managed to navigate my way through that. Then training with the girlfriend and hitting back and legs also. Taking it easier on things that would hurt my foot.
So here I am Monday, ready to give it my all again, and of course the routine again allows me to take the strain away from my feet. Chest and Back today. Avoiding the dog walks, not wanting to aggravate my foot any more than I have to, and save myself for Plyometrics tomorrow instead.
So how was todays session. One word says it all really, amazing. Not for any other reason than digging so deep, for a moment I thought Tony was talking in an Aussie accent. Deeper than ever before, and finally returning to a training ethos I have missed for years. Train to failure. Regardless of the movement, keep going until the body physically screams out and CANNOT do another single rep at all. Collapsing with push-ups, arms giving way on pull ups, and so on.
Todays words of wisdom are simple.
Train to failure NOT failure to train. If you can only manage 5 of what everyone else is doing 20 of, DO IT... Just make them good, clean, and your best ever. Keep going til your BODY says stop, not your mind thinking you can't do any more. Challenge yourself, and defy your mind and negative beliefs.
YOU can do it, if YOU want to!
Right now I'm sitting on the train in the sunshine, reflecting positivity, thinking the best thoughts of my life, and embracing life. My body feels great and alive, my mind is looking for the next challenge.
Speaking of challenges, I have realised I am in sync with the guys of Jaces Warriors, and as they start their 90 day challenge today, I am on the same page of workouts as them. Determined to jump back in with them all on Week4, I find myself rushing towards the finish line on my own challenge, and racing towards the team challenge start line.
With Clare and Carly starting with the group this week I have even more fire inside of me. As more and more friends jump onboard the P90Xpress, I realise how positive and amazing it all is, and am inspired by their drive to take the challenge on like I did.
What's down the line, well, as well as joining the group challenge in a few weeks time, I kinda feel I could take my nutrition a little more seriously, and am interested to see what differences that can make to my results on the next round. Time will tell, and watch this space. In the meantime I have not forgotten my interest in Tai Chi, and am still finding a way to fund and start Tai Cheng at the end of my first round on P90X.
In 8 weeks or so I jet off to Florida, so what better motivation to be in the form of my life. I can do this, YOU can do this. So what are we waiting for, Bring It people X style!
Big things lay ahead, and I for one am stoked!
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Friday, April 27, 2012

Motivation and inspiration

My my, it seems my little adventure with P90X has really started to have a knock on effect. With a number of friends joining the program, and 4 of them starting to follow the course from Monday coming, may I first say, good on you, and best of luck sticking to it. I am right here every step of the way should you need anything.

Today I got to start using my resistance bands, and OMG what a difference they make. Crazy to feel so much energy going into moving such thin seemingly weak bands. But they work, are much smoother to use in some movements than free weights. However there are of course times when there is nothing better than really pushing a muscle to the limit the old fashioned way. Yes yes, of course I mean bicep curls, Cohen curls, and triceps of course. Nothing like a little vanity is there?

Anyway, I digress. P90X is where its at, and motivating and inspiring others to use it to take care of themselves is the mission I'm on right now. Between Jaces Warriors, and Twitter, the interest seems to grow daily. Add Facebook to that list and the interest gets even bigger.

I want to make sure I am clear about something, before the ridicule starts. P90X is a program, a guide, and something to push you in the right direction. The big notice before you enter is "WILLPOWER REQUIRED". There is no magic involved, no voodoo as Ivan likes to call it, and no miracles. Its like making a cake. You are the ingredients, all the instructions are there, and the equipment is there.... All you have to do is follow the instructions properly, and the outcome will be a lovely cake.
Probably a bad example, as I could murder a cake right now lol, but you catch my flow I'm sure.

So if you are one of the people I have mentioned, or are reading this and wondering if P90X is right for you. Ask yourself this, are YOU right for P90X?

Tell you what. Here are a few FAQ's.

Q. Are the workouts hard?
A. Yes, quite simply. Effort is required, but unlike a lot of programs, you can slide the difficulty slider up as you progress. Start gentle and modified, and as you improve, increase the intensity.

Q. Is it hard to commit to?
A. No. If you start the program hungry for results, then your hunger will be satisfied for sure. Results come fast, and continuous, and re-motivate you. Want it bad enough, and commitment will come easy.

Q. Will I get all big and bulky.
A. P90X can be used to lose weight, tone, or build lean muscle. Adapting your activity throughout the 90 days. Higher reps, lower weights to tone, and digging deeper and going heavier for bulk. Diet will also be key.

Q. Is this guy taking it too far and getting obsessed about P90X?
A. Ok, maybe a touch, but its a healthy one, and that's not a pun. I have been on the program for 10 weeks now, and each week my energy level rises, my activity level goes further off the chart, and my motivation to continue grows.

Right, so that's me. If you are inspired, interested or about to get onto the program and have any questions, fire away :)

Next week I start week 11, another week closer to the end of week 13 and the end of cycle 1 of P90X. But it doesn't end there, oh no. After a few days off (maybe) I'm gonna start all over again. I'm addicted, I'm motivated, and I'm driven to achieve what I have never had before. Fitness, state of mind, and physical youth.

Come on, why are you still reading this, its time to live a little, its time to love the life you have..... Bring It people!
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

I miss you

Very simple entry, short and sweet really.
Today is a year to the date that one of my dearest friends passed away.
Graeme Breen, you still do, and forever will be held in such a special place in my heart.

Gone but never forgotten, rest in peace my brother. Love you x

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Got to hate them. I'm flying now with my training, and all the while encouraging more and more to join the P90Xpress, but there comes a time when even a perfect flow gets interrupted. Play this time has been spoiled by weather. Very heavy rain has stopped the morning and now the evening dog walks, and my body is now overflowing with energy.

The solution is to do another session of P90X, the plan is to join the other half with Plyo tonight. That's the plan anyway, I might yet get told to piss off lol.

Meanwhile, damn I have been hitting the last few sessions hard. More considered intake, with the addition of protein and creatine too, it all adds up. Today for example with back and biceps, I was seriously on fire. Digging deep, pushing to the limit and beyond. I'm in the phase where your body reminds you just how alive you really are, and what you can actually achieve if you commit.

This is a place I hope I can remain for the next few weeks, to the finish line of round 1.

After that I think its time for round 2. I have some new found friends and motivators in the form of Jace's Warriors. A P90X coach and a Facebook group, with far reaching influences. New found drive, and the ability to help encourage and motivate others. What a great opportunity. So thank you to Jace and the gang for this chance.

The plan is to jump right in the middle of a group P90Xpress, joining their group challenge at around week4. Hopefully this time with all the equipment, bands and dumbells I can really rock the P90X world hard.

So as I lay in the bath and unwind for a few mins, I contemplate the road ahead, the weigh in tomorrow, and what the finish line will look and feel like. One thing I know for sure, as I cross the line I will enter NikeTown and re-equip myself with new shoes, etc. Hey, I deserve them.
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Introducing Creatine

Its been a long time since I used supplements in any form of daily routine, but the time has come now to step up my game.
Have I reached my plateau, no I don't think I have. However I am looking for more from my routine now. And from past experience Creatine is one hell of a leg up.
At the same time I am also introducing protein shakes too. As I move from entry level to more aggressive weights and input levels in the sessions, I know my body is left craving for the right stuff. Vitamins, protein, and a little hit of carbs just to keep the body ticking over.
As the weeks have passed I can physically feel my body slowly starting to explode with muscle growth and firmness, so the plan is to add to that, to aid the recovery of the body and the development of the muscles to really boost my results. Now the plan here is not to become the hulk, nor to make myself into some sort of adonis. But instead I want to target some areas to build on my strength in activities, and give me the push forwards to the next cycle. Improving my form and stamina is key here, but I would be lying if I said I was not interested in how I look... Of course I am :)
With every great opportunity, there is a price to pay, or at least the possibility of a bill anyway. I am of course not talking about the actual cost of the supplements. Which of course as most know, is upsettingly high!
I of course refer to the physical cost. Previously when using creatine I found that after I had loaded up (first week) my moods were fine, but my patience became a little frayed to say the least. Getting anxious from time to time. Not in a terrible way, I was not pacing hallways and worrying about the price of bread. But more personal things could provoke a reaction from me.
Part of this effect is going to be based on the increase testosterone raging through my body with all the increased activity and heavy training. This time around I am not training anywhere near as hard, well not as heavy or intensely anyway, and there is a huge increase in CV activity too. So hopefully that will balance things out a little bit this time.
So let's see how it goes. I'm hoping that people around me will be the first to warn be if I start to be a bit of a dick.
So here we go, Week10 of P90X, 4 more weeks of full on, hard hitting training, ready to commit 100% to the routine now, and take my diet a little more seriously. Introducing creatine, protein, and a whole new range of resistance bands to really help me up my game. Let's see where we are at the end now. The finish line is in sight, but for now, it only marks the end of Lap 1.
So let go people, dig deep, train hard, love life.
#P90X baby, its the shiz!

From negativity comes power.

And from power comes strength. Recent days have seen me face a sudden downturn in mood and mental state, suddenly I found myself plummeting towards the ground at a thousand miles an hour. Simple annoyance became huge grievances, and a tiny downturn became the up-ending of my world.

When such times arrive I have learned that it is time to dig deep, right into the core of your soul and find the energy to overcome the negativity. After a couple of days of fighting and digging I hit gold, and bounced back like an insane bungee, powering back to my former self and beyond. As I pushed back towards positivity I used the recently experienced negativity to fuel my fight back, and remembered how little I want to feel like that.

A reminder of how crap being down can feel is always enough to start the fight back for me, but at times like this, with such heightened emotions and mental state, the speed that the mood changes can be very sudden. I like to keep check on myself from time to time, observing certain aspects of my life, behaviours, and attitude towards issues, looking for signs that things are not right.

The biggest challenge we face with being down, depressed, unmotivated or unhappy is that we don't realise its happening until we are rock bottom. Running self checks has become an important part of my life nowdays, having experiences so many lows, especially in recent years. Depression is my enemy now, and not welcome in my life in any form. An evil place to be, somewhere so many people visit in their lives, and a place misunderstood by so many. Trapped, ashamed, and defeated are the common emotions we feel when there.

Give yourself a self check today, are you the real you, are you coping? True friends will usually be the first to indicate something is wrong.
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Sunday, April 15, 2012

We interrupt this broadcast...

...for something that really just can't wait.
Now let's be frank about this now, I am really no role model. Poor health, terrible track record of life in general, and prolific babbling. Just a few of my redeeming features if you may.
However there is one thing I pride myself in, and that is inspiring. I won't blow my own trumpet here, its hardly ground breaking. I didn't give Mark Zuckerberg an idea for a website, and I can't take credit for the iPhone. But what I can say is, some of my rambling and babbling has changed peoples perceptions at times, and at other times given a little added drive.
Here I go babbling again. So let's cut to the point.
P90X, there I said it. Since starting 8 weeks ago now, as well as losing weight, training like a dog and seeing great gains, I haven't shut up about it. Twitter takes a beating daily from my @therealslimsnaz account, and hashtags such as #Fit4Forty #P90X and my new favourite #P90Xpress are my own mark on the place.
Tonight I hear from someone to say that they have heard their calling and are climbing onboard the P90Xpress. So I thought I would dedicate this entry to them, and anyone else considering, or starting the P90X journey.
So here goes....
You have clearly considered changing your lifestyle a few times over recent times, and once or twice looked in the mirror and thought 'not bad but room to improve'. God knows how many times I did that before I got on board. Maybe its health, maybe its vanity, maybe its none of the above.
Whatever the cause and reason you have arrived at this point, here are some things I want to share with you.
Any program that is worth investing time in will be demanding, challenging, and sometimes borderline soul destroying. While I have hit P90X Noel @Bampson has hit Insanity. Two very challenging regimes from the BeachBody stables. Can we compare, naaa not really, do we compete and drive one another, well yes I think we do.
So fellow P90X'ers. Firstly, welcome aboard.
Secondly, and this is important now... You can do anything you put your mind to. The first week of P90X is going to make even some fit people think they are dying each time they press play. But that's a good thing. It is key not to forget the first week or two. Those memories will be the driving force right up through the program until you finish Week 13. Remember the struggle, the poor form, the light weights and low reps.... Soon they will all be history.
Breathing is key. Like any exercise, lack of air will result in struggling badly. But as time progresses you will find yourself skipping along through routines, breathlessness will be a think of the past, and your body will be filled with excess energy, a feeling of being SO alive will consume you, and by half way through the program you will be hungry for more.
Another thing is, don't skip a thing, try everything. If at first you don't succeed, try try try again! Yoga is a challenge, and it has taken me weeks to master some postures and poses. Balance will soon become your friend, and you will catch yourself improving in things in your day to day life, all based on new found ability and flexibility. Yoga isn't weird at all, its your friend, and an important part of the P90X program.
Core Synergistics, and Plyometrics... If you are not cardio savvy, fear them, just a little. But again, over time you will benefit so much from them. Hell I can't walk up stairs anymore, I have to bound up them 2-3 at a time. Jumping down flights for fun, and doing all sorts of other weird energetic stuff.
I could go on, but my message is simple. P90X or Insanity for that matter are there for YOU. Commercial gain, well yes maybe a touch, but the physical gain and reward far outweighs the financial outlay, trust me on this one.
2 months has seen 2 stone drop from my weight. I still pig out, hell I'm eating chocolate buttons as I write this! I have dropped 2 sizes in clothing, gained muscle mass and definition. Get comments left right and centre about how I have changed, and I brim with so much confidence now I'm almost arrogant. Ok correction, I'm even more arrogant than I have ever been. But arrogant with the right to be.
I have dieted in the past, and won't knock LighterLife and Protikee, they were great. But P90X has honestly changed my life, and my entire lifestyle too. I am already planning months and months ahead. What training I will do next (Tai Cheng + P90X), setting higher goals, and feeling so amazing and driven I can't explain.
So, Amit (my Twitter friend lol) I hope this helps in some way. And to anyone else reading this wondering if P90X is for you..... It is what you make it. Give it 100%, and your return will be greater, guaranteed. I look forwards to hearing about the first weeks, and am here if there are any questions or you feel I can help.
And remember #P90Xpress :)
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Fitness wishlist

As I have plodded through P90X, and I don't mean with ease, I mean like knee deep mud, I have come across more and more things I would love to do. Simple things, maybe even one offs, just to prove to myself that I can do them. Things I have never been able to do in 39 years, but now maybe I can.
For starters there were simple actions, doing yoga was one of them, and I have fallen in love with it. Then there were some of the yoga poses, most of which I have conquered, but a couple still evade me. Crane is one of them. Mostly is the confidence I lack, but I know my wrists could be stronger too, so don't want to run before I can walk.
Another was push-ups with a clap in the middle of the motion. I'm sure there is a name for them, but for now that's what they are called, or clap push-ups for short lol. Well I can say now, that I have just ticked them off the 'to-do' list, and I did a little video of a few just to prove to myself I did them (I look a mess in the vid) Not perfect form I'm sure, and I know some can do millions of them. But for me, for the first time doing them in my life, I'm happy with them, so sod what anyone else thinks (if its negative anyway)
Of course the list has grown and grown over time, and the more into P90X I get, the more challenges I set myself. Another was feet to touch the floor from plough (yoga). Again this is another milestone I reached a few weeks back, however now I strive to get better upright posture, and to get my knees to the floor too. Sadly my kangaroo pouch is affecting this, so I'm working hard on eliminating that asap.
There are flexibility and strength challenges ahead of me, so here are a few more. So I can tick them off officially on here and not just accidentally achieve them and brag later.
Hand stand (supported)
Hand stand push-up (supported)
Splits (not box)
Clean full motion one handed push-ups
That's a few to be getting on with.
As for training, well the achilles made a drastic recovery, so I got back on track today with X-Stretch and full dog walks. In addition I did a small push-up and abs routine this evening to burn off some energy. Next weekend sees Day60, so time for more pictures (sorry Blogger) and then the push to the first finish line. So far I have achieved more than I ever expected, and know if I really focus now, the last 30 will be truly amazing and life (body) changing for me.
In the meantime, I'm on the hunt for Tai Cheng to loosen me up a little more and work on my flexibility and range of motion.
Thanks for reading as ever.
Love life :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

BOOM! Sub 210lbs !

Well, as I said in the earlier entry there was motivation to walk the dogs, and the result was this picture.
Sub 210, and by quite some margin too I have to say. Officially putting me now in the 14 stone 'something' category. To me, that is major progress, and also a little consolation that I can't train today.
Instead of resting up for a day or two, and losing motivation, I have just stoked up the fire for the next weigh in, and see how far I can get below 210 now.
Next question is, 'is sub 200 a reality now?'
Let's be clear here, I'm really not at the point of doing myself any damage, other than stupid things like my achillies. My intake is sensible, and sometimes even a little lavish now. The weight loss is progressive, and the routine is demanding yet effective.
Mixed in with all this weight loss is a little muscle gain too, so things are progressing nicely now.
Thanks for sharing my moment of glory with me :)

How very stupid of me!

Aaah well, we all do dumb things at some point in my life I guess. For me, the most recent is jumping for joy. No, seriously quite literally jumping for joy.
When training the other day I realised how high I can jump now, and was impressed. Even by my standards, for a 200+lbs man, I can project myself pretty high from a standing start. In my usual high energy, unplanned fashion, that evening I decided I would do some jumping, so I did. Without really warming up or stretching, I did about 5 standing jumps, tweaking my achillies tendon in my right foot at some point. Doh!

Now there are 2 ways of going about this. I can carry on training, warming up gently until I have full range and motion in the tendon, then train. Or I can take a rest break to let things settle. My initial feeling this morning when I woke (in considerable discomfort) was to take a day or 2 off from everything, to allow nature to take its course. Yoga is the planned activity on my schedule today, and we all know how much I genuinely love yoga. But being realistic, I know that my form will be terrible if I try it today... Runners pose with a sore achillies... Hmm maybe not a great idea.

The conclusion I came to was as follows. Exercising the dogs in the morning is a 600+cal burning exercise, and can be as slow and gentle as I please. Yoga is the one that will cause pain and more damage if anything. So I have decided that if the weather holds out I will walk the dogs as usual, then skip yoga for today. In the hope that I can catch up with the program tomorrow.

There is another motivator driving me in this matter, which I will blog separately after the walk if all works out lol.

As a whole though, as I plunge deep into Week8 of P90X, I can truly say it has been life changing for me. I am already hunting out my next program, and have found 2 that fit the bill. P90X2 and Tai Cheng. For flexibility, balance and posture I have always fancied doing Tai Chi but never got around to doing it. Now however I have the motivation to do it, and also the discipline to follow a program. This is another thing I have gained from P90X. With Tai Cheng being a 90 day program also, this could cause complications for me, finding the time to do these things. But as we head into summer, there is more time in the day so to speak. Looks like summer mornings just got busy and exhausting. Or maybe I will do the Tai Chi in the evenings. We shall see.

Other than my achillies, and my on going achy knee, the rest of my physical health has been fantastic I have to say. Breathing is much improved, posture good, energy levels high, and general aches and pains have faded away. Comparing the minor ailments to the impact and intensity of the program, and for someone creeping up on 40, I think I'm doing ok.

There is still the matter of my little fat pocket on my tummy to deal with. If I can shift it or not remains to be seen, but a stricter diet from days 61 thru to 90 should tell me if there is a hope or not. Also just over a week left to go before Day 60 pictures. Exciting stuff or what.

Right, I'm gonna stop sulking and see if the weather will hold out for me to walk these dogs. Might be back with an update in a while.
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Friday, April 6, 2012

Love me or hate me...

Whatever the case, know this... Quite frankly I don't care.
Don't ask me what has brought this entry on, I'm in a good mood, and positive too. Feeling good etc. In fact maybe that's it. For the first time in a long time I'm remembering who I am, and how well I get by regardless of the challenges facing me.

So yeah, let's go with that shall we. Finally I feel strong enough to look after No1, and that is without a doubt me.

A lot has happened, some pathetic outbursts by some people aimed at me. Trying to lose me my job, trying to make me as unstable as them, or just trying to be prize c**ts. Either way, whoever you are, and whatever your aim was... YOU FAILED! Probably not for the first times in your lives either, so I'm sure failure doesn't bother you too much. But at you I laugh.

So right now, the main thing is I LOVE ME! I respect myself and know what I can achieve if I put my mind to things. Thank you to those who stand by me, and who have remained at my side through thick and thin. I am eternally grateful to you and will forever be in your debt. Unlike the other group, these people are worth my time of day, and will always receive my utmost attention.

So like I said at the start, like, love, adore, hate, detest, dislike me, whatever the case, it doesn't bother me in the slightest. As arrogant as it might sound, I am who I am, and I like who I am. I won't be changing any time soon. So stick around, or move on.

Have a nice day :) I'm gonna
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Monday, April 2, 2012

Welcome to Week 7, I'm BACK !

What can I tell you. Week 6 so me smash into 'the wall', but that was soon overcome. A mental block not a physical one was never going to stand in my way for long. Once it was dealt with and dispatched it was time to get on with a hard week ahead. Needless to say, I maintained the momentum I used to smash through the wall, and used it to carry me through the remainder of the week.
However there was one HUGE negative for the week, and that was intake. It was terrible, shocking and very poor to say the least. I wont say it impacted me too badly, there was no weight gain and no issues with training. However I got caught up in a treat cycle and has way too many treats and cheat foods. It was something I was aware that I was doing wrong, and now it is time to overcome and conquer.

So this is my intake for the coming weeks.

Obviously I will be eating more than this, but this is the bulk of it.

This week, Week 7 is the week where I start to make a real difference to myself. My intake is back on track, although quite controversial as some do not feel it offers the right nutrients to support my routine, while others think it is too junk filled. For me, I feel I have found the right balance to get me through a heavy workout, and aid weight-loss and muscle growth too. Inside and out all seems to be working well to me, so based on that I will keep going with what I know best.
In addition to this there is now the option of Creatine. I have used it before, and know what the gains are, and also what the downsides are. There has been a lot of good and bad press about the stuff over the years, but for me there were never any harsh effects. My patience can be a little shorter, and I pee a lot more on it. But other than that there was never anything to worry about for me. The interesting part will be how much MORE I can actually pee. With my current diet, and increased fluid intake, I dont think it can get much worse, but time will tell.
The upsides however, judging by the past, were always positive. Excellent recovery times, good muscle growth, and plenty of energy. These are all of course based on me training in a much more aggressive fashion and back some 15-18 years now lol. So things might have changed a little bit in my physical capabilities etc. So with this all in mind I am going to start stacking up on Creatine from tomorrow, and watching for any differences in my personality and training ability in the coming weeks. By the end of the stacking week I will be finished with the heavier part of P90X Phase 2, and will be back on to the stretch cycle. Phase 2 Week 4. So my use of it will be gentle from the start, and a gradual build up as I slip into Phase 3 of the routine. Another exciting step for me.

Speaking of exciting steps and stretch week, I finally caught on camera where I am with Yoga at the moment. One of the greatest achievements for me during P90X without a doubt it the improvement in flexibility. It is something I have always lacked, but always wanted to improve on, but I have never gotten around to doing anything about it. However as part of the P90X routine, I was finally facing a good attempt at Yoga. I have to say, of all the yoga videos I have tried in the past this is without a doubt the easiest to follow, the best thought out and the one I have managed to get up to speed with, while avoiding frustration and getting the feeling of failure. So without any further ado, here is my current stage.
Now I know its not ground breaking, and some who do yoga will scoff that its not anything spectacular. However for me, a shoulder stand is a feat in itself, let alone the added flexibility to get my legs where they are.  But it doesnt stop there for me. Now I have seen what I can do, I want more. Next step, knees down, lets see if I can get that done in the coming weeks.

Wow this entry is dragging on a bit isnt it. I guess I should wrap it up there.
Only things left to say are well done to Noel and Marsha who are working off each other as they work through Insanity. Also Baljit who is fighting her way into Insanity too. Ed who is doing his own thing but making good ground, and finally to Ivan and Laura who are making the most of the gym and fighting for fitness.
So heres to the final weeks of Phase 2, and getting things in order.