Friday, May 16, 2008

Update on reading and p90x

My heightened traveling as of late restricts my spare time, so here's an update on the books I've been reading.

While I read Steven Erikson's desultory GARDENS OF THE MOON and Cruise's soapy-strictly-for-juvenile-girls WELCOME TO TEMPTATION, it was rejuvenating to re-read Hunter's RULES OF SEDUCTION (*****) and re-re-read STEALING HEAVEN (*****). I always seem to rely on Madeline Hunter to restore my faith in substantive romance. Have to say, didn't like RULES OF SEDUCTION as much second time around, but boy is STEALING HEAVEN special. The unique rivalry and passion between STEALING HEAVEN's leads in the midst of a compelling historical backdrop reinforces a very special reading experience.

So a colleague recently loaned me Tony Horton's P90X discs. Although I consider myself fit (I work out and lift daily no matter my traveling schedule), hearing (and seeing) my friend's experiences with the program enticed me. Now I'm only on Day 2 of the 90-day program, but holy shit, is this intense! They tagged the 'X' at the end of P90X for eXtreme, and they weren't kidding! I avoid cardio exercises and I usually don't work my legs, but today's 1-hour Plyometrics program (a bona fide cardio routine involving high-impact jump training) really exposed my weak legs. Now before Day 1, I had done the Ab Ripper X twice and Shoulders and Arms already just get a feel for the routines and they didn't disappoint. The videos show you how to proceed if you're just starting out so I'd say anyone could jump into this program. Whether you want to simply lose weight, get lean, or bulk up, I'd say you could make it work for you as long as you have a goal in mind. I thought Tony Horton does a good job motivating and pushing you to the extreme as well. The program recommends purchasing supplements separately specifically designed for P90X exercises (this is a business after all), but I have my own vitamins, minerals, and protein bars. I may look into their recovery drink however.

As for the exercises, you'll need about an hour to an hour-and-a-half daily. I travel quite a bit, but with resistance bands, I can do most of the work outs from a hotel room. There's 12 different exercises, and you follow a daily schedule. I officially started yesterday (Thurs., May 15, 2008) and if I don't miss any days, I'll end Wednesday, August 13th. Like I mentioned earlier though, I did the Ab Ripper twice and Shoulders and Arms prior to Day 1.

Day 1 involves Chest & Back (~1 hour) and Ab Ripper X (~20 min). I could do about 2 front pull-ups and 6 reverse-grip chin-ups, so obviously my back needs a lot of work too. Unlike other Ab routines, P90X's Ab Ripper X is more core-oriented and I could feel it in my hips and thighs quite a bit. Taking Tony's advise, I paused during the Chest & Back exercise and took longer breaks. I even went back to do some things over until I was satisfied.

Today's exercise -- Plyometrics -- really killed me. Since I wasn't big on cardio and legs to begin with, this routine seriously challenged my endurance. Let's just say the pause button was my best friend, I could barely keep up, and my coordination left something to be desired.

I'm looking forward to Day 3 (tomorrow): Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper X.

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