Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A little snag...

It's been a while since I have posted. The second phase of P90X went pretty well but I was soon held back due to some personal issues. I have faced a pretty emotional situation at home and it has affected my motivation and has derailed my focus. I have taken about a week off of exercise all together. It's probably a good thing because when I do start back it will be exciting and my body will respond pretty quickly showing results faster. I can see some light at the end of the tunnel but I am not quite there yet. My mind and body will let me know when it's time to bring it again. I plan to finish out the last phase of P90X but I do not expect the results I had hoped for in the beginning. I have seen some great gains thus far as I am stronger and quicker. After this small journey I will continue to do P90X and mix in some type of hard core MMA type training (if P90X isn't hard enough). I will focus more on core strength and losing more body fat. I plan to share more workout tips and videos that I find here and there. I can't wait.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Up and Down

Tonight was a great motivational workout. Let me back up for a minute. I went to the gym yesterday to have one of the personal trainers give me a body fat analysis test. I also weighed myself. I am 160 lbs. and my body fat percentage is 14. I was quite pleased with these readings. The 14 percent body fat was in the high/good range. The trainer congratulated me and told me I was doing great. Well, that made my day. My goal is to get down to about 11 percent body fat. So I'm not that far away but there is still a lot of work ahead of me. But, despite the great news, I became discouraged that evening. This is a problem that I face from time to time and I was just riding a high wave about looking forward to the future a few days ago. I was getting educated on the 52nd Grammy awards when my mind started wandering off. I saw all these artists on stage performing and accepting awards. I started thinking to myself, "man these folks are lucky and seem to have all the confidence and talent in the world to make it to such a place". I began to question my talents and felt I wasn't doing much with them. All this negative reflection leaked into my positive fitness experiences and I became discouraged. I was like, "ahhh!" Anyhow, I decided to go to sleep and wake up to a new day and yet another new start. As the day wore on, I started regaining my focus. I wanted to push play and work out and I wanted to take hold of myself again. I know everyone has their off days but they really suck. I remembered what I said about looking forward to the future and got back on track.

Well, my new motivation today came in two doses. First, I am proud to say that I completed Plyometrics for the first time right along side the DVD! I didn't take any modifications this time and totally kept up with Tony and the gang. I was ecstatic! This was a great boost in my confidence level and really started to show my progress. This was a life saver because I also was kind of ill about my first 30 day results. My 30 day pics didn't really show much difference. The good thing is I read some great tips on how to succeed with P90X and found one article talking about the 2nd phase of the program is where the big results kick in. I'm hoping to see those but have to keep in mind that this goes beyond 90 days and I am unique. What may work for some, may not work for others. The other dose of motivation came from watching Dr. OZ. There was a young kid who took control of his life by himself. He realized he was obese and unhealthy and looked with in himself to find the courage and motivation to make some really big life saving changes. I wish everyone could have heard his story and heard his words of encouragement. His body age was 14 (he's 20 year old!) and his blood pressure dropped tremendously. He also lost over a hundred some odd pounds. But the big thing was his body fat percentage. He is 6'4" with a body fat percentage of 16. Dr. Oz said that was really good and that even a lot of athletes don't achieve that. I figured at 14 percent body fat at 5'7" was pretty damn good, especially considering I used to be like all fat. 14 percent puts me in the healthy range. The guest's story was inspiring and just reiterated that I am doing great and will keep on trucking.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Looking Ahead

P90X has reminded me to look to the future and never look back. Now that phase one is complete, I can now focus on phase two and more results. I often times tend focus too much on what I didn’t accomplish rather than what I have accomplished. Getting rid of that last little bit of belly fat is very annoying. You know, the kind that covers up that last few lower abs and those V shaped torso lines. I keep telling myself to be patient. With this being a recovery week, ending phase one, I have felt that I haven’t focused as much except on the day when I did Kenpo X. I struggled through Yoga X because I had a cold and couldn’t breathe right. I was weak too. My core synergistics DVD is scratched and messes up at the last 20 minutes. So, it has been a bit of an off week but a learning lesson. I have noticed some results in the first 30 days (I will take my 30 day pics this weekend) and I shall use that for motivation. I’m excited about phase two and ready to get back to some resistance training. I may try to purchase some weights before I start on Monday. My resistance bands are crappy. I also read some threads on beachbody.com’s message boards and found some people see some bigger results during phase two going into phase 3. I’ll keep tackling the nutrition plan and do my thing. I’ll take it day by day and give it my all. Too often people seem to stay in a rut because they can’t get over the past. My new focus will be to always look ahead but never forget where I have been. Change can be made and it starts with one’s self. I thought I new my fitness level before I started P90X and I did to some extent but results really can’t be 100% seen and need to be shown from the numbers. I will do as I should have done to begin with and measure, weigh and see where I stand doing various exercises. It’s the fitness test of the program. I knew I could pass the test but now I need to really get the numbers down. And, lying about it will not help. Fudging the numbers only create a false account of one’s fitness level and or results. So get out of the rut, look ahead to a bright new future or like Outkast says, “you need to get up, get out and get something”.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Interesting Video

As I was researching the side effects of artificial sweeteners, I came across a great video that thoroughly explains how acidic the Western American diet is.  I’m sure it is no secrete but I didn’t know much about it until now.  Artificial sweeteners tie into this because they are highly acidic.  When the body’s pH levels are out of wack, it has to pull nutrients from other sources to balance it out.  According to the video, the thyroid thrives off of iodine.  Well, if the body has to pull this nutrient from the body to balance it then the thyroid isn’t going to work properly which in turn could cause weight gain.  It’s very interesting.  Nutrients are also stripped from bone and could cause the bone to weaken and develop osteoporosis.  I’m sure there are a million other side effects of high acid levels in the body.  With all this new and exciting information, I have started seeing various food items in a whole new light.  Every time I see someone use an artificial sweetener in his or her coffee, I just want to cringe.  As bad as I want to say something, I feel it is not my place.  Every time I even think of pre-packaged foods like cereals and chips, my mind interprets them as poison.  Doing my P90X workouts has also contributed to this new mind set.  Now don’t get me wrong, and this is where a lot of people make assumptions, I’ll take a pinch of this or that to indulge but for the most part, it’s hard for me to even reach for the stuff.  It has taken many years to get to this point and it will take more time to fully get on a clean, poisonless food plan.  I have been coffee free for a week now and can’t say that I miss it.  Coffee is also acidic.  I had some peppermint tea this weekend, which was really good as it soothed my semi sore throat.  That was pretty rare, as I usually don’t care for hot tea.  Now people might think that I’m crazy but who cares?  Many people are naïve to the fact that there are poisons in our food.  I used to be one of them.  I think what really made me turn my thinking around is this scenario.  If a person’s body was at a perfect pH level and was untouched with any foods or ailments then they would be the healthiest anyone could possibly be.  Yeah, there are other factors like genes and other outside things that could affect the body but even a lot of these things would be warded off because the immune system would be a killer.  Now, there is a perfect human specimen, untouched and in perfect health.  When he or she begins to eat food, the body now has to work to digest that food and take in its nutrients.  If those foods are highly acidic then the body has to pull from other sources just to balance the pH level.  So now we have a weaker body.  One can see what happens when people continue to fill their bodies with poisons over time as people continue to get sicker and sicker.  It is sad to me and I’m sad to have seen myself in that predicament when I look at old photos.  I think the world could be a much happier place with healthy people.  The mood would be entirely different.  All I can do is continue to work on myself and maybe help some people along the way.  Every little bit helps.

Here is the video:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tough Times, Tough People

My employer recently switched the company’s email to Google. I wasn’t too fond of it at first but as I came to know the program more, I started liking it. One of the features I love most is the ticker that periodically changes with quotes, news headlines and various other topics. Well, today I noticed a quote by Robert H. Schuller that I really like. He said, “Tough times never last but tough people do”. I think what I love about it most is how it implies that no matter what, if one can build themselves up to be strong then they can accomplish a lot. When it comes to fitness and health, this quote could not be any more perfect. The decision to make a lifestyle change is very hard. There are a lot of realizations one must go through to be able to free their mind to make such a drastic change. But, once they do, they seem to really enjoy the benefits. Once I got into my new routines, it did become easier but there was a point where I had to really dig down and stay with it. This was my tough time but I give myself credit for being an even tougher person. I survived it and I’m still here! I still have tough times in various aspects of my journey but being where I am today mentally really helps me be even tougher. I just completed my second week of P90X. Whooo Hoooo! I had been looking for some new motivation and found it with P90X. So, needless to say, I was amped and ready to go. The first week I worked really hard, primarily getting the routines down, which is suggested in the DVDs. But, my determination kicked in and I really pushed myself. The second week was a little better because I knew the routines and I could focus more on pushing myself. I felt like I wanted to throw up one time but with a little breathing and mind control, I was able to get passed it. I am now more motivated then ever. I did 14 pull-ups! At the start of the first week I did 12. Not bad eh? I’m also working on getting the nutrition plan down more accurately. So, on top of the excitement I have due to my results, this quote will motivate me even more. During every work out, as I’m straining and feeling the burn and wanting to give up, I will think about this quote and tell myself that this burn and strain will not last forever but if I stay tough physically and mentally I will be here standing tall at the end of 90 days and beyond.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Obsess Much?

Around the time I started my fitness journey, I started getting flack from various people.  Looking back on it today, I realized how unhappy these particular people were and I now have sympathy for them.  Some have actually changed since then and some are still in the same predicament.  It used to bother me pretty badly but it didn’t last for long.  I always go back to one’s environment/surroundings.  At the time, I was associated with people that didn’t care about health and fitness.  When I started to change, I was kind of an outcast.  I would get made fun of in a way and all sorts of comments flew out of folk’s mouths.  If a group of people threw in some cash for lunch, I would order something healthy.  Or, if there was a potluck type of gathering, people would say stuff like, “I can make a cake but Wallace won’t eat it.  Maybe I can throw some spinach in it to make it healthy”.  It only got worse before it got better.  Often times people would tell me that I was obsessed with eating healthy or obsessed with working out because I went six days a week.  It even got to the point where people would try and sabotage my food by lying about what was in it (if someone else made it for a group).  They would watch me eat it and then kind of snicker.  Pretty bad huh?  Me giving up alcohol was another bad one.  I think the thing that got me the most was people telling me I was obsessed.  I would always wonder what the hell was wrong with people.

Believe it or not, a t-shirt answered my question.  I was talking with my brother and law about the gym and how everyone seemed to have a problem with what I was doing.  He totally understood being somewhat in my same position.  While he was in the gym one day, he said he saw the best t-shirt.  It said, “lazy people see dedication as an obsession”.  I started thinking about everyone who were hating on me and figured that most of them were in fact lazy (lets say “inactive” to be nice) or just jealous.  At that point, I began to feel better about those folks and was able to respond a lot better to those situations.  Funny thing is, some of those folks have made a change and are doing the same thing they said I was “obsessing” about.  I don’t hold any grudges what so ever and are more than willing to help them along their journey.  Why would I do the same thing they did to me when it hurt me so much?  Anybody that is willing to make a change for the better needs nothing but support and instead of egos and jealousy getting in their way, they should simply be happy for that person and be there in time of need.  Hell, people that are even digressing need support.  Fitness and health has even made me tougher mentally and emotionally and being tougher in those two areas makes me feel like I can do anything.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


So my wife has this thing where she draws a word on a little piece of paper from a small bowl everyday.  The words consist of all sorts of things from love, purification, serenity, courage et cetera.  Whichever word she draws becomes the focus of the day.  I started doing this today and drew the word purification.  I started thinking about it and tried to determine how I could focus on this word all day.  Purification to me is a long-term process but I realized that the purpose of this exercise is to be reminded of things people often times forget.  I talked about one’s surroundings/environment in my about me section.  I feel that I have purified myself a good bit over the years getting rid of all the negativity in my life.  This was one of the steps that allowed me to grow as an individual.  It’s often hard to see through the fog of negativity when one’s surroundings are also filled with negativity.  Stepping out of the fog automatically relinquished some of the things I did not like about myself.  I started to think more clearly and really focus on what I really wanted without worrying about what others would think.  Of course, health was one of those things.

One aspect of myself that I work on everyday is patience and it definitely goes hand in hand (amongst just about everything else) with fitness and health. The one thing I used to love about fad diets was the quick results.  I hated the foods but loved the results.  I was included in the category of people that didn’t think anything else could work.  It would take a couple of diets to realize this approach was horrible and very ineffective.   I remember losing about 45 pounds doing the Atkins Diet.  I was on cloud 9 for a while but fell off of that cloud shortly after when I gained 55 or so pounds, an increase of 10 pounds!  So instead of losing weight I actually gained weight.  Isn’t that the opposite of what everyone wants to accomplish?  Well, once I was able to purify myself of all the gimmicks and quick fixes, I had to face the fact that this was going to be a lifestyle change.  It had to be.  I had no choice (well, I did have a choice but if I wanted to be happier I had to choose my health).

It would take some getting used to and a lot of hard work and research but I kept my eyes on the prize so to speak.  One motivation, as is for a lot of people, I used was visualizing myself in pictures on the beach with my shirt off.  Every time I did, I just wanted to go sprint around the block.  I couldn’t believe I had let myself go like that.  Even though it would take a little longer to see initial results with the whole “it’s a lifestyle change” approach, the way that I got there made me feel so different.  I just had a better outlook on life in general.  I stopped trying to get things I wanted so quickly and realized I had to work for them.  In doing so, the reward was that much more rewarding.  At that point, I knew this journey would be a good one.  In doing P90X, my patience is tested everyday.  The workouts are so rigorous and being well into my second week, one would think I was already ripped.  Not the case.  I know I will get there and have to stay focused.  If anyone out there is thinking about P90X or any workout regimen, then I suggest purifying the mind first and everything else will fall into place.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Show Up!

As I was doing my workout tonight, I heard Tony Horton (P90X instructor) say something that made me think.  His basic premise was to inspire people to not give up.  No matter how hard the workout may seem, he says to keep pushing play and show up.  This has helped me tremendously.  There have been many times that I did not feel like going to the gym but I would at least pull in the parking lot and at that point it was like, "your here, you might as well do something".  Not showing up would mean beating myself up for it later on and feeling like crap.  Everyone has off days but the effort one puts out goes a long way.  I love this aspect of the P90X program.  I can do what I can and the dvds really motivate me to try harder and really push myself.  I have even let out a few screams here and there trying to get through those last few reps.  Man, you talk about a stress reliever.

I found that I was a little weaker tonight during my workout (I did the chest and back dvd).  At first I was a little bummed about it but I figured it was just an off night.  Even though I waited at least 45 minutes after dinner to start my workout, I still think I jumped the gun a little bit and should have waited a little longer.  I dunno, turkey doesn't seem to be a good thing to have in your stomach before working out either.  But anyhow, I actually did pretty good.  I did at least what I did the first week I did this workout and I even did a few more reps than I did before.  Keeping track of my reps for each exercise is where it's at.  When I look at what I did before, I just want to push myself that much harder to beat myself out.  Great motivation.  I will do Plyometrics tomorrow, which is very challenging.  Hell, all these workouts are hard but I'm down for the challenge.

The Premise

After many Facebook wall posts, I was encouraged to start a blog about my P90X workout experience. So, here I am. I started a blog a few years ago and I kept up with it for a couple of entries and either lost interest or got real busy. I dunno. Maybe it was because of both reasons. Either way, I’m interested again. Even though P90X is a ninety day routine, I hope to continue this blog beyond that. I often find myself questioning the purpose of me starting a blog but I figured if my story inspires just one person then it would have been worth all the time and effort.

A little bit about myself:

My name is Wallace. I live in Georgia. I’m married. I have two wonderful kids and two dogs. I grew up struggling with self-esteem issues primarily due to being over weight (there were other factors as well but I’ll spare the details). My family was always on the go. We moved a gagillion times before we found a house we could live in for more than a year. Lucky for me, I was able to attend the same high school all four years. We didn’t have a lot of money and health wasn’t even remotely brought up. My diet consisted of Hamburger Helper, Manwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, cereal, pastries, Oreos and Fig Newtons. Now, there were times when we would have a nice meal entailing some kind of healthy food item but we often found ways to make it unhealthy via lots of ketchup, salt, butter, dressing et cetera. Living with grandma for a while really didn’t help. We often ate nacho bell grandes from Del Taco and would follow it up with some Mayfield ice cream that was rarely absent or some Little Debbies and Dr. Pepper. As one could imagine, this type of diet only incurred a constant increase in weight.

Growing into my teenage years, I began to become really self-conscious of my appearance. I often shorted myself in life because I didn’t have the confidence to try new things. If I did try new things, they wouldn’t last very long. I also compared myself to others, which is very unhealthy to do. It would take many more years, about twelve from the time I was eighteen, a wife and kids until I realized that I really need to, as Tony Horton says in the P90X series, do my best and forget the rest. The biggest factor that aided this realization was removing myself from negative people and negative environments. They say that you are a product of your surroundings and I couldn’t agree more. Often times it seemed hard to cut off communications with some of my “friends” but doing it in baby steps helped ease the guilt. Once it was done, I felt twenty pounds lighter. I searched for people that didn’t have a problem with actually supporting me in my endeavors, especially losing weight and eating healthy. Most negative, stuck up people often times want others to partake in their misery to make themselves feel better. I was guilty of this many times. I loved to see people fail because I failed. Damn, that sounds horrible but it’s the truth. Once positive people and a strong support group surrounded me, I started loving myself more, which is another big factor that changed my life. I’ll never forget seeing LL Cool J on the Tyra Banks show one day. I guess they were talking about how he stays so positive and he said that one must realize their value. Something clicked in my head. I scanned my life in my mind and found that I never felt valuable. I had so many issues from the past and those issues fogged up my brain to where I couldn’t see much value. I began to realize that I am important. I’m important to my family and to my friends. I have a purpose. Opening this new door in my life has set my soul free. Yes, there will always be ways to improve but now those improvements can be made with confidence and persistence. There is nothing holding me back. I have grown wiser in my age and finally see what is most important to me. The world that we see today is a façade to me. Life is held with in my mind, body and soul and nobody can take that from me. This realization has made life a bit easier. My vitality is much higher now and to me, vitality is life.

My fitness Crusade:

It’s hard to tell a “little bit” about myself because my journey has been pretty complicated. It’s also hard to explain mental growth. It all started in March of 2008. I was the heaviest I have ever been weighing in at 215 lbs. I’m only 5’6” and with that kind of weight on a 5’6” medium size frame is considered obese. I was on cholesterol medicine and pretty much had no energy to speak of. My blood pressure was usually normal until one day when I checked it at one of those blood pressure stands in the grocery store. Seeing I was out of the normal range was the final straw that broke the camels back. My dear mom had open-heart surgery years prior and I could not stand to see her in ICU. The image of her in pain raced across my mind as the numbers flashed up on the blood pressure machine. I knew I had to do something. I’m not a big fan of excuses and I’m particularly not a big fan of medications when the ailment can be remedied naturally. I remembered reading some great information in a book I purchased some years back called the Ab Diet by David Zinczenko, editor of Men’s Health Magazine. Not only does it talk about blood pressure but it also provides a very in depth look at what it calls power foods and a whole workout routine to go with it. Basically, following it’s guideline can help reduce things such as high blood pressure and cholesterol and various other cardiac associated diseases. I would start the program immediately.

I stuck with the Abs Diet premise for a while but had to switch up my workout routine frequently to get over plateaus. I still follow the diet portion of the book but loosely (there is a list of 12 power foods and it’s up to one’s imagination on how to combine them all). It’s sad that it took something like high blood pressure and many years of depression to get serious about my health. It could have been worse though. I am a lucky man.

After only a few months, I began to see great results. I was loosing weight, gaining energy and slowly starting to be more confident and happy. At this point, I started focusing on my mental health. I began to realize that this was it. This was the time that I was going to make a big change, a lifestyle change. After all the crash diets, pills and gimmicks that failed me in the past, this was going to work. I had to do this for myself and doing so also benefited my family. It’s quite rewarding. After about a year or so, I weighed in at 155 lbs., my blood pressure was back to normal (it actually reverted back to a normal state way before that) and I stopped taking cholesterol medicine (there has recently been new information I have obtained questioning the approved number range that ones cholesterol should be in. I’m skeptical but that is another topic). All the work I was doing to transform my life was starting to become as routine as brushing my teeth. I now have goals of reducing my body fat even more and gaining muscle. Today I weigh in at 162 lbs. and it’s not fat my friends. It will be two years in March since I shed my old skin and I plan to celebrate when that time comes.

People always ask me, “What did you do?”:

Often times, when I see people that I haven’t seen in while, they are shocked by the way I now look. They remember the big, unhealthy Wallace. After all the compliments, the question of what did you do always comes up. I usually respond by saying, I got right mentally and stopped trying all the quick fixes along with changing the foods that I eat. About 50% of the time I get that baffled, confused scrunched up face. People are just so confused at the fact that I didn’t do the new diet fad. I’m not surprised either because I did the same thing. I finally realized through experience and age that instant gratification is not always the best way to go and neither is convenience. There is nothing like conquering a goal and looking back and saying, “damn, I did that?”. If I’m asked to provide advice to someone on how to do what I have done, I tell him or her to get right mentally, be in it for the rest of your life, stop making excuses and love yourself. And, if you don’t do those things then stop your bitching and moaning. I’ll never forget what one of my high school Spanish teachers would tell me. She said, “Can’t means you won’t”. That has stuck with me ever since and it has helped me achieve my success. Thanks Ms. Wild. I also can’t stress enough how important it is to be surrounded by positive, supportive people. It made all the difference in the world. My new confidence level has allowed me to turn all the hater’s comments into fuel and motivation. I remember that all the hate is just a cry to be in my shoes.

P90X: The New Motivation

I also read Men’s Health cover model Owen McKibben’s book called, “The Cover Model Workout”. In it, he advises people to gain motivation wherever it can be acquired, whether it’s fitting into a new bikini or wearing an old pair of jeans from high school. Everyday I find my motivation just by looking at my wife and kids. They need me. But, often times I need to look at my fitness goals and find motivation from other people interested in fitness and health. There a thousand different ways to challenge the body and I enjoy exploring different avenues. I heard of P90X about a year or so ago and found it a lot more appealing than any other infomercial that I have seen. I’m not into the gimmicky machines and various other apparatuses that guarantee crazy results in only a few days. P90X requires a lot of work and motivation and I felt that it was time for me to step it up, especially if I wanted to get a six pack or do something crazy like the human flag. So, here I am.

I am into the first week of it and I have surprisingly done pretty well. It’s been a test to gauge my fitness level and I’m not sad to say where I stand. That alone is motivation. What I like most about the program is that it has a finite time frame of 90 days and it incorporates twelve different workouts to not only break up the monotony of doing the same thing everyday but it also challenges the muscles by shocking them with different movements conquering the plateaus most people encounter. I can’t wait to get to the end of the program to test its claims. I’m excited about it. The program offers all the supplements and equipment needed to do the exercises but are somewhat expensive, especially when shipping and handling is factored in. I have acquired various workout tools over the past year and had everything to start the workouts except supplements. I’m creating my own concoctions of pre and post workout drinks that have always worked for me. It has also saved me lots of money. A nutrition guide is also provided and it is definitely loaded with all kinds of foods to eat and the good thing for me is I buy most of the stuff anyway. To anyone else who isn’t in my situation, I highly recommend cleaning out your cupboards and starting over. This is, however, a lifestyle change.

The workouts are rigorous and are geared to people that are somewhat fit but this isn’t to say people should be scared of it. I think it comes down to how much will power and confidence one has to stay focused and believe that they can do it. The results will be worth all the pain : ) At the same time, if someone is really unfit then they may want to put this program on the back burner and start with something a lot easier. Baby steps folks, baby steps.

Week 1:

This week has been awesome. It’s been a lot of work but it has been awesome. I’m doing the doubles portion of the program, which entails three days of cardio on top of the daily workout. It will require four days of cardio later on, whewww! Anyhow, when I do the workout in the morning it gives me so much energy for the rest of the day. This is primarily the workout that does not include weights or resistance bands. I like doing those in the afternoon because I feel stronger then. There are a lot of pull-ups and chin-ups involved in the workouts. I can’t wait to see how many I can do at the end of the program. Right now I can do about 12 to 14 underhand chin-ups and about 12 overhand pull-ups. I don’t own any weights but I do have resistance bands and those seem to work very well. They are cheaper too. Hmmm, let’s see. What else? I think that is it for now. On to week 2! Wish me luck!