Sunday, January 10, 2010

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 fa├žade 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!

4 comments:

  1. Very exciting! I am so proud of you! You have come a long way, baby. I love who you are, where you are and where you are going. I look forward to standing behind you along your journey. ~ Namaste & xoxo

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  2. Okay, so I cried my way through reading this. Totally inspirational!!! I'm so proud of you. I know what it takes to make the change - - - as you know - - - I've been there and felt it. It was so nice to read about your journey!!!! I can't wait to keep following.

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  3. Thank you Bonne! That means a lot to me. As you know, the whole experience is quite emotional but having people like you to support me and others makes it much easier. I'm glad you like my blog. Thank you for being there.

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