Sunday, February 20, 2011

P90X 6 Week Results + Program Change

I enjoy the P90X program quite a bit, and I think that it works very well for my body when I'm wanting to focus on increasing muscular strength.  It also has the ability to add muscular mass if that's what one is looking for, which is excellent for a home-based DVD series. 

My true focus for the first half of the year was (and still is) leaning out (i.e. reducing my level of body fat, maintaining muscle mass, improving overall health & fitness). However, I realized that I was also lacking a bit of strength. Before I could focus on leaning out, I wanted to regain some of the strength that I'd lost between Sept-Dec of 2010.  So, I chose the P90X program to help me focus on that.  I really wanted to build my strength back up and get into a more regular routine - which this rotation did all of that and more. So, in my opinion, I've accomlished my original goal 2 weeks early! I made it 6 weeks this time around, which I'm very happy with.  

P90X 6-Week Results
Overall, I'm VERY pleased with the results of the first 6 weeks of the program (but 7 calendar weeks; remember did week 5 twice). I've been so focused this week on being in a plateau that I hadn't even realized how much good progress I made. I'm proud of myself!  From a body composition point of view, here are my results: (Not bad!!)
  • Lost 13.8 pounds
  • Lost 5.5" overall
  • Lost approx 3.2% body fat (10.88 pounds of fat!!)
Since I'm now very comfortable with my current strength level and deemed my first goal met, I've decided to switch directions. I also noticed that my body hit a plateau this week, which is also a reason why I decided to change things up a bit. I tend to change workout protocols every 6-8 weeks anyway (periodization at its finest :-) ), unless I'm doing something specific like getting ready for a show. I recognize that I struggle to follow most rotations longer than 8 weeks. I tend to get bored and like to have variety in my workout regimen.

Anyway, I know what training types/styles work for my body when it's time to start leaning out and improving endurance (muscular and cardiovascular). For me, that means a high volume, high intensity protocol that consists of circuit strength training, HIIT, and cardio intervals.  More importantly, it also means following a high protein, low carbohydrate diet.  The latter is where I've been struggling over the past couple of years, for various reasons. The difference is that now I truly feel mentally strong enough to take on this challenge.  I know that transformation is largely 80% diet and 20% training. If the primary is lacking, the latter won't make up for it.  Keep it real and keep it focused.

Strategy for the next 6-8 Weeks
It's time to get more aggressive, without overtraining (which I have a tendancy to do). My planned protocol for the next 6-8 weeks is shown below. Due to my travel schedule, I plan to do 2 weeks of high volume, high frequency (similar to below), followed by 1 week of moderate volume & frequency. Then I will repeat that for a 6 week total cycle. If I'm still feeling good, I'll finish with 2 weeks of low volume/frequency training. Again, what I'm showing below (aside from the first one, which is pervasive) are objectives for the high frequency, high volume training weeks.
  • Nutrition & Hydration: CLEAN EATING spread over 5-6 meals per day with 1 Gallon water per day (minimum). Allow myself 1 off day per week (BFL style) with 1 splurge meal. Note this is not a pig out day, but a day to allow myself to eat more starchy carbohydrates; I'm also factoring in a splurge meal per week (eating out, relaxing with friends, etc.). I want to keep it reasonable with 90% compliance throughout the week. There is no need to go into pre-contest mode. Slow, steady progress with consistent eating is my focus.
  • Strength Training: 3-4 Strength Circuits per week (using Supreme 90 Day and some of my other bootcamp/strength circuit workouts). Depending on the chosen workout, the duration may last between 35-70 minutes.
  • Cardiovascular Training: 1-2 HIIT sessions per week, 1-2 kickboxing sessions per week, 2-3 steady state cardio sessions per week (i.e. done first thing in the moring or post-strength training. I find that 30-45 mins of incline walking works best for me here), 1-2 machine-based cardio intervals per week
  • Metabolic Conditioning Training: 1 full body kettlebell/TRX workout. Since it's getting warmer, I usually enjoy doing this on Saturdays outdoors.
  • Stretching: 1 long stretching session per week 
It looks like alot on paper, but it really is all about how you put it together. Yes, a few days there will be two-a-days, but some elements can be combined. For instance, HIIT followed by steady state cardio in the morning would be about an hour workout and a strength circuit or kickboxing later in the day.  It all works itself out. I'll be listening to my body, and if I feel like I'm overdoing it, then I'll move to a moderate or low volume/frequency week.  For me, it is imperative to eat properly and fuel my body, otherwise, this entire plan will be out the window. I won't have enough energy to get through it!
Time to keep on bringin' it! :-)

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