Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PDFs for P90X Portion Approach

I've had several questions on how to follow the nutrition plan easier.  Here is a video on what I did:

The PDFs below are based on Level II eating.

Phase I Grid - click to download

Phase II Grid - click to download

Phase III Grid - click to download

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What to eat - How to follow the P90X Portion Approach

Here's a blog on the foods I eat and how I follow the P90X Portion Approach.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Full Range of Motion Pullups and their Importance

This video discusses why it's important to use 100% full range of motion pullups - and why going slower and doing fewer reps can get you better results.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Supplements That I Take

I've been getting a lot of questions on Facebook on the supplements I take and when...this video should sum it up for everyone.

Shakeology Breakfast Challenge

Ok.  I'm 45 days into the Shakeology Breakfast Challenge and I have to admit that i'm hooked.  My energy levels are higher, appetite is lower and craving less foods.  I also think i've gotten leaner.  The shakes taste very good and I actually look forward to my breakfast every day.

So, I definitely put my seal of approval on Shakeology and recommend it to anyone who is looking for the best meal-replacement shake on the market.  It does what it claims and is worth every penny.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

30-Day Shakeology Breakfast Challenge

Ok.  For those of you who don't know, and just for the record... I recently became a Beachbody "Coach".  Basically what that means is I'm a P90X freak and now if I recommend that or another Beachbody product or supplement I can make a little commission on the sale. 

I'm kind of jaded when it comes to recommending things for others to buy.  I only like to recommend things i've tried or I know work.  P90X, Insanity and Tony Horton One on Ones are awesome.  They will turn you into a ripped SOB!  So I figure I like the workouts so much, I'm going to try their supplement line.

That being said, one of Beachbody's most popular supplements is something called "Shakeology".  Now I've never taken Shakeology on any sort of regular basis and I just can't promote something that I have no experience with....that's not how I roll.  So I am going to start drinking a "Shakeology" shake every day for breakfast for the next 30 days.  I figure I'm a pretty dang fit guy already and if I can tell a difference in my appetite, energy and overall health taking the stuff...it has to be pretty awesome.

So why am I doing this?  Well, I met some really cool other coaches on Facebook and they couldn't believe that I had never really tried the stuff, so they sent me a sample and a recipe on how to blend it properly.  I had one of the samples for breakfast and when 10:00am hit (which is my normal snack time and usually i'm starving to death), I didn't even feel hungry...I couldn't believe it.  Then I realized it was probably because Shakeology has over 70 whole food ingredients and many other nutrients that naturally curb your appetite by providing the nutrients your body is craving...So taking one sample shake for breakfast for ONE DAY really made think "DAMN"  I need to buy this stuff and work it into my overall nutrition.

Here is the kicker...Beachbody is so confident that you will be happy with Shakeology that they offer a money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied!  This is straight from their website:

30-Day Money Back Guarantee

If you don’t start to see and feel the benefits of Shakeology within the first month of using it, or if you're not 100% satisfied for any reason, just return it within 30 days for a full refund of the purchase price, less s&h—guaranteed. That's our promise to you.

So I will be trying to chronicle my first 30 days on the Shakeology Breakfast Challenge and let everyone know the final result and if I will put my seal of approval on this product.  So all my readers can wait for my resutls, or try it with me for the next 30-days risk free...Just visit the link below to learn more and order it up!


Friday, May 14, 2010

The Skinny on Supplements

Here is a basic idea on when to take some of the most popular supplements:  Creatine/P90X Recovery Drink, Glutamine, and Whey Protein

Best taken 1/2 hour or so BEFORE a workout and again RIGHT after a workout.

What I do is take a creatine/juice/protein drink about a half hour before a workout and than another shake or P90X Recovery Drink right after.

This "bracketing" technique helps set up an anabolic (muscle-building) state for your muscles and helps prevent muscle breakdown from a workout (catabolism).

Other than these 2 opportune times, you can add another creatine serving or two any time throughout the day.

I usually recommend 25 to 30 grams of creatine on a loading phase and 10-20 grams a day on a maintenance phase.


Definitely take glutamine right before bed.

This is where the overwhelming research shows the value of glutamine raising Growth Hormone levels significantly by taking 5 grams before bed.

Also, another great time is upon waking, when your muscles have been without significant nutrition for up to 6-8 hours.

Another good time for glutamine is about a half hour or hour after working out.

This helps in the recovery/recuperation process from demanding workouts.


The best times to take ANY protein drink or protein supplements are as follows.

I've listed them in order of importance, so based upon your affordability, start at the top of the list and work down.

1. Most important time---right after a workout.

Your muscles are like a sponge and need instant nutrition for muscle recovery and growth.

2. Right before bed.

You're about to sleep for 6 to 8 hours. That's a long time without protein.
Could you imagine going throughout your day (when awake) not eating 6 to 8 hours?
Right before bed is important.

3. Right upon waking.
Same thing, you've just gone 6 to 8 hours without proper nutrition. Your body needs protein quick.

4. Half hour before a workout.
This sets up the "anabolic window" before your workout and provides your muscles with adequate nutrition so that the effects of weight training

(weight training breaks down muscle--called catabolic)

are not as severe.

These are the best times for protein. It can be regular whole food or protein supplements, again, based on your affordability. Protein supplements may be better than whole food in these times because its digested quicker. But start at the top and work down.

If you can afford 4 servings, you'll really notice the difference in muscle gains and fat loss.

I hope this article helped shed some light on when to take the 3 most important supplements for gaining mass and strength:

Protein, creatine, and glutamine.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How To Follow the P90X Nutrition Plan at Work

So many people struggle with following the Nutrition plan...we know that.  So if it's hard to follow at home..how the heck are we supposed to follow it at work?  I have come up with three key factors that make it possible to follow the Nutrition plan where ever you go...even at work.  No Excuses People!!!
  1. Plan Ahead
  2. Stay Dedicated
  3. Count Calories in an Emergency

Planning is crucial to sticking to the nutrition plan and maximizing your results.  Planning can include packing yourself a healthy (P90X approved) lunch and bringing it in a cooler.  Planning can include knowing your options at the company dining center and choosing the foods that fit your nutrition goals.  Planning also includes knowing if you'll be going out to eat with colleagues, or friends and making a concious effort to order healthy off of the menu along with educating yourself on how to do so.  So, plan ahead people...don't let your results suffer because of poor planning.

It's easy to slip-up.  It's easy to be tempted.  However, if you want the 6-pack abs and ripped chest and biceps, you need to stay dedicated to the nutrition plan.  This means packing a lunch, choosing healthy options and keeping your goals in mind!

There are going to be times when you just CAN NOT STICK TO THE PLAN.  Holidays, birthdays, and bachelor parties etc.  You need to live your life and have fun.  If you don't have fun, your 90 day journey will be just that.  90 days of hard work when it should have been 90 days that becomes a lifestyle.  That being said, say you go out for pizza with the boys.  Don't eat 6 slices.  Eat 2 slices, look up the calories on the internet and make sure you stay within your calorie limit for the day.

I occasionally go out for pizza or fast food.  When I get home, I just mark those calories down and adjust the rest of my meals accordingly.  It helps me keep my sanity and makes my P90X+Nutrition journey more of a lifestyle than just strictly a 90-day flash in the pan.

This is an example of what I ate at work today:

Snack - Protein Shake (bring your powder in a small tupperware or plastic bag)
Lunch - Packed from Home
  • Turkey Sandwhich on whole wheat bread with lettuce
  • Apple
  • Skim Cheesestick
  • Mixed Veggies in a tupperware
Snack - Protein Bar

That's it...simple lunch that takes me 5 minutes to pack and keeps me 100% on the Phase II eating plan.  So just remember..if you want results...and I mean kick-ass, jaw dropping, holy crap that dude is ripped results...there are NO EXCUSES!  BRING IT!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Full Range of Motion - Yeah, I'ts Important!

I was reading Muscle and Body magazine yesterday and came across an article that screamed "P90X".  The article was about the best way to build thick mass and discussed whether or not to increase weight, reps, or number of exercises.  However, after reading the entire article, a few principles that Tony harps on us everyday were pointed out as most important.

  1. Use FULL RANGE OF MOTION to fatigue the maximum number of muscle fibers
    Using full range of motion causes you to recruit (and fatigue) the muscle fibers along the entire length of the muscle, not just in the middle ranges where the muscles are the strongest; more muscle fibers used = bigger muscles.
  2. Make sure to achieve a noticable BURN AND MUSCLE PUMP
    We all know Tony says to make sure the last three reps are tough whether you're doing 8-12 reps or 12-15...the last 3 need to be TOUGH!  Remember, being able to contract at the top and stretch completely at the bottom will pump your muscles to their fullest extent.
To quote Muscle and Body
"Interestingly, it's the eccentric portion of the movement (where the muscle is stretching as you resist the weight's return to the starting position) that stimulates the greatest muscle growth" 
This means go all the way up, and control the movement on the way down!

So make sure that when you're doing your curls, pull-ups etc...you listen to Tony when he says "All the way up, All the way down"  You may not be able to do as many reps this way, but trust me, you'll be more fatigued, have a bigger pump, and your muscles will grow more than if you only go 1/2 way down.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Intensifying the Pull-up!

Ok..this post is NOT intended for the newbies - heck, it's not even intended for graduates.  It's intended for the best of the best (or anyone aspiring to be the best).  If you think you're a bad ass (or think you're a potential bad ass), then keep reading.  With a little inspiration from my man Joshua Miller I decided to dedicate this post and a few videos on how to intensify what I consider one of the two staple moves of P90X - THE PULL-UP. (the other staple is the push-up)

Now many of you out there may be very far away from performing any of these moves, but i'm going to post this as inspiration for many, and practicality for few on just how big of a bad ass you can be from doing P90X.  I know there alot of bad asses on Youtube that do these moves...Difference is I'm like you guys..I finished the program and this is what P90X did for me.

The Following moves will be discussed below with along with a video to demonstrate:
  1. Wide Grip L Pull-up (thanks josh)
  2. L Chin-up/Pull-Up (From P90X+)
  3. Slow Motion Switch Grip Pull-up/Chin-Up (not recommended for doorway bars)
  4. Slow Motion Pull-Up/Chin-up
  5. Clap Pull-up (not recommended for doorway bars - thanks josh)
  6. Weighted Pull-up
  7. Towel Pulley Pull-Up
*the videos ended up pretty dark, so i'm going to try re-shoot them shortly.

Clap Pull-Up
Do standard width pullups.  Explode up and release the bar, add a clap and grab the bar before you crash on the floor.

L Chin-Up
Grab the bar with wrists facing you.  Hold your legs straight out and make an "L" with your body.

Slow Motion Pull-Up
Easy, 5 second count on the way up, and 5 second count on the way down.

Wide Front L Pull-Up (props to Josh Miller for showing me this one)
Same as L Chin-up, only with a wide-front grip

Slow Motion Switch Grip Pullup - video coming soon
5 second count on the way up, switch your grip at the top, and 5 second count on the way down.

Towel Pulley Pull-Up - video coming soon
Hard to describe..so i'll post a video shortly. 

Weighted Pull-Up - video coming soon
Just throw some weights in a back-pack and do your pullu-ps

Monday, May 10, 2010

P90X Nutrition :: SIMPLIFIED

So one of the main components of P90X that most people don't take as seriously as the workouts is the NUTRITION!!!  There is an old saying that the road to getting a 6-pack begins in the kitchen...meaning you can't see your abs if they're covered with fat, and you can't get rid of the fat if you don't eat properly.

This post is an attempt to simplify the P90X nutrition guide and hopefully provide some ideas and tips on how to easily follow the eating plan, spend less money, and do it without spending tons of time in the kitchen.

In my own personal experience, I have found the "P90X Portion Approach" the easiest to follow.  What I do is print out a grid based on the portion plan as described in the Nutrition Guide.  Then just check-off the boxes for each portion of food you eat.  This will ensure you're eating the correct # of calories and eating a balanced diet.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
 If you have to deviate from the nutrition or don't have access to the approved foods for a meal:  What you do is just add up the # of calories you consumed (of non-P90X approved foods) and check-off the appropriate # of boxes to equal the number of calories you consumed.  Each portion in each category is assigned a caloric value.  So let's say you eat at pizza hut and have 2 slices of pepperoni pizza and a bread stick...that equals 700 calories.  So what you would do is mark off the following (or any combination you have left to equal the 700 calories consumed) :

1 Carb (200 calories)
3 Protein (300 Calories)
1 Dairy (120 Calories)
2 Veggies (100 calories)

So you didn't really eat those foods, but this way you're keeping your calories in-check and can hop back on the plan much easier after the non-approved meal.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

To help simplify your eating, I have broken down below a list of foods to always keep on-hand and different meals you can prepare.  Having the approved foods always in-stock, and knowing how to make 2-3 different dishes with the same ingredients will help keep your meals fresh and keep your nutrition on-track.  I tend to eat the same foods quite often, but prepare them differently.  For instance, a grilled chicken breast can be topped with:

  • Lemon Pepper
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Buffalo Sauce (fat free)
  • Garlic Salt and Pepper
  • Apples and Cinamon
Phase I Foods to Keep Stocked:
  • Frozen bonless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Frozen bag of mixed vegetables
  • Protein Powder
  • Bananas
  • Skim Milk
  • Eggs
  • Turkey Lunch Meat
  • Lettuce
  • Protein Bars
  • Salsa/BBQ Sauce/Low Calorie Dressing
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Almonds/Sunflower Seeds
Phase II/III Foods to Keep Stocked

  • Frozen bonless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Frozen bag of mixed vegetables
  • Protein Powder
  • Bananas
  • Skim Milk
  • Eggs
  • Turkey Lunch Meat
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Cheerios/Kashi
  • Protein Bars
  • Salsa/BBQ Sauce/Low Calorie Dressing

Phase I Meals to Prepare (based off of core foods)
  1. Egg White Omelet
    • Use 4 egg whites, garlic salt and top with salsa
  2. Protein Banana Smoothie
    • 10 oz Milk + 2 scoop protein powder + 1 banana
  3. Chopped Chicken Salad
    • 1/3 head lettuce diced, cold mixed veggies, chicken breast chopped, low cal dressing
  4. Grilled BBQ Chicken Breast
    • chicken breast pan fried and brushed with BBQ sauce
  5. Cottage Cheese mixed with sunflower seeds and Almonds
  6. Plain Banana
  7. Grilled Chicken Lettuce Sandwhich
    • Grilled Chicken breast using lettuce as your bread (you can use a lot of lettuce)
  8. P90X Blizzard
    • 8oz skim milk, bunch of ice cubes, 2 scoop protein powder, protein bar (blend it up)
  9. Plain protein bar

Phase II Meals to Prepare
 (based off of core foods)
Lots of the phase I meal ideas will work for Phase II.  These are just some ideas involving carbs since you get to eat two/three more servings of them now.
  1. Grilled Chicken Sandwhich
    • Grilled chicken breast with bbq sauce inside 2 slices ww toast
  2. Peppered Garlic Rice
    • 1/2c brown rice (add garlic salt and red pepper flakes in the water before you cook it)
  3. Fried Potatoes
    • dice potatoes and add 1/2 tbsp olive oil, and your favorite seasonings...shake in tupperware and fry
Again, these aren't the only meals you can eat, but if you have these items on-hand, you always know you have food that is quickly prepared, in-expensive and meets the P90X guidelines.

Day 29 - Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

Again, the muscle confusion never gets old!  Just when you start to think you're kicking some major booty, it's time to start a new phase and shock the muscles.

Tony did it to me again.  I was thinking "I've been through this before...no problem" but before I knew it, my arms were shaking and the muscle confusion confused the hell out of my triceps and chest.

I was a little bummed though as I still can't beat Tony in the Plyo push-ups.  I'm just waiting for the day I can get up after doing 21+, and growl back and say "Psycho" to Mr. Horton!  I did, however, manage to crank out 18 of them which isn't bad, but the goal is to beat Tony and the "Kids" in every exercise they do...and I did that except for the Plyo Pushups.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

P90X - Intensifying the side-to-side push-up

Hey everyone, here's my first video blog.  In this video, I discuss the side-to-side push-up that is part of the P90X DVD workout "Chest Shoulders and Triceps".  Tony always says "Variety is the spice of life"  so this is just another way you can spice up this workout and keep it fresh.  The audio for the first 5 seconds is a little quiet..so crank up the volume!

Sample Phase II Daily Food Intake

This is a sample daily food intake for Phase II (Energy Booster) Level II Eating on the P90X Nutrition Plan.

  • 4 egg whites with 1/4c fat free cheddar cheese
  • 1 Banana
  • 2 Slices Whole Wheat Toast with 2 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter
Snack 1
  • 10 oz Milk
  • 2 Scoop Protein Powder
  • 8 oz Chicken Breast
  • 2/3 c mixed veggies
  • Grilled Onions 2 Slices Whole Wheat Toast
  • Protein Bar
  • Lean Ground Beef Meatballs (5 oz)
  • Broccoli
  • Baked Potato with Salsa
  • Fat Free Cottage Cheese mixed with sunflower seeds and almonds
  • Fruit

Friday, May 7, 2010

Do Your Yoga People!

Ok..so I hear it all the time on the Beachbody Message Boards and from some of my friends:

"Yoga is too long and boring"
"Can I skip Yoga"
"Can I sub Yoga with Core or Kenpo"

The answer is a big fat HELL NO!

I'm on board with my man Tony in believing Yoga X is the single most important workout of the entire P90X series.  T.H. pretty much sums it up:

"It's strength, it's flexibility, it's the whole friggin nine yards"

Tony is quoted as saying that if he could only do one of his workouts it would be Yoga.  He calls it the fountain of youth.  So why the hell would everyone want to skip the one workout that the creator of the program thinks so highly about???  The answer is it's that it's a freaking hard workout!  It's uncomfortable!  It takes an incredible amount mental strength and focus that quite honestly is tough to muster up.

As I stated above, Yoga not only takes tremendous strength and flexibility, it takes FOCUS, determination, and will power to make it through.  However, it is this type of focus, determination and will power that will not only get you through the Yoga X workout, but will get you through the entire 90 days of workouts, 90 days of proper nutrition and get you the results you see on TV!  If you skip Yoga, you are not only cheating yourself of a great workout, you're setting the precedent that it's ok to fudge here and there...and before you know it, you're skipping other workouts, blowing your nutrition, and turning into a tub of GOO.

Don't dread Yoga...look forward to whipping the crap out of it!  Kick Yoga X in the nuts and bring it to it's knees.  Choke slam Yoga.  Dominate it!  At the end of the first 1/2 of Yoga, T.H. says: 

"Take in the fact that you just did that....that is SWEET"

Tony knows it's brutal...and the fact you did just get through it is indeed SWEET as apple friggin pie (of course we don't eat that on the P90X diet though).

If you're crunched for time, be sure to at least get in the first 1/2 of the workout.  This is more of the poses and the push-ups - the "hard part".  The second part is hard in it's own way, but it's more balance postures and flexibility.

If you dig down deep and do your Yoga, you will thank yourself.  You'll become more dedicated.  You'll have a sense of accomplishment.  You'll increase your strength and flexibility in ways you didn't think were possible and you'll notice a positive difference in all of your other workouts.

So Do your Yoga People and quit bitchin' about it. 

Week 4, Day 6 - Yoga X

So I got my Yoga workout in today and it felt great.  I was able to do it in peace and quiet and really be "in the moment" as Tony says.

Today felt different though.  I felt strong and in control.  I paid extra attention to all the little details.
  • I put all the weight on my thumb and index finger.  
  • I made 100% sure not to move my feet or hands the slightest in going from plank to down dog
  • I did my pushups slow and methodical
  • I tried to go extra low in my lunges (because this is Yoga X my Bruttha!)
 When I got done I was actually dripping sweat which reinforces the fact that Yoga X is a damn good workout.  Here are some photos.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

P90X The Answer Part 1 (Infomercial)

Here is the new P90X infomercial. Look for me at around the 1:37 mark!

Week 4, Day 5 - Core Synergistics

Core Synergistics was a great workout today.  I did the intensified version of Steam Engine and got 70 reps (5 short of being a major bad ass).  Also did the intensified version of the prison cell push-ups and tied my best with  a total of 33 pushups...

I'm still not a big fan of the hip raises, but i really tried to squeeze my obliques to get what I could out of that move.  The lunge, kickback, curl presses still kick my ass every time though...i hate em...but i love em!

Looking forward to some Yoga tomorrow and maybe a little Kenpo with my wife...Then it's on to Phase II baby!

Round 1 Progress Photos

Here are my progress pictures from my first round. I'm on day 26 of Round 2...Hopefully will take some photos soon for this Round.

Day 0

Day 30

Day 60

Day 73

Day 90

Core Synergistics Tips

Core Synergistics has the POTENTIAL to be a great workout.  This is one of the few workouts where you can't just do the movements.  When doing this workout, you really need to do what Tony says and focus on SQUEEZING your core on EVERY move.  If you don't, you won't be realizing the benefits of this workout.  

Below i'm going to share a few tips on some of the moves, and a few ideas on how to intensify if you're a ripped SOB and want a challenge.

It's a really simple way to intensify the steam engine.  Go for fricken broke right off the bat!  They do 50 reps on the DVD...Your goal is to hit 75 by the time they get done with 50.  Do this and you're a wild man!

This is one of my favorite moves.  If you really want to push yourself and get shredded, add two additional pushups/knee-ins and a jump at the top...and go as fast as possible while keeping your form.

So the sphinx push-up is kind of an easy move right???...You need to remember to FOCUS ON THE CORE!  Put a slight round in your back and tighten your abs.  Your goal is to do the pushup without losing the tightness in your back and abs.  You should really feel it in your mid and upper abs...not just your shoulders.  Remember this is CORE...it's all about focus and tightening...if you treat this as an arm exercise you're missing the point!

Make sure you inter-lock your fingers behind your head and try touch your elbows to your knees.  Doing this will put more focus on your core and the "crunch-like" motion will be intensified giving your abs/core a better workout.  Pam The Blam puts her hands by her ears which is why she has such an easy time hitting her elbows to her knees...do it right and you'll get a better burn and better results.

Welcome to my P90X Blog

Hey everyone.  Glad you're checking out my blog.  I've been doing P90X since April 2009 and this blog is here to serve as motivation, Q&A and a place to learn.

If you've seen the new P90X infomercial, you may have noticed me in it at about the 1:30 mark as my before and after photos were used!  That was the result of ALOT of hard work and dedication not only to P90X, but the Nutrition plan as well.  Thus my first post is going to recap what happened to me after my first round of P90X and where i'm at with my second "Strict" round.

So July 25th, 2009 I completed my first round of P90X.  I did not miss a single workout and as far as the Nutrition plan... I only ate one cookie and one piece of bread that was not whole wheat.  Needless to say my results were amazing.

July 31, 2009 my daughter was born and I decided I couldn't commit to another strict round of P90X.  I basically stopped working out regularly. I would workout with P90X and Insanity and get in roughly 4-5 workouts per week, but I ignored the meal plan (when i say ignored...I mean I ate like crap).  Let's just say I was in great shape, but I gained bodyfat!!  I went from 177 at the end of my first round of P90X to about 192 - and that was with working out 4-5 days per week!

I decided to commit to another Strict round of P90X on April 2, 2010 and am currently on my first recovery week.  So far everything has been going great.  I'm down 4 pounds and sitting at about 7% bodyfat.  Nutrition wise i'm staying on-track and feeling great!

In the weeks to come i will be chronicling my second journey, and providing any tips or advice i can think of along the way.