Apparently my last blog post didn't qualify as a "final"... GRADUATION POST
I assumed that my prior blog post, written after Day 90, would qualify as my "final" post so I could receive my COMPLETED badge but I just received an email saying that I'm required to do one more. Strange...
I do have more wrap-up notes that I want to add to this blog so consider this an interim update to appease the PCP serverbot Gods while I gather my thoughts.
What a great way to wrap up these first three months. I burned right through the final workout and it felt waaaaay too easy (especially after the routines from this past week)! I grouped two exercises into one set just like our current workout and still made it in fine style. Tomorrow it's time to bring the pain again!
Until then, here are some thoughts based on my personal experience going through the PCP Program. This will probably be spread out over a couple of posts so consider this PART ONE. For those who have gone through the program, you may agree with some points or not. For those who are in the process of joining or are on the fence, hopefully my thoughts don't overly influence to jump on board or dissuade you from taking a chance. Try as I may to be objective, neverthless, everything still comes from an opinionated point of view.
With that said, my first point is:
YOUR MILEAGE MAY AND WILL VARY
PCP will provide you with the daily workout plans, meal plans, and a base level of encouragement. With this foundation in place, IT IS STILL UP TO YOU to stay on task and accept responsibility for your progress. In spite of my own strict discipline (sticking with the meal portions and only ever missing 1 jump rope workout), during the past 3 months I've seen fellow PCPers progress better than me and others that haven't. Did that discourage me? Not at all. Compared to where I started, I've still gone through an impressive transformation.
Food discipline aside, your progress with the daily workouts will most likely be the greatest influencing factor. If you review some of my early blog posts, I complained a LOT whenever a new routine is introduced but it didn't stop me from doing them. I think it would be fair to say that a hefty amount of self-discipline and/or stubbornness is necessary to constantly push yourself.
Workouts definitely got tougher over time but they never felt insurmountable. Keeping up with the routines, as best you can (even if you can't hit the max daily numbers suggested) is your best defense from falling behind. I had days where I didn't progress as well as I would have liked. That pissed me off. Rather than stay frustrated, I used that motivation to push through the next day and on and on; chipping away at those reps. Even now, at the end, there's a few routines that I still haven't completely conquered (I'm looking at you DaVinci's) but you'll find that it's more about the effort you put in rather than the target number.
Anyhoo, more thoughts soon...
I'm really eager the start applying everything beyond the confines of the PCP structure and reviewing how things progress. What would really be interesting is if PCP followed up with folks 6 months or a year later to post updates to their lifestyle. How many people are maintaining it? Who fell off the wagon? What were the most difficult aspects of maintaining the discipline for yourself? Insights like that would be a great way for alumni to compare their own situations with and, more importantly, keeping an eye out for things that could derail you.
Anyhoo, looking forward to the victory lap. Good work, everyone!
Shoulder exercises x4 today!! Gah, that was brutal. God knows the faces I must have made just to get through them. I don't think I've dreaded opening each days exercises more than the ones from this week.
Can't help but wonder if the last "secret" workout is either a mega, super, killer one or a big ol' "SURPRISE - REST DAY!"
I know which one I'm rooting for...
Had a great week with the jump rope. For the last 6 days I was able to knock out the entire 21 minute routine in one go without tripping/stumbling/stopping to scratch my nose. Today feels a bit like a cheat going back to 18 minutes but I'll take it!
Arms have been really sore the entire week - specifically my triceps. I've been rocking the failure wall pretty early with the elevated push-ups which is a bit frustrating. Tried to go up one intensity level on the tension-band for one of my workouts and barely made it halfway through. The only set that didn't kill me was the rowing. Everything else killed me so I humbly shifted back.
Saved my indulgence meal for tonight (Easter Sunday here in NZ). Don't be surprised if it's a carbon-copy of my B-day dinner meal!
Hard to believe things are going to start wrapping up soon! Honestly, I can't say the time has flown by - I've certainly felt every single day of the past 3 months - but it'll be nice to put in another kick-ass week and finish strong.
Even with the incremental increase of reps and sets, planks have been CRUSHING me this week. Try as I might, after doing my leg lift sets, my body continues to reach failure well before I've accomplished the 90 sec goal x 6 sets. I can just barely muster the first 90. The second set usually dropped to 30 and then each successive set was 20 or less. Boooooo!
Shoulder workouts are still a struggle - my much documented angst for Da Vinci's continues unabated. Chicken wing pullups definitely bring on the hurt but I'm definitely nearing my failure point at the end of the set.
Funny to think that, at the beginning of the program, my biggest worry was nailing the coordination of jump roping. That's probably the one aspect I genuinely look forward to (because I can just zone out for 18+ minutes).
Diet still feels a bit samey but that's mainly my problem. I've gotten so used to gram counting (despite PCP's insistence that I shouldn't) that I've compartmentalized my food types and portions too efficiently. The downside, is that I don't have much in the way of interesting variety but, at least, I'm slimmer!
Feeling kind of bad that my updates have been more infrequent but, honestly, there's not a whole lot to report one way or another during the week. Photo time tomorrow!
Started out really exhausted at the beginning of the week. Each day required some rather stubborn effort in order to preserver. I always seem to reach muscle failure on Da Vinci's well before the minimum number of each rep. Annoying. Not sure how much further I can/need to push myself on those but I wish the definition change in my shoulders were similar (equal or better) to other areas.
Nothing really to say about the diet - it is what it is - neither good nor bad! Over the last two weeks, however, I've noticed that cows and chickens step aside when I walk into a room. All those daily doses of milk and eggs are sending ripples of fear throughout New Zealand farms...
On the positive, my recent weigh-in puts me at the lightest since I left college many, MANY moons ago...
Seems like a lot of folks have been struggling this week. Except for the occasional bouts of physical frustration at the beginning of PCP, generally, I've been feeling that things have been progressing well. It certainly hasn't been a cake walk but definitely doable. This week (ie - the last two days), however, has been the toughest days yet to get through my exercises. I figured my biggest challenge would have been last week due to the international trip from the week before. Nope. Definitely this week.
Both days have been a struggle to motivate myself out of bed at 5:30am and into my workout clothes - even with 8(ish) hours of sleep. Jump-roping is still a non-issue but my reps for other exercises have been lower, especially for lunges and planks, which is very demotivating. Not that I'm in any position or desire to throw in the towel - far from it. I think this is where sheer stubbornness will actually help me through this dimly lit valley.
Getting back into the routine after a week away wasn't a big deal at all. Sticking with the exercises in spite of the food slippage was key, methinks. Returning to my normally scheduled eating habits was equally fine. Except for the occasional pangs of food desire, it's pretty easy to shrug off temptation.
Looking forward to the upcoming week.
On this side of the international dateline, St. Patty's Day is already in full swing. Sadly, no imbibing of spirits this holiday. Less than a month to go - gotta keep the momentum going!
Workouts this week really stressed out my arms. I had two days there where my biceps and triceps were really feeling taut. The only exercise that I still can't accomplish is the kung-fu situps - I'm just too tall for my doorway so there's no way to straighten my legs. My alternate method, curling up like I'm doing a crunch without my legs sticking out, seems to be an okay solution. My abs are still killing me afterwards so I imagine it's activating the right spot.
Diet is still fine but I still miss getting in some solid protein (that isn't just egg whites) during dinner. Still fighting off exhaustion at night. Around 8pm my body just wants to shut down and it's been more and more noticeable lately. There was a prior message that was sent out to the team about low-energy days but it isn't quite the same as what I'm dealing with. I still get up at 5:30 every morning for my workout but I haven't experienced the fatigue during, only well after, in the evening. That said, last night was the first in probably 3 weeks where I didn't completely crash early. We'll see tonight.
As I mentioned in my prior blog post, I was a bit naughty with my diet while I was gone last week. Here's a recap of some of the things I consumed:
French Toast with Fresh Fruit (just once)
Oatmeal with Fresh Fruit (just once)
Yoghurt with Fresh Fruit (just once)
Two Eggs, Hash Browns, Turkey Bacon, and two halves of an english muffin with milk (for two different breakfasts)
Crappy chinese from a mall food court (this was before I found my way to more interesting food options)
Chevy's "Mexican" Grill - Chicken Quesadilla and Tortilla Soup
Peruvian Pulled Pork Sandwhich with Yucca Fries
Chinese (2 separate dinners with portions split between 2-3 people)
Fried chicken wings with Thai Chili sauce (8 pieces one night, 8 pieces another)
Stir-fried string beans with minced pork (1 per night)
General Tso's Chicken (1 per night)
Pork Fried Rice (1 per night)
Szechuan Beef (just once, disliked the interpretation)
Kung Pao Chicken (just once)
Pot stickers (3 pieces one night, 3 pieces another)
Beef Burger Sliders (small in size; 3 individual burgers would roughly equal 2/3's of a normal burger)
with Onion Rings and (slaps hand) 3 glasses of Root Beer. Sorry but I can't find Root Beer in NZ. It was delish!
Miscellaneous Insubordination (spread across the week)
4 Bourbon and Cokes
1 Long Island Ice Tea
1 Unmemorable Drink (whose feminine-esque colour attracted gentle ribbing)
3 glasses of white and red wine
I may have forgotten a meal or two but this is the gist of my indulgence. The guilt of every meal helped to keep my early-morning exercise discipline intact. I was really scared to know how much weight I was going to gain once I returned home but happily (and surprisingly) I didn't gain a pound. If anything, I'm still shedding weight. Woot!
Not that I'm giving in to any more temptation. I'm back to my normal eating routine and the readjustment has been fine.
Now to go back through the back catalogue of training emails I've missed.
Crap - and I've been very tardy about my weekly photo. I'll get on that tonight.
Just returned from my conference trip. Totally exhausted. Long story short - I was really strict with my exercise but not entirely strict with my diet. Didn't overindulge but wasn't always eating the best options, either. Looking forward to getting back into 100% alignment from here on in.
It was awesome to have last weeks exercises downloaded to keep the momentum going while I was out of internet connectivity. Thanks again Patrick for those.
Anyway, I'm pooped. Can't wait to crank through this coming week.
Thanks to everyone who humored me with my rant the other day. To everyone else, it's still not too late to chime in! :)
Sorry I was absent the last couple of days. Been really busy with work ahead of my flight on Saturday (Friday to you folks on the other side of the international date line). I'll be gone for 8-9 days so PCP will be largely rant-free whilst I'm away - YAY!
Let's see... updates...
Morning workouts are still going strong. I still feel like I'm cheating myself with the shorter jump rope routine, though. Diet is still fine. That reminds me - the after workout fruit snack - is it okay to eat that with my breakfast since my workout segues right into my morning meal?
Came home nearly comatose - super exhausted. Not sure why. Was worn out nearly the entire day despite having more than 9 hours of sleep the prior night. Ooof...
Tomorrow will be my last update before my absence. Take care, all!
Diet is Fine, the workout is fine.
Today, I'm curious to hear from other people about this program and if you feel you're getting enough information to make informed decisions. This open query has come about due to this thread I started:
and the resulting concerns that spilled into here:
I'd love to know your thoughts, whether here in the comments section or in the Q&A thread. Am I overreacting? Out of my depth? Let me know! If you've got concerns but you don't want them public, then message me!
So I get the new diet plan. Dinner is still the name small portions as the prior two weeks (boo...) but several of the other daily meals/snacks include "as much as you want" vegetable portions (AWESOME!). What's odd is that I just received this lengthy message about the glory of our "eat 6 times a day" approach. Yet, this updated diet now includes a 7th meal; an after workout fruit snack. Perhaps it's just a minor detail but it was a strange to have these two messages appear at the same time yet lacked a unified mindset.
Workout continues fine. Diet continues as always.
Have a good weekend everyone!