The end (of the beginning) GRADUATION POST
Kindergarten graduation: I feel like a little kid who has been introduced to the world of education (in this case, fitness) and after a gruelling first year manages to pass into the real world of elementary school. A new beginning. New challenges. My eyes have been opened, but why has it taken so long? I find it amazing that in this world of constant bombardment about fitness and health and obesity concerns that there is such a simple solution that seems to pass so many people by. It took me 39 years to find it. Shocking when you consider that everyone in this program is intelligent, articulate, and interested in health and wellness, and yet we had all allowed ourselves to get to various stages of un-wellness. I think for the past 7 or 8 years I had written down a New Year resolution every year to lose some weight and improve my fitness, and it just never happened. I blame only myself, but I know that I was discouraged by seeing so many people try so many different things, and nearly all of them ended up failing. To me, the PCP has driven home that this is not rocket science. It does require willpower and discipline, but simply minding what you eat/drink and consistently making the effort to exercise are all we need to do. I have found this process and this newfound awareness to be incredibly empowering. I can reclaim my youth (at least to a degree) without having to give up anything in my life that I really care about. Now I have to go out and buy a new wardrobe and drill some new holes in my belts before I get arrested for my pants falling down.
A big big thank you to my wife: not only has see put up with all of my odd hours, noisy workouts, and extremely demanding food prep requirements, but she also gave birth to our second boy a month ago. There is no way I could have done this without her. One of the main reasons I did this was because of my family, and she is the core of my family. There is no way I deserve someone as awesome as she is. Thank you!
Former PCPers: several former colleagues, some current colleagues, and some clients of mine have gone through this and showed me that it wasn't some crazy program of egg whites and apples but a thoughtful program designed to change lives. It is, and it has!
Trainers: how awesome was it to have all of you doing the program alongside us? You guys usually made me laugh with your complaints about how things are so hard! :-) Seriously, a big thank you to Thomas for your encouragement and steady guidance and to Sarah for all your kind words. Also, a giant thank you to Patrick for putting this program together and making it so accessible. Truly, a life changing experience - thank you!
Would I recommend this program to others? Unequivocally YES! To any future candidates considering the PCP, I cannot recommend this program enough. But don't be fooled into thinking it will be easy. The biggest challenge for me was time. It does ramp up over the 90 days, so all very manageable, but by the end I was spending nearly 90 minutes every morning doing the jumps and all the exercises. This is after the required nightly 8 hours of sleep (I definitely did not score well on consistency there...) and before the significant food prep. This is all doable but should be factored into consideration when looking at the program. But if you are willing to make the investment of time, energy, and commitment, this program will change your life for the better.
Ahhhhh, day 90 has arrived at last - yet it feels like the time has flown by (in some ways). The workout today was an eye opener. I remember day 8 well, and I took a nap after breakfast that rainy Saturday morning. Today I zipped through it like a hot knife though butter but didn't even feel warmed up. What a distance we've come in the past 3 months! And the final skip-off was great fun - I look forward to the next one!
I feel so giddy at having made it. The program is structured so well to gradually build us up to this level. Kind of like the infamous frog in the pot of slowly, increasingly hot water, but with a much happier ending! It has been a long journey, but looking at the weight lost and energy gained, I'm so glad to have done this and for the great group of people in our team. Today I celebrated a bit with a Starbucks holiday coffee instead of my usual americano (gingerbread latte was sickly sweet and made me too full and was too artificial tasting - sorry, Santa, won't be having another one of those...). Otherwise feeling elated and sad at the same time. Will gather my thoughts for the final post, and the meantime, hooray, we really did it! Way to go team Perseus and Helios!!!
The evening of day 89 and wondering what day 90 will bring. I feel like a child on the night before Christmas all excited and unable to sleep (the coffee probably has something to do with that, too...). What will be waiting for me downstairs in the morning? What will life be like post PCP? I'm excited about finding a new and balanced life ahead - and one that most definitely now includes a good level of activity and fitness as well as a new appreciation for food and what goes into my stomach. Bring it on!
No, just me feeling wobbly after the super sets, but for a minute there I thought we were having a little trembler. Only 2 more days? Hard to believe, but loving the intensity of this last week and looking forward to the jumping challenge tomorrow!
I have to admit that I really had a lot of fun with the super sets. After hearing so much about it, I wasn't sure what to expect but was eager to try them out. The pull-ups/chest dips combo was my favorite, and I was feeling pumped as I managed to start with 7 unassisted pull-ups on the first set before needing a little help. Yeah!
Managed a super long sleep (10 hours!) and was feeling great this morning. I think that's why the jump rope was also really clicking today, and I felt like I was flying. The first 9 minutes I cleared just over 1,500, so I was pushing hard in the second set to see if I could double that when WHOOSH the rope split and the 2 halves went flying everywhere. Fortunately, had ordered a spare online last week, so with only a short delay I could swap over and keep on going. The combined total wasn't as high as I was shooting for but it was an increase on yesterday, so I was very pleased with that result. Really feeling strong this week (but will admit that the super sets left me very tired and I could barely sit up when I was wolfing down my post-workout snack). Eager to wrap up the 90 days with a solid performance!
Otherwise I spent the weekend taking care of my 3-year old (OK, playing with him - not sure which of us had more fun) so my wife could rest and take it easy with the newborn and my mother-in-law could have a break from the demanding child. Running around town, and then to the park, up and down hills and slides, and then carrying 17kg of sleepy child for the long walk home. All good exercise and I had the energy to do all that and more, something that would have been impossible before the PCP. Enjoying life!!!
I've been loving all the posts on the jump rope competitions and the great vibe going as well all ramp up into these last few days. I was almost disappointed that today's workout didn't have any super sets in it, so I just concentrated on rocking the sets we did have. ;-)
Felt like I was in the groove with the jumps today and other than a few trips here and there and a quick break between the sets, I had a good time powering through. Bring on the super sets tomorrow!
The workouts these days are intense and long (7 sets of tricep dips - wow!), but I am loving the challenge. At the beginning of the PCP I would not have thought it was possible for me to do everything, but by building up to it, it actually does not feel that hard. Saying that, I am so sore this week. My muscles ache more than they have for a while, so I know they are working hard and it is good to know that progress is being made!
The time involved is another challenge - as much as I am enjoying the program, I will not miss 4.30am alarms.... But it does not feel like a hardship or something awful to endure, because like some others have posted, my body tends to wake up just before the alarm, ready and willing to get the workout started. Hopefully I can condition my body to wake up a little later as things transition.
Speaking of transitioning, I'm not looking forward to the end (other than being able to moderately enjoy some things, like cheese, that I've been missing). Reading the blogs and the daily training messages has been encouraging, and it makes it so much easier to know we are all in the same boat. But I've been thinking a lot about what I want to continue after the program ends. There is no way I want to slide back into the condition I was before. I'm sure there will be many training updates and information on how to handle the future, and I am looking forward to a sustainable level of cardio and strength work that I can do post-PCP. But until then, I am loving the end here and doing my best to rock these last few days. Onwards!
The weekend workouts are always fun with no time stress, but it does mean I have an audience. I never liked going to the gym, in large part because I don't like people watching me, but I can handle the family cheering me on or laughing, as the case may be. This morning my son was doing all the exercises next to me, and for the chest dips, he worried about me (too much grunting?) so he kept hugging my legs in an attempt to lift me up. Ended up laughing so hard together it wasn't the best chest dip workout I've had, but it was fun! He also did the push-ups, curls, and show-off next to me. I think he wanted to hurry me along so we could go outside and play.
Cold day here but the sun was peeking through and with the Christmas decorations everywhere, it is starting to feel like the holidays. This year I've given myself (with the big, huge help from family and friends) a gift of better health and fitness. Now that's a present I can get excited about!
OK, while it is true that the idea of eating greasy or fatty or sweet foods did not appeal to me when I read about the 3rd indulgence, I must confess that I have actually been planning for this one since the start of the PCP. My wife and I wanted to celebrate with a good meal out after our baby was born, so some months ago we booked a lunch spot at an amazing sushi restaurant for today (Friday). It worked out well as I took the day off work to run around town filing all the government paperwork for our baby and then we could enjoy our meal while our older boy was at school, mother-in-law was watching the baby, and work was out of my mind.
So we had the most incredible lunch of 21 sushi pieces followed by some melon for dessert, all washed down with some green tea and nihonshu. Afterwards I was very full but not uncomfortably so, and I have not felt any ill effects (other than some pain in my wallet...). It was well worth it, and while we really did go big, I don't feel like I've erased any major work from the past weeks. Only 13 more days to go now and this meal gave me the boost to finish the PCP in style without worrying that I'm missing out on the good stuff in life. :-) Onwards - the finish line beckons!
This morning two people at work came up to me at different times and remarked on the new, skinnier version of me. After spending the weekend buried in baby stuff and suffering through the workouts, that was a big pick-me-up! Down about 2 belt notches from the start and roughly 7 kg and a lot of body fat. Want to do more but happy to have gotten here!
So, where I am now:
pull-ups are very tough. I can do 3 proper ones but have to complete the sets with some assistance
lawnmowers I like. Recently started using a heavier band and can really feel the back muscles working. Also reminds me of my teenage days and my lawn mowing job.
pull downs are ok. Not my favorite but far from hated.
triceps dips are good. I like these. Getting through 6 sets of 14 reps results in fiery pain, but always a big sense of accomplishment.
other triceps exercises are fine but nothing special.
kung fu sit-ups are crazy. Still swinging like a monkey, but they are getting better. I end up doing most of these with knees bent, then straightening them, if I can....
bicycles hurt hurt hurt. I think I actually prefer them to planks, though, as the movement gives me something to think about while I scream.
finally, jump ropes! Miles and miles ahead of where I started. No trip free days, but quite a few trip free sets. Averaging between 2600 and 2700 on the 18 minute days and having fun with double unders (still only getting through max of 3 at a time) and some other variations like one-leg jumps and side to side jumps.
now that I get a pre-workout snack, I have been waking up at 4.30am to get everything done before heading to work. Means some crazy early bed times, but I actually like the peaceful quiet pre-dawn. Day 73 and only 17 days left. Looking forward to rocking the rest of this PCP. Onward!
Today (Friday) is a holiday in Japan, so we can celebrate Thanksgiving a day late and still enjoy a nice, long weekend. Even better, the international schools are in session, so we are enjoying a quiet morning with the baby. Mama and baby came home from the hospital yesterday - all is well and it is great to have them home.
After taking my son to school, came home and did the jumpropes plus a few extra minutes of (attempted) double unders and other variations - kind of fun when I have the time to play around and try new things. Also did a session of 8MA which always makes me laugh. "C'mon, guys, you can do it!"
I don't know about everyone else, but I have been so sore all week. The ramped up sets and pushing through to failure on some of them have left me aching. Feels good, but boy I crash to sleep early at night to make up for it. I was reading a bed time story and fell asleep in the middle of a page - but the crazy thing is that I kept on talking, mumbling some nonsense about tomato salads - luckily my son was also drifting off so he didn't notice!
A rainy day here, so perfect for catching up on things before going back to school for the pick up. Off tonight to a friend's house for a turkey dinner, but he recently finished the PCP, so I am confident I can stay compliant!
Hard to believe only 3 weeks left to go - c'mon team, let's rock the rest of this program while keeping it safe, effective, and fun!
Had fun with the jump rope over the weekend and spent some time trying out the DUs. Can't do more than 2 in a row yet, but pleased to get that far and to be able to revert to regular jumps without a hitch. My son thinks the DUs are hilarious (or more probably that I look hilarious trying to do them), and he was constantly egging me on to do more. Problem is, they are hard! Really got the heart pumping and worked up a good sweat.
The other exercises are good, but the extended sets are a good challenge. Tried pushing the bicep and tricep exercises to failure - ouch! Actually thought my arms had fallen off there for a minute.
This week looks tough with upcoming Thanksgiving temptations on the horizon, but I know we will all keep each other honest. And Christmas is just around the corner with a whole new round of treats. This year will be interesting with the new approach to eating we have learned. No more eating to the point of illness - that is something I will not miss!
The new sets are tough - 6 sets of Da Vincis?! - Wow! But motivation levels are high, and if there was every any doubt, after the arrival of my son yesterday, I have a great reminder of why I decided to get my health and fitness back on track - my kids!
Just checking in - all is well. Sticking to the diet without trouble, and the workouts seem increasingly harder but I am enjoying the challenge.
Not sure if it was a good idea or not, but my company was offering anyone flu shots who wanted one, and with small kids around, I thought it might be a good idea. Got my shot Friday afternoon without any trouble, and the doctor said working out on Saturday would be fine. Well, the workout on Saturday was HARD. The jumping went fine, but getting into the main workout and especially the shoulder exercises was really tough. I had to struggle and shout, especially to get through the 100 (what?!) Da Vincis. Managed to make it through everything, but it was a tough day.
After a good 12 hour sleep, Sunday was much better. The workout seemed a little easier except for the 3-year old jumping on my back during the planks. That was a challenge! Grateful we've had a couple days off the triceps as that is where the flu jab went - hopefully it will be feeling back to normal by tomorrow.
All good - having fun, feeling good, and really enjoying the PCP. Let's rock this last month and make it count!