Tips for Getting Through Your Toughest Workout

By Zack Zeigler – From the Team Beachbody Newsletter

I’m battling a set of Gap Jumps on minute 36 of P90X’s Plyo X, and I’m getting my butt handed to me. I’m breathing heavily, sweat is dripping onto the rug, and my wet-noodle legs might not allow me to clear the next invisible gap Tony Horton insists I leap over.

I want to quit and do something—anything—else instead of finish what is left of the workout. But I don’t. For some reason, it’s important that I prove to you, a stranger, that I’m no quitter!

Woman Resting

 

Trouble is, that’s not entirely true. Although I stuck this one out, I bail on my workouts more often that I’d like to admit. I’m too tired. I’m too pressed for time. I’m already too ripped. Okay, that last one’s an overstatement, but you get the idea: I manufacture reasons as to why stopping makes more sense than continuing.

I’m not sure why I do that, or more importantly, how to reverse the process. Thankfully, sports psychologist Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter , author of Sports Psychology Coaching for Your Performing Edge: Mental Training for Performance in Sports, Business, and Life, does. Dr. Dahlkoetter has worked with handfuls of top-level athletes—including five Olympic gold medal winners—as well as countless people who simply want to live healthily and look halfway decent naked. She also won the San Francisco Marathon in 1980. She knows a thing or two about how to make it through your toughest workouts.

1. Mentally Prepare

“People can fail from not being in touch with their bodies,” she says. Some Beachbody® workouts will wipe you out. (There’s a reason the plyometric workout in P90X2® is called Plyocide and not Plyo-this-might-be-kinda-tough.) But understanding, embracing, and anticipating that you’ve signed up to tackle a ball-busting workout can help you size up the challenge and muster the fortitude required to overcome it.

Woman and Man Working Out2. Find a Workout Buddy

If during a grueling workout you find yourself taking a break from taking a break after you just got finished taking a break, consider recruiting someone to train with you. Researchers at Kansas State University found that people who train with a more skilled workout partner who doesn’t cheerlead you through the workouts worked out for longer periods of time.1 That’s because this competitive attitude supposedly makes you not want to feel like the “weak link” and encourages you to work harder.

3. Get into a Routine

Make your workout session as much of a priority as you would other important daily activities, like brushing your teeth, getting to work on time, or DVRing America’s Got Talent. “Build a routine so you’re doing [your workout] at the same time each day,” Dr. Dahlkoetter suggests. “If you don’t have a routine, the workout becomes a low priority that might get overlooked.”

4. Make Your Goals Specific

Measuring Tape Around an AppleInstead of saying you want to “lose weight” or “look better,” come up with specific goals you want to accomplish, like “losing six pounds,” or “finally fitting into my wrestling singlet from college.” Those details will offer you something tangible to strive for. The S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-targeted) goal technique has proven to be popular and effective for constructing a plan of attack, whether you’re tackling work projects or getting through a workout.

5. Use the 3 Ps

It sounds pretty hippie, but Dr. Dahlkoetter has “Three Ps”—Positive Images, Power Words, and Present Focus—that can actually help. Studies show that athletes who visualize themselves winning are more likely to succeed.2 Visualize the whole process, from going to bed at the right time to finishing your workout, and you’ll be more likely to get through it, improving your overall concentration in the process.

Then, create some “Power Words” to help you push through those super-tough moments. I’m usually spewing four-letter words after about 25 minutes of most of my workouts. Instead, try this exercise: On a piece of paper, write all of your excuses, self-doubts, and negative thoughts about the workout on the left side. Then, on the right side, write what the opposite of that would be. For example: If you write you’re “too tired” on the left side, write your “mind and body are stronger and healthier each day” on the right. When you’re lagging, tell yourself those things you’ve written on the right side of the paper.

And, finally, focus on the present. From worrying about work to your kids to whether the Inland Empire 66ers are going to cover the run line (I’m letting it ride on you, fellas!), we all have plenty of daily stresses to contend with. But your workout shouldn’t be one of them; in fact, it might be the only hour of the day you get to focus entirely on yourself. To do that and offer your best effort, you need to be present from beginning to end. That said, during your Wall Sits or another difficult move that doesn’t pose a high risk of injury, feel free to let your mind wander to your “happy place.”

How do you get through your toughest workouts? Tell us by posting your comments!

Sources:

  1. Optimal workout partner encourages less to motivate more, says university researcher
  2. Maximizing Strength Performance Using Mental Imagery

Yoga Came Knocking at My Door

You know how your body craves things that it is lacking – like chocolate for instance (okay, that’s not a great example), but if you crave some fruit, though, and you eat a lot of it it just could be that your body needs one or more of its nutrients.

My body does not crave yoga – it needs yoga, but I don’t feel the least little urge to do it.  Talk about mind power, right.  The truth is that I am so stiff that it is embarrassing.  When a runner says to you, “I never stretch.  I don’t need to”, store that comment away and when you see him or her in later years and they are as stiff as a board, then you will see the fallacy in their statement.

I should have stretched, but maybe, just maybe, it’s not too late.

Tuesday afternoon, there was a knock at the door at it was our neighbor and friend from school, Monica, and in her hand was P90X Yoga X – not the complete set, just the Yoga X DVD.  Can you imagine my dismay, when after more than two years, she found the Yoga X DVD that I lent her (any other DVD I would have gotten back right away) in her garage and she was returning it.

Was that a Divine sign?  I have to think that it was.  Yoga X came knocking at my door and now I have no excuses not to do yoga (even though I have the P90X2 and P90X3 yoga workouts as well as Les Mills Pump yoga and the Chalean Extreme yoga workout – all of which are great).

Tony Horton Yoga X posePlus, hint, hint, I know that Tony Horton says that yoga saved his life from reading this Huffington Post article about him and yoga and equally important, what Tony Horton eats for breakfast!

If I had a choice between making a dentist’s appointment and doing yoga, I would make the appointment – which just gave me a great idea.  I will have to schedule and “appointment” in the SuperGym and have a date with Tony and the gang doing Yoga X.  You can click on the link at right to join me!

Fatigue and Fitness Make Bad Bedfellows

My biggest challenge right now is this overwhelming sense of physical and emotional fatigue.  I am going through a divorce, raising a 9 and 7 year old and 63 years old.  Old and tired go hand in hand without the other stuff because I’ve lived a lot of life already.

When I saw this article in the Team Beachbody Newsletter, (a) I had to read it and (b) I had to share it.  If you want to have good quality of life, be fit and healthy and lose weight or maintain your weight, this article is for you.

5 Ways to Fight Fatigue – By Zack Zeigler

If you’re lucky enough to have a job, odds are you’re overworked. A survey conducted by Good Technology found that 80% of participants fielded calls, answered emails, and did other miscellaneous work-type stuff at home after leaving the office. All of that “bonus” time added up to roughly seven extra hours per week—or 30 hours a month.1,2 Go ahead and cry. We did.

fatigue-sleepy-driver

Factor in other stresses like relationship squabbles and money woes, and it’s no surprise why you’re too emotionally and physically drained to exercise.

And since you’re unlikely to take a vacation to recharge—an estimated 577,212,000 available vacation days went unused nationwide last year3—you’re going to need to rethink other areas in your life to find the energy to train. Here are four ways you can do that.

#1. Eat More, More Often

Woman Eating an AppleFueling up on caffeine and Tic Tacs may give you the stamina to power through the workday with mocha-colored teeth and minty fresh breath, but you’ll need to feast on more than that to keep your engine running efficiently.

“You’ll run out of steam when you run out of fuel,” says Dr. Felicia Stoler, DCN, MS, RD, FACSM, the author of Living Skinny in Fat Genes: The Healthy Way to Lose Weight and Feel Great. “Eating three meals and three snacks can help you maintain blood sugar levels that prevent huge ups and downs in energy levels.”

Many of us aren’t following that advice. Data from 2011 compiled by Right Management noted that one in three U.S. employees worked through lunch, while 65% took their lunch “break” at their desks. Last year, CareerBuilder polled 3,600 workers and found that 8% dined on delicious and not-so-nutritious food from their company’s vending machine at lunchtime.4

Point is, as busy as you might be, you need to make time to eat well to improve energy levels. If you need a reminder, the technology you use to work all of that unpaid OT can also be programmed to alert you when it’s time for a snack.

#2. Carb Up

Despite what you’ve heard, carbohydrates are not hellish calorie ghouls responsible for turning skinny people fat and fat people into morbidly obese planets. In fact, they’re a necessity.

“Our brains rely on carbs, and they’re a major element to maintaining blood sugar levels,” Dr. Stoler says. “Eating only fats and protein won’t make you feel more energetic. A basic rule of thumb is to eat carbs with some protein and fat.”

Consuming too many simple carbs—foods high on the Glycemic Index (GI)—can cause blood sugar levels to spike, which can lead to additional body fat storage, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber-rich whole foods—veggies, whole grains, and fruit—metabolize slower to provide you with lasting energy

According to Dr. Stoler (and depending on what your goals are), you’re looking to eat about 50% carbs, 20% protein, and between 25–30% fat per day. And for crying out loud, listen to Mom and eat more fruits and veggies. They’re packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytonutrients.

#3. Stay Hydrated

Person Drinking Tea on the BeachCaffeine is a diuretic. In more scientific terms, it makes you go potty more often. So if that’s all you’re drinking from 9 to 5, you’re going to get dehydrated. Along with impeding metabolism and making you feel sluggish,5 dehydration can also go all Criss Angel on your brain and trick it into feeling hungry when it’s really not.

Adequate hydration benefits you in a whole host of ways, including lubricating joints, regulating body temperature, assisting the body with excreting waste, and keeping your immune system strong.6

#4. De-Stress

The old standbys to shaking off tension are to meditate and become one with your body. If that doesn’t work for you, find a different healthy distraction to pull your brain away from what’s stressing you out. If it slows your heart rate and reduces tension, you’re golden. If your schedule is too packed to take a walk, read for pleasure, or binge watch season two of House of Cards, give yourself a couple minutes to brew a cup of herbal tea.

The great thing about this option is that you get the benefits of the herb you’re brewing in addition to the ritual of slowing down and enjoying a hot drink. Three herbs backed by years of scientific and/or anecdotal evidence are chamomile, kava, and valerian root—but be careful with those last two because they can make you drowsy.
Which leads us to…

#5. Snooze More

Man NappingAn ideal target is seven to nine hours of sleep per night. But most of us aren’t getting that, and it’s negatively affecting our performance everywhere.7 Lack of sleep can also do a number on your innards.

“Not getting a good night’s sleep impacts things like heart health and metabolism,” Dr. Stoler says. “It’s important to adopt good sleep hygiene and make your bedroom a sanctuary for sleep.”

That includes powering down smartphones and shutting off the TV. The blue light those devices emit can mess with melatonin levels, and those late night texts are interfering with your REM cycles. Seriously. A 2011 survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that 20% of people ages 19–29 get woken up multiple times a week by calls, texts, or emails.

Sources:

  1. 80 Percent of Americans Work After Hours Equaling An Extra Day of Work Per Week
  2. 80 Percent of Americans Spend an Extra Day a Week Working After Hours
  3. Vacation Deprivation: Americans Have Twice as Many Unused Days Off As Last Year
  4. How About Lunch? Consequences of the Meal Context on Cognition and Emotion
  5. How Does Hydration Affect Metabolism?
  6. Water Induces Thermogenesis Through Osmosensitive Mechanisms
  7. Vital Signs – New Study Finds Many Americans Say They’re Too Tired for Sex

Who Did A P90X Workout Today?

Not me and that sucks.  Does it count that I’m listening to the Tony Horton Bring It Minute  as I write this?  Hardly.  I am making excuses that I am waiting for Friday (why, when I could start today, right now?)

Tony Horton Motivational QuotesWhen Friday comes, will I work out and commit to a program (probably P90X for the umpteenth time) and have the consistency that I need to get the results that are guaranteed?  Yes, when I do start, there will be no holding back.  The insanity that I’ve lived through will go into another phase, but one that I can put a wall of protection around and not have the negative, degrading and demeaning person in my life that has destabilized and corrupted my life for so long.

If you didn’t work out, what was the reason?  Was it an excuse or a reason?  Sick child and at urgent care until late?  That’s a reason.  Worked a half hour of overtime and I’m too tired now to work out.  That’s an excuse.

If the end result is guaranteed, why not start, why not commit, why not persevere?  The decision is up to you.  Are you ready to decide, commit and succeed?  Remember this quote:

Thinking about doing P90X3 burns 0 calories

Kevin Discovered the “P90X Lifestyle”

When I saw Kevin’s story in the Team Beachbody newsletter, I knew that I should share it with you.  Success stories are what inspire us and motivate us and Kevin’s story is so typical of what so many men face these days – in shape in high and college and in the military and then they come home a life takes over and health and fitness as a priority get shuffled to the bottom of the list.  Kevin, though, took charge of his life, participated in The Beachbody Challenge and won the $500 Daily Prize for April 6th!

Kevin lost 64 pounds with P90XHere is the prize winner’s interview conducted by the Team Beachbody staff:

Tell us about your life before you started the program. How did you feel about yourself and your body?
Before running across the P90X lifestyle, I was (obese) at 32.9% body fat, stuck in the everyday teleworker lifestyle; the never ending loop of sleep, eat, work. Did I mention I was out of shape? After a brief tour in the Army, I started my professional career and have been completely focused on it since.

What inspired you to change your life and begin your transformation journey?
I can remember writing down my Day 0 numbers and thinking, “Wow, how sad….How did you let yourself get like this?” Recording those numbers (Weight: 195lbs, Height: 5’7”, Waist: 38”) was a huge wakeup call for me. My father’s passing and struggles with high blood pressure, gout, diabetes and obesity for the latter 20 years of his life, was a reminder of where I was heading. I did NOT want to subject myself or my loved ones to this. It was time to change my life.

What is the greatest challenge you faced before beginning the program? How did the program and Beachbody® help you overcome that challenge?
I would have to say that the biggest challenge I had to face before starting the program was simply the feeling of actual self-fulfillment. To quote, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” I wanted to find something that I was 100% responsible for, something that only I was to blame for failure or congratulate for success. Team Beachbody and P90X have helped me find this. While I have not yet reached my overall goal, I have surpassed what others and I have expected.

Why did you choose this particular program?
I started the P90X program back in March of 2013 with the encouragement of several co-workers. Four of us decided to start the P90X program and were committed to completing it. Two of us stuck with it, and have completed the program several times over since.

Describe the results you achieved with your Beachbody program. Which achievements are you proud of?
I’m Happy!!! I’m Confident!!! I’ve lost over 20% body fat and over 8″ in my waist. I’ve proven to myself that I can do it!

How has your life changed since completing your Beachbody program?
Saying that everything has changed may seem a bit cliche, but it’s the truth. Accomplishing this has given me a sense of fulfillment that I did not have before.

So what do you think of Kevin’s story?  Does it sound like your life?  Are you looking at your family health history and wondering if your lifestyle choices are going to make you follow in unhealthy footsteps?

You can change your life by taking The Beachbody Challenge™. It provides great motivation to get fit and the chance to win cash prizes. To enter The Beachbody Challenge, just go to my Howtobefit.com website and click on “Enter the Challenge” on the left hand side of the page.

In the beginning…

On March 25th, 2007, I did my first P90X workout (Kenpo) and didn’t much like it (sorry Kenpo lovers).  It wasn’t until I started doing other workouts (typical guy – I didn’t read the directions) that I fell in love with it – so much so that near the end of that year, I started this blog.  There have been rough patches along the way and life has kept me from posting and updating you on all of the new and exciting things that are always happening in “X” World, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel and now I just may be able to make this blog what it once was and what it deserves to be.

I am a little bit older and so is my P90X set, but it still works and it still can get me into great shape.  Now, of course, I have P90X2 and P90X3, but P90X will always be my first love.

p90x-coverLife is a journey.  The DVD’s that I’ve watched and worked out to countless times all tell a story.  I hope that you will join me on my “X” journey and let me help you, too, get into the best shape of your life.

 

A Girl’s Guide to P90X

By Whitney Provost – from the Team Beachbody Newsletter

Everyone was talking the day after the Grammy® Awards  in 2010 about Pink’s gravity-defying performance of “Glitter In the Air.” She talked with Oprah Winfrey later that week about how she got into the tremendous shape that turned her into the “human sprinkler,” and the secret was P90X. Kudos to Pink (and to Dreya Weber, the P90X star whom the eagle-eyed may have spotted as one of the gold-painted aerialists).

Tony Horton and Dreya Weber

Muscles are a girl’s best friend. Not only do they raise your metabolism and help you burn more calories, they also keep you living strong. And they look beautiful. Well-sculpted shoulders and lean, tight legs carry clothes better and allow you to power through everyday activities with strength and stamina. How do you get a body like that? A program like P90X will do the trick.

I know this because I’m a P90X graduate. I can vouch for its muscle-sculpting, fat-blasting, and body-shrinking powers. Before I ever started working for Beachbody®, I finished two rounds of P90X and incorporated P90X Plus into my fitness routine. I still do P90X regularly, and Plyometrics is consistently in my cardio rotations.

I’m not a world-class athlete. I’m just a regular at-home fitness junkie. P90X has been helping me get the body I want—lean, tight, and strong but not bulky—and it makes me feel good.

Not sure if you’re ready to tackle the X? Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  1. Woman Holding WeightsDo your best and forget the rest. You’ll hear Tony say this a lot throughout P90X, and it’s important advice. All you have to do is lift as much weight as you can, and that’s it. You’re not in competition with anyone else. Don’t worry if you can only lift 5 pounds while the women in the workouts are hoisting 15. Every time you Push Play, you’ll get stronger, and before you know it, you’ll be able to lift heavier than you ever have before. And don’t be surprised if you find that you can do a few pull-ups at the end of 90 days.
  2. Eat enough. A common mistake many active women make is undereating. With a program as intense as P90X, it’s important to fill your body with enough healthy fuel to power through your workouts and help your muscles recover afterward. If you don’t eat enough, your metabolism will slow down and your body will burn muscle for energy. Follow the P90X nutrition plan and take your supplements. They’re designed to help you get the best results.
  3. Don’t be a slave to the scale. During a program like P90X, your body will go through a lot of metabolic changes. At first, your muscles may retain water as they react to the shock of the workouts and the recovery afterward. You may notice your weight going up for a short time before your muscles shed the excess water. As you continue with the program, you’ll be building muscle and shedding fat, but the scale might not move downward as much as you want it to. Don’t let that deter you. A pound of muscle is denser than a pound of fat, so your body may shrink even if your weight doesn’t change that much. Keep in mind that muscle is a metabolism booster, so the more you have the more calories and fat you’ll burn all day long.
  4. Woman Looking at ReflectionYou’re not going to get bulky. Look at the women in the P90X workouts. They’re all lean, strong, and feminine. Because women don’t have enough testosterone to build massive amounts of muscle, it’s nearly impossible for them to bulk up by lifting heavy weights. When women complain about feeling bulky, it’s usually because they’re new to a fitness program and their muscles are retaining water. If this happens to you, don’t give up. Stick with your meal plan and workouts, and soon the extra bulk will go away.
  5. You’re going to love the way you feel. OK, maybe not when you’re sore from working out, but as you get stronger and leaner, you’re going to love how easy everyday tasks become, like lifting heavy objects, walking up and down stairs, or picking up children. And I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll find yourself admiring your shoulders in the mirror or poking yourself in the belly to feel your tight abs. I do it all the time.

Advice and Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Your P90X Family of Workouts

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