Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Next Stop: "The Situation"

Welcome to the Tuesday after President's Day.

Or, maybe in your case, the day you were FINALLY going to get around to re-starting that now-failed New Year's resolution to lose some weight.

I'm not here to nag, I am here to offer a small glimmering light in the distance. In this eternal struggle against donuts and stretch pants, if a fatso junk-eater like me can turn the tide, so can you.

By now, you readers know about how I lost 35 pounds doing the P90x program. Yes, the same one you've probably whizzed across on late night cable TV. If not, well, here's the un-retouched photographic proof.

I have fielded a lot of questions about it, and I have been meaning to give some common answers by way of this blog. So let's get started.

Q: Should I try the program?
A: Hell, f'ing yeah! Because there's NO RISK! Because I was able to do such a great job of spreading the word, the good folks at P90x have made me the FIRST EVER media endorser to CONTINUE the campaign past 90 days. As such, you can the money back guarantee by going to MY PAGE and calling MY NUMBER for the program.

Q: It looks hard, can I really do all those things?

A: Hell, f'ing NO! You can't do ALL those things. Especially not right away. But so what? As you will hear Tony Horton say early and often: "Do your best, and forget the rest." Plus, there are ways to modify every exercise in the program. What you WILL find, though, is that as you get better and better at things, what once seemed IMPOSSIBLE (for me, 40 Mason Twists at the end of a grueling AB Ripper X session) is now routine. That's very motivating!

Q: What kind of equipment do you need?
A: Not much. But some extra stuff helps. You will need at a minimum some resistance bands, but I went ahead and invested in some dumbbells. I got weights of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 40 pounds each. If you can afford it, I highly recommend dumbbells.

Also, you may want to get a chin-up bar. The style offered at the P90x website is okay, but MAY not fit your doors. They did not fit mine. So I went ahead and bought something called "The Perfect Pull Up." This pull-up bar sits differently in your doorway, and allows for you to do so-called "Australian" pull ups (which are like half pull-ups). This is perfect for early on, because I couldn't do more than ONE pathetic little pull up when I started. In fact, I used the resistance bands, wrapped around a hook at the top of my doorway, and did "pull downs" for the first 6 weeks or so before graduating to actual pull ups.

I also highly recommend a cheap, foam, 1/2 thick interlocking exercise mat for use on all of the Plyometric and Kenpo stuff. I bought this grid which is roughly 8x12 feet for less than $30 at Sports Authority.

Finally, some push up bars and yoga blocks are cheap and useful. Go ahead and grab them, just so you have all the tools.

Q: What about diet? Was that hard to follow?

A: Look, I'll be honest. I am one picky little bitch when it comes to food. I have the tastes of a 10 year old boy. I hate veggies, never eat them, and I'm not really wild about fruit either. Salad? Ha! No chance! So, how did I do it? Well, let me explain.

First of all, the nutrition guide that comes with the program is excellent, and many of you with adult eating habits might find it quite easy to follow. If so, great.

If you are more like me, however, let me give you one simple mantra: NO CARBS!

Okay, you won't be able to go ZERO carb, but limit the hell out of them, and you'll see and feel the difference. I was eating so much sugar and bread, that my blood sugar was riding the equivalent of a Six Flags roller coaster. I would jack my blood sugar sky-high by stuffing myself, and then watch my energy bottom out.

Tired, my body would trick me into eating more, to try to float that balloon back into the air. And the cycle never stopped. Sound familiar?

Feels awful, and is mortally unhealthy for any extended period.

So I just started steering VERY clear of carbs.

Breakfast would be two eggs, with low-fat cheese, scrambled. I started with low-carb bread (9 carbs per slice) and then just bagged that altogether in order to "save" my carbs for later in the day.

I would have a low-fat cheese stick for a snack, or a rolled up hamslice with cheese. I would have an apple or some peanuts to get me through to about noon.

Lunch would be a nice turkey and cheese sandwich on that low-carb bread. Or maybe a piece of meat from home. Chicken, steak, fish.

Dinner would be some kind of meat, or perhaps another low-carb sandwich, and I would shut down the ol' piehole around 6 p.m. for the day.

To get my occasional fix for something sweet, I would supplement during the day with either an Atkins brand diet bar, or the P90x chocolate/peanut butter Peak Performance bars. These suckers are meaty feeling, stick to your ribs, and give you a sweet chewy taste. Eating them feels like cheatin!

(NOTE: While you are getting P90x supplements, you might as well get the recovery drink. They say it helps, and I'm sure it does. I just can't vouch that you'll really "feel" anything different. I just think, if you are committed, do it right.)

Now if you can do this, you will find that something remarkable happens to your suger/carb cravings. I know it did for me.

They just kind of go quiet. Still. Like the wind dying down to nothing in the middle of a summer day.

I was living in a daily raging hurricane of sugar/carb cravings, and it wasn't until I got going on this program that I suddenly felt like the eye of the hurricane had passed over me.

Once you get to this point, it's as easy as just mashing "play" every day and doin' the workouts.

Q: How long are the workouts?
A: Between 52-58 minutes. Six days a week, with a rest/stretch day at the end. With a few exceptions. Let me explain.

First of all, that little timer on the screen in P90x is GOLDEN! I know for me, it was nice to be able to look at it in the early days, and say: "Oh, thank god! Under 40 minutes left! Under 30, under 20!" And so on.

Secondly, because warm-up and cool down are like 5-6 minutes each, your hard work portion is really more like 45 minutes. Come on people, you can do that!

Now, the exceptions.

Yoga X: What a bitch! That's what I thought early on, because a) it's hard! b) it lasts (groan!) 90 minutes! You just gotta resolve to plow through this puppy early on, because you are not going to be a fan of it. (However, toward the end, it was actually one of my favorites, and the last 40 minutes of the routine are not that bad at all). Yoga X presented me with more of scheduling issue in my day, and not so much of a "can I get through this" issue.

Ab Ripper X: It took me like two weeks to realize: hey dummy, you are supposed to do this routine (15 minutes) at the END of your other hour workout 3 days a week.

Holy crap!

I missed like the first two weeks of this, because I didn't understand that notion, and was wondering "hmm, what DAY do I get Ab Ripper X?"

Dopey. But after that, I also quickly found that I am NOT of the mindset where I can do ABX after a regular workout. Just can't.

So my tip to you, is to knock out the ABX routine on the "other end" of the day as your normal workout. As a standalone 15 minutes, it's not bad. And this way, when you are done with the regular workout, you are done! Period. Whooo hooo!

Q: When did you find time to workout?

A: Me, mostly at night. Yeah, not everybody's favorite, but I just do NOT like sweating early in the morning. I would much rather go 10-11 p.m. than 7-8 a.m. So if this is you, you are not alone. Many nights I would come home, and knock out the routine after the kids were in bed, and then I'd sleep like a baby. The best thing is, because you are HOME, you can't say "I didn't find time to GO to the gym today." The other benefit of night workouts, is that night time is often eatin' time for me. Well, you can't eat too well, when you are bustin' out superman-bananas or one-legged wall squats.

And one final common question....

Q: How did you stay motivated?
A: Ah yes, the eternal question to every new exercise routine.

They say that there are only two basic motivations in life: fear and love.

For me, I was motivated by fear. Let me explain.

When Fox Sports Radio approached me with this endorsement, I was hesitant. My schedule was terrible. I hadn't workout out for real in years. Blah, blah, blah. But I said I would look at it and get back to them with a decision.

Well, apparently my "I'll think about it" was heard as an unequivocal "YES!" by the sales rep at Fox. And before I knew it, I was told that the ad agency had gone ahead, signed me up for a page on the Beachbody website and posted a message "from me" that said: "Hey guys, I'm doing P90x, come join me!"

Super. Ugh.

So I thought about having them pull it right then, and politely passing on the chance. Until I got that one last little nudge I needed: my cynical smart ass producer Solly.

I was looking at the material in my office, when he walked in. I told him my predicament. I said to him somberly: "So, whattya think?"

Solly: "How long are these workouts?"
Me: "An hour a day."
Solly: (chortle) "Ha. Sure. Piece of cake, for YOU." (sarcasm=heavy)

(long pause)

Me: "Fuck you. I'm in. Now get out of here."

And that was it, right there. I had my marching orders.

1. Do not disappoint the client.
2. Stick it up Solly's ass, and by extension everybody else who was a doubter!

So I guess there's actually THREE kinds of motivation in life: fear, love, and revenge. Or something like that.

What you will need to do, is find your little motivational focal point. Something to tip you over the edge, and to just BEAR DOWN with git-r-done consistency for 90 days.

1 hour. 90 days in a row. You... can... do... this!

Once you are through the first 30 difficult days, you are going to pick up a NEW motivation. For starters, you will be doing MUCH BETTER on all of the workouts. This will be cool. Secondly, you will start seeing things.

I started seeing little muscle lines in places I hadn't seen in years.

This will, I hate to admit it, make you at bit of a mirror gazing diva after workouts. I'm serious. There's no way not to look just a bit.

As such, that should be a great "second stage booster rocket" of motivation on your road to the magic Day 90.

Now, I have a new problem to confront.

I have been at 200-202 on the scale since I finished in mid-December. And even though I had begun a new round of P90x, I had plateaued just a bit in terms of weight.

Most of this, I am convinced, was because I got slack on my diet. I was working in some pizza and cheesburgers, and while I was still getting stronger on my weight work, and while I was still at 200 pounds, I had stalled.

Then I went to the Super Bowl last week, and well, ate my face off.

Remarkably, and thankfully, I came home, only up 2 measly pounds, which melted away once I did some snow shovelling and hill climbing after sledding with my daughters.

So consider this my new kernel of motivation.

I want to be like my new idol, "The Situation" from Jersey Shore.

No really. That's my goal. If I can get abs like him, I'm gonna by that big gold chain, and go hang out with Ronnie and Pauly and the crew. (But no, I'm not going to sleep with Snooky - even if my wife allowed, and was pushing! And chances are, "The Situation" wouldn't pass even the most basic Olympic drug test.)

I am going to embark on a new round of P90x today. I am going to post new "Round 2" pics at 30, 60 and 90 days. I have a feeling that getting the kind of dramatic, visible improvements THIS time around, without 35 "easy" pounds of blubber hanging off of me, is going to be tough.

But what the hell. Let's do this.

I think I can get down to 190, with some REAL muscle definition, not just the vague definition I have now.

And if you want to join me, well then let's go! I'll be here, updating, maybe shooting some videos, answering questions, talking trash, whatever.

I don't just want to have success via P90x. I want a loyal Czabe.com P90x Army! Now who's with me..................!!!!!!


  1. Week 6, brother! You goal should be to get on one of Tony's next videos, maybe as a replacement for that guy Adam from Ab Ripper and Yoga X?
    - Taha

  2. Glad to hear it's working for you. Once you lose your weight, the next step is to maintain your weight. This is far harder than losing weight for most. You can't realistically keep exercising 60 minutes a day and stop eating carbs. You need to find a compromise and stick to it.

    My suggestion, as much as you'll hate it, is to eat more fruits and veggies. It's basically impossible to get fat eating these things.

  3. I was already planning on starting this evening, but with much concern about it. I bought the stuff and it's all ready to go in my basement. Has been for the past week. This gave me a little boost. I'm actually excited to start tonight. Thanks!

  4. I'm with you Czabe! I just get a hold of the program yesterday in fact. I'm starting full bore March 1st - taking a "hard reset" to let a few nagging injuries heal in the meantime.

    Only, curse you for pointing out the Ab Ripper X routine needs to be done 3 times a week. I hate doing abs and would have been happy to overlook/forget about it too. :)

    The cardio's going to be tough also...and unfortunately, as Al Galdi once told you in response to your question regarding workouts first thing in the morning, going to the fridge does not count as cardio.

  5. Czaby, I'm joining you. I bought the stuff yesterday and its getting here tomorrow. I wish I'd known about your radio sponsorship deal cause I'd have given you some royalties on it. I'm going to be trying this in a tiny college apartment. Wish me luck.

  6. Day 30! Clothes fitting better, only 2-3 pound weight loss though. I need to be better with the diet. Hard to stick with only one day of rest per week with vacations i.e. my Super Bowl trip.

    Love it, I have my corner o' pain set up in the basement and I agree, doing it after putting kids to bed is the best! I thought I would battle insomnia but I am plenty pooped and ready to sleep after showering. Hoping for more weight loss days 30-60, Lent is here just in time!

    Thanks Czabe! I am a physician and I think in home exercising is they way to go for most people, Get off the couch and stop eating.

  7. Czabe can you leave this posted somewhere on your wed site so i can go back to it for motivation when needed?

  8. you are such a whore
    this is the longest post you have had in years and it is nothing but a commercial
    the first thing i used to do every morning is check your site but with this and the golf shop advertainment you put up the less often i check

  9. this reminds me of "A Christmas Story" where the kid furiously decodes the little orphan Annie secret message and responds with "All that. . . for a crummy commercial."

  10. I have been try the first power 90 and just can not keep at it. I find reasons not to eat correctly, oh one day of eating what I want could not hurt,or I can skip one day of work outs. But seeing how it works for you, I am going to join you. I am not doing power 90x but the orginal and will see maybe in 90 days I will be on the X train.

  11. Try PowerBlocks for the weights. Save you some money and space. Bring it!

  12. Czabe, first of all you are NOT a whore...you answered my question personally via email and I could tell you were genuinely excited about p90x. Not to mention, the company I work for (small England's Stove Works out of Virginia) was the company that put our logo on Nemechek's 87 car in Daytona, you gotta try to make a buck somehow...it's called a desire for success.
    Second, THANKS for the honest, detailed info. in this post. I have been getting back in shape for a couple of years now and I think p90x may be the next step for me. Appreciate the tips and the 'heads ups' for the pitfalls. I talked to a friend who's doing it and she said the same thing about the yoga, but it sounds like a cool program.

  13. I just have to say, through this site Czabe has given us a *TON* of sweet content. For free!

    If he finds a way to make some coin here and there, who's complaining? Certainly not me, that's for sure.

    With his sessions on Lazer (oops - the Hog) 103 over the years, Steve has made no secret of his poor health and even worse eating habits. So I gotta say I'm impressed with his dedication and resolve. And results.

    I'm going to ponder and research for a few more days, but I just might get on board the P90X train. That could possibly make a nice change of pace from the normal gym routine for a few months, especially before the summer season.

    We'll see!

  14. Hey Czab, I started P90X about 30 days after you. You were my motivation. I figured if some self avowed fat lazy diet coke drinking sports guy could do it so could I. 90 days, 32 pounds. Like you I didn't go from fat to ripped but I look a heck of a lot better. Your 30 day photo is what did it for me. For those of you that try it and HATE the yoga you can modify and do a 45 minute non stop cardio workout. It gives you some yoga, plyo, kempo and core. I found it to be a nice alternative when I didn't have 90 minutes in the morning.

    For those of you thinking about it.. If Czab can do it so can you!!

  15. Yep, a gigantic commercial, but the content has dropped since Fox dropped the show. To be expected, really.

    It would be cheaper to hire a personal trainer for $25 per hour for ten hours and a gym membership for $50 a month. Better value and no chemical supplements with regular meals.

    May take longer, but it IS a lifestyle change. I'd like to know how many folks off the P90X supplements/regime for 6 months or more maintain that weight loss.