Thursday, 2 January 2014

Chin Up!



I know it's not quite a home gym, but it's a start. It's been there quite a while, since I started P90X in fact, and although I hoped to be able to achieve a chin-up by the end of that, it didn't quite happen. Oh no. My body saved that big achievement for Christmas Day, when I was showing my nieces how to do it, whilst saying 'I can't actually do one yet' AS I DID ONE!!!! YAY!!!! It turns out that in breaking the kitchen door off its hinges, Steve did me yet another big favour. So the next goal is an overhand pull up, which I am nowhere near.

In other fitness news, I've now been through Tapout XT totally, (as a hybrid with Insanity and P90X), and I have to say, of those three programmes, it is probably the most complete and the one that suits me most. My favourite will probably always be Insanity, but it doesn't have the best results for me. Yes, cardio-wise my fitness went through the roof, and has pretty much stayed there even though I'm now doing Insanity only 2 or 3 times a week. But doing pure Insanity, I lose muscle mass.

Once I added P90X, things got much better, I got stronger, I lost weight, I stopped being starving hungry, and my Insanity performance really improved - my knees really are coming above my hips on high knees now, for example. But the disadvantage of P90x was how SLOW a lot of the weight work was. As I've mentioned, I've printed off the routines and do them myself, much more quickly, now.

So TapouT - it's a similar proposition to P90X and Insanity, which is unsurprising, as the trainer, Mike Karpenko, is ex-Beachbody. It uses resistance bands rather than weights, which is more practical for me, and has loads of different routines focussing on different body parts or fitness aspects, very similarly to P90X. Where it is way better than P90X is in the speed and continuity of the weight workouts. For someone who has done Insanity or similar, it's at the sort of pace you are looking for to get a proper cardiovascular workout when doing weights.

There are disadvantages to TapouT, but they have nothing to do with the quality of the exercises or the teaching - more to do with the poor production of the DVDs, but bear in mind they are significantly cheaper than Beachbody DVDs.

The main disadvantage is that whatever the exercise, all the participants will be doing it at their own rate - and when the camera cuts, there is no effort made to keep the exercise rhythm visually constant. Once you are aware of this, it is easy enough to take your cue from Mike at the beginning and keep that as your own pace, and not worry about what is being shown on-screen.

And the music - it is too quiet to be motivating, and again, has no bearing on the exercises being performed. Whereas with P90X and Insanity you can use the music to keep your exercises at the right rhythm, in TapouT the music is completely random and nothing to do with the exercises, so again, best to ignore it and just crack on!

But Mike is a personable enough trainer, and the exercises are interesting enough in their own right, to keep me enjoying using this in my rotation of DVDs. If I had to do a Desert Island Fitness Programme, this would probably be the one, results-wise, that I would choose.

Also, in the spirit of keeping things changing so that I don't get bored, I've been adding in some Ballet-fit stuff, and thus happened upon the BEST workout for abs that I have ever done. Bear in mind I've been doing some serious ab work via all the aforementioned DVDs, yet after doing Leah Sarago's Ballet Body Core, I was in AGONY the next day! I knew at the time that I was working all my core, but didn't realise quite how hard until that next day. I don't know how, but it had worked muscles I'd not known existed; even going to the loo hurt, and as for coughing, YIKES! So that one is going to be a permanent fixture on my  routine now.

Finally, I've had a BROKEN MY SCALES shocker! I got on them a couple of days ago, and they quite literally broke apart! I'm telling myself that it's because I recklessly simply stood straight on them, rather than doing a few gentle warm-up 'leans' on them first, or that the plastic had gone brittle after all these years. But I cannot discount that maybe it was my hefty Christmas bulk that did it :-O  So I got some new ones today, and either I've put on half a stone over Xmas, or they are just weighing differently to my old ones. Neither really is a problem, I know if it's extra weight it'll be off soon enough, not gonna stress about it.

That's a huge difference in my psyche. In the past, the emphasis has always been on weight. Now it is on fitness. In the past, the fitness obsession was all about how long I spent in the gym. Now it is about how to get the best results for me in at most an hour a day. That has to be a change for the better.