So I’ve not written on here in quite a while, and it is because – in no uncertain terms – I fell off the wagon. It’s weeks and weeks, since I last worked out.
I stopped TapouT XT after 2 weeks because I was disappointed with the changes I was seeing in my body (i.e. none). My visible gains with Insanity were modest too, so overall I was feeling pretty disillusioned.
But recently I’ve been tracking my diet and have come to a startling conclusion – that’s where my problem is. I eat pretty well – plenty of fruit and veg, no snacking, never eat take out or junk food, never eat ready-meals. But when I stacked up all the data (using the My Fitness Pal app, highly recommended) I realised two things:
So today is day zero. I’m going to start again with my workouts, but this time I’m going to pay closer attention to nutrition. If my current diet hardly supports my current body shape then it’s tough to see where I’m going to build any muscle from. Less sugar. Less fat. More protein.
Day Zero Stats:
They say nutrition is key to getting the body you want and that abs are made in the kitchen. I’m beginning to understand this.
So I had a session of Legs and Back to catch up on. I’m not a fan of this workout because frankly I hate the leg resistance band. It makes exercises bloody hard, it has a tendancy to move where you don’t want it to, and I also find that on some of the moves when I have it round my legs it really hurts as it tugs on my hairy legs!
I actually attempted this workout yesterday, a day in which I had only had quite a light breakfast and lunch and I’ve also been going without my whey protein for a few days, making do with water during exercise instead.
Before beginning my workout, I decided to make some measurements. Bad move. I discovered that despite losing half a kilogram in weight, my body fat percentage remained unchanged and all of my measurements were exactly the same. This is why I haven’t posted my day 10 photo… there’s basically no discernable change. This didn’t put me in the best of moods.
Then as the workout wore on, I began to flag. I felt weak and lightheaded and after about 20 minutes I knew I couldn’t continue. Apparently “quit does not exist” in TapouT XT but it certainly did for me yesterday.
It’s funny how that one chink in the routine suddenly saw me thinking “maybe I’ll take a break”… but I managed to resist and today after some more substantial food I attempted the workout again. And, successfully this time, as I managed to complete it. Actually, I even began to wonder if I was growing to like (well, tolerate) the leg band. But it may be too soon to say that.
I’ve gotten really confused with my days now.
So after Plyo XT, I was supposed to do Legs & Back. But instead I missed it and did Cardio XT. But instead of spotting my mistake, today I carried on and did Cross Core Combat which should be my day 15 workout. So tomorrow I’ll have to do Legs and Back to get back in the swing of things. Or at least close to it.
So anyway, I did Cross Core Combat today and this was the first repeat of the Day 1 workout. It’s a really tough session, but I held up noticeably better than first time around… but again I think that was more with familiarity for Mike’s style than an improvement in fitness. I’d also forgotten just how tough the Grinder killer move is… it actually makes most of the other killer moves look like child’s play. Once again I saw it through but only by pausing the DVD whilst I did it. It has made me wonder whether people who buy Tapout XT drop out after day one because of the shock to the system caused by this move alone.
First time I did this workout, the chamber kicks actually resulted in a minor knee injury. It gradually got better but I was very wary today. However, there were no problems - that either means I was doing something very wrong first time around which I’ve now mastered or my knees have toughened up since day 1. Either way, it’s a good news story for today.
I had read that Cardio XT was one of the worst days and it’s certainly a tough workout. It’s closer to the intensity of the Insanity workouts. There’s a certain similarity between the two programmes with this workout – this session has a similar routine of workouts and water breaks, even if the circuits are different rather than repeated. It’s a tough workout, no doubt… it doesn’t reach the exhaustion level of Insanity but it comes very close.
One annoyance was that this workout began with an instruction to “wear your TapouT gloves” – weighted gloves which make the workout tougher. Well, I’m sorry, but these a) didn’t come in my pack and b) weren’t even an extra option when I ordered it. Maybe that’s us Brits being treated rough but I guess I’ll have to live with it.
I’m mixed up with my days at the moment. Day 12 should have been Thursday but I had to drop that workout due to other commitments. Friday was also out due to things I’ve previously mentioned which means that Sunday (tomorrow) will be Day 13, and then Monday will magically become day 15. This is getting complicated
Yoga XT is almost a rest day, right? Well, not quite.
Once again it was really annoying having to repeat so many upward and downward dog moves, but I managed to keep up with the flow more and I may even be beginning to see some logic behind these moves… they stretch you but they also tax some other muscles.
It’s also interesting that some of the moves (trunk rotations, side planks) are showing up the fact that I’m tighter one one side than the other. I’ve not always been aware of this, but I’ve had back problem on and off and they’ve always been on my left side which is turning out to be the tighter side. Some of Mike’s stretches also touch muscles which I would never have dreamt of stretching before (which is similar to the way some of his exercises work muscles that I didn’t know existed!).
So overall, I’m slowly becoming a Yoga XT convert. It makes a nice change and it certainly (to me) feels more effective than the Insanity Cardio Recovery sessions. It’s a long session though… I’m not liking that. And as ever, it seems as if some of the folks in the room aren’t 100% sure of the moves (for example, during the warrior poses, there’s confusion over which way toes should be pointing).
My second repeated workout and I was dreading this one coming round again. My issue with it is that it’s heavily focused on legs which a) I’m not very good at and b) isn’t the showy torso area that I’m hoping TapouT will target.
But I muddled through somehow. I took plenty of breaks because I was tired, or because I had forgotten to wear trainers (sneakers, for you Americans out there) so some of the moves were too hard in bare foot on a pretty rough carpet.
This workout really reminds me of Insanity, although I’ll be curious to see what Cardio XT has in store later in the week. Sweat, I presume.
According to the TapouT plan I’m supposed to take a progress shot today. I may do it tonight or I may wait until tomorrow. Weirdly, whilst I don’t think I’m seeing much (if any) difference when I look at my body in the mirror, I do think I can see a difference when I’m clothed. I’m not sure why this is… maybe it’s something about posture and the way my clothes hang but I’ve definitely felt as though my shirts are fitting ‘better’… it’s a bit intangible and hard to describe at the moment but I’m hoping it’s the start of something good.
This was the first time in the programme that I’ve seen the same DVD twice, but to be honest there are so many moves in this one and I’ve done so many different workouts in the intervening period that it didn’t really feel like repetition.
Something was different this time too, because I remember the workout as being much more about abs (planks and pushups) but today it was most definitely my biceps and shoulders which took the brunt of the workout. I managed to keep pace better with the switches from one move to the next, even if I still couldn’t manage the full numbers of reps. I also coped better with some of the complex push up variations but I think that this was more due to familiarity than improved strength.
The abs workout was tough as should be expected but it’s nice to feel it working. Again, the variations which targeted obliques seemed very effective and familiarity with these – particularly the ‘killer move’ – helped with execution.
So with a body of aching muscles, I began week 2 of TapouT XT today.
Competition core is, unsurprisingly, heavily focussed on the core .There’s a bit of band work, but not as much as some other days, and quite a lot of plank and lunge work.
Again, I managed to mostly keep up with this one, although I didn’t come close to the number of reps which the guys on screen were doing. I did notice at some points though that I was (seemingly) doing better than those on screen – this was usually around the bridge and abdominal work and I suspect it’s a consequence of the Pilates I’ve done. If you’ve never tried Pilates I can strongly recommend it; it builds a powerful core. I learnt my Pilates from this book (opens in a new window/tab).
Today my arms and back really hurt, but I suspect that tomorrow it’s going to be my abs and obliques. There are some cunning variations on plank work and crunches which really targetted my obliques in ways I’d never felt before. TapouT is really living up to expectations about targetting your muscles… I just really hope I end up with a body like Sam Schneider at the end!
I decided to swap these two days around (Day 6 was my rest day) because I usually have a lot going on around Friday evening. I’m reluctant to break the schedule too much because it’s a slippery slope towards failing the programme, but equally I recognise that if I’m completely inflexible with it then I’ll come to resent it and end up quitting anyway. Hopefully I’m striking a happy medium.
Sprawl and Brawl was pretty much what I expected from TapouT. You don’t use any of resistance bands for this one, but spend most of your time doing strikes and punches. It’s a fairly exhausting workout and I was very sweaty by the end of it. However, at the time I didn’t really feel like it was putting too much of a demand on my body and I felt better able to keep up with this workout than I was with others.
HOW WRONG I WAS. Today, my body hurts so much… muscles are aching in my arms, back and shoulders in places where I didn’t even know I had them! I once reblogged a photo on here which said “sore is the new sexy”… if that’s the case then I’m damn sexy today.
But this is exactly what I wanted from TapouT – it’s targetting all those upper body muscles which Insanity missed (or lightly touched).
On the bus coming home, slightly bored, I got my phone out and googled for “tapout xt day 5” and was horrified by the tales of agony which I read about. Fortunately, the real deal wasn’t quite as bad as I’d expected.
This was the first day using the leg band. Whilst it’s a very effective piece of equipment, I found it kept slipping and some of the push up moves were too difficult with it for me to complete… it dug into my hands and really hurt. After the first 20 minutes I was getting a bit frustrated but then things switched over to the resistance bands which I love and I ended the workout on a high. It was tough, it was sweaty, but I really feel like the resistance bands are giving me some results.
Once again, I was struck that the explanations of moves isn’t as clear as in Insanity… and yet again, I’m convinced that repeat runs of this DVD will fix the problem. I’ve also got a handle on one of the other things that is disturbing me post-Insanity: Shaun T shows you a move, and the concept is always the same – do as many as you can in the time permitted whilst maintaining form. Mike Karpenko has a similar model but a lot of the time he also shouts out the rhythm that he’s working to and that can jar if you can’t keen the pace.
One very funny moment today though… during the killer move Mike says he’d love to see people doing it over a coffee table and then a big warning flashes up on screen “DO NOT DO THIS OVER A COFFEE TABLE”. Health and Safety first, folks.