Wednesday, February 29, 2012

M90F (vs. P90X) - Day 10: constant, variable

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 10

Activities: LOWER BODY - Lunges, Walking.

Short post tonight; dentist after work ate up the evening.  Still did my 1 hour though.

Bit of a philosophical/mathematical observation on my walk tonight.  When you commit to one particular activity (constant), and make that something that's nonnegotiable, everything else varies (variable) around your commitment.

Think about it maybe like your main constant commitment is a boat going through an otherwise stagnant (i.e. perhaps boring) pond.  The boat makes a new main groove through the water; it also happens to make smaller, variable waves around it.

The smaller waves are things you experience which you otherwise wouldn't; you get some variety, and 'variety is the spice of life.'  For example, I didn't let the late time prevent me from exercising tonight.  As a result, I went walking at a time of evening I rarely do.  As a result, I got to smell what people were cooking all around the neighborhood.  Even just seeing my neighborhood in the evening, when it's a bit colder/windier than in the afternoon, everything looks novel, almost a bit exotic.  It's sort of the feeling of walking in a rainstorm; a bit of excitement just because you don't always do it.

The other 'variables' are also forced to become less strict in order to accommodate your 'constant' because it's not possible to do everything in life every day.  This makes the other variables in your life even start to seem less important.  And so, if you make your 'constant' something you love, this helps to make your daily life more enjoyable.

Diet and exercise are, without intervention, naturally opposite ripples; if you exercise more to burn calories, you may very likely be tempted to eat more calories.  Or if you diet, your metabolism may slow down.  This is why diet and exercise should both be held somewhat constant if you want to achieve the maximum health effects in the minimum possible time.

That's it for tonight.  I'd be interested to hear any of your 'variables' you noticed from exercising regularly!  Comment below to share.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

M90F (vs. P90X) - Day 9

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 9

Activities: UPPER BODY - Push-ups, Ab-wheel, Forearms, Shoulders, Pull-ups, Walking.

It's been shown that creative people cheat more on tests; it's not because they're bad people, it's because they don't think it's cheating.  Their brains find creative ways to rationalize what they're doing, convincing them it's not bad.

Don't rationalize why you can't exercise today!  Or tomorrow!  Or ever!  That being said, have a minimum of core, un-negotiable exercises you'll do, no matter what kind of day it's been.  Or as I like to do, a minimum amount of time (1 hour).  You can always do more when you're feeling pumped up, but never skip out on the minimum.  It could even just be a slow paced walk.  The most important thing is to do something every day.

You'll find that you start to in fact add things to your daily exercise routine, because you start to realize that once you do the minimum, it's not too hard to just do that little bit more to be hard-core.  Once you start doing that, then you start getting obsessed with outdoing yourself!  Pretty soon a crazy obsession starts to form.  You almost start turning into a bit of a masochist, punishing (in a good way) your body, and liking it.

O.k., before you think I'm nuts, think about things like this:  or this:  (thanks to my sister for these!).  That's what's inside everyone at some level.  The great thing is, you don't have to even go do one of these events to bring out that obsessed person; just get hard-core mentally!  Enjoy the pain!

To build my forearms, I do 2 exercises with my make-shift weight set...

1)  Wrapping the cord around the front works out the top of the forearm; notice how my hand closest to the camera is up, rotating the bar counter-clockwise to lift the weight:

2)  Wrapping the cord around the back works out the under-side of the forearm; notice how my hand closest to the camera is down, rotating the bar clockwise to lift the weight:

Did you know?  Coffee and Quinoa are good for building muscle!

Check out this cool article on foods to help build muscle:

Also this one on High Intensity Training (I'll be talking more about this in the coming blog posts):

Lastly, to get motivation, pledge an amount of exercise HERE, then update at end-of-week!

Monday, February 27, 2012

M90F (vs. P90X) - Day 8

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 8

Activities: LOWER BODY - Lunges, Calf-raises, Walking.

4:40 a.m. the alarm clock goes off, 4:40 p.m. I leave to go on my walk.

You know how you are high-energy when you're at work sometimes towards the end of the day, pushing through until you get home, and then you crash?  Doing you exercise is part of your job; when you get home, don't sit down.  Maintain that high-energy and let it encompass your exercise hour.

Think about it:  it's harder to lose weight than it is to maintain a healthy weight.  It's like being in financial debt: you could be making progress but it doesn't feel like it because you're still on a zero surplus diet.  Alright, I'm not sure where the 2 analogies started/stopped, but you get the point.  If you're losing 1/5 pound per day but not eating anything 'fun' right now, just remember than once you've lost the weight, you can eat 1/5 pound of 'fun' food and be breaking even.

In a previous blog entry, I mentioned taking protein.  Then I read something about the possibility of soy protein growing breast tissue in men.  So if you have this question: "Does soy protein grow breast tissue?"   then read this article on soy protein:    (it also has other interesting information in it as well)

For the first time in I don't even know how long, probably 2-3 years ago, I felt hungry tonight, hungry to the core.  Sometimes I've been more "starving" to eat than I was tonight, but I'm talking about the "I'm 9 years old and swam at the YMCA for 4 hours" type of hungry - I felt like my body actually requires food for energy.

O.k. that's it for tonight, I'm keeping it short.  If you haven't started your own 90-day push for summer, start now!  You're only 1 week behind me, and you can still be done by June 1st.

Let us know how your workouts are going!  Post a comment below this blog entry!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

M90F (vs. P90X) - Day 7

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 7

Activities: UPPER BODY - Push-ups, Ab wheel, Shoulders and forearms, Walking.

Done with my first week!

Man!  What a busy day.  I woke up early today, so I went for a 3-4 mile walk (about 45 minutes).  Then I drove down to Henderson and bought a dart board for my brother Dave, and loaded and unloaded it from the car, then hauled it into the apartment with a dolly, and wrestled it into the office.  It's about 2x3x7 and I'm guessing it weighs about 500lbs.  Check it out (it's bigger than it looks; my head doesn't clear the target area and I'm almost 6 feet tall)...

It was a moment when I was EXTREMELY glad I've been working out; even just the week I've been working out has removed all the cobwebs and made me feel very comfortable moving this thing.  I couldn't find how many calories it burns moving a dart board...

Two sets of push-ups, two sets of ab wheel, and 3-4 more miles of walking finished the day today, putting me well over my 1 hour goal.

Did You Know?  Walking and running burn the same number of calories per mile!  The difference is only how long it takes, and so obviously you may have to walk for twice as much time to burn the same calories as a run covering the same distance, but the point is: don't feel like walking is not legit as exercise!  Walking is the most under-rated way to burn calories in my opinion.  It's low impact, free, scenic, fairly low impact, and easy to do.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

M90F (vs. P90X) - Day 6

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 6

Activities: LOWER BODY - Lunges, Walking, Stretching.

Today I'm still a bit sore from my upper-body 3 days ago.  If you overdo something, you can take up to 4-5 days off and not lose ground on it.  Also, my calves are really sore today from my lower body 2 days ago.  So I skipped the extras yesterday and today (i.e. the pull-ups and calves).

Instead I focused on stretching...

Seated hurdler stretch:
 (hurdler again)
 Glute stretch (i.e. butt):
 (Glute again)

I also did a lot with my splits, but didn't have time for pics of that; I'll get some more later.  Also, I actually prefer to do my hurdler stretch seated in a chair, with my leg being stretched on another chair; I get more leverage this way, especially now when I'm not very flexible.  You can do these standing as well, which I like too.

I am NOT naturally flexible.  I also wasn't when I was in Tae Kwon Do for many years.  But after doing only a few weeks of the PNF stretches (where you push/flex into the direction of the stretch, then release) I was so flexible people would comment on how I was so freakishly naturally flexible!

Lower back issues are often related to a lack of flexibility of the leg muscles.  I used to have serious back problems, but a great homeopathic doctor told me to do the splits, and I've been fine ever since.  Recently I've not been stretching, and last night I had a small back spasm.  If you're working out your muscles a lot, you must stretch to prevent injury!

Did you know?  Bowling burns over 200 calories per hour, compared with under 100 calories per hour just sitting.  (I'm going bowling tonight!)

Haven't heard from my P90X challenger again, but I'll keep you posted.  Get off your duff and join in the challenge!  Let me know how it's going!

Friday, February 24, 2012

M90F (vs. P90X) - Day 5

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 5

Activities: UPPER BODY - Push-ups, Crunches, Walking.

Wow, am I sore today!  (From my upper-body workout 2 days ago).  I think I overdid my pull-ups, and my abs and hip-flexors were shredded from leg scissors.  Both when I woke up, and when I got home from work today, I had thoughts of skipping my weight-bearing exercises, but I have 2 rules I made for myself many years ago...

1)  Don't make any decisions regarding fitness in the morning (until after the coffee kicks in).

2)  Don't make any decisions regarding fitness right after school (until after the coffee kicks in).

Yes, I drink LOTS of coffee.  It's zero calories, and it's liquid motivation.

I still did 2 sets of push-ups, and one set of crunches, plus a small set of side crunches each side.  Other than this, though, nothing novel today.  So instead, I thought I'd post my 'before' measurement pictures:

A friend of mine from high school (Brandon O., yes Brianne's brother) told me: if you want to add lean muscle mass, work out your legs!  The leg and related muscles (i.e. butt) are so much bigger than any other muscle group, you'll see great gains in muscle mass to help shred fat.

 There's the gut again - ahhh!

Yesterday I posted some info about Tomatoes and Strawberries; but you're crazy if you think you should just eat rabbit food!  You should also eat a LOT of protein; in fact, I have to supplement it to get as much as I need.  From sources such as Pavel Tsatsouline's 'Power to the People' and others, I feel that to add crazy muscle mass you should take in 2x g of protein as lean body weight.

Thanks to my sister for a great article about protein!

Did you know?  Because protein takes more work to digest, the net calories per gram is LESS than carbs?  Also WAY less than fat.  Lastly, alcohol is less that fat too!  Hurray!  (But alcohol is TERRIBLE for muscle regeneration... no drinking!)  Check it out:

Join in and give us your input!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

M90F (vs. P90X) - Day 4

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 4

Activities: LOWER BODY - Lunges, Calf-raises, Walking.

Day 2 of lower body; no excuses for pain/stiffness, it's actually good for you, get out there!

Today I focused more on one of my goals, building my calves' muscle mass.  A little shaky on my first try!

There are 2 ways to gain muscle mass: 1) go until muscle failure, and 2) make that happen between 8-12 reps with weights if possible.

Even if you don't want to get bigger, you should get bigger muscles.  Muscles are like investing money: they work for you (burning calories) when you're not doing anything.  You'll often burn more fat than gain muscle mass, so you'll still be thinner, but more defined.

So I have adjusted my diet a bit, partly because of the P90X challenge, but partly because I want to eat better anyway.  Yesterday I was going nuts about food.  Everywhere I went I was smelling food, or seeing amazing food; at lunch, at the grocery store, passing BK, on T.V., etc.

Fun Food Fact:  when you're hungry you're usually actually just thirsty!  Your body gets confused.

Solution:  drink water, and eat high-water (low-calorie) foods.

Tomatoes:  25 calories/cup
Strawberries: 50 calories/cup

One of my Psych profs in college said that you can't stop doing a habit, you can only replace it with a different one.  Many people try to eat less, and healthy at the same time.  Mistake!  Instead, eat healthy, but trade-off with eating more since you don't have to worry about calories.  Don't worry, there's no way you can get fat on tomatoes and strawberries.  Think about it: if you at equal amounts of just these, you'd have to eat 54 cups of food to surpass 2,000 calories in a day; not gonna happen.

So I really hit my stride today; felt the endorphins kick in, sort of a high!  Hope you're feeling it to.  Post and let me know how your fitness efforts are going!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

M90F - Day 3

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 3

Activities:  UPPER BODY... Pull-ups, Push-ups, Ab Scissors, Shoulders, Forearms, Walking.

If you're doing weight bearing exercise to build some muscle, every other day is generally the plan for various muscle groups; A-day, B-day.  I do upper body, then lower body, then upper again.

When you're just starting out, the second rotation can be challenge.  I'm extremely sore today from my upper body 2 days ago.  Even if you're sore/stiff you should do it anyway!  In fact, it's said to help recover faster, and not be as sore/stiff.  So no excuses today!

After doing my core exercises, I get into the specific stuff I want to focus on...

Shoulders:  save a used laundry detergent container, or buy a $3/3gallon gas container and fill it with as much water as you need, and you have yourself an entire weight set.

Shoulder raises, side and front:

Tie it to a cat-scratching post for a wrist-role for forearms:

Love handles:  hold this pose (isometric) for 30 seconds, a couple sets: 

Change out the ab wheel (my abs are too blasted today still) for some higher-rep ab scissors:

A big thanks to my friend Andrew who commented about an at-home pull-up bar he found:  I'm interested to see how you like it...

Now for some news!  Jared, an friend of mine, has challenged me to a fitness duel: he also hasn't been working out since October, and he's just now starting P90X.  Perfect chance to really put this blog to the test!  So all I have to say is: it's on like Donkey Kong.  Stay tuned - I believe he'll be providing some 'before' pics, and at the end we'll post both of our 'after' pics, and you all must be the judges!

Testing out a survey site - try it out!
Why do you exercise?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

M90F - Day 2

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 2

Activities:  Lunges, Walking.

First, something funny Sarah said today when I had her watch my 'gut' video I posted from yesterday - she said "No, what?!  Don't make me watch this; I can't watch this... it's graphic!"  So sorry everyone for having to endure that :)

Last night around midnight I woke up, wide awake; knew I couldn't get back to sleep.  I think it's from the initial shock in the chemistry of working out suddenly for over an hour on the first day.  But I also quickly had a thought pop into my head: "What the **** did I just do.  Now I have to work out for at least an hour a day for 3 freakin' months or I'm gonna look like an idiot!"  I was up until after 1:15 a.m.  So there it is, folks; I'm in it for the long haul.

Here's what I did today: lunges.

Oh, by the way, I'm extremely sore today.  My abs and man boobs are killing me!  If you've decided to do the 90 days with me, make sure to limit the first week or so; make up more of the 1 hour with walking, or else you'll be so sore you won't be able to exercise for a week.

Also, I forgot to post my stretches I did yesterday:
If you're interested in this type of stretching, look for the book called "Relax into Stretch" by Pavel Tsatsouline.

In Day 1 and Day 2, you've now seen most of the foundational stuff I'll be doing, but I'll also throw in some new stuff when possible, and a few things I want to focus on, like building my shoulders, calves, and forearms.

Please jump in and give me comments, ideas, suggestions, and criticisms!  (All my TKD friends, help me remember some of the most hard-core stuff we used to do).  Or show/tell us what you're doing and help build some group motivation!

M90F - Overview

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Since October I haven't exercised even once; time to get back into shape!  The idea is that I want to be in shape by summer, and so now's the time to start.  I'm wondering if I can get the results of a program like "P90X" without the cost.  Hopefully you, too, will get inspired!  In the next 90 days I'll be doing a minimum of 1 hour exercise per day.

I'll focus on:
     1) At-home workout ideas
     2) Low budget ideas
     3) Measuring time spent working out only (not reps, weight, pounds, etc).

My goals are:
     A) Feel better (be healthier)
     B) Look better
     C) Perform better (stronger, faster, endurance)

There are no food restrictions, but I'll do my best to eat well and avoid the really unhealthy stuff, drink lots of water, and get enough sleep.

M90F Overview:

As with various fitness goals, it's a good idea to get some before pictures, a bit of video, and maybe a few measurements to compare with the final result.  Bear with me, I'll have new video equipment by this summer, so the videos will be a bit better all around.  Also, I'm sure there's a bit of a learning curve to making a great blog, so please give me any suggestions you have!

It's funny, I got to thinking that with all this great, accessible technology, the first things you probably see are way too many novice people grabbing their video camera and capturing their gut, then posting it to a blog!

But you probably also get sick of seeing fitness experts who do fitness 10 hours a day for their job telling you it's easy.  I work a full time job, I don't endorse anything I don't like, and my M90F is free!

Ok, so endure these 'before' shots.  Here's a before video of me flexing :) kind of reminds me of Spike from Notting Hill:

And finally, here's the spare tire (make sure you're sitting down):

M90F - Day 1

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Series:  "M90F: Matt's 90-day Fitness"

Day: 1

Activities:  2 sets of push-ups, 2 sets of abs, stretching, walking.

I'll be going easy on things today (and for the 1st week) since I'll be very sore my first few times working out.  After this I'll try to push things harder, but it's a good idea to ease into things a bit.  Make sure to check out the series overview for more info.

First I did some pushups:

Then some ab wheel:

Here's a video diary entry today: