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Keep it Tight with P90X

by ikeepittight in Blog Comments: 0 tags: Miller

By guest KIT blogger, Nat Miller

This is a review of my experience with P90X, the hardcore fitness program developed by Tony Horton and marketed by BeachBody. Originally, I believed this post would simply discuss specific P90X workouts, the diet, and my results I experienced. However, I began to realize that in true KIT style, I needed to stay holistic in my view of this program and how it played into my overall fitness and lifestyle. P90X is a cyclical, periodized program of high intensity cardio, plyometric, and weightlifting exercise routines. The methods used throughout the program are not rocket science or paradigm shifting: if you commit to performing 1 hour of high intensity exercise 6-7 days a week, you will see results. Period. The exercises themselves are also nothing new as most workouts are built on the almighty pull-up, numerous variations of pushups, curls, and squats. The real difference in this program however is the variety and volume of exercises you fit into an hour. Each workout routine involves a warm-up, cool down, and at least 45 minutes of exercises performed at full gas. Typical rests are 30 seconds twice throughout the entire routine, so it is like performing a giant superset of exercises.

“Biceps Don’t Pedal Bikes”

When I first thought about working out with a “fitness video”, I was skeptical…anyone remember Richard Simmons? Multi-colored, fro-sporting fitness mogul, Tony Horton is not (but he still cracks pretty terrible jokes…). I was pleasantly surprised by how motivating the videos were and how well the program worked. Going into Month 2 I had lost 10 lbs. and leaned out considerably. Through the second month I actually regained the weight I had lost and then some, this time in muscle weight. While I was not completely shocked by this outcome, it does beg the question of how effective the program is for cycling. My back was wider, biceps bigger, and chest broader…which translated into more “useless” muscle on my upper body. I was not complaining, but I was not going uphill any faster.

Following a short hiatus from the program, I have switched to the “Lean” version of P90X (the program can be followed in the Classic, Lean, and Doubles format). My focus is now using P90X as a supplement to my cycling and running program, particularly when I’m unable to get on the bike or out for a quick run. I now do P90X in the mornings, commute to work a few times per week, and train on the weekends to get me around 10 hours of training time per week. This new plan should better prepare me to achieve my goals (lean, on-the-bike fitness) versus just doing P90X alone.

The take away is that P90X is a legitimate program for the time-crunched athlete. It is a well-organized program that achieves results if you can maintain the intensity. It’s a great way to build core strength and tighten muscle groups that often are neglected if your typical routine is centered on solely putting miles in. The only caveat is that it is not a replacement for sport-specific training, it’s simply adds a piece to the overall fitness puzzle. P90X will not prepare you to race without actually spending time on the bike and/or running.

Summary: P90X is a great way for time pressed athletes to stay fit and keep it tight.

*Nathaniel Miller is a full-time technical writer with a passion for the open road, but enjoys a healthy dose of trails on occasion. He prefers gut-wrenching climbs to walks on the beach, 55mph descents to bike lanes, and assumes everyone knows what “riding on the rivet” means. His goals in 2012 include catching a handful more races than last year and riding the same distance the pros do during each stage of this year’s Tour de France.


By guest KIT blogger, Dave Andersen

In my last post I wrote about the humbling aspect of the sporting life. Chances are if you put yourself on the starting line, 9 times out of 10, you will get your butt kicked. It’s just the way it is. Cycling, running, and triathlon are highly competitive sports. I have found that it’s beneficial to set realistic goals that define varying stages of “success.” In running and triathlon, it could be beating that guy or gal that beat you last time or setting an age, course, or outright personal record.

Cycling, particularly Road Racing, is a different story. Sure you could set similar goals to those stated above for running/triathlon, but cycling can be viciously cruel. It requires that you keep up with the lead group or be left behind to suffer alone or with other “stragglers”. You are at the mercy of the strongest guys and teams. When they go ballistic uphill, you have to follow and keep up or you are left behind. And believe me, when you fall off the pack, the minutes add up quickly.
Set Multiple Goals

So, you must be pretty liberal with how you define success so as not to get so humbled as to become demoralized. I’d say it’s best to have several goals for each race (and season) with at least one of the goals having a pretty good chance of succeeding. On the other end, set a lofty goal that is just out of reach, but if attained would be as good as a victory. This way, even what may appear to be a mediocre race may be qualified as a success to you if you reach one of your goals.

Let me digress. In a recent cycling race I came in 47th place. On the surface that may not seem very good. However, I basically met my highest goal—to stay with the leaders on a hilly course until the closing miles. In my mind it was almost as good as a victory. This gives me even more confidence going into the next race that I may be able to do it again or even go for a result that outsiders would call “good”. We must be careful not to let one race define us. Take the little “victories” when you can, make adjustments if needed, and move on. Don’t ever forget that just getting out the door is GOAL #1 and often that is victory enough.

What are your goals for your next event? Think about it, write them down, and keep it tight.

*Dave Andersen lives in Boston and works in the educational publishing business. He shares his passion for cycling and sport with a wide range of friends and competitors.


These Gloves Rock

by ikeepittight in Blog Comments: 0 tags: Chapron

By guest KIT blogger, Chris Chapron

My basement is filled with hobby clutter: kid clothes, tools, auto parts and most importantly, bike equipment. Each item has its place; there are drawers of old cassettes, new cassettes, spare shifters, pedals, brake pads. If it was on my bike and still has a use, it’s still there – nothing gets thrown away. After all, there is always a friend who might need it in a pinch, or it could suffice as a suitable back up. However, there are a few parts or cycling items that stand out, conjuring colorful images of past events. One such item is a pair of Specialized MTB Gloves (shown here).
“Grease, Sweat, and High-Fives”

This one pair still hangs in the basement among old race numbers, chainrings, fresh cables and other parts. I look at those gloves and remember having to wash them repeatedly after one extremely muddy North Shore Classic. Although my bike and body were covered with mud, these gloves kept my grip on the bars, wiping chunks of mud off my glasses and face with ease. I recall an epic ride when I had to stop to replace a broken chain and the gloves got greasy but felt comfortable in that role. They have served as a fly-swatter when changing flat tires in the woods, the mosquitoes descending upon us. They have been there when the temperatures dropped mid-race at Hop Brook Damn, snow started falling and along with the rest of me, they froze. They have wiped the sweat off my face on the hottest summer rides and been stained with salt.

Whenever I see them in my basement, I remember all the distinct moments on the bike, racing or riding amongst friends. They have high-fived buddies after a sprint to the finish line in Vermont, and protected my hands when I crashed (too many to recount). They inspire me to remember the past but look forward to the next adventure, making even the shortest ride fun. I remember these events and itch to get out and ride, doesn’t matter where to.

It wasn’t until recently that I showed them to my oldest son. He doesn’t know how special they are but he will in time. He knows that I always wear gloves when I ride, so when it is his turn to get ready to take to the dirt, he too now has gloves. He has his secret drawer where he keeps all his special items, and right on top of everything else are his first pair of gloves (Sixsixone makes some awesome gloves in kid sizes). Whenever we go for a ride around the river or go to the woods, his gloves come out.

Gloves: Just simple pieces of stitched fabric…Fabric that can evoke the strongest memories and stoke the desire to get out, ride, and PTHD.

What’s the one piece of gear that gets you pumped up for a good ride, run, skate, ski, row or swim?

* Chris Chapron is a father of two boys, mountain biker, roadie and a daily bike commuter. When not putting the hammer down (PTHD) at work and enjoying time with family, he is out exploring local trails, roads and New England breweries.