Friday, June 25, 2010

Bring On The Men!

I thought there simply was not a more fitting title for this blog.

My friends know I'm up for just about anything fitness-related. Whether it's a new series of fitness DVDs, an invitation to participate in a mud run, or more recently, an opportunity to work out with some fit folks at Pure Barre at their newest location in Mission Viejo. I heard about Pure Barre through friends, and I might add an important factor, my female friends. I accepted an invitation to Pure Barre's "Bring On The Men!" the weekend of June 19-20. Guys were encouraged by their female friends to experience 55 minutes of the Pure Barre Technique (PBT) that has the motto: Lift, Tone, and Burn!

My friend Ashley Affeldt (everyone say hi to Ashley, above) sponsored me for this unique opportunity, and, wow... let me tell you all about my day at Pure Barre...

WARM UP: As with any fitness program we started with a warm up. Granted I've not worked out in front of room full of mirrors in a while, I found it actually helped me see how my form was during this phase of the workout. It also gave me a chance to see all the guys and gals in my class, so there was that bonding experience going already.

As you can see I'm already out of sync, this whole reverse-image-in-the-mirror and following Monica Pommier (Instructor, Owner of the Mission Viejo & Newport Beach studios) movements, was confusing for me. How will I last the full 55 minutes? On the one hand my lack of coordination was saved by some floor exercises and some work with the weights. On the other hand, I soon realized this was the calm before the storm.
The competitive nature in me prompted me to sneak a peak in between sets at some of the other fellas and it looks like we were all on par with our female counterparts thus far.
CORE WORKOUT: Soon the core of the PBT began: Thigh, Seat, and Ab Work. I underestimated the intensity of the PBT as Monica led us through some of the most intense, but small, isometric movements combined in a class. If not for the high-energy music I would've been too focused on the burning feeling these movements created on key areas of my body.

About a month ago I suffered a crazy hip injury that knocked me out of my workout routine for three weeks, and at this point I wasn't sure if I should tell Ashley that this "Manly Man" may have to bow out. However, I found that the exercise movements of the PBT provided the burn, but since it did not involve any bouncing or jumping, I would have to find another excuse to not go through this intense program. Monica had to help adjust my stance a couple of times, but other than that, I continued with the program.
After various focused exercises my abs, hips, glutes, and arms were telling me in unison that THIS had to be one of the most intense 55 minutes I have ever worked out...yet my recently-recovered hip was still intact! I spoke with the other guys in the class and we all had the same sweaty, exhausted, and relieved look ... giving me some cue that I was not the only guy wondering how Ashley, Monica, and our female classmates could do this regularly and not smell of Icy Hot.

I'm very grateful for Pure Barre welcoming me and the other guys to "Bring On The Men" as guys very seldom get a chance to participate in fitness classes for females. Personally I like to try various programs and routines, as I'm usually asked by both guys and gals alike, "What would you recommend if I want to...?" I consider myself very well-versed in some of the innovative programs out there, but was not so much with the ones that especially focused on goals and areas on most females' checklists. I also consider myself a pretty fit individual and may have done a great job masking my pain. In the days that followed my abs, my thighs, and my glutes were STILL burning from ONE session at Pure Barre! I cannot make that statement about my previous or current programs.

I hear that Pure Barre invites us guys twice a year to experience how the PBT works out the body through zero- to low-impact movements, providing effective results in a short amount of time. You can be sure I'll have my guy friends check it out for themselves, if I haven't already flooded them with stories from my one day with Pure Barre. As for my female friends, you all are fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the Pure Barre classes. It's no wonder talk about Pure Barre has caused more studios opening up. It works and more folks want to experience it. On Saturday, June 26 the Mission Viejo studio will have a Grand Opening Party. Please check it out for yourself and speak with Monica, other Pure Barre instructors, and the Pure Barre students!

Thank you, Monica (above) for inviting us guys to Pure Barre for "Bring On The Men!" It was quite a rewarding experience!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tracking my Insanity

My friends know me for being a pretty active guy in terms of fitness. In the past couple of years, I've been the guinea pig and crash test dummy for P90X and the TRX Suspension Training System. The results are crazy awesome and it's why it's cool whenever I hear my friends purchase these fitness programs and take on the challenge!

Not to disappoint, it was bound to happen...a program that describe the state I was in in wanting to punish my body further...INSANITY. I started the Insanity: 60-Day Total Body Conditioning Program. I started my 60-day journey on June 7th with a Fit Test of eight exercises to establish a baseline for my improvement. I consider myself pretty fit, so when I really did push myself to log this initial measurement of my performance. As with anything that can be measured, it can be improved. I decided to shoot for a 10% improvement on my counts by the time my Fit Test came in two weeks.

Two weeks later, on June 21st it was time to see how I fared, not sure if the 10% improvement in two weeks was aggressive or not. The first two exercises I didn't hit my 10% targets, so at 5:30am (when I usually work out) it was not looking too promising. Fortunately as the Fit Test went on, I was able to hit my 10% targets for the remaining six exercises...I was pretty stoked!

In two weeks it will be time for my third Fit Test, and I'm thinking an increase of 5% from my June 21st results might be a more realistic goal. In any case, seeing my overall improvement from the first Fit Test was encouraging. Even the first two exercises where I missed my mark, I'm pretty proud of the increase from my initial fit test. Overall, I'd say it was a pretty darned good performance. There was no merit in hanging my shoulders low after missing the mark on the first two exercises.

It's important to stay focused on the big picture and not getting hung up little things.


Friday, June 11, 2010

It's been a while!

Wow! Looking at the last post there have been a lot of activity that I really SHOULD have blogged about. Fortunately Facebook has pictures, videos, and some story to tell about the last seven months in the the active life of OakleyOC!

In January, I missed the deadline for the World Famous Camp Pendelton Mud Run ... again. The Xterra Trail Run at Crystal Cove was postponed again as Mother Nature was having fun with her rain machine.

In February, Mother Nature continued to pound sunny Southern California with rain the week before the Xterra Trail Run at Crystal Cove was to happen. It became known as the "Crystal Cove Curse," and was set for an April 25th date.

In March, it was all about continuing to train for Irvine Lake Mud Run happening on April 17. It was exciting to have about 30 people register for our socialMUDia team, comprised of Twitter, Facebook, and in-real-life friends!

In April, the Irvine Lake Mud Run proved to be a HUGE success. It was not so much that the venue was scenic and challenging at the same time. It was more about the socialMUDia team having a wide spectrum of fitness/running levels combining into a team that had a lot of fun that day. Also in April the Xterra Trail Run finally happened! It had to be THE MOST CHALLENGING 5K that I have ever run! Nothing like punishing yourself on a beautiful outdoor trail in Crystal Cove, and reaching the top of the course towards the end where you see a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean! Simply amazing!

May was a recovery month for me. While I wish I had a better story for my hip injury that knocked me from running for three weeks, I don't. I was casually running through a parking lot and decided to hurdle over a parking barrier. I landed fine, but I may have twisted incorrectly. It didn't help I had the Xterra race the next morning. By that Monday I could not lift my left leg using its own muscles. Walking around with a cane, electroshock therapy and physical therapy for three weeks and my doctor cleared me to train again ... for the June 5th Playa del Run in Huntington Beach!

On June 5, I participated in a 5K Beach Run at the Playa del Run in Huntington Beach. It was June Gloom time, but just being along the sand for the race was refreshing. It was my first race since my infamous imitation of House, M.D., and I didn't feel any pain during or after the race. There was a second part of the Playa del Run event ... a one-mile sand sprint with obstacles. That was so much fun as there was the challenge of the stop and go motion in between obstacles on loose sand, in addition to the mere fact the race was on loose sand! Nevertheless, I survived without any injury!

I promised myself after the above, it was time to put myself through the INSANITY: The 60-day Total Body Conditioning Program. Follow my progress through the next 60 days!

With any program, whether someone else's or one that you create, set up a log and your goals. How can you hit a target if you can see the target? Set a target and visualize it!