Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

#001 - P90X Newsletter - Get Ready for the X!

Find what you love. Do it. And share it with others. Welcome to bliss!

Tony Horton

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How to Get Ready for the P90X® Experience

By Denis Faye and the Team Beachbody® Community

When it comes to Beachbody® workouts, you can go no higher than P90X. From the full supination concentration curl to the sphinx push-up, from your first warm-up to your last sip of Results and Recovery Formula, this program is truly the Mount Everest of our collection. And just as you'd prepare to climb the real Everest, you need to prepare for P90X. There are fitness levels to be tested, there is gear to be purchased, there is junk food to be tossed, and there are psyches to be elevated. But instead of dishing out a boring ol' "honey do" list for you up-and-coming Xers out there, this humble reporter decided to hang out at the P90X base camp (or the Team Beachbody P90X Message Board, as the plebes call it) and ask those who have already followed Sherpa Horton to the summit what they did to get ready. And now that I've completely worn out that metaphor, let's see what they had to say.

Tony and P90X Products

The regimen

As Beachbody Director of Results Steve Edwards likes to say, P90X is not an "off the couch" program. It's a hard program intended for fit people. Some veteran Xers learned that the hard way. As Scottc0823 muses: "I did nothing to prepare. I am 44 and have not done any serious exercise in years. Suffice it to say I had no idea it was an extreme workout, and no, I did not read up on it before I started! Shame on me. I realized very fast I was probably more of a candidate for Power 90 first."

Luckily for Paulandofelia, he reached this conclusion in advance. "Talking with my wife and discussing my Fit Test results, I didn't think this was going to work. But, I did read in the literature about Power 90 and how it can be used to help you get into shape for P90X. So I ordered that. I put the P90X box up on the shelf in my closet, determined to get it back down as soon as I was ready."

Paulandofelia continues: "Power 90 was hard for me at first but Tony was right—just stick with it and Keep Pushing Play. I was determined to do this P90X program and after 2 months I felt I was ready. I redid the Fit Test and could do a little more than the minimum. My wife bought me some Power Blocks for my birthday and on July 24 I started the X."

Justinpinkley also worked his way up to P90X, focusing on the program's most dreaded feature, the pull-ups. "I did a month and a half of 10-Minute Trainer. Then when I was done with that, I spent the last two weeks working on doing pull-ups, which consisted mostly of negatives (where you jump up if you have to, then let yourself down as slowly as possible)."

Gear

B-LINES® Resistance BandsOne cool thing about P90X is that it gives you an excuse to buy new toys: a pull-up bar, good shoes, a good mat, weights, and resistance bands. Unfortunately, if you're not already geared up, it can get to be an expensive shopping spree. CTOlson offered a simple solution to this: "I took a week or two to stock up on dumbbells by checking Craigslist and sales of dumbbells."

Scottc0823 saved a couple bucks by pilfering from his kids: "I am using mats that belong to the kids (those colored squares that fit together like a puzzle)." And for his pull-up system, he applied a little DIY attitude. "I put a hook in the ceiling joist so I could use the bands where I did not have a pull-up bar. I am now to the point I plan to install the bar and have a homemade setup I found online that will be easy and inexpensive."

For his audio/visual needs, Dadofaugust also stole from his brood by "reclaiming my old TV and DVD player from the kids' playroom." Conversely, Dumbbells suggests you go upscale. "I'd have bought a 5- or 7-disk DVD player from the get-go—so I didn't waste time every day changing disks."

Diet

Eating right is 50 percent of the P90X journey, so you gotta take it seriously. To do this, Lanceisme called for help from a higher place: "I told my wife to not let me eat anything other than [what was in] the food plan."

Rootc boned up on culinary expertise by "making and testing some of the recipes in the nutrition plan."

FitWithJanet knew the program would take up much of her time, so she planned ahead. "I made batches of the soup recipes, grilled chicken breasts and put them in a Ziploc for the week... basically made anything on my Sunday afternoon that I could make ahead of time to make my life easier (sauces, muffins, soups, chopped onions, cleaned produce, etc)."

And Manin made getting ready fun. "Prep? Cooking lessons!" Once you're into the program, remember that this is real work that requires real food. If you think you'll get by on rice cakes and carrots, you're in trouble. "Eat the calories for your level," insists Darthbaron. "If you're in Phase III and your calculations came out at over 4,000 calories, you better be eating that much. I tried working with 2,500 calories for all of Phase I and most of Phase II before I finally got tired of poor results. Once I started eating at Phase III, the changes in strength and muscle growth were dramatic—almost magical. I'm not joking: imagine one week not being able to do a single dive bomber, and then two weeks later you can do 20 dive bombers. These are the kind of changes I saw in less than 4 weeks once I started eating properly."

General preparedness

Man SleepingOnce you have your gear, diet, and fitness sorted out, you're well on your way, but just like any ambitious project, there are a million other small details to address. Darthbaron points out that you'll need to be prepared to "get enough rest. I was used to sleeping only 3 to 4 hours a night, but you cannot do that and be anything but always tired if you are doing P90X. Sleep is when your body does the bulk of its recovery." Tedwayne points out that the big, fancy books that come with the P90X DVDs aren't just door-proppers. "I think that reading the books from front to back as suggested, setting up your area for all the tasks ahead is key, that way when you do start you can hit the ground running." And 9820adcrdc reminds you that you're not the first person to attempt P90X, so you might as well take advantage of that knowledge pool. "To get ready for P90X, I spoke with coaches who are currently doing and have done the P90X program; I went to their homes and saw what they used to work out and their setup."

Finally, Fasnake suggests that you make sure that you have reasonable expectations before Pushing Play that first time. "There is one thing that I KNEW from the beginning—I have a 'Pause' button on the DVD player. I also have the rest of my life to do this without killing myself in the process. It's taken YEARS to put this weight on and get 'out of shape' (No . . .'round' is NOT a shape for healthy people) and it will not all come off at once. Additionally, I have to change my eating habits with 'what' I put in my mouth and 'how much' I put in my mouth. I have no lofty goals of looking 'ripped' or 'macho' or 'buff'." Although I'm sure we all agree getting ripped wouldn't be anything to complain about.

Source: Team Beachbody Message Boards: "How did you prepare for P90X?"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, November 9th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Eating for Great Abs

By Ben Kallen

When it comes to creating incredible abs, even the most effective workout programs can only bring you so far. That's because you can't get a flat, hard midsection without losing body fat. Here's how to eat your way to great abs.

Abs

And no matter how much effort you put into creating a six-pack, no one's going to see it if it's covered by a layer of flab. (The good news? While it's impossible to "spot-reduce," abdominal fat is often the first to go when you start losing weight.)

If you're following the dietary guidelines of a Beachbody® fitness program or a personalized meal plan from TeamBeachbody.com, you'll automatically be eating the right foods to lose fat as you get in shape. But the following seven principles can give you an extra edge and will help ensure that the effort you're putting into your abs will bring you the results you want.

  1. Get plenty of protein. Eating enough lean protein promotes fat loss and muscle gain, the two most important elements for developing great abs. It also helps keep you from getting hungry while you're eating right. You don't have to gobble down 12-ounce steaks—just eat a normal portion of lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy, or vegetarian protein with every meal, and make sure your snacks contain some protein, too. If you still have a hard time getting enough in your diet, a daily shake made with Whey Protein Powder or Shakeology® can be a perfect addition.

    By the way, protein is especially important in the morning, when a lot of people don't get as much as they should. A protein-rich breakfast will help keep your blood sugar steady for hours, preventing the dips that can lead to cravings later in the day. (Try some low-fat chicken sausage, or an omelet with one whole egg and three egg whites, along with fruit or whole-grain toast.)
  2. Results and Recovery Tub and DrinkReconsider your carbs. Despite the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets, the average American meal is still too high in sugar and fast-burning starches to bring body fat down to ab-baring levels. It's time to say goodbye to sweetened soda, ditch the Doritos®, and save the cake for your birthday. If your fitness plan calls for a sports drink before a long cardio workout, or a carb-and-protein recovery drink after resistance training, that's fine. But the rest of the time, stick with foods that are on the low end of the glycemic index (refer to GlycemicIndex.com for more information)—these foods burn more slowly so they won't spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.
  3. Have fun with fiber. Something about the word "fiber" just doesn't sound appetizing. But high-fiber foods can actually be quite delicious: fresh berries and other fruits, salads loaded with colorful produce, your favorite steamed vegetables or vegetable soup, stews or chili made with beans, chewy whole-grain breads and cereals . . . You get the picture. (These foods just happen to be loaded with nutrients as well.) High-fiber foods keep you fuller with fewer calories, and they help keep your digestive system working at its best—a double-whammy for getting rid of belly bulge
  4. Enjoy some yogurt. Probiotics, the healthful bacteria found in yogurt and other fermented foods, have been proven to help reduce belly fat. In a recent study in Finland, new mothers who took probiotic supplements averaged smaller waist circumferences, and lower body fat in general, than those who didn't take probiotic supplements. And while the topic is still controversial, studies have found that eating lots of calcium-rich dairy foods like yogurt may increase overall weight loss.
  5. Don't forget to eat. Tempted to lower your daily calorie count by skipping meals? Don't. Going hungry can raise your levels of the stress-related hormone cortisol, which research has found can increase belly fat even in otherwise thin women. And eating too infrequently can lower your metabolism and energy levels, while increasing the chance that you'll get too hungry and decide to chuck your meal plan entirely. If you're eating the right foods, regular meals and snacks will keep your body fueled while you're working toward that strong core.
  6. Cup of Ice WaterDrink more fluids. Hydration is important when you're on a fitness plan, but drinking plenty of water has particular benefits for your midsection. It helps keep your stomach full so you don't overeat, and it helps flush out excess sodium to prevent belly bloating. (Eating more potassium-rich foods, such as tomatoes and bananas, will also help in this area.)

    Plain ol' H20 can't be beat, but you can also switch it up with flavored waters, iced tea, and anything else you like to drink that isn't full of sweeteners. How much do you need? The old rule of 8 glasses a day is a good start, but everyone is different: drink more if you're exercising or it's hot out, and less if you're running to the bathroom every 5 minutes.
  7. . . . With two exceptions. It's time to cut down on those mood-altering substances, coffee and alcohol. Too much caffeine raises your cortisol levels and can impair your sleep, which can lower the production of fitness-promoting hormones. Meanwhile, the proverbial "beer belly" isn't just the result of extra calories—alcohol actually makes it more difficult for your body to metabolize carbs and fat. Booze also stimulates your appetite and lowers your inhibitions, which can lead to bingeing. The best road to flat abs is no alcohol at all, but if you really like a drink now and then, just have one at a time (and no more than a few a week), and stay away from higher-calorie beers and sugary mixed drinks.

If you add these rules to your fitness plan, you're sure to see faster improvements in your midsection. Of course, there's a bonus to eating this way: it'll keep you healthier, too. That may not be as big an inducement as great abs, but we're throwing it in for free.

Related Articles
"Introducing RevAbs™!"
"5 Ways to Speed Up Your Six-Pack"
"8 Fitness Myths"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, November 9th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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10-Minute Recipe: Tony's Sticky Bar

By Tony Horton

Only three ingredients you probably already have in your house and less than 10 minutes of prep time. Just because you're short on time and/or groceries doesn't mean you have to skimp on nutrition . . . or taste.

Sticky Bar 1/2 medium-size banana
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter (organic minus hydrogenated oils, preferably)
1 cup unsweetened granola
1 sheet wax paper

Mix and mash all three ingredients into a bowl. Spoon onto a sheet of wax paper. Roll up into a hot dog/cigar shape. Stick in the freezer. Ready in about 90 minutes. Cut off little bites or eat the whole thing. Eat it frozen or throw it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Serves 2.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 90 minutes
Calories Protein Carbs Cholesterol: Fat Total Saturated Fat
389 14 g 47 g 0 g 17 g 4 g

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, November 9th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share

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