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

Issue #032 06/09/10 Getting Energized

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Words of Wisdom: Energy

By Tony Horton, creator of P90X

So you bought P90X off the tube and you're all pumped up to kick some butt. Do you remember that shift in ENERGY the day you picked up the phone and started dialing? Any number of thoughts could've been racing through your mind at the time—fear, doubt, excitement, hope, anticipation—you name it.

Tony Teaching at the Beach

Then the DVDs arrived.

Some of you ripped the package open, read all the material, and got started that day. Some of you looked at the box as if it were filled with anthrax—keeping it sealed and placed on a shelf for some future investigation.

You're all at different stages of the program: newbies, start-agains, and even round 5-ers. I'd like to reveal four key components for success with P90X, and quite possibly other aspects of your life.

Have you ever noticed that some days just flow? Even on days when you have tons of things to do, you seem to have all the ENERGY in the world to handle anything. Yet other days feel like you live on Saturn. The weight of the world feels 10 times heavier than normal.

It comes down to the amount of ENERGY you have on any given day. Your ENERGY always dictates your REALITY. When you're filled with ENERGY, you're sharp, ready, enthusiastic, and willing. When you're pooped . . . forget about it! Organizing a sock drawer feels like climbing Mt. Everest.

So what causes these shifts? The big four are:

  1. Food and supplementation. I know, I know. Here I go again. Hold on to your hats! There's no way on God's earth you can maintain a consistent level of ENERGY and enthusiasm for any 90-day program by eating the same old crap. You must . . . you have to . . . you need to make "The Change." Proper ENERGY levels only come from eating the right food the right way at the right time of day. If you don't know what that means, then you haven't read the material and you're doing this program the wrong way.

    You are what you eat! If you eat the same old tired food that put you in this mess in the first place, that's just what you'll get. Tired and old before your time. You know what to do, so do it! It's not Atkins® or Slim-Fast® or fast food or soft drinks or fried food or candy bars or doughnuts or liquid diets or any panoply of misleading ways of consuming food. Get your mind right about what goes in your mouth or continue to live in the land of the wannabes!
  2. Woman SleepingSleep. This probably seems like the most obvious and simple component of the four. But it's often the most abused. Recent statistics have shown that the leading cause of traffic accidents in this country is NOT alcohol, but sleep deprivation. If we don't have enough ENERGY to stay awake while driving a car, how will we have enough ENERGY for a 6-day-a-week workout program?

    We're not sleeping enough hours at night, and even when we do, they're often filled with so much mind chatter that we don't get the proper rest we need. My new Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines "sleep" as follows: "the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored." In Taoist philosophy, there's the yin (not ying) and the yang. These are opposing ENERGIES that create balance. P90X is yang ENERGY. Sleep and rest are yin ENERGY. There must be proper balance between vim and vigor (yang) and inward calm (yin). If you don't get enough sleep and rest, your body will not receive the proper restoration it needs to complete or succeed with this program, or anything else in life, for that matter.
  3. Stress management. Do you realize that if you took the fear, worry, and anxiety out of every "stressful" situation in your life, the end result of that situation would still occur? You can panic and freak out all you want, but time will still pass and the end of that moment will still happen, whether you freak out or not. So why not choose something different? When do fear, worry, and anxiety ever really help a situation?

    So what is stress? It's the inability to move through a situation logically, peacefully, positively, productively, and gracefully. To be stressed out takes lots of ENERGY. Being stressed out can severely affect how well you'll sleep at night. Stress is when you assess blame and don't take responsibility. ("I'm stressed out because of______, and that's why I can't______.") Don't let stress be your scapegoat.

    There's a story about 10 people in line at a bank when three armed robbers come flying in, screaming and yelling and pointing guns. They terrorize everyone and steal all their money. The moral of the story is that these 10 people will be affected by this experience in 10 different ways. The two extremes range from one having a wild story to tell at work the next day to another being severely traumatized for the rest of his or her life. Where would you fall in that spectrum?

    There's a saying that there are three kinds of business: "God's business"—things that happen in this world that are out of my control; "their business"—the choices other people make based on their life experiences so far; and "my business"—the choices I make that shape my life. If I focus on what I have to do to make my life the best it can be, and NOT on God's and everyone else's business, I will have less stress, which in turn will give me the ENERGY to live the life I've always wanted.

    Don't waste your time on gossip, ridicule, envy, self-pity, anger, guilt, arrogance, need, impatience, regret, manipulation, jealousy, fear, worry, and anxiety, because they'll zap your ENERGY and cause you stress!

    Choose understanding, truth, clarity, patience, devotion, gratitude, vulnerability, acceptance, wisdom, hope, forgiveness, empathy, discipline, perseverance, community, and peace. Because if you do, you will gladly kiss stress goodbye and say hello to all the ENERGY you'll need.
  4. Setting GoalsPurpose. Purpose is the driving force to get you from here to there. If you don't have purpose, all the best food, supplementation, sleep, and stress-free days won't help you one bit. You have to have a powerful burning desire to want it.

    My dictionary tells me that "purpose" is "seeking resolution." Searching for answers to solve a problem. An intention. This all goes to the core of . . . why? Why do I want to spend the next 90 days turning my life upside down, maybe even for the second or third time, or more?

    You're looking for resolution. You're searching for answers to help solve this problem. And most importantly, you must be clear about your intention. No one ever does anything just for the heck of it. There's always some intention behind everything we do. Different kinds of behavior have different levels of intention and purpose. Eating fast food and leaving the DVDs on the shelf is one level. Following the program the way it was designed is another.

    I know I've said this before, but if your intention and purpose are based exclusively on esthetics and bragging rights, you miss the whole point of P90X. If your intention and purpose are based on good health, quality of life, athleticism, flexibility, strength, and cardiovascular endurance, you're doing P90X for all the right reasons. If your intention and purpose are based on lifestyle, you will have plenty of ENERGY to succeed with and complete P90X. You will also have the ENERGY to be everything you always knew you could be.

May the Energy Revolution begin!

Tony Horton

Related Articles
"11th Law of Exercise: Food and Supplements"
"The Rub on Massage: 8 Great Ways to Relax and Rejuvenate"
"Can Hard Exercise Hurt Your Immune System?"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards) in the Beachbody Chat Room on Tuesday, June 8, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

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.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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"Shakeology gives me that extra boost I need at the end of the day to complete my P90X workout." —Archie R., Las Vegas

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Pain in the Plantar: FAQ about Plantar Fasciitis

By Omar Shamout

Our feet carry a big burden around with them every day—namely, us. The amount of stress we place on our feet can be detrimental to our health if we don't take the proper precautions to ensure that their needs are being met. A vital juncture in the anatomy of the foot is the heel—it provides the primary posterior point of support while walking or running, and it is also the area where the connective tissue is formed that creates the arch of the foot. Up to 2 million people in the United States suffer from some form of foot or heel pain each year. Let's examine one of the most prevalent foot ailments, plantar fasciitis, to understand why it occurs, what we can do to prevent and treat it, and what other injuries it puts you at risk for.


What is this plantar fasciitis business?

Like all repetitive use injuries, plantar fasciitis is a product of our own making. Plantar fasciitis is a medical condition that occurs when the fibrous tissue on the sole of your foot known as the plantar fascia becomes inflamed due to overuse, a condition that can be made worse by improper foot mechanics while walking and/or running. This connective tissue near the heel is the center of weight distribution and helps maintain the arch in your foot. Therefore, even a slightly off-kilter stance or landing position of the foot can place a lot of extra stress on an already heavily worked area. The fascia is susceptible to a small amount of tearing, and when the fascia is overused, these tears can lead to an inflammation in the tissue.

Plantar fasciitis may not happen overnight, though the stabbing pain associated with it definitely worsens during sleep, when the tissue tightens up while not being used. The first few steps in the morning are often the worst of the entire day as the tissue remembers that it's still angry with you for not taking care of it properly.

And who gets it?

The condition is more prevalent among the overweight, pregnant, and middle-aged, though it can occur in all age groups, depending on exercise type and frequency.

Yikes! How do I prevent it?

Plantar fasciitis can be described as a sort of gateway injury, because it leads to other injuries that we'll discuss later. Taking proper care to prevent it will also aid in staving off related problems down the line.

Tennis ShoeAccording to the Mayo Clinic and the Plantar Fasciitis Organization, proper support is crucial to avoiding this painful condition, especially among those who run frequently or stand for long periods of the day, so make sure your shoes fit and have sufficient arch support. Also, be aware of when it's time to buy new cross-trainers. If you've logged more than 500 miles in any pair of shoes, it may be time to consider heading to the store for a new pair.

That said, there is a school of thought that wearing running shoes may actually increase the likelihood of impact-based injuries like plantar fasciitis because they promote heel-first impact, adding much more stress to the foot. Barefoot runners have a much greater tendency to land on the balls of their feet, reducing the force of the impact, and their risk of heel or ankle injury. However, there are other obvious risks that need to be factored in when deciding whether or not to go shoeless, especially for city-dwellers who run outdoors. (The Mayo Clinic does advise against barefoot running, especially on hard surfaces.) Inexperienced runners would be advised to ease into barefoot running slowly, as their calf and foot muscles would need time to acclimate to a new gait.

Okay, got it. But what about those other injuries you mentioned?

Here are two of the more common medical conditions associated with plantar fasciitis.

  1. Heel spurs. A heel spur is a hook that forms on the heel bone at the bottom of your foot, where the plantar fascia is most likely to become inflamed. It's easy to confuse the symptoms of a heel spur with those of plantar fasciitis, because the pain associated with each condition can be similar. While about 70 percent of plantar fasciitis sufferers also have a heel spur, it's possible to have a heel spur without any other symptoms, and only an X-ray will provide a conclusive diagnosis.
  2. FootTarsal tunnel syndrome. The tarsal tunnel is the area of the foot between the fibrous plantar fascia tissue and the bone where the tibial nerve is located. Tarsal tunnel syndrome, which is analogous to carpal tunnel syndrome in the hands and wrists, occurs when the nerve in this narrow passageway becomes pinched. One common symptom is numbness along the bottom of the foot, along with pain such as burning or tingling. Specific tapping tests performed by a doctor, along with electrodiagnostic exams, are the only way to properly diagnose the disorder.

In addition to repetition and overuse, other medical conditions, including fractures, arthritis, spurs, ganglions, and tumors, can contribute to the onset of tarsal tunnel syndrome by adding further stress to the region and causing the nerve to become more restricted. Those with plantar fasciitis are more susceptible to the problem.

Ow! My feet hurt just reading that. If I have these conditions, how do I treat them?

There are several things you can do for plantar fasciitis and heel spurs.

  1. Get rest. Rest is the best way to treat plantar fasciitis. Your tissue needs time to heal, and staying away from high-impact activities is essential for at least several days.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight. High-impact exercise exerts a lot of stress on your feet, and any extra pounds will have a negative impact on your podiatric health.
  3. Wear shoe inserts. Shoe inserts, like orthotics, can be worn to provide additional protection. Sometimes night splints are also used to prevent the arch from tightening up overnight.
  4. Apply ice packs. You can also apply an ice pack 3 to 4 times a day for no more than 20 minutes when the pain is severe.
  5. Take anti-inflammatory medications. Some, like ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, can be purchased over the counter; others can be prescribed by your doctor.
  6. Stretch. Take care when you wake up in the morning to stretch your feet around a little before getting out of bed. At first you may even want to step directly into your training shoes so your arch stays supported. (Soon it will be strong enough that this additional "step" won't be necessary.)
  7. Ease back into your normal routine. Take it easy—get back into the swing of things slowly, because if you continue to push yourself through the pain, your plantar fasciitis could easily turn into a chronic condition.
  8. Taping FootTape your foot. Taping your foot can provide support and relief while you're on the mend.

Is there anything I can do that's a little more proactive, like exercises or something?

While we can't replace the guidance of a qualified physical therapist in one short article, here are three exercises courtesy of Beachbody's own Steve Edwards that will help alleviate—and possibly even prevent, if begun early enough—the pain caused by plantar fasciitis:

  1. Sit with feet flat. Place your fists together between your knees and squeeze your knees together, not hard, just enough pressure to keep your fists from falling (you can use a small ball as well). Rotate your feet inward until your toes touch (or nearly touch), keeping the weight on the outside of the foot. Then rotate your feet outward, raising your toes and keeping the weight on the inside of the foot. Do sets of 40, once or twice a day.
  2. Sit in a chair on a tile (or slippery) floor. Place a small towel (like a washcloth) on the floor with your toes at the edge. Use your toes to scrunch up the towel, then go the opposite way and push it back out until it's flat again. Start slowly but build up until you can do this over and over.
  3. Stand on one foot. (Hold on to the back of a chair with one or both hands if you need help balancing.) Curl your toes so that your foot bunches up, then press it as flat as you can toward the floor. Do 40 reps. Switch feet.

And what about tarsal tunnel syndrome? How do I treat that?

OrthoticsDoctor-prescribed oral anti-inflammatory medication or a cortisone injection is a typical treatment for the problem. Foot inversion through the use of orthotics is also used to relieve pressure around the nerve. If these are not successful, a surgical procedure known as a tarsal tunnel release, which creates an incision in the area in order to relieve compression, may be required.

Heel pain may be diagnosed in different ways, but the key to preventing its various forms is the same. Know your limits, and allow your body time to recover between high-impact workouts. If you frequently find yourself in pain following these types of routines, consider trying a low- or no-impact routine to help ease the pressure and stress on your heel and foot. Ignore telltale signs of heel pain at your own peril, because these conditions are known to recur, and can end up causing you problems for a very long time.

Related Articles
"Injuries, Part I: Just Say No"
"The 3 Rules of Intensity"
"Sore, Hungry, and Slow: 3 Signs That Show Your Program Is Working"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards) in the Beachbody Chat Room on Tuesday, June 8, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

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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From Pilates to P90X®

Already in pretty decent shape, Skylie7 was doing Pilates and lifting weights, but it was P90X that got her the results she'd been dreaming of. Check out how she lost 10 pounds and pushed herself to get extremely fit.

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Recipe: Salmon Burritos with Chili-Roasted Vegetables

Salmon and Vegetables

Here's a great, healthy summer recipe. While the directions are for roasting in an oven, we think the salmon and the vegetables would be perfect on the grill for an early summer cookout.

  • 1 lb. salmon fillet (about 1 in. thick), boned
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground dried chilies
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled, quartered lengthwise, then sliced 1/4 in. thick
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise, then sliced 1/3 in. thick
  • 1 red onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/4-in.-thick wedges
  • 1 fresh poblano chili, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
  • 6 whole whole wheat flour tortillas (10 in. wide), warmed
  • Chopped cilantro, shredded cabbage, low-fat sour cream, and lime wedges
  • Aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two 12-by-15-in. baking pans with aluminum foil. Whisk the olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ground dried chili, and salt together. Rinse salmon and pat dry. Brush flesh side of salmon with 2 Tbsp. of the lime-chili marinade. Set aside. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potato, zucchini, onion, and chili with the remaining marinade. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on the baking pans. Roast vegetables for 10 minutes, then add salmon (skin-side down) to one pan and return to oven. Continue roasting until potatoes are tender when pierced and salmon is opaque but still moist-looking in center of thickest part, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove skin from salmon and slice fillet into 6 equal portions. Spoon vegetable mixture equally onto warm tortillas. Top each with a piece of salmon and a little cilantro, cabbage, and sour cream.* Fold tortilla over the filling. Serve with more sour cream and the lime wedges. Makes 6 servings.

*Cut the sour cream from the recipe to remove all saturated fat from this meal.

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
325 19 g 3 g 30 g 14 g 2 g

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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