Friday, April 16, 2010

Final Thoughts

There is so much to say about an experience so intense as this one of going through a PCP. I decided that a good way to write about the different aspects of this adventure would be as an "interview" with questions I have asked myself and questions my friends have asked me.

Why did I sign up for PCP in the first place?
Because I needed to try an effective method to achieve some goals. Patrick's own blog of his PCP and subsequent participants' stories and photos made me give it a try. What I read in those blogs made sense to me and I wanted to know if I was able to accomplish something similar.

What were my PCP goals?
First, to go through a test. I needed some discipline to shake up my anarchic lifestyle.
Second, I have always admired lean, muscular, healthy and gracious human specimens and I was determined to get as close to that ideal as I could. So I needed to get rid of some unnecessary fat and work on my muscles.
Third, I was stuck in my yoga practice and gaining some weight in spite of it. It was necessary to do something radical to gain strength and vitality to advance in my yoga practice.

Which goals did I achieve?
All of them!! I learnt so much from working constantly and progressively with a method. It showed me how much I can accomplish with discipline and constancy. I feel I can apply this method to other aspects of my life.
I'm close to my physical ideal, with only a few details to improve. I lost a lot of body fay. Patrick says I should be around the 15%. My initial weight was 54 kg and now it's 52,5 kg. I used to wear pants size  28 and now I fit perfectly in size 27.
My skin is smooth and even, not puffy as it used to be in some places.

And the most rewarding part is that I feel energized, awake and strong. I used to feel sluggish and down, sleepy after the meals and didn't want to move so much. I'm ready to try this new body with some advanced asanas.
Aplauso, por favor!

What did I learn from the PCP experience?
That nutrition defines you, your body, health and energy. It is true that you are what you eat. So it is very important to educate yourself in terms of what a good nutrition is and practice what you learn.
That there is no such a thing as an easy fast method to get a lean healthy body while watching TV.
That your body expresses its gratitude in vitality and great muscles if you feed it clean food and challenge it with exercises.
That your body functions according to some rules. If you know them you can apply them to get the results you want. It's not a miracle, it's science and it's beautiful.
That to be in Peak Condition all you need is a great nutrition, regular challenging exercises and motivation.  You don't need machines, gyms or pills.
That starving yourself works against you.
That cellulite won't disappear with expensive creams.
That constant and progressive work pays.
That you need to have faith in what you're doing. Faith will help you in the dark days.

What was the hardest aspect of PCP?
Incredibly, not the work out, it doesn't mean it was easy either. The hardest part was getting used to plan, buy, prepare, clean and store the food needed for the day and doing it every single day. The kitchen time.
Also to get the discipline of eating several times a day.

What was the must fun during PCP?
Rope jump!
To be free to choose when you work out, with your music.
To have a new challenge every day: new exercises or more reps.
Patrick's daily e-mails.
To think a topic for the blog.
To comment and get comments from fellow PCPers.
The perplexed look in the faces of the people when you tried to explain what you were doing and for how long.
To eat a lot.

Which exercises you can't live without from now on?
Rope jumps! :)
Lunges and squats.
Crunches and v-sits.
Oldies and unpretentious but effective!

What did I learn from myself? Positive and negative.
That I can if I want, but I have to really really want.
That I can be disciplined.
That I'm strong and have the potential to become even stronger.
That I need to move my body regularly to keep my engines working.
That I can inspire people around me to eat better and exercise more.
That 2 glasses of wine are enough.
That I tend to take it too easy on myself.
That my passion for an idea can cloud my ability to question it.
That I need to work on managing my anger.

What are my future goals regarding food and exercise?
To keep a natural diet with lots of vegetables, fruit, wholesome carbs and lean protein. 
To get less protein from animals.
To eat enough food several times a day.
To begin again doing yoga with the second course of this book: Yoga, The Iyengar Way 
To jump every day and continue with a maintenance program of PCP exercises.
By the beginning of summer I will be totally satisfied with my flexibility, strength and leanness.

What was gratifying during PCP?
Sore muscles.
A heavy profound sleep almost every night.
Lots of energy during the day, feeling less tired, not being sleepy after lunch.
Understanding how important good carbs are and being able to enjoy them without fear.
Acquiring a nice posture automatically because my muscles were getting strong and flexible.
Choosing new styles of clothes that now look good on me.
New lines from muscles appearing every week. 
Pablo's compliments.
Noticing how this new lifestyle improved Pablo's.
Day 90.

Did PCP affect my daily routine?
Totally. It changed my morning coffee and mail reading for rope jumping. 
I had to find enough time to get and prepare food.
It divided my day in 8 moments, 1 for jumping, 1 for exercising and 6 for meals.
I didn't spend as much time as before with my friends.

Is it weird to open your weekly photo and blog to anyone who wants to read it?
Yes, at the beginning. The weirdest moment is posting the first photo. You feel vulnerable and ugly. You hope your friends won't see it. But with time and after so much effort you fall in love with that changing person in the photos and become very proud, almost exhibitionist.
I always considered the blog a transparent instrument to share an experience with people around the world, maybe it could inspire someone like me to take a challenge. The blog was very important to share the experience with the PCP team, I felt less lonely and they cheered me up. The blog will be great to read sometime in the future when I have to do something that looks hard to accomplish.

Did my perception of other training methods and fitness products changed after PCP?
Definitively. Fitness DVDs, gyms and diet movements give you just one aspect of the solution to getting fit, but working on just one aspect won't get you far. 

Any suggestions for future PCPers?
Yes, It really makes your life easier if you get a quality kitchen scale. The bigger your bamboo steaming set or machine the best.
Don't struggle with egg whites. You will learn to eat them without any spices at all.
Get used as soon as you can to prepare all the day's food and egg whites first thing in the morning or the night before. That way you won't skip any meal and you can devote to your daily affairs.
Believe in the process, even on those dark days when you're tired or don't see results.
Enjoy it. It's your challenge and your victory.

Finally, a big hug to Patrick and Chen. Thank you so much for creating this beautiful project and for the hard work you have put into it. Patrick, thanks for being honest, helpful, graceful and a good teacher.
To my fellow PCPers a big hug, congratulations for an excellent work and thanks for the camaraderie and support. I will miss you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 90

With sore muscles from the Herculean work out of day 89, I woke up and run to check our instructions for the last day. Then I asked Pablo to say a number and he said 3.  I won't say what's in the work out of day 3 so I don't ruin the surprise for our new PCPers but let me say it was soooo easy this time. 10 minutes. No sweat. No butterflies in the stomach. Just my body saying: "look, see how strong I became, one more set, give me one more set!"

The rest of the day was pure celebration. I smiled and smiled, danced with Pablo, who is very proud of me, and almost cried when Patrick congratulated me. I felt a powerful calm and couldn't stop smiling the whole day. 
Today I feel great. Patrick said we should take some days off, but, I needed to jump this morning.  Later I will be writing some final words about this experience and taking some pictures.

A big hug to Patrick and Chen. A big hug to my fellow PCPers, you did a great job, look awesome and made me smile all the way. A big hug too, for those of you who could't finish the project with us. Try again, next time you will.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 88

Almost there!

At this point my emotions are split. I do want to finish but I can already tell that I will miss the Project.

Just wanted to report that the work out these days has been merciless. 
During the second set I feel I'm fried, at the brink of throwing the towel, but set number 3 gives me back hope and strength, sets 4 and 5 are tears and sweat.
I would like to have better abs for the final photos but I can't do extra exercises.
Tomorrow's work out looks wicked, it hurts just to look at all those exercises and reps. 

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 86

I will tell you a secret. The reason why I can jump first thing in the morning is because when the sets of jumps are done a big cappuccino is waiting for me. Millions of micro spheres of milk, dark coffee and cinnamon that Pablo prepare for me in recognition for standing outside in any kind of weather and move my body against gravity. 

Yesterday's training was hard but it passed very quickly. Patrick is right when he says getting to failure in an exercise is tricky. You are used to avoid pain. You don't want pain so you stop as soon as it hurts. My objective this week: to acquire a taste for pain. This will be useful for the tattoo I'm getting.

Quinoa and brown rice are my new favorite food.  I can't wait for new fruits to be in season and I wish prepositions weren't so tricky in English!.

Have a sweet weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Abs Videos

Wondering how to train your abs using some red silk and a tree?  Tired of standing ovation? Try it with a new attitude. Here's some inspiration:

I haven't tried these 4:46 minutes of crunches but they look hard core. Tough girls!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 83

Dear readers of this blog, do you realize there are only 7 days of PCP left for me?

At this point, maybe since day 75, I have been feeling tempted to slow down and take it easy because I have already achieved a lot. Like when you are running and you begin to decrease the rhythm to cool down. But today it has occurred to me that cool down time is after day 90 so here I go. With power for the last week.

Exercises are still hard to do. More repetitions and more sets leave my muscles numb and sore but strong. There is everyday this moment before exercising when I think: "I want to go and read instead" or "I will skip these evil chest deeps". Or the second before jumping in the morning when I search for a reason not to do it: too cold, too breezy, the cafe smells too good, I'm tired, I could sleep a little longer and so on. And then something inside me says: "hey, it's just 15 minutes of jumping and you will feel great afterwards" or "only one set, then you will see if you can do another one". Those are the games my mind play, even on day 83. The difference lately is that the voice pushing me to action speaks louder and has more and more reasons to convince me. PCP trains your muscles, your stomach and your mind.

So, here it goes again: You Tube or push-ups? 5 more minutes of computer and push-ups!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Third indulgence

Last Thursday I had my indulgence, and since then I've been recovering from it. I had a Schnitzel with fried potatoes, salad and wine. There was some mayonnaise, too. I wanted something crispy, salty, warm and a big glass of red wine.

We could have gone to the local restaurant for this very German treat but for the price you pay for a single glass of wine you can buy a good bottle and drink it in the comfort of your house and besides, Pablo makes the best Schnitzels. Now, I can make really good baked, crunchy potatoes but I wanted the junk version, the fries that only reused oil and a skilled employee can produce. So, while Pablo was making the Schnitzels I went to the Greek take-away around the corner for a portion of french fries.

The Schnitzel was very good. The fries a little disappointing because they were not crunchy anymore (I was the only client in the take-away so when I got home the Schnitzel was not ready). But I don't know. Something has changed. I couldn't experience the usual pleasure this menu used to produce. The taste was good but maybe I was too aware of the huge amount of oil needed to prepare this. At some point I felt I was drinking oil. Fried potatoes HAVE to be hot and crispy, they have to!. I was wondering if I should be doing this to my body after so much rope jumping and muscle soreness, was it necessary to be drinking oil?
After lunch I felt like all the food was stuck in the upper part of my stomach, my eyes began to close, I felt tired, dizzy, heavy. I hadn't slept well the night before but I think it was mostly the effect of the food. I fell asleep for several hours. My skin began to itch in some places and this morning I found little zits there.

I'm not in love with Schnitzel and fries anymore. It's too much. It smells great and the first bites are good but the after effects are boring. I lost energy, my skin is sad.
I adore my steamed vegetables in all their clean flavor and great after effects.