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. 

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 76

These past days have been strange.  I have been jumping in the mornings and I like to jump barefoot. I've been working out late, but it's not night any more, so I have to keep an eye on the watch because I'm used to wait for darkness to begin exercising. I feel this incredible speed inside me during the day and sometimes it gets me in trouble with my loved people because I can't control this energy and intensity yet. It's like a fury inside me awaking from a long dream. But I like this a lot. I needed this volcanic eruption.

Now, the exercises... I wake up sore everyday. I even feel my arms complaining when I jump rope, but I don't seem to get bigger muscles. More sets and reps leave me cursing really loud. I still need to get stronger because I'm not able to do many push-ups and not even one pull-up. I love-hate the exercises.

This afternoon I will be deciding what to have tomorrow for the last indulgence. Will it be milanesa parmigiana or Schnitzel with fried potatoes? 

Meanwhile look at this back. 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Food Revolution

Tonight is the premier of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. A TV show that is going to be very intense and hopefully eye opening for a lot of people. It's about the kind of food schools in The United States are serving  their children. It's also about the high rates of sickness and death product of unhealthy nutrition but most of all is about a REVOLUTION.

Jamie's efforts will be to try and change the way children eat at school and at home by teaching people how to cook healthy economical meals that will save their lives.
Here is the trailer , and here are the program times as well as some sneak peaks of the show.

I first heard about Jamie's Food Revolution Project when he won the 1020 TED Prize, if you have some time watch his Talk. It's passionate and moving.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to watch the show here in Germany, must wait until it's on YouTube.
How is school food in your city?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 70

I don't know if it's because of the blue sky or because it's day 70 but today I feel so happy. I'm trying to remember all the exercise, jumps and food that have been necessary to get to this point and I almost can't believe that I am this woman who has been able to do all that. Or that I am this woman in the pictures with nice abs and a stronger back.

These days I'm paying attention to how this new body feels. How is it to have strong and heavier legs, how do I walk now, the shape of my shoulders and how bigger they make me feel, how my posture has changed, the way I move around and move things around. This is a nice exercise to do since you are the person changing by bits everyday and it's easy to overlook your new condition.

There's another aspect of these 70 days that thrills me: the knowledge that you can understand how your body works and act accordingly to change and improve it. That's why I specially look forward to Patrick's mails explaining how food and body work.
Unfortunately that's something they don't teach you at school. Imagine a so auto-defined intelligent species that knows nothing about it's own physiology.
I want to learn much more and also study about female bodies and cycles.

Well, I have already jumped, it's sunny and I'm ready to enjoy our exercise free day. Can't wait to see what happens in the last 20 days.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 68

This week our exercises are tough. 6 or 5 sets of each exercise and 20 seconds of pause between them leave me like a stone on my mat just as I finish doing abs. Oh, but I love my shoulders... and my abs... and my calves and yes, also my booty. From now on we are best friends, my booty and me.

Wish you a sunny Tuesday!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 65

Are you also breathing the spring air? Since yesterday windows are open around here and I'm enjoying the mornings jumping in the balcony. Yesterday I was about to finish a 5 minutes set when a huge bird came flying over the roofs and landed at the neighbor's. It was a majestic crane. After months of jumping in a basement this is pure pleasure. The air, the trees and  the birds singing.

The other day I was reading a post in Abby's blog which led me to this page. If you need some inspiration for new ways of jumping take a look at their excellent videos. And admire the man's zero-fat body! I'm seriously thinking about getting this jump rope as a treat for being so committed to jumping. My actual jump rope is fine but I notice that the wind interferes with the rhythm of my jumping and that I need more speed.

I'm making a big progress in the jumping. I'm getting used to do it first thing in the morning and I like it a lot, even though it's still hard to move the body that early. But on the diet and the exercises I feel a little low.
It's not that I want to eat other stuff, not at all. It's that sometimes I feel that I've had enough animal protein, egg whites and yogurt for a whole year. It's also that these days inspiration has returned and the only thing I want to do is being at my studio and only leave when the muses leave. You know you can't tell them to wait a moment while you make lunch.
I know I have to eat. I know that by now I should be used to cooking and be organized but I'm not. Not always. I also know that there's only a little PCP time left.

About the exercises: they are getting tougher each week and I'm trying to do them the best I can, muscle failure and all but I don't see new results on my body. My weight remains the same but the results in terms of definition have been very slow these past two weeks. And there's only a little time left!!
Is this a plateau or am I doing something wrong? Will I achieve my goals in the time left? Why is this hip fat so stubborn?

Remember these:

They still haunt me. So I had to buy prunes to calm the chocolate craving. One or two are enough and they even give me a little head ache.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 61

I decided that it's time to put more flavor and texture to food. This beautiful sprouts are going to make my breakfast even more delicious and the lunch vegetables as well.

A big tablespoon of seeds and 4 days later.

Sprouting seeds is very easy, you don't need this fancy jar that I have. Just a glass jar, an airy cloth secured with a rubber band and water.  You can sprout a variety of seeds. My favorites are radish, lentils and alfalfa. The sprouts are crunchy, fresh and nutritious.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 60

Only 30 days left to finish PCP. An idea that fills me with joy and anxiety. Joy because there's nothing better than finishing something that you really wanted to accomplish, specially if it has been difficult, see what happens next. Anxiety because I know this last month is going to fly and there's still so much to improve.

I need to concentrate more and do it better at work out sessions. I also need to pay more attention to food. There is a part of me that doesn't want to eat so much any more, that is tired of cooking and stopping work or talk or nap for a snack. This part of me doesn't even bother anymore about taste or salt or texture. I need to hang on, follow the instructions for the week, remember how short time is.

After Patrick's post about intensity and duration of the work out I did my exercises last night thinking about that, having everything prepared before hand and counting the resting seconds. It took me 50 minutes without jumping (I do it in the morning). The quick pace is refreshing after a week of not being present in my body while exercising. Timing the session makes it a double challenge and much more fun. It's incredible the difference between 20 seconds of pause and 20 seconds of planks!

I hope to be able to post my photos tomorrow. I'm having troubles with the light and the model is having really bad hair days ;)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 56

The past two days have not been so good. Something is going on with my stomach. A little pain, a little discomfort and nausea. On Tuesday night I was feeling so weak that I couldn't even think about exercising and last night I began to work out but wanting to finish as soon as possible. I couldn't bring myself to do the abs. Fortunately I have been jumping in the morning, So at least that.

Yesterday, in the afternoon I wanted chocolate. I was trying so hard not to think about it but at the end I went to the drawer, took out the box of truffles, opened it and began to smell them.... eyes closed.
Then I closed the box and run to the kitchen to eat a banana instead.

Today I'm feeling better. Took a very long siesta and my body is grateful for that.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 53, a balance

Since Friday I have been feeling strong. It doesn't mean that the exercises are easy to do, on the contrary, 5 sets of some of them leave my muscles shaking.
I'm jumping in the morning most of the days. It's not yet an automatic action. My plan is to turn the jumping into a normal morning step and continue doing it after day 91. I love how I feel after jumping. I become fast and alert and I achieve more in the morning.

This week's diet has been good. At breakfast I'm very hungry and I don't have trouble  finishing it anymore.
My favorite breakfast is an egg sandwich, a fish or chicken sandwich  and raw sticks of veggies. Lunch is usually enough and dinner is fine: some protein and vegetables. I don't like to go to sleep with a full stomach.

As Shivani mentioned I have also noticed some changes that could be considered a bit masculine.  Like  a line that appears  all along my chest when I do some exercises; but it's not visible after I cool down. I'm developing a strong trapezius muscle which I don't find particularly pretty and my back is turning into a v shape, but nothing exaggerated, on the contrary, that and the nice form my shoulders are getting make me look better proportioned in relation to my hips. I also was scared that my legs would become bulky with all those squats but it hasn't happened. 
I would say that most of the exercises we do must be easier for men, but I also think that they are very effective for women as well. Not only because it's a chance to use muscles that we normally don't pay attention to, but because they really create the muscles that we can later continue to shape the way we want.
It's very cool to know that you can rely on your triceps or your back muscles if you need to.

The transformations that I like the most are: 
My calves: they are getting rounder and strong, they look much better now. 
Shoulders and arms: some lines defining the muscles.
My back: feeling stronger. I think I have a better posture.
My abs: they are beginning to show.
My thighs: getting leaner. There is a line almost complete on the outer side from the knee to the hip.

What I would like to see by the end of the project:
Not even a little bit of bat wings
A stronger leaner low back
A smaller waist
Really lean gluteus, I know they will still be sexy.
That outer line on my thighs complete, which means getting rid of the stubborn fat around the hips.
Yes, still a lot of work!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Indulgence 2

This time I decided to go for something that wouldn't give me a headache. Or so I thought.
Whole-wheat baguette with butter, prosciutto  and  serrano ham slices, some potato chips and a glass of hungarian wine (all right, two glasses!).
Very good. Just the bread with butter was delicious. I enjoyed this meal a lot. The texture of the ham, that dangerous white stripe of pure fat, the ethereal crunchiness of the chips.  

The flavours were so intense that I had to eat slowly, the salt began to scrape my palate and I couldn't eat as many chips as I intended. Suddenly, it was too much. I planned to drink only one glass of wine sipping it slowly to make it last for  the whole meal. But then I really wanted another glass. 
It felt good when I said no to the third. It was enough by then, it was still wine, not just alcohol.

What happened next is that I got very thirsty. I needed to drink a lot of water. I didn't get drunk, I skipped that phase and had hung over instead. Heavy and with a little head ache. My pee smelled salty.

Next day I woke up with a very familiar sensation. The way I used to wake up sometimes before PCP, when I have had a party or a very rich meal. Something very different than waking up relaxed and clear headed.

In conclusion, it was delicious. I appreciated what I ate and enjoyed rediscovering this flavors but their heavy amount of salt and fat require a big effort for the body to recover.
I was disappointed with myself because I thought I would be able to control the quantities better and only drink one glass of wine. Instead I let myself go. Which makes me fear of day 91. If it was tomorrow I would be too tempted to have more than enough of this kind of food.

It was made clear that a clean simple diet makes me feel good when  I wake up and during the day.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 49

What can I say, the sun shines this morning and I read Patrick's mail and....yes!!!!!

Jumping in sets was a good change for me. It's easier to concentrate in breathing and at some point I could even let my mind go with the result that I didn't stumble for a long thought ( I was imagining a flying bubble that uses the energy from rope jumping and it's body is the capsule created around you with the rope constantly turning. I was flying just above some roofs in my bubble when I felt my legs giving up....)

Back on earth, my knee is not so good today. I felt  a little sting yesterday when I was doing the pistol squats.

Yesterday I was about to jump but instead Pablo invited me for a long and fast walk of an hour. I was forgetting that it's a great option for those days when you really really don't want to jump.
After that, working out was good. I like elevated triceps dips a lot. The 60 sec. planks? More like 45 secs.

I'm ready for my indulgence!!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 47

This afternoon while jumping I was thinking: After this 100 jumps, there will be 100 more and then 100 more and so on. Then, I will have completed 1500. Tomorrow I will wake up and there will be 1500 more and the next day and the next. Like a labour that is never finished. Like the poor man with the rock and the mountain.  Then I had to stop thinking like that.

It's so good that the human mind is able to switch to "live at the moment" or "tomorrow doesn't exist" mode.

It's also good that rope jumping is not pushing a rock, that there is a reason behind it.

If I could make a wish today it would be that I learn to like jumping, every day, even after PCP. That it would become natural to push myself like that everyday.

I guess the body and the mind have just realized that this training is far from over.

The kung fu sit-ups are fun but I balance a lot. Is it because I have a trapeze/pull-up bar? 

Tonight everything hurts. I walk funny.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 46

One day late but: CONGRATULATIONS for my fellow PCPers for those 45 days of hard work, cooking and transformation. Are you all prepared for what's coming?
I also want to welcome the new PCpers. I wish you a lot of fun.

These days I have been doing fine. My new diet is perfect in terms of quantity. I still have to fight a bit at the end of the breakfast to finish all the food but during the day I look forward to the snacks and I eat voraciously. I also have less egg whites in my menu, thanks a lot. What I'm missing is the fruit. I only get to eat one portion of fruit a day. To think that before PCP I didn't  eat fruit everyday. Now I'm falling in love with it's juicy sweetness.  Another triumph of PCP!

I'm trying to do the jumps in the morning. Somedays my will is strong, somedays the smell of coffee is stronger. When I jump in the morning my body feels heavier and I get exhausted faster but afterwards I feel great. Awake and speedy.

Since Friday I'm feeling better and stronger during my daily activities but the work out sessions are another story. I begin full of energy, doing as best as I can with leg jumps and squats, very happy because my knee is better. Then comes chest exercises or arms and I begin to loose power. Specially with the push-ups. I can only do one proper push-up. At the time of the planks I'm ready to collapse.
I notice more muscles in my body but I wonder if I'm doing something wrong because the progress with the push-ups is so slow.

Dear Patrick, when is our next indulgence? Tomorrow?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 42

I'm proud to say that I did the 1500 rope jumps today!

The weather is getting better so I could jump in my balcony and enjoy a soft breeze.
After that I felt enough energy and wanted to do something more: the legendary 8 minutes abs from the video Patrick told us about.
The music really is terrible and the guys look very 80's but the exercises are intense. Give them a try and then collapse.

All this was possible today in spite of how low I was feeling during the day. I was on the verge of forgetting all about jumps; there were only two things in my mind: sleep and the box of chocolate truffles, a birthday gift, that is hidden in a drawer. Can truffles communicate telepathically? I'm sure I heard them speak my name.

So, instead of falling for the little choco-devils I went for a walk and bought some food (today I was specially aware of all the cookies and chips in the store!).
Leaving the house helped a lot. Walking and breathing gave me a boost and as soon as I got back home I started jumping.

What tricks do you have to get energized and begin working out?
Should I get rid of the truffle box?????

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 41

Yesterday was a very tough day.  I liked a lot jumping in the morning but somehow before lunch I was finished. No energy, sleepy and down.

The egg whites? Oh! I ate all of them but they are ruining my glamour... I feel like a solfatara

At night I barely could finish the exercises. Only one 40 seconds plank,then 25, then 20, then 15 secs.

This morning I jumped before breakfast again. I still have to recover because I couldn't jump more than 900. Did I loose stamina or is it more difficult to jump in the morning?

What about the carbs before workout? What carbs do you prefer? And how long before do you eat them?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 40

After Shivani's encouraging tale about rope jumping in the morning, I gave it a try. 
It is harder for the mind than for the body. It's harder to think that you are not going to drink a coffee and read your mail but instead that you are going to leave your warm room and begin to sweat, count and swear.

Once you pass the first 300 jumps it's fine.  And because it's day time and getting warmer I could open the door to the garden and jump while the plants were bouncing with me and the rain was falling. 

But I couldn't jump more than 800. My knee is not perfect yet. So maybe I will try and finish the jumps before the rest of the workout later in the evening.

Yesterday I sucked at the exercises. I can't do the pistol correctly because I don't want the knee to work so hard yet and I couldn't finish the creeps; there was a some discomfort in the knee.

I guess I will have to be patient.

I am doing really fine with the new diet. Smaller portions are good for me!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A weekend of celebration

Three days on the road, new passport and my birthday celebration. What an experience to go out in the world if you are following a nutritional plan.

Eating in Germany has always been a big challenge for me. They do know how to make dark, heavy, wholesome bread and bakeries abound, that's fine. The problem for a PCPer is that meals here consist of lots of cheese, meat with thick salty sauces, oily roasted potatoes and, for my taste, overcooked vegetables. There's oil dropping from every Wurst and the Pretzels taste better with lots of butter. There is fast food everywhere. The positive side is that you can find fruit and great yogurt easily, but when it's raining and dark you don't want to have a yogurt picnic.

I went to restaurants and asked for some simple meat and salad, sushi or had a nice thai salad and fish. It worked to some extent but you can't control the amount of salt or oil they put in dressings or sauces.
After a month of PCP nutrition everything at restaurants tastes extremely salty. I also found that sauces are not necessary in some recipes, they aren't good enough on their own and they just hide the food's pure taste.
I wish there were places where you could eat really simple meals, with drops of lemon or chopped herbs. A real minimalist preparation of food.

There was no jumping these days. My knee is just beginning to recover and anyway I spent the whole day walking all around Frankfurt. On Friday I was very undisciplined: no exercises and a glass of wine to celebrate my birthday. Oh, and I also drank some beer...cold and delicious.

And finally I had my indulgence. I was trying too hard to find a good chocolate cake and of course I didn't. But on Saturday we passed by a french bakery and they had the most amazing pastries and pains au chocolat so I chose this fantastic blackberry tart and.....I was happy.

It wasn't very sweet and the blackberries were juicy. Delicious. Afterwards I began to feel some pressure in my forehead but not the usual headache I get after eating sugar.

This experience of eating in restaurants showed me something similar to what Erik reports in his last post. There's a big difference between eating lots of PCP food and never feeling indigested or dizzy and eating even less food from restaurants and immediately feeling heavy and sleepy. 

Back to discipline!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 35

I need to go to Frankfurt for some days. I have only been one day away from home since PCP began and it was a disaster in terms of nutrition. This time I'm preparing a little better. First of all I will be packing a nice breakfast to eat while traveling by train. There will also be fruit and yogurt for the snack and yes, egg whites. 
Now, I will need lots of egg whites for these days so I will prepare them and add some vinegar so they don't get funny and store them in an air tight container. I will store them in the minibar of my room. Will that work? I hope so.
Next I will have to find restaurants that serve big salads and lean protein. Sushi might be a good option too.

I'm packing my elastic bands to make the exercises in my hotel room and I will be walking the whole day, if my knee agrees with that.

It's also time for my indulgence. My birthday is on Friday and I'm dreaming of a very dark chocolate cake. I have very high expectations on this indulgence. German pastry chefs, don't disappoint me!. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 32, 33 and 34


Since Monday I haven't been able to jump rope. My right knee is hurting. It's not an incredible pain but something that I constantly feel there, like heat and disorder. It's hard to explain.
The treatment is ice and rest: no jumping. So instead of jumps I've been walking fast. It's very fun to walk around this little town in the night. Then I get back with a good supply of fresh air to make the rest of the work out.
I really want my knee to get better soon. I don't want to stop now, just when the results begin to show. Besides catching up with the number of jumps is not going to be fun.

About the exercises: I still can't make any pull-up. It's so hard.  I am doing more of an incline pull-up by using a chair to rest my feet so I can at least begin to feel the muscles that one day will set me free from the earth.
Chest dips: mini chest dips and the hand hurts because of the thin chair support.
The rest of the exercises are going fine, which doesn't mean they are easy. One extra set makes a big difference. And the planks..... oh, the planks....

Monday, February 15, 2010

Days 30 and 31

First of all:        Happy New Year!!       Let's see what the year of the tiger brings.

Photo Credit: Wesley Hargrave, Daily Mail.

This is how PCPers look when doing frog jumps, I mean tiger jumps. And exactly like a tiger roar is how it sounds after a set of those!

Last Saturday it was snowing softly so we decided to take a walk in the woods. We walked for about 2 and a half hours up and down hills on soft snow. It was very cold and with heavy jackets and boots I felt that the exercise was intense. So I didn't jump that night and had just enough energy to do the rest of the workout, which is getting harder and harder.  I liked the new chest dips because apart from strength you need to find your balance. I couldn't do many of those dips....

Sunday I took my weekly picture, not much change but let me tell you that I am getting some muscles. It must have been after that night's work out, because today I have nice shoulders, they just popped up!

Now, Sundays I am very lazy. I wake up late, drink coffee slowly and read. That's why I wonder if there is a PCP brunch. Something so powerful that you can have breakfast, morning snack and lunch in one. Is there such a thing for lazy Sundays? Because after a late breakfast and a book so good, I was already late for lunch, and didn't have any snack the whole day. When it was time to work out I wasn't feeling the power. I jumped only 900 times and at the end of the exercises my legs and arms didn't want to respond.
After today's mail from Patrick I know that egg whites are a must and snacks are very important if I want to have a good work out.

The new diet is working fine on me. Now I get hungry in between meals and it feels easier to eat snacks.
My daily intake of egg whites is higher and there are less grams of carbohydrates, except at breakfast!!!
I think I'm getting faster at eating which is necessary to do all the other stuff of life.

What I haven't been able to do is yoga the way I wanted. I do some asanas after the workout but I don't feel like waking up much earlier to do an hour of  proper yoga before breakfast. I need to sleep, I enjoy my heavy sleep of these days. Maybe I should try harder to make time for the practice, push myself a little harder in that sense too. But sometimes I think I need to take it easy because to be honest I don't have lots and lots of energy yet. Perhaps in some more days I will be needing less sleep and being more efficient in the rest of daily duties and then, yoga will flow. 

Hope you have a nice Monday!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

DIY Pull-up bar

Since the door frames of the apartment I rent are very fragile, installing a pull-up bar in one of them was not an option. So this is what my husband created for me:

Don't worry this is not a window. It's the door that opens into a very nice balcony. No defenestration here.

This is how it looks from inside the room. It's made of a 3/4'' x 1 m long tube, a thick rope and a pair of felt reinforcements to prevent the tube from cutting the rope.

Detail of felt reinforcements.

Reef knots from balcony's roof structure

The bar works very well, (I know it because P was able to do some pull-ups) but gets horribly cold in these winter nights. I hope I get to do my first pull-up without help soon.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 26

no need to be sour...

Today's topic in our daily PCP e-mail was something that kept bothering me this last few days: the negative feedback.

Over the weekend I encountered some negative reactions to what I am doing with my body and health. When I meet people for coffee and I don't touch the cookies or the cake I explain about PCP. I get very excited explaining how this works, what we do, what we eat but my enthusiasm collides with remarks like: "you don't need to exercise" or "this is all very nice while you are doing it but once you're finished you will go back to where you were". And then I get disappointed. At society in general. It seems like most of us are not used to encourage people when they want to change or be better or just be themselves. Or as if no one believes in the possibility of change.

Now I am trying to remember how many times have I done this to my friends, if I have discouraged them with my words or attitudes. If I have pushed friends apart from me by being negative or by reacting to their projects from my own failed attempts.

I guess getting confronted with difficult attitudes is another part of this training. Like a surprise test in which they ask you the trickiest questions, and then you go on mentally revisiting your answers for the next time, but the answers are not for them, they are for you.

It also happened to me that people in good shape, trying to be healthier get interested in your story and even want to share tips or cool places to train. Looks like we are not completely alone.

Here I want to thank my awesome husband for being such a great fan of this project and finding creative solutions for me to train, like the one I will show you tomorrow.

There. Now I feel better!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 25

There is so much going on in my PCP life. But first some photos:

This is a delicious breakfast. Just mix cooked rice with stir fried mangold and chinese cabagge, use only a teaspoon of olive oil and 3 drops of sesame oil. When the mixture is very hot add whipped eggs and mix until you get your desired consistence. Some pepper and maybe lemon.

Now, look at this morning snack:

I got tired of boiling eggs and taking the skin off so I decided to separate the whites from the yolks and prepare in batch the amount of whites I need to eat a day. Using a very good anti-adherent pan I can make a big egg white omelette and divide it in portions. No more peeling, no more cursing! This one has yogurt and gomashio on top.

And for dinner:

A bed of many many grams of fresh lettuce, some noodles and steamed shrimps with a garlic, ginger, lemon and chili sauce. A little bit of sesame oil too.

Today I was looking at my weekly photos and the change is hard to see. There are so many small details you notice every day that won't appear in those pictures. The balance, on the other hand, is noticing the change. One kilo more.

I still have a hard time eating. Specially in the morning, and then after breakfast it feels like a food marathon: snack, lunch, snack, banana, workout, snack, dinner, snack. The good thing is that now I feel hungrier, food disappears in my stomach faster and I am almost ready for the next snack. I still spend a lot of time in the kitchen but it seems like cooking is becoming a more efficient process.

On the weekend Pablo and I went to Essen (which in German means "to eat") and it was impossible to find a PCP-friendly place to eat at a student budget. Too much salt, too oily, bratwurst everywhere, never enough vegetables, too much mayonnaise... and there is not the option to have a healthy picnic in a park because the weather in this region sucks. I need to plan better for the next excursions.

About the workout: Patrick, you mean mean boy!!! Those floor jumps are pure pain. I still can't make any complete push-up. Any. Pull-ups? gravity still wins. The planks: 30 seconds never seemed so long and the v-sits made me reconsider how good I was at doing abs. (Secretly I'm loving this new trial, it will bring back the emotion to the workout.)

Of course the news about an indulgence almost made me forgive you, Patrick... almost. :)
I have a long list of seductive calorie bombs I would like to eat. But which one? It has to be THE ONE. Oh, but wait, I don't want to use the indulgence this week. My birthday is next week and it would be the cherry on top. Will I be able to wait....?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 20

I think my mother will begin having vegetables for breakfast!!!
These fine zucchinis are slightly browned in a pan and sprinkled with herbs.

Today Patrick sent us a mail that hit the nail. He says we should listen to our bodies and notice if it needs to slow down.

Here is what my body is saying today: "Yes, it will be cool to jump and to do the exercises but remember that the right knee was feeling a bit funny last night and I am still tired so, what about jumping a bit slower and doing the minimum amount of reps per set?
"Ohhhh, and I would love to have a cold beer too..."

So this is how my body and me are going to workout tonight: with takeiteasy. And water!

I stood on the weigh this morning and there is a kilo more. My clothes feel bigger, though.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 19

Well. I did it. I was tired but I did the workout.
Now I am even more tired but... I did It!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 18

In Spanish I would make a game of words using this image and the amount of eggs I eat now...

Last Sunday I took my weekly photo but I forgot to weigh myself, which shows that I am paying attention to something different than kilos. My attention is on how hard my legs are getting, or on how much does certain muscle hurt today, or on how much energy I have.

Let me begin with the energy. It seems like I have a very good day, with lots of things done, walking swiftly on the snow followed by a day that seems hard to pull: slow, inefficient, getting tired when I go outside on an errand. What is curious is that except on Sunday (but that is a psychological issue) I always seem to get a big amount of energy after rope jumping.
I wish I could have more good energy days in a row, but I know this will come.

I have also been sleeping really good. I used to have a light sleep, waking up in the morning feeling that It had been an empty experience. Since I began the PCP my sleep is heavy and long, I could sleep 10 hours, and I wake up feeling satisfied. That is really cool. From a woman's perspective there's an observation regarding sleep that I want to carry out and tell you later.

There are some changes in my body. I feel lighter in general. My belly is not so round anymore, my arms feel heavier but in a nice way and my legs are getting slowly harder from the knees up. My back also feels stronger which is invaluable when you have to sit for long hours at work.
I like these changes and the suspense of what will be transformed next. It's like seeing your body being born. This happened in The Matrix... I wonder if my sight will improve...

About the workout I can only say that I still love it. Of course the 15 minutes before its time to put on my sweat pants are complicated. But just then I hear Pablo say: Entonces qué? A hacer deporte!, which means: So what? go make some sport. This has just happened. So I am going to warm up and begin to jump. Tomorrow I will tell you more about the adventure of PCP.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 15

This arrived in the morning. I have been receiving organic vegetables, fruits and eggs for some months now. Today the man that kindly brings my baskets upstairs to the apartment said: It's REALLY heavy today. I almost replied: of course, now I am on the third week of PCP!!!
But I can't speak German that early.

Even though I have plenty of food I haven't been able to eat everything I should today. I had to finish a complex ring and deliver it, so my mind was not on the snack, then lunch was very late and now I am waiting to digest so I can jump and do the workout without gastric incidents.
I can't have the afternoon snack, not only because it's late but because there is no room in my stomach.... and then comes dinner... and then snack... the amount of daily food to be consumed is freaking me out again! And the extra egg whites for snack... oh, Patrick, I know you know what you're doing, but what are these little egg whites for? Is it an extra endurance trial? Is it because you know I tend to ignore snack? And... how do you eat an egg white without salt?

Well, I will go jump and will get hungry, I will go jump and will get hungry, I will go jump and will get hungry, I will go jump and will get hungry, I will go jump and will get hungry..........


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 10: a review

This morning I stood on the balance and ....2 kilos are gone.
I also took my picture. I don't think you can see a transformation but the important thing is that there is a big change.

I had never been able to make any physical activity for 10 days in a row. There was always an excuse to stop for a day or just because it was the weekend or it was raining, etc.

My muscles hurt and feel already stronger. This is such a good sensation. When my body is strong and awake I feel happier, I think faster, it's a pleasure to think about what to wear.

Even though eating as much as I should these days has been truly hard, there is something liberating in that. Like relaxing a part of me. And also feels like eating for a cause, not just because I am hungry (which I haven't been in 3 days) but because we are doing something with this food for this body.

I might be getting faster at writing in English.

Now I want to begin my practice of Yoga. I will need to organize my time better. There is a lot of vegetables to cut and eat, a workout, a yoga session and normal life...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 8

Today we begin with a new workout and a new diet specific for everyone and let me tell you that I am freaking out.
I have never eaten so much in my life. My breakfast this morning looked like my habitual breakfast and lunch together. When I was preparing the food I double checked to see if I had copied the amount of food I had to eat correctly. Calculating the amount of yogurt and meat I will have to eat the next days made me really nervous. I know we need a lot of protein for the work we will be doing but I have never eaten that much.

I couldn't finish lunch which was a late one and I could't eat dinner, there was simply no room in my stomach, but after the training I had yogurt and fruit.
Tomorrow I will try to have a better schedule for meals to be able to eat them all and the snacks in between.

When I did the training today I understood that things are going to get tough. Today there was sweat. Happy to report that my push-ups are improving.
This is the way I did the incline pull-ups. Only that my husband has to stand on the chairs so they don't collapse over me because they are not heavy enough.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Day 7: Last Meal

Not a very sophisticated choice for a last meal before the diet begins but I know my weaknesses. I will be crying for french fries. This were not fried. Baked in the oven served with ajvar, a paprika eggplant sauce traditional from Turkey and the Balkans, and a cucumber salad.
It was delicious!

Now, the training... I wanted to jump but my legs did not. Particularly after the first set of 100.
I ended up dividing the 500 in short sets of 30 or 20.

I am very excited to see what comes next.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 5 and 6

Yesterday I went to talk to my neighbors about the jumping issue. They were not mad at all and suggested I can use the basement party/pantry room to jump. A nice solution but it's going to be a big temptation to see all those bottles of beer around...

The sets of 70 jumps were quite hard. This time I felt my muscles getting very hard and hot immediately.
Squats were ok, push-ups.... fun and abs were harder to do.

I haven't felt hungry since the beginning of the project. Sometimes I even wonder if I am eating less than the half portions and I get satisfied exactly one bite before my plate is empty.
Probably my body is just happy that I give it a brake from all that food during vacations and holidays.

Day 6

What I did notice today is that I didn't have much energy. I had to take a nap after lunch and my day was slow and heavy. Could it be the diet change? Or rather a hang over from 3 glasses of wine?
The food:
Apart from the delicious food that my husband cooked today, I decided to eat half a chocolate cupcake, just to do it and kill the craving that was beginning to lurk. I also unsubscribed from most of the food blogs in my reader. I don't want to see photos of cakes and lasagnas during this time.
The workout:
Jumping is getting harder. Today I felt my thighs and calves complain right after the first set.
It was also difficult to concentrate during the rest intervals. My mind was wandering.

Ok, here is my photo. Please understand that I hate most of the pictures I am in so this is a big step to humble my ego.

Monday, January 18, 2010

day 4

Sometimes I forget about time and don't look at the clock. Well, today I began training at 9 pm and of course my lovely neighbors came up to see what was going on.
Too sad because I was enjoying the jumping.
Maybe it's better to go outside the building to jump and hope I don't disturb people when I have to jump inside because it is snowing or raining.

The extra set of push-ups of today was very hard. I still do them on my knees. When will I be able to them on the tip of my toes?

Most of my fellow PCPers have posted their first day photos but I don't dare. I begin to feel like a coward.

Today I have been very unorganized with my time and food. Very late breakfast, lunch at 4 pm and only now at 9:40 I will begin thinking about dinner.
Yes, it's time to eat. A little head ache tells me to do so.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Day 3

I am about to do my training. I enjoy excercising at night but probably it will be better to do it first thing in the morning so that way nothing can come between my rope jumping and me.
The whole day I have walked funny because my calves hurt from jumping, but the left one hurts more. Is that normal?

Yesterday was a pleasure to train. Jumping is fun and really gets your heart in motion. What is really difficult for me are the push ups. I do them on my knees and I'm not sure if I am doing them right. A mirror could be useful.
Like some of my fellow PCPers I have slept good and heavy, which means I have energy in the morning. And energy is what I need the most.

I haven't felt hungry until now. Having to measure half portions of my normal diet is very strange because instead of seeing a very empty plate, it makes me wonder if it is a little too full. Maybe I served a bit more than I should.
Paying attention on the excess rather than on the lack of things is a powerful trick. Something that could be applied to other aspects of one's life.

So, here is the menu so far today:

Brunch: 1 bowl of beans, chickpeas and lentils with brown rice, tomato-onion salsa Colombian style, one fried egg and a dash of hot smoked paprika.
Many cups of black coffee.
Snack: a quarter of slice of apricot bread and a half bowl of bean stew left from the brunch.

Plans for dinner: home made pizza with extra thin crust, mozzarella and mushrooms. A glass of wine.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day 1

After months of thinking about signing for this project, doubting if I would be consistent enough to do it or if I wouldn't be too ashamed to show the process on the web, day one has come and gone.
And it was was a success!

But let me take you back to last night when I was floating in the warm mineral waters of an old thermal bath of Budapest. It could have been a scene from centuries ago, mosaics on the wall, fountains, vapor and women of all shapes and ages like versions of venus enjoying the water. Then I felt so happy for also being a variation of venus, for having this body that has taken me to so many places and that has recovered from illness and party. There I said I will honor this body and made of that bath the first ritual of a 90 day passage. Into what? Into a lighter, more energetic, flexible, alive and loving woman.

As you see, I need to use my imagination a lot!

Today I got back to Germany and although I was tired the training was fun, specially rope jumping.
What I found most difficult was to eat half the amount I usually do. Last week was my vacation and it was about heavy hungarian specialties, bohemian cakes, fantastic wines and walking the whole day so my appetite has increased. Sorry about the image I just installed in your brain!!

Well let's see what happens tomorrow. I want to say hi to my fellow PCPers again. It's cool to see your photos and read your journals. Good luck to all of you. We will make a great team.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Here We GO!

This is where Lili will get in awesome shape.