Sunday, December 30, 2012

1 Hour a Day for 1 Year

For one whole year, 366 days (leap year), I have spent at least one hour a day on my physical fitness. On New Year’s Eve last year I started a mission to complete the popular workout program P90X. This is a 90-day program to increase strength, flexibility, and for many, to lose weight. By the time I was done with the 90 days, I knew I had to keep going. So I spent at least one hour every day for the entire year working on my fitness. This included two complete rounds of P90X, training three months for a triathlon, and finally the 60-day workout program Insanity.

December 2011
December 2012
One day a week I devoted one hour to stretching. The other six days were endurance sports, endurance training, resistance training, or doing the designed workout for the current program I was on. One workout started at 2am after a 36-hour turn around trip to help my brother build a garage in 107 degree heat in Arizona. The wind blew the garage down a few months later.  I did one workout at midnight after a 12 hour day a Disneyland. I took a lot of a razzing after I excused myself from a bachelor party two days in a row to workout in the bedroom by myself while bachelor party antics went on without me. My most recent challenge was provided by the stomach flu. Over a two and a half hour period I managed to get in one hour of stretching with several breaks to crawl to the bathroom to vomit, recover, and start stretching again. The next day I managed to walk three miles. I know walking isn’t an intense workout, but I could barely stand without getting sick so I count it! Over the course of the year I completed workouts at 5am, 11pm, during Reagan’s naps, after my family went to bed, on a lunch break between classes, on a two week road trip to Oregon, at a bachelor party, when I was sick, and when the last thing in the world I wanted to do was workout.

In the first 6 months I lost over 50 pounds to get below the weight on my driver’s license from my 16th birthday. Even more impressive than losing 50 in the first six months of the year, I still weigh the same six months later. I can honestly say that at 32 years old I am in the best shape of my life.

I’m very proud of myself for completing this goal but I did not do it alone. I owe a great deal of thanks to my mother and daughter who inspired me to make my overall health a top priority. I owe even greater thanks to my wife Susan. Susan was extremely supportive and helpful throughout this year and I couldn’t have done it without her. She helped my get started by doing the first round of P90X with me and never stopped encouraging me along the way. She is the best partner I could ask for.

What now? I can’t stop, so how about another year.   

Monday, October 8, 2012

Leaving Home

Susan, Reagan, Micki, and I said goodbye to our home yesterday. I am not a fan of change, plus Susan and I are pretty sentimental, so this was not an easy transition for our little family. Reagan seems fine, but Micki has been hiding under the bed a lot. We loved our home, where it was located, and all the memories we have there. 

I can still remember the nerves I felt when I turned on Springwater the first time to pick Susan up for our third date at Fox Sports Grill. I strolled up the walkway thinking “pretty nice.” I was met in the doorway by a fluffy white barking dog and a woman who would eventually be my wife. Over the next five years Susan’s ‘single lady in her mid twenties’ condo turned into our home. 

In December of 2007 we exchanged our first “I love you” on the couch in the living room.
In July of 2008 I moved in and for the first time for both of us we lived with a BF/GF. We rearranged the living room so I could get in my recliner. Just about everything else was still Susan’s. 

In November of 2008 as a family, Susan and I hosted our first Thanksgiving. I felt all grown up that day. I’m so thankful my mom was there to be a part of it. I believe she could finally see I was a grown man, settled, and happy. Maybe she was able to stop worrying about me so much after that Thanksgiving. 

In January of 2009 I prepared a very special dinner in my kitchen. After we ate we walked over to our gazebo overlooking our lake and I asked her to marry me. Her surprise birthday party lurked in the darkness of Waters Restaurant watching the engagement. 

In July of that same year I carried her across the threshold as we entered our home for the first time as husband and wife. We immediately began making the place more ‘ours’ rather than ‘Susan’s’. New floors, paint, and bedroom furniture filled our home. 

In December of 2010, I had my hand on the doorknob to go out for a run, Susan came out of the bedroom with tears building in her eyes. “Can you look at something really quick?” I knew. But I ran passed her anyway to see the two pink lines in the bathroom. We had done it. Reagan was on her way. 

In the next several months to follow we shared the news of our first child with friends in that house. We turned an office/spare room until the most beautiful nursery we could have imagined. 

In September of 2011 we carried Reagan into the house. This would be the first day of her life in her first home. Over the next year Reagan would learn to follow us with her eyes, reach for toys, eventually she ate her first solids, learned to crawl, took her first steps, and celebrated her first birthday in a home filled with love. 

Along this path of major events we had tons of dinner parties, family and friend gatherings, and wonderfully quick walks over to the lake for concerts. Susan and I developed our own holiday traditions, and weekend routines. Reagan taught us how quickly she can get in the dog’s water and then across the house to get to the shredder.  This house has been a wonderful sanctuary of love and family for Sall of us, as well as a warm and supportive home for Reagan to grow. 18 Springwater, we will miss you.

Monday, April 9, 2012

P90X For Everyone – Diamonds of Gold

Hello friends and family! Susan and I have just completed our first round of P90X. The results are absolutely amazing. I honestly went from the worst shape of my life to the best in just 90 days. I was out of shape and now I am fit and healthy. Susan went from thin and healthy, to super fit. With a 7 month old baby, she is in the best shape of her life. We really gave it our all, never missed a workout, and stuck to the nutrition plan. We are both so happy with the results.

As happy as I am with my current level of fitness, I really want to do another round of P90X to take everything to another level. I’m inviting everyone to join me. I’m starting my second round of P90X on Saturday April 14th. If you’re at all interested please let me know and I’ll be glad to help you get started. I can share all of my weekly menus with you, share my biggest challenges, tell you my favorite protein bars, and help encourage you throughout. You can start the same day I do, before me, after me or whenever. If you start with me, you’ll be done mid July with plenty of summer left to show off the goods.

Susan and I really enjoyed every step of this program. Yes P90X is very difficult, but the results cannot be denied. After 90 days, there are still several exercises I can’t do or can only do a few times. You can modify and work your way to meet your goals. Susan started by doing all of her push-ups on her knees, but she doesn’t need to do that anymore. I started doing most of my pull-ups while standing on a chair. On the last back workout I did 105 pull-ups/chin-ups in an hour workout without even thinking about using a chair.  P90X is not a gimmick or filled with empty promises. P90X is a great exercise program and a very healthy nutrition plan.   This is not a weight loss plan or a plan for body builders. It is a plan for fitness.  If you would like to start P90X please let me know. You can join my group that I unofficially call “Diamonds of Gold” which is a name you’ll only understand after day 3 of your workouts.

The Workouts: The part of P90X most people think about first are the workouts. These are pretty intense workouts at a pretty good pace. Each day you do something different. Three days a week you have resistance training, once a week you do yoga, once a week you do Kenpo (cardio kickboxing), one day a week you do plyometrics (the mother of all that is P90X), and on the seventh day you can rest or do X Stretch. I always did X Stretch to make sure I was going the extra mile. Yes you do a lot of push-ups, pull-ups, squats, and jumping.  If you’re thinking “I can’t do push-ups or pull-ups” then you can modify. Remember I went from 8 pull-ups to over 100 in an hour. Modify, Modify, Modify. Tony will show you easier and harder versions of just about every exercise. Watch the infomercial, a guy was 370 pounds when he started. Do you think he was knocking out 15 pull-ups per set?

The menu: Our P90x week was Saturday-Friday. Every Friday I would set up the menu for the following weeks. Every day for 13 weeks, nearly 100% of the food I ate was accounted for in my own preplanned nutrition plan. P90X supplies two nutrition plan options. It will provide a meal plan covering each and every meal each and every day. Each meal has a recipe and instructions and an accurate count of your daily nutrition requirements. If you do not have a job, love to cook for hours a day, and have a rather large food budget, by all means get to cooking Tony Horton style. The other option is a little bit more manageable in my opinion. The website will give you a list of the nutritional needs you should meet each and every day. For example, Phase One (the first part) Level 2 (depending on your current weight) eats 7 servings of protein and 4 servings of vegetables per day (plus other requirements). The website also provides a list of samples to meet these needs, for example 3oz of chicken counts as a serving of protein. I have created my own menu following these requirements as closely as I can. I’m sure you would want to make adjustments for you taste and convenience, but it’s not a bad start.

Commitment: More important than the workouts or the nutrition, is your commitment. P90X is not promising anything new. Exercise and diet. Well, extreme workouts and strict diet. The difference in success and lack of success all lies in your commitment. If you want to maximize your results you have to give it 100%. Susan and I did our workouts at 6am before Reagan would wake up, or during a nap, or even starting a workout at 9, 10, or 11 at night. I would pass on desserts, a cold beer, and even stayed on diet at my own Super Bowl party.  The mental commitment is by far the hardest part.

What you’ll need:
Pull-up bar – you can find at any Big 5 or other sporting goods store
Resistance Bands – We use a set of three from Target for $29.99. The only problem is you have switch the handles all the time.
Yoga mat – Any Target or sporting goods store

You may also want:
Push-up Stands
Yoga Block
Yoga Strap
The menus I created

P90X is awesome. We feel great, have tons of energy, and can’t wait to push ourselves through Round II.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom

On one of the coolest birth dates ever, 4/4/44, Gladys and Arvie Laituri welcomed my mom into the world. I’m so thankful for every day I ever spent with my mother, but birthdays in our house were always extra special. I still feel guilty about the time I made my mom a birthday present and hid it under my bed. Because I was such a messy little kid I lost it. I was crawling under my bed when I heard the family singing “Happy Birthday” and I gave up hope. I never did find that drawing. I also remember a year when I asked if I could put the icing on Mom’s birthday cake (which she of course made herself). As I was finishing the final touches Josh came up and said something like “Nice job Terry, Happy Brithday Mom.” I had missed spelled it. Damn. It was the thought that counts right Mom? 

I know I know, I have a problem with only remembering the negatives, but here are a couple of good ones. When I was about 13 or so I planned a surprise party for Mom at her favorite restaurant, Tony Roma’s. It wasn’t anything extravagant, just the family and the Shearers. She probably knew what was going on, but it was a nice birthday for her anyway. A few years ago I planned a picnic for Mom in Forest Falls, another favorite spot for Mom. It was cold with snow and ice everywhere. The snow looked pretty hard packed so we decided to take a little hike. The “snow” was really a shell of frozen ice. When you applied pressure the ice would break sending your foot 6 inches closer to the ground. Now if you’re a young person with any leg strength or balance you just pull you foot out and take another step. If you’re Mom, you fall over. Then you get up, take another step and fall over again. I would feel bad making fun of my dearly departed mother, but she was laughing harder than any of us. This is where Steve offered one of his great one-liners “Instead of Forest Falls, we should call this place Grandma Falls.” We had a nice little picnic. I wanted to take care of everything for the picnic but Mom couldn’t handle that so I think I put her in charge of drinks and chips. When I arrived to pick her up she somehow managed to stay up half the night preparing her drink and chip assortment, had two ice chest full of every beverage a human could need, 5 bags of chips (for 5 people), deviled eggs, plus bags of plates, cups, tablecloths, and flatware, just in case I forgot. 

Last year Mom’s birthday arrived a few days after she moved into the hospital. We were finally getting an idea of the severity of the situation and dark clouds loomed overhead. Nevertheless, we busted in Mom’s hospital room with balloons, flowers, presents, red velvet cupcakes, and the classic Snodgrass Family “Happy Birthday” sign. Mom was sitting up, talking, laughing, and for a few brief moments we weren’t surrounded by the grayness of hospitals, cancer, pain, medication, and fear. We were home. We were the loving, loud, laughing, silly, caring, and special family Mom had worked her life to create. 

On Mom’s birthday I’m so appreciative for all the gifts she ever gave me, but none more than her love and the family she brought me into. I’m so thankful for my siblings and their families. I’m thankful Brenda, Steve, Susan, and Reagan were able to join me up in “Grandma Falls” on Sunday. For the feeling of Mom in my heart every day, I am thankful.  Happy Birthday Mom.