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OK, this is it! After Preparation Week, I have completed my first “real” week of SEALFIT training. I started with the On-Ramp level, as recommended even for those who might think it’s easy. I am humble enough to say that even after several rounds of P90X and Insanity, I did not find this to be easy. Maybe I am just a slow learner? In any case, Commander Mark Divine says “Look at it as a chance to improve your basic techniques.” This is especially true for someone like me, who has never owned a barbell, or a real pull up bar for that matter, until now.
The theme for this week is The Baseline, a “prep phase” of the training session used to provide an overview, demonstrate new exercises, etc. It’s all new to me, so that’s the right place to start.
Day 1: I started with the “Baseline” section of the workout, which was a little confusing given the title of the chapter. This is part mental preparation, part warm up. Divine recommends 5 minutes of “box breathing”, to calmly approach the training session, then Range of Motion Drills, such as the one found on the SEALFIT Warrior Yoga page. (This is an active stretching session, similar to the P90X3 “Cold Start”.) Today’s warm up exercises included three rounds of 200-meter run, air squats, and arm circles.
Each day’s workout includes named sections: Strength, Work Capacity, and Durability. Sometimes the exercises from one section are a warm up for the next. Today’s Strength exercise was the back squat, with a recommended weight of 45 lbs for women, 95 for men. This is a “light load,” probably intended for Navy SEAL candidates, which I am not! I chose 45 lbs.
The Work Capacity section was mostly bodyweight exercises: Squats, sit ups, push ups, pull ups, and rowing, for which there are several alternatives (no rowing machine!). The Durability section is the cool down and stretch, which changes every day. Today was the Hip and Shoulder Mobility Drills from SEALFIT Warrior Yoga.
The workout took me one hour, plus the 20 minutes of Baseline preparation. I can see where preparation and time management will be important.
And then, it happened… I injured my left index finger, at the end of Day 1! It was a cut, requiring three stitches and a splint. Ugh! I took the next day off (recovery day already?).
Day 2: Today there were two sections: Baseline and Work Capacity, followed again by Durability (10 minutes of yoga). Back squats again. this time in the Work Capacity section, for more reps but a lighter weight. I got some practice at leaving my finger sticking out while it’s healing. This was particularly interesting for push ups and pull ups. After about an hour, I cut short the Work Capacity section using my finger as a “lame excuse.”
Day 3: The Strength section now features front squats. I thought I was sort of weak when it came to back squats. Well, I am even worse with front squats, if you put a barbell in my hands.
The sets and repetitions are changing from day to day, in funny combinations like: 5 pull ups, 7 push ups, 9 front squats. Sometimes the Work Capacity section is for a number of exercise sets; sometimes it has a time limit, and you complete As Many Reps As Possible (AMRAP).
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Day 4: This is a recovery day, SEALFIT-style. I started with 20 minutes of “Grinder PT” (physical training), which was introduced during Preparation Week. After that, just 10 minutes of a Long Slow Distance (LSD) run, “ruck” (hike with weighted pack), or swim. The Durability section was 10 minutes of yoga. Grinder PT is no joke, but overall it was an easier day, and only 1 hour from Baseline to finish.
Day 5: Today’s new exercises: The overhead barbell squat (just when I thought I couldn’t perform any worse), and step ups. The book recommends a 15-inch plyometric “box,” but I used a chair pushed against the wall for safety. Another interesting combination of sets and repetitions: 10 reps of each exercise, then 9-8-7… all the way down to 1. It’s a good thing the recommended weight for the overhead barbell squats was… just the bar (45 lbs), or a PVC pipe, which I used as needed. The good news is that after I was really warmed up, it seemed a little easier to hold the bar overhead while squatting. Total workout time: 75 minutes.
In the book, the days are labeled Monday through Friday, with the weekend as rest days. I changed my plans a little due to my finger injury, but basically started on Saturday and ended on Friday, with two rest days during the week. I still like that schedule, and hopefully the weeks to come will not require too many adjustments.
I’ve started a new workout program. Actually, Commander Mark Divine says 8 Weeks to SEALFIT is a training program, “passionately applying carefully conceived principles to develop yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually.” It is based on Divine’s Navy SEAL experience, adapted for civilians who want to get in shape, as well as potential SEAL candidates. An overview of the book shows that it can also take longer than 8 weeks to get through preparation, “On-Ramp,” Basic, and Advanced Operator Training phases. Even with several rounds of P90X and Insanity behind me, I am starting from the beginning with this one.
I am scheduling my workouts from Saturday through Friday (not Monday through Friday as listed in the book), with my two rest days on Tuesday and Friday. I didn’t like having two rest days together, and it seems like a good idea to do two of these longer workouts over the weekend, with less time pressure.
Here’s a quick look at what I call Preparation Week. Chapters 1-6 are the instructions for each day leading up to On-Ramp Training.
Chapter 1: Embrace the Suck (Screening Test)
This is it! I have been preparing for several weeks, by reading the book, ordering equipment, and creating workout sheets to record my results each day. Today (Saturday) I did push ups, sit ups, pull ups, deadlift-high pulls, and even a 1.5-mile run (which I have not done for years). Each exercise had a 10 minute rest afterwards, as a “reset” to obtain the best results. I used a lighter weight for the deadlift-high pull than the recommended 70 lbs (yikes!). I was pleasantly surprised by my running performance, meaning that I thought I would have to walk-run, but in fact I ran the whole way.
Chapter 2: Forging a Warrior Mind-Set
Today I learned about the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) which is to be done before each workout, along with a more detailed plan in Appendix 1. It includes mental preparation, a special breathing technique, and Range of Motion drills, which are the warm up and active stretch for each day. After all that, the first “real” workout: 5 sets of 20 squats, 20 burpees with a push up, then a 60-second run. Finish with a 1-mile jog or walk. It looked so simple on paper, but it was effective. I have done similar “Spartan 500” workouts from FitnessBlender.com. (Today’s workout was only 205 reps, but that’s OK.) I was happy to have the time available on a Sunday, and I will enjoy my recovery on Tuesday even more.
Chapter 3: Staying in the Fight
This is the first training program which has taught me about handling my emotions. Emotional intelligence, resiliency, how my beliefs affect my emotions… I will have to review the topics in this chapter! The workout included sit ups, kettlebell swings, push ups, and short running intervals. I love breaking out my kettlebells! This program will have me running more than I have in a while.
Chapter 4: Training Isn’t “Working Out”
In each chapter, Mark Divine shares memories from his Navy SEAL career and more recent experiences with SEALFIT trainees. These are great examples about the importance of goal setting, teamwork, and more. Here he lays out the principles behind the SEALFIT approach, and covers one of the basics: Breathing! He recommends a “box breathing” technique, for a few minutes before the training session and even during times of physical stress. The workout included plyometric exercises (tuck jumps and box jumps). Since I don’t have a plyo box, I did step ups on a chair.
Chapter 5: The Five Mountains
This chapter describes how SEALFIT began, and a typical day’s schedule at the “camp” held at the training center. Yikes! I think I like the home version better, for now. The chapter title refers to five “human potentials” which are required for peak performance. (Read the book for the details!) There are also Ten Domains of Mastery which help us along the way, things like strength, stamina, flexibility, etc. The Five Mountain Mission was today’s workout, also known as Grinder Physical Training (PT). It’s tougher than Chapter 2, and the Spartan-style workouts I’ve done before, because there are 10 exercises in each set, with 10-20 repetitions each.
Chapter 6: SEAL Fuel
Mark Divine lists CrossFit as one of the inspirations for SEALFIT, and that might explain the modified Paleo diet recommended here. It’s “modified” because the no-no’s of Paleo (dairy, grains, legumes) are eliminated “80 percent of the time.” In practical terms, I will do my best, especially since I eat what the family eats. Our daughter has been on her own gluten-free, dairy-free diet, so I will follow her lead when possible. The book also talks about the quality of the food we eat, and the company we keep during meals, encouraging team building again. The final workout for the week was actually a little shorter, but that’s OK. I need to prepare for On-Ramp Training next week!
Video Introduction: Shannon is featured in several P90X3 workouts, including Dynamix and Eccentric Lower. Tony says, “Before P90X3, Shannon was just funny. Now she’s funny and HOT!”
Background/Current: Shannon is a stand up comedian, comedy writer, and comedy coach, with many professional credits including “a feature film in development.” Cast members in the P90X series certainly get a lot of attention from the fans, so I hope this is another boost to Shannon’s career.
My Comments: Shannon is a nice choice for a cast member. She seems to be a “Friend of Tony,” or at least she gets along with him pretty well. She was a test group member, but she’s also comfortable in front of the camera. Third, she’s good at the exercises, but not so much as to be intimidating to someone like me, for instance. I’m just saying, give a guy a chance to match someone on the cast, once in a while. I know, it’s not a competition!
Video Introduction: Stephanie is featured in several P90X3 workouts, including Yoga and Pilates. She is also well known to viewers of the Beachbody Live! Q&A series with Tony and other Beachbody trainers.
Background/Current: According to her Team Beachbody bio, Stephanie has been a dancer, fitness instructor, holds several training certifications, as well as a career in the entertainment industry as a performer and production manager.
My Comments: When I watched a couple of the Tony Horton Q&A videos, I could tell that Stephanie knows her stuff. She also supplies a lot of information during Pilates X. There’s a special place in my heart for Pilates, since that’s how I got my start with home fitness DVDs. That doesn’t make this routine any easier for me! (Also, the Stephanie-Shawna wink will go down in P90X history. No idea where that came from!)
P90X3 Pilates Stephanie winks?
I can’t find one! If Stephanie has an official website, please let me know in the comments or the Facebook group.
THF Accelerated Series on YouTube: Just Tony, without the kids
You know I am a big fan of Tony Horton. Just look at my blog header image, for example. I have to admit, though, that his workout programs are a little pricey. Of course, you know about P90X and the follow up programs. You might have heard of Power 90 (where it all began), and 10 Minute Trainer. Only the true Tony Horton followers know about P90X One on One with Tony Horton. (You can also buy these from Beachbody for $20 each!) I think Tony created this series to answer the critics who complained he only demonstrated exercises in P90X, and couldn’t complete the workouts himself. Well, in this series, it’s just him and a cameraman, for 30-60 minutes. A couple of workouts are included as a teaser with P90X2, and I liked them… Not enough to buy them individually or as a set, with my limited budget.
Recently, Tony launched (or re-launched) his YouTube channel, Tony Horton Fitness (THF). I will describe several sections below, but there’s a reason I am featuring this on Free Workout Friday… There’s a playlist called Accelerated Series, which is just like One on One in a 5-10 minute format. Several of these mini-workouts focus on a part of the body, similar to P90X (arms, chest, core) but there are some full body ones in there, like the five-minute Burpee Burner. You could use these as an add-on to your workout for the day, or as a 10 Minute Trainer-style workout (one time, or repeated).
It’s great that Tony is organizing his videos this way, into playlists, instead of a catch-all channel for workouts, infomercials, nutrition, etc. Here are some of the other playlists:
The Prove It section contains a challenge by Tony, usually to a specific person, followed by that person’s video response. For example: Tony demonstrates burpees on medicine balls and challenges P90X2 cast member Wayne Wyatt to do the same. (Maybe you want to give them a try too?)
The Fitness Programs section is a convenient collection of all the promotional videos for P90x, P90X2, and all the other Beachbody programs by Tony Horton (except Power 90?).
The other sections are not workout-related: Recipes (mostly involving Shakeology) and Tony Horton Live, a Q&A interview which is part infomercial, part fireside chat with Tony. The ones I’ve seen were hosted by Beachbody employee and P90X3 cast member Stephanie Saunders.
As you can see, there’s a lot more than just free workouts on this channel. I’m still very happy to have the Tony Horton One on One experience for free.
Do any of you Tony Horton fans have a comment? Type it below, or in the Facebook group.