DDP Yoga: Round two.

I had the best of intentions and the worst of implementations when I first started doing DDP Yoga.

Through bad timing and excuses on my part, a routine schedule that should have taken me three weeks ended up taking a month or more. While I was still active outdoors during the late summer and fall, this routine fell by the wayside under the “I’ll get to it later” category. After a sedimentary winter and warning signs of weight starting to creep up, it was time to get going on something again.

So here I am, relatively back at square one. It’s been a week since I started and I’m doing my best at keeping up a schedule for it. Heck, my last workout was at 11 pm just so I could say I did one that day! If I can stick to a three times a week schedule (like I should have done in the first place), I should be on track.

Another difference this time is I signed up for their support page at TeamDDPYoga.com, which has the claim of “The best damn support group in the world!”. When I first signed up for the page I got several welcome messages, one of them even from DDP himself, and later on the infamous Arthur Boorman! While the response has been impressive, it’s also been incredibly overwhelming, almost to the point of information overload. It’s like having the knowledge of the planet at your fingertips, but not knowing what questions to ask. Eventually I’ll get there, as my eating habits could still use a lot of work, or at least focusing in the right direction.

But for now, establishing the workout routine is more important.

DDP Yoga Review: Week One… ish…

You feel like this too?

You feel like this too?

So this has been the new “project”. While I know that I haven’t followed the program as scheduled, I still what I can when I can. Which is my I call it Week One-ish. So this review isn’t really about results as it’s in first impressions.

DDP Yoga was originally known as YRG, or Yoga for Regular Guys; this was my first exposure to it a few years back. I liked the idea of yoga (stats show that stretching alone can increase muscle strength by 30%) but I wanted something that provided more of a workout, and without all the fluff that usually goes with yoga. I happened to be walking through our local library one day and there was DDP’s book out open on the shelf. It wasn’t some ex-wrestler pushing Yoga that got my attention, it was the forward that was written by none other than Rob Zombie himself! Written very bluntly and plainly in Rob’s style and his experience and impressions. Rob aint no fluff kind of guy, and even he was impressed with the workout it gave. Hmmm… maybe there is something to this? The interest lasted briefly and then passed along like many other things. It wasn’t until Arthur Boormans video came out that I started looking at it again more seriously.

The Program stats with what’s called the “Diamond Dozen”; 12 positions that are what DDP calls “the core of DDP Yoga”.  This segment of the DVD is about 36 minutes along and is essentially a practice run, helping you get down pat these positions that are used routinely throughout the program. I had my heart rate monitor on for this one, and was just over into the 120 range, which for me, it just inside what they determine to be the “Fat Burning Zone”. This is calculated using 180 beats per minute, minus your age (the high end), and then subtract another 20 (the low end of the range). I had a good sweat sheen happening, despite ample time to rest in between positions. I figured the more structured routines could be interesting if this is just the warm up.

After a couple of times doing this first video, you can move on to the next part called “Energy”. This one is about 21 minutes long, and is the first full-on routine. I will full admit this one really had me sweating good! I thought I would be able to do most of the positions, but instead I had to use the modified positions. With how I was shaking, I’m finding a lot of muscles not used in a long time! I could really feel it later in my shoulders and abs, which were doing more support than any major work themselves. It’s really focusing on building core and support muscle groups.

If this is just the start, this could be an interesting ride!

Look what came in the mail!

It's here!

It’s here!

It finally came! Now, to set a start time and get to it! Heard lots of great stuff about it and seen some amazing testimonials. I like the idea of DDP Yoga; giving the benefits of yoga without the fluff, and with the workout I’m looking for. Finally decided to bite the bullet and get it. Doesn’t look like much, (considering what I paid) so here’s to hoping great things come in small packages!

Stay tuned for more…

Back of the "Extreme" DVD. Nice!

Back of the “Extreme” DVD. Nice!

The view from up here…

You know there’s a shift in your habits when it’s now a hard decision trying to decide what you want to do for exercise that day!

I decided to tackle a mountain I’ve climbed once before (figuratively and literally) when I started Geocaching. Id been up to one of the higher ridges to do a Geocache a year before, but missed another one further up the hill, due to lack of fitness at the time, and also a 3-year old in tow. Since then (according to the map on Geocaching.com) two more had been placed on the mountain. So, I decided to go for a climb!

Looking North

Looking North

Now here’s a tip for any new Geocachers: study your terrain and read about the caches before going after them. This can provide you information on the best way to get to a cache, or if it’s a puzzle cache, try to figure out the location before going to the location on the map (often, it’s not there, or even near there). Despite having some experience myself (315 caches found and counting), I did none of this. Conquering the mountain again was my quest on this day. Climbing the steepest part of the ascent was a lot faster than the first time I tried; a mix of being in better shape and no young child in tow! I was at the hill top and decided to check the coordinates of the mystery cache. 284 metres from my location… at the bottom of the hill.

Well crap, that might have to wait for another time.

Looking East

Looking East

I carried on to the top of the mill and the cache that was located in the area. I got close to the coordinates, but decided to check out the one a little further down the hill. Problem was, the hill was a steep decline to the bottom. I could go down, but getting back up was going to be a long climb, and I had time constraints. came across a fellow coming up the other side of the hill who gave me some directions on the trails that are on the mountain. He told me he’s climbed the mountain every day for two years and lost 50 pounds! Good on ya! Anyway, had I got the cache at the top first, I could have  descended for the other one and took a trail at the bottom of the hill to get back to my vehicle. I really didn’t want to get that cache and then climb back up the hill again for the first one. Oh well, at least I now know a better route from the bottom to get the other caches! Next time I’ll return with my bike.

Looking South

Looking South

Sometimes my Geocaching excursions turns out to be more of a “scouting mission”, to survey the terrain and to return at a future date. Today was one of those days. I only got one cache I was after, but I discovered an easier route (and a new trail!) to go after the other two.

But in the end, finding the cache was just a bonus. In a way, we all have our own mountains to climb. Sometimes, it’s not the goal at the end that’s important, it’s the fact you made it to the top!

Bones from an old abandoned Orchard.

Bones from an old abandoned Orchard.

Stepping up your game…

As of today, I’ve lost 34 pounds since starting in late July/August of last year.

Now, I am proud of this achievement and I don’t take it lightly, but lets face it… I did this with a half-assed effort and without much risk. I may have gone out of my comfort zone on a few things, but with one foot still firmly planted on the other side of the line. But, for a guy who’s struggled with his weight for the majority of his life, this is also the MOST I’ve ever lost that I can recall. So for me, if that is what it takes, then so be it. I’d rather do it slow and keep it of than something quick and not let the habits fully set in.

I’ve seen testimonials of people losing great amounts of weight within a year doing a variety of programs. I’m not going to compare myself to them and kick myself in the ass for not losing as much as they have, as they’ve probably dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to whatever program they’re on. There does come a time where one needs to step out of their comfort zone and take bigger strides toward their end goal.

For me, that time is now.

The running is OK. I’d like to stick with it, but I’d also like to add something else. I had been looking at programs  like P90X and Insanity, but found out recently that it’s better to be in good shape for P90X and even BETTER shape for Insanity! Well, those are out for the time being. What has piqued my interest again is DDP Yoga ( http://www.ddpyoga.com/site/index.php/en/ ). I first looked at this back when Diamond Dallas Page was calling it YRG, or “Yoga for Regular Guys”. Back then I had bought one of the DVD’s but never did much with it. Wasn’t ready I guess. Now, I’m looking for something more and I like the principal of it. Many of you may have seen the viral video of Arthur and the amazing transformation from a disabled veteran on crutches, to running.  If you haven’t seen the video, here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX9FSZJu448

I like to watch the video frequently. Not that it inspires me (although it is inspiring); I use it as a reminder. Every time I feel like I can’t do something, I watch that video and say to myself “Your Excuses are Invalid!”.

The next (and I’m predicting most painful) step as well is to take control of my eating habits. I’ve made a lot of changes in my habits in the last 6 months: I don’t eat fast food anymore. My pop consumption is next to nothing, compared to what it was. I try to cut out processed sugar and use natural sources – like honey- instead. I’ve cut down (working on cutting out) on processed foods. I have more fruit and vegetables in my meals. Big strides, but I have room for more improvement too. Despite the improvements, the one thing I’ve never really addressed is how much I eat, good or not. Portion size is what got me in trouble in the first place. So, I found an app that should help count my calorie intake, and hopefully I can adjust what should be a proper portion for me, as opposed to eating whatever I could until full. It’s a new learning curve, fighting 40 years worth of learned habits.

I’m setting a start date after my next Doctor’s appointment, which is next Friday. Wish me luck.

For Parminder: Rest in Peace.

Paminder Hundal July 12, 1973 - July 01, 2012

Paminder Hundal
July 12, 1973 – July 01, 2012

In writing, every good story contains a tragedy somewhere in it. My story is no different.

While growing up in Prince Rupert, Parminder was my best friend. When I left Rupert in 1988, I kept in touch with Parm for a while, but as with time and distance, we grew apart. There’s times throughout the years I would wonder how he was doing and where he was, as I often do with people from my past (some I’d hope to hear of messy ends, but I digress). A couple years ago, I get a Facebook message from Parm asking “Is this the Jason that used to live in Prince Rupert?”.

I couldn’t believe it! He found ME!

We chatted online a few times and gave each other the Cliff Notes version of our lives over the years. We talked about meeting up – whenever one of us was in the other’s area of the province – and sitting down over some beers and catching up. Before  going to India, he insisted in calling and talking, even if it was just for a few minutes. It was good to hear his voice again after all those years. Still sounded like him, just with more maturity in the voice. We joked around. “You haven’t changed a bit!” he said, when in fact I had. I was not the same person he knew, and I couldn’t wait to show him that. He was supposed to be passing through my area and we talked about meeting. I never got the call. Next time I’m in the Lower |Mainland, I thought. We had gone down through Vancouver a few times but they were whirlwind trips. Next time, I thought.

There’s always next time.

On July 2nd in 2012, I read a Facebook post he was tagged in that filled me with shock, sadness, and regret. One of his brothers had posted “R.I.P Bro!!! Will love and miss u forever!!!“. I kept wishing that this was a bad inside joke I wasn’t privy to. I waited to see if the punchline would come. The only thing that came was an outpouring of condolences from friends and family.

Now, next time would never come.

I was informed by a family member that Parm had a heart attack while his wife and daughter were out. His daughter found him when they came home a couple hours later. Here I was severely overweight and feeling generally like crap. I pictured myself in the same situation and envisioned my son finding me as Parm’s daughter found him. At that time I was just over 2 1/2 months away from my 40th birthday, and Parm was less than 2 weeks away from his 39th. A chill went up my spine. I forgot he was younger than me!

I had been sitting on my ass for a few years feeling sorry for myself and generally feeling awful. I had mulled about doing something to improve my health, but it never went past that. Pure laziness on my part. I had no real “kicker” to get me off of the couch and start looking after myself. I had nothing, until now. This finally scared me, and with an upcoming doctor’s appointment, this would be the start of my journey. Today is the one-year anniversary since I learned of his passing. During this time I’ve lost almost 35 pounds and looking to lose another 35 or more afterwards. I’ve learned to get out and enjoy the outdoors again and hold family time precious.

They say everything happens for a reason, and some believe that spirits – in human form – come into our lives to guide our course and experiences here on earth. Parm’s cousin told me that during the last year of his life, he went out of his way to make sure he got in contact with people from his past. In a way, its like some part of him knew. I often wonder if Parm’s death was his spirit’s sacrifice of time on this world so I can learn from it and continue mine, perhaps to be an example to others as opposed to a lesson. I’ll never know that truth while bring part of this world, but if this is true, thank you Parminder for making such a sacrifice.

Enjoy the day and the opportunities it brings. One day, there will be no more ‘next time’.

New personal best!

I usually like doing my run in the morning, but due to some necessary morning errands I didn’t get a chance to do it until later in the afternoon. With 76% humidity and looming thunderclouds overhead, it made for an interesting run!

I decided to push myself today to see how far I could go past my usual. This time I was aiming for distance rather than time. Today, I managed to make a full lap of the track – 350 metres without stopping- and a time of 2:45 after only 3 weeks!

Unfortunately, with the heat and humidity, the rest of my run suffered for it! I was pushing it to keep up with the 1:15 run time and may have gone more than the 2 minute rest on a couple of occasions. The form on most of my runs may have looked like a fast shuffle, and a couple of times I was questioning if I was even moving at all. Such as it is, I’m still proud of the first run. Little Victories.

Just as I finished today and was heading home, the thunder started to crack overhead and the rain came. Thanks God for holding off!

Tomorrow’s run (like a sucker) I think I’m going to concentrate more on my form so I’m doing more of a run or jog as opposed to a fast shuffle. I’m also starting to add some improvised (cheating?) push-ups after the cool down and stretch. Despite my strength, some of my upper body strength is pathetic. I’ve never been able to do push ups or sit ups. That’s next on the goal list.

I’m also going to try to do planks on a more frequent basis. I hate planks. Oh God, I hate planks. I know the’re an excellent core exercise (which I need in my job) but I REALLY hate planks! <sigh> Going to start with a set of three for 25 seconds each.

Did I mention how much I hate planks?