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P90X Day 16 or… how to make plyometrics interesting

June 5, 2012

We’ve begun the third week of P90X. I didn’t write everyday last week because it was all a repeat if week one. Week three is a repeat of those two weeks. The good news: next week is a recovery week and then we switch it up. Bad news: we still have to do plyometrics after recovery week.

My gym partner and I have discovered working out on the pier. There are days that we don’t need the gym. And instead of smelling body odor in a sweaty cave, we’ve decided to smell the Hudson River in the sunshine. It’s a good contrast.

Last week during plyometrics, I/we discovered that I need to do half days on plyometrics day (every Tuesday, except recovery weeks). Plyometrics is a lot of jumping, and with my knees in the shape they are in, I can do a full hour of jumping on them week after week. I am sure they’re getting stronger, but they still hurt, and I need to be able to continue to walk… I need to be a superhero in two weeks, after all.

Now, with all this bitching about plyometrics, how did we make it fun, you ask? Well, I’ll let you know. My gym partner and I are both theatre dorks (and kinda just dorks in general). As the sun was poking out from behind the buildings (on this cold June day (52 degrees and windy at the pier)) he turned and started laughing to himself and made a joke about a prayer to Phoebus Apollo. So, as I was sitting out round two, he and I were shouting out things as the gods, cursing mankind with plyometrics because they/we were displeased with Man.

Yeah, we’re huge dorks. But we’re gonna be fit dorks. Svelte dorks, even.

P90X Day 6 or… sometimes you just gotta punch things

May 26, 2012

My postings are getting later and later. I need to work on that.

Today was Kenpo X. Which is a lot of punching and kicking. It almost felt like I was back in stage combat, but not really. And sweating a lot more. I mean, I sweat a lot in my stage combat class, but nothing like what I’ve been doing with P90X. My gym partner is trained in taekwondo and knows a lot of the moves already. And in actuality, I, too, know the moves that we’re doing. But the point I was getting to is that Mr. Taekwondo is pretty fast with his muscle memory on the moves. And I keep up with him rather than sticking with the video. I hear him easier than the weird guy on the video and if I don’t keep up with him, I get all thrown off. What does this mean? That we often do more than is required of us. Because we’re sweaty over-acheivers.

Oh. A thing of note, I suppose, is that we worked today in my apartment. And the kitchen, living room area of my apartment is not conducive to two large guys wanting to get sweaty by punching and kicking things. But we managed to get through it. A thought that I had: what if on the days that we don’t need a gym, we do it in a park somewhere? I mean, sure, it may be super early morning, but the parks will be open, and mostly to people just exercising anyway. And we’ll be outside. In the early morning hours, so (usually) it’s not going to be a disgusting temperature with a weird smell. And we’ll be outside. And I like being outside. Basically, we’re considering it.

I got a lot of questions about how it’s going today from some school friends. The answer: pretty great. We’re sweaty and we’re having fun. Although, I’m not sure that P90X should really be classified as fun. It’s hard work. But hey. To each his own, right?

Tomorrow: Extreme Stretching, because after a week of working out everything, you’re going to need to stretch.

P90X Day 5 or… damn my legs are jelly

May 25, 2012

Today was a back and legs day. Tomorrow is the final intense work out of week one. Then stretching on Sunday then we start all over again. Repetition, my friends. But back to today. As we continue through the week, there are really points when I feel that I look like a jackass doing some of these things. Like lurching across the floor. Or arm circles. But then I remind myself that the gym that I am now a member of (weird sentence to write for me, but an awesome sentence) has a motto of “Judgement Free Zone” and I carry on with my workout. As for today’s work out, legs an back. The back was fine (more pull ups/chin ups and that sort of thing). The legs though. Damn. After 90 minutes of intense yoga followed by 2 hours of dance, my legs just wanted a rest today. Alas, they were worked today.

I know that in an earlier post, I wrote about my knee problems. And now I’m beginning to wonder if half of it might not be psychosomatic. I treat my knees gingerly. They’re a very important joint in the body. They help to propel the body forward. And I caught myself (several times today) making excuses, always about my knee(s), for myself about why I can’t do something as long as my gym partner. And I realize that he doesn’t care. Not that he doesn’t want me to take care of myself but because he wants me to take care of myself. Don’t over stress about something. And do as much as you can. And really, that’s what it’s about. Do what you can. As soon as the form is falling apart, you’re done.

I allowed myself to skip cardio today. Not because I didn’t want to do it (because I did), but because I needed to give my legs a rest if I wanted to be worth a damn at rehearsal tonight (Superhero Blues is coming along very nicely, by the way. Come see it!).

And for those of you wondering (because it’s a question I’ve got all week): no, I am not doing P90X to get ready for my debut as a superhero. That’s just an added bonus. Besides that, I wouldn’t get a superhero body (like Thor or Captain America) in six weeks unless I’m living in the gym and maxing out every day, on a very strict diet. Not saying that it’s impossible, but that’s not what I’m going for. I’m doing it as a life change. It needs to happen. Would I like a body like Thor or Captain America? Of course! But that’s a bit down the road. I need to get rid of the flab first, then really work on building mass. All the while, remembering to work on my legs as well as my torso and arms. No one likes to see a built chest, strong arms and back, and a six pack of abs… on top of skinny chicken legs. Unless you’re into that sort of thing, and then I’ll question your sanity.

And now for a story about a douchebag at the gym. At my gym, there are two machines for doing all sorts of chin ups, pull ups, lifts and things. Two. About halfway through our work out today, a douchebag comes in to the gym and monopolizes one, working his triceps (and just his triceps) for a good 30-45 minutes while five other guys (myself and my gym partner included) rotated on the other. Granted, I’m sure none of us wanted to deal with all the sweat that was pooling around the machine. And his arms were pretty jacked, so I’m sure there were none to thrilled with the prospect of pissing him off. But seriously: how can neither you or your girlfriend (in sweats and playing on her phone) notice that there are five guys using one?! Because people are stupid and unaware. That’s why. Stupid, unaware people make me crazy.

But that’s that.

Tomorrow: kenpo. What is that? I’m not sure, but I’ll find out tomorrow. As will many of you.

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P90X Day 4 or… Balancing is Hard

May 24, 2012

Is the fourth day, and it is intense yoga day, kids. 90 minutes of being sweaty as you hold positions with awesome names. Today’s wasn’t so hard, then again, everything compared to plyometrics is not as hard. I’m a new comer to yoga. And as many people, I’m sure, have found, it is a beautiful intense work out and fun, to tell the truth. And it’s not all about contorting your body in different positions and holding it there like some crazy jigsaw puzzle. And there were a few positions that the two of us (being larger men, and I don’t mean fat, I mean just men of a certain size of muscle mass) couldn’t do. Just yet. Because yoga will also help out with flexibility. There was a move (I know about 3 names, and this isn’t one of them) where on your back, you bring you legs up over your body then place your knees beside your ears… we both just looked at each other and went “Well fuck that” and had some water until the next position (which was Happy Baby, and that I enjoy).

Yoga: a great way to start your day… especially right before a 2 hour dance class. Because while I’m at this P90X crazy, I’m taking some dance classes at school with some amazing people. The first hour: some more yoga and some ab work outs (my abs were screaming as loud as my voice at one point). The final hour: creating some dance pieces. The wonderful thing about this dance class (and one on Tuesdays that I hope to attend at some point) is that you can be an accomplished dancer, or you can be me: no dance classes (even though I wanted them) ever. These are all about movement and being able to free your body and just do things.

And the best part of it: I discovered that I had a signature dance move, and it was pretty rad. It’s been called “The Weirdo Mating Dance” or “Watch Out, Imma Getcha” or “Warrior Toe Crawl.” I have agile toes. They move me around in awkward positions. And by awkward, I mean amazing. And (hopefully) it will be included in whatever dance piece we create! Trey K: the sometimes choreographer when it comes to weirdo dance thingers. That’s a thing, right?

P90X Day 3 or… a good sweat and a good mental chat

May 23, 2012

I think every day that isn’t plyometrics is going to be fine. A lot of weights today. The thing I’m really going to need to remember is form and how to hold my arms. My gym partner is really great, showing me the correct forms and giving me reminders on how to do a weight. The weights I’m using aren’t very heavy at all. But I’m not sure if I’m getting the sweat I want to. I’ll finish out week one with the set that I’m using now, but I think next week I’ll try a bit higher. What’s really great is that we are constantly reminded to do only what you can do. It’s not important to lift the heaviest weights, especially if your form is failing.

I’m realizing that one of the biggest reasons that I’ve never been to the gym before is because of how intimidated I was by everyone else that I assumed was going to be there. And I never really took it seriously. I also figured that there was this assumption about me that I was “just the theatre kid” and why would he want to go to the gym. Again. Probably just another assumption.

But now I am very excited to return to Iowa and get into a gym with friends and Brothers. I won’t be lifting nearly as much as them, but who cares. I’m doing this for me. Not them. Trey K.

Because I discovered a few things today: having a workout partner is great. Motivation. Another form of brotherhood to be created. The other thing (that I’m still discovering, and my acting training is also really helping) is that I need to do things for myself and not other people. I remember a few (angry?) talks I had with a few of my Brothers about my need to please. Yes, make sure other people are comfortable around you, but most importantly make sure you are comfortable around you.

(Well this post just went in a direction I wasn’t expecting, but I’m not surprised by. This is what I get when I do stream of consciousness blogging with punctuation).

Tomorrow is yoga. I like yoga.

My Very Theatrical Summer

May 22, 2012

I mean, the blog is titled “Thoughts from a Theatre Major.” At some point I should post (finally) things about my theatrical life, right?

2nd year of graduate school is done! Ladies and gentlemen: barring anything horrible, I will have an MFA in a year. Seriously. Wow. And then I’ll be done with school. Because by then, I will have spent 20 of the 25 years of my life (13 in public school K-12, 4 in undergrad and 3 in graduate) and I just want a break from the educational system.

Things that are coming up for me, in order (mostly):

Superhero Blues by Judd Lear Silverman at The Gallery Players in Park Slope, Brooklyn I play Stan, a social worker who for his entire life has been searching for his secret superpowers that his mother told him that he always had (he is from another planet, after all). It’s wonderful being able to work on a new full length play. There is an awesome team (cast and creative) working on this show. As the show gets closer, I’ll be posting more and more about it (dates, time, price). June 21-24

Twelfth Night by William Shakespearewith Black Henna Productions in Several Parks in Four Boroughs A Shakespearean play! I’ll be doing a lot of Shakespeare this year. A lot. And I’m okay with that. I play Sir Andrew Aguecheek, an investor who thinks he has a chance with Olivia and therefore, her camp. Same as before, when it gets closer, I’ll let you all know the nitty gritty to see me be Shakespearean. July 14-16, 20-22

Hamlet by William Shakespeare with Brad Raimondo at the New School for Drama Another Shakespeare! Only this time, I play a whole host of characters! I’m very excited to be working on a director’s New Visions thesis piece! This one, I know is for free! Just waiting for when in the first semester it will be!

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams So, I’m not actually doing a full production of this, but I will be studying this play for an entire year (basically) because Stanley Kowalski has been approved as my thesis piece. And what’s more, a lady from my class is working on Blanche Dubois, so we’ll be able to work together on scenes. I need to start that.

A Heretofore Yet Unnamed Shakespearean Project by the NSD Actors of 2013 I told you I was doing a ton of Shakespeare. What is this? In our final year, the actors have been given the task to basically form our own theatre company in which we work on Shakespeare for an entire year. What does that entail? Workshops, playing, creating, failing, winning, failing some more, learning, and putting on some sort of production. Crazy. And awesome. I’m very excited. And for that, I will be studying Richard III all summer long. Figuring out different ways that it can be produced. I need to start that.

So that’s my summer kids! Working on two shows, studying several others. Can you believe that in three months I’ll be gearing up to start my final year of an MFA program?!

Wait… summer is only three months long…

P90X Day 2 or… I hate plyometrics

May 22, 2012

When I started telling people that I was going to take back my life and start working out, people were very excited for me. When I told them that we were doing P90X, they told me that “plyometrics” sucks. And they’re right. Several times I cursed the trainer on the video (I haven’t bothered to learn his name) because of all the damn jumping. Jumping is an activity that makes me nervous with my stupid left knee. And good knees do not run in my family. You’re not a Blackburn unless your knees suck.

I am a Blackburn.

That being said, I worked up such a good sweat today. It’s kinda gross actually. I’m getting over my aversion to sweat. I do so much of it in life (just ask the Morningside Theatre Department… I have sweat through a leather apron, which happens during an outdoor show in August) that I avoid it. But this sweat was good. My heart rate was very high. We basically said “no cardio” after it. Because I has to get to the store and we were already so pumped from the plyometrics.

As far as my knee goes, it has gotten so much better! Last year was hell on it. I think in part was because of all the activity it was getting and the weight that was upon it. Now, in the past two years I have lost a good amount of weight. But I still have some to do.

I really should take before and after shots. See what happens.

Oh. And plyometrics: each Tuesday for the next thirteen weeks.

One down.
Twelve to go.
Wish me luck.