Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One More Rep

There are hundreds of ways to learn how to improve your health and fitness. The simple act of spending time with me in a chat room twice a month gives you the opportunity to learn everything I've learned over the years. This blog, my mailbag and the video trainer tips will also help you understand what it takes to stay motivated and improve your overall fitness. Sometimes I get into the details and nuances of a health and/or fitness issue and sometimes the answers are shockingly simple. We're all looking for the latest and greatest concepts and techniques to help us get the most out of our lives. The truth is, the "latest and greatest" is often just "old school" stuff re-packaged. A vast majority of the concepts, programs and equipment you see today are just polished versions of ideas that worked 20, 40 and 60 years ago. 

Most often the bells and whistles of today's fitness world aren't worth the hype they're made of. The stuff that worked for Jack LaLanne at the beginning of the 20th century still applies today. Just like Jack, I've tried to deliver real fitness with minimal equipment mixed with hard work, commitment and a plan that works for all of us. If you've been to one of my fitness camps or purchased the latest One-On-One "Road Warrior" DVD you know that all you need for a full-body ass-whooping, is gravity and a floor mat. P90X is loaded with good old fashion Fitness 101. Versions of the Muscle Confusion concept have been around for decades and all I did was put my twist on it. The sequencing of routines and moves are from a lifetime of experimentation. P90X is the culmination of 25 years of trial & error, my desire to avoid boredom, injuries and plateaus, and the drive for better results in a shorter period of time. 

I fall in love with any maxim, motto, proverb, aphorism or truism that keeps me focused and inspired. Can you say, "Do Your Best And Forget The Rest?" I'm trying to bust through a plateau right now, so I'm adding the "One More Rep" chant to my workouts lately. It's paying off because my strength and power has improved immensely. I've been an 8 or 10 rep guy forever so my body and mind have adapted. I've been in unwanted  maintenance mode. No more! Instead of upping the weight to create more resistance (sometimes causing joint pain and injury) I'm just adding the extra rep whenever I can. Turning 8 reps to 9 and 10 to 11 has been surprisingly hard but the results are undeniable. If you're in a rut then just add a rep whenever and wherever you can. It's that simple. It will help you avoid boredom, injury and plateaus, plus speed up your results.         


Cathy From Colorado said...

HI TONY... Ill certainly add ONE MORE REP to my worouts..Im sure it does make a difference...Thanks for the tip.. Your blog offers a lot of us... tips of the trade that you have learned down the road Thanks for sharing! One more rep will certainly BRING IT! Thanks again CAT:)>

LivingandLovingLife said...

Thank you for letting me know that you hit plateaus too. As somebody who is just getting into a regular routine of working out it seems very daunting. You and the people I watch on the commercials seem like the unattainable dream. "That can't possibly happen to me". Thank you for the insights and willingness to share what you know and the willingness to share where you are having to work a little harder. It helps me believe I will be one of those success stories.

CT Olson said...

Just want to thank you again - I'm at the end of my first p90x round and have blown past my goals for 180 days already! So I set new goals ... more pullups, better form in yoga etc etc. Funny you mention 1 more rep because that has been my goal since Phase 2. I want to do 1 more than I did last time - I have been writing it down (not easy when I have my glasses off and you're flying to the next exercise ;). It's funny how being accountable works to get you to the next level!

Christopher said...

You know Tony, I do the same thing. I push extra reps when I can and stretch more for yoga, or jump a little higher when feeling good.

The other thing that I do which I shared with Nick was created a warm up before doing P90X to give what I call, "threshold consistency". The idea here, expanding on muscle confusion, is to have a set number of different exercises that works the upper and lower body. Warmup exercises if you will, and add just a little intensity along the way. For example, I do 100 (5 different types) pushups with a weight vest on, BEFORE doing a round of P90X. I started out only doing about 10 fingertip pushups, then added knuckle, then standard, then diamond, then with weights in each hand, lifting in plank. I built up but didn't push myself. This makes my muscles loose and a little fatigued. There are others of course, takes about an hour.

That way, when doing P90X, I'm having to really work hard and utilize the muscle confusion. The warmup up is not to push things too hard, it's to get muscles working, stretched and only slightly fatigued.

It really is an extension of my martial arts training. I was doing the same thing but not realizing it. I would do conditioning exercises and then when actually practicing kung fu, the muscle confusion sets in from the different exercises, forms, sparring, etc.

I know you're not a big fan of doubles but I love "working out", which I call, "enjoying out" so I get on the treadmill for an hour and then do One on One at night. Alternating between Plyo Legs and Road Warrior. At first, I was doing Plyo Legs every night (except Tues) until Road Warrior got here. When next month comes, I'll rotate all three.

We do what works for us, right? But it's been a tremendous boost in breaking plateaus and raising the muscle confusion graph, not only upward, but raised up if you were to draw a straight line with threshold consistency below, sort of lifts the muscle confusion graph.

It's definitely not for everyone and not something to throw in a DVD. I just do it cause it comes from kung fu and it gets me pumped and ready for P90X at 5 am. I've done P90X without it as well and I just breeze right through it so now I just really need to do it. I can't just do my warmup without P90X as well cause I'm not really pushing the envelope with muscle confusion. It's become synergistic.

Good advice and thanks for everything again.

Christopher Ortega (menelaus)

Niko63 said...


As we get better with age, it's very important that we prevent injury and plateaus at every chance. And you most certainly hit the nail on the head with your concept of "One More Rep" (great title for a book, eh?). Adding reps instead of weight is really brilliant, because it will add strength as well as flexibility and endurance. You know, what will more likely save you in a life-threatening situation: being able to shoulder press 55 lb dumbbells or being able to pull your whole body over an 8-foot obstacle? Well, I'd opt for the latter, thank you very much! Anyway, in this socially, politically and financially unstable world we all live in, it really pays to be physically able to handle any dire or extreme circumstances that might come our way!

If my memory serves me right, our main man over there in sunny LA, the world-famous Jack LaLanne, once swam from Alcatraz to San Fran pulling a bunch of loaded row boats with his teeth or something like that! Amazing feat! His daily routine was definitely old school, probably a lot of body weight exercises splattered with a little weight lifting, but not too heavy. Something tells me he really never had to deal with too many plateaus and boredom. Oh, Tony, didn't you briefly talk to him in an airport somewhere, before his wife pulled him away?!? -:) He told you to never give up or something like that? Teach 'em good? -;)

The beauty about many of your programs, especially the latest "One on One," is that I can add or delete reps and/or resistance to any of the exercises without breaking up the tempo of the routine. This one action actually adds enough variety so that I avoid plateaus and boredom. If we listen to our bodies and not our egos, growth and happiness happen, not misery and injury!

Dude, you are a walking encyclopedia of fitness and for the love of God, please keep the knowledge flowing! We all need to live by it!

Christopher, you are an animal, man! Arrrgh! Keep up the "enjoying out"!


Anonymous said...

True, so true. My first round of P90, I kept thinking, man, this is sort of like what Coach Lucas had us do in middle school gym class.
Sort of basic stuff, new and imporved a little. Bottom line move and break a sweat.
Which is pretty cool, considering I was in middle school in the early 70's.

Glynis said...

Great blog - and the wonderful nodd to Jack LaLanne. I used to watch him when I was a little girl and exercised along with him. My parents thought it was cute and had no idea how habit forming it would become. :)

Anonymous said...

It came from your camp in Washington, when you said, "Your stronger than you think you are." That stuck with me. At the beginning of the Summer, I added walking to my cardio - get outside and 2 miles was hard for me, but I got through it repeating what you said and I didn't give up. My yoga stretching was ok.

It is now almost the end of August and from increasing a little more each walk and pushing myself. I now walk 5 miles, have cut almost 10 min off my time and my heart rate is in the high 80% through the whole walk. It feels amazing. My yoga form has gotten so much better and I was so excited when I noticed that my knees where not touching the floor during the vinasa.

I have made my list of goals and I have put my workout schedule on my fridge and it feels so good every morning to see those red X's on my calendar.

We are all stronger than we think we are and it is doing that one more rep or walking that one extra block each time that proves it to ourselves.

Thank you for the motivation!!


Denise said...


I have been a long distance road biker for about 5 years now, but was just not where I wanted to be, so I started the P90X program. I have finished my first week of P90X, and have just started my second. Last night was my second night of Chest and Back. Following your advise on the number of reps, I realize I am doing way too many reps with my little 8lb weights, so I went out and purchased 15lbs (I'm a 5'1" Female). I could hardly lift my arms to get my purse on my shoulder let alone pick up 15lb weights, yet I was grinning from ear to ear as I was attempting to pick these weights up.

The main reason for this post is that I had told my coach, he's awesome btw, that I have not hurt this bad in years nor have I smiled this big in as many years. We both agreed that I needed to share this with you and let you know that I'm loving every minute of the pain!!