P90X2 DAY 1: X2 Core

Best Quote from Tony: “Cromagnum Hip.”

DVDs, foam roller, balance ball, and medicine balls

Finishing Quote from Adam: “This is terrible.”

We didn’t have foam rollers, balance balls, or medicine balls, which definitely made it harder to understand all of the variations right away. We paused often to realign our mats and review methods and technique. Right away we felt that 1) our apartment’s den was a little too small for all of the movements for two people (our Christmas tree is still up!), and 2) we need to get the gear to get the most out of the program.

In some ways, we wonder if the X2 Core is the first DVD to truly convince the Xers to buy the specific gear for this program. Our gut reaction: a let down. Still, as a result, Adam’s online looking at foam rollers ($25-$70), medicine balls ($10), and balance balls ($10-$30). Granted, used sports stores are also possibilities for cheaper options.

Downside: Videography was difficult to follow, along with the lighting. Adam and I felt that they went a little too quickly between each movement without less discussion of technique. It was hard to get a good workout because we felt that we didn’t have the technique or equipment to do so.

Comparing to P90X:
• I only used a mat, pull up bar, and 10 lb weights for the first phase of P90X before feeling like I need to get more gear. I’m worried my apartment can’t hold 2 balance balls and all the other gear!
• Many, many more sphinx push-up poses in this particular DVD
• Tony spends less time explaining technique and modifications, the expectation is that you will take care of your own body and pacing, and that you need less motivation to “press play.”

Bottom Line: Adam mentioned that he had forgotten what it was like to start a new program, particularly something as complex as P90X2. The learning phase takes a while to settle to where you get the maximum reps and use out of each drill. Several times I said, “I have no idea what I’m doing.” It was frustrating, but you have to remember it is part of the process.

Next up…Plyocide…

P90X2: Bring it…again!

Adam and I did the original P90X during the fall of 2009. I thought he was a guy I might want to spend more time with, but since he lived in Philadelphia and I lived in DC, I challenged him to complete the P90X program with me via phone call check ups. He’d been thinking about it for a while, since our friends and colleagues, Robert White and Nick Williams had been doing the program, but I was still surprised when he agreed to “Bring It.” This meant I had to keep my word.

Each day before we did our program (usually around 6am before work or 5:30pm when we got home), we would call each other to pump each other up and to “press play” at the same time.  For the first time in my life, I looked forward to workouts…and calls from Adam.  After we completed the day’s workout, we called each other in celebration, discussing our difficulties and our achievements.

Completion Date of P90X! (He's really pale)

One afternoon that summer, I got a text from Adam saying “Start without me, I’m stuck in traffic.”  This was not unusual, as his commute in Philadelphia was almost as bad as mine from Arlington, VA to Sidwell Friends School, where I worked.  I started Kenpo.  When I finished, the doorbell rang.  I stood sweaty and gross from the workout while Adam was there holding a bouquet of flowers! He’d driven the three hours in rush hour traffic, completed 3 P90X workouts in one day to come visit and not miss any, and waited for me to complete Kenpo to surprise me!

Needless to say, we completed the program together that fall, as a couple.

We’ve since moved to North Carolina together, started graduate school, and filled up a small apartment.  This Christmas, Adam received P90X2, and the journey has begun again. While we have kept dancing and Adam has been exercising more frequently than I, we are not in the shape we used to be. This blog will try to manage our reflections of the process in comparison to our experience with the original.

We hope you’ll join us on the journey!


Won’t you… “Be My Jazz Baby”?

A few of our students at Lindy Focus were asking where we’d be next, so here are the details!

Be My Jazz Baby
January 20-22nd
Norfolk, VA

We’re heading up to Norfolk, Virginia for Southside Stomp’s first multi-track weekend featuring Drew Nugent & The Midnight Society.  Adam and I were lucky to hear him playing piano at The Farmer’s Cabinet after seeing Jersey Boys in Philadelphia in December, and we’re looking forward to dancing to his band at this event. If that weren’t awesome enough, our good friends and organizers of Lindy Focus, Michael and Jaya, will be teaching with us!

If you missed out on grabbing a private lesson during this past week, please send me a message on my contact page and we’ll try and schedule one for the weekend. 🙂

Here’s a picture of us from the last time we taught in Norfolk. See you soon!

(Balboa) Focus Time!

Happy New Year!

Adam and I had a fantastic time at Lindy Focus teaching with the Balboa track.  Everyone in the group was positive, curious, and focused during class, leading to a wonderful atmosphere of learning.  Thanks to everyone who took the Balboa Main Track, and for Michael, Jaya, and Sosh for incorporating Balboa into the event!

Here’s the video of my dance with the lovely and talented Mickey Fortanasce in the Invitational Balboa Jack and Jill:

Also, here’s the instructor jam at the beginning of the weekend. Adam and I come in at 1:05.

Best wishes to all of my dear dancing friends for 2012! ❤

DC Swing eXperience

This year, I was asked to dj for the inaugural DC Swing eXperience, a crossover Westie/Lindy event (though about 200:1 ratio of West Coast Swing dancers to Lindy Hoppers).  Jerry Almonte invited me up to share the DJ booth with him and we had the whole room to ourselves and a few other Lindy Hoppers.  Still, I hope more DC/Baltimore/Philly Lindy Hoppers consider this event next year; it is extremely professional with a lot of floorspace and great music.

While there, good friend Francis Luong snapped this picture as we were shopping in Reston Towne Center:

Dancing Holidays

For Christmas break from MFA studies (and Biology studies for Adam), we head north to his homeland of Media, PA.

Adam and Aba in the Jam Circle, photo by Frank DeLys

The charming suburb of Philly has the slogan “Everyone’s home town.” On our way north, we stopped off at the “Swing Kat Pottstown Double-Band Christmas” featuring both The Boilermaker Jazz Band and The Solomon Douglas Swingtet…a real treat on a snowy evening.

Nelle Cherry and friends had encouraged a group of dancers from Philly to come as well, and the music was stellar.

Happy Holidays to all!

February Classes in Durham: The Legacy of Jewel and Dean

Recently, fellow dancer and instructor, Nick Williams compiled some of his favorite clips of Jewel McGowan, famed lindy hopper from the far reaches of California during the swing era.  At Hot Club in February, Adam and I will be doing a series on her and her partner, Dean Collins, known for their energetic style and prolific appearances in movies of the time.

Get inspired and come on out for history in the re-making!

Lindy Focus!

Adam Speen and I will be teaching at Lindy Focus this year–our second time working with the LF Balboa track!  We’re excited to also be running the auditions for the advanced track, which will be a skill assessment instead of the normal jack-and-jill style rotation through social dancing.

Michael Gamble commissioned Adam and me to revamp and try something new for the audition process.  The inaugural approach is meant to not only help instructors get a better sense of this year’s balboa cohort, but to also let students have some time to reflect on the skills in which they excel or lack proficiency. By the end of the test, all students should have a detailed idea of some concepts to work on for the week, with the goal of leading to more focused learning.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?! We can’t wait to be involved in the process!