Friday, July 18, 2008

Day 120, Your Turn

Hey everyone. It's hard to believe but my Peak Condition Project will be finished in 5 days. I just wanted to take this chance to open up the blog to questions from any of you who have stuck with me through all of this. So, if there's anything you've been wanting to know about the project, ask it in the comments section, and I'll give you honest answers. If you prefer to ask me privately feel free to do so at thepeakconditionproject (at)

I know from the numbers that there are hundreds of lurkers on this page, which doesn't bother me, I'm a bit of a lurker myself, but consider this weekend a "lurker amnesty" and go ahead and unload your questions or comments, because, for all intents and purposes, it will be your last chance. And to everyone a deep gasho from the bottom of my heart for your support and encouragement.

Also if you'd like to try the PCP for yourself apply soon at the above mentioned email!

Okay, the questions are coming in fast, so I'm just going to add them to this post as they come in. I'll paraphrase, if you want to see the original question it will be in the comment section.

Q. What type of resistance bands did you use?
I just got a cheap set of three from some no-name maker. The key thing is that your set have detachable handles and a door anchor (which I will always think of as a "dongle") My set was nice because you could add a band or two for more resistance as you got stronger. It took me snapping two bands to figure that out.

Q. What's wrong with bananas? Why do all the PCPers fruit servings say "no bananas?"
Because we really hate yellow things. Nah. Because bananas are really high in carbohydrates, which we need to keep close track of during the weight loss Phase. There's nothing wrong with bananas, but they can throw off your plan a bit if you're not careful, especially when eaten at night.

Q. Is it really healthy and or sustainable to eat all those eggs? Quite apart from the gas issue, how about cholesterol ?
-You'll notice we only eat egg whites. The yolk of the egg contains all the fat and cholesterol found in eggs. So, we boil the eggs, open them, discard the yolk and just eat the protein rich egg white. No cholesterol! But it's not sustainable to eat all the eggs, it's just during the project. After the PCP ends we'll teach you how to maintain your muscle without eating eggs all day.

Q. How do you target your legs without weights? Is there a danger of developing "big torso, skinny legs" syndrome?
-We do squats, just plain old squats without a weight. Also lunges. And for big quad work we do floor jumps, which involves sinking down to the heels, and jumping two or three feet into the air, and repeating down the length of the room. We also do a ton of jumprope, which tones the legs. However to get at the second part of your question, on the PCP no one will develop a "big torso" because the weights are low and the reps high, you will get a strong, lean look, much like the man Bruce Lee himself.

Q. How can one "keep it PCP" in a college dorm setting?
So much of living in a dorm is "Home Alone" syndrome. No one is watching you, no one cares what you eat, so you order pizza 5 nights a week, just because you can. And don't even get me started on the drinking. Just remember, it's true, no one has any say over you anymore, once you move into a dorm. That also means when you gain 20 pounds and have the same complexion as that pizza you're eating, there's no one responsible for that mess except the person in the mirror.

This isn't to say I didn't eat all manner of horrible things in college, and gained 20 pounds. Everyone gets to be a young fool once.

Q. Is it more beneficial to build muscle, strength, and vitality with yoga or kung fu? I can choose only one for an upcoming class.
-Yoga. Yoga gives you the base for any other physical activity, because it builds core strength, improves balance, increases flexibility, and most overlooked, improves the quality of your breathing. Without those things, your (insert sport here, kung fu, tennis, curling, etc...) is going to suck. True, you can eventually build those things in your given sport, but getting a handle on yoga first is the fast track to success. I've spent a few months in all kinds of dojos in Japan, and I've found my yoga conditioning has me passing guys who've been there for years in just a few weeks. They find a million ways to dismiss this, but I know it's from the yoga.

But, if you just want to have a good time and kick some stuff, do the kung-fu.

Q. What will you focus on next? Mental Peak Condition?
- I'm going to take it easy for a few weeks before starting my next project. I'll be working on flexibility and using my in-shape body for martial arts. Chen and I are also working on The Kung Fu Body, which will be like the PCP but for the longer term, more of an overall approach for life.

Q. Will there be a PCP convention?
-That would be awesome. I'd really love to meet everyone in person and swap old war stories.

Q. Will the PCP ever really end?
-Yes and no. The strict diet and exercise will be toned down a lot, in fact that's what I've been learning to do this month. But the philosophy, that you should challenge yourself to be at the top of your form every day, even when you know you're feeling like crap, will stay with me forever.

Q. In the first weeks, how did you resist the temptation of non-PCP foods?
- I used a lot of little mental tricks. One of my favorite was asking myself "how many times in your life have you eaten (___________)? (cheesecake, lasagna, etc...) The answer would usually be in the hundreds. Then I would ask myself, "How many times in your life have you had low body fat and looked really fit? The answer was always zero. So, I could do something for the 101st time, or do something for the very first time. That kind of thinking, always focusing on the positive gains rather than what I couldn't have, made all the difference. Another helpful thing is keeping your mouth busy. In the first month when I really wanted something bad I drank a cup of coffee. I like coffee so there was some small satisfaction without any caloric impact.

Q. How will you incorporate the PCP into your normal life once it's over?
-This is my main area of interest right now, and I'll post what I learn online in some way or another. Some things are easy, like the exercise and diet, others are trickier, like, what level of fitness am I willing to settle for post project?

Q. Is the PCP only for reasonably fit people with strong willpower and good genetics?
-I'll be honest with you, at the start of this project I thought that this plan would be for people who are in good shape but want to reach peak performance. But as it's gone on I've realized that it works just as well for overweight people, in fact, the results would be even more dramatic as it's not that hard to lose excess weight. The last 5 pounds take just as long as the first 2o would. Willpower isn't really the issue. The PCP is about breaking up old unhelpful habits and introducing new ones. If someone really decided they wanted to change their body they could do the Project with great success, no matter what their condition. But it won't work with a half-hearted effort. It wouldn't take very long either, even for someone 40 + pounds overweight. In fact, right now I'm looking for a substantially overweight person to sign up for Round 2. So apply! What've you got to lose! (besides your spare tire?)

Q. What's a Leg-up?
-It's when you lie on your back and instead on crunching your upper body, you lift your legs. This works the lower abdominals. When I started I did a lot of these buy now I hang from a bar and lift my legs over my head when I want work that area.

Q. When you switched from smoothies to regular food for dinner, did you continue to lose weight or did it stabilize?
-It stabilized. But we only switched to smoothies when the target weight was reached. I would've been on them longer but I lost my weight fast for some reason. The other PCPers were on them for longer but have just gotten off. The smoothies were actually one of my favorite parts and I still drink one when I don't feel like cooking or want a light meal.


Anonymous said...

1. What's a leg-up?

2. When you switched from smoothies to solid dinners with more protein, did you continue to lose weight or did your weight stabilize?

Melissa Maples said...

Hmmm, yeah, questions... well, I've been here since about day 3, and I find the continuous thought in the back of my head is that the PCP is something for other people, people who are reasonably fit to begin with, like yourself.

But now that you mention it, I do wonder what you think the possibilities might be for the rest of us fatties, those who can't do a single pushup, those for whom "lose 50 pounds and stop being a blob" would be the obvious first goal. Because it seems to me that one of the reasons the PCP works is because you're starting with people who either already have genetically decent physiques, and/or who have the will and staying power to keep themselves in reasonably good shape to begin with (i.e not the sort of people who usually avoid restricted diets and exercise like the plague).

So I guess what I'm saying is, can you take a overweight, blobby, but forward-thinking individual and PCP them, perhaps with on an extended schedule? Or does the PCP require a minimum starting fitness level before it can do its magic?

Busted said...

Ha! I have to admit I am a major lurker here…Since you’ve acknowledged the likes of me, I thought it would be best to just come out and comment.

Sadly, my main question will probably only be answered months from now, as it’s mostly about how you plan to incorporate the PCP in your daily life when it ends. OK, so now here’s another question: will the PCP really end? I know you always said so, but still…I got this sudden realization when you said there are only 5 more days-wow! Time flies, and I really hope you keep us (lurkers + the rest of the lot following your journey) posted.

BTW, I’m still reeling from that star on your chest. It oddly reminds me of a random flyer from Barcelona with ‘You can fucking shine!’ written on it (yes, in English). Pardon the language y’all, (*^-^*) but that message has since been a confidence booster…And there goes Patrick finding a whole star hidden within – such a cool reminder!

Anonymous said...

What was the main thing that kept you from straying when you were, in the first weeks, eyeing a nice, greasy or sweet article of food that was very non-PCP?

Nate said...

I have to questions (Very hopeful ones)

Can we have a PCP convention in Japan? I totally wanna go there it would be aweosme to meet all the PCPers and everyone interested in the PCP.

Are you going to focus your attention away from the physical in the future towards being in, lets say, peak mental condition?

Anonymous said...

Is it more beneficial to build muscle, strength, and vitality with yoga or kung fu? (I have a choice to take one of these two classes coming up.)

Also, any recommendations for someone about to enter college dorm-life and wanting to keep it PCP?

Anonymous said...

One more question: Why do I love you so much! PCP-mania has ensued! Patrick, the role model and heart throb!

LOL :)

Dara said...

When I tell anybody else this story, it comes off as a strange mixture of pathetic whining and weird bragging, but maybe here it will resonate.

I started the PCP 40 days ago as someone in pretty good shape. I've lost almost 10 pounds in that time, and I look and feel better than ever, but to the casual observer, I'm still just the in-shape person I was before. I know, I know, poor me, someone call the wahaahmbulance.

Of course, my husband tells me I look terrific every day, but I've birthed his son and I clean his undies, so he's biased.

As I walked back to work from a conference today, I was stopped by a panhandler who said "hey supermodel." I smiled and apologized for not having any money and he said "No, I mean it, you're goddam gorgeous." I blushed and continued on to the office, all the while listening to the panhandler sing to me on the street "Heeeeey, supamodel! Turn around one mo' time supamodel!"

This has made my week. And it is impossible to get through a set of v-sits without humming "hey, supamodel" to myself.

See, both pathetic and conceited. But, anyway, thanks for doing this and being such an inspiration. Gasho back at ya.

Anonymous said...

1. What resistence exercises do you do to target your legs - specifically your quads? How do you replicate the movement of a squat or a leg press with just a resistence band? Is there a danger of developing the 'big torso, skinny legs' syndrome so prevalent in gym-goers. (Apologies if this has been covered already.)

2. Is it really healthy and or sustainable to eat all those eggs? Quite apart from the gas issue, how about chlorestrol?

These are the only two nagging questions I've had about the project. Otherwise I've been really impressed, both in the execution and the presention of this endeavour. Keep up the good work.

Mike@PVL said...

1) What's wrong with bananas? I notice when ever a PCP'er describes X grams of fruit it always says "no bananas.

2) Which set of resistance bands did you get. I see a huge variation in price on Amazon.

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