Thursday, December 17, 2009

Canyon Ranch: Day 4

We're leaving Canyon Ranch tomorrow afternoon, so I was determined not to slack off today.

A full rundown is after the jump...

7:30 a.m. - BREAKFAST

Knowing we needed to fuel up for our  morning workouts, we scarfed down a good amount of grub: fruit, cottage cheese, muesli, banana bread, egg white & veggie omelets, and whole wheat banana pancakes.

8:30 a.m. - SERIOUS CYCLE: "60 minutes of high-intensity cycling and 15 minutes of stretching."

Serious Cycle was led by one of the more crazy-intense trainers this morning, and M went all-out. I held back a little -- I didn't want to be completely depleted before my next class. Still, we worked hard, performing tons of sprints and intervals.

Sadly, the music mix was terrible, featuring lots of shitty 80s pop, including the barf-inducing "Crush on You" by the Jets.

10:00 a.m. - CORE 24: "Challenge your ability to stabilize outside your normal base of support. Twenty-four core exercises on a variety of equipment build mobility, strength and stability.

A lot of folks who just arrived at Canyon Ranch showed up for this class today, probably thinking that this would be a nice, easy session to help get their feet wet. After all, from the looks of the props used in this class, this workout does look easy; Bosu Balance Trainers, ballast balls, foam rollers and Gliding discs aren't the most intimidating things to behold.

This class, though, is tough as fuck. The instructor introduced modifications to make sure beginners could follow along, but those of us trying to do the primary moves had difficulty properly performing the squats, lunges, push-ups, ab moves, and cardio work that make up the 24 one-minute moves in this session. Only about three of us (including M and me, I'm proud to say) seemed even remotely proficient and able to tackle the more challenging variations -- and we were all exhausted before the hour was up.

11 a.m. - GENTLE VINYASA: "A more gentle approach to a yoga flow class using components of a sun salutation and other postures sequenced together with the breath."

This wasn't too dissimilar to the easier moves in Yoga X. We did modified sun salutations, Warrior Two and Reverse Warrior, a couple of inversions (like modified Plough), Bridge pose, and a bunch of stretches. This felt great after a hard couple of hours of exercise, and it was a nice change of pace from plain old Stretch.

Noon - LUNCH

We were ravenous, and quickly downed a plate of buttermilk-battered chicken tenders and a mushroom and edamame flatbread. (Not to mention yellow lentil soup, gazpacho, salad, fruit, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate chip cookies.)


Using calipers, a staff member pinched my fat in various places and calculated that I currently have about 8% body fat. "You could stand to put on some more lean muscle, though," she said, pointing to the fact that (by her calculations) I have 124 pounds of lean muscle, and her chart says that adult males should have 125 pounds of lean muscle or more.

2 p.m. - READY, SET, GLIDE: "Use the power and grace of the Gliding discs to enhance muscular endurance, balance, flexibility and core stabilization. Progressive movement are used to strengthen the muscles, challenge the core and provide a fun and unique workout."

Gliding discs are basically plastic plates. If you're familiar with the Push-Up Flies in P90X, you know what I'm talking about. I had no idea they were so versatile, though; it turns out you can use plastic plates to do not just push-ups and flies, but also a huge variety of lunges and squats and core moves.

I'll confess that I was kind of a show-off in this class, though there was only one other student who showed up (and she only came because she mistakenly thought this was a beginner's class). The instructor would give us four or five different variations of each move, and encourage us to challenge ourselves to see which one we could perform. I was determined to do the hardest variation each time, and by the end of the workout, the instructor and her assistant were making up things for me to do (and laughing because I'd actually do them). I was proud and a little surprised that I could pull off everything they threw at me -- especially because there's no way I could have done any of that stuff just a few months ago.

3 p.m. - ULTRA-MOISTURIZING TREATMENT FOR TWO: "Indulge in an unforgettable couple's treatment with two therapists. Begin with a light exfoliation and wet loofah scrub, then rinse in a Swiss shower or gently soak in a rose-filled tub - your choice. While one of you receives a relaxing massage, the other is lavished with either Goat Butter Creme or Warm Vanilla Float -- whichever you prefer -- and cradled in our amazing Soft-Pack System envelopment bed. Then you trade places. 100 minutes."

As a good husband, I suppose it was my duty to finally agree to undergo this treatment with M. As a guy, though, it was my duty to repeatedly complain that this was too girly and frou-frou, and that I didn't need to get any more moist than usual. But honestly? It wasn't bad.

I've never had any kind of skin treatment at a spa before. It was a little awkward to get scrubbed down by another person with a loofah (or, as Bill O'Reilly calls it, a "falafel"), and to sit in a super-hot rose petal-filled tub. ("Those roses died for us," M remarked.) Still, I enjoyed the deep tissue massage, and oddly enough, I didn't mind being slathered in "goat butter creme," encased in a plastic wrap like a burrito before being lowered into a hot, fluid-filled box, and sweating profusely. If nothing else, I figured, this'll make for a great cocktail party story.

Plus, I now smell good enough to eat.

5 p.m. - NOURISH YOUR SLEEP: "How does eating affect sleep? What foods are sleep enhancers? Sleep inducers? How can you optimize your food choices to encourage a better night's sleep? Learn the nuts and bolts of sleep hygiene."

In a nutshell, here's the common-sense stuff we learned in this presentation:

  • Eat balanced meals and snacks.
  • Moderate your intake of stimulants.
  • Choose herbal remedies for relaxation.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

Not exactly earth-shattering stuff, though I did appreciate that we were given a list of foods high in tryptohan: Dairy products, turkey, peanut butter and peanuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds, dates, figs, rice, fish, bananas, and soy products. Guess who's having a peanut butter and banana sandwich tomorrow night?

6 p.m. - DINNER

It was Italian night at the Double U Cafe, so we ordered an antipasto plate, baked mozzarella in tomato sauce, meat lasagna, shrimp scampi, and chicken marsala -- and polished it all off with tiramisu and cookies.

And now, we're packing. To maximize our time at Canyon Ranch, even after our noon checkout, we plan to continue going to exercise classes and using the spa facilities until our shuttle departs at 4:30 p.m., but I probably won't have a chance to post until I'm back in California -- and back to my P90X/Insanity Hybrid schedule. Woo-hoo!