24 August 2014

Some random thoughts on P90X

I'm well aware that it's beyond time to get in shape.  This year I have hit some fitness milestones that are, shall we say, not the kind of PRs I want to achieve.  Ever since I ran a full marathon in 2011, I have struggled greatly with gaining weight very quickly.  Almost nothing I do is easier than gaining weight (except maybe sleeping and breathing - I'm pretty good at those).  What accompanies weight gain is a decrease in strength.  You'd think, "oh, he must have strong legs, carrying all that extra weight around."  You'd be wrong.  My sedentary job coupled with my sedentary lifestyle and poor nutrition combined to puff me up to about 262lbs, an all-time high.  I knew I needed to make a change, and I'm happy to report that I just completed my first step in that direction: P90X.
 That's not me in the photo.

So am I ripped?  Am I, as Tony Horton assures in the videos, in the best shape of my life?  

No, but I don't blame Tony or P90X.  I blame me.  Losing weight has more to do with diet than with anything else, even exercise.  That is where I failed; I didn't drastically change the way I ate.  I didn't even come close to following the nutrition guide.  I did get a little better with many of the food choices I make, and it did help.  I lost 10lbs.  I worked really hard.  I "brought it" every day, and I definitely saw some results.  For example, standard push ups: the first workout, I could only do 15 pushups on my knees.  By the end, I was doing 20 real push ups.  Last night, at the end of my final workout (Core Synergistics), I did 20 push ups (Core Syn has 5 different types of push ups in the workout, so this was my 6th set of push ups).  

So, some random Q&A:
Why P90X?  No real reason.  I have tried some other Beachbody products, and liked them enough.  Also, whether through word of mouth and informercials, I have heard that this was challenging and builds muscle.  Finally, because it was cheap: I found my copy on craigslist for $20.

How hard was it? Depends on how good of shape you're in when you start.  For me, I was tragically out of shape, so I feel that by the end I was finally in good enough to start P90X!  This is probably why many people will do multiple rounds of P90X.  I need to take a break from this program; the thought of doing it all over again for another 90 days is slightly dreadful.  I'm ready for a change.

The workouts are very demanding, usually lasting 45 minutes for the resistance workouts and up to 90 minutes for Yoga X (my least favorite workout of all time).  Here's a sample of the program:

Weeks 1-3
Day 1 - Chest and back (lots of different kinds of push ups and pull ups).
Day 2 - Plyometrics (very difficult for me; I never could do every rep of every exercise).
You do all these exercise for 30 seconds...twice.

Day 3 - Shoulders and Arms (lots of curls, presses, and extensions)
Day 4 - Yoga X
Day 5 - Legs and Back (lunges, calf raises, etc.)
Day 6 - Kenpo X (kickboxing, much more fun and a better workout with my Torso Bob)
Day 7 - Rest or X Stretch

What are you going to do next? Insanity (this time I'm borrowing it from a friend for FREE!)

Would you recommend this to others? Yes, if you are looking to build muscle/strength, or if you need the structure and "just show up and do what Tony says" ease.  It worked for me because I didn't know what to do, and I would take too much time on breaks and between sets, thus sabotaging the success of the workouts.  The variety of moves pushed me and made me try new things, difficult things, but things that produced results.

P90X was the first step down a long road to health and fitness.  The best thing I can do for myself is to clean up my diet and keep exercising.  I'm taking two weeks off in between P90X and Insanity to give my body time to rest and recover.  I'll take my final fitness test next Saturday, and I'll post the results here.

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