Monday, April 8, 2013

Success: 90 days of P90X!

I did it!  I completed 90 days of P90X!  I've started P90X several times in the past year or two but so many things stopped me.  It seemed like either someone in my family was sick (read: sleep depreviaton) or I was sick or my youngest son was waking up at 4:45am!  This year however, I got serious.

I have always been active.  I would go running during the week and go to the YMCA with my family on Saturday mornings to lift weights or swim.  The problem was that I wasn't seeing any improvements.  I needed to mix up my workout routine.  That is when I decided I had to give P90X another try.

In January (NOT January 1st), I started P90X once again.  This time I was prepared -- I bought my youngest son a wake up time/sleep time clock -- yellow for wake up time and blue for sleep time and it works!  He sleeps in later so mommy can work out!  I had the occasional set back such as a few sick days but I didn't let one or two missed days stop me.  I just moved on and made up the day if I could later in the week.  This kept me motivated and rather than disappointed. 

P90X is an "Extreme Home Fitness" program designed by Tony Horton and Beachbody.  If you are serious about getting in shape, this is a great tool.  There are a few "programs" to choose from -- Classic, Doubles and Lean.  I opted for the Lean program because I wanted a workout that developed strength and muscle but also included a few more cardio workouts.  Don't get me wrong, the Lean program doesn't mean easy.  It is geared more toward getting lean rather than building big muscles. 

What I really like about P90X is that there are different workouts each day.   It mixes it up so it’s not the same thing over and over again.  Tony Horton calls this concept “muscle confusion" but I call it “boredom prevention!”  There are 12 DVDs in the P90X program, each with a different workout.  Most are between 50-60 minutes long except YogaX, which is 90 minutes and Ab Ripper, which is 15 minutes.   There are DVDs that focus on strength training; targeting parts of the body on different days, e.g., chest and back; shoulders and arms; legs and back; chest, shoulders and triceps; and back and biceps.  Then there are the cardio DVDs, e.g., KenpoX (kickboxing), CardioX, and Plyometrics (jumping).  In addition, there is YogaX, Ab Ripper, Core Synergistics and Stretching.  Not all of these were used in the Lean program, e.g., Plyo is not used (but I must say it is a great work out).

I also like that P90X is broken into 3 phases, each 4 weeks.  The 3 phases are:

Phase 1 - The Adaptive Phase.  This is where you learn the moves.
Phase 2 - The Mastery Phase - This is where you work on perfecting your form.
Phase 3 - The Recovery Phase - This is where you really "Bring It!"

Each phase also has three weeks "on" and 1 week of "recovery" but that doesn't mean rest.  The first three weeks are the mixture of core, strength training, yoga and cardio.  The recovery week is basically cardio, yoga, core and stretching.  This routine is good for your body and it is good for your mind since, once again, it mixes things up.

Do you need special equipment to do P90X?  You either need some dumbbells or a set of resistance bands.  If you plan to do pull ups the P90X chin-up bar is also useful.  I also found that it was good to have some cushioning on the floor -- we have a foam mat under the rug in the basement where I work out.

P90X is a great program and I highly recommend it. However, it might not be for everyone.  It is not for true beginners and it is not for anyone not willing to put in the time and effort.  The workouts are 6 days a week with the option of a 50+ minute stretch routine on the 7th day (I mostly opted for a rest day rather than doing the stretch DVD).  I should also say that it is not just for athletes either.  If you can't do all of the exercises, do what you can.  For example, I can't do pull-ups so I don't do them but I do the alternate move (pull downs) instead.  Tony offers alternate moves for people who need modifications.  I have to admit, the Dreya-roll is a move I just can't seem to get so I skip it most of the time.  I am not advising you to skip all the moves you hate but if you can't do it, don't get hung up on it...move on.  I will also admit I didn't do the ab workout as often as I should have and because of that I don't have 6 pack abs, as my 7 year old son likes to point out.  However, I did take a few inches off my waist!

I think one of the reasons I saw good results is that I used the nutritional guide.  I will be honest.  I didn't following it perfectly.  I did indulge in some wine and a few sweets or snacks, after all, I was doing this program on my birthday, my husband’s birthday and my youngest son’s 3rd birthday – I ate birthday cake.  I'm sure if I didn't indulge as much my results would have been great!

Here are some things you should know.  The P90X nutrition program has three phases.  The first is the Fat Shredder, which is high protein, low carb.  I stayed in this phase for the phase one of the work out.  You have to listen to your body. Some need to stay in it longer and some need to move on earlier.  The second phase is called 'Energy Booster' phase this is still higher protein but it introduces more carbs and it is a good balance, I think, for this workout.  Phase 3 is the Endurance Maximizer.  I did not go to phase 3.  I think it is better suited for athletes.

No matter what, you’ll be eating a lot of protein.  In fact, I had some form of protein (veggie protein is acceptable) with almost every meal.   Lean protein helps you stay in fat-burning mode longer, is needed by your body when you do strenuous weight training and help you curb hunger.   Phase 1 was hard because it limited carbs to 1 serving.  Phase 2 allowed 2 carbs.   I love carbs but I was actually ok with the 2 servings since, as an example, 1 cup of brown rice was a serving.  I'd sometimes split my carb serving by having a smaller bowl of oatmeal in the morning (if it wasn't a Shakeology day) so that I could have some carbs at lunch and at dinner. 

I should point out that the P90X nutrition program requires you to eliminate all types of white bread, regular pasta, white rice, etc.  Instead, replace them with whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta.  For the most part I did this since I almost always cook with whole grains.

During the past 90 days, I was never really hungry.  My food gave me enough fuel to effectively work out.  I had delicious meals (hey, I’m a good cook) and I was able to eat healthy snacks.  What more could you ask for??

Ok, so this is what you were waiting for...THE RESULTS!

Weight: lost 12 pounds
Waist: lost 2.5 inches
Hips: lost 4.5 inches (yippee!)
Chest: lost 2 inches
Arms: no change, but I have more definition
Legs: lost 1.5 inches (each leg)
I regret not buying a body fat caliper.  I would have loved to see that change!

Next steps
My next challenge is the Ultimate Reset, which I actually already started.  I will write about my experiences soon.  After that – INSANITY!  As for P90X, I can tell you that it will probably be my winter work outs from now on.


If you are interested in P90X, let me know.  It was a great program if you stick with it.  I’m here to help you stick with it and achieve your fitness goals.

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