Today is Day #91 of P90X for me. It’s over…but it’s not over.
All I can say is…What a ride!
Near the end of June 2010, in the midst of a fairly mundane summer, I’d had enough. I weighed the most I’d ever weighed. I would jog around the block and it would take me an hour to recover. While I was pretty strong, there was no stamina or much definition in my muscles. In fact, I was beginning to think the only thing that would bring about a healthy change in my life was some type of crisis.
Some of my friends had gone through P90X before (or at least attempted to). I saw ads for the program during late night infomercials. I didn’t know much about it except that the before and after pics demonstrated amazing results.I really questioned if I was in good enough shape to start a program like this. P90X comes with a lot of disclaimers about the level of intensity it demands.
But I made a decision one day this past June – I had this exact thought: I need a mountain to climb.
So I started pricing it out and bought the program on Amazon. I probably could have gotten it a little cheaper, but I figured that a financial investment would help the rest of me to invest as well. The program (books and DVDs) arrived on my doorstep on July 2. I immediately started reading and studying up on my mountain.
What I quickly discovered is that while P90X is an intense workout, it’s even more about nutrition. That was going to prove to be the toughest (yet most satisfying) part of this whole thing. Some of the friends that had done the P90X workouts mentioned they didn’t focus on the nutrition side of it. Thus, they didn’t see the gains (or losses!) they might have by doing the complete program. I knew if I was going to climb this mountain, then I was going to climb it the way the book told me to. I went all in…fitness and nutrition!
As I read through the workouts, I had the realization I was going to die. Not really die…but die trying to complete these things. I could barely do 15-20 pushups at one time. Now I was going to have to workout for an HOUR everyday? So I gave myself a grace period, a warm-up if you will. The P90X DVD set came with 2 bonus workouts from the Power90 program. I decided that starting on July 5, I would do those workouts everyday for a week (one a day). This proved to be a good decision. It got me used to the format of the workouts, introduced me to Tony Horton and his style, got me moving vigorously for an hour a day, gave me time to start the nutrition side, and was great preparation for the P90X workouts.
I started P90X on July 12, 2010.
The first couple of weeks into the program I lived in a constant state of soreness. There were a few days in there I couldn’t even complete an entire workout. Chest & Back made me feel like I was going to lose my lunch every time. I considered the Yoga DVD a real tearjerker because I felt like crying through the whole thing. And Plyo (jump training) was a full hour of trying to leave the planet. This thing kicked my butt EVERYDAY.
I set up my garage as workout room. I’d use my laptop to play the DVD’s. I already had some dumbbells to work with. I bought a pull-up bar that attaches to a doorway. And I got a workout band for those times I would need to workout while traveling. What I discovered is that you don’t need a lot of equipment, but you do need a lot of commitment to make this program work.
On the nutrition side, I had to learn how to go shopping for myself. My family would have their meal…I would have mine. I started buying protein bars by the box and also invested in a great recovery drink (after every workout!) from my friends at Max Muscle in Meridian. P90X instructs you to eat a bit differently through each phase of the program. While I started off eating a lot more proteins in the beginning, I was pounding more carbs by the end (to have enough energy to complete the workouts). I used the portion chart instead of their specific menu. I’ll say this…I was never hungry through the program.
Since I have an easier schedule in the summer, it didn’t take much effort to schedule the workouts each day. But there were days I was gone for a couple of speaking engagements and a number of retreats that forced me to get creative. Fortunately, P90X travels well. I just brought the DVDs with me, used my workout band, and packaged recovery drink in little ziplock bags. Eating right proved to be difficult. I had to pack a lot of protein bars and meal replacement bars when I knew I wouldn’t be in places where I could eat what I needed to.
In regard to the workouts, there was a point I wondered if it was too much for me. I was dealing with a shoulder injury I sustained in March 2010. I tore my rotator cuff of my right shoulder while playing dodgeball. This worried me. I could really feel it at the beginning, especially with all the pullups you have to do. There were some exercises I couldn’t complete and had to modify. But over time, I gained strength in my shoulder. While it still acts up, I don’t feel like I need to go under the knife to repair it like I did before I started P90X. Plus, I can do every exercise now with very little or no pain.
One of the funnest parts of doing P90X on the road was when I got the students at a retreat to do it with me. One Saturday, I led students through the entire Kenpo workout. Another time, we put the Plyo workout on the big screen and had a large group of students do it with me. That was fun.
Once school started (I work at a University), I could complete the workouts when I got home or knock them out in our gym on campus. I even did Yoga in my office one day. The thing is, I had to constantly adapt my schedule to get the workout in. Everyday, I had to intentionally plan out when I would complete it and what I would eat. I was constantly mindful of my fitness and progress. That is one of the major takeaways for me.
The program encourages you to measure your fitness level from beginning to end. I took “before” pictures and then took pictures every 30 days. Today, I’ll take my last set of pics. There is a fitness test you take at the beginning of the program and on the last day. I’ll post my results a little further down in this post. All I can say is from the very first week through the end I saw and felt improvement. Yes, P90X is difficult – and that’s why it works.
Once I started P90X, I began to hear everyone’s story about fitness and health. I started seeing it everywhere. People at ESPN were doing it. I found out different folks at my school had done it or tried to do it.
I started posting little updates on Twitter. As I searched for “P90X” on Twitter, I noticed there were a lot of people just starting or hoping to start…but there were hardly any people recording their workouts from Day 50 or Day 70 or Day 89. It became clear that a lot of people start P90X…but not many finish. I wanted to reach the top of my mountain.
My motivation came from a variety of sources:
- Results – like I said, if you stick with the program, you are going to see results.
- Loose clothes – many of my pants don’t even fit anymore (way too loose).
- Comments from friends – when people walk up to you and say “Wow…have you lost weight?” or “You look good!”
- People start asking my advice on working out and fitness (that makes me laugh everytime).
- Imagining this day (Day 91!) and the feeling of accomplishment.
- Feeling better, feeling stronger, feeling more energy, feeling more disciplined. These are great feelings.
- Drinking my recovery drink – It meant I had worked out hard and it tasted so good.
- Growth in my own confidence and ability to push myself.
If you do P90X by the book you are going to get results. At the start of P90X you take a fitness test. Here are my stats. You’ll notice that I made an improvement in all areas:
Resting Heart Rate:
Day1 - 78
Day90 – 62
Day1 – 1
Day90 – 4 (Note: I stink at pullups. But with one foot on a chair, I increased from 6 to 18)
Day1 – 19inches
Day90 – 22inches
Day1 – 20
Day90 – 51
Inches Reach Past Toes (flexibility):
Day1 – 1inch
Day90 – 7inches
In & Outs To Failure (abs):
Day1 – 23
Day90 – 71
Seated Wall Squat:
Day1 – 1min 11sec
Day90 – 2min 37sec
Day1 – 3olb dumbbells/18 reps
Day90 – 30lb dumbbells/25 reps
Heartrate after Jumping Jacks (for 2 minutes):
Day1 – 174
Day90 – 150
Heartrate 2 minutes after completing Jumping Jacks:
Day1 – 138
Day90 – 106
I’ll admit, I was a little bit excited to take the final fitness test. I knew that I’d improved…in some areas I feel like I excelled.
As I was writing this post, I wrestled with whether or not to post the “before/after” pic. I know that the proof is in the picture. But I just don’t feel comfortable with that whole part of it. It may be a combination of modesty and slight embarrassment over how I really let myself go. But I know that’s what you’ve all been waiting for
So if you really feel the need to see how this whole thing turned out, here’s the link to my before/after pic.
Everyone keeps asking me what I’ll do when P90X is over. I know what I’m not going to do.
I’m not going to go back to the way things were.
I’m not going to go out and celebrate with a piece of mudpie (and I love mudpie).
I’m not going to stop.
Here’s what’s next for me…
P90X isn’t over. Chapter 1 is over, but the story isn’t over. I’m not done with P90X. I’ve spent the last three months creating some good habits. I’ve discovered that I can have control over my nutrition. I’ve found a lifestyle where I actually look forward to working out. At the end of 90 days, it’s not so much about reaching a goal as it is about being committed to growth.
So I’m going to take a few days off. I’m going to reflect on my experience a little more. I’m going to go shopping and buy some clothes that actually fit me now. I’m going to finalize my plan for the next chapter (which I’ve been working on for the last few weeks). I’m going…to keep going. P90X was really difficult at first because I was in such poor shape. Just imagine what I can do now.
I would love to answer any questions you have about my experience or your own experience. Just leave me a comment below and we can connect. It’s amazing how much motivation there is in hearing other people’s stories.