Sunday, April 22, 2012

P90X -- A New and Different Kind of Torture

I was bored with everything and wanted to do something new, so I figured I would try a program that includes some strength training, which I've never done in my life. I've always had a desire to see myself ripped, like an Amazon, like I could kill you with my bare hands if I wanted to. Never had the desire to go spend time in the gym to get that way, though. Enter P90X! It doesn't require any equipment except a pull-up bar and either weights or bands, and it's all on DVDs, so I can do it at home in my spare time. Ha ha ha, if I actually counted on being able to do things "in my spare time" I would never get anything done. I get things done only because I schedule them. As proof, I can say that I've been reading the same book for A MONTH! Me, who used to read a book a day! And that's even with having an intern to do all my work for me at work! (I can't read at work; I am far too busy catching up on lost sleep.) I get up at 3:30 every morning and do my P90X then.

P90X is a 3-phase, 90-day program. I'm just starting Week Three. For the first three weeks, the schedule is like this: Monday, Chest and Back (i.e., weights, push-ups, and pull-ups). Tuesday, Plyometrics (jumping exercises -- cardio). Wednesday, Shoulders and Arms.  Thursday, Yoga. Friday, Legs and Back (more weights, more pull-ups). Saturday, Kenpo (a martial arts workout -- more cardio). Sunday, either a rest day or an hour of stretching. (Guess which one I do? We don't need no stinkin' rest days!) The workouts range from 52 minutes (the Monday one) to the abominable hour and a half of yoga. Oh, and on Monday-Wednesday-Friday you are also supposed to do the Ab Ripper workout, which I like because it's only 15 minutes and MAN does it work the abs. I have awesome abs already but I truly believe this workout three times a week will bring them to six-pack status.

P90X also comes with a 3-phase diet plan, which I don't really follow, at least not the first phase, which is called the Fat Shredder phase. It calls for 7 servings of protein a day and only 1 of carbs. It's designed for people who are only doing P90X and aren't doing an extra couple hours of cardio every day in addition to P90X like I am. I did try to follow it at first but was running out of energy on my runs and rides, so added in some more carbs and felt better. (One small bone to pick with the diet -- in calculating your calorie needs for the day, they estimate that you burn 640 extra calories per day with the exercises in the program. I call BS! Maybe in the cardio workouts, if you do them at the insane pace they do them on the DVDs, you might POSSIBLY burn 640 calories. But the yoga, and the weights? No freaking way does an hour of that burn the same calories I'd burn in an hour-long run. So I just don't count P90X as burning any calories at all when I'm tracking calories in-calories out during the day.)

I confess that I HATED the first week of P90X. I couldn't keep up with the people on the videos on any of the exercises. I couldn't even do one pull-up, and couldn't do hardly any push-ups either. It made me so sore that I couldn't swim at all -- not that I like swimming, but my body likes it so much I feel guilty not doing it. I also had problems with things like walking around normally, shampooing my hair, turning the steering wheel in the car, and shaking up my can of V8. Tony Horton, the creator of P90X (who to me looks just like a Ken doll with muscles), has all these annoying sayings that get lodged in my brain: "Keep pushing PLAY." "Do your best and forget the rest." "Bring it!" I decided I would just follow along as best I could and see what happened. Lo and behold, there is a learning curve with P90X. Who would've thought? The second week has been so much better. I can do a few pull-ups at a time, which is like a 300% improvement over the first week. I swear I can even see little changes in my body, like when I flex my arms this awesome vein pops out all the way from my shoulder to my wrist. (Mom would call it sinew and say I look scrawny, but actually, Mom, I lost 10 pounds pretty quick and then completely stopped losing weight, which I can't figure out at all because I still have a pretty good calorie deficit 99% of the time. I'm 149 now which is a totally reasonable weight but I want to be 140!)

I still have some trouble with the cardio workouts, mostly due to my lack of coordination. This is especially noticeable in Kenpo. They have exercises with names like "Jab-Cross-Hook-Uppercut" that you're supposed to repeat 25 times, faster than you can even say the name of the exercise. There is fancy footwork that goes along with the arm movements too. I find that I can do them IF I go very slowly and memorize one motion at a time. If I try to go any faster I find myself just staring in bewilderment at the screen, facing the wrong direction or moving forward when I should be going backward, things like that. I don't worry about it too much though because 1) I know I will get better if I just "keep pressing PLAY" (damn you, Tony Horton, for your cheeseball sayings; now I know how my mobility students feel when I cheerfully repeat, "It's better to be patient than to be a patient!" and "When in doubt, wait it out!"), and 2) even if I never get coordinated enough to do them right, I do so much cardio on my own, at least a couple hours every single day, that I don't have to worry about not burning enough calories.

Two more things I must discuss: the yoga, and the stretch DVD. Yoga is TERRIBLE. I hate yoga. So boring, so monotonous, such a clear demonstration of my lack of flexibility. Really, MUST they get those people in the videos who are as flexible as Gumby and can fold themselves up into human pretzels just to make the rest of us look bad? And do they really expect me to let my mind float free for 90 stinking minutes? Heck, I can't make it through 30 minutes without having to let Frieda out to pee. Ugh, I will stick with it but it would be really nice if one day I could make it through without hating every second of it. (And if one day I could actually touch my heels to the floor in Downward Dog like I'm supposed to be able to.)

X-Stretch, on the other hand, is amazing, like a gift from God if I believed in God. It's a full hour of stretches that I can actually do. When I'm done with it I feel like a rag doll. Even my brain moves slower. It is impossible to feel rushed or stressed after X-Stretch. If I ever go back to WOG I will have some really awesome stretches to show everyone.

So! Two weeks down, ten more to go. And at the end of it, I will be an Amazon able to kill you with my bare hands. Something like that, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting account of this new-found program here. Was this something perhaps derived or adapted from a core-specific routine? The best program which I have come across with is the 300 rotuine from the movie of the same title. However, most women are not fit for that kind of training unless the real hardcore ones. Since you mentioned you have the inkling to try and become an Amazon, I reckon that one would fit you very likely. Fall Protection Miami Florida