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Adventure 9 : The P90X Ass Kicking

March 27, 2012

After three months of doing P90X in my living room, I know for certain that there was some ass-kicking going on. I’m just not sure who won. Some days, Tony Horton got the best of me, and I’d wake up the next morning so sore that the process of sitting down to pee was a brutal struggle for my hamstrings. On the other hand, as of this Friday, I will have finished the entire program. So what’s the verdict? Was it worth it? I’ll let you decide.

Exercise has been my arch enemy for a very long time. I was unlucky enough to grow up in Illinois, one of the few states requiring physical education in schools. Let me just say this: the Presidential fitness awards can go straight to hell. I would say it was during those early years, coming in last in that stupid mile run that we always did in the middle of August, that my hatred for exercise took root. Combine this hatred with my adoration for cookie dough and you have yourself the perfect formula for a lazy, unhealthy, and overweight person, aka me!

Ten years and whooooole bunch of pounds later, I marry a skinny guy. This crazy kid gets it into his head that we need to join a gym. Cue to me sweating all over the treadmill next to one of those damn runner chicks with her stupid short shorts that are color coordinated with her fancy tennis shoes. “Oh my gosh, I just LOVE exercising! Isn’t it the most incredible high?!” Hell, no. No. No. No. This sucks. I want brownies, damn it.

I rotated through the machines depending on my mood. Treadmill for a while. Elliptical for a while. Bike. Stair climber (that was a tough one). Weights. I cut out all of my beloved cookie dough and started having smoothies instead. After three years, a very very long and painful three years, I managed to lose sixty pounds. This brings us up to January of this year, when I first proposed P90X to my hubby.

For some reason, when I tell people we’re doing P90X (just like when I proposed the idea to John), there is a lot of eye rolling and scoffing involved. Well, scoff and eye roll all you want, people. I know you’re all secretly curious about how hard it really is. Yes, it really is hard.

The best part about the routine is its simplicity. We bought two weight bands and a pull-up bar and managed just fine, although a wider variety of hand weights would have been preferable. The DVDs are expensive, true, but we’ve already saved money by cancelling our gym membership, so it is a worthwhile investment…if you can stick with it, that is.

All of the DVDs are described here, if you want more details.

The first week is the worst. On the first day, you’ll struggle through 50 minutes of alternating sets between push-ups and pull-ups, neither of which I could do.

Second day, plyometrics. This is the worst of all the days. Do not eat or drink anything before this workout because A) there is a LOT of jumping involved and B) sitting down on the toilet will be a brutally painful experience. Your legs will hurt after this workout. A lot. And for a long time. Walking will be a terrible chore.

Mr. Horton gives you a break here. The next day is all upper body lifting. Biceps, shoulders, triceps, etc. Followed by 95 minutes of really tough yoga the day after. By day five, it’s back to another leg workout (and yes, you will still be sore from plyo) and more pull-ups. Oh, and did I mention that after ALL the weight lifting days you have to do the “Ab Ripper” DVD? These 340 ab moves will leave your tummy feeling like an asteroid just crashed into it. Wrap it all with KenpoX (a very fun workout, actually), and you’re done! Take one day for rest, and then start all over.

Every few weeks, the workout changes slightly. There will be “Recovery weeks” that focus more on Yoga, core, and stretching. Not too bad, although Core Synergistics will test your will to live.

I’m quite pleased with the results, honestly. I can do real push-ups now instead of the girly ones. Can’t quite do a pull-up yet, but I’m a flexed arm hanging machine (take THAT stupid presidential fitness awards). According to today’s ShapeScan, I lost  over 2% of my body fat and added a little more than one pound of muscle. Not too shabby! John did really well, too. He can do about 40% more pull-ups than when he started, and his flexibility has improved a lot. I dare say the man can touch his toes now. Ha!

The P90X DVDs were a great experience. Tony is surprisingly unobnoxious for a fitness freak and makes the workout fun. I can do things now that I never thought I’d be able to do, including taking a pee after plyometrics without too much pain. The moves that used to make up my entire workout are now just the warm up. It’s definitely time consuming, but worth it. Just don’t give up. Make it all the way through to the end, and you’ll feel like you really accomplished something. I know that Friday is our last day of the workout…and I also know that on Monday, we’re going to start all over again. Because it IS worth it.

From our last trip to Edinburgh. I'd like to go much farther north.

I only lost a couple pounds over the last three months, which isn’t too much of a surprise — P90X isn’t really a weight loss kind of workout. I have twelve pounds left to lose before reaching my goal weight. When I get there, John promised to take me to Scotland to hike through the highlands (now that’s what I call an adventure). Considering I couldn’t spend more than five minutes on the stairmaster when I first started, I think I’ve come a long way. Hopefully, by next summer, I’ll be ready to eat some more haggis…and maybe ready to try P90X2.

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