Archive for the ‘Exercise’ Category

P90X – My Review

August 13th, 2011

You may have heard of it.  You’ve probably even tried it.  Some of you completed it.  Regardless of where you stand in the “I’m going to try P90X” cycle, you can’t seem to go a day without seeing an ad, a Facebook status, and yes, an infomercial about the #1 selling exercise video system of all time.  P90X, where star Tony Horton quips, goofs, shakes, stretches, presses and pulls through 90 days of a body rippin’ workout.

I’ve just completed the full 90 days (well more like 110 or so) and thought I would review my experience.  But first, a step back…

Health History

My personal health history has been somewhat of a roller coaster.  A skeleton in high-school at a measly 140 lbs, I started to put on weight in college then ballooned in my 20’s to nearly 210lbs.  Over the course of a decade, I fought the 30 to 40 pound battle a handful of times.  Every time I would get down and get rid of my “fat” clothes, I’d find myself shopping again within a couple years.

It was when we lost Wyatt that I vowed I would gain control of this issue.  I just cannot describe what it feels like to hear a group of Doctors tell you that your weight may be an issue if it came down to saving your son’s life (carrying extra fat on your body affects all of your organs, and in this case both Trisha and I wanted to be “worked up” as potential live liver donors to Wyatt).  I remember standing up at Wyatt’s funeral promising that Wyatt’s story would be heard and that he would not die in vain.  But to be credible and to really back up what I wanted to say, I had to conquer those demons and one of the first things I had to do was to take my health back into my own hands.

2011 and P90X

P90X DVDsFor the better part of three years, I have maintained a fairly healthy lifestyle.  The only real hiccup was at the end of 2010 during the holidays I gained about 20 pounds worth of weight.  So in early 2011, I had heard about this “P90X” thing and set my sights on doing it during the summer when my son was out of school.  But in the meantime, I altered my diet and decided I would start “training” for it by hitting the gym and doing various forms of exercise (spin class, Zumba, weights, and core training).  By the time I got my hands on the DVD’s, I was down about 30 pounds and in fairly good shape (I will cover the diet and nutrition side of things in a future post).

I remember the first day I started P90X and while I was encouraged that I was at least able to complete the workout, it was definitely much harder than anything I had been doing up until then.  I was only able to complete two chin-ups without using a chair for assistance.  The next day was even harder as I experienced P90X’s, “Plyometrics” workout which basically has you running, jumping, lunging and squatting for an hour.  By the end of the week, I was sore as hell but definitely eager for more (except for Yoga X, as inflexible as I am, Yoga is still a very serious challenge for me).

Week after week went by and before I knew it, I was increasing all my reps, my resistance (using heavier bands) and even keeping up with the guys on the DVD during the Plyo and other cardio workouts.  I was losing inches, gaining muscle tone and even though I was already at a very good weight for my size, I even dropped a few more pounds.

The Results

All-in-all, I was able to drop another 10 pounds, lose approximately 3 inches off my waist (first time since high school/college that I’ve worn a size 32 waist and even that is feeling a bit loose), increase my flexibility (although I still have a hard time with Yoga) and most important, made huge strength and cardio gains.  For instance, in my final pull-up based workout, I did 20 unassisted chin-ups (up from 2) and 30 push ups (up from 15).  In addition, before starting I used to train on an elliptical machine on the “Cardio” program.  Before P90X, I would set it to “Level 1” with a steady jog throughout.  A recent “extra” session at the gym  on the same machine had me going at one minute sprint intervals versus a jog while at a “Level 4”.  Between P90X and my continued Zumba workouts on Thursdays, I certainly saw a ton of great results.

P90X: Corey, Before and After

A Minor Disappointment

OK, was I expecting to come out looking like Tony Horton or better yet, Mark Wahlberg in his Marky Mark days?  Nah, my body has never responded with overwhelming visible muscle growth the way some guys do.  But I did plateau pretty heavily from a weight standpoint (I hit 170 about a month in and never went below 169) so I have to question the “muscle confusion” marketing aspect of the system which is supposed to help you “blast” through plateaus.  It’s especially curious since the workouts from week-to-week are not all THAT different, even between the three phases.

Final Thoughts

Overall, what a great experience this was!  I am so proud of myself for completing the full (over) 90 days worth of P90X and with the gains I’ve made, I find myself greedy for more which means that the only new clothes I’ll be buying are going to be equal to or maybe even a smaller size!  I think probably even more exciting than some of the superficial stuff is simply the gains to my confidence, my health, the spark in my marriage (bow-chicka-bow-wow!!) to what it meant to my kids who often watched or even participated, and to the inspiration I hope to bring others in encouraging to “Bring It” with P90X or any other health and exercise transition.

Tony Horton: P90X Founder

Tony Horton: P90X Founder

Oh, and I’d be remiss to not mention this.  I freakin’ love Tony Horton.  That guy cracks me up.  He reminds me of the nerdy kid who wasn’t all that funny when he was younger but beefed up later in life and because of the extra confidence thinks he’s funny now (but he’s still kinda not).  So there’s some entertainment value in P90X as well (lots of very quotable moments).  But the cool thing about Tony is, the guy has a heart of gold.  He wants people to be healthy and succeed at making a better life for themselves and you can see the passion he has for that in his series and in his motivational techniques.  P90X has sold so well because of Tony Horton (along with some great marketing behind it).

In the end, I am proud of this journey for not only everything I listed here, but ultimately, because I’m fulfilling the vow I made to myself and to my family after we lost Wyatt.  And I’m proud that in the process, I became a fan and disciple of Tony Horton and P90X!

–Corey

Resources:

Beachbody / P90X Website – http://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/p90x.do?t=p90x3b1