Earlier this month I finished up the P90X exercise program. Despite being skeptical at first, because I thought the program had a body-building angle and a “skin deep” focus, I really enjoyed it on so many levels. The program involves weights, yoga, plyometrics, isometrics, cardio, and intervals. It’s a lot different than what I am used to. I can’t recall ever doing more chinup bar and core work than I did in this program, and I haven’t used the weights so infrequently, at least in the last few years. By the end I felt stronger, faster and more agile than I have in a long time.
A underlying philosophy of P90X is to confuse the muscles so that they cannot “learn” the exercise and plateau. As a result you will notice consistent changes in your performance as you progress through the program. Your body will also end up looking a bit like a boxer’s as a result of all the core work, not to mention the kicking and punching exercises.
Mix It Up
As someone who easily gets bored of my workout routine and is always looking to change things up, this kept me interested throughout all the three phases of the 13 week schedule. In fact because the goal is to confuse your body and muscles, it is fine to change up exercises here and there throwing in the odd weight workout (convenient if you are traveling and can’t get to a gym that has all the equipment you need).
Most of the routines are about an hour long and a lot of the exercises are challenging and just plain fun (see The First Three Weeks of P90X). Besides being fun, many of the exercises actually make you stronger for everyday activities like picking up boxes from the floor and putting them on shelves above your head. I love this and it was a big part of my enjoyment of the whole thing. Practical!
In addition to switching out a few exercises here and there, by the back half I was using a heavy hanging punching bag for the KenpoX kick-boxing workouts. I also did additional yoga and cardio workouts throughout the time I was doing the program, because I enjoy them too much to only do them once or twice a week. On average I was doing about two workouts a day.
If I have one complaint about P90X it is that there is more weight bearing upper body exercises than legs and I enjoy strength training as well as building endurance and jumping power.
Another thing I liked about the program is the leader of the workout sessions on the DVD, Tony Horton. He is pretty funny, and good at pushing participants to go to their failure points, but even more amazing is that he is in his mid forties, uber fit and strong as an ox. He would keep commenting about how you can sit of the couch and get old fast or stay active and be healthy at any age. This is good inspiration for the rest of us who are no spring chickens. I admire folks who work hard to be more fit and energetic than people half their age.
As with the pursuit of any goal, consistency is the key to being successful with this program. Once I became familiar with the exercises and routines, I found copies of the workouts on the Internet and loaded them onto my iphone so that i could do the routines at my gym by my office, during the day without the DVD’s. That made it easier to keep on schedule.
In the end I didn’t miss any days, but it took me a little longer to finish the program, because I lost track somewhere in the third phase and repeated 14 days of workouts by accident.
Shortly before finishing, I ordered P90Plus, which is the follow on program. I took one day off and started one week ago. While I recall P90X being tough at the start, I don’t recall it being nearly as tough as P90XPlus. So far it has been insane, but as Horton says in the videos “I hate, but I love it.” I really do. Stay tuned for more updates.