January 25th, 2009
And so it ends, for now. Twelve weeks after starting my first P90X workout, I can say that I’m a changed person. P90X is not your momma’s workout and it doesn’t get any easier from week to week — at least if you’re doing it right it doesn’t. So, how changed am I? Let’s have a look.
In the beginning
Before starting this workout I took some body measurements — I’m not a fan of weighing myself and haven’t owned a scale in years. This is how it broke down:
- Total body fat %: 13.88%
- Chest: 37?
- Waist: 34.5?
- Hips: 35.25?
- Left thigh: 20.25?
- Right thigh: 20.25?
- Left arm: 11?
- Right arm: 11.25?
Not too bad considering I have had quite the on again, off again relationship with exercise. I also took some before photos to see just how much my body has changed (patience, they’re coming).
In the end
Now, after 12 weeks of plyometrics, yoga, pushups, pull ups, extensions, raises, lawnmowers, and various other exercises, my measurements are:
- Total body fat %: 8%
- Chest: 38?
- Waist: 32?
- Hips: 34?
- Left thigh: 19.5?
- Right thigh: 19.75?
- Left arm: 11?
- Right arm: 11.5?
Alright, those numbers are great on their own but how about a comparison:
- Total body fat: 5% lost
- Chest: 1? gained
- Waist: 2.5? lost
- Hips: 1.25? lost
- Left thigh: 0.75? lost
- Right thigh: 0.5? lost
- Left arm: No change
- Right arm: 0.25? gained
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for, the pictures:
Always room for improvement
As committed as I was to giving this my full effort, there were a few areas I can improve on. The first and most important one being food. Next time going through the program this will be one of the top areas I focus on. Your body needs the right fuel to run properly and mine wasn’t getting it.
I also took it easy on the back exercises a little longer than I should have. Pull ups have always been very, very difficult for me so I stuck with the exercise bands instead of doing assisted pull ups from the beginning. There’s a reason pull ups are so prevalent in P90X — they work.
When I look at the numbers, I remember expecting something different… possibly bigger changes in my chest, arms, and legs. Instead there was a decrease. I also thought I’d lose more around my waist. It’s not all bad though; the 5% drop in body fat is amazing.
I’m pretty sure the big change in body fat is what made me think my chest, arms, and legs got bigger while my waist got smaller. Getting rid of all that fat just leaves toned muscle. While the measurements may not have changed much, my muscle mass has certainly increased.
A lot of people thought I was crazy when I told them I was trying P90X. My question to them now is:
How crazy am I for wanting to do it again?
And as a follow-up, is it even more insane for me to do “doubles” this time around? The answer is probably going to be “yes” in both cases but I have no problem with that.
Before starting again, I do want a bit of a break in order to set myself up with a nice routine of eating properly. This post is a little late and comes a week after my last workout day — which takes care of one break week. February 2nd seems like a good day to start again. I’ll shoot for that.
January 1st, 2009
Time to get right back into the mix. Recovery week is over and it’s the holidays. Not necessarily a good combination.
As I predicted eating was definitely touch and go over the holiday. Partly because I love my gran’s cooking but mostly because my willpower wasn’t exactly where it should have been. I’d like to see if you can resist my mom and gran ganging up on you with chocolate, turkey, buns, and various other desserts and treats. Diet was really a negative the last little while.
It was really great to be doing different exercises again and mixing up the muscle groups that were being worked each day. Progress in my chest, arm, and shoulder strength seems to be getting significantly better and it’s more noticeable now than it has been the past two months.
Where I’m not seeing quite as much improvement is in my back strength — mostly with pull ups. I’m not saying there is no improvement, it just seems like I’m not pushing myself as hard as I should be. This will change in the next couple weeks.
Yoga is becoming much easier as well. The great majority of it at least. The warrior three sequence gets me every single time. My goal was to be able to make it through yoga x with no breaks by the end of three months. That’s still a goal.
Throughout the past two and a half months I’ve been able to keep very consistent with my workouts. Always working out in the morning. If I missed a workout in the morning I’d do it at night as soon as I could. To this point I’d only missed two workouts due to illness.
Christmas is a different creature though. I took Christmas (Thursday) off this year and skipped that day’s workout. To make up for it I did Christmas day’s workout the day after, on Friday. The rest of the week didn’t work out so well. The day after catching up (Saturday) was a travel day and I was bagged, so I skipped that day’s workout as well. And nobody likes to workout on Sunday right?
As I write this I’m midway through week 10. That means there’s only two and a half weeks left. My goals for the final couple weeks are:
- Push myself as hard as possible with pull ups
- Be more consistent in eating the right foods
- Finish strong
Simple goals but important nonetheless.
December 19th, 2008
And so ends another two weeks on P90X. I have to be honest, these last couple weeks have been tough. Not only because I’ve been striving to push myself further, but mostly because my body is starting to really feel worn down. I’m not sure if it’s the exercise catching up with me or the change in seasons.
Even during the recovery phase I’m currently in it’s getting tough to force myself into it. For the second time since starting I actually put off a morning workout and almost didn’t do it that night. Luckily my ironclad willpower got the best of me. It really would have sucked if I didn’t get that yoga workout done.
Today I woke up a little more upbeat though. So for now I’m going to blame it on the rain. Yeah. Yeah. (ok, that was really bad but at least it’s true) Looking forward to the last phase of this run since I get to alternate between workouts each week instead of doing three weeks of the same thing.
Talk about the progress already
Progress is continuing nicely as well. I’m feeling stronger and seeing my body change quite a bit. I’m excited to put together the comparison pictures after this weekend.
Unfortunately I’ve still been neglecting the Sunday stretching. I always have the intention of doing it but then I get distracted working on pet projects or catching up on TV/movies. I’m paying the price though. Stretching is important and as much as I’m seeing improvement in each workout, I’m also noticing a lot more stiffness in my muscles — which hampers my improvement. I need renewed vigor to keep up with the stretching and improving my flexibility.
Balance and strength are coming along nicely though. I can get through basically all of the yoga workout, with the exception of the warrior three sequence — it’s a killer. I could even do crane for at least half of the time Tony does. Sure, it only equates to about 30 seconds but lets see you do it.
Push ups and pull ups are getting easier. Well, the first 30 or 40 push ups and the first 20 or so pull ups are. Doing back and biceps on the same day, followed by legs and back two days later, seems to have weakened my pull up strength. At least right now. I’m curious to see how it will be when I get back into a muscle building phase next week.
Ugh. I do my best to continue eating healthy but sometimes I’m a sucker for a treat. I probably should have read the P90X food guide before I started but at least I’ve thumbed through it. Mostly.
In all honesty I should have written down notes and printed out some of the recipes so I could just buy and eat the proper foods. I’ll add that to my checklist for the next run through.
The end is nearing. I have a three day stint visiting my parents and a launch to get through but I’m going to give it my all. Food will be touch and go given the season but I’ll do my best and at least confine myself to having small meals instead of pigging out.
I’ll also do my best to get some progress pics up this weekend and some updated body measurements.
December 2nd, 2008
And so ends another fabulous week of working my ass off. Recovery week is definitely over and my body is feeling it. Sure, skipping the last couple days of recovery week didn’t help keep my body prepared but still, there’s no easing back into any workouts on P90X.
This was the start of a new phase in the grand plan laid out for me. So now I get to figure out and get used to a whole new set of exercises. Good thing knee push ups are acceptable because after a point that is all I was able to do. Starting off the week blasting my chest, shoulders, and triceps was a nice wake up call.
Oh my god, and plyometrics is worse than I remembered, in a good way of course. There was a lot of huffing and puffing going on. I had to stop early a couple times but I stuck with it as best I could.
After picking up the chin up bar, this week was the first time I got to put it through it’s paces. Back and bicep day was the first to put me in that situation. I’m glad I picked it up because it has proven to be a major challenge.
My balance has at least kept up to some degree. Yoga was still very challenging this week but my balance has improved quite a bit. Still made me sweat like a pig too.
At the beginning I thought it was cruel putting three ab workouts in a row — despite Tony saying abs shouldn’t be worked two days in a row, pfffff. After doing legs and back followed by abs I still think it’s cruel and unusual punishment. I’ll be excited when the ol’ six pack finally makes an appearance though.
Despite my best intentions I skipped the Sunday stretching again. I’m really starting to kick myself for doing this every week. I even thought I’d make it up by stretching Monday night but that didn’t happen either. Fingers crossed I’ll follow through on my promise this week.
The changes my body is going through are starting to show even more now. Every day I’m amazed at just how the changes are happening. This is by far the best workout plan I’ve been on in years. Imagine what I could do if I actually follow the meal plan next time I go through the program.
November 23rd, 2008
Finally the first recovery period has come and boy is it a relief. Well, sort of. Even though it’s called a recovery week the only difference between this week and any other week is the lack of muscle building exercise. In its place it’s business as usual with cardio each day. And, if you recall, the yoga workouts are quite the ass-kickers.
The purpose of the recovery periods is give your body a rest and let the muscles build. A couple positives of the P90X recovery weeks is the multiple times you get to do stretching, which I’ve missed the last couple of weeks. I’m big fan of stretching because of it’s importance to overall health.
As I’ve stated — and will keep saying — the yoga part of P90X is a killer. For someone that has had great balance and flexibility for most of his life I’m constantly surprised at just how much of that I’ve lost over the past few years. Recovery week is an opportunity to improve that by offering it up as two of the workouts this week.
At the end of the week I ran into a little hiccup, late Thursday night/Friday morning I experienced intense stomach pain. Three days later I’m still working it out but it’s been a bit of hinderance in my being able to finish off the week’s workouts.
There’s not much else to say about this week. Everything has been going great to this point, with that one exception. Improvements in my strength, balance, flexibility, and appearance are constantly happening. I’m excited. Progress pics are due this weekend but I’m still undecided as to when I’ll take them (you know, the whole bloated, icky stomach thing). I’ll take them if I’m feeling better later.