I love to workout and always have, which is why I stay active five to six days a week doing a challenging workout of some kind.
While it varies from week to week between running and weight lifting, I just enjoy the sheer act of exercise. So when my friend recently told me she was planning to do P90X at her house, I jumped on the chance to give it a try.
P90X is a three-phase, 90-day fitness program that promises to transform your body into a lean and ripped muscle machine in the comfort of your own home. It requires minimal equipment – dumbbells, a pull up bar and/or resistance bands – and includes 12 DVDs that are to be completed in a certain sequence in each phase of the program.
The workouts range from upper body to lower body to yoga and abs, to ensure you’re focusing on a different area of the body each day.
Tony Horton, the creator of the program, is a stern yet encouraging leader throughout the workout. I never once felt discouraged or that I wasn’t giving enough – he only pushes each person to their individual limit.
Last night my friend and I completed the chest and back workout that was approximately one hour including a warm up and cool down. I didn’t know what to expect other than I’d heard from several very fit people that it was a challenging workout.
After the warm up led by Tony and his three assistants – two male and one female – we jumped right into chest and back exercises that I can explain in no other way than extremely difficult and no frills. The idea was to do as many reps of each movement as you could within a set time period, with about a 30-60 second break in between moves.
We rotated between varied pull up and push up motions, and since I’m not strong enough to complete pull ups without assistance, I opted for the resistance band modification which required me to sit down on the floor and pull down to simulate an actual pull up. While this may sound like an easier modification, I don’t know that it was as I’m certainly feeling the soreness today.
Some of the push-ups included closed-grip or diamond, military style, decline, wide stance and traditional. Within each 45-60 second time period, I was able to complete between 15-25 reps depending on the move, with almost half on my knees.
The pull-ups included several variations that I’d never tried before, such as wide grip and overhand. And some of the other moves included modified ‘flys’ and a move Tony referred to as ‘the lawnmower.’
We completed one cycle of the workouts and then did them all through a second time. And by the end, I felt very fatigued and ‘beefy.’ I think I now understand the term ‘muscle pump’ because my arms felt as bulked up Tony Horton’s looked. Needless to say, I was feeling the burn.
The only draw back I’ll note from the DVD was that it wasn’t really a cardio workout for me, and I also think I pulled a nerve in my back because I’m limping around today. But there’s very much my fault for trying to do more reps than I could with proper form.
Overall, I was very impressed with my first P90X experience and would gladly go through the workouts if I was willing to dish out the money to pay them for myself. However, at this time I think I’ll stick to my running and lifting routine to save a few bucks. Even though I won’t have Tony there pushing me along, I now understand the ‘P90X’ mentality which is to push yourself harder than your mind thinks you can – otherwise you won’t see results.
photos by Rebecca Nuss