Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bringing It Half Way

One morning many months ago I turned on the TV while getting ready for work and caught part of an infomercial for a workout program called P90X. I found it totally fascinating and immediately wanted to try it out. Since Chad and I had never really exercised together, I found it especially interesting and intriguing because it was a workout that he and I could both use. I suggested that we should buy it, but Chad was concerned that it would be too difficult for me because of my back trouble. Since my experience has been that nothing seems to make my back significantly worse or significantly better, I still wanted to give it a try.

A few months later, I found out that our friends Lindsay and Bill had purchased the P90X program and were really liking it. They found it to be extremely challenging, which meant that they were seeing great results from all the hard work. Since Chad had been fairly inconsistent with his workouts in the last few (or fifteen) years, he started thinking that maybe P90X would be a good way to get him back into the habit of exercising regularly. Plus, because he started golfing more frequently in the last year, he was excited about the prospect of building some strength that would help him hit the ball farther--especially after seeing how far Bill can hit it!

After getting the personal recommendation from Bill and Lindsay, we did some additional research for ourselves on the Internets, and read nothing but good things about the program. Every review or comment or blog about P90X said it was a major challenge that resulted in major changes. Chad was finally convinced! However, just as we were getting ready to buy it, we received the whole 13 disc package as a gift from Bill and Lindsay! What great friends they are!

We started the workout program immediately upon bringing it home, after going out to get a few new sets of dumbbells, some yoga blocks and some push-up bars. A few weeks later we bought a pull-up bar as well, because we felt like doing weights on our Crossbow just wasn't a perfect substitution for actual pull-ups and chin-ups, but overall there really wasn't a ton of equipment to buy. The program's creator, Tony Horton, manages to put together a crazy hard and crazy effective set of workouts using just some very basic exercise gear.

Now let me just say that prior to starting P90X I was already exercising regularly. I was doing about 30 minutes of cardio or Wii yoga or Wii strength exercises approximately 4 times a week, plus walking the dogs just over a mile about 5 times a week. So I wasn't a complete slacker. However, during the first week of this program, I was SO SORE I could barely move. I mean really, really sore. Like the most sore I've been in my entire life. It wasn't just me either--Chad was so sore he literally cried out in pain in the middle of the night when he could barely roll over. I'm not even kidding. This workout program is so incredibly hard. Chad and I walked around like we were crippled the entire first week.

The awesome thing about the workouts is that every day (6 days a week) is completely different--weight training for different muscle groups (legs/back, chest/shoulders/tris, etc.) or different activities like yoga, plyometrics, kenpo karate and core synergistics. There's such variation you don't ever get bored, and there's such variation you manage to work every muscle in your body during the course of a week! Every few weeks the lineup changes too, so you get introduced to a new combination of workouts just when you start getting used to the pattern.

The tough thing about the workouts is that every day is 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, which means that I've been getting up at 5:30 in the morning every day to get my workout in before work. Five-thirty is wicked early--especially for those of us who rarely go to bed before 11 and never sleep solidly through the night! Chad works out after work, so it's also a bummer that we have less time together making dinner and walking the dogs. This working out thing is a big time commitment!

The other bad thing about the program is that after working out so hard for an hour each day I'm flipping famished all day long! Chad and I have had to stock the house with very healthy foods so when we're snacking and eating bigger portions we're at least stuffing our faces with good for us stuff! We've been eating a lot healthier as a result!

So as of today, I'm exactly half way through the 90 day program. While I can't say that I've lost any weight (I've actually gained a few pounds--I'm assuming of muscle mass), I can say that I'm significantly stronger than I was when I started 6 weeks ago. I can do tons more push ups, do lots more reps with heavier weights, and do yoga poses that I couldn't do at all when I started. I can do every one of the ab exercises, do wall squats for a full 90 seconds, and I can do several pull ups on my own (at least from a standing position if not from a hanging position). It's actually quite amazing how much more I'm able to "bring it" (Tony's motto) each week! Chad feels the same way--he's gained several pounds of muscle and has gained lots of definition in his chest and biceps. You definitely can't argue with the results.

Now--if only my jeans would start fitting better. :/


Jen said...

That exercise program sounds intriguing. You should be in sales :)

cw said...

The part about me crying like a wuss is (unfortunately) very true.