Our P90X Journey, Part 1

January 7, 2011

Once we started P90X a few of my friends asked me about it and how it works and so I thought I’d tell you all about it here.  I’m not going to go into extreme (get it?) detail, but I will give you a much closer look at the program than many of you may have wished for. :)  Today marks day 16 in our 90 day journey and so this is the first of six updates.  I’ll continue updating you on our progress as we go along every other week (so every two weeks) until we’re finished.

What is P90X?

The following information is taken directly off of the P90X website.  Warning: there are scantily clad men & women all over their website.

“The P90X workout is an extreme 90 day fitness program developed by workout guru Tony Horton and Beachbody. This intense home exercise program combines cardio workouts, weight and resistance training, yoga, plyometrics, and stretching routines to improve coordination, flexibility, and strength.

No workout program would be complete without a healthy and effective nutrition plan, and this system delivers. The P90X Nutrition Plan is a 3-phase eating program (Fat Shredder, Energy Booster, and Endurance Maximizer) that was specifically designed to work in tandem with the exercise routines. It provides the optimum combination of health food needed to satisfy the body’s increased energy requirements each step along the way.

So what makes the P90X exercise program better than every other system out there? Two words: Muscle Confusion. By mixing in an extensive variety of different workouts and routines into the program, P90X continually challenges the body’s muscles and literally forces them to grow. As a result, you’ll avoid the dreaded “workout plateau” and see better and faster results.

Last but not least, with P90X you can drop those expensive gym and fitness club memberships for good. P90X makes use of your body’s own weight along with the P90X Chin-Up Bar, dumbbells, and resistance bands to deliver extremely challenging and ultra-effective workouts from home.”

Does it work?

Well, I don’t know yet.  There are hundreds of testimonials on the website and photos of people who went from fairly fit but flabby to super ripped, so it seems as if it worked for them.  Part of what I hope to show you through this series is whether or not it works for us!

Why we each wanted to try P90X

Well, Tim just really likes working out (I’m not really sure what’s wrong with him–we’re looking into it) and I really want to lose this baby weight!  We’re both looking for very different results because we’re built very differently.  Tim is in really good health–he can eat whatever he wants and stays super thin, he’s pretty active and really strong.  Me: not so much.  :)

I think now is a good time to mention that P90X is NOT a program designed for weight loss.  I mean, I’m not sure how a person at my weight couldn’t lose a bunch of pounds doing this intense of a program, but you’re not supposed to lose 90 pounds in 90 days (that’s not healthy anyway).  My friend Alysia’s mom is a body builder and she says that you really shouldn’t lose more than 2 pounds a week or you’ll end up with flabby skin (like The Biggest Loser contestants on Finale night), which is not the look I’m going for.

So I guess Tim’s goal is to build muscle and mine is to just get in better shape while losing weight (which is possible, by the way) in a healthy way.

The Nutrition Plan

P90X is both a workout regimen AND a nutrition plan.  One is NOT more important than the other.  If you try to do the P90X workouts without paying attention to what you’re eating it will not go well for you.  In fact, it’s proven that when you’re working out as strenuously as this program forces you to you need MORE food than you probably want to eat to fuel your body–and this will actually help in losing weight.  I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true.  Please don’t get the program and do all the workouts while staying on your current pizza and hot dog diet. ;)

The Nutrition Plan is broken down into three phases designed to each last about a month depending on what your body needs.  The first phase is the Fat Shredder phase.  I will probably continue this phase longer than a month and Tim dropped this phase on day two because he just didn’t have any energy. The second phase is the Energy Booster phase, which Tim is currently in.  The last phase is the Endurance Maximizer phase, which Tim will probably move to during the last month and I may never get to.

The plan details three different ways to get your calories.  One of the ways I didn’t read about because it didn’t make much sense.  The two other approaches are a meal plan approach and a portion control approach.  If you choose the meal plan there are specific meals that you are to eat during each phase.  The Nutrition Plan book even has the recipes for these meals.  In the portion control approach (the one that we’ve chosen to do) you are simply told how many servings of each food group you are to have each day and then given many examples of what you could eat to satisfy those requirements.

The Workout Regimen

There are three different programs from which to choose: P90X Classic, Lean, & Doubles.  We’ve chosen to do the Classic program first.  I’m not going to go into detail about the workouts here, because I’ll be telling you every other week in my updates what types of workouts we’re doing.

Before You Start

Fitness Test: Before you decide to go get this program, take this test to see if you even should.  If you almost pass you’d probably be ok going ahead and doing P90X, but if you’re no where near the minimum requirements, then start with something a bit easier until you can pass the test.  Before P90X (and maybe after) I really liked Denise Austin’s Power Zone workouts.

Buy the stuff you need: There is a LOT of extra stuff that you could buy to do P90X.  So far all we’ve needed is:

  • Weights or bands (I use 8s & 10s and Tim uses 15s, 20s, & 30s)
  • a Chin-up bar

Some things that we have that we’re really glad we have but don’t necessarily need:

  • Yoga mats
  • the P90X Recovery Formula (for after a work out)
  • Protein Bars (we get Clif Builder’s Bar which is actually a tiny bit better for you than the P90X bars)

Something we wish we had but don’t have:

  • Yoga blocks (because Yoga is hard.  Who knew!?)

Where to buy P90X & the other stuff you want

You could buy the program and all the weights and bands and bars and drinks from the P90X website.

OR you could buy the bars and chin-up bar and the weights and the bands and the yoga mats at Wal*Mart or Academy or where ever and the actual program from Ebay or Craig’s List.  We got ours from Craig’s List for $150 and it included all the CDs, the Nutrition Plan book, and Workout book, the chin-up bar, three different bands, and a tub of the recovery drink.  I’m sure you could find everything you need for MUCH cheaper than the three easy payments of $39.95 plus shipping that Beachbody charges for brand new stuff (and that only includes the CDs, the Nutrition Plan book, and the Workout book).

Alright, enough information!  The rest of this post is just about our experience and our journey with P90X.  And just to be clear, all future P90X posts will be just about our journey as well–no more information! :)

Our P90X Journey, Part 1

The way we look: I haven’t noticed too much change in the way I look.  I weigh 3 pounds less than I did when we started, but 3 pounds is really difficult to notice. :)  I could maybe talk myself into noticing that my arms are a bit more defined than they were on day one, but it could just be wishful thinking.  I really do, however, think I can tell a difference in Tim’s arms and back.

The way we feel: I feel great!  I’m not super tired or super sore.  I mean, I feel like I worked out each day, but it’s not debilitating anymore.  Also, I’m so much more flexible than I was on day one.  I don’t think I could get anywhere near touching the floor while bending over.  Now I can put my hands flat on the floor.  It feels great!

Nutrition: Right now I’m on the Fat Shredder plan.  That means I’m supposed to be eating (according to my current weight)  7 servings of protein, 3 servings of dairy, 1 fruit, 4 veggies, 1 fat, 1 carb, two healthy snacks, the protein bar, and the recovery drink every day. That is a LOT of protein.  But because I’m working so hard everyday I need that much fuel for my body.  The reason I’m getting so few carbs is to shred that fat!  Don’t get me wrong, it is hard to eat that much protein every day.  And I won’t lie, I’m probably only getting on average 6 servings of protein, 3 veggies, and I rarely eat my snacks.  It’s just really hard to eat so much!  I do need to get better at this, because it really is true that if you want to lose weight while working out so intensely, you’ve gotta eat!

Tim is on the Energy Booster plan.  That means he eats (according to his weight) 4 servings of protein, 2 servings of dairy, 1 fruit, 2 veggies, 1 fat, 2 carbs, one healthy snack, the protein bar, and the recovery drink every day. I think this is a good amount of food for him and he usually eats all of it and feels great.

Current Workout Regimen: Right know we’re in phase 1 of the workout program.  This is our schedule for these first 3 weeks:

  • Thursdays: Chest & Back (mostly push-ups & pull-ups), Ab Ripper X (16 minutes of fast-paced ab flattening exercises)
  • Fridays: Plyometrics (cardio workout with a lot of jumping!)
  • Saturdays: Shoulders & Arms (pressing, curling, and fly movements with weights or bands), Ab Ripper X
  • Sundays: Yoga X (not your grandma’s yoga class!  This is the hardest of them all)
  • Mondays: Legs & Back (squats, lunges, and pull-ups), Ab Ripper X
  • Tuesdays: Kenpo X (cardio-intense punching, blocking, and kicking)
  • Wednesdays: X Stretch (the most fabulous hour of the week–an hour of stretching out everything that hurts!)

Unfortunately, I’m still not able to do everything in all of these workouts.  I can’t do a pull-up so I use bands wrapped around the chin-up bar instead.  There are two moves in Ab Ripper X that I just cannot do, I have to take a couple more breathers than the machines on the DVDs do during Plyometrics and Yoga.  Also, we only do 30 minutes of the Yoga (although each time we’re adding more minutes until we can do all 92 minutes–yea, it’s that tough!), and I feel like a complete nerd punching during Kenpo X.

In General: So far we are both still very interested in P90X.  It’s the most fun I’ve ever had working out (which isn’t saying that it’s super fun at all, by the way) because it’s always changing.  In addition, even though I am still not able to do everything in every workout session, every day I’m able to do more and more, which is exciting.

But I still love it and I’m super excited to see what it does for me.  It’s also really fun to do this with Tim.  If it weren’t for him doing this with me I’m pretty sure I would have just given up by now.  So, if you plan on starting, and you’re anything like me, try to get yourself a buddy! :)

I hope this ridiculously long post was helpful for you if you wanted to know more about the program.  Feel free to ask me any more questions you may have and I’ll try to answer them.  Hopefully through this series if I don’t inspire you to do P90X I’ll at least inspire you to get off your booty and get in shape! :)

Part 2 of our P90X journey


2 Responses to “Our P90X Journey, Part 1”

  1. Here’s a little bit of extra information. This might be over-kill, but I wanted to help those of you who are actually doing P90X figure out the Nutrition Plan:

    Basically there are two things you need to decide or figure out:

    1. Which Nutrition Level are you at? (page 5)?
    Figure it out using this equation:

    (your weight) x 10 = (Your RMR—resing metabolic rate)
    (your RMR) x 20% = ( your daily activity burn)
    Now, if you figure maybe you do LESS normal activity than most people, then multiply your RMR by less that 20% (I did mine by 10%)
    (your RMR) + (your daily activity burn) + 600 (the number of additional calories you burn if you’re doing P90X workouts every day) = YOUR ENERGY AMOUNT

    If your energy amount is between 1,800 and 2,399, you’re in Level 1 and need 1,800 calories a day
    If your energy amount is between 2,400 and 2,999, you’re in Level 2 and need 2,400 calories a day
    If your energy amount is 3,000 or higher, you’re in Level 3 and need 3,000 calories a day

    When you figure out what you’re going to eat each day, pay attention to these calorie amounts—you NEED this many calories or your body will not be able to function properly. On the flip side, don’t each too much or it’ll be pointless!

    2. Which type of program do you want to go with?

    The first type of program is a meal plan program. The Nutrition Plan book walks you through EXACTLY what you need to be eating (page 20 for phase 1*, 60 for phase 2*, & 84 for phase 3*)–just make sure you’re looking at the right Nutrition Level (upper right hand corner of each page). The recipes for each of those meals are in the following pages.

    The second type of program is a portion approach. The Nutrition Plan book tells you how many of each food group you need to be eating and then gives you suggestions of foods that satisfy those requirements (page 15, 55, &79)–again, make sure you’re looking at the correct Nutrition Level. Once you find how many servings of each food group you should be eating each day, turn the page and they give you lists of different types of food and how much of each food you should be eating for a serving. Just don’t forget to pay attention to the calories!

    The third type of program is a quick options approach (page 101). They give you frozen food options, quick-at-home options, and fast food options. However, I can’t imagine it’s good for you to actually DO the quick options approach for every meal for the whole 90 days!

    *The phases in the Nutrition Plan correspond with the workout phases. You can do phase 1 (Fat Shredder) the first month, phase 2 (Energy Booster) the second month, and phase 3 (Endurance Maximizer) the third month, or you can make them work for you. For instance, again, since I have so much extra weight, I’ll probably do the Fat Shredder phase (phase 1) for longer than a month, but Tim has no extra fat and was falling asleep at work on the Fat Shredder, so he switched to the Energy Booster phase (phase 2) on the second day!

    FINALLY, Just a tip: we eat virtually the same thing every day. It just makes it easier and cheaper. Also, we get enough variety by the places we go (church, small group, date nights, family dinners, etc.) that it’s ok that we eat the same thing every day. Also, it’s just for 90 days, and we figure if we’re gonna do it, then let’s do it right!

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