Additional Commentary: Things I’ve Learned
The thing that made P90x different was the variety. The important thing to note is you want the actual exercises to be varied. However, everything else leading up to it should be routine. That’s how I stayed focused. The diet, the times on when to eat, I had that down to a science, like clockwork. But the exercises themselves, the first six weeks kept me guessing on what to expect next. And that was crucial. I think from now on I will avoid the gym. In the past, that’s what I did. From high school to college, I’d consistently go 4-6 times a week. I’d chart my progress religiously, only to be stumped by the plateaus I’d get by the third week. I’ve got the Excel spreadsheets to prove it.
I remember the days that I threw up, felt nauseous, or passed out from exhaustion. I threw up and passed out on Day 01; the second round of pull ups did me in. I felt nauseous on Day 19, because I ate a bowl of cereal 30 minutes before the workout. I learned from then on to not eat anything before. I ended up taking a 20 minute nap in the middle of the session curled up in a fetal position. That somehow took care of the nausea.
I felt nauseous on Day 23. That was recovery week, and my first time doing Core Synergistics. Tony makes you do these stationary runs in push-up positions (regular style, also known in yoga as the plank position) while up and while down (military style push-up or chataranga position in yoga lingo).
In all my pull ups I’ve had to use the chair to assist me. Only in the last phase was I able to do the first 4-5 pull ups without the assistance of the chair, and then the remainder 4-5 with the chair. It wasn’t until the last week (Week 12) I was able to do pull ups (in the desired range of 8-12) without using the chair. As far as I can remember before P90X, doing pull ups was in the range of the impossible. The most I’d be able to do were 2. I’d cheat and do chin ups in the past so that I can say I could do more than 5. But we all know chin ups are way easier than pull ups.
I used to hate corn cob pull ups. Now it’s one of my favorites.
I took creatine the wrong time this whole time. Learn from my mistake. Take it immediately after the workout. Not before. There’s a lot more scientific papers out there that support the intake of creatine post workout. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to read them in time. One of the side effects of taking it before is experiencing crashes from the sugar rush (simple carbs are added to creatine for quick absorption into the bloodstream to reach your muscles). The other is getting gassy, which gets in the way when you’re moving a lot. It makes you want to throw up from the built up gasses. Both not good.
When I’ve pushed the workout towards the evening, I’ve noticed I get cranky during the day. It’s true with what they say about exercise junkies getting a high off the release of endorphins.
I’ve only had to skip 2 workout days unintentionally. The reason for both days was because of my shoulder injury. I was not a happy camper on both days.
A question that gets asked a lot is, “What do you do after the 90 days”?
From what I’ve read on message boards, most people go on for another round. Others move on to Insanity, Cross Fit or other interval training programs. It’s perfectly fine to stick with P90X though. Since it’s a modular system by design, you can mix and match the routines and go for a long time without having to worry about the plateau effect. Additionally, Beach Body has released P90X+ aka P90X Plus to supplement those who’ve finished P90X. If you thought P90X was extreme, the Plus turns it up another notch. At this point I’m not willing to shell out additional dough. So I’ll stick with P90X. Unless someone is willing to donate a copy to me.
If you’re happy with your current results after the first round, you can go on the Maintenance Routine, which basically cuts your workout to 4 days out of the week and shorten the resistance training from an hour to 30 minutes. Yoga will still run you 90 minutes (92 minutes to be exact).
Do set realistic goals however. If your body fat % is high, you may have to get additional cardio in. Six packs are inherently hard to get, and no amount of ab workouts will get you that six pack if you’re sporting your body fat % in the mid to high teens. It’s gotta drop to 12% or less. Mine started showing through at 12%, so I guess I’m one of those lucky ones. Some report having to drop to around 8% body fat for the six pack to show through.
So does it work? You betcha. I’m more than satisfied with the results.
One of the many reasons I wanted to do this was so I could improve my lower back issues that I suffered from a moving accident two years back. I can say with certainty that my back muscles are stronger, more durable after this.
Now that I’ve improved my strength, stamina and flexibility, I’m going to be hitting a second round of it to add some weight additional weight. I still need to learn how to do hand stands and eat tacos at the same time.
It’s a lifetime of change. I’ve learned a lot from this. I know the caloric difference between proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
- Understanding metabolism like you’ve never had before:
- For the super scientific explanation on metabolism:
- Files used during the program:
Frequently Asked Questions
How did you handle your shoulder injury?
I had to ease up on most of the shoulder routines. I also had plenty of hot packs and massages during the first week to alleviate the soreness. After two weeks, I was back up to around 90%. I still had to make a conscious effort to be careful when working the shoulders though.
How did you stay on track?
Grit, determination, and the support of friends and family. I made it known to everyone and anyone who would listen. I probably sounded like some fanatical zealot for P90X for the first 60 days.
Can you gain weight with P90X?
It definitely is possible. You would have to eat a lot with the proper food categories. If you really wanted to, you can go for two rounds of P90X. The first round you would modify the program and drop the cardio portions, and sticking to the Phase 3 of the Nutrition Plan. This would allow you to gain weight. Then on the second round, add in the cardio to trim your body fat for those muscles to break through.
Can women do P90X?
Definitely! If you’ve looked around the internet, there are a lot of successful P90X users who are women. The other concern women have is whether they’ll look too muscular or gain muscle weight. But the reality is, if you follow through with the standard program, it’s more difficult than not to gain any weight.
How does your typical day look like with P90X incorporated into your schedule?
- My typical morning routine is as follows:
- 15 minutes
- Wake up. Use the bathroom. Drink 2 glasses of water (16 ounces total).
- Prep protein shake.
- Get out of PJ’s and into workout clothes.
- 90-105 minutes
- Workout. Resistance training takes about 60 minutes + 20-30 minutes for Ab Ripper. Yoga days take the longest at 92 minutes.
- 15-30 minutes.
- Cook and eat breakfast. Get ready for the rest of the day (work, errands, fun, parties, etc.).
- From top to bottom, this takes me 3 hours tops. Maybe an extra 30 minutes if I check emails before working out. But I try to avoid that.
- Before you know it, you’re done. Time actually flies by pretty quickly within the first hours of waking up.
- The protein portion of my diet for the most part consists a lot of chicken, rarely beef and only once did I have pork. The rest, which is the silver lining to this whole thing to making sure I consumed enough protein, was attributable to the protein shakes. Each drink contains about 48 grams of fast acting whey protein. That’s the equivalent to a 6 ounce steak!
Is the P90x diet quite strict?
I would say to look at it more from a nutritional standpoint. Diet implies starving yourself, or some negative consequence. It’s this mindset that gets a lot of people stuck in a rut with their fitness goals.
Having said that, having a Nutritional Plan ensures your body is getting the right amounts of food at the right times. I’ve heard, read, and spoken to several people who’ve tried it and skipped the Nutritional Plan at first and complained about not seeing results. The moment they do however, the seeming magic of P90X seems to transform their bodies. This applied to me too!
But there is no magic to it. P90X is an extreme program, thus requiring the best nutrition to repair and rebuild that body of yours. The moment you stick to the Nutrition Guide, and pushing play every day, it really is a transformation!