Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Commending Fitness Via Suffering Via P90X

In past posts I have commended exercise and shared a little about its benefits. Now I commend it via a particular program, because I am under the impression that most of us need coaching and training and encouragement when it comes to this realm. Many possess little useful information on how our bodies work and what our bodies need. And it's quite normal to struggle to maintain a regimen without help. Let's face it, discipline does not come naturally to us, and even the most disciplined among us is prone to drift from even long embraced good habits. All of this leads me to commend Tony Horton's P90X, and its affiliate programs, found at

I found Horton himself to be a pleasant, realistic, and encouraging fellow. He seems obsessed with fitness, as one might imagine. But he doesn't appear to be under the impression that everyone ought to be just like him. He also offers modifications regarding the exercise moves thereby accommodating various fitness levels. In short, he understands the struggle to be fit and does what he can to help. This includes not only the exercise program, but an eating guide and all the hands-on scheduling tools that are useful when taking on a new routine.

And now, as a P90X grad, I offer these additional comments:

1. The program is designed for folks who are already fit to become even more fit, or extremely fit, which is the reason for the "X" in P90X. Having said that, I have heard folks who were not remotely fit say they gained much from the program. This is understandable. If a person is willing to work, suffer, and sacrifice, then he/she can get into good shape by this program even if in the beginning he/she struggles mightily. It should be said though that the Beach Body company offers less intense programs for weight loss and fitness.
2. This program is difficult. I thought I had strong and fit legs, until I engaged in P90X Plyometrics. And over a lifetime of intense exercise, I have never been sore like the Legs & Back Workout made me sore. Related to this, I noticed during the 90 days that I was at least a little sore almost every day. All this to say that if you are considering this program, take the "X" seriously. In speaking with someone who had begun the program and quit, his reason for stopping was that "the workouts are too long". Well, the program does advertise as "extreme". But actually, most of the workouts are under an hour. And that includes the warm-up and stretch before each session, and the cool-down at the end. That's really not very long, especially when you consider how much time it takes to drive to the gym, exercise, and then drive home.
3. This is not like your gym workout. At the gym, if you are working biceps, for example, it is normal to engage in 5 or 6 exercises (with multiple sets), but waste time in between those sets, and waste more time moving from apparatus to apparatus. But with P90X there is zero wasted time, and many more sets with many more reps. Many of the moves in the program were previously unknown to me. One of the benefits of the program is its pace. It keeps you moving, so that every workout is to some degree about burning fat, not just building muscle.
4. It works. As Tony says, keep showing up and keep pushing play. 

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