Saturday, April 10, 2010

P90X Final Thoughts

I'm finally done with the program and that means it's time for my final reflection of the past 3 months. I don't know how I did it, but I survived and I've lost several pounds. You'll find out the exact amount tomorrow and you'll also get to see a bunch of half naked pictures of me in my new body. In the meantime let me tell you everything I thought about the program and decide for yourself if you want to give P90X a try. I'll summarize with this: P90X is an excellent workout routine, BUT I feel that anyone can achieve my results with any sort of strict diet and exercise. In other words, you don't NEED it but it is a good program.

The Diet:
I definitely would not be where I am right now without diet and exercise. For me the diet is the worst part. I have literally no self control and I knew going into this that the only way I could maintain my diet was if I did not have any junk food around me. The first few weeks were hell on Earth. I was used to eating candy and snacks all day every day just prior to P90X and I went cold turkey on Day 1 to avoid all sugary goodness. It definitely worked out in the end.

There is no way anyone could achieve great results like here or in the infomercial without maintaining a great diet throughout the entire program. Sure you can indulge every once in a while but you have to give up all the bad things otherwise you will fail. You will still be in great shape from the exercise portion, but you will not look like you are if you don't diet.

I did not follow the prescribed P90X nutrition plan. I pretty much knew what I had to do. I had to eliminate carbs (most of my carbs anyways come from Reese's) and I had to eat more healthy. I started taking One-a-Day chewable vitamins. I bought a large portion of my food from Trader Joe's and local grocers like Sunflower Market. I ate lots of seafood and chicken as my primary protein sources. Occasionally I would eat Tofu or some Soy protein and very rarely would I eat red meat. For my carbs (because you have to get energy from somewhere) I would supplement my meat with vegetables. I seldom ate rice and potatoes. And I never ate dessert. NEVER. Because I knew I couldn't. I had to keep the flood gates closed!

My daily caloric intake was between 900-1200 calories. This is a bit extreme, but the foods I ate just weren't calorie dense. I ate around 5 small meals a day: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. My snacks were always low calorie, something like a banana or a small handful of cashews. I also never ate after 7pm. I realized eating late is a big problem of mine and if I wanted the best chance of success then it would have to be that way.

These rules that I chose to follow are general guidelines in the P90X nutrition plan, but they also had specific meals you should eat along with special shakes and supplements. All designed to get more money out of you. Now I'm not saying shakes and supplements are bad. In fact a lot of weight lifters and bodybuilders take these things. I even ingested a few protein shakes. I just never went with the P90X branded stuff. I lost a lot of weight, so it just goes to show you don't need everything they say you do.

The Workouts:
This is the other half of the P90X program. Diet or exercise, which one is more important? Truth is you need a good balance of both (and balance is key in P90X) if you are going to succeed to your goal. So to go along with a grueling diet plan you need to perform an equally grueling daily exercise plan. Yes daily!

There are 6 days of active exercise and 1 day of passive. The week breaks down as such: 3 days of lifting workouts, 1 day of plyometrics, 1 day of yoga, 1 day of cardio (Kenpo X which is their version of Tae Bo), and 1 day of stretching. All of it is extremely hard, but give great results. As an example, in the beginning I could only do a couple of pullups and pushups and now I can do over 20 of each multiple times. Of course, like the diet portion I modified.

I did all the workouts as prescribed except 2. I did Kenpo X twice (the first two weeks) and then never did it again. I always swapped it out for basketball. I felt I got a better workout from basketball and it was infinitely more fun. I HATED Kenpo X. If you don't enjoy doing a workout then it isn't worth doing. But don't confuse hatred with difficulty. The lifting workouts are extremely hard, but I knew they were a necessary evil. The Kenpo X was never necessary and I just felt like a tool doing it, even though no one was watching. I did the stretching exercise about half the time and opted for a day of rest the other half. Sometimes I would do parts of it other days depending on how I felt.

The stretch could have been my favorite part because I always felt so good afterward. I also loved the yoga. The first half of the routine is extremely hard but the second half is full of relaxing stretches and fun moves. It all combines into one great workout, and again I felt great afterward. I still do the yoga now.

Speaking of challenges, there is Plyo X the plyometrics routine. For those not in the know, plyometrics is jump training. Imagine jumping for an hour. That is insanely hard. There is no word in the English language that describes how you feel during Plyo X. It sucks, but it works. I've actually done harder plyo workouts, but because I was doing them on my own I could go at my own pace. Here you get 30sec rests every 10 min, which isn't nearly enough.

Once again I'd like to point out that I didn't always follow the book. Some weeks I had to skip a workout, other weeks I had to shift the workouts around to fit my schedule. At one point I went to San Francisco and couldn't work out at all. Thank goodness that was a rest week. That brings me to my next point, enjoy the rest weeks when they come. They come at just the right time to get your body rested and your mind rejuvenated. Just when you want to quit, you get to relax. Just not on your diet.

Final Thoughts:
So what do I have to say about all this? P90X is a great exercise program. Every workout has a slant towards cardio to burn as many calories as possible to provide the most fat loss. When you lift you are doing it rapid fire and you will sweat. It comes with a nutrition plan that you can follow as well. But under no circumstances should you ever think to yourself "I need P90X to lose weight." You don't. You just need to follow a strict regiment.

You need to be on a strict diet and you need to put aside the time to get at least 1 hour of intense active exercise. You don't have to run 8 miles a day, but you do need to improve over time. Whatever you choose to do, you need to get better at it. Only in the improvement will you see the results you want.

I would recommend P90X to those who want to experience a different workout. But if you don't workout in general you don't need P90X, you need to do something, anything!

The only thing I really have to complain about is Tony Horton himself. Those videos get really annoying really fast. Unfortunately I have about 15 hours of Tony Horton engrained in my head and memorized. The last month of the program I stopped bringing the videos with me to the gym and would just do the workouts on my own because I had them memorized. It saved me a lot of mental anguish. I think I view him as the typical douche. He makes the worst jokes and thinks he is hilarious. I wish one of the workout buddies would have told him off during the shoots because I wanted to. If you decide to try P90X do yourself a favor and learn the routines quickly because Tony will get on your last nerves.

So in short: the workouts are great, dieting sucks but is necessary, and Tony Horton is a tool... but his program works. Of course it only works if you are dead serious about it. You have to be because otherwise it will eat you alive. I wanted to quit so many times but thanks to this blog and "I'm Fat!' I persevered. If you have the backing of the public forum then you can too.

4 comments:

Julie said...

I love reading comments from P90X grads - feels like a family reunion. Tony's quirky antics can get on your nerves after the first few views of a workout. I just wanted to let everyone know that each workout has the option of working out with or without music and without or without prompts from the trainer. I jammed to Metallica and a 007 CD during some of the workouts. It really changed it up a bit. What's next for you? Have you thought about coaching? Julie

Dad said...

Anthony,

traveling with you during this P90X chapter has been fun. the results are impressive and your final thoughts were insightful. As Julie asked... What's next?

Outstanding.

Anonymous said...

awesome... I've been thinking about P90x for a while now and I think your results just convinced me to give it a try.

Julie said...

I love reading comments from P90X grads - feels like a family reunion. Tony's quirky antics can get on your nerves after the first few views of a workout. I just wanted to let everyone know that each workout has the option of working out with or without music and without or without prompts from the trainer. I jammed to Metallica and a 007 CD during some of the workouts. It really changed it up a bit. What's next for you? Have you thought about coaching? Julie

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