Friday, June 8, 2012

My P90X Progress Report

Hi everyone,

I finished P90X last Saturday. It was a bittersweet experience: while I love every single minute of it, I was sad that it was over. Well, at least this round because I want to repeat P90X again after a month. It has been a wonderful experience to me and I would like to write a little bit about it with hope to entice some of you to join me in the future.

First off, here's a video that I compiled. I didn't intend to start P90X back in March and it was until day 3 that I realized I could do it. Hence, the first clip started from there. Then, I recorded my progresses at days 30,60, and 90 like normal people would do.

Phase 1: The first 4 weeks

As I mentioned earlier, I had no intentions to start P90X in March. But after having repeating knee injuries from doing Hip Hop Abs level 2, which is a dance workout, I decided it was time to switch. I did X-Stretch, Yoga-X, and Cardio-X before and while they were difficult, I could do them. That gave me confidence to start at the first place.

I chose the Lean program as I have fat to lose. Also, since I already had knee injuries, I did not want to do any vertical plyometrics (jump training.) The lean program replaces Plyo-X with Cardio-X and has 1 less weight lifting workout. I thought I was fine. And then I did the first workout, which was Core Synergistic.

The first week of P90X was tough! Every night, I went to bed with soreness at different body parts. There were nights that I applied Deep Heat and cried, wondering why I pushed myself into this. But then, the next day came and I found myself looking forward to working out again.

When I started P90X, I could only do 2 knee push-ups and I planked for 2 minutes at a time (I think!) Lucky me, the people at Fitocracy cheered me on along the way and I recorded my progress there. That helped tremendously!

Phase 2: weeks 5-8

While phase 1 happened really fast, phase 2 felt like a drag. The only difference between these two phases was 1 workout: they replaced Back and Biceps with Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps. The rest were the same. I started developing some deep hatred toward Cardio-X and Core Synergistic and came very close to nixing Yoga-X a couple of times.

Luckily, Coach John Prause tweeted something interesting that made me realize my boredom had to do more with the lack of diversity in this phase. I took a couple of days off during the second week of this phase and finished the whole thing in stride.

Phase 3: the last 5 weeks

Of all the phases, phase 3 was the toughest. However, I had the most fun here. The workouts were switched every week and the weight-lifting ones concentrated on the upper body. If you watched the video clip closely, you probably noticed how much better-looking my arms and shoulders looked at day 90.

This phase is the one where I've heard a lot of complaints about injuries. By the end, I felt it in my knees, too. But thankfully, throughout the 90 days I did P90X, I didn't have any injuries except for a week that my shoulders hurt like mad.

While I was really happy during phase 3, I could not bring myself to work out more than 4 times a week. It was really tough and I felt like I was burning on empty sometimes. That usually happened after cardio days as I felt fine after lift days. I guess at this point, my preference of cardio exercises finally switched to weight lifting for good.

While I didn't lose a ton of weight and went from size 10 to size 2, I did gain a lot of muscles. Since I don't have access to the InBody measurer anymore, I really can't tell how high my fat percentage is. However, from pictures, my gauge is I'm in the 25 percentile. On top of that, I can do a lot more things than I could. One of them is plough. I saw this pose before but could never imagine myself doing it. Now, I can.

A few things I would like to point out:

  • I didn't use the pull-up bar, although I wanted to: we live in a new house and I work out in the guess bedroom. Installing a pull-up bar there may look tacky. I used the band as a replacement for the pull-up bar and it worked just fine.
  • The next time I do P90X, I am going to get me a pair of cross-training shoes: the pair I am wearing is running shoes from New Balance. While it has lots of cushions, its lateral movements were not that good and my feet tend to curl inward. Cross-training shoes are designed for a variety of gym activities from running to walking to weight lifting and cardio exercises. Therefore, you can move anywhere you want with great stability.
  • Although you don't need to know how to do push-ups, at least try to do a couple of them on your knees before you begin P90X. This work out program consists of so many types of push-ups that after I finish, I do not wish to know any new variety of this exercise at all!
  • Yes, you need to know some yoga basics. Tony Horton and gang will not hold your hands and guide you through the ABCs of yoga.
  • Yes, you need to know some basics about weight lifting, too, although this is easier to catch up than yoga.
  • Kempo is fun! In fact, this is the best DVD in the set in my opinion.
About Tony Horton as an instructor:

He is great but he's annoying sometimes. Tony talks a lot and except for Yoga-X, he doesn't do full workouts with the students. This kinda gives me a deeper level of respect to Shaun-T, who sweats with you during his workouts.

I guess that's all I have to say for P90X. Starting at the beginning of July, I am going to do it again but with the Classic program. If you have any questions about P90X, please let me know. I will do my best to answer them. Also, if you want an invitation to Fitocracy, I have a few. Just email me and I'll send it to you.

Take care and bring it,
Dao xoxo

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