Monday, May 12, 2014
Welp. Here I am. 90 days since my last blog post after promising I would check in. Whoops. For those of you who care, I'm sorry about that. I've learned that planning a wedding is pretty time consuming after all. It's not necessarily the planning that can be the most time consuming. It's the events that surround it; the extra hours spent on the internet researching stuff like the most comfy heels to wear on your wedding day; the family drama that get's conjured up...Things that take energy that drained me unknowingly so that when the day was over, instead of blogging, I watched an extra episode of Mad Men or just hit they hay early. I will also say that this winter, as you all know, was the worst in the history of time. Some days it was just so draining to traverse New York City, there was energy for nothing else.
So here I am today after a long winter, a long 90 days, and 33 days before my wedding, ready to tell you about my P90x3 journey!
I started P90x3 because my former University of Arizona college roommate, Rosi Reeves, Beachbody Coach, fitness blogger, and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, was posting about forming a P90x3 challenge group on Facebook on the regular around the holidays. I was looking for something new, something to do in my apartment (no gym required--my favorite way to workout), and something that would require minimal time but maximal effort. Because of P90x's stellar reputation, I thought it would be a great challenge. I also wanted to do the research on P90x3 by doing it myself for my clients and anyone reading this blog to let you know what I thought of this program. I'm not usually into workout programs like this (I'll go into why later) and wanted to give you my thoughts as a fitness professional. So off I went. I bought the package and at the end of January, I began.
P90x has 3 different programs to follow: Classic, Lean, and Mass. I started with Lean because I want to be lean. Done, right? But after 3 weeks of doing it, I realized I missed using weights and really wanted to get stronger. Prior to starting P90x I was doing a program through Fitness Blender (if you don't know about Fitness Blender, click on this link immediately to get started with free workouts from married personal trainer team, Kelli and Daniel--such great workouts and again, FREE). In this program that sort of resembles P90x, I started using weights again after a hiatus of doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts only, like Insanity. Although just using your body weight is a great way to train, I started to see a little more results using weights again so I wanted to explore that more with P90x. So after week 4, I switched to the classic program. Here's what I discovered:
1) 30 minutes really does get it done. Recent research shows that if you keep the intensity of your workouts high and/or very focused, you really don't need more than 30 minutes. This is because you usually work your hardest in the first 30 minutes of your workout, and if you know you only have to do 30 minutes and not an hour or more, you will push your hardest to get the most out of your time.
2) A varied workout plan really is the way to go. It's best to switch up your workouts between weight training, yoga, pilates, HIIT training, upper body days, lower body days, recovery days, and stretching. P90x likes to call it "muscle confusion" I like to call it smart training. You never want your body to get used to any exercise because our bodies are smart and they will always take the path of least resistance. Once your bod gets used to an exercise, it will exert the least amount of energy to keep energy in reserve for later. You need to do the work to tell your body to push harder to see and feel change.
3) Doing exercise plans like Insanity might be good in the short term to see results, but they will never be a long lasting routine in your life. This is because you will get burnt out doing the same kinds of workouts day after day. Also, doing HIIT training every day is not good for your body. Your body needs time to recover from such high intensity work so you should really only use HIIT 2-3 times per week.
4) You can still get a great yoga or pilates workout in 30 minutes. Recently I've been heading back to my 60/90 minute yoga classes with Yoga Works and although the benefits of the meditation time, a class environment and a live instructor are invaluable, I noticed I got just as good of a yoga workout in my 30 minutes using P90x. This is because P90x just cuts right to the chase so there isn't a lot of time to ease into the workout or relax afterward--something I definitely missed early on in the program, but got used to as time went on. If I needed that time, I just gave it to myself before or afterward on my own.
5) Programs like this aren't best for everyone. I don't always think that workout programs that Beachbody provides are the way to go for a couple reasons:
A) If you aren't a personal trainer or you haven't been to a personal trainer to know how your body should be moving the correct way, you can really get injured by any in-home program. This is because Tony Horton (the creator and instructor of P90x) isn't there to see how you're moving in the moment to help you adjust your body to perform the exercise correctly. You might not know that you're doing something wrong and it can cause potential problems or injuries. Also, because P90x3 goes so quickly, there's not a lot of time for proper instruction and in trying to get through it, you might not know what you're really supposed to be doing and repeat improper form again and again.
B) You start to believe that you need to do this program and nothing else to see results. When you're done with the program, you might feel lost and either let exercise go completely or keep moving from program to program, never really knowing how to simply live your life and keep your fitness going on your own. Even as a trainer who creates several different workouts for my clients every day, since finishing the program, I feel a bit out of it. I find myself going back to the program and pulling workouts from the DVD sleeve instead of doing something different on my own. It's liberating to have the freedom to do what I want, but I also feel like a child who has lost her mommy. Not a feeling I want to have!
6) That being said, programs like this can be great motivators. I loved having my P90x group, led by Rosi, to check in with every day. Every single day for 90 days we all wrote about our workout for the day on the group Facebook page. On days that I just didn't want to do my workout, I did it anyway because I didn't want to write to the group that I failed to get my butt in gear. I also loved being able to cheer on my fellow P90x'ers when they were having a bad day. It felt like we were all in it together and really wanted everyone to succeed.
7) P90x3 is a great program that you won't get too burnt out with in the end. When I finished Insanity, I was burnt out. Done. Toast. And that was only 60 days. With P90x3, after 90 days I didn't feel too crazed. Yes, I was really ready to be done and excited to finish, but I probably could have kept going if the plan was longer. This is because the workouts are so different from day to day and week to week so boredom isn't really ever an issue. Sure, there are workouts you would prefer not to do and workouts you don't like, but there are also a lot of workouts you're excited to do and try. I really loved that.
As far as results go...I don't really know that P90x got me where I am now or if it was just a combo of cutting calories since August/September of last year and adding weight training back in. I do feel much stronger and fitter, that's for sure. Since starting P90x3 my fit test results say it all--I am more flexible, I'm now up to 45 pushups before failure from 33, I can do a couple chin-ups (with maybe a little bit of cheating) and I went from doing 27 bicep curls to 40 bicep curls with 10lb weights to failure. My upper body hasn't always been my strongest so I can say I'm proud of that.
I don't usually share pics of my bod, but I thought it was worth sharing me after doing Insanity 6 days a week for either 40 minutes to an hour and kind of eating what I wanted in June of last year, to me keeping a closer eye on my diet and doing more focused training for only 30 minutes a day.
Diet and exercise as a combo is key. And so is focused exercise. You don't need to spend hours at the gym to get fit. I'm not perfect but I think you can probably see that although the results aren't crazy, they are there.
Go ahead and give P90x3 a try! If you need help, you can always ask for it from me and I will be happy to answer your questions. Or you can contact Rosi, my beachbody coach and I promise she will help you through it!