Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fitness Things; P90X & X2

Lately my life has been whelmed by mostly fitness related things. I even have a separate blog to keep track of my daily workouts and occasionally, my eating habits, goals, etc. Since that's taken up a good bit of my time lately, I haven't had much to update about. So, I've decided to put together a little summary - in case you're interested.

Today is Tuesday, May 8, 2012 and it is also Day 41 of P90X2. I know a lot of people watch the P90X infomercials and think, "I could never workout at home," or, "Those results aren't real", or WHATEVER. I thought those things. Every weekend in Summer 2009, my husband and I would sit in front of the TV between kettle bell workouts, sprints, and overdoing it on wheat thins and spinach dip, and I'd think, "I wonder if that really works" and Tim would tell me it would work, and then we'd agree that it was too expensive and we didn't have room to workout in the living room. I'm annoyed by how sales-pitchy I sound right now. The truth is, I'm not trying to sell you on P90X - at least not today ;). I'm just telling my story.

On Halloween 2009, we moved into a 600 sq ft apartment on the 3rd story of a big complex in Woodland Hills. The complex had a fitness center, and for a while we got up early in the morning to do a half hour or so of exercise before heading to work. The following April, we got a puppy.  Dogs are supposed to be great for fitness. I don't know what they say about puppies, but my personal experience tells me that puppies are the opposite. Sure, we got up early to take her on walks, but we didn't go to the gym anymore. We didn't want to leave her alone in the mornings - especially since she would have to be alone all day while we were at work.
And since I'm an amateur baker and Tim has turned pizza making into an art (OMG, they're so good), we ate a lot of heavy - delicious, but heavy - food that caused us to put on some weight.

The following Halloween, just before escrow closed on our fixer-upper townhouse, it was decided that now that we would have more space, no neighbors below us, and no free fitness center, it was a good time to give in to the bombardment of P90X infomercials and order ourselves this Extreme Home Fitness program.

Tim and I worked out together for about 3 weeks before the holidays were in full swing and we temporarily lost hope. Our house was under construction. The living room floor was so slippy we could play air hockey with the couches. Having just put all our savings into a house, we were low on money, but mostly low on time, so fitness took a back seat for a few months.

In March, after finally finishing the living room, I picked up my set of dvds again and decided to give it another go. Tim was out this time. It was only me. He missed the gym. He wanted to lift heavy weights and such. I get it. I wanted to get my money's worth out of these dvds.

Here's the thing about P90X that people aren't expecting or don't really grasp; these workouts are HARD. You won't be dancing in front of your TV for an hour a day, 5 days a week, until 3 months later when you are magically 20 lbs lighter and have cut abs. On several occasions - particularly during plyo - I had to press pause and just breathe until my head stopped spinning. Basically P90X works because it forces you to challenge yourself, not because it lets you dance the lbs away.

Here's where I went wrong round 1; I lost track. I didn't commit to "the program". I wanted to go jogging sometimes and I had just bought a Groupon for Cardio Barre and loved it. So, while I mostly stuck to P90X, I was also averaging 1.5 trips to CB per week. I wasn't sticking to the schedule. I couldn't look at a calendar and tell you what day I was on and how my progress was going - how I felt about myself, if I was seeing results, etc.  One thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is I had gotten stronger. I starter out struggling to finish 15 pushups and by the time I stopped to reevaluate, I could do 22. When I started, there were moves I never thought I'd be able to do that P90X helped me achieve.
I picked a random day that felt about 4 weeks in - but in reality was probably more like 6 weeks in - and I decided to start phase 2. If you've seen the infomercials, you probably know what I'm talking about with the phases. Then I did the phase 2 workouts for a while. I think it was about 4 weeks, but I don't really know, and then I switched to phase 3, which is the same workouts as phase 1, but you're supposed to be stronger on the second go-round.
I don't know how common this is (could be 1 in 2, could be 1 in 10, I have no clue), but I'm pretty sure I have a distorted body image. I remember learning about teenage girls who were asked to draw a life size silhouette of themselves on the ground and then they would lay down in it and someone would trace them so they could see the difference between what they thought they looked like and what they actually looked like. When I looked in the mirror on day 60, I saw the same thing I saw on day one. No matter how defined my muscles are, unless I can compare one thing next to the other (trace my silhouette), I'll keep seeing the same thing.

A few weeks before we got married (in September), I accepted that I was no where near where I wanted to be with the program. I knew I was in better shape, but I didn't know what I could compare it to. Even though I knew I should have taken progress photos, I didn't want to have or look at pictures of myself in a sports bra, so I didn't take them. I decided to just continue what I was doing and get back into more workouts when we got back from our honeymoon.

In shape for our wedding. No corset top necessary.
I don't really remember what I was doing to stay in shape October to December. I didn't have a plan. I had a gym membership by then and was going to yoga, pilates, and Cardio Barre pretty often. I gained 7 pounds in those 3 months. Embarrassing. It's easy to think 7 lbs isn't very much and its easy to lose, but its not. I'm not a big person, and I'm one of the incredibly lucky folks whose weight goes straight to my face.

Right before Christmas I started getting emails about the release of P90X2, and I thought maybe this was the motivation I needed. I decided to cancel my gym membership and buy it. Starting January 1st, I would start phase 1 of P90X, finish the program (with progress photos this time) and then attempt P90X2.

I started 2012 looking like this:
I'm not gonna lie. I am embarrassed. These photos are embarrassing - not even taking into account that my eyes are closed in the last one and the lighting is terrible. The only way I can reconcile posting these is because they are part of my journey. They have helped me see how far I've come and what I've accomplished, but also how quickly the body can change. 

I failed myself almost right off the bat. My Legs & Back workout dvd was majorly scratched and none of the dvd players in our house could read it. I was kinda crushed. That was my favorite workout. Instead of giving up, I swapped it out. I decided that Cardio Barre would be a great substitute for Legs & Back AND I could still mostly stick with the schedule. 
Then I forgot to take Day 30 progress photos...and then I got bored in Phase 2. I had still been working our really hard, tracking my workouts and trying to eat healthy. So when I reached Day 60, I decided not to complete Phase 3 of P90X and jump right in to X2. 

My Day 60 progress photos for P90X are also my Day 1 photos for X2. I was so happily surprised when I looked at these pictures next to my Day 1 X pictures. 
Still terrible lighting, but I am still astounded by the difference. (Fyi, this was in front of the same wall, but we had the room painted that month) In two months, I basically got back to where I was at our wedding. And I was about to start a whole new adventure. 
I knew from experience that P90X was a tough, but I knew nothing about X2. It was brand new. They had a whole group start X2 together on January 1st. I thought about joining in, but I wanted a refresher round of X. I'd read some reviews and blog posts about X2 and everything sounded even harder than what I'd done in X. And then it was. 
Every time I got up to do a new P90X2 workout I felt like I would never be able to complete even one rep of some of these exercises. Each workout took so much effort to even get a few reps in. I felt like I wasn't even benefiting from the hour every day I was putting in every night because I couldn't do most of the exercises, but I learned and I kept trying. By the end of the 4th week, not only was I able to finish a few reps of everything, I had good form and was feeling strong. Before I knew it it was day 30 and time to take progress photos again. 

I feel pretty silly every time I take pictures like this - hence the funny face. Don't you think the sleeping pup in the background is a nice touch? 
I am so impressed with myself in this picture that I'm worried I won't be able to look more "cut" in the next one. In fact, I don't even feel like I look like that right now. 

It's 11 days later, 19 days until my next photos. These phase 2 workouts are hard, but I'm keeping track of my workouts this time. I know exactly where I'm supposed to be and what I'm doing next. 
I also started using an app to track my caloric intake about 3 weeks ago. The pounds aren't "melting" off, but I am losing weight AND getting stronger. It makes me happy to know that I'm on the right track. 

I didn't mean to write this much about only P90X and X2, but I guess my journey has been longer than I thought. I have more to write about, if you can believe it. I guess that will have to wait for another day. 
If you're interested, you can follow my daily workouts here

Maybe some blogging about yoga next time. 

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