Fitness to the X-treme!

workout sneaks

My Adidas adizero tempo sneakers. I like them because they have glitter laces and lots of cushioning.

If you’re like me, you’ve been introduced to Tony Horton and his P90X Extreme Workout program through the wonders of the infomercial. Late one sleepless night or in the middle of a lazy Sunday afternoon the television sucked you in with a grainy, “amateurishly” produced cheesefest and, again, the sweetly seductive spell of the wonder product worked its magic. This product will change your life, change your body, but it’s not for everybody. Be cautioned, it’s only for the extreme of will, determination and heart. Ex-marines, already-fit people looking for the next challenge, the already-chisled of abs looking to be chisled-lier, big fat party boys who wanna get ripped. Clearly, this program is not for wee-little Anas who do pilates—those pale and pasty ivory tower gals who so enjoy watching HBO while alternately “bench pressing” wiener dogs and “curling” pints of Ben and Jerrys. No, no not for the likes of us!

Still, after watching the infomercial about 7 times, hearing the tales of transformation, seeing the taut and muscle-bound results, I gave in to its siren call. Of course this would mean the beauty of the idea of P90X in all its ephemeral and distant wonderfulness would now have to be grounded in the reality of actually doing the workouts. Damn.

So seventy-ish dollars (eBay) and a few days later it shows up. I was about 84.5% done convincing myself that only a giant slab of double chocolate cake and vanilla bean ice cream could make me feel perfect, whole, complete when the mailman knocked and left the package at the door.

Double damn.

The thick booklet jammed with hour-long DVDs weighed heavier in my hand (and cake-loving heart) than I expected. I did not go out for cake that night.

Cut to the present. I’m on my fourth week of “the X.” I am still alive and I have interesting muscle-like formations carving themselves into the fleshy mounds of my body. I feel stronger and I am proud of myself. Okay, so I haven’t followed the program to the letter, but still there’s progress. The working mantra of the workout set is “do your best and forget the rest” and that’s pretty much what I’m doing.

What’s involved (in case you’re wondering):

  • Devoting at least an hour a day, 6 days a week (though I’ve only done 4-5 days a week thus far)
  • Alternating workouts to achieve “muscle confusion” so your body does not get too comfortable using the program; this method stokes calorie burn. A variety of workouts are included along with a calendar listing when you should do what. I like this because it keeps me from getting bored.
  • There are basically strength days, cardio days and yoga and/or stretch days. You’ll need weights or an exercise band, a pull up bar and a mat. If you want to be a muscle monster you’ll really need that bar. If you don’t care about mass and getting huge, you can follow a more cardio heavy schedule for leanness. Personally, I have nowhere to put a pull up bar and I don’t care to have giant rippling armpit muscles so I just feign jumping rope or do free weight exercises while the video people get their pull ups on.
  • There’s a specific healthy eating plan for maximum results—it’s protein-focused like you’d imagine. I’m opting to simply clean up my diet. You will have to tear the ice cream cone from my cold dead hand, Tony Horton. Moderation is the best you’ll get from me.
  • You’ll also need a healthy sense of humor to deal with your ridiculous fitness coach, Tony. At the end of the day I appreciate his quirky weirdness because at least he’s not grunting at me and telling me to burn my quads or some such stupid thing.

Again, I feel strong (at times monster strong!) when I’m doing these workouts. They are hard but not impossible. You do what you can and keep aiming for better. I started in good health and fairly good fitness and lord knows I’ve been much heavier. That being said, I personally wouldn’t jump into this workout plan if you’re basically couchbound. It’s not that you can’t do it, but you will most likely try it, wheeze a lot and hate it and not want to go back to it. I suggest getting in touch with your exercise self a bit before jumping into this behemoth. But do make the workout a goal. You can do this. Simply becoming able to do the fitness tasks you were unable to do a few weeks prior is more satisfying than you think. I’ve not seen the infomercial miracle take place—“look, my pants are so huge!”—but hey, I’ve got 60 days to go. We’ll talk again then. While arm wrestling. Over ice cream.

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  1. […] tidbits captured my attention instead (I think I watched Home Movies for a good long while and did P90X for a […]

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