A few thoughts, 2 weeks into P90X

I was musing about P90X when I took my son to the park today. He has a Fliker, which is great fun to ride but used to really make my glutes and calves burn. Now it doesn’t at all, and I’m much better at riding it. It was just another time I noticed how much P90X is improving my fitness. I do look a bit better, too (not so much yet, but some) – but mainly I’ve noticed how much better I feel already. This is a great thing, although I wish there was some way to take a day zero and day 90 picture of how I feel. That’s partly the reason for this blog.

One other thing I’ve noticed is that because the workouts aren’t about isolating muscles much, they tend to work whichever of my muscles is weakest. I’m assuming this is a good thing, because I need to balance my muscles so they can work together effectively. Still, it’s quite funny to notice.

Chest & Back, despite the name, works my shoulders more than anything else – for the first three times I did it, that was about all I felt. This week, for the first time, I also worked my back a bit.

Shoulders & Arms mainly works the shoulders, as well. I guess my shoulders are really not my strong point, huh?

Legs & Back works mainly my quads, but also my hamstrings and glutes a bit. That one’s not too surprising. My calves really don’t suffer at all on this one.

Ab Ripper, interestingly, is working mostly my hip flexors and glutes, rather than my abs.

None of this is that surprising, when I think about it, but it’s still strange to notice how the same workout will affect different muscles on different days. I think that’s probably one of the reasons why P90X is so good.


Day 12: Legs & Back; Ab Ripper

Some days you do the workout, and you go in strong and feel great. Tired at the end, but like you’ve achieved something. Other days, the whole thing is painful and you struggle just to get through it.

Today was the second type. I really thought I couldn’t get through it, so I’m proud of getting to the end. I got through it minute by minute, just by not giving up YET.

So, not quite so positive today, but hell – I did it. Nothing else matters.

Night, all!

Day 11: STILL no yoga!

I really meant to do it today, I swear. I’d even been careful not to get too tired on Wednesday so I could do the yoga Thursday night.

Then a friend asked if I could fetch her daughter home with my son after nursery. Which meant running around after two hyper preschoolers until 9pm, at which point I had zero energy left. Could I (technically) have still done the workout anyway? Yes, absolutely. Could I actually? Nope, I just had no energy left, even after I ate.

Oh well, sometimes life just intervenes.

Tonight Legs & Back, tomorrow Kenpo X. Do I (a) max out Legs & Back, and risk missing Kenpo tomorrow if I’m too stiff, or (b) go a bit lighter today and make sure I can do Kenpo? Yep, it’s (a). Let’s just keep my fingers crossed that I can still walk and bend on Saturday 🙂

Day 10: Shoulders & Arms (Only)

Wow, I’m tired. Lots of exercise, but not enough sleep. Today’s workout was tough.

I made it through the Shoulders & Arms exercise. Progress since last week, a little, but mostly about the same. I’m feeling like I’m beginning to get the hang of some of the exercises, although “mastery” is a long way off. Still, it’s only week 2.

I have to admit to giving up on Ab Ripper today. I was just absolutely beat, and I needed the sleep – felt light-headed. Still, maybe that’ll mean I have some energy left tomorrow to do Yoga for the first time (?).

Well, not unless I go and get sleep now. Night, all.

Day 9: Plyo

Hurray! Plyo was WAY better than last week – that cold must finally be wearing off.

Please note, by “much better” I don’t mean I could do all of it, or that I didn’t need extra breaks, or any of that: I just mean it wasn’t intensely unpleasant, it was fun again. In a painful sort of way.

I find with the Plyo X that by the end of the workout, my legs are running out of spring. I’m not sure why that is. Is it lack of cardio fitness (doesn’t feel like it), lack of leg muscle (maybe, there are a LOT of squats in this), or lack of calories meaning I’m out of fuel? Not sure. If it’s the leg muscle thing, I should see it improving.

I can tell I’m improving overall, which is good. The great thing about starting this programme unfit is that it’s very easy to see the early gains. Once I’ve got a decent base level of fitness, I might need to start counting, timing and measuring to spot improvements. As of now, the gains are very obvious. “Like”.

Incidentally, although I’m definitely putting on muscle, I’m hardly losing any weight – in fact my weight is up and down. Now, I KNOW that muscle weighs more than fat, and if I’m losing inches that’s fine, and I shouldn’t pay too much attention to my weight at this stage. Yes, I know that. Still disappointed, though. Hey, no-one said I was rational.

Also, now I’m in a certain amount of pain. Chest and shoulders aching from yesterday, legs aching from today – phew. Tomorrow is shoulders and arms, which is a bit of relief as I find that one easiest. It hits fewer of my weak points that the other workouts.

Sleep time again – seeya!

Day 8: Chest & Back, Ab Ripper – It’s Week 2!

It’s my third time of doing it, and I noticed some definite improvements in the Chest & Back workout today. It’s starting to come together so I can do more – not more reps, but better form. The Dive Bomber push-ups which were pretty much impossible before are now doable (albeit with knees not full length), weight still increasing on the pull-ups and chin-ups. Generally a noticeable difference, which is nice and motivating.

I’m also getting through the workout a bit quicker (although it still takes me a lot longer than the “nominal” time, because I have to pause it to switch bands, get some water, etc). But I know a lot of the moves now, so I don’t spend so long figuring them out. Which is nice.

The Ab Ripper, though, not so good. After noticing improvement last time I did it, this time I didn’t eat enough calories today (1200) and just crashed part-way through. Had a bit of apple juice, and got to the end of the workout, but I was noticeably low-powered compared to what I knew I could do. Something for me to keep watching out for, as it’s a repeat mistake.

Generally, feeling pretty good about this week – looking forward to it being a bit less of a struggle. My legs are now improving after completely killing them in Friday’s workout, and hopefully they’ll be back ready for Plyo tomorrow.

Now for some sleep – before midnight! Hurray.

Days 6 & 7: Skipped (ouch)

Days 6 (Kenpo X) and 7 (Stretch X) didn’t happen. I’m not feeling too guilty about that – the reason was that my legs are still killing from the Legs & Back workout, so at least I know I worked hard there. I did try to press play on Kenpo X both days, and couldn’t even manage the stretches at the start without it hurting (genuine ouch, not burn or stiffness).

One thing I’m not going to beat myself up about is stuff I just can’t do. I knew I wasn’t that fit to start with, and if I’m doing everything I can, I’m fine with the idea that there are some things I just can’t do yet. Maybe next week I’ll be a bit stronger for the Legs & Back and I’ll recover quicker.

Either way, as long as I know I’m doing the best I can, I’m good with that.

Mind you – still ouch. Hamstrings – they’ve always been my weak point.

Day 5: Legs & Back

I missed Yoga again this week. I think it’s got less to do with the P90X schedule and more to do with my schedule. I work Monday to Thursday, so on Thursday night I get home, it’s the weekend, and I just don’t want to do a workout. I might need to switch the schedule around so that’s my light day.

Still, back on the horse again today – I’m not missing two days in a row this week. I did the Legs & Back and then Ab Ripper again.

Legs & Back – first time. I did a nice hard workout, but I didn’t feel like I got the weights just right. This one doesn’t seem to be as easy to do with bands – I had a couple of light hand-held weights, but I’ll need to figure out the exact resistance I need and how to do the band versions. Quite a few of the legs exercises are body weight and max reps though, so those are easy to get right.

The pull-up type exercises with bands were good – I already knew the weights for those from the Monday workout. I upped the weight a bit from 43lb to 49lb, and I think can go a bit higher next time too.

Ab Ripper is getting better. It’s still tough, but I can do more of the exercises, and I can feel it doing some good. I can also easily see the progress I’m making as I get more done each time.

Now I’m shattered, and going to watch some Leverage to chill out then go to sleep. Tomorrow: Kenpo. That should be fun 🙂

Day 3 (Again): Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper

Today I wasn’t at work. I was watching the BMX at the Olympic Park. Why am I mentioning this? Because I spent a fair amount of time today carrying my 45lb son around again. Two things: (1) it was much, much easier than last time. So much so that I managed to pick him up and carry him from the Stratford Gate to the Basketball Arena in about 10 minutes. (2) I was a bit worried about how the Shoulders & Arms workout would go after that. My arms FELT okay, but would they hold up to the full workout?

As it turned out, yes. The workout went okay. It felt more effective than last time, and I think I got the weights better. By the end, the muscles were really, really tired. Probably just about the right amount of tired, I think (hope). My biceps are still much stronger than the triceps or shoulders, but not so much in this workout as the Chest & Back one, because of all the variety of moves – whereas the Chest & Back is mainly straight pulls (easy), this one is trickier.

Anyway, I got some nice tough weights, struggled my way all the way through, and hit the end just about exhausted, feeling quite smug. And then, as I was just feeling happy about surviving it, the DVD said “Ab Ripper”. I’d forgotten. I swear I nearly cried.

Nevertheless, the Ab Ripper workout is getting much better, too. I can do more of it. (Although I’m not claiming to have mastered it. Or even half of it. Or even… well, you get the idea). It’s not that it’s easy, but I can now do just enough that I can feel it working my abs, whereas before it didn’t seem to be doing anything. I still find that it’s very leg-intense though – generally I’m getting burn in my thighs (holding legs in the air too long) or cramp/lock in my hips rather than actually wearing out my abs. I’m not too worried, though, as plenty of the other workouts use my abs for stabilisation, and I can see it’s all making a difference.

One thing I noticed today was that I was really flat at the start of the Ab Ripper, so I stopped and had a quick drink of apple juice. That seemed to help me get to the end. I keep thinking that because these are strength workouts rather than cardio, they won’t be burning many calories, but I seem to need plenty of fuel for them. Today, because of being out all day, was a light-eating day which was probably why I needed the top-up.

Anyway – I got to the end. I survived it. Now the next challenge is to still be awake at the end of tomorrow to do the yoga. I’m a bit worried about how long that will take. What with stopping, understanding how to do the move, finding the right weight, adjusting, retrying, the “hour” workouts take me nearly two hours. Since yoga is and hour and a half, it could take me all night. I think, just for the sake of sleeping occasionally, I’ll have to give up after an hour and a half no matter how much of it I’ve done.

So – on the subject of sleep – off I go. Night, all.