P90X Post-Mortem

Finish Line

Photo by Katyann Kintz, available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

Better late than never

It’s February 2012 and since my last post which chronicled my finishing of Round 1 in August 2011 I’ve completed a second round of P90X in the classic variation, ending in late November 2011, and then I did about 3 weeks of Phase 3 of classic P90X in December 2011.

In a way the gap between this post and the last has helped me gain a bit more perspective on how P90X has worked for me. Where I work, when a project completes, we usually have a lessons learned, or project post-mortem meeting to discuss what worked, what didn’t and what areas could we have improved on, among other things. I guess you could say going through P90X (or any exercise program for that matter) could be considered a project of sorts and that this is the post-mortem post for it. 🙂

Here’s the 20 second elevator pitch summary:
  1. I liked the variety, difficulty and intensity of most of the workouts and workout phases.
  2. Modified moves really help you get better over time.
  3. The nutrition plan is easy to follow…if you plan ahead!
  4. Over time exercises will get easier. Challenge yourself and up your reps or try the advanced moves.
The Breakdown

For a more detailed take, I’m going to break it down by sections:

  1. The workouts
  2. The nutrition plan
  3. The differences between Round 1 and Round 2

The workouts

Overall I liked the workout regimen. I have a lot of positive things to say and not a whole lot much to criticize, really, and most those points are particular to the workout in question.

What I liked in general:

  1. The variety of workouts available.
  2. The schedule changing up every few weeks.
  3. The ability of the workouts to show a variety of modified moves for the beginner to the advanced, as well as the different types of equipment you can use (i.e. resistance bands vs. weights).
  4. The workout sheets you can use to track your progress.
  5. Not requiring that much equipment to use.
  6. Workouts were challenging.

Thoughts on each workout:

  1. Core Synergistics – Never worked on my core, really struggled with this workout at first. Made a breakthrough with the Dreya rolls around week 6 and really progressed from there. Still struggle a bit but have come a long way since week 1.
  2. Cardio X – A nice mix of everything from core, plyometrics, yoga and kenpo. I liked it was on the shorter side in length. I would have been equally happy if they had another 10 minute optional section to keep going.
  3. Shoulders and Arms – This is the type of workout I used to do in my 20s with weights so it was good to get back to the basics. This workout also helped me slowly build strength in my triceps. I’ve always had difficulty doing tricep exercises without having something pop in my arm. The first few weeks I had to ice down my triceps because they literally burned from working out, but I eased off on the weights and they got better.
  4. Yoga X – Never did yoga in my life and it was absolutely brutal learning the first few weeks. I asked some people I know who do yoga what they thought of this workout and most of them were surprised at how advanced some of the moves are. After watching other yoga DVD tapes I’m of the opinion the P90X flavor of yoga is, if I had to sum it up in two words, extremely athletic. Also, this is the longest workout, just over 90 minutes. Wish it was a wee bit shorter. This one of the 2 workouts that I really have to bring it to complete.
  5. Legs & Back – This is the other workout that I really have to bring it to complete. Lunges and squats I try to be careful about doing without hurting the knees. Chin-ups have always been a weak spot for me because of my triceps (more on that later) so I do what I can.
  6. Kenpo X – This is my favorite mostly because of the kicks and punches I can do. Also, instead of saying “In the face in the gut” as Tony says it’s more fun to say “In the face in the nuts!” instead for a laugh. The only thing I have to criticize about this workout is it’s difficult for me to keep the heart rate up in the zone. I figured out to bring more intensity to this workout I just used some very light weights while throwing punches.
  7. AB Ripper X – Hard as hell but mercifully short. If you do the moves as you are supposed to you will definitely feel it afterwards. Really started seeing results in the AB area about 4 weeks in.
  8. Stretch X – I was initially skeptical at the length. 1 hour for stretching? But totally worth doing because you stretch everything from your head to your toes.
  9. Chest, Shoulders & Triceps – This workout really helped me improve my pushup form and tested whether or not my triceps would hold up. They did. 🙂
  10. Chest & Back – I hate you, dive bomber pushups. 🙂 Another workout that helped me improve my pushup form so I started moving away from doing them on my knees to doing about 1/3 of all pushups on my feet now.
  11. Back & Biceps – Like Shoulders and Arms, a lot of these moves I did in my earlier days doing weight training, nice to see that it’s still important and being done.
  12. Plyometrics – This wasn’t covered in the lean variation of P90X that I did. This is the workout I have been cursing at TV constantly when I started round 2 of P90X but in classic variation. My legs felt like jello for almost 2 days afterwards from all the jumping, lunges and running around doing it the first time. By the time I was done with round 2 of P90X I was 85% able to keep up with Dom, the guy all of us love to hate because he’s spring loaded.

The nutrition plan

Overall I learned a lot from reading through and following the nutrition plan. The one thing to takeaway from all this for me was learning about portions and portion sizing.

What I liked in general:

  1. As mentioned, learning about portions and portion sizing.
  2. Learning about the different ratios of carbs, proteins, vegetables and fat portions that can help you burn fat or boost energy, etc.
  3. Recipes are extremely easy to follow and are pretty tasty

What I wasn’t so enamored with:

  1. Food preparation time – for someone who used to eat out for breakfast and lunch this took some getting used to breaking out of that habit.
  2. Some ingredients are difficult to get or expensive.
  3. Spending time researching alternatives to dairy products and other foods I don’t like eating.
  4. Phase 1 specifically – eating all those egg white scrambles 🙁

The differences between Round 1 and Round 2

As alluded to at the start of the post I did Round 1 in the Lean variation which had more Core Synergistics and Cardio X routines in the schedule. In hindsight it was a good step to take because when I got to Round 2 with the Classic variation where it was more Plyometrics and extra weight resistance workouts—that difference helped keep me a little off balance and work harder (I guess it’s the muscle confusion that the program touts right? :)). I did manage to do more of the advanced moves to keep the intensity up in Phases 2 and 3 in Round 2.

I stayed mostly on the Phase 2 – Energy Booster portion of the nutrition plan for Round 2 mostly for routine and time considerations. I didn’t see as dramatic a change in my measurements or weight in Round 2 but figured it was due to muscle gain…still made steady reductions around the waist and chest and also started losing around the thighs. All told since starting P90X to today I lost almost 15 pounds, 5 inches off the chest and 5 inches off the waist. Not too shabby!

And there you have it. My take on P90X.

So what’s next? Well I am just finishing up week 5 of Phase 1 of P90X2 and am about to embark on Phase 2 in a few days. I’ll probably be posting very soon about my thoughts on Phase 1 so stay tuned!

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