Making it X-Like

Posted on Monday, Mar 7, 2011

Longtime readers of this blog will know that this is not the first time I’ve tried to get into better shape. But this time, I mean it!

My history

As I mentioned, I’ve tried lots of things to get into shape. Last spring I started doing South Beach, and I lost about 11 pounds from that (when combined with Couch to 5K and 100 Pushups).

I also started the P90X workout in September of 2010, and stuck with it until mid-October (so basically, I did “P45X”). I fell off the P90X wagon for a few reasons – one, I went on a week long business trip and wasn’t able to work out then (although I did run during that time) and secondly, I really couldn’t get into the second phase of P90X, so that provided an excuse for stopping.

P90X redux

Last week, I started up P90X again. It was a little bit of baby steps – I didn’t work out every single day, and for most of the workouts, I didn’t put in full effort. Here’s a breakdown of Week 1:

Chest & Back

I did complete this workout, although I wasn’t up to previous intensity. Last fall, I was able to do more than 50 pushups in a minute, and in this workout, I only did 20 pushups, and wasn’t able to do more than about 10 reps of the various pushup modifications. I still had to use a chair to do pullups (I’ve not been able to do an unassisted pullup since 1993), but even the assisted versions were fewer reps than last time.


I skipped Plyo in Week 1. This is a tough workout (even before I could never get through the full thing). My initial excuse was that on Tuesdays I have to leave for work about an hour earlier than usual, so I planned to skip Tuesdays and do Plyo on Wednesdays. That didn’t happen.

Shoulders & Arms

This was always my strongest P90X workout. I was able to get some pretty good weight last time around, and I always completed it. It definitely showed in my results as well, as I was gaining the beginnings of some great definition in my upper body. This time around I lightened the load quite a bit (using 10 and 15 pound dumbbells), but at least I did the whole workout. I know that I can do more, however.

Yoga X

I’ve only done the Yoga X workout once, ever…and even then, not all the way through. I have issues with this workout for several reasons –

  1. It’s a long workout – over an hour, and that’s hard to do in the mornings. No excuse, however…I just need to wake up about 15 minutes earlier
  2. I’m really not very flexible and have balance problems. Of course, yoga will help with BOTH of these things.
  3. It’s REALLY hard to follow along on the video while doing the poses. I’d have to stop the pose and look at the TV to see what Tony was doing. I’m still looking for some tips on how to handle this (one idea is to watch the whole video through once and just see what the poses are).

I didn’t do Yoga X in Week 1, but I fully plan to commit to it in Week 2

Legs & Back

Another workout that is pretty tough. I didn’t do this one fully the first time around, but I did it somewhat regularly. In Week 1 I didn’t get through the whole workout, but I did give about 80% effort towards what I did. Week 2 has no excuses, and I will hit it hard. I promise!

Kenpo X

I had never done this workout before. I always figured “I’ll just do some cardio instead.” However, having done it in Week 1, I discovered that it is REALLY fun. Similar to Yoga X, my lack of balance really makes it challenging, but that’s also what excites me about it. I have some problems doing this workout in my living room, since we don’t have a ton of space anymore (thanks to all the kiddo toys, and our new furniture), but I made do and made adjustments. I did have to skip the last 10 minutes or so, but in Week 2 I will finish strong.

Ab Ripper X

I’ll admit it. I never committed to Ab Ripper X properly before (I probably only did the workout three times, total). In Week 1 I didn’t do it at all. But I am not going to fall into that trap in Week 2 (spoiler alert for next week’s update post – I actually did about 75% of Ab Ripper X this morning, so I’m on track now!).

P90X Tips

One of the most essential points in doing P90X is keeping track of what you’ve done – previously, I always just wrote it down in a notebook, which worked out okay, but it was not easy to see improvements (and every week I’d have to look at the previous workout to see how many reps and what weight to use). Yesterday I decided to start tracking all of this in Excel, and when I was looking to see if anyone had a P90X template for recording the exercises, I came across an excellent post that included a link to a super awesome P90X Excel workbook.

This thing is awesome. Not only does it make it easy to track the exercises (easy enough that I was able to record them in real time in Excel this morning, as opposed to writing them down and transferring later), it builds cool charts to see your progress. For example, here’s my chart so far for Chest & Back:


Granted, you see a major drop off since I don’t have results for every week yet. But still, cool.

Going forward

I plan to post a fitness update every Monday morning. This will show my changes in weight and body fat, as well as updates on how I did in every P90X workout in the week prior. What other detail do you think I should include? Are you doing P90X? Have you done it in the past? What did you learn from your experiences?

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