Saturday, December 8, 2007

P90X Review Week 12... Finally!!!


Well, I finally made it to and through the week 12 workouts. And I'd really like to say how happy I am and so forth. But honestly, I'm just tired. Not necessarily tired physically. But I am mentally tired of doing P90X. This would probably be a different story if I were just in it for the cosmetic changes and didn't have to attend to my triathlon specific work at the same time. So I do not really fault P90X for the way I feel mentally. That is just the nature of my personal goals and how they have affected my outlook at this point. Honestly, I'd rather be spending more of my time swimming, cycling and running. I can probably attribute some of this to being inside a little too much lately. I do live in Austin, Texas and the weather here hasn't been all that bad lately. It is pretty much in the 70's and sunny right now.

Okay enough of that. Lets look at some of the results so far. Basically when I started P90X the one thing I could do was pushups. So I wasn't really too concerned with those. But when I started these workouts I was doing 20 standard pushups. Now I do around 45. This is not my max, just what I do to be able to complete the rest of the 1 hour workout effectively. What is really telling is when the sets are repeated, I can still do 40 pushups during the second round.

When I started doing pullups, I could only do 2. Now I can do 10 unassisted.

But I started doing P90X because I believed it would make me stronger for triathlons. What happened there is nothing short of amazing when you consider I have done in 3 months what may have taken much longer without the program. In the pool since P90X, my swim times have dropped to pre-hiatus race levels and below on just the most basic technique work I can do. And my endurance is still quite high even though my time in the pool has been limited.

On the bike, the results are the same. My endurance is higher than it was this summer and comparable to pre-hiatus race levels. I have no problems with wind, hills, or just throwing down the hammer when I feel like it and I am pushing bigger gears at a higher cadence. The biggest difference I can say I see on the bike is being able to endure more uncomfortable efforts without sacrificing technique.

But the most dramatic effect has been on my running. For the first two phases of P90X I limited my running to once or twice a week for fear that I wouldn't have the needed recovery for all my other workouts. During this last phase I have run every day. Yep every day. I was NEVER able to run every day before this. Even when I was racing at my best, I wouldn't have even considered it. Running just beat me up too much to make that a possibility. Now even though I'm doing P90X and yoga and the rest of my workouts, with a little basketball thrown in for good measure, I still can run daily without injury. That is HUGE.

Last night I was talking to a friend who is a self proclaimed "fitness buff." He likes to collect vintage workout books. So he has heard a great deal about P90X even though he has never done the program himself. He was asking me my take on the program so far. I told him what I have told everyone else. The program works. Like most things you get out of it what you put into it. Even if you don't do the diet, you will still walk away with more functional, usable strength than you had when you came into the program. And you will have more functional strength than if you were working out on your own in a gym. Look at it this way. Basically for $120.00 you hired yourself a 7 day a week personal trainer. And a kick butt one at that who shows up whenever you want and works you out for an hour every day for 3 months. If you include all the necessary materials, like the pullup bar and resistance bands or dumbbells, for $300.00 you still can't beat the price. For a triathlete, or anyone else, who just wants to create more durable, usable muscle I don't think there is a more efficient use of time than doing P90X. Just be aware without the diet you won't look like the photos you see on the commercials so, if that is your goal make sure you commit to the food plan and put as much energy in your eating as you put into the workouts.


BRFOOT said...

Feeling strong is always helpful, I think. As long as the strength isn't at the cost of to much bulk. I love push ups and pull ups an dips for that reason.

ace said...

Yeah, that was one of the reasons I chose the program -- I could do it without fear of adding bulk. And I was never sore the way I am when I use weights. What I wasn't prepared for, though pleasantly surprised, was the well thought out sequencing which built muscles to support one another. The ads speak a lot about "muscle confusion" being the primary reason the program produces such dramatic results but I think quite the opposite is what actually happens. Your muscles learn how to work in concert with one another (something that doesn't happen in the gym much).

One example of this is I am now able to do single leg squats called "pistols." I wasn't able to do these before the program. And I wasn't able to do them when I was fit and racing 5 years ago. The P90X program doesn't include them. But even so now they aren't a problem to do because my muscles are balanced, strong and engaged through my core.

All that is left now is a recovery week and I can get back to what I like to do most... Thanks for stopping by.

Lucho said...

Ace- Nice work on the strength! You're an animal.
Your point on my sleeping possibly being linked to diet is a subject that has come up several times with my athletes. I firmly believe that a clean diet ( I lean towards Paleo/ hunter gather) lends itself to needing less sleep. I have an excess of energy on most days.. even today when I got ~5 hours sleep last night I have tons! I have always been an insomniac of sorts so maybe habit plays a roll too. I have heard that a person can ween themselves off of needing a lot of sleep.
You shouldn't shake your head in disbelief.. rather you should start training it (your head) more! The power of our mind goes well beyond the power of simple muscle and bone. I was taught from a young age to not fear a challenge and to believe in myself. This is a trick that an old dog can learn too. I'm constantly challenging myself with hard training just to see if I can do it! There are many workouts that you see on my blog that I am respectful of and even nervous about.. but I know my mind is stronger than my legs and I can succeed if I stay strong in my head.
Visualization in training is a HUGE key to succeeding. You need to see yourself as a champion.. visualize nailing crazy workouts and performing beyond your limits in races. You have huge potential as an athlete but it all starts with the training of your mental strength. Cheers.. Lucho

ace said...

Thanks for that comment. I guess that is why I like reading your blog so much. It sort of goes to the whole testing our boundaries thing. And that is why I shake my head. Not so much in the "No way!" aspect of disbelief. But in the "I can't believe I've been talking myself out of more and settling for less" way of things. Here's to visualizing true potential... Train and Live well.

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