As promised, here is a brief rundown of the first 4 days of my latest P90X experience:
First of all, I should mention that “Tony” is Tony Horton—creator of the P90 series. To save on word count, I will refer to him only as Tony from this point forward. You will see his name mentioned in phrases like “When Tony says push-up…”, “Tony’s constant encouragement…”, or “I HATE YOU, TONY!” Seriously though, this guy is pretty unbelievable. He’s 50 years old, and he makes me look like a geriatric stoner when it comes to overall strength and energy level. If I can get halfway as ripped as that dude, I will probably forgo wearing shirts in public for the rest of my life–except when attending church, of course. Clearly, that would call for a freshly-pressed tank top.
So with that little bit of background information, let get started:
Day 1—Chest & Back:
Seems pretty simple. It’s essentially push-ups and pull-ups. Like gym class—with a hyper-intensity disorder. The push-ups I can handle, just not at the level that the guys & gal in the video handle them. They’re cranking out 30-40 with one leg raised in the air while whistling the 3rd verse of the National Anthem, and I’m still struggling with my 10th. I know it’s a work in progress, but come on. Have I let myself fall THIS far? The answer is a definitive “YES”. Then we move to pull up’s.
These are evil. Wide grip. Close grip underhanded. Overhand close grip. Regardless of the chosen grip, the biggest problem is that it involves lugging my entire bodyweight skyward. If you think about it, this is a pretty crappy deal for someone who is out of shape and overweight. Sure, Tony is doing one-armed pull ups while making monkey faces at me…but that’s because he weighs a good 60lbs less than I do. Technically, I’m lifting more than he is. (In your sculpted face, Tony. ) To avoid total failure on these, I place a foot on a chair to assist myself. I still groan like I’m doing a real pull-up though. At least I SOUND like I’m doing it right.
I finish my workout feeling like I’ve given my best effort. I’m tired, but pleased. I can only hope the latent pain that comes the day after a workout won’t be too bad.
It is that bad. The pain. The inability to lift my arms for any reason. If back muscles could speak, mine would sound as if they were scripted by Tarantino himself. My. Goodness. If the saying is true, and pain really IS weakness leaving the body, I have negative levels of weakness. It’s a good thing that plyometrics focuses on the lower body.
Focus isn’t the right word. Picks on…humiliates…oppresses…tortures….any of these would be a better description for what this workout does to my legs. Also known as “Jump Training”, this particular fitness gem requires me to launch my mass towards the ceiling repeatedly. Tony keeps preaching that this routine will help me be better at just about any sport I choose. If this keeps up, I may never choose a sport again. If this is what it takes to get better, I’d rather suck.
OK, ok…that’s just my inner-lazy person talking. Truly, I know it’s beneficial, so I press on. I move from something called a Run-Stance-Squat-Pickup to a beauty known as Airborne Heisman’s. Then it’s on to swing kicks and Mary Katherine’s (think “Superstar!!”).
I should have known that when the warm-up included walking lunges and deep-knee squats, the workout itself was going to be hellacious. I know now.
After the workout, I do a little research. It turns out the word “plyometric” comes from the Latin, metric meaning “to measure” and plyo meaning “I hate you”.
Day 3: Shoulder & Arms:
This is the one I’ve been looking forward to. As Tony says in the intro, this is the glamour routine. Shoulders, biceps, and triceps…that’s what we’ll be working today. We’re focusing on The Guns. These are the muscles I’ve been showing off since I was 3 years old, so they’re the ones I’ve always worked when I would go to a gym. I’m sure I’ll be familiar with the exercises, so I’m feeling confident.
All in all, this workout went well. The moves were fairly simple: shoulder presses, bicep curls, and tricep extensions. To borrow a phrase from the musclehead community, I got a good pump from the workout.
I check this one off with a smile.
Day 4: Yoga X
I’m not smiling any more. My triceps have staged a coup. They refuse to work without causing searing pain. From previous experience, I remember that yoga involves a lot of push-up style movements and a lot more holding very still in a posture that is not natural. All of these involve the triceps. Tony says “clear your mind”. I’d rather sever my arms just below the shoulder.
Being the silent warrior that I am (for the duration of this workout), I press on.
This yoga thing is SO foreign to me. I’ve played sports my entire life and done rather well, thank you. I’d like to think I’m fairly coordinated. These yoga poses seem indicate that I have the flexibility of ceramic tile and the balance of greased bowling ball on a steep incline. It was not pretty. My Upward Dog looked like a great dane that had just suffered a severe spinal injury. My Sun Salutation actually made the sun ignore me like a hot chick in high school.
One thing that did make me laugh is that during the routines, Tony will say “…now back to plank…push-up if you want to…now back to downward dog…” That part about “if you want to” gets me. It’s like he thinks there’s a chance I’m actually going to do more work that I’m required to do. That Tony—so naive.
I was glad that I hadn’t signed up to take a yoga class in public. The only eyes watching me were those of my golden retriever, and so help me, if he decides to show me his version of what a REAL downward dog looks like, I’ll throw a reverse warrior on him faster than you can say “Namaste”.
Once I can feel my arms again, that is.