P90X:Phase 2–The “P” Now Stands For “Pain”

P90X: Phase 2

Here we are:  you in your computer chair, me in my ice bath. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the cool parts about the P90X routine is that it helps your avoid mental boredom and physical plateaus by employing varied workout routines.  On one hand, I do appreciate this approach.  After the first 30 days, I’ll admit…I was settling into a rut, and it was affecting not only my workouts, but my writing. 

I’ve often noticed that over the generations, the great writers always had an inner turmoil or pain—a psychological wound, if you will–that fueled their writing.  This has made me question whether they would have as great without that pain.  My guess is that they would not.  The same applies to my writing.  When I am in pain (albeit, from a workout ), I write better.  As the pain subsides, so does the inspiration.  Well, my friends, the pain is back and the inspiration is surging once more.  Thanks for that, Phase 2. (please read that last sentence with extreme sarcasm)**

**Side Note to Microsoft Word developers:  Please come up with an actual font for Sarcasm.  That shouldn’t  be so much to ask. After all, you gave us Wingdings—which are clearly nothing but nonsense.

The first new routine that I was able to enjoy was Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps.  In the last round, chest exercises were teamed with back exercises, so I figured this would just be the same exercises used in a different rotation.  I was wrong.  BAD wrong.  I knew from the very first exercise that I was in trouble.  Some things are cooler in slow motion. Push-ups are not one of those things.  I like to rely on momentum for my push-ups, and doing them in slow motion takes away this option.  For these, Tony makes you follow his pace for a four-count on the downward motion and a four-count on the upward motion.  I know Tony’s a smart guy…surely he can count to 4 without taking that…much… time…between each number to think about what comes next.  It’s brutal!  Immediately after that, he goes right into shoulder flies without stopping to consider the fact that the previous exercise has just stripped you of the ability to lift your arms—even when not laden with dumbbells.  It is this kind of abuse that qualifies as “muscle confusion”.  The confusion stems from the fact that we all have a self-preservation instinct and it’s clearly confused about the fact that you’re voluntarily contributing to your own demise.  But because of some warped sense of ego…or pride…or masochism, I completed the entire workout.  After I was finished, there wasn’t pain involved, so much as the inability to function.  I took that as a good sign.

“No Pain. No Pain.” That’s always been my motto.  At one point, I even petitioned John Cougar Mellencamp to change the lyrics in his song from “It Hurts So Good” to “It Hurts, So Stop!”.  He ignored my request.

So after Phase 2/Day 1, I moved to a day of Plyometrics, and that was the subject of yesterday’s post.  After this brief dalliance with the familiar, it was back to the unknown.  Phase 2/Day 3: Back & Biceps.

Due to time constraints, I will write more on the Back & Biceps workout later.  Because of the latent, debilitating soreness stemming from the Chest, Shoulders, & Tricep workout, it has taken me over 6 hours to write this post.  That’s what happens when you’re forced to type with your shins.



Exercise Epiphany

Hey everyone,

Sorry for not writing in so long.  I know you’ve basically had to put your life on hold as you waited on my next post, so I hope you didn’t miss any important life events (i.e.—birthdays, anniversaries, promotions at work, births of your first children, etc.).   If you did, please let me know what you missed and I will do my best to research what happened and give you the Cliff Notes to your life.  In the meantime….P90X Phase 2.

Later today (or maybe tomorrow…or maybe next week…or maybe never), I’ll start giving you the lowdown on the newest exercises involved in Phase 2 of P90X.  The beauty of the program is that it focuses on “muscle confusion” by giving you completely new routines to master during the second phase, and after doing  the first new routine (Chest, Shoulders & Arms)yesterday, it’s clear that it works.  After an hour, my muscles were so confused that you would have thought I asked them to compare and contrast the spiritual significance of Maple Syrup and Fibonacci numbers.  But after the haze of confusion cleared, one thing was obvious: confusion equals pain.  More on this later.

 Today, as I enjoyed the emotional comfort of performing a familiar routine—Plyometrics—I was struck with a fitness analogy.  You see, I do not like Plyometrics.  Not even a little bit.  I like the results…but I dread the work itself.  So I asked myself, why I don’t just listen to Tony’s recommendation at the beginning of the DVD when he says, “There’s always Cardio X, for those of you that aren’t Plyo X –ready”.  Therein lies the genius of his plan.  I like Cardio even less than Plyo, so he knows there is no way I’m going to voluntarily choose Cardio X. 

Here’s the analogy that struck me this morning as I was doing Double Airborne Heisman’s:

 It’s like a high school dance.  Plyometrics is your date.  She’s not the most glamorous girl in the school, but she is by no means unattractive.  The problem is that you simply don’t like her.  There’s no animosity, but you’d just rather spend your time with other people.  After a couple dances, it’s clear to both of you that neither of you are enjoying the dance as much as you’d hoped, so she says to you, “Listen, we don’t have to do this.  I have this friend, her name is Cardio X, and I think she’d enjoy dancing with you.”  Here’s the problem: Cardio X IS a rude, socially backwards girl with really poor hygiene… AND she has a HUGE crush on you.  You’re a polite guy, so you don’t want to give her false hope and further fuel her obsession.  Because of this, there is NO WAY that you’re going to ask her to dance.  You’d rather just stick with Plyo and make the best of it.

That is my relationship with Plyometrics. 

 I don’t like her, but Cardio X is standing in the corner waving far too eagerly.  Since it’s best to avoid all eye contact with Cardio, Plyo remains my dance partner.  Like it or not.