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P-LINDY-X: Bobby’s Complete P90X Blog (Month 1 of 3)

December 9, 2009

Here, in three long, long, long posts, is the complete P-Lindy-X, including the final posts and the conclusion post, which has yet to appear on Lindy Bloggers.  Stay tuned for my posts on P90X Plus.

P-LINDY-X
The Extreme P90X Workout Journal

By Bobby “Extremely” White

PROLOGUE

“Fuck You, Tony Horton.”

I rarely cuss outside of airports, so you know I mean it. But whether I can help it or not, this is the phrase I’ll say, in my head at least, every day for 90 days. When I’ve done 80 push-ups in an hour and it’s time to do 10 more with one arm, I’ll say it.  After I have touched the floor in a squat and exploded into the air for the fifteenth time out of thirty in a 30-second-timed exercise, I’ll yell it. And when I’ve finished the final lunge exercise and can’t stand up in the shower, I’ll mention it to the cat.


Who is this Tony Horton? Aside from being a tight, bumpy pile of dyed-hair and tank tops, an ageless 50-year-old who takes being prickishly annoying to such an extreme that it often reaches a rare flavor of charismatic, he’s a professional trainer who’s developed several popular work out series. Most of them are the kind they have infomercials for at 3 in the morning in hotel rooms. His masterpiece, however, is a 12-disk set of sand-kicking sadomasochism called P90X. It is the Moby Dick of workouts.

I first learned about P90X when I noticed that my friend, professional swing dancer Nick Williams, had transformed from your generic out-of-shape American guy into a ripped Clydesdale horse over a period of six months.

P90X is short for Power 90-Day Extreme Workout, and it’s a strict regimen of hour-long work-outs that takes 3 months to complete. Last year, I bought the P90X box, did it for eight weeks, and had to stop due to the fact that the only people who ever saw me were my coworkers and my swing classes, and I could never seem to get the twelve hours of sleep a workout like this needs for recovery. As the months went by, I learned other Lindy instructors were doing P90X, and it became a fad; conversations would spend way too much time on how much we hate diamond push-up technique, and teachers would make P90X jokes in class no one else would get.

Well, having done half of it last year, I can say that it isn’t just this year’s Lindy fad; it is an incredibly difficult work-out program that produces results, even thought it does include over 12 hours of quality time with an L.A. physical trainer. And, for me, it’s become something else.

I often make jokes about being incredibly white and extremely dorky. When I look at my family and friends, and my bookworm life, I’m proud of who I am emotionally and intellectually. But I’ve never been pleased with how I’ve treated my body. The only reason I’ve stayed as thin as I am is because I got lucky with family metabolism; for the first twenty five years of my life, I treated my body the way an elderly woman treats her four-year-old grandson—I fed it full of sugar and told it how handsome it will grow up. I’m now a twenty-eight-year-old with a dull-physique and a bad back, and realized that Grandma forgot to mention that it would take work. I look at myself in the mirror, and I see one of my life’s personal hopes starting to slowly drift away; the hope that, at some point, I would be proud of my body.

I don’t mean to be overdramatic; many people look incredible up into their seventies (76 to be exact), but I am trying to embody more the idea that “there’s no time like the present.” So, along with some other life-changing decisions I’ve been planning for awhile, I’ve decided it’s time to go back and conquer P90X. And I’m going to drag you guys kicking and screaming along with me. Assuming, of course, that you continue reading.

The Extreme Cardboard Box
Here’s what comes in a P90X box: First, a twelve-CD wallet full of twelve different workouts, ranging from weight-lifting to Yoga to extreme jumping. Next, three elastic “fitness bands” that you can take with you when you travel and use to shoot dirty underwear at drunk swing dance instructors. And, finally, an extreme workout guide, which is primarily composed on large black-and-white pictures of dramatically-lit body parts. It also has a few words in it, but not many.  It’s mainly useful for the page with the workout calendar on it, and, honestly, the ripped body parts probably inspire goals more than the words.

Basically, you do a week-long regimen (6 exercises for 6 days, plus a day of rest) for three weeks, then you have a “recovery week” which isn’t actually a recovery week, they just tell you that to make you look forward to it.  It’s actually six more days of exercises, they just add a new one called “Core Synergistics,” which is the DVD equivalent of getting run over by a truck. The second month gives you a couple new exercises to switch it up a bit, and the third month plays around with the order of them all.

Also with all of this is a nutrition guide.

Extreme Nutrition
If 90 days of working out wasn’t enough, there’s also a nutrition plan, the following of which looks like it requires advanced knowledge of bio-chemistry and a good slide rule.

Though I am making a concerted effort to eat healthy foods, I’m going to follow the advice of my Personal Trainer, Marty Klempner, and mainly focus on protein.  (From what I can tell, though, if you follow the work out plan and the diet, it’d be impossible not to see dramatic fat loss.) At five helpings of protein a day, I imagine I’m mainly going to eat a lot of protein bars, powder mixes, and cattle. I’ll review the best and worst of these products throughout the process, as well as keep a running tab on how much money all of this costs me.  At $120, the P90X set is a steal. The true costs, however, come in food, equipment, and time.

P90X takes up a lot of time; After doing the 1-hour plus exercises every day, shopping for all the food and supplies, on top of a day job and teaching dance, I plan on spending my free time sleeping and hopefully running into my girlfriend in the hall from time to time.  Thankfully we have some gigs coming up, so I know we’ll be able to catch up with her during class rotations.

Pre-Training.
From my previous P90X experiences, I know that this is not a workout series for beginners, which is very important for anyone who’s interested in the program. For 90 days of straight physical activity, P90X expects that your body is already used to working out.  I chose Tony Horton’s own 10-Minute Trainer series (http://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/best_sellers/10_minute_trainer.do)
to do for a few weeks before P90X. I bought this workout looking for something to do when I get too busy with life to spend an hour and a half working out everyday like P90X. And, to be honest, this is probably a better deal for someone who has a 9 to 5 job on top of a dancing habit, let alone a family.

My personal Trainer, Marty Klempner.
Anyone who is friends with Marty Klempner has probably seen him not wearing any pants.  So, you know he is a man who feels confined by the restrictions of modern society.  He was once a “nerdy” type who now is very buff, and got that way without P90X.  He loves physical fitness, and I’ve often taken his advice in matters of working out, such as lifting tips and body oil recommendations.  So, he is now the official personal trainer of this blog. When I mention his advice, know that it isn’t coming from P90X, but from someone who understands how scrawny guys work.

Muscle Vs. Shape.
Some people, especially women I have talked to, fear that workout like P90X would leave them a giant mass of muscle. As both Tony Horton and my personal trainer, Marty Klempner, will attest, it’s extremely hard to build muscle in that way. It’s simply not going to happen, especially with the feminine biology, even with an intense program such as this. That’s why professional body builders take horse testosterone. I personally will be going for a little muscle growth, but mainly toning my body and getting the most of the (incredible amounts of) muscle I already have.

The Before pictures
Before we get to what you came here for, i.e., beefcake shots of one Roberto DeWhite, I’m going to have to set the record straight here. Since I’m a moderately scrawny white guy, I don’t think I have the build that makes before and after shots so dramatic. So, I’ve taken a little journalistic liberty here and souped up the pictures a bit. I think you will agree that, like all good “before” pictures, they reflect the proper inner disparity and sadness. Also, I will include before and after pictures of my woman-calves. All of that will have to wait (Sorry, ladies) until the end of the experiment.

Now, since you can find stunning before/after P90X pictures anywhere by googleing, and since this is a swing-dance oriented blog, I’m going to attempt to see how my gain in muscle and cardiovascular strength will have affect in the swing dancing. So, I’ve added BEFORE AERIAL FOOTAGE, BEFORE SPINS (to test balance), and BEFORE SPEED DANCE DRILLS.

Now, to make this scientifically-shaky experiment as sound as possible, I will not “work” on the aerials or speed dancing technique (other than teaching and social dancing) before the 90 days are over. And, if all goes well, my body will be in great shape for bikini season.

So, let’s get started.

Cost so far:

P90X (includes DVDs, book, one tub of recovery formula, and exercise bands):    $200.

Chin-up bar that takes a physicist to put together, and that doesn’t work: (They didn’t mention that it was made for door frames built after 1909) $60

Chin-Up bar that does work: $20

GRAND TOTAL: Approx. $240


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WEEK 1: “PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH MY PEC.”

For the first three weeks, the P90X workout is this:

Day 1: Chest and Back, Day 2: Plyometrics (jumping), Day 3: Shoulders and Arms, Day 4: Yoga, Day 5: Legs and back, Day 6: Kempo (a martial-art type cardio workout), and Day 7: Lying in the fetal position, whimpering (rest day).  On Days 1, 3, and 5, there is an additional Ab workout.

After a week, I’m walking a lot easier than I suspected, though this is only because I’ve taken it very easy in these exercises.  As a dancer, it’s interesting to see how similar learning work-out moves is to learning solo dance steps; our bodies have to be doing exactly a specific thing in order for us to get the effect we want. A person who has never done these exercises before is going to spend awhile getting the form right, and I would recommend that anyone starting off P90X should  go through each workout the first time not worrying about how many push-ups they can do, but simply making sure they’re doing the exercise right.

Otherwise, in just one week, I have a noticeable increase in energy and even see a little difference in the way I look. The main conflict is time; some days of the week I only have an hour free time, relaxation time now used for working out. Thought the workouts tend to energize me and help e get through the day, being obliged to do them during free time is a frustration, and it means I don’t get to see my girlfriend or other friends on those days.

Workout Breakdown: Chest and Back

The first workout everyone in P90X does is “Chest and Back.”  When you see the infomercials, it’s easy to expect P90X would start off the bat with tons of new fangled moves with names involving power tools. However, your first P90X experience is almost nothing but nine different kinds of push-ups and pull-ups.  But around the time you begin to suspect you’ve been cheated out of your money, you start doing them, and any doubt you had in the quality of the workout leaves.

This is where you start to develop a personal relationship with P90X that no one will be able to take away from you—namely, finding out which exercises you absolutely hate.  And everyone‘s different.  (For some reason, I love the Dime-bomber push-ups, but can’t stand the inclined push-ups.)

The workout might not show you anything you haven’t done before, but there’s a reason why such exercises have been around since man first got sand kicked in his face.

Workout  Song: I have a workout playlist, and put it on random every time I work out.  Often, a great song will come on at a time when I need inspiration. For this workout, Adrenaline! by the Roots came on when I was dreading a hated set of push-ups and half way through the song I was ready to tackle anything.

The Next Day, my pecks hurt really bad. Now, my girlfriend has this way of randomly poking me, because she never had a sibling, and for some reason she chose MULTIPLE times to poke me hard in the peck despite my screams of pain and her promise that she forgot and wouldn’t do it again.  I can only assume it’s because the workout made my pecs bulge in such a muscular way that her natural animalistic desire to touch my incredible bod expressed themselves subconsciously in this fashion. Either that or she was getting back at me for leaving a basket of clean laundry on the floor for two weeks.

It’s still there.      

X-TREME COSTS

Doing the first round of push-ups alone lets me know I should get push-up bars to keep my wrists comfortable: I chose Nike’s plastic grip ones, which are relatively cheap. They’re okay, but push-ups might feel more solid (and more extreme) with iron ones. $20

Damnit, I need a solid chair that can I can do all these exercises on. Kate and Nina’s antique chairs keep breaking. Worthless junk…$10 at Target.

Whether it be a can of chicken, an energy bar, or a mixed drink, a serving of protein is about $2. At five a day, that’d be $70 a week; but, it’s easy to miss a serving or get one in a daily meal. So, we’ll call it $50 a week.

TOTAL COST SO FAR: Approx. $325

X-treme Epicurism

Here’s some of the great and terrible energy bars I’ve tasted recently.

Cliff Builder’s Bar (Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, and Chocolate Mint)

Cost:  $21 for 12 from the website. Around $2 a bar in stores.

Protein: 20g

Aftertaste: Lingering taste of clay minimal.

Revue: Clif bars in general are a delicious treat, despite looking like compacted sawdust. Their energy Bar is no exception. It’s one of the best energy bars I’ve tasted. However, it’s easy to see why; coated in cocoa, and using a lot of brown rice syrup, it accounts for 25% of one’s daily saturated fat, so you can’t eat five of them a day for a protein regiment.  The Chocolate Mint was the best, in my opinion; probably because the mint helps cover up some of the cardboard aftertaste you’re bound to get from an energy bar.  Other stats: 0% trans fat; 0% cholesterol; 30g of carbs (10% ); 4% fiber (%16).

Power Bar 20: Vanilla Yogurt

Cost:  $ 1.96

Protein:  20g

Aftertaste:  Not too bad, though the chalky during-taste makes up for the lack of aftertaste.

Revue: This tastes as good as a Powerbar that uses yogurt can get. Which is not good, but at least it’s healthier than the Chocolate-covered bars. I accidentally lost the stats to this one when I washed a pair of work out shorts.

South Beach “Crispy Meal Bar”

Cost:  $2.29

Protein:  19g

Aftertaste:  No strange aftertaste in the peanut-butter; the “cinnamon crème” can linger around a bit.

Revue: At 220 calories, the South beach bar is a diet bar, but still packs tons of protein and tastes delicious. And the Peanut butter flavor is probably the best all-around bar I’ve had yet (for a person who likes peanut butter). It’s got some good-tasting saltiness to its sweetness (15% of daily sodium value), so you don’t feel like you’re having a snack rather than a really disappointing candy bar, like some of the other protein bars. Other stats: 15% of daily fat (0% trans fat), 20% of daily fiber,  9% of your carbs.

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WEEK 2: IT HURTS TO STAND IN THE SHOWER

DAY 14

For the first three weeks, the P90X workout is this:
Day 1: Chest and Back, Day 2: Plyometrics (jumping), Day 3: Shoulders and Arms, Day 4: Yoga, Day 5: Legs and back, Day 6: Kempo (a martial-art type cardio workout), and Day 7: Lying in the fetal position, whimpering (rest day). On Days 1, 3, and 5, there is an additional Ab workout.

I had a strange day the Sunday of my second week of P90X. For no reason I could find, I felt sluggish and spacey. The last thing I wanted to do was workout, but I did it anyway. I took a ton of breaks, drank almost a gallon of water during the workout, and, oddly, did most of the workouts very well. I even finished up with one of the best ab workouts I’ve ever done.

It made me fully realize something about myself that I have noticed in my peripheral vision for awhile, but never stared in the face; What I am capable of and what I think I am capable of are often completely off. And this goes both ways. Some days I feel I will murder a workout, or clean the house, or finish the experimental pop album, and it doesn’t happen. Other days, like this one, all I felt like doing was lying in bed reading all day, but every time I went into a squat, or did a sit-up, I was amazed at how easy it felt and how little it hurt. It makes me think about similar experiences in my dancing, writing, money management, everything. It’s funny how little I know myself.

Also strange: that very night, almost in a row, I drank three glasses of water, one glass of fruit juice, one glass of recovery drink, one glass of sweet tea, and one glass of milk, with no desire to eat food at all. I guess I was dehydrated, but I’m not sure how, as I drank ample amounts of water all weekend.

P90X Chest and Back promo cover
Workout breakdown: PLYOMETRICS

When I first heard about P90X, he mentioned Plyometrics as a particularly good workout for getting in good shape to dance fast Lindy Hop. A workout of jumping moves, its concentration on building the lungs and the thighs does seem to make it perfect for our sport of running around, picking up women, bending with the knees, and throwing them. I have some fun doing this workout, but mainly I have fun knowing that I’m doing this workout. It’s exhausting, everyone on the screen is often in misery, and when you’re done, you can’t help but feel like you’ve really accomplished something difficult. However, be careful, if you give it a little too much, it’s hard to stand up in the shower afterwards.

I have to give major props to Tony for this one. Throughout the workout, he does a great job either trying to distract you or motivate you (or annoy you, depending on how you’re feeling that day) so you don’t think so much about your legs being on fire and your heart rate going through the roof. Also, he has a guy with only one leg do the workout just to remind you that you have no excuse not to do it.

The only thing I don’t like in this workout is a guy named Dominique in the back who jumps really high, that Tony, and a few of my friends, think of as being a plyometric badass. First off, he jumps high, but rarely ever goes low, so it doesn’t seem very impressive, and—something only a dancer would get annoyed at—he’s usually a little off time from the others, which is annoying as hell if I watch him while I work out. To top it off, his form is terrible. Tony, on the other hand, has gorgeous form…he goes low, jumps high, and does it all so fluid that it’s like he’s going slower, which makes Dominique look frantic (It makes me think of great fast dancers.) Some people say they have a goal to keep up with Dominique in the plyo video…I have a goal to take him to plyometric school. (High-fives self.) I’ll let you know how that goes.

Afterthought: This is also one of the first workouts where you begin wondering which of the people in the videos Tony has made out with.

Choice Tony Horton Quote: “This is Pam, we call her ‘Blam!’ ” and “Plyometrics… if you want to perform better on the court…(deuchebag smile) if you want to perform better everywhere… this workout is for you.” (‘Blam’ smiles wryly…have Toney and she…?)

Workout Song: I have a workout playlist, and put it on random every time I work out. Often, a great song will come on at a time when I need inspiration. For this workout, “Dancing Choose” by TV on the Radio gets me through the hard ones.

The Next Day, my legs were sore a little, but most of the time, if I stretch right at the end of the plyo workout, I’ll be fine the next day. I do occasionally break out into spontaneous jumps and see how many I can do, though.

STATS
Total jump moves done in one P90X Plyometric workout: Roughly 900 to 1000

Total Abs crunched (and, supposedly, ripped) so far: 1913

X-TREME COSTS
This week I traveled to teach, which means I had to put my bands and DVD case into a suitcase and hope for an hour or two spare time to do the workouts. The trouble is, my laptop is elderly and prefers to stay home in the easy chair. So, I’m going to need a small DVD player. You can get these for under $100, but after some research, I chose this Sony model, which has had excellent critical praise for its durability and picture quality; After having it for a few months, I agree, it’s great—and it’s been worth it to have for everyday P90X, as well. Also, you’ll need a travel case to keep it safe. Approx. $180.

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-DVP-FX820-8-Inch-Portable-Player/dp/B00139R1TA/ref=pd_bbs_sr_4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1234809089&sr=8-4

Jumping around so much reminds me that I need a new pair of sneakers if I’m going to take care of my joints. I haven’t bought a pair of Nikes in ten years. $60.

It always helps to have some workout music, but, being a brooding minor-key music fan, my Sufjan Stevens and Radiohead playlists won’t cut it. I’ll have to download some new music. $20.

Protein! $50 a week.

TOTAL COST SO FAR: Approx. $630

X-TREME EPICURISM

P90X Recovery Drink
Cost: $40 a tub; (30 drinks—a month’s supply)

Protein: Sadly, only 10g. Perhaps a ploy to get you to also buy their energy bars? I’m not biting.

Aftertaste: None!

Revue: In almost every P90X DVD, Tony Horton can’t help but mention the P90X Recovery drink. It sounds like another pushy salesman pitch from Beachbody.com, but I decided to try it one time just to see what all the fuss was about. I have to say that it is almost worth working out for an hour for just to have an excuse to drink a freezing-cold glass of the stuff while you’re a sweating, exhausted mess. (Purely my opinion). It taste like a melted orange cream popsicle, maybe a little on the grainy side (it is mostly powdered whey, after all). Other than that, it’s chock full of vitamins and minerals.

In the Beachbody Email Newsletter I get, there was even an article about how this stuff is the perfect hangover cure. I wouldn’t go so far as that; a glassful of powdered whey the morning after might become part of the problem rather than part of the solution, but it’s worth a try. The downside is that it doesn’t have much protein in it, considering my eating goals, and it only comes in one flavor, “smooth orange,” which is great unless you don’t like the taste of melted orange cream popsicles. And, of course, as with anything that taste good in these reviews, it’s got a lot of sugar in it.

Beachbody makes a lot of P90X stuff…protein bars, vitamins, horse steroids…but the one Tony really pushes on the DVDs is the recovery drink, for good reason; he knows how much people will like it. A personal tip: When I have about fifteen minutes left in every workout, I mix a glass and put it in the freezer. When I’m done, I pull it out, stir it up again, and slowly dip my balls in it.

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WEEK 3: “It Hurts To Lift My Recovery Drink”
DAY 21

For the first three weeks, the P90X workout is this:
Day 1: Chest and Back, Day 2: Plyometrics (jumping), Day 3: Shoulders and Arms, Day 4: Yoga, Day 5: Legs and back, Day 6: Kempo (a martial-art type cardio workout), and Day 7: Lying in the fetal position, whimpering (rest day). On Days 1, 3, and 5, there is an additional Ab workout.

Now that the Week 2 energy boost has left as quickly as it came, my body is suddenly realizing what I’m putting it through. Almost every day a body part is sore, and if I don’t get eight hours of sleep, I feel beyond terrible. The five regiments of protein a day, though obviously making my performance better, are also having adverse side effects, and my girlfriend, having a sensitive nose, cannot stand to be around me for an hour or two after eating a protein bar.

It’s a tough line to walk well—you have to work hard to get the maximum results from the workout, but if you work too hard, you can’t walk the next day or you get injured and have to stop the regimen. My left arm got tweaked in a concentrated curl, and it hurt to swing-out for a week. I injured a toe (It wasn’t started by P90X, but the workout didn’t help it) and so that’s currently making life difficult. It is, coincidentally, the perfect time for a recovery week, which is happening next week. Maybe it’s planned that way?

P90X Shoulders and ArmsWorkout breakdown: SHOULDERS AND ARMS

Mid-week brings a welcome change of pace from the first two workouts, which give the entire body a rough beating. Shoulders and arms concentrates on the smaller muscles (guess which ones), which means the workout is less of a chore and less soreness the next day. The workout goes through five sets of exercises that target, in order, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. So there’s a ton of curls, chair dips, and exercises that work well with the fitness bands.

As Tony Horton repeats several times in the DVD, the arms start at the shoulders. “Of course, Tony,” I said. “Dur.” But when I thought about it more, and did the workout, I had a hit my-head-moment. In thinking of getting in shape for throwing women around, I envisioned in my head strong thighs and biceps; but that’s wrong. The real answer is strong thighs and shoulders. And biceps. And calves. And back. Everything, really. Anyway, ever since that realization, I look forward to this workout in getting to my goals.

Workout Song: “Outsiders” by Franz Ferdinand. This song helps me out in every workout, but is especially helpful when I do moves I dislike, like Chair dips.

The Next Day, during my morning tooth brush and bicep flex, I look like I could possibly actually have biceps to flex someday. This workout is getting stuff done.

STATS
Total curls done in this workout: 136

Total Abs crunched (and, supposedly, ripped) so far: 3007

X-TREME COSTS

The P90X Elastic Workout Bands get too complicated on several of these exercises: you have “to adjust the loop” repeatedly to find the desired resistance, the ones that came with P90X hurt your wrists, and there’s a lot of opportunity to hit yourself in the face when you change bands. They’re fine for traveling, but I’m going to need weights. Unfortunately, weights can cost about a dollar a pound, which means two 20 pound weights can cost you $40; two 30 pound weights can cost you $60…I chose, instead, these:

http://astore.amazon.com/chanhobb0a-20/detail/B000VDTFZ2

The adjustable weights take a few seconds to adjust, but overall, it’s been a great economic decision, especially since we have very tight living space. However, if you can afford the real weights and a place to store them all, they would be a care-free option. Until you move, that is. $160 (2 for $80 each at Target)

My t-shirts are making the arm moves a little annoying; I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m going to need a tank top or two. Though, for the sake of your self-esteem, go for tightly-fitted and order a smaller size than you might think. (Explanation below) $10 (clearance at The Gap. Though, I guess I could also just cut off your shirt sleeves, Mac “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” style.)

Protein! $50 a week.

TOTAL COST SO FAR: Approx. $865

X-TREMELY HUMILIATING PERSONAL STORY

When I was in college, I usually did a swing choreography once a year for the annual dance showcase. One year they had a Argentine Tango number, and since I was one of the only guys who had actually done partnership dancing in the entire school, they asked me to do it. The other people the choreographer asked was her boyfriend and all his friends: football players.

For the costumes, they chose to have white tank tops (“wife-beaters,”) and tux pants for the men. Aside from the fact that I’m extremely white already, let alone under bright stage lights and without make-up, I mistakenly said that I would take care of my costume. At the time, I wore large t-shirts, and assumed that a large tank top would do.

At the performance, the audience saw a row of extremely built black and tan football players in skin-tight wife-beaters, and one wirey, scrawny guy in a sagging tank top that blended with the bright white color of his skin.

I was pared with a woman bigger than me, with voluptious curves, who looked strange compared to the other ballerinas on stage, but she was extremely charismatic and captivating, and was one of those people who didn’t just perform, she made love to an audience (and all with her eyes; she had gorgeous eyes). It amazed me that she was more than happy to work with me, despite my lack of muscles and a fitted tank top. When I think back to those performances, and remember the way we looked into each others eyes as we moved in front of the audience, I like to think that the scrawny guy and the curvy girl might have showed them that dancing is so much more than a look.

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WEEK 4: “Breathe, damnit, BREATHE! Yoga Extreme!”
DAY 28

Since I have finished the first three weeks, this week is a “recovery week,” which, if you remember, is only called a recovery week to trick you into actually pushing play on the Core Synergistics workout. We’ll talk about that workout in Week 8.

Day 1: Core Synergistics , Day 2: Yoga, Day 3: Stretch, Day 4: Yoga, Day 5: Core Synergistics, Day 6: Kempo (a martial-art type cardio workout), and Day 7: Lying in the fetal position, whimpering (rest day).

As a swing dancer, one of the hardest things to do is keep up the P90X workout schedule during a workshop weekend. When was the last time you had an hour and a half a day at an event to workout, let alone felt like doing so, between the eight hours of classes and five hours of dancing a day?

When it finally is time to workout, you usually have to pass up meals or invitations with friends—friends you never get to spend a lot of quality time with because you spend most workshop weekends either in class or at a dance. Or, you have to wake up early, which means you either have no sleep or you have to miss a bunch of a dance in order to get sleep, neither of which is good if you’re a hired teacher hoping to impress.

That said, one of the things I’m proudest of in P90X is how I’ve kept with it at long work weekends. This means that the second I arrive, I have to find time and a six by six piece of floor. My luggage now is quickly filled with a yoga mat, fitness bands, push-up bars, and sneakers. (One weekend I forgot to pack sneakers, and so I had to do my workout in the living room of a crowded house wearing old man socks and loafers. You have to quickly not get embarrassed about working out in front of your friends or strangers).

P90X Yoga xWorkout breakdown: YOGA-X

After twenty Downward Dogs (with push ups) into the Yoga-X workout, you start to wonder if your workout is going to be nothing but an hour and a half of discomfort. But, the Downward dogs, triangle poses, warrior threes, and twisting prayer poses only last for about 50 minutes of the workout. The rest are balance exercises, which are fun as hell (for me, anyway), stretching, and, of course, a Tony Horton Ab Yoga workout.

The romantic in me imagined that Yoga would be a peaceful, calming experience where I could mediatate and loose stress, but in reality, I have a few leftover traces of my 12-year-old ADD, and the sheer length of this program makes it really hard for me to enjoy it. When I really work hard in this workout, I have to take breaks three or four times, which push the already long experience into almost 2 hours of time. And most of that two hours is holding a tricky position for many seconds and breathing.

But, from what I’ve heard from people who actually do Yoga, this workout is a killer. I have trouble touching my toes anyway, and so I had to get a yoga block and some stretch straps to help me actually get good stretching done when I do the workout. This workout kills me softly, and, I swear by the ability of this workout to improve balance. After a few months of this, you’ll be a cat.

Afterthought: Dude, Tony’s “OHM”s last, like, 7 minutes each. The guy has lungs.

Choice Tony Horton Quote: Near the end, he finds a natural place to recite the “I got shot in the buttocks” monologue from Forest Gump, accent and all, just to remind you of the peaceful and spiritual experience Yoga is supposed to be.

Workout Song: As I mentioned earlier in this journal, my taste in music tends more towards brooding guys with literary degrees and/or synthesizers, or early David Bowie. Pumping iron to Radiohead feels like trying to play baseball in a Library. (Though, some early David Bowie songs work really well.) However, many of these songs are perfect for Yoga. “Sliding Down” by Edgar Meyer and Bela Fleck, which is one of the prettiest songs I’ve ever heard, reminds me of being at college and walking around a mountain in the fog, which is a great place to spend my Yoga.

The Next Day, I feel great. Almost good enough to want to do the legs DVD. And, for an update, I can now comfortably touch my toes after five Yogas, and do a range of “stupid human stretch” tricks I never could before. I think getting a Yoga block and stretch strap helpped a lot.

X-TREME COSTS

Yoga Block. How in the world can a peace of foam be $10?

Yoga mat, for traveling out of town. $20.

!Mui Protein! $50 a week.

TOTAL COST SO FAR: Approx. $945

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