P90X2: Day 1

Part One


A few days ago the large box containing P90X2 was propped against my door. For those who don’t know, P90X is a 90-day workout DVD program put out around a decade ago that basically attempted to cover all fitness bases, and was also known for its lively trainer Tony Horton. Well, a new 90-day workout called P90X2 has just come out, and I’ll be reviewing it in addition to main Swungover posts (so for those of you subscribers who hoped the P90X hype was on the downhill and wouldn’t invade your privacy again, I apologize.) Also, I’m going to save my editor Chelsea from editing this series and self-edit it myself. But, you know, be prepared. Get a helmet or something.


Guys, I’m not going to lie. I haven’t been keeping up with workouts much this fall, and, really, there’s not much excuse. However, I’ll go ahead and give you some. (And then debunk them.)

1. Ever since P90X2 was announced, I used that for my goal date of getting back into a program. But, it took a longer to come out than I suspected. First off, a program like P90x2 is technically designed for people who are already in shape, used to working out. Starting a program like P90X2 cold just makes it even more difficult than it already is. For instance, your tiny hip flexors—if those have taken a few weeks off from working out, you’re going to be toast after the first twenty minutes of most P90X work outs, and your big muscles won’t get much of a workout because of it. So, I decided I should prepare for P90X2 after all, and I began exercising again. I did a good job with that until…

2. I got so busy with so many other things. But that’s not really an excuse. It’s a choice. It’s a choice to put other things above working out. If you want time, you’ll find it. I remember that from the first time I did P90X straight through. Though, while I was busy, it was obvious that…

3. I couldn’t find the energy to work out. But, here’s the thing: Lethargy breeds lethargy, energy breeds energy. Though there have been days in my life where I absolutely despise spending an hour in that gym, the rest of my life is much more full of energy and concentration and self-confidence when I workout a few days a week than when I don’t. It’s not like working out makes you feel like you’re on speed or anything; it’s a very subtle feeling. One you sometimes only notice when you’ve lost it. However, it was true that I couldn’t work out for two weeks because…

4. Huge grad school assignments were due. Alright, this is actually a pretty good excuse, since doing well in grad school is currently more important to me than working out. However, in the past I’ve known workouts to clear my head and refresh me mentally. So, there’s a possibility it might have even helped.

Despite my excuses, the big box of P90X2 came, and I cracked open a coke and sat on the couch to watch the introduction DVD.

P90X2 puts you through three phases. The first phase (first four to seven weeks, depending on how long you feel you should stay in it) concentrates on foundation. The second phase is about strength building (another four to seven), and the third, performance (one month). The idea is that the more solid your foundation, the more you have to build on, which makes sense; it’s the same for dancing, the same for writing, and, I imagine, almost everything else you do. So, for these first few weeks, the workouts will be heavy in core and balance. Overall, almost all the exercises look like they will engage the core in various ways. For instance, push ups are now done mostly on medicine balls and tons of exercises use large stability balls. I’m surprised: the advertisements say P90X has evolved into something new, and it actually looks like it has. It’s not just a marketing tool.

Now, I’ll be doing the program, however I’m not going to stick to the strict 90 day program. There are a few reasons why. I think a list of the pros and cons of doing a strict 90-day workout program will help explain:

—Fastest way to achieve results.
—You learn a lot about how you CAN fit working out into your life, no matter what. In this sense, it makes you stronger, character wise. (At least, it did for me.)
—You feel you’ve really accomplished something by sticking to it.
—Some would argue it gets you into a habit or working out, but more on this in the cons.

—Creates in some the habit of “binging” your workouts. By doing so much working out in a row, the next thing you’re going to want to do is take a break, which you deserve after working out so hard for so long. Basically, it builds the habit to work out a lot, get sick of it, take a break, go back on a work out binge, get sick of it, etc.
—Makes you less likely to take a break when you’re near injury. The momentum one builds and the pressure one puts on oneself to stay on schedule makes it easy for many to put their goals above their safety.
—Working out so much all the time keeps you from having extra energy to spare for other physical activities. My original goal in working out was to have more energy and strength to do dancing and athletics. During my first run of P90X, the goal of working out slowly became to have more energy to work out.
—Increase pressure of being strict means an increase in guilt when you don’t want to or can’t work out. Too many people let guilt rule their lives in working out (and, well, in general), and a 90-day P90X program is HARD. So, starting it with pressure to do it every day for 90 days and failing adds a lot to people’s guilt and makes working out in the future seem like even more of a chore for them rather than less.
—Over all, fast results aren’t the same as lasting results. My goal now is to develop healthy workout habits that support my outside life, not take away from it. (To those who read my series on P90X PLUS, a lot of this is already familiar, as I was really trying to tackle these problems then, as well.)

So, I’ll be following a few simple rules:

Dancing comes first. My major physical priority is to become a better dancer. Though lifting weights and doing yoga will certainly help, it won’t help as much as actually working on my dancing. So, every day before I work out, I will think about how that will effect my work on my dancing. For instance: At Lindy Focus, I want most of my energy spent on teaching classes, dancing a ton, and preparing for performances. So I won’t be working out every day at Lindy Focus.

During workouts, I will do the best I can, then stop. And I won’t worry about it. If I did just five push ups when everyone in the video did 50, I won’t worry about. As long as I did what I could. In the past I’ve beaten myself up about such things, and pushed myself so hard that I could hardly walk the next day (more than a few times.) Those things make it even harder to go do a workout. It’s not a healthy workout habit.

Patience. Health, fitness, habits: they aren’t built in a day. Or even months. Or even in one workout program (though that’s a great place to start.) When I remember that even the greatest houses are built one brick at a time, it reminds me to not let impatience ruin my chances for success.

Working-out may or may not be a priority. Some days working out will be a priority. Other days will have different priorities, such as homework, relaxation time, etc. I may or may not get to working out, and it may or not have a lot of energy to do it. However, if I am honest with myself about what my priorities are, and have lived that day to make sure those priorities are covered, then I’m doing what’s best for me.

And that’s my ultimate goal in doing P90X2: To do what’s best for me.

(Note: For many, doing the program 90 days straight may be exactly what’s best for them. That certainly was the case for me the first time I did it. I spent my life as a lit/drama geek who thought doing such a physical activity just wasn’t possible for him. I proved myself wrong, and can’t really describe how important that was to me.)

Workout: X2 Core

The first workout you do in P90X2 is X2 Core, a relatively calm workout that sure as hell sneaks up on you. On the whole, though, I’m impressed with the new additions, which might at first appear like gimmicks, but actually provide just the type of workout experience I like best. The foam roller (more info below), the medicine ball and the stability ball are all used throughout the workout, and trying to balance yourself on them while doing push ups, planks, and leg exercises gives this ADD exerciser enough to think about while the minutes pass. At the end of the hour, I wasn’t very sweaty, but certainly couldn’t do one more push up on a medicine ball. I’m looking forward to the rest of P90X2. I think it’ll be my kind of workout.

Also, a note on Tony. Tony has, especially over the P90X PLUS and One-On-One DVDs, grown a lot more comfortable being a goofball, and it fits him really nicely. Whereas in the first P90X he could come off as a little too LA-Trainer-ish, his attitude on the first P90X2 disc makes tackling these workouts a lot more fun and inviting.

New Toys: Foam Roller

I LOVE. L.O.V.E. love the foam Roller. I had never seen one used before this first DVD, but the new warm ups for P90X2 are mostly all rolling around on a foam roller. I don’t know why I’ve never seen one before, and now can’t wait to use mine after long dance weekends. My IT band feels fantastic, and now I don’t have to wait for a massage to work it again. Good job, P90X2, not just going with a gimmick; you’ve already sold me on the foam roller. Now I’m wishing I had splurged on the one with the teeth.

6 responses to “P90X2: Day 1”

  1. Have you looked into minimalist compound movement workouts?

    Leangains uses inverted pyramid progressions on 4-5 compound movements used 3x a week. Uses weights.

    You are your own gym (YAYOG) is a 10 week progression broken into 2-4 week periods, 4 to 5 times a week. (Currently what I am doing) and is totally body weight.

    These types of programs are time efficient, functional, and allows more time and steam dancing.


  2. I call my foam roller The Roller of Death because it hurts so bad, but it loosens up that IT band.

  3. “Makes you less likely to take a break when you’re near injury. The momentum one builds and the pressure one puts on oneself to stay on schedule makes it easy for many to put their goals above their safety.”

    As someone who had to stop P90X because I have to currently recover from a P90X-induced shoulder injury, I can’t second this enough.

    …stupid rotator cuffs…

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