Thursday, July 15, 2010

90 days (and a bit) later

Hey everyone I'm back on the WoW scene!

This is a quick post and it's mostly about my P90X experience. I've just noticed some of your comments on my 28 days later post and I appreciate both your interest as well as your funny comments.

I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't read (nor responded) to any comments these past 3 months. I've also kept completely away from WoW and I became kind of disconnected from it all. During the last month more and more information has started trickling from the Cataclysm beta and it got me all interested so in the end I caved in and returned to WoW temporarily.

Going back to P90X, I am proud to announce that I have completed the full program. It wasn't easy but I did it. I won't be posting pictures anytime soon because I'm still not happy with how I look and I plan to complete at least another cycle of P90X before I can call myself satisfied.

Now, there really are changes. I've gained some weight but not much, yet most of that is muscle. Strangely my fat percentage is about the same and that's what bothers me. On the other hand I've never been more generally fit in my whole life. I can do things that I never thought I'd be able to. One of those is "clapping push-ups" (or however the hell they are called). You know, the ones where you lift your body in the air and clap your hands. OK, here's a link which explains it.

My feelings for the P90X program are mixed. It's an amazing program, no doubt. Yet, I feel that any other program, if performed to a similar intensity, would have the same results. It's unavoidable that if you train hard for 3 months there will be improvements.

Because my goal wasn't to lose weight but instead to gain some muscle and especially definition, I'm not 100% satisfied with how things turned out. It's not the program's fault though. The truth is, I haven't followed the nutrition guide because frankly I find it impossible without a dedicated cook who can prepare all those meals for me. To compensate, I continued to eat as healthy as I could, which I try to do anyway.

To gain all this muscle I also ingested a ton of protein concentrate to the amount of about 5lbs a month. Sadly, I've found that for weight/strength training I need a lot of protein and that can't really be assimilated from regular food. Yeah so I guess if I had probably eaten leaner, I might have had better results.

Having said that, I'm still in better shape than I was before I started. My wife says I look muscular, some random people have noticed it and even I can see it in the mirror. Let's not kid ourselves though. The people in the P90X ads didn't get to look like that after a single cycle. If you look on the company's forums there are lots of real-life before/after pictures from regular Joes and the general pattern seems to be that these people complete several cycles before they get to look ripped. Some of them go at it for a year or two.

Regarding the exercises, there are many annoying ones. Make no mistake, this program is hard. The secret is to keep pushing "play", as the trainer, Tony Horton, never tires of saying. I won't lie, I did skip a few days but those were usually the 7th day (which is reserved for stretching and is optional anyway) or occasionally a cardio day. I did modify some days, especially the yoga ones. I really hate the yoga program. It's easily the hardest of them all and it drags the longest too, for 1:30 hours. Instead, I did an optional cardio workout which is half the length but to me seems just as intense, if not more so.

Now that summer is here and I'm done with my first cycle of P90X I've decided to change my workout schedule a bit and leave P90X to the side for a while. I've gone back to training with free weights and this allows me to train for shorter lengths of time but with higher intensity (basically no breaks between sets, except when changing the weights). For cardio I have the option of doing one of the P90X cardio workouts or jogging. I have yet to jog because the weather has been unbearably hot and humid these past few weeks.

The lighter schedule also permits me to return for another month to WoW and complete some unfinished business before Cataclysm hits.

But more on that in a future post.


Roger said...

Welcome back! Thanks for your update on the P90X. I actually have purchased it base on your earlier recommendation, but am just getting started with it.

I'm also glad to hear you are playing again, since as a solo player myself, I have always thoroughly enjoyed your posts. Looking forward to more!

Anonymous said...

As a P90X graduate myself, I know where you're coming from! I do have to say that the nutritional part of it is WAY more important than the actual working out if you want to see anything similar to the results on the cover. The first month I was really strict and I lost a ton of weight. The next two months i wandered off the diet trail a few times, but like you I "ate healthy". The results over those last 2 months were nothing like when I was strict. Diet is everything!

I'm going on vacation next week but after that I'm going to fire up another 90 days, and I'm going to be super strict this time. Can't wait!

Darth Solo said...

@Roger good deal man! Just keep going and don't give up. You didn't mention anything about your current level of fitness but perseverance is the key. The first couple of weeks are the hardest but after that it should be slightly easier though you'll be just as sore from week to week.

@ShirtFight I plan to re-do the whole program but not just yet. It's a good idea to take a break between the 90-day cycles by doing other kinds of workout. Yeah, the nutrition is probably the biggest thing here but I wasn't interested in losing weight, in fact I wanted to gain some because I'm a bit light. My biggest thing is that I need to get rid of the layer of fat which covers my muscles because I do have decent muscle mass.

Anonymous said...

A clean, concise and honest P90 review. I applaude you. In the era of before-after (fake) pictures... your article is a breath of fresh air :)

Darth Solo said...

Thanks. Like I said, I think that the "stories" featured on the official site are not very real. The pictures of ordinary people on the forums on the other hand are real and most people have gone through several cycles before they ended up like that.

A big part in the effectiveness of any workout is the type of body that you posses. Some people are naturally muscular and it's a cinch for them to lose weight and gain muscle. Others have more stubborn bodies that require a lot more exercise to get into shape. I'm a bit in the second category.

If I had stuck to the nutrition plan it might have made a greater difference.

There are so many variables involved here that it's a bit misleading the way they advertise the program. They are suggesting that you'll end up ripped after the first 90 days but in reality it's not like that. I do admit that the program gets you in very good physical shape but if you want to look a certain way, you need more than one cycle.