Like so many people, in high school I was a dedicated athlete. In college, I was less dedicated, but I was always active. Since then though, I’ve become a bit more sedentary. I work on the farm on the weekends and some evenings in the summer, but my full time job consists primarily of a desk, chair and computer. I also spend 2+ hours a day commuting. By the time I get home, all that sitting has worn me out, so I stand long enough to cook dinner and typically find myself sitting on the couch for the rest of the evening.
I’ve made some efforts at staying in shape – several years ago I did a few 5k races, I still play slowpitch softball when the weather’s good, and 4 years ago David and I attempted the original P90X program. We liked the workouts, but they were long – 1 hour minimum plus 15 minutes of abs. For our busy schedules, that just wasn’t sustainable 6 days a week. I think we made it about halfway through the 90 days before one missed day led to another and then another.
Fast forward a few years, and we were both tired all the time and just generally not feeling great. I gained some weight, and had been trying to eat less, but it just wasn’t working. We had been hearing about Tony Horton’s latest effort – P90X3, so I looked it up. All of the workouts are 30 minutes, which sounded so much more do-able. We started working out right before Christmas, but then took a break for the holidays. We felt the extra stress of squeezing workouts between family dinners and traveling wasn’t worth it. As soon as we got home from Christmas in Illinois, though – we started the program for real.
The program consists primarily of three three-week-long blocks with transition weeks in between. Each week includes 6 workouts, but the transition weeks are lower-intensity, presumably allowing your body to recover a bit. You don’t need a lot of equipment – we have a small variety of dumbbells, a doorway pull-up bar and yoga mats. The program works a lot of different muscle groups and puts a lot of emphasis on functional things like core strength, balance and flexibility that actually impact your everday health and well-being (not just make you a better athlete). I should also note that we aren’t doing the P90X diet or using shakeology, but we have been trying to eat healthier meals, and I’ve been focusing on smaller portions. After his workouts, David has been drinking chocolate milk, a good substitute for a protein shake.
Monday, December 29th was Day 1 and, yesterday was Day 45! We’re halfway through, and still going strong! In 6 weeks I think I’ve only missed 2 workouts. As we had hoped, it has been so much easier to find the time and energy for a 30 minute workout than an hour or more. I generally have more energy, I’m getting fewer headaches and my clothes are fitting better. I will say, though – I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t lost any weight – not a pound. Sure I’m building muscle, and my waist is smaller, but I’d like to see the number on my scale drop, too.
Sometimes I wonder if 30 minutes is long enough, but Tony has repeatedly assured us that it is (at this point we’ve memorized many of his lines). We’ve got 45 days to go, and I’ve made a few additional diet changes, so time will tell if weight loss is in the cards. If you’re dealing with some of the same issues and looking for a workout program you can actually stick with – so far, I’d definitely recommend P90X3. And while I’m not completely dreading tonight’s Eccentric Lower workout, I’m really looking forward to that lower-intensity transition week next week!