Sunday, August 5, 2012


The following posts were written in 2010 when I started the P90X workout program.  Read the posts from the bottom to the top for proper chronological order.

I continued doing P90X, or variations that I created of the P90X program, until mid-2012 when I switched to a program based more on weightlifting.  More on that later.

2010-08-16T08:52:19.082-07:00 The first day of the rest of my workout... Today was my first post-P90X workout.  Chest and back.  It was great.  I hope I will be able to sustain this in the long-term.  Today was also my first day using the Bowflex Dumbells that I purchased for myself off Amazon (and struggled to get home from work).  They work amazingly well.  I'm really happy with that purchase so far.

2010-08-14T08:36:38.743-07:00 P90X concluded This week was week #13 - my final recovery week, and the conclusion of P90X.  I ended up not following the recovery program this week, instead resting, jogging, and doing some elliptical back at the gym, a place I hadn't been to in 3 months.  Some reflections:

    • Although my "transformation" was not as dramatic as those on YouTube or on the P90X website, it was dramatic for me.  My weight dropped 10 pounds from a high of 153 to the current 143.  Next week I will have a body fat dunk tank test, and we'll see how far down my body fat decreased from 23.1% in February (I am guessing at least 3-4%).  My eventual goal is 15%.
    • My muscle tone and strength has visibly changed.  As measured by pullups, I went from being able to do 50 a week to 140 a week, and from 3 chin-ups at a time to 10+.  And when I look at myself in the mirror, I see visible change.  
    • I know the changes I have experienced, both weight loss, fat loss, and muscle tone increase, would not have happened with my prior gym routine.  I've learned the importance of muscle confusion, and even if I go back to the gym, I will implement that into my workouts.
So where to from here?  I've taken the P90X workouts and crafted my own set of 2 workouts, which I'll alternate between each week, with a rest week thrown in ever 4.  That way I can continue to work out at home, and continue to experience change. 

2010-08-03T12:34:29.309-07:00 Almost there... I'm now mid-way through the second to last week of my 3 month regime.  I signed up for the dunk tank fat test at work in 2 weeks, which will be perfect timing to see the results.  I did the first dunk tank back in February, and had 23.1% body fat.  I'm hoping for around 20% if not lower this time, which I think is likely based on my at-home fat testing.

The P90X routines are now familiar to me, but still very challenging.  The muscle confusion element keeps my body from getting used to the routines, and I find this many times more effective in terms of exercise than my old routines.

Today was plyometrics (jumping around).  It once again kicked my butt.  Although I'm no longer getting as sore as I did 3 months ago when I first started. 

2010-07-30T22:56:17.873-07:00 Bowflex I purchased and assembled my Bowflex dumbell stand.  The matching weights haven't arrived yet ... but I have a stand for them!

2010-07-24T17:05:58.821-07:00 First week back I finished my first week back after a 2 week break.  It was tough to get back into P90X.  I felt lazy a lot.  But once I completed a workout I felt really good.  I'm not sure that 6:30am is the best time for my workouts, but I have a hard time fitting it into another time during the day.

The two week break didn't seem to set me back too much.  I did the same number of reps and pull ups as I had done prior, but I do feel a bit more fatty and I was quite sore after my chest workout.  I'm also trying to maintain the diet plan, but carbs have crept back into my diet.  Despite the break and more carbs, my weight and fat % have essentially held steady over the last few weeks.

This next week I will be focusing on pushing myself more on P90X, and focusing back on the nutrition plan.  Although I achieved my initial weight goal (145) in the first few weeks of P90X, I will likely now lower the goal to 140, and achieve that by the end of P90X in mid-August. 

2010-07-18T22:24:40.611-07:00 Restart P90X starts up again tomorrow after a two-week break.  I had to take two weeks off due to a week that I spent traveling, and then a week that I spent recovering from a cold.  The break was nice - I am no longer sore!  And feeling rested.  But lazy and lethargic.  It will be good to restart my workout regime.  I hope I have not regressed too much.  My weight has not changed, but I think I may have lost some strength.  In any event, I'm in this for the long-run! 

2010-06-30T09:20:07.456-07:00 Week 9 update Sorry for the lack of more frequent updates, but there's not a whole lot to talk about once the program is underway.  I'm now in Phase II, week 9.  Next week I'm taking a vacation, so it will be my rest week.  Then I will return for Phase III.

I have made a few modifications to the program:
- I have stopped recording my nutrition info.  It was taking a lot of time, and I felt I had incorporated the low-carb high-protein diet enough as a habit that I didn't need to keep track of it.  I have allowed myself more healthy carbs (2-3 servings) in Phase II than in Phase I to boost my energy.  As a result, my weight has remained steady rather than declining.  In Phase III I will likely reduce carbs and calories a bit to lose a few more pounds.
- I use the x-stretch more often than the Yoga.  The Yoga is long and relatively boring, and I find the x-stretch is better for stretching my muscles after intensive workout days.

I've also started thinking about what I will do once the 12 weeks of the initial P90X is over:
- I will take 2 weeks off, let my body recover fully, do some running, maybe light weights back in the gym.
- After the break I will continue to do P90X, but a modified version.  I have created two weekly routines which I will alternate.  I'll post those routines here closer to when I start them.  Basically, I will maintain the intensity of the current program.

Results:  I don't think my results thus far are comparable to many of the YouTube results videos... but that's primarily because the people who post their videos on YT are likely the extreme results.  I am extremely happy with the results thus far.  It far exceeds what I would have been able to achieve using my old gym routine.

2010-06-09T08:52:54.992-07:00 Back and bicepts It feels good to be on week 5.  Chest and tri exercises on Monday left my chest sore, which I like.  Pylo jumping yesterday was a tough, good workout.  Today's back and bicep routine felt really good.  Neither back nor bicep has been by strong suit: I have a really hard time doing pullups, and I never really focused on bicep curls in the past.  Doing 50 minutes of both is challenging.  I can tell I'm slowly getting better at pullups - before P90X, I'm not sure I was even able to do one front-facing pullup, but now I can do 5-6.  Underhand chinups are still my favorite and easiest.

2010-06-07T07:20:55.315-07:00 Week 5 Recovery week is over, and I am glad.  It was a bit too slow for what I'm used to.  Today kicked off week 5 with Arms, Shoulders, and Triceps.  It was a challenging workout with a lot of pushups and tricep extensions. I can do the pushups ok (except the one-arm pushups), but I have weak triceps, so I was not very good at those.

Looking at my nutrition data from the three weeks before I started P90X and my first Phase (weeks 1-4), I clearly increased protein, veggies, and dairy, while decreasing fruit, carbs, and fats.  Total calories increased only slightly.  All good news.  If I can maintain my current nutrition long-term, I'll be quite happy.

2010-06-04T07:28:19.977-07:00 First recovery week (week 4 total) My first recovery week is coming to a close.  This week has been mostly stretches, yoga, and Core Synergistics.  Without a doubt, Core Synergistics is the best full-body workout I've done.  It is fatiguing.  However, I am looking forward to resuming the full workout schedule next week with more intense weights.  In my old workout routine, recovery weeks came by accident... if I took a vacation or got sick.  P90X forces a recovery week once every 4 weeks, which I think is much better for the body.

2010-05-31T19:07:18.778-07:00 Ouch, my legs! During Phase I, my Legs and Back day was Saturday.  The first week, I could barely walk on Sunday.  Second week, same thing.  So this last week I figured between the first two weeks and all the yoga and stretching I've been doing, I should be pretty much good to go.  No such luck.  Sunday was painful.  But that's a good thing.  I can feel muscles in my legs that I've never felt before.  So I view muscle soreness as a welcome result.

Today starts my first recovery week.  I started with Yoga, which I generally dislike, but I welcomed it today, mainly due to the leg stretches.

2010-05-27T12:15:03.766-07:00 An Alternative to Yoga Yoga has been interesting, but I only find the first half to be useful.  So today in lieu of the normal yoga routine I did stretching.  The stretching video actually uses a lot of yoga, so I felt it was a good use of time. Then I did my Ab X routine carried over from yesterday, so I'm all caught up.

I can definitely see changes in my muscle tone, this has been a good investment of money and time so far.

2010-05-25T09:20:07.379-07:00 Chest and Back; Abs; Pylometrics Chest and Back yesterday was tough.  I think my energy level was low (since I do this workout before eating breakfast), and I didn't sleep well the night before.  The first time through I did well, and exceeded last week's reps and weight.  But the second time through I was exhausted.  Ab Ripper in the evening was good, I can tell I can do the oblique exercises better than the first time I did it.

Pylo (jumping) this morning was a good workout, I was sweating a lot, and felt like the cardio was a good workout!

2010-05-24T05:56:05.923-07:00 Legs and Back Legs and Back week 2 was definitely easier than week 1.  I had better balance, and I was able to do more of the pullups.  I was definitely sore after. This means the end of week two, and the start of week three, which is the last of the three weeks of repetitive exercises.  Week four will start a new routine with some new exercises, which I am looking forward to as I'm already growing a bit bored with the current routine.  I worry that I'm not getting as much cardio as I am used to, since I currently only have two days of cardio.  But I understand that too much cardio means burning muscles.

2010-05-21T08:22:14.730-07:00 Kenpo I'm doing Kenpo on Friday rather than Saturday, because the Friday workout of legs and back plus abs is 90 minutes long, and I can't fit that into my Friday schedule.  Last week I complained that I wasn't very good at Kenpo.  I've never been very coordinated.  But today I was able to do most of the Kenpo moves, with the exception of the "star" maneuver, which seems like an overly complicated set of movements! 

2010-05-20T21:57:39.399-07:00 Yoga Today is yoga day.  I did half this morning, and didn't topple over, which indicates my balance is growing!

I am increasingly believing that the second half of the yoga video is not very interesting or helpful.  If I enjoyed yoga as meditation, then I think I would find it useful, but from a fitness perspective, I don't think it's doing much.  I may substitute cardio for that in the future. 

2010-05-19T07:13:27.954-07:00 Shoulders and Arms, Week 2 Shoulders and arms was easier this week than last week, and I was able to increase the weight I was using, but I am still unable to do the Side-Tri-Rise.  My tricepts have never been properly worked out before, and I think it will be a while before I can do that exercise.

Since starting P90X I haven't lost any significant weight, I am still sitting at my goal weight of 145, but I know additional fat must be getting replaced by muscle, so I am ok with that. 

2010-05-18T07:51:15.947-07:00 Pylometrics, week 2 First off, I'm not as sore today as I was a week ago after doing chest and back for the first time.

Pylometrics was challenging today - I worked up quite a sweat.  But I completed everything, and it didn't feel as challenging as last week.  I didn't lose my balance.  So far this has been the most cardio-intense workout of P90X.

I'm not sure if it's the 7 pound weight loss or the exercises or a combination of the two, but I can definitely start to see body tone changes.

 2010-05-17T07:33:53.816-07:00 Chest and Back - week 2 Starting week 2.  Week 1 was definitely worth it - the best one week of working out I've had in 9 years of gym membership.

Chest and back was hard today.  Harder than the first week, maybe because I knew what was coming.  I did the same number of reps as last week, but not more.  The pullups are giving me the most trouble because I have never had good pull-up skills.  I think I need to get a heavy band and do band pullups to strengthen my back, until I can do >5 pullups on the bar.

I will say though that I am proud that I do every set to failure, which I know is the most important part of this.

 2010-05-15T21:34:00.263-07:00 Withings Scale About 6 months ago I bought a Withings Wifi Body Scale:

I bought it because it integrates with Google Health, and second because it's got WiFi, and that's cool.  In addition to weight, it tracks body fat.  The website interface can import (and export) data in CSV format.  The graphs are useful for tracking progress over time.  The fat % seems to fluctuate a lot day to day, and it's important to weigh yourself at the same time each day.  It's an expensive scale, but it's very functional, and I found it to be worth the investment.

 2010-05-15T18:37:57.302-07:00 Ab Ripper X I finished up the week 1 program with Ab Ripper X.  I am able to do about 85% of Ab Ripper X, which makes me proud since I've never really had good abs.  That is one of my goals coming out of this program is to have stronger abs.  The 15 minute ab workout is quite an accomplishment compared to the 100 situps I used to do in the sit-up machine at the gym.  Having a protein bar to treat myself and get more protein after this workout.

I had planned to do the stretch program tomorrow (day 7), but I am going to be out of town, so I will probably do nothing tomorrow, which is fine according to the schedule.

 2010-05-15T10:46:30.530-07:00 Kenpo X I've never been very good at coordinated aerobics.  I always get lost in step aerobics classes, and the one time I did kickboxing I was horribly lost.  Kenpo is kickboxing.  I still got lost with some of the moves, but I was able to keep up for the most part, and I think after repeating it many times I'll have it down.

I was expecting Kenpo to leave me drenched in sweat.  It was a good workout, and the 60 minutes went fast because I was constantly moving, but I was just starting to break a sweat.  Maybe I need to do it with more intensity next time.

I don't really want to shell out more money to P90X for their "recovery drink" so I went to Target and got some protein powder.  I had been using yummy Clif Builder bars, but they have sugar in them, and the protein powder is more just protein and some supplements.

2010-05-14T23:48:17.274-07:00 Legs and Back I liked today's Leg and Back workout.  It didn't repeat the entire workout, just a few exercises, so the variety was nice.  Most of the leg work was lunges, which I haven't done much of previously.  The squats against the wall are particularly difficult.  The L&B session ends with the Ab Ripper X session, so although the DVD is 75 minutes long, the last 15 minutes are the same as the Ab Ripper X DVD.  The back exercises were a variety of pullups, which I still can't do very well, but I can do them better than I could when I first started doing pullups.

2010-05-14T07:55:46.336-07:00 Yoga Yoga was tough, not so much because of the moves (which I can't do as well as the videos, but they're not impossible), but because it's kind of boring... for 90 minutes.  So I had to split it into two days.  I did 45 minutes yesterday, and the "balancing" portion today.  Hopefully yoga will make me more bendy!

The soreness in my upper body from the chest/back/shoulder exercise days is mostly gone.  I'm still feeling some soreness in my upper legs from the jumping exercises, but that's starting to subside as well.  The next exercise is legs/back, which I foresee being painful in my legs again!  I will be a little less intense with this one.

2010-05 12T07:39:44.925-07:00 Shoulders and Arms Shoulders and arms was easier than I had feared, given my weak arms.  I used mostly 10 pound weights and 15 pound weights.  I foresee wanting to get a better weight set, since changing weights is quite labor intensive with my 1980's style dumbbells.  I'll do abs tonight - that seems to fit into my routine better to do the ab workout in the evening.

2010-05-11T19:01:37.762-07:00 Fine tuning my nutrition I kept careful track of what I was eating in the 4 weeks before I started P90X.  I was following (or trying to follow) Phase I.  My data shows that I didn't eat enough protein or veggies, and ate too many carbs.  So as I enter Phase I for real, I'm focusing on more protein and veggies, less carbs.  It's tough to do.  I think I will eventually settle on following Phase II in the long-run, which allows more carbs.  The nutrition guide suggests that Phase II is a good all-around diet program.  I've found though that just tracking what I eat, and how many calories, really helped me drop 7 pounds over the past 4 weeks.  The main changes I noticed was I was eating fewer carbs and snacks.

2010-05-11T07:30:06.934-07:00 Pylometrics Pylometrics, a fancy word for "jumping around" - is a 60 minute workout that I was tired of 20 minutes into it.  Hopefully my legs get used to this!  I was sweating a lot, and my legs are sore!  My chest is sore from yesterday's workout too.  I foresee some pain killers being integrated into my workout towards week-end.

2010-05-10T21:27:23.366-07:00 Day 1: Ab Ripper X I've never been very happy with my ab area, ever since my mom made a comment to me about my stomach when I was about 12 years old. I've done ab crunches on and off over the years without much impact. Ab Ripper X was challenging tonight, but not impossible. I can envision improving over time. I'm also starting to notice soreness from my morning workout (chest and back).

2010-05-10T07:25:31.800-07:00 Day 1: Chest and Back I started P90X today, following the "normal" course, starting with chest and back.  I was able to do all the exercises, although not as many reps as what they did on the video.  Despite going to the gym fairly regularly for the past 8 years or so, I feel beat up already, and I know it's just going to get worse.  The pullups were the hardest for me, because I've never really done many pullup exercises.  I didn't use the chair assist.  About 25 minutes into it I wondered if we were going to be doing nice stretches the other half of the hour.  Wrong - it's the same exercises just in a different order.  OMG.  I didn't think I could do it!  But I eeked them out (again, not as many reps as on the video).

The Ab Ripper X will have to wait until tonight.

2010-05-09T07:45:23.892-07:00 Fit Test One more day until I start P90X.  I did the fit test yesterday, and passed all the categories.  I am set, but nervous, about whether I am up to the challenge.  I think I am!  I intend to do P90X in the morning before I go to work.  I will evaluate how well that fits into my daily routine, and whether I can eat the proper foods after the workout (enough protein).

My original impetus for doing this was to lose about 7 pounds from 152 to get to my goal weight of 145.  Because I started the Phase 1 P90X nutrition plan about 4 weeks ago, I've actually lost almost all of those 7 pounds (I weighted 145.5 yesterday, before my fit test).  So my goal is now shifting from weight loss to maintaining current weight, and converting fat (about 18-19% currently) to muscle (fat goal 15%).

I downloaded the Excel versions of the P90X tracking spreadsheet, but found it clunky, so I leveraged it to create my own version in Google Docs.  It's not as fancy or elegant, but it tracks all the necessary information in one place.

I'm looking forward to starting my new routine tomorrow!

 2010-04-20T17:36:38.829-07:00 It has arrived! My P90X arrived in the mail today.  So exciting!  I unboxed it and found:

  • A few materials on top that are basically advertising.  Threw those away.  Set those aside.
  • Fitness Guide... I'll take this on an upcoming trip to read on the airplane.  Seems to include printed worksheets for tracking progress.
  • Nutrition Guide...also some airplane reading.  Both of these guides look really meaty and useful.
None of my materials pointed me to where an online version of the worksheets are, but I finally tracked them down:  You have to set up free account at, and then choose "Get Fit", then "Fitness Tools", then "Workout Sheets", then the Excel spreadsheets are available for download. 

2010-05-10T21:30:19.122-07:00 Equipment Doing P90X properly requires some equipment, although not too much.  The program basically requires resistance bands (or weights), and a pull-up bar.  That's it!  That's pretty simple.
Basic Resistance Bands Workout SetIron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar - Extreme Edition

My inventory consists of:

  • Pull-up bar mounted in my closet.  The history of this pull-up bar is a bit unique... I didn't want one of those portable doorway-mounted bars, because I was afraid it would damage the trim around the door.  I have a walkin closet that is fairly narrow, and has metal industrial-style shelving on both sides.  I went to Home Depot and bought an iron pipe, about 2" diameter, wrapped it with rubber tape, and secured it to the top of the metal shelving with heavy-duty cable ties.  Aside from giving me a secure pull-up bar, it also helps stabilize and brace the shelving in the event of an earthquake, and I can hang things on the bar when I'm not using it.
  • Weights.  I had 20 lb iron weights before, but when I bough the P90X DVDs, I went to Play It Again Sports and bought a used weight set, so that I have many combinations of weights from 5lbs up to 35lbs.  Someday I'll get one of these:
    Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells
2010-04-14T14:15:36.045-07:00 P90X Diet Although I won't be starting my P90X workout routine until early May, I'm maintaining my normal daily workout routine until then (40 minutes of cardio + 10 min of weights). I've also gone ahead and implemented the diet plan recommended by P90X, specifically the program for the first four weeks.  It's heavy on proteins and vegetables, allows for dairy, and is light on carbs (one serving/day), fruits (one serving/day).  I created a spreadsheet based on the P90X nutrition spreadsheets to track my food intake (leave a comment if you want a copy).  It's been quite effective, and I pay much more attention now to what I eat. twisesq0 2010-04-12T12:30:52.828-07:00 Step 1: I bought P90X! Yesterday I took the first step towards integrating P90X into my workout routine:  I bought it from  It'll arrive sometime next week, and due to some other obligations, my first day using P90X will be Monday, May 10, 2010.


My experience with physical fitness prior to 2001 mainly involved me avoiding gym class with every excuse possible, some biking and rollerblading, and a short-term membership at my local 24 Hour Fitness.  Sometime in 2001, I started going to a gym with a passion, first at work, and later at 24 Hour Fitness.  My routine was mainly built around jogging and core weights exercises.  In 2003, I started running 10k races, which lasted for a few years.  For the past several years, I've focused more on weight lifting, but maintained a solid cardio component.

My weekly routine now currently involves 40 minutes of cardio (running/elliptical) 5x weekly, and weights focusing on chest, back, shoulders, and arms.  My abs routine has been lacking.

My goals for P90X are:

  • Lose 7 pounds (152 to 145)
  • Decrease body fat percentage from 23.1% to 15% (based on dunk-tank testing)
Wish me luck!

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