Wednesday, May 27, 2015

P90X3 - My Initial Impression

It's pretty amazing how the body adapts to things. Human beings really are creatures of habit. There was a time, when running was as foreign to me as the Chinese language and yet here we are, several Half Marathons and a Full Marathon later, training for the Goofy Challenge next January. Oh, I still struggle  on runs and obviously there is still a long, long way to go in my running journey but that initial shock of starting something I had never done before is long gone. My body has certainly adapted and I'm a stronger person for it. And I have very nice calves.

But running, while not a total body workout, is a total body sport and one of the main problems runners suffer through is muscle imbalance. In other words, we have strong legs and weak upper bodies, which I mentioned in a previous post, causes poor running form and makes you get fatigued faster among other things. Which is why pretty much every running plan or program includes or recommends cross-training as part of your training. What exactly that training should be is mostly left up to you. I chose a set of workout videos called P90X3.

I explained here about how I stumbled upon this particular instrument of torture and how Kat is helping me figuring out how to both run and do this program at the same time. Well, as I approach the end of my first week doing this thing here are some observations.

This is really tough
"En guerra avisada, no muere gente." Or so goes a famous saying here in Puerto Rico. It roughly translates to: "When the war is announced, nobody dies." I have never understood this saying but it's a way of saying that if you know what's coming, or if you signed up for it, you shouldn't be complaining. In that respect, there were no surprises. This thing is kicking my butt and showing me I have muscles in places I didn't know I had. And I should know because they all hurt. This program is no joke. The original P90X had hour long workouts and for this one Tony Horton (who created it) essentially condensed that into 30 minute workouts so you can finish faster. In fact, in the included guide, Tony recommends doing X3 first, then going to the original but that doesn't mean that one is harder than the other. My opinion on this is that they are factoring in that it will be easier for people to manage such a tough program in shorter time chunks and after you get hooked (hopefully by seeing the results it can get you) then you can try the longer workouts.

This is not P90X: The Short Version
I own the original and I can tell you P90X3 is not the same stuff rehashed. Because the original is longer, Tony takes the time to do other types of exercises and focuses more on weights. With X3, the exercises are more functional (at least, that's the word that come to mind) and in some ways complex. It's a jam-packed 30 minutes for sure and while I'm suffering a bit, I like it.

I suck
Not having done a lot of cross-training(read: none) over the last three years, I sure wasn't expecting to breeze through these workouts but wow! I'm in pretty bad shape. Sure, I can run 5 miles no problem but my upper body strength? Zero. Push-ups and pull-ups? Can't do them. And don't get me started on my core, which is so important to proper running. When it comes to abs, I make the Pillsbury Doughboy look like Ryan Gosling.

And then there's X3 Yoga...

I swear, I think Tony Horton made this video just so he could laugh watching me try to do it. As runner, I knew tight hamstrings was in the cards. In fact, when I saw the Orthopedist for my knee, he mentioned that it was so. But this... is downright comedic. And it's not just the hamstrings. I'm about as flexible as a medieval boarding school. Having said that, I also begrudgingly admit that this is the video  I will likely benefit from the most.

Of course, the beauty of this program lies in it's variety. The program is divided into three blocks separated by recovery weeks with different workouts for each so I'm merely skimming the surface here. There is a lot more to it than this. So I will let you know how it goes as always.


  1. Don't worry. You'll get it. I couldn't do 5 pushups at the beginning but at the end I could do 25 of all the different types they had in a workout. the Pylometrics was my demon. And I never did come to like the yoga... Yoga shouldn't be that aggressive

    1. Aggresive Yoga... now there's a term for the ages. But you are right. lol

  2. Thanks for the review. We have P90X2, and I really enjoyed it, and wondered how the P90X3 compared. I can see a great benefit of having 30-minute workouts. I think more people will be willing to participate if it doesn't cut into their day as long.

    1. It really is a tempting notion Deb. It's what got my wife to join in on the fun. You think "Sure I'll suffer but its only 30 minutes." Before you know it you are knee deep into the whole thing.

  3. Good luck! My nephew just brought P90x into our house so he can workout while he visits us, and I am excited. To sit on the couch and pat myself on the back for avoiding the horribleness of it all!

    Seriously, though. Good for you for pulling in some intense cross training. It will only make you stronger!

  4. Thanks Jen! And after all is said and done I can take a Disney cruise like you did. Castaway Cay 5K would be a nice victory lap after all this.