On April 12th of this year I started a session of P90X. I had just turned 32 earlier in the week and knew I needed to change things. My back injury was a year ago and my core (beneath all the girth) was strong now and I rarely had any pain. My son is almost 2 and I don’t want to be a immobile hulking deteriorating blob while he grows up. I weighed 264.2 lbs and at 6′ 2″ my BMI was high overweight at 33.5. I personally don’t put too much faith in this metric because it was created by insurance companies to get a quick answer. It oversimplifies things a great deal and neglects the composition of your body. Eventhough I am 6’2″ I have an inseam length of someone who is typically 5’10″. This means my torso makes up the difference for extraordinary short legs (for my height). This can be a pain when wearing shirts that are to be tucked in but it also equates to me always weighing a little more than someone who is the same height as me but has “high hips.”
For me to get my BMI to the upper echelon of “normal” I would have to get to 197 lbs. From my athletic days (180 lbs) and weight lifting days (225) my guess for a good, healthy, solid and fit weight is somewhere in the 205 range, give or take a few lbs. That way I will have a healthy layer of fat but should be strong enough to do what I need/want to without injury while also being able to run 2-3 miles quickly without thinking twice. The goal is total body fitness. This weight equates to a BMI of 26.0 (light overweight). If my body feels good, my immune system is strong and I have energy to be active this will be fine. Using BMI as anything more than a rough scale is ill-advised in my opinion. With my activity level and nutritional changes and knowing my body responsiveness I felt I could average 1/2lb per day over the 90 days which would mean a total loss of 45 lbs.
My work day starts at 7am and I want to spend as much time with my wife and son after work so the only time available is 4:30am (arggghhh) but I did it for the duration (without coffee). I ate well and did not “diet”. Diets fail because they are viewed as having a beginning and an end. It is important to get away from the idea you are punishing yourself and restricting yourself when eliminating food. I didnt’ have to almost eliminate soda, I get to almost eliminate soda. That sh!t is straight-up bad for us so anyone with a mindful focus on health should limit their exposure to it (I say limit because I will not give up the occasional jack & coke).
I dropped 42.2 lbs which works out to 0.469 lbs/day. I didn’t quite get to the goal but I am pretty happy with the results thus far. I won’t bore you with the graph but I tracked this daily, taking the measurement with the same scale under the same conditions during the same time of day, and the loss was a steady trendline without spikes.
I sleep more deeply, have almost no phlegm or bronchitis (like I did over the winter), skin is clearer and most importantly I have more energy.
Don’t get me wrong, P90X isn’t for everyone. My pops turns 60 this October, has a bad knee and a bad back. I wouldnt’ recommend it to him but he could benefit from some of the workouts, particularly the stretching and a few of the strength exercises. The flexibility and strength of you hamstrings has a great effect on you lower back. If you are goal oriented, in moderately fit shape and willing to pace yourself when necessary as well as push yourself when you can this might be for you. But dont’ be a moron like this guy that almost killed himself (Idiot Almost Dies Doing P90X). I have done the chronic cardio as well as the attempt at a body builder physique but this circuit training/cross-fit approach is the best path to overall fitnesss and functional strength that I have found. I will be doing another “session” but I will be take a few weeks off from it to focus on stretching and nutrition as well as allow my body to completely heal; overworking your body can be just as destructive to your health as being sedentary and obese.
Fitness isn’t a goal or finish line, it is a lifestyle. We all fall off the path but the key is to get yourself back on track and stay there the majority of the time. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of very good.
Things I have started and will continue:
Juicing (fruits and veggies; not ‘roids): We have been using a Breville Juicer for about 2 weeks and I can honestly say I am finally getting the right amount of vegetables (particularly greens) that I have neglected for years. I never knew I could make a great tasting juice from a comibination of things like kale, cuccumbers and limes.
Barefoot Running: (not exactly, I am using Vibrams). I have finally gotten my weight down to where running doesn’t hurt my joints and back. Running is a means, not an end for me. When I played soccer and later rugby I ran mostly on the balls of my feet for mobility and agility, it made sense and felt right. A few years ago I started to run like a “runner” (i.e. heel strike). But I am working on fixing that. Vibrams are extremely comfortable and the running motion feels great. My goal isn’t chronic cardio, that is counterproductive. I want to be able to run a 5k extremely well but mostly focus on sprint work and explosiveness. I have no desire to try and pull a Forrest Gump and run back and forth across the US.
I have only ran in them a few times, if you go this route take it slow, trust me I have strong calves and legs but this style will destroy your calves. Short runs with long breaks until your lower body muscles have overcome the atrophy that conventional wisdom regarding running shoes/styles have rendered upon them.
They are also outstanding for doing the P90X workouts. There is a reason Arnold used to train barefoot.
Shoes give too much support and cause supporting muscles to atrophy. This leaves your calves under-developed and achilles more susceptible to injury. It is like wearing a cast on your feet.
P90X: Another session is in my future. I will likely take a 3-4 week break to focus on light running (breaking in my calves), stretching and putting a stronger focus on my nutrition and what parts of the paleo/primal make sense for me to implement.
Thanks to my awesome son “R” and my amazing and incredibly supportive wife “D” for giving me inspiration and purpose to be the best I can be. I am indebted to you and love you with all my heart.