Category Archives: P90X

P90X Update

I have had a few revelations about dieting during my stint with P90X.  First off, let me just say that the workouts are great.  They’re very challenging and I’m definitely going to keep them up (except yoga).  What happened to yoga you ask?   Well, to be perfectly honest, I’ve finally accepted that I hate yoga and I don’t have to be good at or like every kind of physical activity.  Last Wednesday when I was about 60 minutes through the 90 minute yoga video (pretty intense for someone who hates yoga), I noticed two things: 1) I was getting better at the moves and 2) I did not care; I still hated it.  Just like running or biking is not for everyone, yoga is not for me.  I’m sure I could get better at it, but when I can physically feel myself getting better, and this is not motivation enough to proceed, it’s time to accept the fact that it is just not my cup of tea.  And that’s okay.  There are so many other things I enjoy doing.  That being said, I really admire people who are super awesome at yoga and being stretchy (like Brad who can reach 8 inches past his toes – I’ve measured).  I might change my mind and give it another try someday, but today is not that day.  Tomorrow is not looking good either.  So in lieu of yoga, I  am going to incorporate running or the elliptical as a substitution.  Both of these options make me much happier.

Yesterday, I made another change to my P90X plan and can actually feel a difference in my happiness level.  I was pretty sick and tired of eating a huge portion of meat at lunch and dinner.  Sometimes I just don’t feel like eating meat.  In fact before this diet plan, I went days sometimes without meat touching my lips.  I got plenty of protein other ways (dairy, nuts, and beans).  True, it wasn’t the level P90X wants you to eat, but it was a considerable amount.

Another thing I’m not too keen on for the program is the limit of fruit and vegetables. Phase 1 allowed 1 serving of fruit and 2 servings of vegetables = not enough fiber.  I really really missed my fruit!

I understand the thinking behind the plan, but I don’t think it is too restrictive and made me mad for sugar.  I was allowed one large portion of carbs per day (Phase 1) and also got some carbs through their 20g of protein energy bar (23 grams of sugar in the form of evaporated can syrup) and their recovery drink (18 grams of more sugar in 1 scoop, 36 grams in the 2 scoop recommended serving).  Rather than wait for these actual products to arrive via snail mail, I bought alternatives which were recommended on various websites as being good substitutes.  These were Clif Builder Bars ( 20 grams of sugar) and Accelerade (20 grams of sugar in 1 scoop) – pretty comparable.  Does that seem like a lot of sugar to you?  It does to me! For comparison, two pieces of your average whole wheat bread has 3.2 grams of sugar.  A kit kat has 20.4 grams…I’m just sayin’.

I don’t want to say anything too negative because I actually know people who have had amazing results from this program.  I’m  just providing some facts, explaining why the “diet” portion is not working for me, and you can make your own assumptions.  When I say it isn’t working for me, it’s really too soon to see if it is physically working because I have heard that you really can’t tell if you’re getting good results until the Phase 2.  What isn’t working for me is the constant feeling of deprivation, boredom with my food, and general lack of interest in eating what I’m supposed to be eating…it just kind of sucks all of the fun out of eating, you know?

So to remedy this I’m going to start writing down everything I eat and focus on balance, making sure I am getting somewhere between 50 and 75 grams of protein every day and plenty of fruits and vegetables…all the vegetables I want in fact.

Morale to this story:  I’m still working on figuring out what is right for me and that takes time.

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Trying P90X

My eating habits have been a slow progression towards healthier eating since high school.  In high school I would skip breakfast and grab peanut butter M&Ms at 10 am, then snack off someones’ plate of chicken nuggets made with God knows what for lunch followed by 1-2 20 oz. Sundrops, probably one of the most unhealthy drinks of all time.  In college I somehow grew to really like vegetables and fruit, plus a lot of other foods I have never tried or like before.  This was probably due to a lack of my parents’/grandparents’ staple meals that made up my entire diet prior to college.  Once that was missing, I had to fill it with something else.  And it turns out that fresh produce is easier to eat in a dorm/college apartment than frying up some chicken or my grandmother’s made-from-scratch biscuits (don’t hate).  But along with this new appreciation for healthier foods came a new understanding of calorie restriction and a continued love of process foods/college fare dining (i.e. pokey sticks) for late night snacking.  Don’t get me wrong, calorie restriction is a useful and effective way for some people to manage their weight, my approach just wasn’t sustainable for someone running 4 miles a day.

So after college I kept up the healthier eating, practiced cooking and became a better cook, learned more about the benefits of whole foods, and have what I think is a pretty healthy diet.  Except for the fact that I have had about 5-7 pounds that I just can’t have struggled with losing for the past 5ish years.  With my wedding coming up in August, I really really really want to lose these few pounds and tone up. I exercise a good bit.  A bad week would be exercising four times, while I count a good week as six times.

Brad purchased the P90X program several months ago and after hearing me complain about my 5-7 pound predicament for the past two years weeks, he suggested that we try out the program together.  So, I have now completed one week of P90X and some of my thoughts of this week are…

  • It’s kind of expensive.  Besides purchasing the program, you eat a lot of meat, which I haven’t been used to lately and can definitely tell a difference on my grocery bill even though I’ve only been buying stuff on sale.
  • The workouts are pretty difficult, but in a good way.  I’m doing the P90X Lean, which is more of a weight loss program than the classic, which is more for toning or bulking up.  It has more cardio, which I really like.  I think this is usually the hardest part for most people.  But the lean is less weight lifting and if you’re already pretty active, you won’t struggle as much as some.
  • I like that it emphasizes whole foods and cooking your food.  I think I’ve eaten more whole foods this week since somewhere at the end of the week I usually end up eating a veggie burger or a can of soup because I just don’t feel like making my lunch.
  • Although P90X says you can be a vegetarian and do this program, I don’t really see how you can and completely do the nutrition program.  They give examples of things vegetarians might eat instead of meat, but since carbs are limited, it seems counterintuitive since most vegetable proteins also have quite a bit of carbs.  I don’t think this is a bad thing, I just think that it wouldn’t work quite the same way for non-vegetarians who have more strictly limited their carbs in the first phase (there are three phases).
  • You don’t get hungry if you strictly follow the nutrition guide and get in all of your protein.  You can still have one large carb portion a day (think 1 cup of brown rice).  I’ve read that your body can’t really this much protein, but I think the purpose is to keep you full so you don’t crash and burn and eat two pieces of chocolate cake.

It’s kind of funny that most of my thoughts are about the nutrition since most blogs and people you talk to that have done the program are more concerned with the challenges of the fitness plan.  I really attribute to my already regular exercise and the belief that I can get over almost any fitness hurdle after going from a chubby asthmatic kid to someone who has ran four half marathons in the past three years.  Seeing where I came from and where I’ve gone really developed the attitude that I will get there eventually if I keep working at it.

I have the bad habit of doing programs like this for two weeks and then when I see no progress, I quite.  However, I’ve read from blogs that review the program that you really see results in phase 2, after you lower your protein and up your carbs a bit.  I believe this is because you’re stronger and able to do the exercises more effectively.  Anyway, knowing this I have made the goal to go completely through phase two and stick it out until day 60.  The program is 90 days and I feel like if I haven’t seen any progress after phase two, something isn’t working for me.  If this happens, I might keep up the fitness but look more closely at my diet.

I’ll definitely document any progress I have and any further thoughts I have along the way.

For more information see the office P90X website.

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