Upon reaching the end of a journey, or achieving a goal, we often realize it is not in fact the end but really just the first step in a new journey. I started feeling that part way through P90X. At some point late in phase II or early in phase III, I stopped counting down the days until my 90 days were done and started counting up a number of completed days of being more active and living a healthier lifestyle. That was a big mindset change and I am not sure specifically when it happened but it was a very importa nt shift.
P90X is an amazing program. If you follow Beachbody's motto: "Decide, Commit, Succeed", it is possible to start a transformation that can last the rest of your life. My transformation surprised me; in the last 13 weeks I have worked out 90 days straight. I achieved 11 of 13 goals for the fitness test and I have reached 9 of 14 goals on the fitness level (see chart). But what the chart doesn't show is the body transformation. I lost 56lbs of bod y fat, gained 23lbs of lean muscle mass and lost 33lbs on the scale. I went from a 46 inch pants to a 38 being loose, and from a 3XL shirt to a L. I have succeeded in establishing working out each day as a habit in my life. As well I have started creating patterns of healthier food choices.
There have also been some unexpected benefits and changes. First m y asthma seems to have drastically improved. I have used my inhaler only once in the last 60 days. Also for the last few years I had been having problems with heartburn at night and sometimes it would trigger a coughing attack and I would have to get up, sip some warm liquid, use my inhaler and sleep propped up. That has completely clear ed up. Finally, as I gained weight over the last few years I started snoring - the more weight I gained the worse it got, bothering my wife and sometimes waking myself up. That has completely cleared up also. Those things combined were unexpected benefits contributing both to greater health for myself, and as for the snoring, for my wife also. That combined with how much better I feel, the fact that I have more energy, and I am sleeping better and the sleep is much more restful and restorative, makes this journey well worth the effort.
After the first 4 or 5 workouts I did not want to miss any days. Hitting play was hard a few times when I did not get to begin my workout until 9 or 10 pm because of life, but I managed to do it every day. The hardest part for me was the nutrition. My biggest temptation was pizza - almost every week I wanted pizza. My problem was, in the past, I would often eat all or most of a pizza in a single sitting. I was able to avoid this temptation for most of the 90 days; I did have 1 medium slice part way through and one of my first meals after finishing was pizza, but I limited myself to a reasonable portion. It was also hard to give up pop and carbonated energy drinks. I went the full 90 days without either. I have started drinking a lot more water, and find myself choosing green, red or herbal teas. I still have my one coffee a day at work each morning. I am not prepared to give that one up yet. I also avoided alcohol for all but Thanksgiving Day. Speaking of Thanksgiving, that weekend was a blow-off. Only about half of my meals would have been P90X approved, but I had great times with friends and family.
For a number of years now I have written a journal, often answering the following questions from Crusade a Babylon 5 spin off Science-Fiction TV Show. Each episode began with these questions:
Who are you?
What do you want?
Where are you going?
Who do you serve?
Who do you trust?
In part they have become my own personal driving questions. At the beginning of each term I would journal and answer each question. Those questions were also guided by daily goals, which were:
1. To get enough sleep.
2. To eat right & exercise daily.
3. To refuse to be a perfectionist.
4. To carefully control finances.
5. To ask for help when needed.
6. To pray and read the Bible daily.
7. To not pressure self into planning my entire life today.
I can say that in the last 7 years I had lost discipline in all areas of my life. My personal dream or personal mission statement would be: "To learn to live life to the full, while finding balance between body, mind and spiritual development." What doing P90X has helped me to do is achieve discipline in the physical area of my life, but that discipline has been carrying over into the other two areas of my life.
Since I started this journey I have known about 15 people who have also now started it. So far only 2 are still following the plan. I have also encountered about 20 people who ask about my weight loss, and when I say I am doing P90X they have said that they started it, but did not make it out of the first week, or first month. Many have said they wish they had the commitment to start again and see it through. One even said they would have to find the disks. In order not to be in that category I have accountability - the two men I email after each workout to say it was completed, and the Beachbody online community. The forms and online chats have been very motivational.
Yet as this 90 day, 13 week journey ends where do I go from here? First, for the next few weeks I will be experimenting with some other workouts from Beachbody. I will be trying the workouts from Tony Horton's One on One. Also 10 Minute Trainer and P90X+. I have also borrowed some kettlebells from a friend and am going to try some weight routines for them. My goal now is to decide on another plan and do another 90-day challenge, to maybe reach some of those long-term fitness goals. What program that will be is yet undetermined but I will be starting on November 9th. All I know for sure is I will continue to push play, and work out every day, and try each day to improve my food choices. Therefore the journey continues or begins again.
(First Published in Imprint 2009-10-30.)
(Graphic's courtesy Peter N. Trinh.)
P90X Articles in order Phase I, Phase II, Gear, Phase III, Fitness Options.
(Disclaimer: I am asked frequently if I am a Beachbody Coach, no I am not, I am just some one who has used their products, P90X, 1on1 with Tony Horton and more and liked them and achieved good results. I am not paid by Beachbody or any of their affiliates. You can see my full disclaimer here.)
Other Fitness Articles:
Fall 2011 Programs
Workout program March 2012
My Gear February 2012
Fitness My Retrospective
TRX an Introduction
TRX Force Tactical
TRX Essential Flexibility
My P90X Series:
Phase I, Phase II, Gear, Phase III, Fitness Options, P90X at 120 Days Out
Health & Fitness Book Reviews:
The Primal Blueprint 21 Day Total Body Transformation - Mark Sisson
The Ten Commandments Of Lifting Weights - Jared Zimmerer
Toadally Primal Smoothies - Todd Dosenberry
Caveman Resurection - Jeff Pickett
40 Days to Optimal Health - Dr. Scott Morris
Eat Stop Eat - Brad Pilon
The Primal Blueprint - Mark Sisson
The New Rules of Lifting - Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove
Bench Press by: Sven Lindqvist
Sly Moves by: Sylvester Stallone
Fit for Eternal Life: A Christian Approach to Working Out, Eating Right, and Building the Virtues of Fitness in Your Soul by: Dr. Kevin Vost
Body for Life 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strenght by: Bill Phillips
Lose Fat Not Faith by Jeremy R. Likeness
Living The Good Life: Your Guide to Health and Success by: David Patchell-Evans
Dump your Trainer by: Ashley Marriott and Marc L. Paulsen