Monday, September 27, 2010

P90X: My Story

Let me start with how I got here.  I've had 4 babies, each pregnancy healthy, but progressively harder on my body.  With my fourth pregnancy, I lost a lot of strength.  I was unable to walk or stand for any significant length of time because of swelling, sciatica and varicose veins.  Because of all of these problems, I spent a lot of time laying on the couch with my feet elevated.  When my daughter was born, and I could move freely again, I began to notice just how weak I had become.

I came across the P90X infomercial in the wee hours when I was feeding my newborn daughter.  I turned on the TV and there it was. I was enthralled.  I watched that infomercial dozens of times and even recorded it for my husband to watch.  I suggested to him that it was something we could do together once the baby started sleeping through the night.  Eventually he agreed.  (He's thin with a high metabolism and wears the same size pants he wore when he was 17.  It's OK if you hate him for this.)

After doing a  little more research, we decided that P90X was too advanced for someone who had barely walked in a year, so we ordered Power 90 instead.  Power 90 is the original program and P90X's (Power 90 Extreme) easier counterpart (You can read a comparison here).  I am so glad we did!  When we started, I couldn't do jumping jacks AT ALL- I did step-outs instead- lunges caused me great discomfort and I had very little arm strength.  We did Power 90 for almost 90 days before we were ready to move on to P90X.

I started and stopped P90X many times before successfully completing it.  Since we were working out after the kids went to bed, it was easy for my plans to be disrupted.  I decided to make the commitment to getting up early in the morning to exercise before any of the kids were awake, which meant getting up at 5:30 (EEEK!).  I did it for 90 days (That in itself is a huge accomplishment for me).  Here are my results:

                                        Day 1                       Day 90

Pull-ups:                           0                          12 with one foot on a chair

Push-ups:                         32 from knees      10 from toes 20 from knees

Vertical leap:                    8'1"                      8'2"

Toe Touch:                      +7"                       +7.5"

Wall Squat:                      1min 30sec           2 min 26 seconds 

Bicep Curls:                     36 @ 10lbs          51 @ 10lbs

In&Out (ab exercise)       42                        110

Are those results amazing, or what!  As you can see from those fit test results, I made major improvements in my strength.  

As I mentioned before, the actual weight loss has not been nearly what I hoped.  I didn't follow the diet guide verbatim, although I did vastly improve my eating habits to include lean meats, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, more vegetables and fruits and next to no refined sugar or flour. This has been good for my whole family, since I am the Executive Chef of this household.  I also ate less, although there is room for improvement in my serving size and attention to hunger and fullness cues.  Despite the lack of movement of the scale and still weighing 10 pounds more than I did before I got pregnant with Anne-Marie, I am now able to fit into all of my pre-pregnancy clothes comfortably.  What is even more surprising is that only a couple short weeks ago, I tried on my favorite jeans and couldn't button them.  Last week I tried them on and not only buttoned and zipped them, I sat down and could still breathe.  I even looked so good in them and they felt so comfortable, that I wore them out in PUBLIC all day long!  I count this as a tremendous success, because it means that my body is tighter and toner than it was when I originally bought those clothes.  I've decided to put the scale away and concentrate on getting strong and tone and let my clothes tell me how I'm doing.

The biggest success in all of this has been the way I feel.  Not only have my energy and strength returned, but so has my self-confidence.  Before P90X, I was limited not only by my body but by my mind.  My body could not do things, but worse than that was the feeling of resignation.  I felt I would never have the ability to do what I used to do.  I believed that this was the body I had now so I'd better just get used to being fat and tired and weak.  P90X turned it all around for me.  Now I know that I can achieve more than I ever thought possible.  I know that I can do whatever I put my mind to doing, even if it isn't easy.  I am more open to experiencing life than I have been in a long time.
P90X can't take all the credit.  Without Kevin, none of what I've accomplished would've been possible.  Kevin, who hates exercising if it doesn't involve actually playing sports, agreed to do Power 90 and P90X with me.  If he hadn't I don't know that I would have had the courage even to try.  He helped me push through the frustration and tears of realizing how weak I had become and encouraged me to keep going.  He assured me that his love for me had nothing to do with what my body looked like and when I wanted to show him my latest fitness success, he came running and cheered.  Eventually he stopped working out with me, but by then I had the motivation to push myself.

Some might wonder why I didn't do a cardio program designed to burn fat rather than build muscle.  Simply put, I couldn't. I tried.  I was just not strong enough to do it.  I needed to build muscle and strength alongside  burning fat.  P90X  cardio workouts in the Lean Routine are fun.  So now that I have the strength and stamina, what am I going to do?  I'm moving on to Insanity .  When I tried Insanity at the beginning of the summer, every workout ended with me laying flat on the floor, sobbing. Yes, sobbing.  Thanks to P90X, I end every Insanity workout on my feet, dripping sweat and smiling. 

Thanks to Beachbody, Tony Horton and P90X, I have a new lease on life.

Update: Since writing this post, I've become a Beachbody coach myself!  You can find me at  


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  2. Wow, thanks for the evaluation! I've heard this program recommended over and over. This must be why. I dare not attempt to lose weight before I'm done nursing, so I started walking just to work myself up to it. But after 5 cesareans, my tummy is most definitely NOT what it used to be ... quite the opposite, in fact. I'd LOVE to have my 21 year old tummy back. This may be the course I take, especially since I'd probably start it in the dead of winter--a cold, icy, Nebraska winter that prohibits any kind of safe motion outdoors. A friend of mine went from a size 12 to a size 6! I'd love to go there, too. I think the last time I was a size 6 was in early high school! :) Most of all, fitness is important, as I want to live to see my great-grandchildren as my grandparents have. They are so healthy, so fit at 77 and 80, that you would never guess their age. How did my grandma do it? Eating right and Jazzercise. The woman is more fit than I am!!

    Congratulations on staying to the course! I'm eager to read future posts! :)

  3. That's an awesome story. Smart move on starting with Power 90 and moving on to P90X. Have fun doing Insanity. Its crazy.

    Are you a Beachbody Coach? I don't see anywhere on your site saying you are. Go to and click on Coach to learn more.

    We need people like you showing others that they can do these programs.


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