Disclaimer:  This is a post exclusively about exercise.
Back to food next week… 😉

As I mentioned before, I’ve been keeping exercise records since January 1998. Each month for the past 15 years I strive to exercise more than 50% of the days.  The only way I can keep my exercise routine going is by adding variety to it. P90X was perfect in that sense, so when I heard that Tony Horton was launching the P90X2 (December 2011), I had to try it. Similarly to my experience with the original system, it took me longer than 90 days to wrap it up, but I did it. I wrote a very detailed article about the original program, and hoped to do the same for the X2. However, I found a wonderful review online that saved me all the work. If you are interested, click here. I will instead simply summarize the differences between the two programs.

A common question:
is P90X2 harder than P90X?   Yes. I would not start with the X2, as right from the get-go it involves exercises that are close to the top level of difficulty in the original program.  One example: Yoga-X ends the standing series with a sequence of Warrior III, Half-Moon, and Twisted Half-Moon. You will be standing on one leg for almost 3 minutes, balancing, twisting, breathing hard, wishing Tony Horton had never been born.  😉   Fast forward to P90X2, and you will see the Warrior III and the Half-Moon poses showing up not only in the yoga routine, but in the middle of strength-training and aerobic exercises as well.  While in Warrior III or Half-Moon you will be doing bicep curls, triceps kick-backs, abdominal crunches (yes, abdominal crunches while in standing splits), and other weight-bearing moves.  The bottom line is, in P90X2, you will see a lot more combined exercises that target many muscle groups simultaneously. They require balance, flexibility, and core strength all at the same time.

Another aspect of P90X2 is a mixture of aerobics and strength training in the same routine.  It was a bit shocking to realize that doing 52 minutes of aerobics (original Plyometrics-90X)  is not as hard as 40 minutes of a mixture of  aerobics with strength-training (the Plyocide-90X2 routine).  Somehow the body struggles harder when demanded to constantly change gears. But, as Tony would put it: “it’s good for you”   😉

Surprisingly,  two routines of the new system are actually easier.  First, yoga. I was afraid of what 90X2 yoga would be like, but  it is shorter (you are done in 1 hour instead of 90 minutes), and the exercises are at the same overall level of difficulty of the original series.  Second, the abdominal workout from the original  series. Ab-RipperX is actually harder  (and I think more efficient) than the Ab-RipperX2.  In fact, I don’t even bother with it anymore, the original version is my default routine.

Some exercises of X2 are so incredibly hard that I was forced to adapt them to my level.  I simply will not do a pull-up and then curl my body up into a ball going over the bar.  One should keep in mind that Tony targets a broad audience including extremely fit men, who want to bulk up. They need to be challenged to their limits.  I also won’t attempt to do the push-ups balancing my body in four medicine balls as the top photo shows.  Tony Horton himself described that exercise as “doing push ups during an earthquake“.  Sounds like a ton of fun, but I rather not risk breaking my nose… 😉  When exercises like this come, he always demonstrates variations that do the job on a more
“humane” level.  And that’s the road I humbly follow.


Having “graduated” from both programs,  I went on with a mix-and-match of the two, picking the routines the way I feel like and working out according to how sore I am. But, after moving to Kansas our life got so frantic that I had to find quicker workouts for some weekdays. I looked for alternatives lasting at most 30 minutes, but still challenging.  That’s how I got to Jillian Michaels’  6-Week/6-Pack,  Ripped in 30, and a few others of her many DVDs.   I will be reviewing her exercise program in the future.  It won’t be pretty, though. Expect some harsh words. I will say one thing upfront: unless you are very careful, you will get injured.  And I speak from experience (sigh). Stay tuned!

never say never

We never know what lays ahead in our path. I can only hope I will be healthy enough to follow the footsteps of this impressive woman! 

ONE YEAR AGO: Caramelized Bananas

TWO YEARS AGO: Roasted Lemon Vinaigrette

THREE YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Bread

16 thoughts on “2012 FITNESS REPORT: P90X2

  1. Sally, you’re so fit, it always amazes me what great care you take of yourself! I have a fairly pitiful exercise regime, but I thought our motivation strategy might make you laugh.

    Big Boy, who was whippet lean all through school where they made him swim several kilometres every week, is getting pudgy. Blame university and sitting on his butt all the time in front of the computer. Sooo…he and I have made a deal. Every time I row on the indoor rower, he has to match it and row too – up to three times a week.

    We’re up to week 3 next week, and it’s worked brilliantly – I want HIM to exercise, so I do, and he’s now negotiated a similar arrangement with his girlfriend, so SHE has to do half an hour of exercise whenever he does, so he’s motivated to row as well. And his girlfriend, bless her, wants him to exercise too, so she pushes him from her side as well.

    See what a convoluted and amusing little web we’ve set up? 😀


    • That is pretty awesome, Celia! I actually saw something the other day that seemed very accurate as far a forming a habit


      I subscribe to that site and every once in a while there’s something that rings a bell with me. He often writes about exercising.

      I thought your strategy with Big Boy and Girlfriend is very cool! Three weeks pretty much means you go the habit down! 🙂


  2. Sally, I enjoy reading your reviews, and look forward to the Jillian MIchaels – she is the one behind Biggest Loser, right?
    I was thinking of getting those video because P90X is too hard

    anyway, if you ever consider starting an exercise blog, I would be there from the first day, just make sure to advertise here 🙂


    • Yes, she is the trainer in that show.

      I don’t think I’ll be starting another blog anytime soon… I can barely keep up with this one, so I’ll have to inflict my exercise rumblings on my readers every once in a while 😉

      Glad you enjoy it, though!


  3. I am so impressed that you’ve finished both P90X systems! Wow!!!! The Jillian Michaels’ routines had to seem like a piece of cake after that. I have a bunch of her videos. Some I like, others, not so much. They are how I took the weight off after Miss A was born. I’ll be curious to hear your reviews. And truly Sally – you are an inspiration. I like that idea of making sure to work out at more than 50 percent of the days of a year. That’s a good way to look at things. 🙂


    • That “more than 50%” works for me very well, although I approach it on a week by week level. If for some reason I can only workout 3 times in a particular week, I make sure to stick a 6 or 7-day week that month to compensate. Due to my injury, maybe this month will break the 180 months journey, but I might be able to barely make it 😉


  4. I’ve always wondered about P90X…I have the Insanity dvd set but have only used one video, once…maybe once the.boy and I move in together and I have a bit more space, I’ll finally be able to commit to doing it. This was a great review!


    • Did I hear “boy and I move in together?” Oh, that is too wonderful….. thrilled for you both!

      I did the INsanity DVD twice just to see what it was about. A friend of mine had the DVD and let me keep it for a weekend. Hard to top it as far as aerobic goes. I suspect that it would be incredibly efficient to lose weight, but I am more inclined towards weight and strength training, with aerobics taking a secondary role. Insanity is gruesome, though – insane! 😉


    • Jessica, the P90X was the best move ever for me! I am forever grateful to one of our undergrad students who pushed me to do it. She started one week earlier than me, and we would come to the lab comparing our level of soreness… fun times 😉


  5. I wouldn’t want to break my nose either…. ;o). There’s just something about balancing my entire body on balls just doesn’t feel… sufficiently grounding to me (could be related to my history of 7 broken bones… not sure ;-)). Although I must say, my crane pose is coming along quite nicely and I can hold it for up to a minute now :). Not sure that feat is quite as impressive as it is for the lovely woman in your photo – she reminds me of Ida Herbert, the 95 year old yoga instructor I posted about last year… talk about amazing. Thanks for the inspiring post Sally!


    • Kelly, you are my hero! You know, the crane pose STILL eludes me. I can hold it maybe for 5 seconds on a good day. Not sure why. I have strong upper arms, I have good balance, but there’s simply something that doesn’t “work” for me. Maybe if I had a yoga instructor to give me some pointers, it’s hard to figure out by myself what is off. I suspect is where I’m placing my elbows on the forearms. Oh, well – gotta keep trying

      I do remember that lady you blogged about, although I had forgotten her name. In fact, when I picked this photo to post, I thought about your article…


  6. Sorry to hear that you are injured. Don’t overdo while you are healing. To quote of of my instructors from many (many!) years ago, “Tissues at rest heal the best.” Personally, I load up on NSAIDs as well.


    • Noticed I never replied to your comment, how rude of me! Oh, well – I load on Aleve too, but try to use it only when i cannot take the pain without it

      since that injury I’ve been pretty good, only exercise-pain, nothing serious (knock on wood…)


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