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!
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