Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Mid-Winter Resolution

I am two days in (not many I know, but two days is better than zero) after starting the P90x workout, which is proclaimed far and wide across the Internets as being one of the most intense workout plans out there. I've seen results photos of real people not affiliated with program marketing that seem to indicate that yes, this program does deliver on its promise of whipping your body into shape in 90 days. This is something that appealed to me when I heard about it, because I've been thinking to myself for awhile about getting back into shape. I haven't gained a significant amount of weight in pounds, but I can see changes in my body that indicate that I've lost a lot of my muscle and gained back the volume it used to occupy in fat.

I've used other workout tapes periodically (8 minute abs, Winsor pilates, Slim in 6) but never for an extended period of time. P90x appealed to me because it first and foremost relies on a strict schedule of 12 different hour-long workouts that rotate every day, and the workouts really must be done daily in order for the program to be effective. I realized that I needed that kind of disciplined schedule to really motivate me to keep up with the program, because otherwise when left to my own devices it would be too easy to skip workouts.

And good lord would I have loved to skip today. I began yesterday doing the first workout to start off the plan, "Core Synergistics." It was really tough. Even though I know I've been out of shape, there was this small part of me that still thought in the back of my mind that I could probably handle it, having been pretty fit before. I was so wrong. It is so easy to lose your fitness and so hard to get it back. I could barely complete most of the reps in each set of exercises, and even worse, my form was (probably) terrible. I found myself staring longingly at the count-down clock in the bottom corner of the screen, begging for the hour to just end already. I did the workout in the early afternoon, and by dinnertime I was already feeling sore.

This morning, I woke up early (this is another terrible part of starting to work out - finding time in the day to do it. As it happens, the only truly plausible time occurs when I would usually prefer to sleep.) and felt the burn all over my body. The Core workout was a pretty telling lead-in to the program by helping me to realize that even though each workout targets one specific muscle group, the program is effective primarily because while targeting that group, everything else is engaged. My core is sore, sure, but so are my upper back, pectoral area, biceps, and triceps.

Somehow I got myself out to the family room to do workout #2: Cardio X. This workout had a nice, long yoga warmup, which I appreciated. Even though holding the warrior poses while my already sore thighs were trembling with despair was difficult, to say the least, the warmup got in some nice therapeutic stretching, which always feels amazing when your muscles are sore. It stopped being nice shortly thereafter. There was a cardio kickboxing twist to several of the moves, which was kind of fun, but again I was hit over the head by the fact that I am just not in good enough shape to do 25 minutes of sustained tough cardio without wanting to die. There were repetitions of movements, some of which seemed really stupid (a variation on jumping jacks called "Wacky Jacks" would have made me burst out laughing if I weren't more inclined to cry out of non-fit frustration), and even worse - some of my (least) favorite moves from Core Synergistics re-appeared in Cardio X in the last 5 minutes, when I would have hoped that the workout was going to wind down.

At the end of the day though - or at least in the middle of the day where I am now - I am kind of feeling like even though my body hates me at the moment, I'm still motivated to continue this workout. Partly it's because I feel like this kind of pain would only come out of something that's bound to make me stronger, and partly because I feel like this kind of pain would be all for nothing if I didn't keep going. It's a good hurt.

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