It’s my blogging tradition…to choose the best/most popular posts of the year and run them over the holidays while I break to spend time with my family. Except, I only blogged about 4 months of 2012, before I took a 6-month break. Not really the stuff a “Best of 2012″ series is made of.
So, over the next few weeks, you’ll find a combination of “Best of” posts and guest posts from some of my favorite people.
This post is my most viewed post of all time. Apparently, people like before and after pictures.
Original run date: April 27, 2012
We interrupt this blog break to bring you an important announcement: I have completed the P90X2 90-Day Challenge!
I actually ended the official challenge March 29th, on Day 88. And by “ended” I mean “took my final measurements so I could send them in to Beachbody and get the cool P90X2 t-shirt that cannot be found in stores and enter my chance to win a spot in a future P90X2 infomercial.” I continue to do the P90X2 workouts (more on this later).
The reason I stopped short is because I got to fly to Edmonton, Alberta to speak at the Heartland Women’s Retreat (those Canadian women know how to make a “southern” girl feel loved), followed by a week in Florida for Spring Break (a beautiful contrast in climates). So, if you wonder if I’ve been enjoying the blog break, the answer is “immensely.” But world travel doesn’t much lend itself to a strong P90X2 finish.
P90X2: The Backstory
(If you are tired of me whining about the weight I gained in 2009, this is a good place to fast forward to the pictures, cuz I’m about to rehash the whole bloody mess again.)
Important note before I begin! I am about to spew out some details of my measurements and weight. But you and I both know, it doesn’t really matter in light of eternity whether your thigh gets an inch smaller or bigger–or whether the itchy tag in your jeans says size 2 or size 12, right? Right.
My goal for you and me is to be good stewards of the bodies God gave us, so we can do and be all He has called us to do and be, forever and ever, amen.
That said, you may have heard me mention once or 57 times that in Fall 2009, I rapidly gained 12 pounds over 6 weeks. That’s 2 pounds a week, y’all, which is NOT healthy. And, no, I was NOT pregnant. Neither was I sneaking Cokes nor hiding Hostess Fruit Pies in my side-table drawer. I was just Fitness Friday Girl, doing her fitness thang.
Over the next several months I gained an additional 6 pounds—WHILE I WAS TRYING TO LOSE THE ORIGINAL 12!
And then I got sucked into a parallel universe where I continued to freakishly gain about a pound or two a month for the next several months—while eating clean and working out so hard I could barely walk a flight of stairs—for a grand total of 22-ish pounds and 2 clothing sizes. Not healthy.
After seeing several doctors, a nutritionist and a personal trainer, I concluded the weight gain was primarily caused by Lexapro, an antidepressant. A drug I had been on for 14 months prior to the weight gain. A drug classified as “weight neutral,” meaning, it should not cause weight gain.
Um, it does.
Lexapro combined with the fact that I had crossed into the land of “Women Over 40,” (where someone changes all the rules, but forgets to tell the peri-menopausal women what they are) landed me smack dab in the middle of “overweight.”
Here is everything I can remember that I tried to lose the weight over a 2-year period, beginning in the winter of 2009-2010:
1. Weaning myself off Lexapro
3. 30-Days of Vegan (no animal products)
4. 30-Days of Paleo (no sugar, no grains, lots of lean animal products and veggies)
5. African Mango supplements (I know. This was a late night expensive, impulsive, desperate internet purchase)
7. 1 year working with a merciless personal trainer, who loved to watch me suffer
8. 30 days of pure cardio (running, walking, elliptical) no weights
9. Several rounds of Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred
11. P90X (the original workout plan)
12. 11 MORE weeks of P90X
I continued to gain weight (fat, not muscle) through most of that. It was crazy. Like someone flipped a freakin’ switch on my metabolism.
(I know some of you skinny, young 20 and 30-year olds think this won’t happen to you. I used to think the same thing. All I have to say is, enjoy those cupcakes and venti vanilla lattes now. Because there will come a day… )
At some point in the second year, somewhere between hiding my scale and my 5th round of Jillian Michaels, I stopped gaining weight and started losing—to the tune of ½ pound a month. It was so subtle, I didn’t even really notice, honestly. It wasn’t until I did my initial P90X2 weigh-in on January 2, 2012 that I saw I was 6 pounds lighter than I was the same time in 2011. My hard work was starting to pay off. But ever-so-slowly.
At the risk of sounding like a tacky infomercial, all that changed with P90X2. I don’t know why it worked or what happened in my body, but something clicked.
P90X2: The Official Numbers (1/2/12-3/29/12)
These are some of the before and after pictures I’m submitting to Beachbody for my awesome t-shirt. I am only posting the back shots, because I have no desire for you all to see the front of me in my workout clothes. But honestly, the pictures don’t really do justice to the changes. I think I chose the wrong pants–they hid my butt well. But you can see the little fat roll under the jog bra is gone on Day 88.
And look here how much pointier the bones in my back look. That would be for lack of back fat.
These next pictures show things a little better, I think.
(Left) Me on the day of my 25th High School Reunion, wearing a pair of new jeans I bought for the reunion. (Middle and Right) me wearing those same jeans a few days ago. They fall right down my hips.
P90X2: Other Great Results
1. I had 2 giant bins of clothes that I packed away in the middle of that mess—and I am happy to report, I can now wear all but a few items.
(Left) Me a year ago AFTER I did my first round of P90X. I was probably my heaviest here—and no, that double chin isn’t muscle. (Right) Me wearing shorts I couldn’t even get over my hips a year ago.
2. I can now do clapping push-ups (not the girlie ones either!—on my FEET!), push-ups on med balls and stability balls, and any kind of stinking plank exercise you ask me to, thankyouverymuch. My core is rock-solid.
3. Prior to X2, I despised running. Deeee-spised, for as long as I can remember. I love other forms of cardio, but running? It hurt, in an uncoordinated and awkward kind of way. I concluded running wasn’t for me. But since X2, I’m running. Okay, jogging. I’m not breaking any speed records, for sure, but it doesn’t hurt. It’s actually a little enjoyable. To me, this is downright miraculous.
In a nutshell, I think P90X2 totally McRockity Rocks! My results have been more than I could have ever hoped. I know that sounds over the top, but I’m really not exaggerating. I will gladly sing X2 praises.
Is P90X2 for me?
P90X2 is NOT for beginners—or even moderately fit people. It is an advanced workout program designed for very fit people and athletes who want to take their fitness up a notch. It is for people who are willing to work out 5 days a week for at least an hour a pop for a total of 90 days—or 88 days, whatever. If that’s you, then yes.
What kinds of exercises do you do in X2?
X2 has 3 phases, each lasting 3-6 weeks:
Phase 1 deals mostly with building the strength in your core. There are mainly balance moves on one leg, and a significant number of moves on stability balls and medicine balls. You will also do a challenging plyometrics (jumping) workout and a yoga workout.
Phase 2 deals with building your over-all body strength. This is the traditional weightlifting part of the program, except X2 incorporates a lot of balance into the workout,s as well(think bicep curls and squats while balancing on one foot). And pull-ups. Tons of pull-ups.
Phase 3 deals with athletic performance. This is where you put it all together—balance, plyo, strength, agility, speed. The workouts are fast-paced and full of variety. And they kick yo booty.
Each week, you work out for 5 days and take 2 days off (you decide what 2 days). You should take a recovery week (3-12 days of rest) at least twice during the program (again, you decide when.)
Do I need to do P90X before I do X2?
No. But I would highly recommend it. For one, many of the exercises are similar to P90X, but modified to make them more challenging—so your learning curve will be quicker if you are familiar. For two, Tony Horton (the host-guy of P90X and X2) references the original P90X often. If you don’t do P90X first, you’ll feel like everyone’s in on the joke but you. That’s no fun.
Did you change your diet during X2?
Yes. In 3 ways: Clean(er) eating/smaller portions, Shakeology, and intermittent fasting.
Eating: X2 comes with a diet guide, which has several options and programs, depending on your goals and your dietary preferences. It’s easy to follow and has many great recipes. I started out following the diet guide pretty strictly. Which for me, was basically my former diet, only less food.
By Phase 3, I was still eating less food, but I had allowed myself some treats and free meals along the way. Note: my idea of a free meal is NOT total crap. I’m talking maybe a bowl of ice cream, regular pasta instead of whole wheat, or a few slices of veggie pizza on thin crust. I know…I live life on the edge.
Shakeology: Back in October (before X2), I started supplementing one meal a day with Shakeology, which is a whole foods smoothie powder made by the creators of P90X and X2. To it, I add almond milk, a banana, berries and a ton of spinach. I still drink that every day for breakfast or lunch—and now, so do my husband and some of his triathlon buddies. I love it. I want to marry it, it’s so stinking delicious. Makes me feel like I get a giant chocolate milk shake every day. (I started selling these products after I wrote this post–that’s how much I believe in them).
Fasting: About half way through the program, I incorporated one day of intermittent fasting per week. I do not eat from Wednesday night (after dinner) until dinner on Thursday. I still drink coffee, water and green tea, and sometimes I juice some fresh fruits and veggies during that time—but I do not eat food for 24 hours, once a week. I started this as a health discipline, but after the first week, it became much more spiritual. Mind, soul, body and spirit are so integrated to me, it’s difficult to separate one from the other. When I do something good for one area, the other areas benefit, as well. So, while I don’t really do this for dietary reasons any longer, I felt I should mention it because it does reduce my overall calorie intake for the week.
Is there anything you do not like about X2?
You need a lot of equipment. There is one person in every workout DVD showing you how to do the workout with just a chair, a towel and one resistance band—so, you can modify, if you must. But if you want to do the workout the way God intended, you need the following: dumbbells at various weights, a stability ball, at least 2 medicine balls (4 for some exercises), a foam roller, at least 1 resistance band, a plyo box or sturdy chair, a yoga mat, a yoga block and a pull-up bar. And a place to store all this stuff!
Phase 3, in my humble opinion, could use another workout DVD or two. There’s an upper body and a lower body workout—and you do each one twice a week with yoga in between. By the end of phase 3, I was bored. It was still challenging—but I needed something new to do. This certainly isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but it is something I think could be better.
What’s next, now that X2 is finished?
I’m going through all the workouts again in succession, with some walking or running (yay running!!) in between. I’m not sticking to a strict workout schedule—just aiming for 4-5 days a week activity. I have some over-indulgence from vacation to undo and I’m still about 5 pounds shy of my pre-Lexapro weight. I am also seriously considering starting Insanity—another workout from the makers of P90X and X2. I never thought I could do Insanity (too difficult), but after rocking out X2, I know I can.
Does this post mean you are finished with your blog break?
No. I am still on a blog break. But since my brain is about to explode with potential blog material, I reserve the right to pop in and out of here whenever I choose. I hope you’re OK with that.
AGAIN, IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT P90X, P90X2 OR SHAKEOLOGY, CLICK HERE
(this post contains links to my Beachbody website. If you click on those links and choose to purchase something from those websites, I will receive compensation.)