As most of you know, I am in my 7th round of P90X3. I love this program, as it allows me to get a super high-intensity workout in, in just 30 minutes, 6 days a week. Trust me: I love my original P90X, but as a mom of a 2 year old, it's difficult to get in 60-90 minute workouts in every day. 30 minutes is about all I can muster for now with a busy toddler in the house. The beauty is, of course, I've been able to take off all 62 pounds of pregnancy weight and get into the best shape of my life with this program.
It isn't for everyone, that's for sure. It is, indeed, pretty intense and hard-core. It is not for the faint of heart. When one undertakes X3, they need to be ready to commit to a plethora of fitness training they may have never seen or experienced before.
But, in the end, it is SO worth it.
Today, I share with you an example of a weeks' worth of workouts, and why I work towards the goals I'm challenging myself toward.
If you aren't familiar with the P90 programs, all of them are 90 days (hence the 90). P stands for Power, and X stands for Extreme. All of the P90 programs introduce a concept called "Muscle Confusion." What this basically means is that every day, the person committing to the program does a radically different workout every day to confuse the muscles into working harder and burning more. Indeed, you will be SORE. Even in my 7th round of this program, I still get sore, as I push harder (which I will get to in a moment). There are 3 blocks to the 90-day program. Weeks 1-3, you do a different workout each day. Week 4 is Transition or "Recovery" week. The body needs time to chill and dump all the garbage and lactic acid that has built up during the first 3 weeks. Then, beginning Block 2, week 5-7 is the same as 1-3, but different workouts are incorporated again. Week 8 is Recovery week. And, Block 3 begins and repeat repeat repeat until Week 13, or "Victory" week.
Right now, I am at the tail end of Week 5 of Round 7. Or Day 34, if you prefer. This is what my week has looked like so far:
Day 1: Eccentric Upper. Okay, it's School Time, folks. There are three elements to a muscle conditioning exercise. First is Concentric, when a muscle shortens. Think of doing a bicep curl. The concentric motion happens as you curl up. Isometric is the moment when the muscle is holding still, or at the bottom of a bicep curl. Eccentric, or the "negative," is when the muscle is lengthening. This would be as you're curling down in a bicep curl. Focusing on the eccentric portion of an exercise increases time under tension, and helps muscle growth. Eccentric upper is a melting pot of push-ups, pull-ups, shoulder, bi and tri exercises. One of my favorites of the X3 workouts.
Day 2: X3 Yoga. 30 minutes of flexibility, stamina, balance, core strength, and body awareness. It's so great to take just a little bit of time and allow your body to fill in the gaps that you miss doing the other intense workouts.
Day 3: Cardio Day. I tend to mix this one up a bit. If the weather is nice and the humidity is low, I usually go for a run. This past week I did the Sunday Stair Climb with my buddies over at Plan for Adventure. It's a great, self-paced 30 minutes of cardio. I tend to push myself this day, as I want more bang for my buck. Plus, those stairs at Lincoln Park are NO JOKE. If it's way too hot and the humidity has my asthma in a tizzy, I'll do an X3 Cardio at home in the AC. On the docket for Week 5 is Triometrics. It's an intense jump-training, or Plyometric, workout. It's pretty explosive, and incorporates three levels (hence the "trio") of intensity.
Day 4: Eccentric Lower. Same concept as Upper, but focusing on the lower half. Hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves. All are screaming by the end of the workout.
Day 5: Cardio Day. Again, if the weather is nice, I like to continue focusing on my running. However, during Week 5, this day includes MMX, one of my favorites of the X3 workouts. MMX is a mixed-martial arts routine of karate, kenpo, jiu-jitsu, judo, and tae kwon do. It targets not only max heart rate to help burn fat, but also helps upper-body strength, core, leg endurance, and flexibility. I sweat so hard during this one. It's awesome.
Day 6: Incinerator. Another of my favorites. It's an upper body push and pull routine, designed to max out the body with back-to-back movements that engage the same muscle groups. A good example is 10 reps of a back row, then max reps of pull-ups. Then 10 reps of fly push-ups, then a max reps of a chest press with a lighter weight.
Day 7: REST DAY! It's important for the body to take a day to just relax and, again, dump all the garbage it's been carrying around for the last week. On this day, I make sure to hydrate like a beast (more water = less recovery time), eat clean, and spend time with my daughter and family. I usually tend to be pretty lazy on this day, which is great. I sit around and play computer games or read a book or binge-watch Netflix (all while my little one naps). When my bub is awake, we may go to a park or museum, or grab a treat at our favorite little coffee shop up the hill. It's a pretty great day.
And then, after Rest Day, it's back at it again.
So. What are my goals? It's simple: I am close to 40. Yes, it's true. I'll be 39 in October. My goals aren't too incredibly lofty, but they are important to me. I train hard because:
1. I want to keep up with my daughter. She is incredibly busy all of the time. Also, she has two very fit parents who are committed to a healthy lifestyle. It is SO important to me that she grows up knowing how important fitness, wellness, and healthy eating can be.
2. Endurance. As an asthmatic, some things are extremely hard for me. Running is a beast. But I love it. Here is the thing: I will never have a sub-10 minute mile. I am okay with that. I will also never run a half-marathon. Also okay with that, as it isn't something I'm particularly interested in. I just want to be able to keep doing it. And do it so it feels easy and not painful. X3 has completely changed my body in so many amazing ways. I am able to endure so much more as a runner than I ever did when I first started running 6 years ago. And I'm OLDER now! Being in great shape at 38 has drastically changed everything for me. A goal? To finally be able to run a 10K. It's far off in the future, but I'm in no rush.
3. Mass. At this point, I am done toning and firming. I am now to a point where I am working on more definition and mass muscle gains. I realize I am still a work in progress, and always will be. So now, I work on heavier weights and less reps to help define my muscles more. It's slow going, but I'm having a blast. And my goal? To do ONE unassisted pull-up by the time I'm 40. I have 14 months. I think I can do it.
4. Continue my Passion. It took me ALL of my adult life to finally find what I am really passionate about. And that is fitness and wellness. I tried so many things: voice and piano teacher, actor, theatre company owner. Then I went off to grad school for a masters in counseling. But I kept being pulled toward fitness and wellness. I am so lucky I am able to put my masters degree to use by helping people through fitness and wellness. I find the two go hand-in-hand. Challenging habits and behaviors are often at the root of why we have a difficult time getting into a healthy and clean lifestyle. I get the chance to help people change that EVERY DAY. So I train hard to be a great example to my clients that anything is possible if you put in the work. It may not be easy, but it's so worth it.
5. I want to feel good as I age. And have a rockin' bod. Not kidding.