60 Days of Crushing It: P90X3

         I’ve written before about my journey with fitness – finding what worked for me and made me happy, finding time to do it. I spent most of 2012 doing my own little thing: mostly resistance workouts with dumbbells and kettlebells and body-weight moves, and I was really pleased with myself. I know that I feel better when I make the time to invest in myself in this little way.
         At the start of 2013, I was still trucking right along, and in May, Chris took a HUGE step and joined the HealthPark. He signed up with a personal trainer, and today he’s about 45 pounds lighter and in much better shape! As a result, I got a HealthPark membership too (one of those, “add your spouse for only a little bit more!” deals) and started trying to go over there for cardio occasionally. But using a gym just wasn’t working for me at this life stage — there is a charge for the childcare room, and I can’t justify spending that kind of money for a half-hour on an elliptical machine! Only using the HP on days when Chris had time to keep the kids at home meant it was a rare occurence.
      And when school started in August of ’13, my workout time just fizzled and died. Keeping up with a 3rd grade schedule, a Kindergarten schedule, an inquisitive and still-nursing 2-year-old, and a household proved to be too much. By December, I was pretty unhappy with that state of affairs. It’s not that I had gained a ton of weight – I was still hovering around my ‘comfort zone’ in the 120-123 range – but I just didn’t feel as good as I knew I could. My energy level was lower and my stress level was higher. I missed that feeling of strength I’d had just a year prior.
     A friend from our homeschool group, Sarah M., started posting on Facebook about a new daily workout routine she had started. She’s a tall, thin, whole-food-eating kind of mama –so I knew that if she was doing it, it must not be crazy or based on bad nutrition. Curiosity got the best of me, and I asked what the program was.

Okay, I remember hearing about P90X a few years ago. When we lived in Elsmere, our friends Misty & Axel did that. But I had the impression that it was CRAZY and HARD and IMPOSSIBLE for a normal person to do. So I kept asking Sarah questions and reading reviews of this new version, X3. It’s similar to the original: it’s a high-intensity interval workout program. It uses “muscle confusion” by varying 16 different workouts over the course of the 90 days to keep your body guessing – cardio, weights, power, agility, and flexibility are all covered. Unlike the original, though, X3 is only 30 minutes a day.
      That sounded perfect to me! I love weights, yoga, pilates… I need some help with cardio and agility. I had a hunch that the variety would help me to “stick with it” through the stuff I dislike. And I knew that I could carve out half an hour. I’m a morning energy person, so ideally I would work out in the mornings. I decided it wouldn’t kill my children to take a break from school and entertain themselves for 30 minutes; on days when I can’t fit it in around 10:30 a.m., I use “quiet time” (around 1:00 p.m.) as my time.
     I decided to order the DVDs, and then Sarah asked me if I wanted to get Shakeology while I was at it. I had heard of that stuff, too. Another friend had posted lots of photos of shakes and recipes when she was using it a few years ago. But I didn’t think I wanted, or needed, a meal replacement shake. HOWEVER – Chris had been drinking protein shakes for breakfast or as an on-the-go meal ever since he began his fitness journey back in May. I knew that his shakes were better than nothing, and better than some of the food options he used to pick (Little Debbies and chocolate milk, not exactly a breakfast of champions!) but I didn’t love the list of ingredients – like high fructose corn syrup. So I decided I’d order a one-month supply of Shakeology and try to convince Chris to give it a try.

    As it turns out, we love this stuff! Chris prefers the chocolate, and I really like all three ‘classic’ flavors (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry). We haven’t tasted the greenberry yet. In the beginning, I was very sporadic about drinking my shakes, but around Day 48 of my workouts, I started to use them consistently as breakfast. I know of some folks who continue to use Shakeology as a meal replacement for years; I don’t think that would be a good fit for me, but you never know. 🙂 
    So: the box of DVDs arrived, and I plunged in. Day 1 was called “Total Synergistics,” and I remember feeling supercharged. It was challenging; I could tell I had room to improve, but I was able to keep up with the pace and the moves. There are modifications shown for every move in every workout, so even if you can’t do the “advanced” move, you can keep on doing “something.” My hunch proved correct: the timing & variety is, for me, the key to sticking with it. I really hate cardio 🙂 but it’s only for 30 minutes. The countdown timer clicking along at the bottom of the screen reminds me I’m halfway done! Only eight minutes left! Last sixty seconds! Done! And even when I’ve huffed and puffed my red-faced way to the end, I know that I don’t have to do it again tomorrow. I get a few days of the stuff where I excel, yoga and strength training, before I come back to a cardio routine.
      Today is Day 60, and I still love it! It has taken me about 68 days in reality – travel and illness have made me skip workouts here and there. I have only lost about 2 pounds, but over 9.5″ overall.  See for yourself:
 

We have a week of vacation coming up, and I think I’m going to bring my DVDs with me. I may divert from the written schedule a bit (I’d like to do all no-equipment-needed routines on vacation, so I won’t have to bring bands and dumbbells along in my suitcase), and I may not do it every single day – it IS a beach vacation after all! With 30 days to go, I’m really excited to find out what my final results are going to look like. If you’re looking for a new exercise program to shake you out of your rut, or if you’ve heard about P90X3 and wondered if it was really do-able as a non-gym-rat, busy mama: I’m telling you, this is a good plan and it’s worth the effort.

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MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

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