90 days ago my wife and I started on a new exercise program to try to change our health for the better. Today is my birthday and it’s a few days since I ended the 90 day P90X exercise program I started on in February. A lot of folks have emailed me to ask how it was going, find out more, or just to call me crazy  for blogging about it. ‘What if you stop? Then everyone will know!” Exactly! That is one reason I blogged about my experience. That way it helped motivate me to keep moving on. And now that the 90 days are up, I wanted to share the results and some tips I learned along the way (and changes I made).

Did it work?

Yes. We both lost a little weight, but the real difference is in the body fat we lost and the way we feel. I lost 10 pounds but went from 18% to 9 % body fat. I don’t really care what I weigh, its more about how I feel … and I feel great. My wife had similar results too, and she looks fantastic (as always)!

What was involved?

Back when I started P90X in February, my first day was difficult. I felt like I was in push up hell. Do I enjoy push ups now? Heck no. The quantity of push ups, pull ups, and other routines was never a goal of mine. My goal was to get in top shape and to shed that last bit of crud on me that I could not seem to shake with my current exercise routine, which was mostly cardio and soccer.

So what was involved? In short:

  • 75 minutes a day in my home
  • Increase protein intake
  • Decrease sugar / carbs intake
  • Alternate between muscles and cardio routines each day

Are the workouts hard?

Sure, they are challenging. But the great part is that I did what I could depending on how I felt. I always tried to push myself til I “felt it”. This means that if you are in good shape you can do more, if you are a bit out of shape, you do less. But either way you just do what you can. That’s it. No pressure.

For example, in the first week I may have done 8 push ups til I felt the burn, so I pushed to do a few more in that burn zone. I think that is they key (for me): not stopping when it starts to burn but keep going for a few in that zone. The net result is that I increased what I could do by 2, 3 or 4 times by the end of the 90 days and felt much healthier. I learned fast that it is perfectly acceptable to just do my best and I’d still get good results. I did not have to keep up with the pros in the videos.

How did my eating habits change?

I love pasta, bread, cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream, and cereal. Carbs, carbs, carbs, and more carbs. I was eating very little protein, however.  So in short, I cut down on carbs and ramped up on proteins.  This was hard for me and I was NOT going to do a carb free diet. Nope, no way. So what did I eat? Average day had me eating this per day:

  • breakfast: eggs and orange juice (or a chocolate protein shake )
  • morning snack: banana ( or orange or strawberries)
  • lunch: chocolate protein shake (or a turkey sandwich, cheese, oil, veggies)
  • afternoon snack: yogurt
  • dinner: steak or pasta and chicken or hamburger (sans the bun). salad and or veggies too.
  • after dinner snack: chocolate protein bar

I like eating 5 or 6 smaller meals a day, personally. Always have done this and it helps me when I get the munchies at the computer as I often do. Sometimes I substitute cereal or pizza or some other favorite food. But overall I try to follow these eating rules:

  1. Try not to eat 3 carb heavy meals per day. If I do, cut out a snack somewhere or substitute with a protein.
  2. Don’t eat carbs after 8pm.
  3. Avoid junk foods as much as possible. Chips, ice cream and candy, for example. I do eat them, just not daily and not in large amounts.

I don’t starve, have more energy, and still get to eat my favorite foods. (like lasagna!) I like the Pure Protein brand of protein bars bars. They have 20grams of protein and 2 grams of carbs, and the chocolate and the peanut butter ones taste good to us.

Do I take any supplements?

I take a regular one a day all purpose vitamin, nothing special there. And immediately after a heavy workout I drink a carb heavy “recovery” drink that has a 4:1 carb to protein ratio (like 40 to 10) and vitamins in it. This helps my body avoid that post workout slump and feel good quickly. Its extra carbs at just the right time when my body needs it. I use the P90X recovery drink. Tried a few others, but we like the taste and feel of this one the best.

What will I do now?

The 90 days are over so we took a week off, but now I am back at it. I’m trying to find a groove where I can work out 4 or 5 days a week instead of 7 (2 muscle + 2 cardio + 1 optional light one).We’ll see how it goes, but hopefully it will keep us healthy but also allow for a day or 2 off when we need them due to family obligations.

The key to the results for us was finding a program that met our criteria:

  1. Allowed is to make eating changes that were reasonable for us to keep up long term.
  2. Took an hour a day since we have 4 kids we want to be around (and not shuttling to and from a gym, locker rooms, traffic, etc)
  3. Kept our interest (did not become monotonous)

Is P90X Costly?

The P90X routine did this for us and I highly recommend it if you also have those same criteria. It cost $120 for the DVDs + we bought some resistance bands ($50) and adjustable dumbbells ($220) and a yoga mat. I did not need the dumbbells, but I found them to be better for some workouts (I bought those about 9 weeks into the program). the only recurring costs are in the shakes I buy, but honestly it replaces all the junk food I was buying and more than saves me money in my pocket. I also cut off the gym membership of $95/month since I now workout at home, and have more free time.