If you’ve talked about exercise at all in the past few years, we’d bet money someone has brought up P90X during your conversation. When you asked what it was, we’re betting you were regaled with tales of how difficult this workout is. “It is killer!” “Don’t worry if you can’t do all of it at first, it’s the hardest workout you’ll ever do!” “You’ll die doing it but it will make the biggest difference!”
You get the drift. And, if you’re anything like Sherry, you run away. Fast! She is a firm believer in not killing herself while exercising.
Brooke and Emma, however, were very interested in P90X and kept reminding Sherry: if you want to ride the bike, you have to get on the bike (training wheels and all). Someone swiped a pirated copy of P90X off of the internet to give it a try (we won’t tell you who because we have yet to find a decent cake that can be baked with a file in it). The pirated copy gave us all a chance to try out this notoriously hellish workout regimen wherein the man who developed it talks at you continuously about how hard it is and takes you through his full week of routines. It’s not a bad workout except for three things: 1) Tony (the P90X guy) doesn’t stop yakking his sales pitch the entire time, 2) the guy doesn’t even do his own workout, and 3) it’s pretty much been developed for men and involves a lot of getting down on the floor and getting back up again.
So Tony starts out telling you how hard this workout is; how you probably won’t be able to keep up. Then he proceeds to sell you on the system you already just (allegedly) spent your good money on for the entire workout time. We found that annoying. As he chatters at you in his annoying nasal voice, he continuously stops his workout to tell you to keep working out or to look at his helpers who are doing variations of his workout. He doesn’t even do the entire workout! Sherry got so distracted by his avoiding his own workout she had to stop working out so she could count the number of times he didn’t really do what he was requiring us to do (well, that and she really needed to curl up in a fetal position and go to sleep a couple of times). She’s correct – he doesn’t and it’s pretty annoying when you couple it with the thousands of times you will end up off-beat in the counts. You’ll think you’re a bigger mess than you thought until you figure out (credit Sherry again – she is willing to interrupt her exercise routine to analyze the tape) they have cut the tape in several places. Gone are the Denise Austin workouts of the 80s where Denise does the workout routine, doesn’t secretly stop the tape to get a break while making you work through it, and talks about funny stuff instead of pitching product sales. And check out the ladies he has selected to show you how to (not) do his continuous routine. They are buff and don’t really look like traditional curvy women. Everyone is doing a lot of “guy stuff” and there is a lot of get on the floor/now get up/now get down on the floor routines that feel very exercisus interruptus when it doesn’t really have to be so. Why not get on the floor, do all of the floor stuff, then get your butt up and do the stand-up stuff?
So why, after previewing P90X, did Brooke purchase the entire workout system? Well, because it works. Tony has some very good ideas. First, you do something different every day. This is great because you end up with a very comprehensive workout system and the only thought you have to put into it is: What day is today? Second, despite its being annoying you will actually get an excellent workout. (Sherry insists Denise Austin is equally excellent so we tried her old tapes and Denise does an excellent job that is more tailored to women. You really have to work to hold in your laughter resulting from views of the 80s style workout gear Denise wears which, we guess, is good for strengthening your core. ) Third, it works if you stick with it. Much of what annoying guy does includes reps of extremely short routines that even Sherry has a tough time working up a moan against because it’s done and you’re moving on to something else before you get to the moan. This means a much more effective workout because you do stick with it. Who can argue that they can’t do this or that for 30 seconds? So it gets done. Fourth, if you really don’t like what is being served up on a particular day – you can switch things up and take a Denise Austin day without feeling like you messed up your routine. Fifth, the abs workout. We’re going to give you this because it really works to strengthen your core and give you a nice waist. And it only takes 15 minutes of your time! Tony says to do it every other day to give your body a chance to recover. If you try this abs workout and love it – you’ll probably want to explore getting the entire workout system.
The Abs Workout (do 25 reps of each move)
- Ins-N-Outs – sit on the floor with your hands slightly behind you and legs extended forward. With feet off the floor, bring your knees up to your chest and straighten them back out (feet still up off floor) and hold for a few seconds. Extend your legs again. That is one rep.
- Bicycle – sitting in the same position (feet off the floor and extended) pump your legs in a circular motion as if you are riding a bike. One full rotation is a rep.
- Reverse Bicycle – sitting in the same position (feet off the floor) pump your legs in a reverse circular motion as if you are making the bike go backwards. One full rotation is a rep.
- Crunchy Frog – still sitting on the floor get into the same semi-reclined position as for ins-n-outs except your arms will be held out in the air as if you are holding a great big ball. Bring your legs and chest together while simultaneously hugging your arms around your legs. Return to the original semi-reclined position. That is one rep.
- Wide Leg Sit Ups with Counter Stretch – Lie down and spread your legs to shoulder width. Work to keep the flat of your back on the floor. With one hand behind your head, sit up (reaching straight out with the other hand), stretch to touch the toe opposite your outstretched hand. Lie down. Repeat while alternating hands and legs. One up and down is one rep.
- Scissors – Lie flat on your back and extend one leg straight and the other leg up in the air (feet flexed and as straight as possible). Hold the position for 3 seconds. Switch leg positions. When the original foot is back in the air, you have completed one rep.
- Foot Prayers – Lie flat on your back and press the soles of your feet together in the air. With your arms at your sides (for balance) rock your hips and lift your “foot prayer” up to heaven. Lower back down (do not touch your feet to the ground). This is one rep.
- Heels to Heaven – Still flat on your back, extend your legs straight up in the air with your feet flexed. Work to keep your body at a 90 degree angle while pushing the heels of your feet up toward the ceiling (this will raise your hips up toward the ceiling also). Hold for a count of three and release. This is one rep.
- V Snaps – Lie down flat. Keeping your bottom on the ground, bring your head and your legs up into a position that looks like a V (arms straight ahead or up over your head). Push your head and legs toward each other (the snap) and release. Each snap is a rep.
- Leg Climbers – Lie on your back. Bring your legs up so your feet are still on the floor but near your bottom. Extend one leg in the air toward the ceiling. Keeping your extended leg stable, use your hands to “climb” up your leg and touch your toe and then “climb” back down your leg until you are lying back down. Do this 12 times for each leg – you get a break of one rep because you made it this far.
- Kayaker – Sit with your legs extended. Bring your legs off the floor by about 3 inches (you can bend your knees if your wish) and interlace your fingers and twist your body over to one side. Touch the floor and twist to the other side to touch the floor (feels a bit like you’re paddling a kayak). Twisting back and forth touching your knuckles to the ground each time. Each time you are back at your original side, you have completed one rep.
- Stretch 1 – Lie down on your back and extend your arms over your head. Try to touch one wall with your feet while trying to touch the other wall with your hands. (Love this stretch!)
- Stretch 2 – (in yoga this is called the Child’s Pose) get on your knees. Fold yourself over until your forehead is touching the floor and your bottom is touching your heels.. Your hands relax at your sides. Relax.
And you’re done!