Monday, June 20, 2011

P90X Exercise Program - is it for you?

It seems that every year, as the weather gets warmer and the days grow longer, we get inspired to exercise more.  More frequently, more intensely.  We create goals for ourselves: I want to lose 10 pounds; I want to walk to work; I want to run a marathon.  Whatever your goal and whatever your reason, you need to find a program that works for you.

After many years of trial and a lot of error, I have found what works best for me: I need to exercise at home, by myself, on my own schedule, every day.  I am not someone who benefits from a workout buddy, nor am I someone who can exercise several days per week.  I am a self-motivated, all-or-nothing person.  To this end, I find the P90X program is perfect for me.

For those unfamiliar with P90X, it is a series of 12 DVDS, each about 1 - 1 1/2 hrs in length that promises a full-body workout including training for strength, balance and cardiovascular fitness.  There are several reasons I like this program:
1. I can do it whenever I have the time; I do not have to worry about being late for a class
2. It works my entire body
3. I can decide how hard I want to work; how sore I want to be (or not)
4. It is designed to safely train you on a daily basis
5. It is inheirently easy to increase the challenge level as your fitness improves
6. It requires almost no equipment (my current "weights" are two cans of garbanzo beans)

That being said, there are several drawbacks that should be mentioned to anyone considering the program:
1. Each workout is at least 1 hour long, which can be difficult to work into your schedule
2. It works best when you do it daily, which can be hard for some people or even lead to injury
3. It is very challenging; someone without proper knowledge of biomechanics may injury themselves

The program has several variations; I do not want to be a body-builder, I just want to be healthy.  For that reason, I stick with the "lean" program; it has a good dose of strength training while focusing on cardiovascular fitness. 

Is P90X for you?  Consider the pros and cons seriously before deciding.  Either way, you need to be careful injury during any exercise.  The best way to do this is to make sure your joints and muscles are properly aligned, that you warm up and cool down, stay well-hydrated and always work within your limits.  My favorite solution to any aches and pains is to use my foam roller and get a chiropractic adjustment.  Fixes me up every time!

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