Are the Results from P90X Infomercials Realistic?

p90x-before-and-afters

Deciding on purchasing the P90X program is a difficult economic decision – at least it was for me. $120 isn’t a whole lot of money, but it is when you don’t know if the program actually works. The infomercials and the website both make results seem too good to be true and for a lot of people it probably is.

But, I can tell you from my own experience that P90X is absolutely worth the cost.

The first time I went through the program I couldn’t believe how hard it was, and I had been working out regularly for the past year and half before starting. I lost quite a few pounds and gained a lot of muscle. I still didn’t look like one of the guys from the commercial, but I was extremely happy with my results.

Although I didn’t see the same results that the success stories from the website did, I do believe that you are able to if you work hard enough.

I’ll be completely honest and tell you why I didn’t see massive changes. First of all, I didn’t stick with the nutrition guide that came with P90X and secondly I took two long breaks during the middle of the program.

I purchased a lot of the ingredients for the recipes in the nutrition guide and stuck with the meal plan for about a month. I ended up getting tired of preparing all of those meals and then I let my diet fall apart. I still ate healthy for the most part but I would cheat often and I didn’t count my calories. I would also have the occasional beer or two on the weekend with friends and that can seriously add up.

Then, after about four weeks I felt like I needed a break, so I took two weeks off. I did this again after the eighth week. I was still working out at least three times a week doing other routines, but I think sticking with the program the way it was built is key to seeing the best results.

I then went through the program a second time, this time at a much more serious level. I decided not to use the nutrition guide, but I did count my calories and ate much healthier. I still didn’t give up the beer though 🙁 I went through the whole program without any breaks and by the end of the 3-month program I saw a huge improvement.

I wasn’t super-defined, but my muscles had grown quite a bit. I didn’t take any measurements before starting, but I’m positive I had added at least an inch to my biceps and my abs were finally starting to show. I never had strong legs or lungs, but I had no problem jogging for 45 min. after the program, which was unheard of for me. My fiance even mentioned that she saw a big difference in my neck and shoulder muscles.

While I don’t look like the guys from the commercials, I completely believe that P90X is worth the money and that you’ll definitely see the results you desire if you stick with it. I’m about to start the program again and I know I’m going to get even stronger and see better results than before.

And if you still don’t want to take my word on it, head on over to YouTube and check out the videos from people who weren’t paid to be in the commercials and don’t work for Beachbody. Lots of people have seen great success with this program.

The Food Portion Plan for P90X

If you’re doing the P90X program, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of the recipes in the nutrition guide aren’t foods you commonly have in the house (at least not in my house), so I would suggest using the “Portion Plan” of the nutrition guide instead, especially if you don’t have a lot of time to cook. Whether you’re doing P90X or not, this is a great nutrition blueprint for anyone.

The Portion Plan is great, because it will give you an idea of how many servings of each food group you can have and how many calories each item contains. This way you can pick and choose which foods you want to eat. I’ve included a PDF download of the P90X Portion Plan Guide if you want to download it. This isn’t an official document, but it’s based off of the actual nutrition guide. I put this together so that I had it all in one place and because I could print it out and take it with me to the store instead of taking the entire nutrition guide.

There are three phases for your nutrition plan in P90X. Phase 1 (days 1-28) is the fat shredding plan which was created to burn fat from your body while taking in lots of protein to help you strengthen your muscle. Phase 2 (days 29-56) is more of a well-rounded diet for the average person, and will provide more energy for your workouts. Phase 3 (days 57-90) is an athletes diet which puts lots of carbs back into your body for energy and maximum endurance while you’re really pushing hard during your workouts.

Next you have to figure out which level of each phase you should be doing. Take your body weight x 10 which equals your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). Now multiply your RMR by 20% which will give you the number of calories you burn daily outside of exercise. Now Add your RMR, your Daily Activity Burn and 600 to figure out your Energy Amount. The energy amount is what you’ll use to figure out which level you should be in.

Level 1

  • 1800-2399 Energy Amount
  • 1800 calories per day

Level 2

  • 2400-2999 Energy Amount
  • 2400 calories per day

Level 3

  • 3000+ Energy Amount
  • 3000+ calories per day

Now that you have that figured out, download the P90X Portion Plan Guide and get started!

Guinness World Record For Most Weight Squat Lifted in 24 Hours

shaun-jones-world-record

On March 22, 2009 Shaun Jones had began his attempt to be the first man ever to squat lift more than 1 million lbs. within a 24 hour period. He had trained for 6 years to take on this attempt and he completely demolished it.

In order to qualify as a Guinness World Record achievement he had to lift more than 122,624 lbs. but that was no problem for Mr. Jones. When the log books were totaled, it was announced that Jones had lifted 1,013,350 lbs and 6 oz. within the 24 hour period. Even more amazing is that the record was achieved on Shaun’s 50th birthday. Now that’s quite an accomplishment. I bet his legs were sore the next day!

Check out some video below.

The Murph: An Extreme Crossfit Bodyweight Workout

I did a Crossfit workout this morning, dubbed the “Murph” named after Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. According to the post on the Crossfit website, this was one of Michaels favorite workouts and after doing it this morning I can see why.

This workout absolutely kicked my ass.

You can complete this workout in sets or partition it as you like, but you do need to start with the 1 mile run and then end with a 1 mile run. The squats are body weight only although it is suggested that you wear a weighted vest if you have one, which I don’t.

1 mile run
100 pull-ups
200 push-ups
300 squats
1 mile run

I did only traditional push-ups and traditional pull-ups with no variations for this one and partitioned this workout in a way that worked for me. I did all of my pull-ups first and did them in increments of 15 and then down to 10’s for the last 40.

Then I started the push-ups and squats as sets together. I did 20 push-ups, then 30-50 squats and rested for 30-60 seconds and repeated. After about 100 push-ups, I had to slow down to about 10 push-ups each set.

To be honest, I couldn’t even finish this workout. I did my first mile run, all of the push-ups, pull-ups and squats, but on the final run I got a terrible cramp in my side that just wouldn’t go away. I was about .3 miles into the final run. Maybe next time…

If you’ve done any of the P90X workouts, this session probably looks very familiar. The Chest and Back video is basically all pull-ups and push-ups, although the styles vary.

I completed (for the most part) the “Murph” in approximately 1 hour and 12 minutes.

Are You Drinking Enough Water?

Drinking Water

Water is the most important thing you can put into your body. It’s an absolute necessity and you need it to survive. Many people though, aren’t drinking enough to stay healthy.

Generally, you should be drinking Eight 8 oz. cups of water per day. This is the most commonly recommended amount of daily intake according to tons of studies already done.

So why should you drink all this water when you’ve been doing just fine with only a couple cups a day? Well, because while you think you are doing fine, you have no idea how much better you could be doing.

Drinking the recommended amount of water will keep you hydrated and feeling good. You’ll have more energy when you’re hydrated and your body will tell you this when you’re lifting weights.

It’s also a huge benefit to your muscles. Keeping enough water in the body will help your muscles recover much faster. Who doesn’t want to recover faster and see gains sooner? Don’t lose out on bigger gains just because you don’t want a couple more cups of water a day.

If you’re trying to cut, water is also a great way to keep from eating when it’s not necessary. A lot of people think they’re hungry when all they need is some water. Have a drink now and then eat when it’s actually time to eat.

There are also several other benefits such as healthier skin and regulation of body temperature. Are you the only person in the office with sweat stains on your shirt? You probably need water. And talk to anyone who has had kidney stones before. They’ll tell you why you should drink 8 cups of water per day.

The best way to tell if you’re drinking enough water is if your urine is clear. Sometimes your urine may be yellow in the morning which is fine, but every other time you go to the restroom it should be clear.

One of the easiest ways to drink 8 cups of water per day is to drink a cup of water right when you wake up and then 1-2 cups of water with every meal. Also try to keep drinking throughout the day and avoid waiting until you’re thirsty.

A word of caution. Do NOT drink too much water. There is such a thing as water intoxication which can kill you. You may have heard about the radio station that had a water drinking contest and the woman who won went home complaining of a headache and nausea. She was found dead only 5 hours later. Don’t participate in any sort of water drinking contest and try to get your daily allowance of water in an hour.

Crystal Light is a great alternative to plain water too. It’s kind of like Kool-aid only it’s not full of sugar and it only has 5 calories per mix.

So I hope this will help you see the benefits in drinking the water your body needs. Get started right away, your body will thank you.

image courtesy of jcrojas / CC BY-SA 2.0

iFitness Exercise App for the iPhone

ifitness-screenshots

UPDATE: It looks like the iFitness app is no longer available on the app store, but a couple readers have mentioned a great app called All-in-Fitness, which looks very similar, and even better than iFitness.


I don’t have any other fitness/workout apps on my iPhone so I can’t really compare iFitness to anything else, but the reason I downloaded it is because I always hear everyone talking about it. I finally read the reviews and app description and thought it sounded like it was definitely worth $2 and after playing around with it, I love it.

There are a ton of exercises here to choose from. If you’re at the gym and just need some ideas, you can choose which body part you want to work on and then pick from a variety of exercises. Each exercise has a picture, a complete description of how to perform the exercise and even a video if you need more instruction.

You can also choose exercises based on specific muscle groups or even by equipment needed. If there are any exercises you know that aren’t listed, you can add your own, complete with a descriptions and picture if you want.

One of my favorite features of the app is being able to create my own routines. You can name your workout whatever you’d like and then add any exercises from the app to the routine. And while you’re working out you can note how much weight you did for each exercise, how many reps, the date and any additional notes you want to put down. This is all logged in the app eventually makes up a graph showing your progress.

ifitness-logging

If you’re just a beginner and don’t know how to build your own routine, iFitness also has 12 routines already built in, such as a beginners program, a weight loss routine, a business travel workout and even an expert golf routine.

On top of all that, they’ve also included a weight monitor, BMI calculator and body measurement tracking. The developers also take suggestions, such as feature, exercise and routine requests and eventually include them in regular updates.

This is definitely one app I’d recommend to anyone who cares about their physical health.

Healthy, Organic and Eco-Friendly Valentines Day Gifts

Valentines Day is right around the corner and if you haven’t picked up anything yet, you better get a move on. I did some searching around for for healthy, organic and eco-friendly items that your girl will love and I find just about all of it on Amazon (affiliate links) so you can find everything you need in one place. If you have more gift ideas, please add them to the comments.

juice-beauty-organics

Juice Beauty Organics to Go

Women love things that make them look and feel younger and products that make their skin softer and healthier. This organic skincare set from Juice Beauty has six different products designed to do just that.

jasmine-perfume

Perfume

Just like women like to look good, they like to smell good too. If your girl likes perfume, check out some of the “Green” products from Florascent, such as their Jasmine Perfume. At $98.95, it’s a bit expensive, but I’m sure she’ll love it. They also have several other smells if you don’t like Jasmine.

deep-steep-tea-bath

Relaxing Baths

After a long day at work, there’s nothing more relaxing than sliding into a nice hot bath. Deep Steep makes Bath Tea in several scents such as Rosemary Mint, Honeydew Spearmint and Grapefruit Bergamot. Make it even more special by preparing the bath for her and pouring her a glass of wine.

global-giving-roses

Flowers

Roses are the the first thing to come to mind when buying gifts for Valentines Day and Amazon has an assortment of eco-friendly roses that with each purchase, a 5% donation is giving to the the Global Giving project, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, or the Ploughshares Fund. They also carry some Blue Iris if you’re not into roses where donations go to Keep America Beautiful.

relaxing-spa

Spa Treatment

Give your girl a special day of relaxing massages and facials by buying her a gift certificate at a local spa. SpaFinder lists several types of spas in any location and you can book directly from the site so this would be a great one if you’re running short on time.

pink-stuffed-animal

Stuffed Animals

My girlfriend loves stuffed animals and there are quite a few cute and eco-friendly plushes here. And if you can find one big enough, she’ll love to cuddle with it or use it as a pillow. Sadly, it seems like no matter what my dogs always find a way to get ahold of them.

love-bug-sugar-free-basket

Chocolates

If you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle you definitely shouldn’t be eating candy, but sugar-free chocolates would make a great gift. Check out the Love Bug sugar-free Valentines Day gift basket or this one; the Sugar Free Heart Valentines Gift Basket With Bear. Be careful you don’t have the type of girl that could take this the wrong way though!

wine

Wine

One glass a day of red wine is a rich source of antioxidants and has been known to have plenty of healthy benefits such as boosting immunity, helping to prevent bone loss and is good for the heart. Wine is also very romantic, especially if you cook her a nice dinner to go with it. My favorite place to look for good deals on wine is Wine.Woot. They update the site frequently (every few days or so) so check often to find the wines you really want.

My Back Hurts When Doing Weighted Calf Raises

woman-calf-raise

I’m sure someone else has had this problem before so I wanted write a post about it and see if anyone can provide some input. When I do standing calf raises (like the lady in the picture) with dumbbells in both hands, maybe 15-20 lbs each, my lower back really starts to hurt. Sometimes to the point of me having to hurry and put the dumbbells down before falling to the ground. Has this ever happened to you?

I can do any other exercise with no problems whatsoever, from upright rows to a variety of curls, all of which are in the same particular stance. I suppose it’s because with the calf raises the weight never moves and strains my back, but it’s something that really bothers me.

I’m guessing I have a few options; I need to start working out my lower back more often, I could start doing curls while doing calf raises to keep the weight moving, I could use a barbell instead or I could start going back to the gym and using a calf machine. I really don’t want to go back to the gym though, so I guess I’ll have to pick from the other three.

I’ve tried positioning the weight on both the front and back part of my legs and that doesn’t help either. Does anyone know if the workout loses function if I’m holding the weight up near my chest? Do I have any other options?

What to Eat While Bicycling or Hiking

Bicyclist

If you plan to take a long bicycle ride, long jog, or go hiking, you should carry some food to keep you feeling energized, instead of lazy and tired. I’m sure you’ve had that feeling before. I just had this feeling last weekend after walking around the flea market for 3 hours. What was I thinking?

Anyway, when going out and doing a strenuous activity such as this, you should make sure to bring food with you. The amount of food depends on how long you’re going to be out, but you should be eating food with high calories so that you aren’t expending more energy without replacing it.

I would suggest about 440 calories per 100 grams of food.

So what should you bring?

Complex Carbohydrates: Dried or fresh fruits and veggies, whole grain breads, and crackers
Proteins: Protein bars, peanut butter, cheese, nuts and dried meats
Others: Plenty of water, grapes, tomatoes, small boxes of milk

Absolutely AVOID foods with refined sugars and empty calories. You may feel a burst of energy at first, but that feeling will wear off quick, and then you’ll be wishing you waited in the car.

Don’t pack too much or you’ll wear yourself out, but if you’re going somewhere where you might become stranded for any reason, make sure you pack enough to keep up your energy.

You also want to make sure that you’re eating complex carbohydrates. Fresh fruits and vegetable are an excellent choice or you can also take along their dried variations. Cracker or whole grain breads will also provide the energy your body needs.

image courtesy of butchgaudy / CC BY-SA 2.0

Learn How To Workout With Videos

Park Bench Pushups

If you’ve ever used another website to create a new workout plan or have been given one from somebody, you know how difficult it can be to remember how to do all the different exercises.

In the past, I’ve used websites such as MensFitness.com, ShapeFit.com, and even Google Images just to find pictures of how to do certain exercises, but for some odd reason, I didn’t really think to search for “YouTube” type websites for fitness related videos.

Mashable put together a huge list of places you can go to find free workout videos, so if you’re looking to put together a routine, these are the place to check out. I put them all together here in a list for you to check out.

You can also check out the full Mashable article about exercise videos if you’d like.