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Old 03-18-2012, 09:36 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Athens, GA
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From couch to P90x - Advice?

I'm hoping some of you have done this program and can offer me a little advice. I'm already committed to doing it, it's just how to Start it that I'm not sure about.

I was planning on starting it as it's stated in the program, following the six days a week program schedule. But I was talking to my girlfriend about trying to figure out what I should drink after the workouts for recovery, because it is 6 days a week so I feel like I would need something.

She thinks that I really shouldn't start out doing that much. Maybe start with 3 days a week, then move up to 4, then after a few weeks start the "real" program.

A little background on me - I'm female, just turned 35 in February, about 5'6 and right now I fluctuate between 185 and 190 lbs. I don't really work out at all right now. I have a pretty solid body frame and I've been told that I carry my weight well and I guess that's why. I don't think I Look like I could lose 35 lbs.

But trust me I Need to. I feel horribly out of shape and it's not doing a whole lot for my confidence. I am serious about doing this program, it's just the intensity of it in the beginning I'm not sure about.

So are there any of you that have done P90x out there that weren't 20 year olds with the ability to recover a lot quicker? What was your experience with the program? I know it's gonna kick my ass, and I'm prepared for that. I just don't want to hurt myself by starting out full speed ahead.

And I would also like some advice about a relatively cheap recovery drink. Any homemade varieties? Or is it really worth it to buy the large tubs of drink mixes?

Thanks in advance for any help!
Old 03-18-2012, 09:51 AM
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Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 27,398
Do what you can, forget the rest.

Yoga will absolutely kick your ass...take it easy. Feel free to stop after 15 minutes and still be prepared to feel like crap the next day.

Plyo will make your thighs feel like they're falling out of your body the day after tomorrow.

They say Day 7 is for Rest or Stretch. Personally, I always did the streching DVD and used Kenpo day as rest day. I never liked that one so I skipped it.

I always recommend people to do the Stretching DVD on Day 0 (the day before you start) just to get your body ready.

If it tells you anything, right now, I can't touch my toes, if I try, my hands come to about 6 inches from the floor. About two weeks into P90X (and honestly, I only give it about 70%), I can put my palms on the floor. Hell, if I'm at work and I have my shoes on, I can still show off and grab my toes without putting any effort into it. It's amazing how quickly the flexibility shows up. That's very clearly the first and most immediate result.

Get a set of weights. I use the adjustable ones. When I first started I used the bands...it hurts when they snap and leave a big welt across your forearm. You really can't do this program without a set of weights. Off the top of my head, I think I use 5-20 in 5# increments (but I don't have my notes anymore).

Write everything down...everything. The program is pretty useless unless you do that. I tried not writing anything down at first but it's kind of pointless. You'll go to do an exercise and not remember how much weight you used last time so you're basically starting over and/or having to pause to add or subtract weight. It's a lot easier to look at last weeks note and see 15#/15reps and a little up arrow telling me to add 5# next time.

When you do plyo and you get tired and worn out just remind yourself that the one guy is a friggen amputee and he's doing just fine.

Try not to laugh at the stupid jokes, you'll lose your posture.

Do what you can forget the rest.

I hear chocolate milk is a great recovery drink.

I'm sure I'll think of more.

ETA, there are worksheets on the internet. They might be buried on the BeachBody website somewhere, but if you search for P90X worksheets you should be able to find them.

Last edited by Joey P; 03-18-2012 at 09:54 AM.
Old 03-18-2012, 01:11 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 39,857
My son and daughter in law are coaches for this program, and have both been doing this program for several years now. She started out at about a size 20 and ended up around a size 6. If you PM me, I can try to hook you up with her. I know the more advanced programs such as Insanity are only for people who are already in terrific shape, as they are high-impact exercise videos.
Old 03-18-2012, 08:39 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Remember that P90X is designed to take people in decent shape up to exceptional shape. One of the manuals has a fitness test to see if you're prepared - if not they recommend you do another program called Power 90 first. Don't be ashamed if that's where you start - P90X is HARD and if you're not ready you may burn out before it takes effect
Old 03-18-2012, 09:55 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Ohio
Posts: 5,192
P90x is no bullshit. It's very hard. If you are not already in decent shape you will struggle with it to the point that the workouts lose effectiveness because you won't be able to keep up at all. They do have a beginners program that is less intense. I would advise that one. Actually they have a test on the website they recommend trying before you buy the full program because if you can't complete the test you likely won't be successful with the program. It's not an easy test and it's not a gimmick. They are serious.

The only thing I didn't like about it was that it is overly pull-up intensive. If you cant do 5-10 pull ups in a row you will be at a severe disadvantage.
Old 03-18-2012, 10:06 PM
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubsfan View Post
The only thing I didn't like about it was that it is overly pull-up intensive. If you cant do 5-10 pull ups in a row you will be at a severe disadvantage.
When I start the program I can usually only do 2 or 3, but by the end (or when I give up around 60-80 days, which ever comes first) I'm usually up to 4-6. Still not a lot, but definitely an improvement. I know a lot of people (all female) that just skip the pull ups altogether. If the OP is just looking to lose weight I can't see why skipping that pull ups would be a problem....Do your best, forget the rest.
Old 03-18-2012, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Van Uber View Post
And I would also like some advice about a relatively cheap recovery drink. Any homemade varieties? Or is it really worth it to buy the large tubs of drink mixes?
Water.

What are your workout goals? You mentioned your weight. Are you doing this to lose fat? Build muscle? Both?

Recovery drinks are for performance enhancement. They can be counterproductive for weight loss since you are basically drinking all the calories you just worked off. That's okay if you're training for performance reasons. You want to give your body easy calories to so it can replace all the fuel it just burned off. But if your goal is weight loss, you don't need them. Water is fine.

Make sure you are getting enough lean protein in your diet so your body can rebuild muscle as needed. You don't need protein drinks unless you are training to bulk up.

I'd recommend doing something other than P90x at first. It's a good program, but not for a beginner. Take a look at something like ATLETICA
Old 03-19-2012, 05:40 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Athens, GA
Posts: 22
Thanks for the tips guys!

I'll definitely check out Power 90, and the fitness test for P90x to see where I'm at. I don't want to get frustrated with the program early on and quit because I can't do anything.

As for the pull ups, I started watching one of the videos and Tim had one guy using stretch bands instead of doing the actual pull up. I bought one of those because I know there's no way I can do a pull up right now. We do have a pull up bar that fits over the door, but I'll work my way up to that.

And Filmore, I think you are right about the recovery drink. I don't really want the added calories right now. My goal is to lose weight.
Old 03-19-2012, 06:22 AM
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Location: Emerald City, WA, USA
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I'm about your size and tried it when I was slightly older than you are now.

See if you can borrow it before you buy it.

I really didn't like the program, I found it very repetitive (for example, he does a number of different types of push ups with your hands and feet in different positions. To me, while physically it feels different, mentally, it feels like the same thing over and over and over again.) also, I really couldn't stand the guy. After four weeks, I couldn't look or listen to him any more and stopped.

That said, I think the non-yoga is a very good workout. (I don't think he does a good job of explaining the yoga. He doesn't seem to really know what he's doing there). I had exercised before, I just hadn't done anything recently, and going 6 days a week was hard, but not impossible.
Old 03-19-2012, 08:22 AM
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Having just tried the fitness test, I crushed it. Would Insanity be a better option for me, or would P90X still be a better starting point? I'd really, really, like to get rid of my small amount of midsection fat, but otherwise I"m fairly fit, though my cardio could use some work.
Old 03-19-2012, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Van Uber View Post
Thanks for the tips guys!

I'll definitely check out Power 90, and the fitness test for P90x to see where I'm at. I don't want to get frustrated with the program early on and quit because I can't do anything.

As for the pull ups, I started watching one of the videos and Tim had one guy using stretch bands instead of doing the actual pull up. I bought one of those because I know there's no way I can do a pull up right now. We do have a pull up bar that fits over the door, but I'll work my way up to that.

And Filmore, I think you are right about the recovery drink. I don't really want the added calories right now. My goal is to lose weight.
There's also the Beach Body 10 minute workout, which is surprisingly effective for a beginner.
Old 03-19-2012, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
There's also the Beach Body 10 minute workout, which is surprisingly effective for a beginner.
Is this part of the P90x routine, or an independent stand-alone?
Old 03-19-2012, 04:54 PM
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Well today after work I came home and did the fitness test for P90x. I was pretty happy with the results and thought I'd be able to at least Try the program, so I went right into the first workout of Chest & Back.

Holy Moly! All those push ups are a beast. I had to do 'em girly style on my knees and even then it was pretty tough. I just don't have the upper body strength to do them the regular way yet. The pull ups weren't so bad, I was using the stretch band.

But overall I liked it. My heart rate was definitely up and I Felt the Burn! I didn't push myself too far. If I could only do 5 of one particular push up, I just did 5.

I didn't even mind Tony talking all the time...

But I'll see how I feel about everything when I wake up in the morning!
Old 03-19-2012, 05:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phungi View Post
Is this part of the P90x routine, or an independent stand-alone?
It's put out by the same guy, but it's a stand-alone workout. Same principles, though. It comes with that stretchy resistance band that gives a pretty good workout. I went through about eight minutes of the workout this morning and was sweating and breathing hard. But I'm pretty out of shape at this point.
Old 03-19-2012, 06:10 PM
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Location: Chicago, IL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super Van Uber View Post
And Filmore, I think you are right about the recovery drink. I don't really want the added calories right now. My goal is to lose weight.
Just to be contrary I'll throw this in:

The idea behind recovery nutrition (be it drink or other combination of water and food) is to allow for better performance the next day and overall. Better performance the next day and overall means more calories being burned in each of those work outs thus potentially more fat loss (not to mention preservation of or increase in muscle mass so less percent body fat). There is also the argument to be made that a small amount of carbs and protein soon after a work out (say within an hour) prevents feeling overly ravenous a few hours later thereby cutting down total daily calories in. 1 cup of low fat chocolate milk has about 157 Cal and enough carbs and protein to do the job. It seems like a small calorie investment for possible significant gain. Nothing magical about that drink, but some modest amount of protein and carbs with fluids after may be a good idea with fat loss as the prime goal.
Old 03-19-2012, 09:07 PM
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I think I'm at about the same fitness level as the OP. Perhaps unwisely, I just jumped right into P90X, though I did more of the cardio-type programs (cardio, plyo, kenpo, and core synergistics) than the weights. With some modifications, like lighter weights or fewer reps, I made it through just fine. And I quickly saw improvements, like being able to do more reps or more weight. I don't really know why I quit, but I did. Now, I'm running for exercise with an occasional rainy day with Tony.

As for the recovery drink, it is overpriced, but I really like it. Sometimes, the promise of that after a workout is the only thing that gets me out the door. And, I usually eat less - or nothing - afterwards, as suggested by DSeid. So, I'm still losing weight, even with the recovery drink. Other than that, I can't really vouch for it's other claims about soreness and such. I think that's better attributed to good warm up and stretching.
Old 03-19-2012, 09:29 PM
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Location: Portlandia
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This is my daughter-in-law, with before and after photos.

This is my oldest son. The photo is the 'after' shot. The video shows him before starting the program and during workouts.

Last edited by Chefguy; 03-19-2012 at 09:31 PM.
Old 03-19-2012, 11:13 PM
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Can I do it without a pull up bar? I literally have no place to install one or the ceiling clearance for a freestanding rig. What equipment do I need? Anything besides a mat and dumbbells?
Old 03-20-2012, 05:38 AM
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drastic_quench - I'm using a stretch band/cord thingy. In the videos he has one of his people using it for every pull up exercise so you can see how your posture is supposed to be. If I didn't have that there's no way I'd be able to do a regular pull up right now.

And about the recovery drink - I did notice yesterday that I was REALLY hungry a few hours after the workout. I ended up being under by about 200 calories yesterday, so maybe I'll give the chocolate milk a try.

I think one thing I'm gonna have difficulty with is trying to track how many calories I'm really burning during the workouts. I'm using the Lose It app on my phone to track, but there's not exactly a P90x option for logging exercise. I just put it under weight lifting for lack of a better idea.

Oh and I'm also not as sore as I thought I was going to be. I think all the stretching you do as part of the workout (and I did some more later) really helped out.

Oh and Chefguy - the first link doesn't work. But your son is flippin' ripped!

Last edited by Super Van Uber; 03-20-2012 at 05:41 AM.
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