Sunday, August 2, 2009

In The Beginning

Surfing on last night, I was on a mission to buy a set of workout DVDs. After religiously hitting the gym for a few years, my regular workout regimen has gotten tedious and stale of late, and I'm well aware that my commitment (and activity) level is way down. My gym bag is starting to gather dust by my front door. I'd like to think that I'm still committed to exercising, but need to inject some variety into my workouts. It'd also be helpful to find a program that keeps me on a fairly rigid schedule. For me, too much flexibility is a bad thing.

My wife, M, was in an exercise rut for a while, too, but recently got kickstarted by a bunch of Jillian Michaels DVDs that she bought online. We'd already converted most of our garage space into a simple home gym a few years back (with an elliptical trainer, a rowing machine, a set of adjustable dumbbells, a weight bench, a TRX Suspension Trainer, etc.), and for the past month or so, she's been exercising almost daily, either before the kids get up in the morning or after they go down at night. M's commitment is paying off: She's gaining muscle and definition, and she's (deservingly) proud of her progress.

What the hell, I thought. I'm not getting my ass to the gym as frequently anymore, so I might as well give home workout DVDs a try, too.

So without much thought or research (other than scanning through the almost uniformly glowing reviews on, I ordered the P90X Extreme Home Fitness system, which was created by a company called BeachBody.

According to the BeachBody website:
P90X is a revolutionary system of 12 sweat-inducing, muscle-pumping workouts, designed to transform your body from regular to ripped in just 90 days. You'll also receive a comprehensive 3-phase nutrition plan, specially designed supplement options, a detailed fitness guide, a calendar to track your progress, online peer support, and much more.

Your personal trainer, Tony Horton, will keep you engaged every step of the way, and you won't believe your results! A $600.00 value* for only 3 monthly payments of $39.95 (+$19.95 s&h)! Why is P90X so effective? The secret behind the P90X system is an advanced training technique called "Muscle Confusion," which accelerates the results process by constantly introducing new moves and routines so your body never plateaus, and you never get bored! Whether you want to get lean, bulk up, or just plain get ripped, there's an endless variety of ways to mix and match the routines to keep you motivated the full 90 days and beyond!
It was only after ordering P90X that I realized that I'd seen it hawked on late night infomercials before, and my immediate reaction was: Shit -- I just got scammed. The infomercial is just way too slick to be believed, and the before-and-after photos of people who tried P90X are so extreme that they must have been doctored. Plus, as a general matter, I'm skeptical of direct marketing ploys. Products with labels saying "AS SEEN ON TV" aren't my cup of tea.

But after checking out some more online reviews, my gut tells me this is worth trying. After 90 days on P90X, it seems that some (though not all) users actually do "get ripped," while few feel ripped off. Despite the potentially hyperbolic testimonials and my overall suspicion of anything that is sold via television, I figured the most I'd lose is $150 or so. Besides, P90X evidently has a cult following -- people are drinking the Kool-Aid, and many are writing about their experiences and results on blogs like this one. They can't all be wrong.

I've not tasted the Kool-Aid yet, but thought I'd start this journal to: (1) independently review the program for others who may be shopping around, (2) record my own fitness journey as I try to get in better shape, and (3) keep myself motivated to finish all 90 days of the program. Plus, if I come across anything in the world of P90X, fitness and/or nutrition that strikes me as blogworthy, I'll post about it just to keep myself amused.

Lastly, if you're wondering if I'm a paid shill, flack or plant, I'm not. I'm also not a "BeachBody Coach" (i.e., an independent contractor who pays BeachBody for the right to sell its products and to get a cut of the sale) or BeachBody employee. I have no affiliation with the company, and I'm not out to sell anything to anyone, so if P90X turns out to be a total piece of crap, rest assured that I'll say so.

*By the way, this "$600 value" business is bullshit. No one in their right mind is buying 13 home video workout DVDs for $600.