P90X: Hell on a DVD

Me doing a "pull up" in our apartment

One of the biggest things I need to work on before the Tough Mudder is upper body strength. My legs are fairly strong but my arms are pretty scrawny. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve being doing a weights routine using 10 pound dumbbells. It’s basically a routine from the Biggest Loser DVD that I did so many times, I have it memorized. It was tough but not necessarily a challenge.

Earlier today Joe asked me what I was doing for my workout today. I was due for weights so that’s what I told him. He suggested P90X. Now for those of you who don’t know what P90X is, it is an insanely challenging workout that involves 12 different DVDs. If Dante needed to create one more circle of Hell, this would be it. I had done one of the workouts with Joe before, the Kenpo X, which is a sort of kickboxing workout. Kickboxing is one of the few workouts I actually enjoy (probably a sign of pent up anger). I got through that DVD relatively easily so I felt pretty cocky after that.

Today I decided to try doing the arms and back DVD in order to focus on that needed upper body. It goes something like this: pushups, pull ups, different kind of pushups, chin ups, yet another kind of pushups, weights, repeat. I never knew there were so many kinds of pushups. I can’t do a normal, knees up pushup so that was a challenge but I at least tried everything (I did take a timeout to tell Joe that yes, thank you, I know I don’t do a push up right so thanks for pointing that out while you’re sitting on the couch eating dinner). We have a pullup bar in our apartment and thankfully the guy leading the workout recommended using a chair to do the pullups if you couldn’t do them straight. You put your feet on the chair and pull up as much as you can using your arms but you can push off with your feet some if you need to. The whole workout lasts about 55 minutes but there’s a warm up and cool down and a few breaks in between.

What I did like about the workout was the guy leading the routine. He told you to do what you could and said it was okay to rest if you needed to. He didn’t pretend to be a drill sergeant and was actually kind of motivating. I was sure I wouldn’t make it through the whole routine but I didn’t quit. When I couldn’t do another pushup, I just held a plank position or did downward facing dog for a while. As long as I was using my body in some way, I figured I was getting a workout. I wasn’t keeping up with the people on the DVD, but I was reminded that was okay. I’ll get better every time I do it and you have to start somewhere.

I know one thing: it worked. My shoulders feel pretty tight right now. But if I have to train for the Tough Mudder, I might as well train using the most difficult workout regimen I can find.

Days to the Tough Mudder: 78 days.