My relationship with exercise

I just got a bump from Kyle, my Noom Goal Specialist, asking me to make a goal to help with something I struggle with, like exercise, or blah blah blah.

Exercise has often been a struggle for me. My job keeps me seated at a computer. I do have time for exercise, but at a certain point I lost motivation.

When I was in Albuquerque in the 1990s, I lived within easy walking distance of a gym. So I joined it and I used it. I went to bed early, got up early and went to the gym to start the day. That was great!

Then I moved to San Antonio.

No longer within easy walking distance of a gym, and no longer in the military, which forced me to be at least a little bit in shape, my fitness fell to the wayside. I got fat.

Continue reading “My relationship with exercise”

Is P90X2 better than P90X? (Part 2)

I’m going into my 10th week of P90X2. I’m in Phase 2.

“10 weeks?” you ask. “It’s a 90-day program. Shouldn’t you be in Phase 3, home stretch?”

Well, if I were doing P90X, which is a pretty strictly scheduled 90-day program, then, yeah, I’d be about done, but P90X2 is different. You see, there is a lot of balancing in X2 — standing on one leg, hands and feet on medicine and stability balls — and I really wanted to get a better handle on that stuff before I moved on, you know, build up my core.

Consequently, I spent 9 weeks in Phase 1, which included 3 recovery weeks that were just yoga and stretching. I put in a recovery week every third week, because I could.

The program allows for that. Phases 1 and 2 are, by the book, 3 to 6 weeks of workouts, and Phase 3 is 3 to 4 weeks. Up to you. Oh, and you can toss a recovery week in wherever you like. Or not. Up to you.

While Phase 1 was mostly about building the core, Phase 2 is working toward building overall strength. Plyocide and X2 Yoga are carried over from Phase 1, along with the Recovery & Mobility and X2 Ab Ripper routines, but now we are getting into training more targeted at the major muscle groups.

The schedule for Phase 2 is:

  • Chest, Back & Balance + X2 Ab Ripper
  • Plyocide
  • Rest or X2 Recovery & Mobility
  • X2 Shoulders & Arms + X2 Ab Ripper
  • X2 Yoga
  • Base & Back + X2 Ab Ripper
  • Rest or X2 Recovery & Mobility

There are other optional DVDs that can be swapped into some of the spots, but I did not buy them.

The workouts are still applying balancing techniques for added core strength, so there is a lot of on-one-leg stuff, particularly in the Shoulders & Arms routine, and plenty of work with medicine and stability balls.

At this point, unlike when I published my first impressions, I am prepared to say that, for me, P90x2 is better than P90X. Why do I say that? Simple — I feel stronger and more athletic during this program than I have during any other program I’ve tried, including P90X.

But, wait. Couldn’t that be because I’ve been building up over the past few years, so, really, this feeling of athleticism is a result of years of hard work toward a fitter me?

Okay, you got me, could be. But you can’t stop me from finishing this piece, so here’s the rest.

The techniques employed by P90X2 are much more unorthodox than those used in P90X, at least as far as weightlifting goes. Don’t get me wrong, P90X kicks ass, but the focus is more on simple resistance training. That will get you into shape, no doubt — it worked for me — but P90X2 goes beyond that, providing strength and balance training.

Have you tried doing curls while standing on one leg in a Warrior 3 stance? How about pushups with your hands on medicine balls and your feet on a stability ball? Let me tell you — it’s tough!

Is balance that important? Yes. Especially as we age, balance is so important, because falls can be much more destructive to our aging bodies.

I feel ready to tackle life with P90X2, because it seems to provide me with practical strength and balance that I need in my day-to-day activities. P90X made me feel “in shape”, but X2 makes me feel “ready for whatever life throws at me”.

I think a lot of the feeling of wellness I get is from the great core work. I really cannot describe how good my abs and lower back feel. Sure, I spent 9 weeks — 6 of them doing the actual P90X routines — in Phase 1, the Core phase. But it was worth it.

If you have not done either X or X2, it’s really up to you which one to select. Both are tough, but X2 may prove daunting for a newbie, because of all the balancing. If you are a seasoned athlete, though, and you want a challenging program to get you into better shape, either X or X2 will do that for you, but you may be ready to just jump into X2.

As Tony Horton says during X2 Shoulders & Arms: “Before we were working parts and getting fit. Now we’re connecting parts and getting athletic.”

Remember, no matter which you choose, there’s always a 30-day money back guarantee, so try one out. Don’t like it? Send it back. But do yourself a favor and try one of those programs. They truly are life changers.

Is P90X2 better than P90X? First impressions

I started P90X2 a few weeks ago, so I am still in Phase 1. So far, so great, so let me answer some common questions about the program.

  1. Does P90X2 replace P90X?
    NO! P90X is still for sale, because it is still a great workout program. It’s the workout program that saved my life, in fact, as I struggled with weight and fitness. P90X set me on the path to good nutrition and exercise.
  2. Is P90X2 harder than P90X?
    That’s a tricky one, and I am tempted to say yes, because P90X2 involves a lot of balancing. We work out a lot with a stability ball, for example, doing one-handed chest presses with my back balanced on the ball, pelvis up, feet on the floor. That requires a lot of extra balance and muscular coordination than doing a simple press from a bench. Also, pushup-to-one-arm-balance with hands on medicine balls is quite challenging…. Okay, screw it, YES, P90X2 is harder!
  3. Should I do P90X first, then do P90X2?
    Well, I just said P90X2 is harder, so you might think it makes more sense to do P90X first, but I don’t think it really matters much. Would you do better during X2 if you did The X first? Sure. And vice versa.
  4. Is the structure of P90X2 different than P90X?
    • It is a bit different, but not really too much. With P90X2 you only need to press play 5 days a week. You can either do the “Recovery & Mobility” workout or simply rest on Days 3 and 7.
    • X2 is not as rigid as The X is, with X’s 3-weeks-on-one-week-recovery formula. X2 is divided into 3 phases — Phase 1: Core, Phase 2: Strength, and Phase 3: Performance. You can make Phases 1 and 2 anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks, and Phase 3 should last 3 to 4 weeks. There is a Recovery Week that you can “do whenever you want”. You can do it between phases, in the middle of phases, or just skip it altogether. I wouldn’t recommend that, though. Just listen to your body.
    • If you did The X, you know we worked that “Ab Ripper” workout 3 days a week. In X2, it’s only that often during Phase 2. Ab Ripper is only 1 day during Phase 1 and it’s not in Phase 3 at all.
    • The workouts are still about an hour long, and Ab Ripper is still about 15 minutes. Yoga is about an hour (not 90 minutes as it was in P90X). Remember, I am only a week in, so  we’ll have to see about the later workouts.
    • Oh, also, if you buy anything but the basic package, you will get some additional workouts on DVD that you can substitute in to ease boredom and add muscle confusion.
  5. Do you need to be in shape to do X2? How is the Fit Test different from P90X’s Fit Test?
    The Fit Test for P90X2 is the same one as for P90X. However, I started P90X a few years ago without passing the pullups part of the Fit Test, and I know others who have started it without passing much of the Fit Test at all. Those people understood that they needed to take the exercise very slowly and eat right to build up to the point where they could do the workouts properly. If you take it easy and don’t hurt yourself, couch potatoes can start one of these programs, but a program like Power 90 might be the way to start, then go for one of the more advanced ones.
  6. Is there a vegan nutrition guide for P90X2?
    Yes, there is! X2 comes with several nutrition paths, including vegan.
  7. If I’ve done P90X, do I really need to do P90X2?
    If you are happy with P90X and the results you continue to get from it, then you can stick with it. But if you are looking for a new challenge — and aren’t we all? — you should definitely give P90X2 a try.

I really like P90X2 so far. I enjoy the difficulty of balancing on balls to do moves that previously seemed pretty easy. Better than P90X? You will think this is a cop out, but it’s true: They are both great, but different.

If you would like to order P90X2, please click any of the links on this page. If you have questions, contact me at for more information. Take control of your fitness!

The Difference between P90X and P90X2 — by Tony Horton

In this short video, Tony Horton — the creator of P90X and P90X2 — explains the difference between the two programs.

If you don’t want to watch the video, the upshot is that P90X gets you into shape, and P90X2 focuses on making you more athletic. It’s the same as the difference between Shaun T’s Insanity and Insanity: The Asylum.

You can order the programs through the links above or email me at [mailme] if you have questions. Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it!

Insanity with weekends off

I love Insanity. It’s my favorite of the 3 programs I’ve done. (The other 2 are Tony Horton’s P90X and The Asylum. I’ve also worked out a lot with the One on One DVDs, but that’s not a program, per se.)

I wanted to start 2012 with a round of Insanity, but I wanted the weekends off, so this post is about what I’ve come up with.

The original Insanity is a 9-week program. This is 10 weeks.

My Insanity-with-weekends-off program includes all the high-work days that are part of Insanity, but, to compress the schedule while taking weekends off, I leave out all but the first and last fit tests, as well as some of the low-work days.

Trust me, though, I’ll get plenty of work during this program, and so will you, if you choose to follow it.

Here you do, day by day, with weekends off, if you start on a Monday.


  1. Fit Test
  2. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  3. Cardio Power & Resistance
  4. Cardio Recovery
  5. Pure Cardio
  1. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  2. Cardio Power & Resistance
  3. Pure Cardio
  4. Cardio Recovery
  5. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  1. Cardio Power & Resistance
  2. Pure Cardio + Cardio Abs
  3. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  4. Cardio Recovery
  5. Pure Cardio + Cardio Abs
  1. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  2. Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs
  3. Cardio Power & Resistance
  4. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  5. Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs
  1. Core Cardio & Balance OR Yoga
  2. Cardio Recovery OR Yoga
  3. Core Cardio & Balance OR Yoga
  4. Cardio Recovery OR Yoga
  5. Core Cardio & Balance OR Yoga
  1. Max Interval Circuit
  2. Max Cardio Conditioning
  3. Max Recovery
  4. Max Interval Circuit
  5. Max Interval Plyo
  1. Max Cardio Conditioning
  2. Max Interval Circuit
  3. Max Recovery
  4. Max Interval Plyo
  5. Max Cardio Conditioning + Cardio Abs
  1. Max Interval Circuit
  2. Max Interval Plyo
  3. Core Cardio & Balance
  4. Max Cardio Conditioning + Cardio Abs
  5. Max Interval Circuit
  1. Max Interval Plyo
  2. Max Cardio Conditioning + Cardio Abs
  3. Max Recovery
  4. Max Interval Circuit
  5. Max Interval Plyo
  1. Max Cardio Conditioning + Cardio Abs
  2. Max Interval Circuit
  3. Core Cardio & Balance
  4. Max Interval Plyo
  5. Fit Test

I am just starting Week 3. I see myself substituting some Ultimate Power Yoga routines during Week 5, the Recovery Week, but we’ll see how it goes. I love me some yoga and doing Core Cardio & Balance over and over (which is what the original Insanity calls for) is pretty boring.

You may notice that the first month I put Cardio Recovery on Day 4 each week, instead of splitting the workouts in half by putting it at Day 3. That’s a personal preference, because I like to work hard, have a milder day (not that Cardio Recovery is that easy a workout, but it does take a day off from cardio), then another tough day, then 2 days off. If you want to put Cardio Recovery on Day 3, go for it.

During the later weeks, I do go 2 cardio days, recovery day, 2 cardio days, because those later cardio days are tougher than the ones during the first months.

Two weeks in, this seems pretty great. I am looking forward to finishing it up, because I am using this as a lead-in to my first time through Tony Horton’s P90X2.