Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Phase 2- Resistance is Futile

A few readers of this blog have said that I am inspiring them to get on board the P90X train. To them I say, "Why? Dear Lord, why?" You've seen no proof of actual sweat, no evidence of manly muscle, only snarky comments sprinkled hither and yon.  For all you guys know, I'm just watching the videos while updating my Facebook status and eating Umami Burgers. Remember that man from Georgia who posed as a Syrian lesbian? When will you all learn?

Seriously, though, I have noticed results. And I go into the second month/phase full of hope and determination. I've drunk the Kool-Aid, so to speak. I've hauled upstairs some of the adjustable weights a friend has left in my garage so I can use them. I like the solidity of weights, their fixed poundage versus the more fluid nature of the elastic bands. And I start seriously counting my calories. Shakes! Protein bars! I'm in deep now.

It's amazing how fundamental this exercise program is; strip away the informercials, the high-pitch selling, the sexy black packaging, and what you have is basically sit ups, push-ups, pull-ups, plus some dumb bell action and cardio. Most of this you could do in your average prison ward. My friend Ace sagely noted:  "It always comes down to diet & exercise - the lack of a magic bullet is a constant disappointment." It's true!  As they say about writing fiction: there is nothing new under the sun. It's all in how you put it together.

The people at Beachbody have done a pretty remarkably job on how they've put it together. The idea of constantly shifting your workout to avoid muscle ennui seems to work both physically and mentally. And what they offer you, week to week to week, is more balanced exercise regimen than you probably would do on your own. Left to my own devices, I treat my workout like it's a buffet: "Hmmm... today I'll do some of this... maybe a sprinkle of that... (neglect the legs again)... some chest-y things would be nice..." With P90X, you don't have that kind of choice, and because of it, your whole body is getting stronger, not just the parts you happen to like doing. What it comes down to, finally, is that I just need someone to boss me around. There. I've said it. And doing this program is a helluva lot cheaper than hiring a dominatrix. 

Who knew there were so many ways to do push-ups? Because, ladies and gents, that's mostly what you're going to be doing here. Eight different ways! With paper plates. From side to side. With a hand clap. With one arm (sweet Jesus no). These alternate with your standard deltoid presses and a whole variety of tricep extension routines. You'll feel like you're in an episode of "Oz" by the time you've finished this DVD.
Participants: We've got a motley crew here, including a rarity in exercise videos: an older woman! Laura looks to be in her late-40's, early-50's, with a rock-hard body and a face that could fit right in with the extras in "Winter's Bone." At first, I think Tony's snubbing her, but then he circles around and does his mock-flirt with her, so all is good. Also on board— a slab of a lawyer named Phil whose look Tony calls "intense" but I call "blank," and—finally! a quiet Asian man with tight, rippling muscles named David. David's a substitute teacher and martial arts guy who makes you think that Peter Jackson missed a grand opportunity by not casting Asians as elves in LOTR. I heart David. 
C'mon, wouldn't he be a cute elf?

Tony Horton Words of Wisdom: "The money comes in the last three reps." 
Fist Bumps: 4 doubles. Tony attempts to do a tricky single with Phil, but is rebuffed. 
Straight Quotient: Another football-themed exercise: Throw the Bomb. Oy. That is football, right? Tony demonstrates and asks his students for an example: "Give me a receiver." I'm guessing he's not talking about Joey Stefano...
Gay Appeal: Oh, Asian Legolas... 
Shameless Shilling: Oh, they're upselling everything today. The Recovery Drink! The Protein Bars ("Oh, so delicious")! Tony even manages to fit in a shout-out for the P90X T-shirt. Man, the marketing director must have been all over the set today. 
Tony's Pot-Stirring Stretch Soup of the Day: Sweaty Sock Soup. Good one, Tony. Only slightly worse than Phil's quip, "I'm stirring up Trouble." Sure you are, Phil. 
Notable Exercises: Have I mentioned there's a shitload of push-ups? Try The Floor Fly, where you slide your arm in and out in between pushups. A little slice of hell. Thanks, Tony.


  1. Yeah, yeah, workout, counting calories, football, protein shakes, cute guys, yada yada--what I want to know is: What is an Umami Burger, and where can I get one?

  2. Umami Burgers is one of the first of the ubiquitous gourmet burger shops mushrooming up throughout Los Angeles. It specializes in kobe burgers, homemade Ding Dongs, awesome onion rings, and the derailment of any kind of diet.