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Core Performance: April's Great Fitness Experiment and March's Results (Giveaway Post!!)

Posted Mar 31 2010 8:48pm

Embarrassment: My armpits are hairy. Part of it is because I am porcelain pale (that's the nice person way of saying my friends call me Casper) with raven hair and while that sounds like a winning combo in romance novels, it's more about 5 o'clock shadows - on my legs - in real life. But me and my trusty razor have usually been able to keep my hirsuteness in check. That is, until P90X. That's right, people. P90X made my armpits hairier. Okay, to be precise P90X didn't increase my actual hair but thanks to my newly muscular shoulders, my pits are really difficult to shave! (Shout out to Jen Sinkler of Survival of the Fittest who also noticed this phenomenon in her curvier pits.)

Hairy pits aside - and I will extend my apologies now to all my Gym Buddies, Turbo friends and everyone else who has to see me in a tank top these days - let's get right to the results of P90X. The program is written to be done for 90 days (hence the "90" in the title) but if you are good at counting you'll notice we only did it for 60.

In the Gym
Complaint 1: We got bored. The first month you rotate through 6 different workouts. The second month they sub in two new workouts but you keep 4 the same. The third month is just all 8 workouts repeated. These workouts were definitely challenging - the Core Synergystics one made me so Toilet Sore that I almost had to install a handicapped bar in my bathroom - but the same 8 workouts for 90 straight days? Boring. And in our world where a new fun workout comes out every week, there simply is no reason in my mind to repeat the same thing over and over.

Complaint 2: Very little cardio. Some of you will see this as a plus but Tony and the gang don't seem to think much of cardio. I'm not saying I want endless treadmill runs but the Kenpo (stylized kick boxing) routine was the only actual cardio workout and that's done once a week. The plyometrics workout got our heart rates up but our leg muscles failed long before our lungs did.

Complaint 3: Oh my aching wrists! Between all the pull-ups and push-ups, my already computer-compromised wrists are toast. Other Gym Buddies complained of knee pain from all the lunges.

Complaint 4: I expect to get nailed for this one in the comments but Gym Buddy Megan and I agreed: it made our shoulders too bulky. I love to be strong (LOVE it) but I also like fitting in my shirts. P90X almost made me have an Incredible Hulk-esque wardrobe malfunction. In church. Surely there is a way to get the nice definition and the strength without the bulk? (And because I know you are all curious now, you can flash back to this post to see what my shoulders look like right now. They're not huge huge. They just make my shirts tight.)

Compliments: I loved the new weight lifting moves. Tony has some seriously creative juices because he has 6 different moves to work your biceps alone. We will definitely be incorporating some of these into future routines. I also loved my new strength. I started the program able to kinda eke out one pull up. I can now do two pull-ups and two chin-ups! This thrills me. Unabashedly.

P90X made no difference at all in my weight. I lost 1 pound last month and regained it this month. Of course this is not the fault of the workout. Like I said in my one-month review , 90% of my weight loss happens in the kitchen and I can't hardly expect to be losing weight while I'm snarfing down cinnamon rolls. Totally my bad and I know it. Yes, I still have 5 pounds to go to get to my "nursing weight" and yes I'm still really depressed about that. Feel free to chide me - or enlighten me - in the comments. I really really need to let this weight thing go. It's making me nuts. (Side note: This is further evidence that eating vegan does not automatically translate to weight loss . There's plenty of fattening (yet delish!) vegan desserts out there!)

On the dietary front - because if you'll recall, March's GFE was actually the Okinawa Program - things went a little better. It turns out I really enjoy eating like the Okinawans . I find the food delicious and I love their emphasis on whole grains. I feel really good eating this way and it meshes quite well with my baby-imposed dairy restrictions. The problem was my old nemesis Mr. Satan, er, Sugar. The Okinawan Program recommends 1-3 servings of sweets per week. I did that per day. Sigh.

April's Great Fitness Experiment
Back in January I reviewed a book called Core Performance Women by Mark Verstegen and Peter Williams. Basically this is a workout centered around making amorous advances on a foam roller - what's not to love about that? Actually, the reason I'm excited to try out this program is because it is written by a seasoned professional athletic trainer (Verstegen) for women athletes. Verstegen has both a dietary and exercise component but as the former is rather uninspired (though very solid) - think the 100s of articles you've read this month alone about lean protein, healthy fat and whole carbs - we'll be focusing mostly on the workouts . For those of you who don't own a copy of the book, the Core Performance website has a TON of free exercises, fitness videos and recipes so while you won't be able to play along with the Gym Buddies and I exactly, you can certainly try out his techniques. Just be sure to sterilize the foam roller when you're finished. (P.S. Men are not left out! While this particular book is written for women, his previous ones were written for men and his main site has plenty of info for the dudes as well as the chicks.)

One of the comments I get most often on my Great Fitness Experiments is "Well that's all fine and dandy for you already fit folk but I'm just starting out! I can't keep up with that!" While I think that most Experiments can be scaled down for beginners, I do understand how intimidating health and fitness can be when you are starting from ground zero. GFE reader and certified Beachbody coach Elizabeth Demeusey has stepped in with a very generous offer specifically for all of you just getting into fitness. Beachbody's Slim in Six (you may have seen the omnipresent infomercials?) program is designed to help people get started on the path to better health. With Elizabeth's coaching and the Slim in Six program, you'll have a great transition into fitness.

Since Elizabeth wanted to specifically offer this product to fitness newbies, instead of using the random number generator to pick the winner (like I usually do), she would like you to leave a short comment explaining why you need this and I will select the winner based on need. So tell us: What goals are you looking to accomplish? Are you looking to lose weight? Improve your blood pressure or cholesterol? Avoid the family curse of diabetes? Elizabeth adds, " I would like to encourage only people to enter who really, really need to get serious about their health and not just people who are curious about watching the DVD." The winner will get to choose between the Slim in Six package or, if they'd prefer, Kathy Ireland's program for people battling type 2 diabetes.

Your Turn
Any other thoughts to add about P90X? Anybody try the Okinawan Program? And, Who's in with me for April's Core Performance for Women? Be sure to leave a comment telling me why you need a health transformation to enter the giveaway!

Anybody else notice the more muscular they get, the harder their pits are to shave?
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