Doing laps in the LA Fishbowl

Day 2: Plyo Hell

The good folks at want you to truly COMMIT to this P90X program, and to that end they encourage you to take your weight and body measurements before, during and after you’ve done the three months of conditioning. They even give you a little workbook to do record this information. Not only that, but they’d like you to take photos of yourself, in as little as possible, before and after! Make videos! Post photos and videos online! Show the world what you’ve got, and what you did with it!

Uh, no.

But I understand the conceit (in all connotations of the word). If you can chart your progress, you’d be more encouraged by how your body changed, and more willing to go forward. Here are a few before/after photos of P90X users that I’ve found online:

This one’s pretty impressive, though he’s two months over.
Wow, though it’s at different angles and postures…
Nah, I’ll give it to her.
Amazing what a black background will do for a person…
Hey! No body hair-shaving allowed! Unfair!

Okay, if I’m going to display photos of others, I guess, in all fairness, turnabout is fair play. Though it seems awfully vainglorious, after much trepidation and soul-searching I’ve decided to go ahead and post my “before” photo. It’s not terribly well-lit and it puts me in a, you know, vulnerable position. Please, be kind (click on the “read more” to go on):

Yes, okay, maybe I’ve added a few pounds
since my knee surgery. That baking class
didn’t help, either. 
Day 2: PLYO-X AKA Living Hell
This DVD almost smothered my P90X infancy in its crib. Plyometrics is a series of exercises that promote fast, powerful muscle response, and they are used to condition athletes who need, well, fast powerful muscles. It’s used here as a cardio workout. Our video trainer Tony Horton calls it, at various times, “The X in P90X and “The Mother of all workouts.”

Now, it’s not the high-impact nature that I hate. I can adjust the exercises to take care of my bad knees and back. In fact, I find that doing an exercise video for an hour to be superior to taking a class in several key ways:
     1) You can modify the exercise without feeling shamed, or like the senior in the back of the Y class who wandered in because her Aquafit class was canceled;
     2) You can swear unreservedly at the instructor; and
     3) You can always say “Hell no!” and not do an exercise. Who’s going to know that instead of pretending to be a basketball player I’m pretending to skip rope? My heart rate’s still up!

No, the problem I have with plyometrics is that it is so very, very sports-oriented. Most of the exercises mimic some form of athletic endeavor. Tony says “Do you want to be better at baseball? (no.) Basketball? (no.) Skiing? (no.) Then Plyometrics is for you.” Hmmm. I used to have an asthma attack every time we had to do the Presidential Fitness Softball Throw in school. I just want to lose five pounds. Maybe I’ll just continue skipping my invisible rope over here. The Heissman position? Who the hell is that?

Participants: Two guys and a woman, including Eric, who has one prosthetic leg (hmm, I guess I really have no excuse) and Pam, whom Tony admiringly calls “The Blam.” Other times he just calls her “Pam Blam.” Consistency, Tony, consistency! We also find out that Tony is forty-five. God, will you leave no excuse for me?

Vintage Tony Horton quote: “Do your best, forget the rest.”
Fist Bumps: 3, though I was too busy swearing and sweating to watch carefully.
Jock Quotient: When Tony says “He’s a baaaad man,” it really means he’s good! Also, an exercise called Rock Star, where you have to jump in the air and play the air guitar. Really? Skipping, skipping, skipping. 
Watch out, Peter Dinklage,
I’m coming after you.
Notable Exercises: We warm up by doing squats, hands out and cupped together in front of lower face. I’m guessing it’s a catcher position, but to me it looks like you’re about to cup the buttocks of a very small person. Later we do Gap Jumps which I was hoping would be some kind of movement associated with getting to the bargain racks in the back of Gap stores, but it’s more like jumping over a stream. Tony tells me to use my arms while jumping and I salvage the situation by imagining I’m on the poster of “Billy Elliot.”

The bonus rounds involve doing complex movements based on pitching a fast ball, making a basket and doing some football maneuvers. Having no sense memory of any of these ordinary sports moves, I look like a drunken sailor having a coronary. This is where “Hell no” comes in handy. 

Food mentions: LOTS of food mentions here. Cheeseburgers, fries, Coca-Cola… Tony, dost thou protest too much? Is there a burrito just off camera?

Though I still do not like seeing this program coming up in rotation, by the end of three weeks I don’t hate it quite so much. In the beginning I found myself muttering “Oh Jesus Christ” between exercises; later on, because of my improved cardiovascular condition, I found I was also able to fit in a “fuck you!”before the next exercise started—improvement!
June 26th, 2011 - Still Life Las Vegas


3 responses to “Day 2: Plyo Hell”

  1. Allison says:

    You SOOoo cheated with that photo!

  2. Anonymous says:

    yes, what a tease. We were all waiting in anticipaton…

  3. […] Notable Exercises: Who knew that sitting against a wall could be so excruciating? We do both Wall Squats and One-Leg Wall Squats, pressing our back to the wall and keeping our legs at 90 degrees for a minute. A long minute. Later we crouch down and do Groucho Walks back and forth. I’d bet that over half the people doing the video has no idea who Groucho is. Equally challenging are the Debbie Sieber Speed Squats, which I prefer to call a Modified Dinklage.  […]

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