Doing laps in the LA Fishbowl

The Sounds of Silence

The one thing that can really drive you crazy about the P90X workouts is the music. It’s that synth-y, thump-a thump-a music so popular with porn videos throughout our fair nation (or, ahem, so I hearhave heard, someone told me about that). But that’s not the bad part. What is truly irritating, especially for those with any kind of dance/aerobic exercise background, is that the music doesn’t sync with the workout routine. So if you’re doing a sequence and moving to the beat of the music, you’ll invariably be off from the pace set by our rhythmically-challenged trainer Tony Horton. I know, I know, the music is layered in later, but couldn’t they have spent a little more time in the studio rejiggering speeds, or given the sometimes erratically-timed Tony a click track?

Luckily, there are some DVD options that can take care of that. During the second week I avail myself of them. I select “No music,” which gives you Tony talking but no music. Unfortunately, this puts into sharp relief the babbling of Tony Horton. It makes you realize how utterly inane most of his comments are, unmitigated by background sound. His “He’s a wild man!” banter and “I recommend a recovery drink” shilling seems a little… bald, in the quiet room. So I select another option: “Silence and Cues.” This only gives you Tony talking when he’s giving instruction on what exercise he’s about to do, when he starts and when he stops. All the rest is sucked away into silence. Perfection! What could be better!

The only thing is, extraordinarily, unexpectedly… I begin to miss Tony talking. All that silence make me acutely aware of… me, by myself in my little room, my sweaty body jumping on a sweaty mat, watching TV. Is this my life? And from time to time Tony’s voice would jump in to give instruction, and you could tell from his tone that he had just cracked wise to one of his compatriots, those people gathered together in the other room, there on the screen, suddenly far away, while you toiled all alone, and then his voice would click off again and he’d be gone with the favored ones. It was like there was a party in the next room and you were working in the kitchen and the host would pop in from time to time to give you orders…

I think I’ve invested a bit too much in these videos. Perhaps I should spend time with, I don’t know, humans.

Squats, squats and more squats, interspersed with pull ups. Sound fun? It is!
Participants: Ah, our Teutonic goddess Dreya is back, sporting a short kicky denim sweat jacket which she takes off to reveal her titanium abs. Eric from Belgium, who is, apparently, a wild man, joins her, and sweet Sophia. Poor, poor Sophia. How can she hope to compete with the Golden-haired Shield Maiden? When Tony introduces his “gals,” he waxes on about Dreya and her many superhuman accomplishments; the only thing he can muster to say about meek Sophia is that she’s got nice teeth. “Like Chiclets.” Ouch! Damning with faint praise, Tony! I suspect some kind of past relationship between Tony and Sophia, some brief fling, because he drips this tone of faux kindness and condescension upon her that men do so well with past girlfriends.
Classic Tony Horton quote: “I gotta go check on the kids.” Unfortunately, this brings to mind a less savory euphemism, and I keep thinking he’s about to run to the bathroom.
Fist Bumps: 4 fist bumps, plus 3 doubles.  
Shameless mentions of the P90X Recovery Drink: Four! He even gets Dreya to shill.
Tony’s Stretch Soup of the Day: Tomato Basil. Dreya the Virtuous offers up Lentil, but when Sophia suggests Lobster Bisque, Tony shuts her down with a “That doesn’t sound too healthy.” Dude! You chose lobster bisque in the last video! Cut Soph some slack!
Tony’s Weak Spot: He calls his calves “dinky.” 
Gay Appeal: Eric the Belgium looks mighty fine doing Speed Skater Lunges. 
Geographical Trivia: Tony informs us that in Belgium “It’s cold all the time!” Really?

“Eat your heart out,
Tony Horton!” 

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

Yes, Peter, I’m squatting here, waiting for you…

I do very minimal leg exercises at the gym, so this work is helpful and isn’t even hurting my knees! It is actually probably helping my knees by strengthening the muscles around them. So far, so good. 

Update: The next morning, you can feel every muscle fiber in your ass, like you’re a walking anatomy chart. 

July 6th, 2011 - Still Life Las Vegas


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