Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Win The Day


Looking back on my 2011 training chart puts perspective on the importance of taking on life one day at a time. I train a lot but, still, when you add it all up I’m not getting a lot of chances per year at each of my pursuits, much less each individual workout. The other day, during Plyocide, I was being lazy about working on an exercise I’m weak at when it dawned on me that I was only going to get a few chances at it in the course of the program, which inspired a vision Oregon’s football slogan, Win the Day.

One of the first things taught to Oregon players is the importance of each day. It’s a play on “live each day as though it were your last” but tailored to competition. I find it a great reminder to help get after it during the P90X2 workouts because, as Ducks coach Chip Kelly knows, once you make winning each day a practice it leads to better performance, period.

Why is each day so important? Looking back through my calendar I noted that I had only 6 full climbing days 2011, my preferred sport. My favorite workout of last year, Asylum Strength, I only did 5 times. PAP sessions: 12. When you have a full schedule and begin to analyze how it’s broken down the importance of each workout becomes clear; each time you slack off is missing an opportunity to improve yourself. If you lay each workout on a graph you will see exactly how a bit more effort or concentration here and there would have yielded greater overall improvements. Over time it’s the difference between champions and everyone else.

The X2 workouts are hard in a unique way. My favorite quote about the program, so far, has been “as I get better at the workouts they just get harder.” Conversely a complaint was that they were too slow. P90X2 is not step aerobics. It’s not simply about moving or getting your heart rate up. It’s about winning each encounter with something that’s going to challenge you. Once your body adapts to the subtleties of each movement you then add weight, or speed, or height or range of motion.

If Plyocide isn’t hard then you didn’t jump high enough, far enough, fast enough or use enough control to hit every square, touch the ball with your foot each movement, etc. If PAP doesn’t hurt you simply aren’t giving it enough effort because I’ve seen some of the most athletic people on the planet literally begging for mercy during those complexes. You can’t say you’ve mastered X2 until you can do all the exercises in perfect form with the same weight you can use from a stable platform; and if you think that’s impossible then you’re starting to get the picture. There is room for improvement and winning each day is the essence of what P90X2 is about.


To be fair, daily winning isn’t necessary or required. It’s about the effort. Bad days are a reality. Not to mention that if we never lost then winning would lose its luster. It’s fine to have off days, or lazy days. Days when you choose something over nothing, even when you don’t have the energy to bring it, are an important part of the process. But as you move up the pyramid of fitness to the point where you’re trying to do something special you’re going to run into an adversary. And whether it’s you, or an opponent, how you react to it will ultimately define your success.

16 comments:

Tyler Robbins said...

Awesome post Steve! There seem to be a lot of whiners out there when it comes to P90X2...I didn't realize that there were so many super-humans on earth that have mastered these movements and have zero room to intensify...

Sean Callahan said...

I agree 100% Steve. I have experienced the same thing with the P90X2 workouts as well. The better I get at them the hard they get. I love the goal of hitting each move with the same perfect form and weight as you use from a stable platform. Great stuff man!

Pbieghler said...

Totally agree - this should be mandatory reading before people whine about X2.

fitnessprofessional said...

Yes this is exactly it, send a letter to everyone explaining its purpose...the ignorant complaints kills me...they are way to quick to say something is poor, esp the week one folks. Thanks steve.

Mia Diaz Kostic said...

Thank you Steve! And thanks for the other responses from others practicing X2. Change is harder for some more than others, and so I am encouraging everyone who struggles with the changes in format to stick with it and focus more on the movement and personal responsibility of controlling his or her own body within each movement rather than complaining through the whole program because "it's not the same". If it's not hard, you're not trying!

Tom Krakauer said...

I wanted to take a little moment to talk about my x2 experience so far, because I've heard some negative talk from some folks, and I want to just open up and be honest since I know some folks here have not started yet.

X2 is very very hard. But it is hard in a completely different way than X1 was. X1 was instant emphasis on exercises that sort of intuitively "made sense". You started with chest and back--pull ups, push ups. You knew that those things would work. And they do. They are great. I love X1. But I already have X1, and don't need a rehash. I have "Supreme 90" for whenever I want the same thing with a new video. (No knock on supreme 90--it's a great program for $20, well worth your money and time).

X2, however, moves everything to a different starting point: focus on your whole body. From the X2 folks' perspective, so far that means "develop your core". The first week that I did this, it felt like I wasn't getting a workout in the same way as X1 because I had to decrease my weight SO MUCH. When you are doing preacher curls while in plank position on a stability ball, you feel a little like a circus act. But by the end of the week last week, I was exhausted with a core that HURT. I was so sore in places that I haven't been sore in a long time. I do core workouts all the time with asylum/insanity/p90x/arx--but not like this. Over and over, every day of the first stage focuses on your core.

I was a little disappointed--I want big biceps! I want awesome tris! I knew I wasn't going to get them with the weight I was using last week. But this week, I have found--to my shock--that my balance has already improved drastically. The cerebellum is a mighty and mighty trainable thing, apparently. I went up more than *double* on my weights in last night's exercises. I still struggled with balance, but I was struggling with balance while both my core AND my biceps were screaming. Today', I am sore in my core again, but also in my chest and arms!

And I'm starting to get a picture of what to expect from p90x2. This is going to work you so hard, but you have to be willing to let it work, to give it its due, and the more effort you put in, the more benefit you will get. You can fake your way through x2, probably more easily than through x1, and get very little out of it. Or you can decide to push yourself harder and harder, and walk away with more fitness in places you had never even known you were lacking.

Truth.

Anonymous said...

Power 90 is high school. Everyone should be at that level of fitness.

P90X is undergrad. It may not be absolutely necessary, but most people will really get something out of it. Insanity is the double major.

P90X2 is graduate school. It's not for everyone, but those who really go after it, want it, bring it, crush it, etc. will get a hell of a lot out of it. Asylum is the double major.

Stoney said...

I'm starting my second week of X2-phase 2, so far so good. I've already modified though, as I have access to barbells so I've been doing bench press 5x5 on CBB day, 5x5 deadlift on S&A day, and 5x5 squats on base & back day. I end up doing about 80% of the X2 moves, and all of ARX2. Lots of DOMS, and my core is being challenged with all of the stability work.

I think the schedule is well thought out, and makes sense for my weekly "athletic" activities.

Anonymous said...

Steve: I think you should be proud of X2. It is original, leading edge, and has many challenging workouts.

But I do admit to being only lukewarm about Plyocide. It seems to be a general purpose, body-weight workout for legs, combining a bit each of cardio, strength, agility, balance. Is that what you designed the workout to be?

I am one of the people who complains about Plyocide being easier than I expected for such an advanced program, but mostly I suspect because I am comparing it to other BB workouts that are focussed on only one or two of these areas.

Bill Tenerelli said...

Who are these people complaining that Phase 1 of X2 is too easy? Every time I do X2 Total Body, I want to throw up. In fact, sometimes I do throw up. If you don't bring it, you're not going to get anything out of it. X2, just like X1, is for people who want to bring it and want to mold their entire body into a sturdy fortress, in my opinion. Great blog, Steve. Keep 'em coming!

glennrgordon said...

p90x2...is all about intensity...as my form improves and i turn it up a notch the workouts are more challenging...i have completed 4 weeks of phase 1 and after a couple of weeks of falling over and straining to keep in balance and standing on one leg everywhere I go throughout the day the workouts get harder but my numbers improve...i don't know about gaining mass but i have definitely shed some fat in this phase and my mid-section is looking better than ever...the other thing about this program is the moves are so crazy it makes them fun and it's never boring...

Mike Ryan said...

Steve-One of your best blog posts ever! Thanks for putting a perspective so many need, out there!

Steve Edwards said...

Plyocide is prepping you for PAP. Part plyo, part proprioceptive awareness. When you can quickly 360 around the med ball, back and forth in both directions, and tap that ball each time without moving it I deem you ready to skip doing it.

Michael Dimaya said...

Insanity complete x2, Asylum complete, P90X complete, P90X + complete, P90X 1 on 1 V3 for the past year to prep for X2...1st time doing Chest, Back, and Balance P90X2 - felt like I got run over by a truck the next day.

charlesthemusician said...

This was a great post. I really appreciate all of the positive comments regarding P90X2. There are so many naysayers out there when it comes to X2, but it's apparent that X2 is all about making sure you have the intensity on full blast. I was wondering how so many of the "kids", who by the way are super fit, on the videos with Tony could look so wrecked after workouts that have been deemed "easy" by so many people. Even Tony, who only does half of the workouts most of the time, looks like he's getting it in. Thanks Steve!

Melissa @funfitchic.net said...

Thanks for this post. I have found X2 to be very challenging. I used to think I had great balance and core strength until I began phase 1. It's not that I can't stand on one leg but the moves are about activating your whole body while putting in some work. I love it. Reminds me of a game of Jenga. Tony is that guy who keeps stacking on the blocks in difficult ways to make you think out of the box. I'm working hard and I love it.