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5 Things I've Learned from My 2005 Workout Regimen

Yup, you read that right. I just finished doing P90X, and this set of at-home workout videos is just a couple of years younger than, well, me. When people ask about my quarantine life, I usually answer with cliches like, "oh, you know, just home," or "work, sleep, same old." 

And then, 91 days into this 90-day program, it hit me: the fact that I was doing workout DVDs from 2005 is just ridiculously absurd. This is probably one of the oddest quarantine habits anyone could have. So why haven't I written a blog about it? 

This little realization led me to believe that I should. But first, let me clarify that I am NOT, by any means, a "fitness person." For the past couple of years, my lifestyle could probably be described as sedentary at best. I hate exercise, I sometimes secretly hate people that love exercise, and when I used to sweat before, I would be concerned (and by concerned, I mean that I would think stuff along the lines of Ew, sweat? Why is my body rebelling right now? Am I too hot? Am I nervous? Am I going to break out? How do I stop this moisture? Should I get an iced coffee? Ugh, I need to stand in front of a fan). So, it was a pretty drastic change to go from nearly dry-heaving from braving one flight of stairs, to a minimum of sixty minutes of intense exercise per day. And while I still can't say that I love exercising, I will admit that I generally feel better about myself and my body. 

So, as I reflect on the end of this dated-but-still-effective training regimen, I thought I'd share a few of the ways that P90X has shaped me over the last three months. I promise these aren't your typical "your workout is nothing without proper nutrition!" or "exercise is great for your mental health!". Though both are true, I thought I'd offer some more, let's say, unique insights to this exercise regimen. 

Let's go!

1.  I have new friends. 

And by new friends, I mean the characters in these videos who I grew strangely attached to and think about more than I should. There are approximately 30 'extras' who do the at-home workouts alongside the P90X host and creator Tony Horton, and I can now recite at least three facts about all of them. At first, I was unsure of what to think about having feelings for fitness models who are now probably grandparents, but I suppose it makes sense. After all, on most days, I spent more time with them than actual humans…

2.  Working out is wayyyyy less embarrassing when there’s nobody to be embarrassed around.

As somebody who has always been scared of gym class, fearful of the term GoodLife, and repulsed by group fitness activities, I have gradually realized that much of my aversion to exercise is rooted in self-consciousness. I would be lying if I said that all of this has disappeared over the past three months, but I have become more confident in myself by making mistakes on my own. When you feel yourself getting stronger, it's easier to focus more on that strength than on what you're 'lacking' — especially in a public setting. 

3.  A scale isn’t a measure of, like, anything. 

I lost 15 pounds in the first month of P90X. Then I lost more weight, and then I gained, then I lost, then I gained, so on and so forth. Now, I'm probably about 5-10 pounds lighter than when I started. But does this mean I'm only five pounds healthier? No. I've gained muscle, I've lost fat, and my weight continues to fluctuate daily. P90X has taught me that while monitoring yourself is good, bodies are bodies, and you can't assign numbers to them as signs of concrete progress. Instead, focus on being mindful of the changes happening with your body, both internally and externally. 

4.  Workout videos really are a sign of the times.

When I listened to some of the things said in P90X, my mind tended to wander (yes, mid-rep) to thoughts like Was that… sexist? Why do they only do close-up shots on certain bodies? Did that comment have racially-biased undertones? Wow, that word would not be ok if used today. They let him say that? Alright, relax with the beauty standards here. That didn't get edited out? Man, if they only knew the history behind what they just said… As a media studies graduate, I have become attuned to language, biases, and hidden meanings in any medium I encounter in my day. When I first started this program, I thought that I'd be able to turn off my critical lens for an hour or two daily and just focus on working out. It's a workout video, how much can this get political?, I thought. But alas, like everything else, even fitness class tapings can fail to age well. P90X is proof that ideology is rooted in everything, and that any medium can be studied as a snapshot of history. 

5.  Sometimes you just need to eat the f*#k!ng cookie! 

Listen, I know you want abs. We all do. But sometimes our bodies just aren't built to be chiselled, flat, or toned all-round. Or they are. I don't know. But what I do know, even after 90 days of fitness and a pretty strict diet, is that sometimes you just have to live your life. Like anything else, working out and eating is about balance. If you hate everything that you eat, or you're deprived of foods that you enjoy, is it even worth it anymore? This was the mentality that I used throughout my three months of intensive exercise. 

It may not have been a pillar of the 100-page P90X nutrition guide, but I honestly believe that life is too short not to indulge sometimes. Could I have been more toned today if I hadn't opted for a dessert every once in a while over the past few months? Maybe. Would I be that much closer to abs if I didn't give in to cravings or nights out? Definitely. But at the end of the day, we're human, and we deserve yummy, fun things. I'd rather be squishier and happy than ab-wielding and miserable. So, my non-P90X-approved advice to you is just to eat the f*#k!ng cookie! Everything will be fine! You'll live! Your body will know what to do with it! You don’t need guilt for yet another thing!

If you made it all the way to my cookie advice, thanks for reading! If you're also in the midst of a fitness routine, or thinking of starting one, I wish you well. Be kind to yourself, do what you can, and don't be hard on yourself for what you can't. Good luck!