In January 2011, I began a journey seeking to improve my fitness. I opted to try P90X as the means towards the ends and I established this blog to help me stay on course. I completed my first round of P90X on April 22, 2011. And I was happy with the results. I was getting stronger, eating better, lost weight and was having a better experience doing things I enjoy like backpacking and tennis.
So I was eager to continue on, building on this success. My stated goal was to lose some additional weight and maintain the muscle mass gained from my first round of P90X. During my first round, I became aware of another Beachbody exercise program called Insanity. It captured my interest. I thought I could benefit from incorporating more cardio into my life. So to accomplish my goal, I selected one of the various P90X-Insanity Hybrid schedules posted on the internet and soon after took the Insanity Fit Test and began my Round 2 Hybrid.
On my very first day I strayed from my plan. I had intended to complete only one round of each P90X resistance routine to maintain muscle mass, rather than the two rounds for building mass. What happened was, I was performing fairly well in the routine and I wanted to see how my results would compare after taking two weeks off. That was it. From that session on, I performed each P90X resistance routine in full and I continued to get stronger as the Hybrid round progressed.
This Hybrid round introduced Insanity routines in place of P90X’s Plyometrics, Kenpo X and, at various times, Legs & Back regimens. I had no idea what to expect from Insanity, but was concerned I would not be able to do it. The fit test was somewhat sobering. And the pace and relentlessness of the early routines gave me cause for doubt. Fortunately, I had benefitted from my first round P90X experience and that gave me the baseline fitness and mental fortitude to push through the Insanity routines. But I firmly believe there is no way on earth I could have completed Insanity without first having done a round of P90X.
For the uninitiated, Insanity is a standalone fitness program that spans 60 days. In the Hybrid, you extend it and blend it with P90X routines. Insanity routines come in 2 flavors: the Month 1 agony, and–if you survive–you get to do the “Max” routines in Month 2. The routines and my experiences with them are:
- Plyometric Cardio Circuit
- Cardio Power & Resistance
- Cardio Recovery
- Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs
- Core Cardio & Balance
- Max Interval Plyo
- Max Cardio Conditioning
- Max Recovery
- Max Interval Circuit
Over the course of the Insanity “process,” I was challenged in new ways and in my oxygen-deprived state I formed some opinions along the way and was sometimes less than charitable in my assessments. But dang, my cardio endurance and aerobic capacity have improved tremendously.
My pull up progress continued as well. And during the course of this hybrid round, I attained, what for me was, the unthinkable: over 100 cumulative, unassisted pull ups in the Legs & Back routine. As I was approaching this milestone, this is where I further modified my Hybrid. I was very near the 100 pull up mark when I noticed that the final weeks of my Hybrid eliminated Legs & Back from the schedule in favor of Max Cardio Conditioning & Abs. Well, that just wouldn’t do. So I used my powers as administrator of this blog to edit my Hybrid schedule to give me the opportunity to do Legs & Back in weeks 10 & 12. And I’m glad I did.
So how have my pull ups progressed? As you may recall, when I began this process, I could do exactly zero pull ups. Now? Well, here are the charts:
Pull Ups by Routine
The dip in week 13 is the beginning of Round 2, two weeks after completing my first round of P90X. And (full disclosure) the totals in weeks 22 & 24 for Legs & Back are averages of the surrounding two weeks (20 & 23, 23 & 25) because Legs & Back was replaced with Max Cardio Conditioning.
Cumulative Pull Ups by Week
This cumulative chart better illustrates the overall trend from week to week. While gains are no longer exponential as during the first round, they are still a steeply sloped linear function. I expect gains will continue in Round 3, but I am realistic enough to realize the slope will lessen.
Why the focus on pull ups? Well, it’s because it’s the one exercise that best demonstrates–quantitatively–the transformation I’ve experienced over the past 8 months. Gains are more clearly represented when the starting point is zero, versus 10 reps x 20 lbs growing to 6 reps at 40 lbs & so on. Plus, you use a lot of different muscles doing pull ups. Who knew you use your abs?
Hmmm, am I turning into that character in that Seinfeld episode who asks questions to himself, aloud. And then answers them?
Am I happy Beth left me? Of course not. Do I hope to pick up the pieces and move on? Absolutely.
I sure hope not…
Anyway… Would I recommend doing Insanity without first doing a round of P90X? No way. Not unless you’re young and already fit. Would I recommend this Hybrid as a subsequent round alternative to straight P90X? Absolutely!