For the past eight years, when it comes to exercise and health, I’ve only had two modes—all in, or all out. I have either worked out six days a week and watched my diet with the intensity of a thousand suns, or I’ve sat on the couch and consumed four Cokes a day. As a result, my weight has tended to have massive amounts of fluctuation. I scrape the bottom of 5’9″ on a good day, and when I’m super healthy, I weigh around 160. When I’m not, I weigh around 195.
Three months ago, I was right at that 195 number, literally fat and happy. I had a wonderful job, healthy and content children, finances under control. And then I lost my job. Having that life changing moment made me analyze a great many things about myself. I may have been fat, but I wasn’t happy at all. When I’m overweight, I don’t feel good about myself. I shy away from having my photo taken. I wear loose-fitting clothes. I make a ton of excuses about why I can’t be healthy, but I know that they’re all lies.
Thankfully, I landed on my feet, but I decided to use that massive change in my life to enact another massive change—I started another round of P90X3. New job, new life, new Bark, you know?
I’ve done both P90X and P90X3 several times, with very good results each time. I always drop somewhere between 15-25 lbs, depending on where I start, and I always feel much better about myself and my life by the time the last day of the program rolls around. If you’re not familiar with P90X3, it’s a 90 day, 30 minutes per day workout program. There are three versions—Classic, Lean, and Mass. Since I travel a fair amount for work, I decided to go with the Lean program, as it is mostly cardio and body weight resistance with very little equipment required. I never wanted to have the excuse that I couldn’t work out on any given day because I didn’t have the necessary equipment available.
On the days that I worked from home in Kentucky, I did my workout either early in the morning before the work day started or at the lunch hour. When I traveled, I did it first thing upon returning to the hotel for the day. I annoyed the living hell out my Instagram followers by posting the results from my workouts every single day. With the exception of one weekend where I was traveling, I didn’t skip a single workout.
But I didn’t go crazy—I still had a Coke every now and then. If I felt like a cheeseburger, I had one. I tried intermittent fasting for a couple of weeks, but it made me feel weak and cranky, so I stopped. I never once said to somebody, “Oh, I can’t eat here, I’m on a diet.”
I wore my Fitbit pretty religiously, but I wasn’t worried about step counting. I used it to monitor my heart rate during workouts and to check my resting heart rate every day. Also, the app lets you post results directly to Instagram or other social media channels, which helped me stay accountable. Twice, while traveling, I forgot to bring a Fitbit charger, so I couldn’t use it to track my workouts, but I didn’t let that bother me too much.
The results started coming, slowly but surely. My belt got tighter, clothes got looser. I pulled some of my old size 40 suits out of the back of the closet, and they fit. I intentionally avoided the scale for a long, long time—it takes a few weeks for any real weight loss to happen, and I didn’t want to get discouraged.
Doing some form of cardio every day was mentally challenging. With the exception of the once-a-week Yoga workout, I was elevating my heart rate pretty seriously on a daily basis. I started out doing the modification of each move, but by the end of the third week, I was able to do the regular version of nearly everything. By the end of the tenth week, I was able to do every rep of nearly every move. Each workout was hard—increasing my fitness level just meant that I was able to push myself even harder. It never got easy.
But at the end, it was worth it. I finished the thirteenth and final week seven days ago, and the scale, the same one I had been carefully avoiding the whole time, showed the results. I had gone from 195 to 176, or just about a pound and a half per week.
In years past, I would have celebrated by taking a week off…which would have turned into two weeks, and then three, and then six months to a year later, I’d be fat again, riding the proverbial yo-yo up and down. So I decided that I’d take exactly no time at all off, and I jumped directly into a round of P90X3 Classic. While I was happy with the weight loss, I feel like I still kinda “look” fat. I haven’t built or toned much muscle along the way, so I am opting for a little more resistance and a little less cardio this time.
So why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to know that if I can do it, at the ripe old age of 41, eight years after I did my first P90X cycle, that you can do it, too. Unlike nearly everybody else on the internet who talks about P90X or any of the Beachbody workouts, I’m not trying to sell you any Shakeology or become your “Beachbody Coach.” I don’t care if you do P90X or one of its variants, or if you just start going for a walk every day. I just want all of us to be the best possible versions of ourselves that we can be.
So that I don’t annoy any of you who may follow me on my regular IG account, I’ve started a new one, @barkmfitness. I’ve moved all of my daily workout updates over there and I may even try to post some video. Today is Day Six of Round two, which means I’ll be starting a new week on Tuesday. It would be awesome to have you join in.