One cold morning in the early months of 2002, I was sitting on the couch watching TV and eating my second huge bowl of cereal at 4:30 a.m. slowly waking to start my day. I began to channel surf and went through several channels when I stopped on an infomercial about a workout program. For whatever reason the INFO made sense - better sense than anything I had tried before (which wasn’t anything since the mid 1990s when “Abs/Thighs/Buns/Arms of Steel” was the rage). “I’m sure this Power 90 workout program is a lot of work and sweat, which I don’t really want to do,” I told myself, “but I need to do something.” Earlier that year I had grown into size 36 jeans, which I swore I never would allow myself to do, and was quickly growing in weight through the 190s.
So, I decided to secretly make a phone call outside my house so as to not wake my wife, Terri. I could just hear her, “Who could he be talking to at 4:30 in the morning?” I placed the order for Power 90 and two workout bands. In the days of waiting for its arrival, I tried to psych myself into thinking “I’ll stop eating junk and start working out and am really going to get in shape when this program comes.” The program came and I eagerly opened it and read through the material. Yep, it looked like a lot of work. Six days a week? No way!! And where is the pizza listed on that Michi’s ladder thing?
I decided to try the program MY OWN WAY, and customize it fit me. So, I began working out in secret. I didn’t want my wife to catch me working out, because I felt kind of silly doing some of the moves. At first I started working out three days a week. Then, maybe I’d work out once a week. Then I wouldn’t do any workouts. Then I would bounce back and give three days a week a try. Needless to say, “Perry’s way” of doing Power 90 was going nowhere. SO, I put everything in a closet and forgot about it. A year went by.
In the early months of 2003 I knew the scales were beginning to surge past the dreaded 200 pound mark, so I stopped weighing myself - out of site, out of mind. But my size wasn’t going out of site and it was constantly on my mind. I needed to go shopping again for jeans - size 38s this time. So, I decided to start eating less. That held off the growth into the 38s, but how long could I hold out?
In my job I videotape teachers and classrooms and produce professional development videos for a school district. I caught myself on tape one day and saw myself looking way bigger than I thought I was. Not huge - just bigger. That’s when I decided to commit to trying the Power 90 program as least for the full 90 days. I looked at a calendar because I wanted to block out a 90 day time period where there weren’t a lot of holidays, birthdays, or events that usually were associated with food. Mid April of 2003 sounded good to me. I discussed my plan with my wife and told her about P90 and that I wanted to give it a try and needed her support. She agreed as she felt she needed to do something for herself, so she went the Atkins route.
On April 12, 2003 I took the dreaded before picture and began my P90 workouts religiously on April 13, 2003. I took pictures every 30 days and noticed changes. Not huge changes like the infomercial, but good changes nonetheless. This is due to the fact that I had a difficult time weeding out certain foods. At any rate, I stuck with the workouts six days a week through July that year. My day 90 picture did not look anything close to the people I saw on the infomercial a year and a half before, but I felt good. I went from 200 pounds down to 185 pounds and could start thinking about wearing smaller clothing.
My shining moment that summer was with clothing. I still wore the size 36 pants and shorts, but they got looser. On a whim in July I decided to try on a pair of my size 34 jeans I had stored. Stored, because someday I would fit into them again dammit! Yeah right! Well, that time was here. I put them and they fit perfectly! I went in to show my wife and she was a bit taken back at first because she said it looked like I lost hip structure. Fat structure was more like it.
The best part of the story (and what catapulted me to continue working out) was while I had the jeans on I felt in the pockets - you know to make everything fit right and perhaps stumble across an abandoned twenty-dollar bill! I reached in the little coin pocket and pulled out a ticket stub from a movie. A movie stub dated July 2, 1998! I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been able to fit into those jeans for FIVE years!! I was elated and put the stub in a place for safe keeping - kind of a trophy if you will!
The following 90-day period I completed another round of Power 90 and began searching Beachbody’s web site for the next step after P90. I was hoping to find something where I wouldn’t have to work out so long, but could maintain everything I had worked at. I ordered Power Half Hour. When the tapes came I was a bit taken back with the fact that in order to continue progress after P90 I would need to do TWO Power Half Hour tapes. Well, I decided to do just one a day and see how it went. Well, there was good news and bad news. The bad news was that I regressed a bit in my overall conditioning and put back on a few pounds. The good news was that my wife was intrigued by my results and began doing Power Half Hour every day herself.
We both continued to do our Beachbody workouts each night after work. There was a moment in November 2003 that my wife and I were carrying a table upstairs for Thanksgiving guests and I looked at her arms. She had biceps! Cute, hard, chiseled biceps! I was so happy for her! We both were shaping up so well and we felt a lot better because of it. That month I decided to go back onto Power 90 and Terri continued with Power Half Hour. I started getting my results back and even progressing further with P90 this time around. Then disaster struck.
On the drizzly evening of December 9th I came home at my usual time, but needed to get to a hair appointment in 15 minutes. My neighbor came over and asked me if I had a minute to chat, and I told her I didn’t. She insisted that I stay at home and cancel my appointment because someone needed to talk to me. I got a sick feeling in my gut and we both went into my house. I let out all of the dogs and took care of the puppies as we also run a German Sheherd Rescue. When I got done taking care of all the waggling tails a man came to the door introducing himself as the county coroner. My heart sank so deep. He had me sit down and he proceeded to tell me about an accident my wife had in a head on collision with a semi truck. Terri was dead. Devastation -numbness - lost - my world as I knew it would never be the same.
For whatever reason I was able to meet with Terri’s secretary and she and I planned Terri’s entire visitation and Tribute (in lieu of a funeral) that very night. All of the arrangements and details went perfectly. Terri would have been proud. During that long week I tried my best not to drown my sorrow in food and there was no time to even think of working out. I wondered if I would even try again.
Well, I did and with even much more determination. I completed my next round of P90. I visited the Beachbody web site often as I had my eye on the new P90X program. I watched all of the videos and marveled at the fact a company would document and present it’s own research on a new product. The movies were done in a way that mirrored my own style, so I doubly appreciated the content.
The release of P90X finally happened. I signed up to get a notice about its official release, but nothing came. By the time I realized it I was two weeks behind everyone else. Oh no! A panic. I read the message boards from people in the early stages. This program frightened me even before I got it. Would I be in way over my head? P90 would kick my but many days, what would and extreme version do to me?
I finally received the program, but waited to start until I had all the equipment (yoga mat, pull up bar, bands, etc.).
I started P90X on March 13, 2004. The program totally kicked my butt at first (still does!) and I repeated a few weeks. The results were totally amazing. I did not follow the food plan, but kept my intake pretty much in check. I started the program weighing about 181 and am now at 165 as of this writing. I am also wearing size 32 and occasionally size 31 pants! I‘d be turning 40 years old in two weeks and never thought I’d be in better shape than I ever have been my whole life. P90X - I Bought It and Brought It!
The pictures I took each 30 days are only frontal shots (see below), but they do show a story over the past year and 90 days, hence One Year Plus p90x! I am so proud of what I have accomplished. I get compliments on my appearance all the time. People ask me what I did to get in shape and I tell them all about the products from Beachbody. Many of those people have gone and purchased their own products.
So, Beachbody, Thank you so much for creating products that makes sense and works well. Of course there is the responsibility of the buyer to make it work well. It is just incredibly amazing what transformations can occur when you follow the program. I’m not still sold on infomercial stuff, but the ones from Beachbody are about products that are realistic and work!
It is the end of July 2004 and I am about to begin ROUND TWO of P90X as there were still some things I need to improve on (Yoga for an hour and a half for example, UGH!). I am all smiles after my last photo upon P90X completion. I only wish I had my life partner to share my success with me. At least I always feel her inspiration to keep pushing me to improve and keep building a better me. I love you, Terri! And I love you, Beachbody!
And life continues on and so, does health and fitness continue as well? As I write this, 2007 will begin in a few days. It has been five years since I made the purchase and almost four years since I began my Beachbody journey. To my delight, I am proud to say that I continue to be healthy and fit! An eight-pack eventually revealed itself as a result and that’s just too cool!
The continuing journey isn’t without peaks and valleys. I do have to say that subscribing to a popular health magazine along with the Beachbody message boards and VIP chats has taught me incredible, life-changing habits! Tony’s “Laws” have helped me keep up workout intensity, incorporate exercise variety and inspire me to get out and live life and have fun. An online chat with Debbie Seibers’ reveled simple, yet powerful information about vegetables (cuz I hate ‘em). That helped me learn a lot about my eating and nutrition. The month following the chat I dropped five pounds that I struggled to lose just by using her advice.
All of this knowledge and fitness helped me overcome and work through another hurdle life threw at me. In December 2005 I got out of bed to let my dogs outside and I couldn’t get to my feet. Searing pain shot through my back and down my legs. It took me 20 minutes to crawl to the door to let them outside. An MRI revealed that I have degenerative disc disease in my lumbar spine and after physical therapy I was told I’d have these issues for life although my painful symptoms would subside. So, thanks to everything I have learned since joining Beachbody, I began to modify just about everything in my workouts as lifting the weights I was used to lifting aggravated the shooting pains.
When some of the pain began to subside, I eased back into workouts using Slim Series. Over time I slowly integrated a few P90X workouts. P90 Masters Series came out and many of those workouts helped me get back into shape enough to join one of the message threads called The X-Terminators for a round of P90X and a 10,000 push-ups in a month challenge during the summer!
Exercise modifications include using five and eight-pound weights for shoulder presses (instead of 20 and 30 lb. weights) and now I lean over a stability ball to do arm curls with weights that I had been using prior to the back injury. The Core Synergistic workout is now a weekly routine and sometimes done twice a week. Tony’s push-up bars are immensely helpful in many routines.
Had I not had the support and education from Beachbody, I may have looked at my back issue as a setback. But I took it on as an opportunity and challenge instead. My goal is to still workout intensely, but safely. If that means skipping or modifying exercises, so be it. I am armed with the tools for proper nutrition and amazing fitness because I belong to a community provided by a company that believes in creating great products and providing the support and tools to be successful with those products.
I know I said it before, but it needs to be said again. THANK YOU Beachbody!
Photos of my Journey