Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Taking Time Off During P90X

photo credit: oschene via photopin cc
P(ower) 90 (as in 90 days) X (extreme) is meant to be followed for 90 days straight. However, life doesn't always cooperate. I know, you're supposed to "decide. commit. succeed." Believe me I'm all for that. At the same time I'm a realist and the truly unavoidable should not be a reason for defeat or beating yourself up.

What if you find for some reason that you cannot do the full 90 days without a break? What if you have a vacation scheduled? What if you get sick or injured? What if you find you are just plain burned out. Where do these interruptions leave you on your P90X journey?

The reason for doing P90X is for the results you believe you will achieve from doing the program. Will taking time off hurt your results? This will depend on a number of factors. How long a break are you taking? Are you exercising at all during your break? What does your diet look like when you take time off?

Strength and cardio training results begin to decrease after a week or two of inactivity. So, even if you don't start to gain weight you will start to lose some of your gains. For this reason alone I would say two weeks is the maximum length break you want to take before you should seriously consider starting over.

Scheduling a week off between phases (i.e. a week off after phase one and a week off after phase two) may be OK. You won't lose much in terms of strength, flexibility or cardio gains and it could be a good way to do the program around a vacation. It could also be the ticket to get you through the program if you feel mentally and physically burned out toward the end of each phase. Each phase does wrap up with a recovery week but, let's face it, the recovery week kicks your butt almost as bad as the regular weeks!

So, giving yourself the time off if you need it is not the end of the world. However, what you do with that time off could be, at least in terms of your results. Just because you're taking time off does not mean all bets are off in regard to your diet and activity.

If you are not taking time off for an injury then do your best to find some activity, though less intense than the P90X workouts, to every day. Go for a walk, do some yard work, shoot hoops, play tennis, whatever... Just do something. Make it fun if you can but, don't completely ditch exercise.

Pay attention to your diet. If you are really strict following the P90X nutrition plan and there's something you've been craving. Go ahead and have it during your break. Don't have it every day. Don't have a dozen things you've been craving but, an allowance or two will not break the bank. On the flip side, you are not working out during this time as intensely. So, you need to reduce your calories. They calculate the P90X workouts to burn about 600 calories. If you're doing an easy 200 calorie walk or maybe not working out at all, drop your calories for the day accordingly.

If you have an injury that keeps you from P90X for more than a couple weeks or if you're just not in the mindset right now then consider starting back at day one when you're ready to get back to it. The great thing about P90X is that it's not a one shot deal. You buy it, it's yours, and it's there for you whenever your ready to give it another go.

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