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Having been a runner for most of my life, I'm having a hard time coming to
grips with the fact that running, alone, is not going to get or keep me in the
shape that I was twenty years ago. And without the metabolism that I had
back then, I can't eat like I used to, either. ;-)
A back injury from ten years ago has complicated things for me and
continues to have an impact on everything that I
My Progress
My fitness goal:

Transformation story

I was very athletic for the early part of my adult life. Sadly, everything changed for me in 1997 when, during the course of one of my workouts, I suffered an injury and was later diagnosed as having More ...
I was very athletic for the early part of my adult life. Sadly, everything changed for me in 1997 when, during the course of one of my workouts, I suffered an injury and was later diagnosed as having herniated two discs in my lower back.

But by the time I was able to be properly diagnosed and treated, I had developed significant nerve damage and suffered from debilitating pain in my leg, as well as numbness in my foot. Post-surgery, I began a long process of therapy to regain some my strength and mobility, but doctors told me it might never be the same for me. In fact, I was told by every doctor and therapist that I should avoid both of my passions, running and karate, as they would only aggravate an already serious condition. I was told, instead, to swim as much as I could and to walk as an alternative.

My symptoms of pain and numbness diminished, though never quite went away. I swam when I could, hiked some, and periodically tried to resume my martial arts training, but it became apparent that some activities were better for me than others. Despite what the doctors said, running actually helped and remained as the one thing that I truly enjoyed, though could never do it quite as well as I once had, for as I got older and exercised less, I naturally put on weight and my legs told me they didn’t particularly enjoy being expected to turn as fast or as long as they used to while carrying an extra thirty or forty pounds.

And so it went until early 2007 when, though I didn’t know it at the time, I managed to tear some internal scar tissue that remained from my surgery ten years earlier. All I knew was that the symptoms of pain and numbness in my leg were back and within two months I was practically bedridden.

The next year and a half was rough for me. It looked as though I would have to come to grips with the fact that I was not going to be able to do the things I loved to do – at least not the way I was used to doing them. The fact that I was now in my mid-forties didn’t make things look any more promising, either. My back condition affected everything: Exercise, work, travel, sleep, time with my daughter, and even bodily functions. I ran when I could, but ate more than I should, and by the fall of 2008 I was as heavy as I’ve ever been, though it wasn’t immediately obvious simply because I seem to have been “blessed” with genes that allow me to carry weight fairly evenly throughout my entire body.

Finally, what should have been a minor physical task ended up putting me out of work for nearly a week and I knew that something had to change. I couldn’t face the fact that my life had to be this way. And so it was that, as I convalesced at home and finished eating half an ice cream pie for breakfast, I sat and flipped through the early morning TV lineup one weekend and paused to listen to Tony Horton talk about P90X.

Fast-forward to today – nearly three months later: I’ve dropped my body fat from 23% to just under 10% and have shed fifteen pounds on the scale. I’m fitting into clothes that I was sure I’d have to forfeit to the nearest thrift store. My friends and family are commenting on my appearance, but in a good way for a change. My eight-year-old daughter asks me if I’ll wear a certain shirt when I pick her up so her friends can see my muscles.

And though I’m certainly enjoying having a body I haven’t had in a quarter of a century, the most important things for me can’t be seen. For the first time in years, I have no pain in my leg or numbness in my foot. P90X has allowed me to learn and believe that I can be TOTALLY fit. It is a program of balance: Strength, flexibility, endurance, and coordination. In just three months the core routines have given my back the support it’s has needed and the entire program has brought back confidence and hope that I’ve been lacking for so long.

Now my daughter has begun to work out with me. Tiny dumbbells in hands, she joins me while I work out, though at eight years she obviously has her own interpretation of form and how the exercises should be done. That’s okay – it’s time spent together, she’s learning the value and benefit of exercise, and she’s seeing that change is possible, that we can do what we set out to do if we make a plan and stick with it.

And for me, my daughter is the most important thing about getting fit again. Thanks to P90X I’m once again able to play with her as a daddy wants to play with his daughter, to race her and carry her over my shoulder at the park, to swing her around and dance crazy dances with her in the living room. I’m able play with her and not tell her that I have to stay in bed because my back hurts. I don’t have to tell her that we can’t go to a movie because I can’t sit without pain. I only have one chance at each new day with her, and I don’t want to lose any more of those chances. If I stick with it and keep getting fitter, I won’t have to.

For anyone who is thinking about taking on P90X, understand this: It is a commitment. It’s a commitment to exercising with regularity and to eating properly in order to fuel the machine that your body will become. It can be hard; it was for me at the beginning, but I was committed to stick with it and now I know that it CAN be done. For those having troubles getting started, the Team Beachbody website is a great way to get going and keep motivated by encouraging you to schedule your workouts and to workout with “buddies” from around the country in real time. Additionally, the Beachbody message boards are incredible sources of information and inspiration, teeming with advice on routines, nutrition, and everything in between.

I’m done with the 90-day program, but I"ll be continuing on to Round 2 and beyond, as many others that I’ve read about on the Beachbody forums have done. I’ve worked hard to get this, and now that I’m headed in the right direction, I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

Workout programs:
P90X® - primary program
P90X One on One®
Heart Rate Monitor
Resistance Bands
Meal Replacement Shake
Whey Protein Powder
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VanAngeles has just added a blog post.
9/13/11 3:29 PM
My Blog

Notes on injuries for future reference:   1997:  Herniated discs @ L5S1, Lumbar discectomy Late 2006:  Scar tissue from surgery causes inflamation and severe pain down left leg, More ...
One year later, I'm now entering into my last thirty days in this second time around with P90X.  Having completed the program last year, it's interesting to see the differences between this year More ...
Based on my personal experience and history of injury, the following modifications may be of interest to anyone going through the P90X program: For those prone to shoulder injuries NOTE:  More ...
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