What P90X teaches us about education

Oh yeah, this is happening.

I don’t really know what I was doing at the time, but the other day I had the thought that P90X is a lot like being a student. I’m super out of shape right now and trying to figure out how to get my workouts in when the baby doesn’t sleep, so it has been on my mind lately. Gotta lose some baby weight before winter hits so I don’t have to buy new pants. Priorities, right? Here’s why:

You do it so much you dream about it

I first started to do P90X workouts the summer of 2010 when I was home for a couple of months in the summer because I could borrow my brother’s DVD’s. I didn’t follow it very strictly, but I did work out almost every day. When I went back to school, after a week or so of not doing the workouts, I totally had a dream that Tony Horton was chasing me and telling me I needed to work out harder. That was not the only P90X dream I’ve had, just the scariest.

I have definitely had dreams about school work. Dreams about missing assignments (which wasn’t always a dream if I’m being honest), dreams about falling down the stairs on campus (HUGE stairs because campus was at the top of a hill), dreams about my professors showing up at my house…just weird dreams. You know you do something a lot when it invades your dreams. When something positive gets to that point in my life, I’m pretty proud.


It’s really easy to make excuses why NOT to do it

I’m tired. I’m cranky. I don’t want to right now, I can probably do it after work (when you know very well you’re not going to do it). I had a bad day at work. I ate too much last night. I have a lot of homework. I have this family thing. That Tony Horton keeps telling me not to drink soda and that’s just rude. My dog ate my DVD. There are an endless amount of excuses a person could come up with to avoid working out. Is it worth it though? Tony isn’t going to show up at your house and ask why you didn’t work out this morning, but when you complain about the way you look or not feeling healthy then you only have yourself to blame.

I think there are just as many excuses people use for putting off their education. I don’t like deadlines. I’m too busy. I have kids. I work. I haven’t been in school in 10/20/30 years. I can’t even send an email, how am I supposed to do homework on the computer? School is expensive. Look–I get that there are a lot of valid concerns with going to school. I really do, I’ve had them too. I’m not saying you need a Ph.D. or even a Bachelors, but everyone needs some type of education. If you go to a trade school and do an apprenticeship, perfect. If you want a Ph.D. because it will take your career to the next level, go for it. If it’s a corporate management track training thing, that’s great too. There are a lot of ways to learn and provide for yourself, but you need some type of education to do so. Instead of making excuses, find solutions to those problems so you can do what you need to do.

Ditching is rarely better for you

Oh the guilt of missing a P90X workout! I know it’s good for me and that I never regret working out, but sometimes I think I need more sleep. What I really need is to not go to bed so late. There are times when sitting out is better for you. I have tendonitis in my thumb and when it flares up I cannot do yoga. Downward dog feels like it’s about to rip off my wrist, so yeah, I’m gonna sit out from that workout. I don’t get sick very often, but when I do I remember that I heal quicker if I miss my workout. The difference between sitting out and ditching is the planning and rationale. There are excuses, and there are legitimate reasons you can’t work out. Wake up groggy? That’s ditching and you’ll regret it later when you’re walking up those stairs and feel like you’re going to pass out.

Ok, so my major was such that it wasn’t a big deal if I missed class. At least, that’s what I thought since there weren’t a lot of labs or hands-on things I needed to be there for. Wasn’t that great on my grades, though. There really is a large benefit for being in class. You can ask questions and get help. Sometimes there’s even extra credit that the teacher sets up on the tests so only those who were in class know the answer. It’s embarrassing to ask someone a question and their response is “he went over that in class, it’s not in the book.” Get  your money’s worth, take your investment in yourself and your future seriously, and go to class.

You can’t eat or sleep like crap and expect to have the energy you need

Well, I guess you could expect it, but you’d be wrong. I know when I eat too much ice cream that I’m going to regret it in the morning. My husband knows if he eats sugar too late in the day then he’s going to have a terrible night’s sleep. Not taking care of our bodies makes it extremely difficult to do high-intensity workouts. It’s science.

It’s also science that not taking care of your body is detrimental to your school work.  If your body doesn’t refuel in sleep and nutrition, then it starts to break down and your studies will suffer. I loved having fun at school, staying out late and eating way more junk than I needed to. It has its time and place, but you cannot keep up if you do that consistently.



Even if you’re old, you can kick it’s butt

Tony Horton cracks me up. Some people say they can’t concentrate on the workout if they keep the volume on, but I love it. He frequently makes comments about him being so old and being stronger than some of the younger cast on the show. I think he’s a great example that if you take care of your body, it’ll take care of you too.

I can understand hating being the old person in class. Sometimes I feel weird when I’m the oldest in a group. Nobody wants to feel like they’re going to be slower or out of touch with the rest of the group. I actually had a lot of people in my classes that were older and I liked having them there. They had great insights and asked good questions. They frequently showed us up on grades too. Even though they may have been out of school for a while, they meant business and knew how to study.

Modify, modify, modify

When I started P90X3, I gave it my all in the workouts. I love them. A week into phase 3 I found out I was pregnant. I was able to modify the workouts a little and keep going until there was a brief scare and my doctor told me not to work out at all until I was about 13 weeks. Once I was able to work out again, I modified more. I stopped the P90X cardio because it was a little too intense, but I was able to lift light weights my entire pregnancy. I worked out 4-6 days a week and I worked out the day I went into labor. I think it helped me to have a pretty fantastic pregnancy and delivery. There are other times you’ll need to modify too–don’t just give up. If that guy can do Plyometrics with a prosthetic leg, I’m sure we can find ways to modify when we need.

Sometimes you have to modify in your school work too. Make things work for you and don’t think you have to fit some mold that means you’re a real student. All-nighters don’t work for you? Don’t do them. {Also, I don’t think they work for anyone. Go to bed.} Studying at the library is too loud? Find an empty classroom. Don’t want to go to school five days a week? My last three semesters only had classes three days a week. I had two semesters where I only went on Tuesday and Thursday because I needed to work. Think through what will work for you, try out a few ideas, and make some adjustments.

Girls can and should dominate it too

If you haven’t really done workout videos before, there’s generally the creator (Tony) and a few other people there as cast members. They do the workout and the creator mixes things up between working out and going around and to coach them through the exercises. The cast usually has someone who modifies the exercises and someone who does advanced versions. I like P90X because there are a lot of women who are in the advanced spot. They kick butt! I’m always so encouraged when I see the women doing a ton of push-ups and pull-ups. It makes me think that one day I can do a real pull-up.

There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be women in any department they want to be. If I can have a male gynecologist, there certainly can be female proctologists (that was the most “guy” medical issue field I could think of). A woman shouldn’t feel relegated to a “soft science” if she really wants to be an engineer. Men shouldn’t feel like they can’t be preschool teachers. Encourage men and women to do what interests them and be the best they can be.

The results can be amazing

I gain weight in my thighs and that is the hardest place for me to lose it. So annoying. After phase 2 of P90X3, I finally saw some changes. A little less than half an inch on each thigh. Big deal right? Guys, I was so happy. I never lose weight there! I felt like a champion. And who doesn’t love to see before and after pictures of people who have made healthy changes in their lives? It’s so motivating. It generally doesn’t end with the physical appearance either. Many times they have more confidence, are willing to try new things, have courage to change other things in their lives, and encourage others. Taking charge of your health really enables you to take charge of your life in so many ways.

As cool as that is, watching people take charge of their education is even more motivating to me. When I hear of girls in the Middle East going to school in the midst of threats and actual danger, I just want to hug them. Those young women are changing the world. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about them. I’m so grateful they are around to be my children’s examples. I was an academic counselor before we moved and I spoke with many women who balanced school, children, family drama, work, health issues, and natural disasters without complaint. It is inspiring.

Amazing woman

Amazing woman

It’s a way of life

Whether it’s your health or learning, they are both lifelong endeavors. You don’t just get healthy once, and hopefully you never stop learning. Be thoughtful about how you take care of you body. Recognize the opportunities around you to learn.

And like Uncle Tony says,


I couldn’t help it. You can’t talk about Tony without throwing in a ‘Bring it.’


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