Extreme Newsletter—Diet and fitness tips, recipes, and motivation

Issue #019 03/09/10 FEMALE FITNESS MYTHS AND P90X®!

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Female Fitness Myths and P90X

By Stephanie S. Saunders

There's a lot of pressure on women to look, in a word, hot. Sure, for a chosen few, curves in the right places come naturally, but the rest of us seem to spend all our time snatching up the latest fitness fad, be it the Abs-o-matic 3000, Cucumber Colon Cleanse, or Low-Cholesterol All-Bacon Diet, desperately hoping we'll discover the new us. Instead, we usually walk away—or occasionally limp away—feeling confused, dejected, and as if we've missed out on the genetic lottery.

Woman Working Out

As it turns out, the answer's much simpler than you thought. From housewives to rock stars, there's a growing group of female followers who trust in the proven science of P90X. The truth is, hard work and clean eating are the ways to change your body forever. And P90X is the fastest and most effective program to get you a fitter body. But what about all the other options out there, the spot training, the fad diets? Let's take a look at some popular exercise myths and how P90X can help you dispel them.

Small MealMyth #1: If you want to lose weight, you must have an incredible metabolism; otherwise, you'll need to starve yourself.

If most of us had the choice between winning the lottery and having a perfect metabolism, the decision would be tough. For many people, the ability to eat whatever they desire seems a gift beyond price. The reality is that only a tiny percentage of people are so blessed, and that number decreases as people age, get pregnant, and experience various health issues. So when a Hollywood starlet claims she can eat whatever she wants and still look great, she's probably lying.

At the other end of the spectrum, there's severe caloric deprivation. The problem with depriving yourself of calories is that you can only sustain it for so long, and it can often lead to overeating and a slower metabolism. The longer you try to exist on a reduced-calorie diet, the greater the likelihood you can slow down how quickly your muscles repair themselves, as well as suffering psychological problems—or even brain damage. Of course, the answer is to eat, but you have to eat healthy foods that fuel your workouts. The P90X program includes a very specific nutrition plan you can tailor to your goals, but the nutrition plan requires a lifestyle change. This means not fad diets, but a plan that's going to require that you eat more food than you imagined possible. What's truly great is that the nutrition plan can be maintained for the rest of your life. So start eating—correctly—and watch the change begin.

Tony CoachingMyth #2: Doing hours of cardiovascular exercise is the only way to burn fat.

Hours of anything, besides sleep, can be redundant and boring. The idea of spending hours on a StairMaster® makes me want to fall asleep right now. Although a necessary component of any workout routine, cardiovascular exercise is definitely not the most effective way to lose weight. In fact, doing more than an hour of it without some type of fuel can cause your body to break down muscle mass and slow down your metabolism. And when you do the same repetitive motion every day, your body can become used to the motion, which can slow or even halt your progress.

P90X is effective in helping you lose weight because of the enormous variety it offers. Your body doesn't get used to the stimuli, because the stimuli are constantly changing and becoming more difficult. Plus P90X helps you build muscle, which turns your body into a fat-burning machine. And P90X is fun and entertaining, and doesn't take 3 hours a day to complete. The singer Pink was recently quoted as saying she does an hour of P90X 6 days a week and has seen incredible results. An hour a day for amazing results is a relatively small investment for such a great return.

Myth #3: Weight training builds bulky muscles.

Perhaps the greatest myth out there is the "bulky muscles" myth. Here's the reality: muscles do one of two things—increase (hypertrophy) or decrease (atrophy). But they don't just "bulk up." For a woman to create a bodybuilder-type physique, she'd need to overstimulate her muscles with very heavy weights, constantly training to failure with very short repetitions. And frankly, even then, unless she had a great amount of testosterone in her body, it might be impossible.

P90X effectively uses resistance training to increase muscle, thereby increasing your metabolism and helping you burn fat. And although you'll work to exhaustion, your muscles won't bulk up if you keep the repetitions at 12 to 15. P90X also keeps you moving, so your heart rate stays high, simulating the effects of a cardiovascular workout. You will build muscle but still maintain a sexy, feminine physique.

Kristy M. Before and AfterMyth #4: You shouldn't build muscle until you lose all excess fat, as building muscle will push the fat out and make you look larger.

This myth is particularly funny, as it was probably perpetuated by a fitness trainer telling a client there was a six-pack hiding underneath a layer of fat that just needed to be uncovered. Yes, we all do have a six pack in there, and possibly buns of steel, but muscle building doesn't happen under that layer of fat. Building muscle actually changes your body's composition, and eventually the fat becomes less a part of the picture.

No amount of sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, or squats will push any layer of excess tissue out. In fact, P90X is so effective at totally transforming your body, you'll soon forget there was a layer of fat to be concerned about.

Myth #5: You should only work out the specific areas where you want to shed fat.

It's been said again and again: spot training doesn't work. And yet every month, the fitness magazines print a slew of new, specific exercises for lifting the booty, flattening the stomach, or tightening dangling upper-arm flab. Yes, if you work a specific muscle group, it will become more toned, but that has nothing to do with the fat on top of the muscle group in question. The most effective way to change your body is to work large muscle groups, consistently altering the stimulus, and sticking to a sound nutrition plan. No amount of leg lifts alone will give you the thighs of your dreams.

P90X will attack every muscle in your body and create visible changes in your appearance. There are specific workouts for all your areas of concern, but there are many more for every other area, to give you a beautiful, proportioned body.

There's no magic pill, combination of foods, or even surgery that can give you the body of your dreams. An enviable physique comes from hard work, dedication, and a lot of sweat. P90X is the most effective way for a woman to shape her body because she has to work hard to get there. And as lovely as it would be to naturally have the metabolism of a 12-year-old boy, there's something truly satisfying about creating such great change in your own life and controlling your own outcome. We can often feel at the mercy of others. Our health and fitness are areas we completely control. So even if you dedicate 23 hours a day to your relationship, job, and/or children, one hour in your own living room can truly create transformation. And no diet book, magazine article, or silly celebrity statement can refute the thousands of P90X Success Stories out there. So make a decision to put down the fad exercise magazines, put in the work, and watch your life begin to change.

Related Articles
"Customizing P90X for Specific Goals: Part I"
"From Baby to Buff"
"Stay-at-Home Mom Brings It with the X!"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, March 15th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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From Tired to Inspired

Patricia L. spent her days feeling tired and sluggish. Her weight was up and so was her cholesterol, and she was warned about developing diabetes. Then she discovered Shakeology®, dropped 10 pounds and 38 cholesterol points, and reduced her risk of diabetes. Now she's won $5,000 in the Shakeology Transform Your Health Success Story Contest. Click here to see Patricia's story and find out how you can win!

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Paid Her Dues

Check out tkbi1 on YouTube® as she shares her 90-day X results. It's an amazing transformation—you see what she's accomplished over the course of just 90 days. Check out her amazing transformation below.

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Tony's Words of Wisdom: Life Is Behavior

By Tony Horton

I've learned from my own experiences (filled with the usual trials and tribulations) that life has stages. These stages can occur in any and all aspects of life—physical, spiritual, psychological, financial, romantic, adventurous, familial, and so on. As you look back at your life (so far), you can see where you've excelled and where you've come up short.

Tony Horton

Most people spend their whole lives focusing on only two or three of the abovementioned categories. They neglect other areas of life because of lack of interest or desire or necessity. The truth is that a lot of men and women these days spend a substantial amount of their time working to keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and money in their pockets. Many homemakers (male and female) spend most of their time keeping the hatches battened down.

So if life feels like an endless episode of Survivor, then how the hell do we focus on what I call the "Bliss Maker" areas of life—the romantic, spiritual/psychological, physical, purposeful, and adventurous areas? The three key ingredients for finding bliss in these areas of life are TIME, ENERGY, and PURPOSE. If you live in a 9-to-5 world and feel overwhelmed, then it's going to be pretty tough to find the TIME, ENERGY, and PURPOSE to discover your true bliss.

The average person can find temporary bliss in food, alcohol, drugs, tall tales, and sex. This kind of short-term bliss will take away health, consciousness, rationality, discretion, accountability, and responsibility, along with distorting values and a sense of morality.

If you're lucky enough to finally discover that there's more to life than making a buck, feeding your face, getting off, and manipulating reality, you'll start to inquire about how to find your bliss. Then you'll have to begin to find the TIME, ENERGY, and PURPOSE.

Time isn't that difficult, really. You look at your schedule, move some stuff around, explain to people what you're doing, and figure out a reasonable TIME frame in which to accomplish your goals. ENERGY is a piece of cake! You can master that every time you decide to Push Play! Doing P90X or any other kind of physical activity will automatically propel you into one of the most important "Bliss Maker" categories. PURPOSE is probably the most difficult and complicated variable when it comes to long-term success and bliss.

Woman in BlissPursuing your bliss by means of dishonesty, manipulation, coercion, or the need to seek self-aggrandizement will backfire worse than any short-term pleasure ever will. If your spiritual pursuits give you a holier-than-thou attitude, all your learned dogma will fall on deaf ears. If you exercise hard and long just to look hot at your high school reunion, then talk to me the next day when the show is over. If you start looking for adventure for the sole purpose of acquiring trophies, will you still enjoy it if you fail?

If you ever chase any of these areas of life for the PURPOSE of looking for attention, accolades, and kudos from others, then you are doomed to a life of confrontation, depression, confusion, illusion, and delusion. I never said pursuing your bliss was easy. That's why most people who try it fail.

You can avoid failure by pursuing your bliss with clarity, wisdom, acceptance, vulnerability, patience, consciousness, and truth. These words, in both the selfish and selfless ilk, represent intent. Your intent is everything and the only thing that matters when it comes to the right use of will.

I believe that real lifelong change and bliss are achieved over the course of three separate stages:

  1. Recognition. Knowing and understanding that there must be a shift in the way you approach certain segments of your life and an undaunted willingness to want to make a change.
  2. Catharsis. The period of time you spend venting, releasing, and unleashing the emotions that keep you from your bliss.
  3. Application. The employment and utilization of the tools you've learned at the cathartic stage.

If you can move through these three stages with the right intentions, then you will know what it's like to live on this earth in a state of bliss.

Tony H.

Related Articles
"4th Law of Exercise: Purpose"
"5th Law of Exercise: Reality"
"9th Law of Exercise: Loving It"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, March 15th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chat Room!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Recipe: Double Pinto Chili

This recipe is great for vegetarians and spice addicts. The beans and veggies give it a great fiber profile. Plus the more you spice it up, the more you can boost your metabolism.

  • 2 tsp. olive or canola oil
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 lb. canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 lb. canned white pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • Chili powder to taste (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

In a nonstick pan, sauté onion, green pepper, and garlic in oil over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes; cook until tender. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to medium/low, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring several times. Makes 6 servings.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 to 40 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
180 10 g 9 g 33 g 3 g 1 g

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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