7 Days, 7 Breakfasts

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Joe Wilkes

It's hard to work good nutrition into our days. We're working longer and longer hours and still trying to fit in 30 to 60 minutes of exercise, not to mention all the studies coming out that say we're not getting nearly enough sleep. The hours run out. The snooze button gets pushed. Breakfast often turns into eating last night's leftover takeout during the morning commute. Or worse, it turns into no breakfast at all.

People often skip breakfast in hopes of getting more sleep or losing more weight, but in fact, people who replace breakfast with extra sleep end up having less energy. Breakfast skippers also tend to gain more weight. They start the day with a slow metabolism then overeat at lunch because they're hungry. You're much better off trying to eat something nutritious in the morning so your brain and body rev up and you don't start the day with cravings that often get relieved by donuts in the break room. Here are seven breakfasts that you can squeeze into the busiest schedule.

Note: Some of the recipes call for eggs. You can use egg substitutes like Egg Beaters® (1/4 cup per egg), two egg whites per whole egg, or tofu, depending on the recipe and your dietary concerns. Additionally, some recipes call for whole wheat ingredients. Gluten-free versions can be substituted in every case (but no white-flour substitutes!). All nutritional information is per serving. Recipes are for one serving unless otherwise noted.

Sunday: Mom's Pancake Recipe

Like so many of my family's "secret" recipes, this one began life on the side of a package of food. In this case, it was a carton of eggs (no surprise when you see the second ingredient). But this is a pretty good way of sneaking extra protein to your kids—it'll definitely get a better reaction than a boiled egg and a scoop of cottage cheese. For the grown-ups who are watching their cholesterol, my brother came up with an alternative: substituting six egg whites and half an avocado for the six eggs. The pancakes turn out a bit green, but if you can get past that, they're quite tasty. You can top them with your favorite fresh fruit. If you can't live without maple syrup, go for grade B or grade C. Those syrups contain more of the natural minerals that are filtered out of the grade A syrup. And they're cheaper!
  • 1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or 1/4 cup whole wheat and 1/4 cup barley flour)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
Blend or food-process the first six ingredients on high until smooth. Add milk slowly to reach batter consistency. Cook on a hot, nonstick griddle. Number of pancakes varies by size. Serves 6.

Preparation Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total
225 13 g 1.5 g 9 g 15 g

Monday: Power Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of the healthiest grains around. The Mayo Clinic even includes it in its list of the top five foods to lower your cholesterol numbers. It has a high soluble fiber content that helps reduce cholesterol and slow sugar digestion, a benefit for people living with diabetes. It also has a high insoluble fiber content, which has been linked to cancer prevention. It's a good source of protein, as well as vitamin E, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and iron, among other nutrients. While it is a little on the bland side flavor-wise, it's easy to liven it up with some healthy ingredients, including seasonal or thawed frozen berries, nuts, and flaxseed.

There are a lot of schools of thought on the best way to prepare oatmeal. Purists will choose unrolled oats, either whole or steel-cut, and cook them forever (all right, 30 to 40 minutes). Those of us who don't live on "Martha Stewart time" are more apt to select rolled or quick-cooking oats, which can cook in about 5 to 10 minutes. And those of us truly strapped for time enjoy the convenience of instant oatmeal. For this recipe, use the plain oatmeal of your choice; just choose one that doesn't include sugary flavorings like maple brown sugar, apple cinnamon, etc. We're going to flavor it ourselves with high-antioxidant blueberries and heart-healthy fats from walnuts and flaxseed. For extra protein, add half a scoop of Beachbody's Whey Protein Powder.
  • 1 cup prepared oatmeal (see above)
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Mix all ingredients in a bowl (or a to-go cup).

Preparation Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving; without Whey Protein Powder):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total
436 12 g 10 g 48 g 26 g
Nutritional Information (per serving; with Whey Protein Powder):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total
491 21 g 11 g 50 g 27 g

Tuesday: Carl's Chocolate Almond Shakeology®

I was able to get my hands on Beachbody® CEO Carl Daikeler's favorite Shakeology recipe. And anyone who's been fortunate enough to spend time in the company of our energetic boss will join me in saying, "I'll have what he's having." For harder-to-find ingredients like almond butter or almond milk, you could substitute peanut butter or soy, rice, or skim milk. For harder-to-stomach ingredients like the raw egg, you could use protein powder.
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp. almond butter
  • 1 whole banana
  • 1 whole egg, raw
  • 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 scoop Shakeology Boost: The Fiber
  • 1 cup ice
Mix all ingredients in a blender until creamy.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total
443 27 g 13 g 62 g 12 g

Wednesday: Healthy Breakfast Burrito

Going to college in Southern California, I gained a lot of sustenance from burritos of all kinds. I also gained a lot of weight. Stuffed full of cheese, fried potatoes, and larded-up refried beans, the breakfast burritos were delicious and filling to a fault. But breakfast burritos don't have to be unhealthy. Fillings like veggies and eggs that are often crowded out by the cheaper and fattier ingredients can be elevated to star status in the dish. You'll create a quick, healthy breakfast that can be eaten on the move (although the police department would discourage trying to eat while driving).

By the way, here's a tip for easy-peasy scrambled eggs or egg substitutes I learned from a "restaurant" in our last office building that prepared a wide variety of hot dishes using only a microwave. Scramble an egg in a coffee cup or small microwave-safe bowl. Depending on your wattage, nuke it for 30 seconds to a minute, and voilà, scrambled eggs perfect for a sandwich or a burrito.
  • 1 scrambled egg or egg substitute (or tofu)
  • 1 6-inch whole-grain tortilla
  • 2 Tbsp. black beans, canned
  • 2 Tbsp. low-fat cheddar cheese (or soy cheese)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped tomato
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped onion
  • Hot sauce to taste
What follows are the microwave directions. You could alternatively scramble the egg and heat the beans in a small frying pan.

Microwave scrambled egg or egg substitute until cooked. While egg is cooking, spread out cooked tortilla on a dinner plate or cutting board. Spread cooked egg in the middle of one half of the tortilla. Heat the beans in the microwave (not too much or they'll explode!). While beans are heating, sprinkle cheese on eggs, then pile on beans, tomatoes, and onions (if you don't have time to chop fresh veggies, a healthy salsa could be substituted). Add hot sauce if desired. Fold tortilla in half over the ingredients and fold in the sides. (This part may take some practice. My first burrito-folding attempts usually resulted in a dish I called burrito salad, but I eventually got the hang of it.)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes (or more, depending on your tortilla-folding skills)

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total
304 20 g 6 g 35 g 10 g

Thursday: Fruit Parfait

The Harvard School of Public Health recommends that most people should have at least NINE half-cup servings of fruits and vegetables per day. So you can see that if you skip breakfast, you're really putting the pressure on the rest of your meals. A diet high in fruits and veggies lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, cancer, and blood sugar problems, as well as offering many other health benefits. This recipe layers yogurt with three different types of fresh fruit. You can substitute any other fruit (preferably in season) for one of the fruits in this recipe. (For anyone thinking of hitting the drive-thru at McDonald's® for its version of this recipe, you could do worse in an emergency, but this is way healthier.)
  • 1-1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt (or soy yogurt)
  • 1 Tbsp. almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. flaxseed, ground
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup cantaloupe, diced
In a tall glass, layer ingredients in the following order: 1/2 cup yogurt, followed by a sprinkle of almonds, flaxseed, and blueberries; repeat process with apples and cantaloupe (or whatever order of fruit you choose). If presentation isn't that important to you, you could just mix it all up in a bowl and eat it. (I live alone. No one's watching.)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes (more or less depending on what needs chopping)

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total
453 27 g 9 g 57 g 16 g

Friday: Tuna Salad Surprise

Have you ever noticed that some mornings the cat has a healthier breakfast than you do? Tuna's not just for lunch anymore. In fact, when we have our big healthy employee breakfast at Beachbody, a big bowl of this tuna recipe is usually the star of the buffet. Tuna is really high in protein and a great source of vitamin D and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. You could mix it up by substituting canned salmon once in a while. This recipe replaces fattening mayonnaise with healthy veggies and lemon juice for a refreshing, high-energy breakfast (although we might suggest an after-breakfast mint).
  • 5 oz. canned tuna in water (if in oil, skip olive oil)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. parsley and/or cilantro (or more to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice (or to taste)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Raw jalapeño (if desired)
Mix first four ingredients in a bowl and season to taste. Chop in some raw jalapeño for extra zip!

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total
356 43 g 2 g 12 g 15 g

Saturday: Vegetable Frittata

Since it's the weekend, it might be nice to make something you don't have to eat in the car. Frittatas are like omelets for the oven. All the flavor, but you don't have to try to flip it on the stove top (or onto the floor, as the case may be.) It's a crowd-pleaser! Feel free to experiment with other favorite veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, torn
  • 1 tsp. garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Swiss cheese (or soy cheese), shredded
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese (or soy cheese), grated
  • Cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray an 8-inch pie pan or baking dish with cooking spray. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then mix in all ingredients. Pour into the pan. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until the eggs are firm. Cut into 2 servings (like an omelet!).

Preparation Time: 15 to 20 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving; 1/2 frittata):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total
414 33 g 4 g 14 g 23 g

Of course, you should feel free to eat any of these breakfasts on any day of the week. And repeat your favorites. Most of these can be integrated into your favorite Beachbody meal plan. Come back for part two of our five-part series, and get recipes for 7 Days, 7 Lunches. Bon appétit!

By Team Beachbody

This easy-to-prepare, fruity, creamy treat will get your day started off right with a good blend of protein, carbs, and fiber. If you want to really amp up your breakfast, add a scoop of your favorite Shakeology® flavor. Frappuccinos don't have anything on this breakfast!
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp. wheat germ
  • 3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 tsp. shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. honey (if desired)
Add wheat germ to yogurt and stir to combine well. Top with strawberry and banana slices, then sprinkle with shredded coconut for a delicious garnish and added texture. If you crave extra sweetness, add honey. Serves 1.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving, including honey):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
363 20 g 7 g 58.5 g 7.5 g 2 g

By Tony Horton

Stressed out, sleep-deprived people don't eat right and don't exercise regularly. Stress depletes your energy, strength, and desire, while poor sleep habits affect your moods and immune function, along with your cognitive and motor performance. Burning the candle at both ends makes it impossible to be fit and healthy.


Do you realize that if you took the fear and anxiety out of every "stressful" situation in life, the end result of that situation would greatly improve? You can panic and freak out all you want, but time will still pass and life will happen, whether you stress out about it or not. So why not choose patience or curiosity? Patience is a virtue, and who wouldn't want to be virtuous in a stressful situation? To be curious means asking the right questions to help find solutions. When does fear, worry, or anxiety ever help a situation? Stress occurs when we are incapable of moving through a situation logically, peacefully, positively, productively, and gracefully. It take a lot of energy to be stressed out. Allowing stress to overtake you means you're having a tough time dealing with reality. Don't let stress get your goat. Stand up, take a deep breath, and see if you can deal with reality under pressure. I like the parable about the 10 people standing in line at a bank. Three robbers come storming in—screaming, yelling, and waving guns around. They terrorize the place and steal everyone's jewelry and money. What's the moral of the story? Ten people experiencing the same event will have very different reactions to it. Some will never recover, while others will have a crazy story to tell at cocktail parties. How do you respond to the events in your life?

I like Byron Katie's 3 Kinds of Business Theory:
  1. God's Business. The things that happen in this world that are out of my control.
  2. Their Business. The choices other people make based on their life experiences so far.
  3. My Business. The choices I make that shape my life.
Don't waste your time on gossip, ridicule, envy, self-pity, anger, guilt, arrogance, impatience, regret, manipulation, jealousy, fear, worry, and anxiety. It's too stressful, and it destroys the energy you need to stay healthy and fit. If you choose understanding, truth, clarity, patience, devotion, gratitude, acceptance, wisdom, and forgiveness, you will have peace of mind and all the energy in the world to do whatever you want.


Sleep does more than make you feel rested. Two recent studies with healthy volunteers demonstrated suppression of immunological function in participants after one night of modest sleep deprivation. The activity of certain white blood cells and the production of chemicals essential for immune system performance significantly decreased. After a good night's sleep, most immune functions went back to baseline levels. About 40 percent of adults experience sleepiness that interferes with daily activities. Most U.S. adults get less than 7 hours of sleep per night during the workweek, while research has determined that certain parameters of immune function are enhanced by more than 7 hours of sleep.

Another study showed that the leading cause of traffic accidents in this country is NOT alcohol but sleep deprivation. If you don't have enough energy to stay awake to drive your car, how will you have enough energy for a 6-day-a-week workout plan? We're not sleeping enough hours, and the limited time we spend trying to sleep is filled with so much mind chatter that we never get the rest we need.

My Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary defines sleep as follows: the natural periodic suspension of consciousness during which the powers of the body are restored. In the Taoist philosophy, there's a belief in yin and yang energies. These are opposing energies that create balance. Exercise is yang energy. Sleep and rest are yin energy. There must be proper balance between vim and vigor (yang) and inward calm (yin). If you don't get enough sound sleep, your body will NOT receive the proper restoration it needs to complete or succeed with any fitness program. So TiVo® American Idol and go to bed!

Tony H.

By Steve Edwards

Whoever coined the phrase "variety is the spice of life" probably wasn't a fitness trainer, but they could have been. Scientifically speaking, variety is one of the most important aspects of fitness. No matter how intricate your training program, if you do it the same way all the time, your body will stop responding to it. This is why despite the fact that P90X® is one of the most unique and varied home fitness programs ever created, we continue to add wrinkles to it. Even then, Tony Horton is still only one person. By combining various trainers' fitness programs, you can create an intricate web of muscle-confusing possibilities and make it virtually impossible for your training program to go stale.

Unfortunately, it's not as easy as tossing all your home workout videos into a basket and grabbing one each morning. There's a right way and a wrong way to construct a hybrid training program. But you also don't need a degree in exercise physiology to figure it out. Creating hybrid training programs only requires that you understand why the individual programs you're combining work the way they do. Once you're hip to a program's structure, it's a fairly straightforward process to mix and match workouts.

Step 1: Choosing similar programs

It should be obvious that the programs you're mixing should have similar intensity levels. INSANITY® and Sweatin' to the Oldies aren't likely to play to the same crowd. The only time you may want to combine programs that are on different levels is if you're working on something new. An X grad who can't dance would choose a basic dance class if learning to dance were the objective. A high/low combination is preferable on many athletic levels, but only if the low-level program is something that you're not good at. Using Beachbody® programs, I present a few examples:


Power 90® + Slim in 6®


P90X + Power 90
INSANITY + Kathy Smith's Project:YOU! Type 2®

Good high/low combos

The first two good high/low combos would only make sense if you were bad at dancing or yoga and had the desire to improve. The third would be a good combo for someone who was very cardio-fit but wanted to gain some muscle and was new to lifting weights.

Step 2: Isolating each program's elements

Once you've chosen the programs you want to combine, the next step is to isolate each program's elements from a physiology perspective. The most basic difference is whether the workouts are cardio, resistance, or recovery based. The time required to recover from similar workouts is the key to identifying them.

Entry-level programs tend to be more simply structured. Power 90 includes Sculpt Circuit 1–4 (resistance workouts), Sweat Cardio 1–4 (cardio workouts), and a stretch (recovery) workout. However, entry-level programs also sometimes combine different training elements in the same workout. Slim in 6 has cardio and resistance in each workout. When this occurs, you'll often want to abridge workouts in hybrid programs. For example, you can drop the band movements at the end of Slim in 6 if you're combining it with a resistance-based program like Power 90.

Graduate programs often have workouts that target higher degrees of muscle breakdown, which requires more rest between similar workouts. Plyometric training, for example, shouldn't be done as often as standard cardio. The P90X resistance workouts are only designed to be done once a week as opposed to the Power 90 resistance workouts, which you do three times per week. Always consider a workout's intensity before adding it to your schedule. Creating a "harder" schedule is not necessarily better. If something isn't on the original schedule more than once per week, there's probably a reason you don't want to schedule it more often.

Step 3: Understanding the styles of training schedules you're combining

Power 90 uses a pretty standard training schedule. You do cardio one day and resistance the next. The schedule works by adding speed, resistance, and intensity over the course of the program. Slim in 6 uses something called Slim Training®, which is a progressive-overload style of training that's only designed to be done for short periods between breaks. Daily intensity is reduced so that you can repeat a similar workout within 24 hours. This format lessens the amount of muscle you're able to build but induces metabolic changes that lead to quick fitness increases. On a more advanced level, P90X follows the standard approach that Power 90 follows whereas INSANITY follows the Slim Training model.

Step 4: Setting a goal

You can't make a plan without an objective. People try it all the time, but these programs can seem muddled and may often lead to overtraining if you don't have an objective. The most common mistake when designing programs is making them too hard. This is usually done for a noble reason; people are simply interested in whether they can do it and want to push themselves. They often can, for a while. But the haphazard "more must be better" approach leads to overtraining every time.

Tangible goals are gains in size, gains in strength, increases in various areas of fitness, reductions in body fat, and looking different. I don't consider weight loss a tangible goal unless it's for a strength-to-weight-ratio sport. I know that probably most of you target it, but your goal should be body-composition change and not weight loss. If your ideal body is slimmer than your current body, you will lose weight. But focusing on weight numbers and not training improvements is what causes most people to sabotage their programs before they have a chance to work their magic.

Step 5: Are you ready for your program?

The second big mistake people make when designing hybrid plans is not being physically ready. This is also usually due to the "more must be better" mindset. People often get impatient and create a hybrid before they've finished their original programs. In most cases, this is a huge mistake.

Our programs are designed to work over a period of time. Slim Training programs are designed for the biggest changes to happen in the latter stages, usually in weeks 6 to 8. P90X's schedule attempts to create a peak at around week 12. Cutting these programs short to "make them better" will almost always make them worse because you don't allow the physiological adaptation to progress into a mastery phase before you move into a new period of adaptation.

Here's the litmus test. Before you sit down to sketch out a hybrid program, ask yourself if you've mastered the programs you're going to mix. If you haven't, you'll be better off doing the individual programs first. Hybrid programs are not better. They are next-level, which only applies if you've reached the first level before you begin.

There's one exception to this and that's training for a sport or an upcoming event. There are times when you'll want to mix and abridge programs before you're ready, but that's a different subject. Check out the articles on customizing P90X to learn about sports-specific training using P90X.

Step 6: Designing your program

Rather than try to cover every variable, I'll use some examples of P90X/INSANITY hybrids and point out some of my logic.

Example 1

Block 1
  • Day 1: Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X
  • Day 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit (INSANITY workout)
  • Day 3: Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper X
  • Day 4: Yoga X
  • Day 5: Legs & Back
  • Day 6: Pure Cardio & Abs (INSANITY workout)
  • Day 7: X Stretch
Recovery Week
  • Day 1: Core Cardio & Balance (INSANITY workout)
  • Day 2: Core Synergistics
  • Day 3: Cardio Recovery (INSANITY workout)
  • Day 4: Yoga X
  • Day 5: Pure Cardio & Abs
  • Day 6: Cardio Recovery
  • Day 7: X Stretch
This is P90X classic with INSANITY as a substitute for the cardio workouts. The recovery week is very cardio-oriented. Subsequent blocks would follow the P90X classic schedule and increase the difficultly of the INSANITY workouts. A program structured like this would offer similar benefits to those of P90X classic. The more difficult cardio workouts would make this program optimal for anyone who feels as though they've mastered P90X.

Now let's take a look at how we'd design a lean schedule using these two programs.

Example 2

Block 1
  • Day 1: Core Synergistics
  • Day 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit
  • Day 3: Cardio Power & Resistance (INSANITY workout)
  • Day 4: Yoga X
  • Day 5: Core Synergistics
  • Day 6: Pure Cardio & Abs
  • Day 7: X Stretch
Recovery Week
  • Day 1: Legs & Back
  • Day 2: Core Cardio & Balance
  • Day 3: Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper X
  • Day 4: Core Cardio & Balance
  • Day 5: Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X
  • Day 6: Cardio Recovery
  • Day 7: X Stretch
I set this up assuming people wanted to keep some of the gains they'd made during P90X classic but wanted to improve their cardio fitness. Over the course of this program, I would increase the INSANITY intensity and end up dropping the second Core Synergistics workout of the week in favor of another hard INSANITY workout. During the scope of INSANITY-style cardio, purely resistance-based workouts would act as recovery for the systems being worn down, even though a lot of muscular breakdown would still occur. If I had little interest in maintaining muscle mass gained during P90X, I would change the recovery week to something more traditional by doing more steady-state cardio (no max intervals), stretching, yoga, and lighter resistance training. Like this:
Recovery Week
  • Day 1: Cardio Recovery
  • Day 2: Core Cardio & Balance
  • Day 3: Yoga X
  • Day 4: Core Cardio & Balance
  • Day 5: Core Synergistics
  • Day 6: Cardio Recovery
  • Day 7: X Stretch
I hope you now have a pretty good idea about how to mix and match Beachbody's programs to meet your goals. If you have any specific questions, or want to run your hybrid program by someone, you'll find many examples of these on the Message Boards.

By Team Beachbody

Want a taste of the Orient without all the fatty, sugary, salty sauces so many takeout places dish up? Here's a quick and easy recipe balanced in protein and carbs. Chopsticks are optional.
  • 2 oz. lean sirloin steak, grilled or broiled
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (or mint, if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely sliced
  • 1/4 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup baby greens
  • 1 scallion, sliced on an angle
  • 1/4 lime
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
After grilling or broiling, thinly slice steak against the grain. Place first six ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze lime over salad, then drizzle with olive oil and soy sauce. Gently toss to mix and coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serves 1.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 to 10 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
252 14 g 3.4 g 13 g 17 g 3 g

7th Law of Exercise: The Plan

Thursday, August 26, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Tony Horton

SCHEDULE ALL WORKOUTS IN ADVANCE. This creates accountability. Plan an entire month ahead of time. Try to schedule as many workouts as possible with friends who have similar goals. WOWY SuperGym® was developed so we could all have an easy and effective way to stay accountable and work out together. Now we've got people in Trumbull, CT (my hometown), doing Power 90 at the same time with people in Hollywood. That's cool!

I believe that a workout calendar is your most important tool. Power 90 and P90X® have everything you need to stay consistent. But for those of you who are having trouble with motivation and consistency, you need to place that calendar where you'll see it every day—on the bathroom mirror, on the refrigerator, next to the TV, or right on your front door if you have to. I have a desk calendar that stares back at me every day. After 25 years of training, I still write down the type of workout I've done and circle the day I did it. At the end of the month, I add the workouts up. My goal (for the last 21 years) has been a minimum of 20 workouts a month—that's 240 a year with 125 days off.

I've always said that you can focus on intensity and variety, but if you don't know what you're doing and when, you're toast. It amazes me how so many people wake up in the morning and don't know the exact time they're working out that day. We're pretty good at scheduling when to go to bed, when to eat, and when to watch our favorite show on the tube. But we find ourselves trying to squeeze workouts in. The "fit it in whenever" approach might work for a little while, but it never survives in the long run. You can't have a fitness lifestyle if you don't have a long-term plan.

Beachbody® provides the variety—and even the motivation through the Message Boards. Your job is to plan ahead. If you don't lock down a time for your workouts, they won't happen. If you make it a point to schedule your workouts in advance, your chances of success will skyrocket. My calendar has been a simple and powerful tool for me for over 20 years. Without it . . . I'm lost. With it I'm organized, committed, and successful.

WOWY SuperGym is another tool to help you lock in your workout schedule because it creates accountability. Accountability: the obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one's actions. I schedule six workouts every week. I am accountable to the people I schedule them with. I take Monday off. Tuesday I meet four guys at 5:00 PM for a weight workout. Wednesday I meet one to three people for cardio at 5:30 PM. Every other Wednesday, I meet friends at 7:30 PM to rock climb. Thursday I do weights at 5:00 PM with the boys. Friday is cardio or leg/plyometrics day at 4:30 or 5:00 PM with one to three friends. Saturday is yoga at 4:00 PM. I meet two to four friends at the yoga studio. Sunday is a gymnastic workout with my crew. It's locked in!

Stop winging it and schedule when to Push Play in advance. Move your workouts to the top of your priority list. Don't think about doing them whenever. Schedule them as if they were very important meetings or appointments. BECAUSE THEY ARE! You can love what you're doing and eat like a star, but if you don't plan those workouts (a month in advance), you won't go far.

Tony H.

By Steve Edwards

When Alexander the Great reached the Indus River, rumor has it he broke down and wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. Such could be your feeling upon finishing P90X® and accomplishing all your fitness goals. But life goes on, and assuming we'd like to make it past Alexander's ripe old age of 32, we can benefit from a fitness strategy that exceeds 90 days. In this first of a two-part series, we'll begin with the obvious: continuing your P90X path with Tony's other workout programs.

The arsenal

Let's begin by addressing your possibilities. Tony has been making workout programs for years, and most can be effective additions to your quiver. However, there's only one series of videos designed to fit all of your post-X needs: One on One with Tony Horton. The One on One series is moving into its third installment of 12 monthly workouts. The only theme the installments share is that they're what Tony himself does to stay in shape. It's as if you're joining Tony for his workout on any given day. We'll go into depth about One on One in a moment, but let's look at Tony's other programs first.

P90X Plus. Touted as next-level X workouts, this series of shorter, more intense versions of the X would be the first thing most of you would add to your list. They're harder, minute by minute, than the original X workouts, but they're also shorter and less targeted. Some of their intensity comes from symbiotic sets of movements that train many muscle groups together. This makes P90X Plus more confusing to use within the traditional X structure of designing workouts because it's harder to set up a periodizational structure. Those who are driving toward gaining more mass tend to like them less than the standard X workouts. Those who are looking for more fitness in less time find them essential.

Power 90® Master Series. These were actually designed as a step between the original Power 90 series and P90X. They're set up as less intense versions of the X workouts. However, they're sometimes used as next-level workouts as well. In this series, Tony does a lot of movement instruction. This results in a lot of downtime between the various exercise movements, making the workouts seem slow, especially after you've done P90X (not to mention P90X Plus!). However, if you extend each exercise into the next movement's instructional segment, you actually get workouts that some say are harder than the original X workouts. This is admittedly a clunky format, but some of our customers love the versatility that Power 90 Master Series provides.

Power Half Hour®. Made right after Power 90, these are a few very intense 30-minute workouts. They're "old school," meaning low-budget and structured without a lot of preworkout planning. They're, however, great little workouts where Tony is funnier than ever (some say too goofy). He has now upgraded many of these within the One on One series, but having Power Half Hour around will always give you something to do when you don't have time for a full workout.

10-Minute Trainer®®. On the above note, 10-Minute Trainer is designed for those with even less time. Pure Xers often have a hard time with the "worthiness" of what you can do in 10 minutes, but these workouts are great to have around, even for the most serious trainer. They're short but also very well designed. Using these workouts to keep your program on track when your workout period gets interrupted is a luxury you shouldn't deny yourself. And for those periods in life when you know you can't commit to a full workout schedule, these will keep your fitness level surprisingly high.

Power 90. The original series may seem dated and comparatively very easy within the post-X world. However, I still have customers who use it during times when they want a break from Bringing It. The upside to these workouts is that the structure is very simple: resistance one day, cardio the next. For Xers, the Power 90 workouts are maintenance/recovery level in intensity. Sometimes that's all you want.

One on One with Tony Horton. These can't be described thoroughly because they are still evolving. All there is to say about them is that if you want to stay as fit as Tony, you should have 'em. I have to admit that when I saw a recent survey we conducted showing that only 5 percent of our newsletter's readership owned them, I asked to write this article. ALL of you should buy them. Looking at a lifetime of fitness ahead, you'll want to have as many options for training as possible. This series should be your baseline because it includes anything we can think of that might fill a gap in your fitness arsenal.

We define a gap in the arsenal by your questions. For example, shorter yoga sessions are probably requested more than anything by Xers. The One on One series offers two so far, and another workout based on active recovery. What to do while traveling is another question we get, and One of One offers solutions. Mammoth UML (Volume 1, Disc 8 workout) eliminates all excuses by letting you use hotel furniture as gear. And the Power 90 Road Warrior workout (Volume 1, Disc 2) is the easiest way to keep your program on track while you're on a business trip. As I said, the series is still evolving, so keep asking questions and the solutions will be addressed.

The series also offers some shorter variations of each targeted P90X workout. These are never a step down. As you might expect, Tony's training evolves over time, and this includes ways to get the same results with shorter workouts. On the flip side, he also gets stronger. If you've always thought Chest & Back was a killer, just wait until you get a load of 30-15: The Upper Body Massacre (Volume 1, Disc 5 workout)!

Besides filling in gaps, One on One offers creativity. As you probably know, Tony likes to use his fitness to play a lot of sports. To train for these sports, he'll often take systems that he learns and then he'll incorporate these moves into home workouts.The series offers unique training segments, like an upper-body workout done on one leg, an upcoming Budokan (a style of karate) workout, an upcoming Parkour (the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment) workout , and a spin on the traditional ab workout called Core Ball Sandwich (Volume 2, Disc 2).


For an in-depth look at how to schedule your workout program, read the series on customizing P90X (see the Related Articles section below). However, if all you do is use Tony's other workouts, it's fairly easy to do. You can pretty much just follow the structure of P90X (3 weeks of hard training followed by a recovery/transition week) and plug in workouts similar to one of the original schedules. That's the beauty of sticking to one trainer.

Here is a partial list of how to swap out P90X workouts with One on One and P90X Plus workouts. (The P90X Plus workouts all have "Plus" in the title; all other workouts are One on One workouts.)

Chest & Back: Upper Plus, 30-15: The Upper Body Massacre

Ab Ripper X: Abs/Core Plus, Core Ball Sandwich, Killer Abs

Plyometrics: Interval X Plus, Plyo Legs, Medicine Ball Core Cardio, Super Cardio, Cardio Intervals

Shoulders & Arms: Upper Plus, Just Arms, Diamond Delts, On One Leg

Yoga X: Fountain of Youth, Patience "Hummingbird"

Legs & Back: Bun Shaper

Kenpo X: Kenpo Cardio Plus, Interval X Plus, Cardio Intervals, Medicine Ball Core Cardio, Super Cardio, Budokan

Cardio X or X Stretch: Recovery 4 Results

Core Synergistics: Total Body Plus, Mammoth UML, Power 90 Road Warrior

Next time we'll look at other trainers' programs, including INSANITY®, and how to incorporate them with both P90X and One on One.

By Team Beachbody

Here's a quick and easy recipe suitable for fine dining. Super-high in protein and with a good dose of fiber courtesy of the spinach, this dish provides flavor and crunch. Don't freak out when you see the 24 grams of fat in the nutritional information below—it's heart-healthy fat from the salmon and almonds, including the precious omega-3s. Not a fish fan? We still recommend that you get your omega-3s—try a good supplement like Core Omega-3.
  • 2 5-oz. salmon fillets, fresh and preferably wild
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 5 oz. packaged baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. dry-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • Cooking spray
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Make a slit 2/3 of the way through the center of each salmon fillet, making sure not to cut all the way through. Season each fillet with salt and pepper. In a bowl, combine the spinach, tomatoes, and almonds. Spoon 1/3 cup of the mixture into each slit. Arrange fillets on broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish flakes and spinach mixture is heated through. Serves 2.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 to 10 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
499 48 g 8 g 26 g 24 g 1 g

6th Law of Exercise: Sports

Monday, August 23, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Tony Horton

Take the attention off of weight, inches, and body fat percentages and put the focus on MOVING—from dancing, rock climbing, and mountain biking to table tennis. I love that Ping-Pong! Think in terms of "can do" instead of "look like." Sports are fun and help develop balance and coordination—which in turn accelerates your results. Jump, kick, run, spin, throw, skate, shoot, hit, score, compete . . . PLAY!

Every Sunday, I head down to the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica and meet a group of friends for a 2-1/2-hour fitness extravaganza. We do a crazy combination of pull-ups, handstands, swinging plyometric dips, 15- and 25-foot rope climbing (hands only and sometimes upside down), and tons of wacky push-ups—we even throw in a backflip or two. We finish with a rendition of Ab Ripper X. Anyone who has attended one of the Santa Monica Fitness Camps has seen it firsthand. It's extreme, with a capital X. I love it, because it hurts me so good. This is NOT a routine I would do alone. I show up every Sunday morning to hang with the crew. As hard as the workout is, we're there for the camaraderie, laughter, and encouragement.

We look at Sundays as opportunities to incorporate sports into our weekly fitness routines. What started out as push-ups, pull-ups, and dips has turned into gymnastics for old guys (thanks to Chuck Gaylord). Doing sports is the main reason I stay fit. On the occasional Wednesday night, I meet up with a group to go rock climbing. Every fall, I get together with ski buddies and come up with ways to get our legs ready for the hill. Where do you think the Plyometrics workout in came fromP90X®? I also use the Plyo Legs routine in Power 90® Master Series to prepare for ski season.

To me, there is nothing better than the great outdoors. My sports involve cool, crisp air, gorgeous views, and climbing up or ripping down mountains. When I'm skiing or rock climbing, I'm one with my surroundings. I'm happy as a clam and at peace with the universe. I also try to mix in other sports, like inline skating, Ping-Pong (trust me, it's a sport), basketball, and mountain biking. These are sports I love that help me stay in shape. I encourage you to get involved in SOMETHING athletic—anything that would be fun and enjoyable for you. Try to care a little less about weight loss and more about accomplishment. There are so many different kinds of sports to choose from. Set a goal, take a class, or sign up for a race, anything that gives you a reason to focus on "can do" and not so much "look like." If you shift to an athletic mind-set, you won't obsess as much about calories, inches, and your weight. "Can-do" numbers like reps, range of motion, and resistance become more important. Athletes care about improving their games, not how they look in their climbing gear.

If you can find one thing/sport that you really enjoy, then your day-to-day workouts will be less of a chore and more of a means to an end. Sports will also give you the opportunity to connect better and share with a partner. Whether you're single or partnered with someone, it will give you a chance to meet like-minded folks. The people I know who have a regular sport pursuit are consistently fit over time, are rarely depressed or anxious, and meet tons of amazing people in the process.

For some of you, the excuse of time or money or the fear of looking uncoordinated in front of other people can keep you from trying something athletic. There were tens of thousands of Power 90 and P90X customers who had those same fears. They stepped through the door anyway and found a brand-new and exciting reason to stay fit and healthy.

Tony H.

Losing Weight with P90X

Sunday, August 22, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Steve Edwards

P90X® is not a weight loss program, yet most people lose weight by doing it. This is because most of those people begin the program with more body fat than they're happy with, and getting ripped means they've lost body fat and weight. But some people want more. They want nothing but to be lean. Last week, we covered how to get big with P90. This week, we'll do an about-face and discuss how to get small. Such is our privilege by designing the most versatile workout program in the world.

Choosing the right schedule

P90X comes with three scheduling options: classic, lean, and doubles. Both the lean and doubles schedules are designed more for weight loss than the classic schedule. However, losing weight has a lot more to do with how you do the program than which option you choose. You can lose weight doing the classic rotation as well, provided you follow the guidelines we're about to go into.

What lean and doubles do is prohibit too much mass gain by having you do so much volume you can't fully recover between workouts, or by having you avoid the heaviest resistance workouts altogether. If you wish to get lean, beginning with the lean schedule and progressing to doubles is what I would suggest. However, once you've done both of these, a round of classic, done correctly, will actually enhance your body's ability to stay lean. Conversely, you can gain weight on any P90X schedule if you don't do the schedule correctly.


We'll follow the same format we've used for all the articles in the series on customizing P90X. In each article, we've discussed the importance of building a solid foundation. With regard to getting lean, however, you can start customizing your program to get lean as you build your foundation. Unlike sports-specific training, you don't need to first do a round of X as designed. In fact, the guidelines for getting lean will lay a great foundation for anything you'd like to do later on.

Hypertrophy (and how to avoid it)

Our discussion of mass was all based around how to induce as much hypertrophy (or muscle growth) as possible. To stay lean, we still need some muscle growth. Adding muscle to your frame is the best way to raise your resting metabolic rate, and in turn lose weight. But we also want to be careful not to create too much hypertrophy.

The way we do this is by doing a lot of repetitions for each exercise. In most programs this is pretty simple. You just use lighter weights and bang out the reps. The X is different because you're challenged with numerous movements that make it hard to do any reps, like pull-ups. This is where things get tricky.

The key to getting lean is to use enough weight to fail at the end of each set. I should repeat myself because this is important. Actually, just read that first sentence again. Got it? Good, because one of the concepts I have a hard time instilling in Xers (and women doing any of our programs) is that you've got to push yourself using weight—adding weight as necessary—to get lean.

The next step is deciding where to fail. If you read the mass article, you read that failing at around 12 repetitions was at the high end for hypertrophy. To gain mass, the number of reps we targeted got lower throughout the program.

Anything over 12 is technically targeting muscular endurance. However, up to around 25 reps, you will still be building muscle. This is the zone we want to target. Throughout your program, you should increase the number of reps you can do, not by lowering the weight you lift but by getting stronger! This means you should choose a weight that allows you to do at least 12 reps per set before you fail.

What's very important is to do this for the movements of which you can't do at least 12. This can be hard because you've got to use props, and you don't want to make the moves too easy. We'll use two examples; you'll have to figure out the rest based on these, which shouldn't be too hard to do.

Pull-ups. We tell you to use a chair when you can't do pull-ups, but it's how you use the chair that's important. You need to make sure your upper body is doing most of the work. Placing the chair farther from your body, and only propping one foot on it, is the simplest way to accomplish this. You should move the chair away so you can do at least 12 pull-ups but still fail at your upper target number (we'll get to what the upper target number is later).

Push-ups. Push-ups are easier because even if you do them on your knees, they're still hard. However, sometimes we tend to get lazy about this and stay on our knees. Once you can do regular push-ups on your toes, you should begin each set in this position and go until you reach failure, then finish the set on your knees. This will get you the burn you're looking for.

It may take a little while to get all of the X movements dialed so that you can do high reps until you reach failure. Stick with it. Perhaps you should even go through each workout and practice. Because once you do, you'll be on the road to lean.


No alterations are needed to the periodizational aspects of the program. You have three choices and all of them will work.

Progressive overload

The progressive overload principle is hard at work, but as I said above, the rep schemes should be backward from "normal" in that once you can do a certain number of repetitions, you'll want to increase them. For example, to begin the program, you'll target 12 to 16 reps for most exercises. Start with weight that causes failure at around 12 reps minimum, and stay with this weight until you can do 16 before adding more weight. As the program progresses, you'll want to target up to 25 reps per set, so the overload progression is toward endurance and away from hypertrophy.


Recovery is still important, but the more repetitions you do, the less stress you're placing on your body and the less recovery you need. This means that even though the individual workouts will feel very hard, you can recover from them more quickly than you could if you were using heavier weights.

Putting it all together

High-repetition resistance training may be technically less intense than using heavier weight, but it won't feel like it. This kind of training induces a wicked pump, and you may be very sore as your body adapts to the training. Also, the individual sets tend to be quite long (you may need to hit pause from time to time), and form can fail you. Make sure you keep good form as you get tired. Don't be afraid to drop weight in the middle of a set. Sometimes it's good to have two weights ready before you begin (or lighter bands) so you can switch mid-exercise. It takes getting used to, but hang in there and keep pushing yourself, and soon you'll be ripping off reps faster than Tony and the gang!

Your diet

Obviously, diet is important if you want to be lean. You'll be hungry, especially as you adapt, and it's important that you don't overeat. It's probably more important, however, that you don't undereat. You'll be churning through the calories, and undereating is a great way to find yourself in a plateau, both mentally and physically.

In general, P90X Nutrition Plan caloric calculations are ample for some weight loss. If you aren't losing weight, try zig-zagging your caloric intake by eating less on some days and "normally" on others. This forces you into a caloric deficit without depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to recover.

My Transformation Story

Saturday, August 21, 2010 | 0 comments »

By David Keenan

My older sister told me about this program that helped her and my aunt lose weight, and they enjoyed it. Now, for one, I'm skeptical by nature. For two, I have tried many programs that range from the cabbage soup diet to the ten-pounds-in-two-days diet and from the ab rolly thingy to the ab springy thingy. Lastly, neither my sister nor aunt was remotely as large as I was. One thing that helped was how enthusiastic she [my sister] was that it would work for me. She even got our younger sister to join. The next thing I knew she wanted to take before pictures and measurements. "What if the program doesn't work?" I remember thinking. I did not want measurements written down cause I thought the next time I checked, [I] will probably be bigger anyway. As for the pictures, I would not even take off my shirt because I was too embarrassed of myself. Even in front of my own family.

"Welcome to Power 90, I'm Tony Horton." This program changes lives? Will see how day one goes. Right off the bat Tony was moving. I was already behind and struggling to catch up. Tony and the crew lifted their knees, so I lifted mine. I kept up until I had to fight gravity with jumping jacks. Gravity won the battle big time. Something in the program and in my mind kept me going. By the end of the 35 minutes I looked like I stepped out of a pool and panted like a woman giving birth. But for whatever reason, I felt good. Each day I pushed play. People who saw me sporadically said I looked like I lost a bunch of weight. That motivated me more. Before I knew it I was halfway through the program and I lost 40 pounds! Granted I had about 100 pounds of pure Krispy Kreme to lose, but it felt great! I was swimming in my clothes. I tried to only buy a few shirts because I knew I would be swimming in those too. I got down to 250 in one year, but then I hit a plateau. So I got Slim in 6. Talk about kick-starting your life again. I had a whole new wave of dedication. For one month straight I did Slim in 6 in the mornings and Power 90 at night. Not to mention my diet was close to impeccable. I was hooked. I then got P90X. Talk about challenging gravity, say hello to Plyometrics. Ab Ripper X, "I hate it, but I love it." This program was the most challenging physical activity I ever even attempted. I got down to 180. Half of me . . . GONE! Luckily, it wasn't my good half.

Things change and they did. I had a surgery which put me on a slow recovery phase. I ate badly and with no exercise, I gained some weight. I got up to about 235. I felt horrible. It was just a short time ago that I was feeling better about life than ever. You know, one of those feelings that can only be felt. I let it slip away and I wanted it back. This time I joined the gym to lose it. Don't get me wrong, the gym is great, but it wasn't for me. I never pushed myself as hard as I did when I pushed play. I jumped back into Power 90 then P90X and I'm down to under 200! I could not be happier at this time of how I have complete control over my diet and my body.

Coming up on year 5, I have managed to lose a total of 160 pounds and at least 25 percent body fat. More importantly I have kept it off and changed my lifestyle. My eating habits and my exercising routine are all designed to help me be a better and healthier me. I have gained an abundance of knowledge. I have learned the sluggish feeling after eating bad whereas in the past those nachos would have been part of my normal diet. I have learned how important exercise is to my health. My friends and family ask me, former 360-pounder, diet and exercise questions. I have learned that it is not people seeing me in a different light now that I am in great shape, but me seeing myself in a better light.

To struggle with a battle your whole life and come out victorious is the greatest feeling anyone could ever experience. I won. Losing weight has obviously benefited my life physically more than I could have ever imagined. Friends from high school don't even recognize me. I now enjoy physical activities such as hiking, basketball, and even pull-ups (except corn-cobs). While going to work, I leave the train station and get pleasure from being the only one to take the stairs. I love my body, but my most valued changes through this are internal. I am making better decisions with my life than I ever did. I have more drive, determination, confidence, enthusiasm, success, and the list goes on, than ever before. There is nothing I can not do and no one could convince me otherwise. I owe it all to Tony Horton, Debbie Siebers, the entire Beachbody staff, the Team Beachbody community, and my family and friends. Thank you all for making me live and love life.

Recipe: Portobello Burgers

Friday, August 20, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Team Beachbody

Here's a recipe that puts the fun back in fungus! With way less saturated fat than a typical beef burger and a whopping 9 grams of fiber, this is a vegetarian treat you'll love.
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps, 5 in. in diameter
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 whole wheat buns, toasted
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 slices red onion
  • 2 lettuce leaves, halved
  • Cooking spray
Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth and remove their stems. Place mushrooms in a dish stem–side up. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, and olive oil. Drizzle the marinade over the mushrooms. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, turning mushrooms once.

Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Grill or broil the mushrooms on medium heat until tender or about 5 minutes on each side; make sure to turn them often. Baste with marinade to keep them from drying out. Using tongs, transfer the mushrooms to a plate.

Place each mushroom on a bun and top with 1 tomato slice, 1 onion slice, and 1/2 lettuce leaf. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
283 8 g 9 g 46 g 9 g 1 g

5th Law of Exercise: Reality

Thursday, August 19, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Tony Horton

Why do we want life to be different than it is? Why do we think about who we were and who we're going to be more than who we are? We certainly talk a good game about who we are now. Why do we try to predict the future with the hope that wishful thinking is enough to change it? Life is NOT the way it was. It's the way it is. Life is not our fantasy predictions of the future or our glory days of the past. Life is that thing that is happening to you as you read this. We fall into the trap of living in the past and future because right here is not good enough. Back then and up there are keeping you from right now.

This crazy cycle of mind hockey stems from our inability to stop caring about what other people think of us. The truth is that other people aren't thinking about you as much as you think they are. We lament for days, weeks, or years over some comment made in passing, by someone who forgot what they said 2 minutes after saying it. Other people's opinions of us are none of our business. Their opinions are their unfinished business.
"The man in the mirror should not cast stones from his glass house." —T. S. Hortonhead
If you want positive long-term change in life, accept the truth of your situation and ignore the people who don't support it. Let go of your ego and find ways to love who you are right now. Living in the past, in the future, and for others destroys your ability to stay in the moment. Life has peaks and valleys, ups and downs, lessons, and celebrations. This is how we grow and learn. If you're struggling with your finances, get financial advice. If you're unhappy with your health and fitness, do Power 90 or P90X. You could do nothing and hope that it all gets better on its own, or you could open a new door and find some answers.
"You can't solve a problem with the same brain that created it." —Albert Einstein
To know reality is to take risks. Risk requires perseverance, courage, and wisdom.

Take the Risk*

Risk saying no. The first step toward having your own life begins with daring to refuse the demands of others. Saying yes because you're afraid to say no is a recipe for resentment. Risk walking away from the fear of saying NO.

Risk NOT defending yourself. It's only when you risk laying down your armor, shield, and sword (quips, retorts, and criticisms) that you discover who you really are. You can't be hurt by letting others win.

Risk appearing stupid. Pretending to understand something you don't, for fear of appearing stupid, only ensures that you'll remain a fearful pretender. That is stupid. If you truly want to understand something, risk asking all the questions you need to. That's smart.

Risk bearing your negative outlook. The weight of your problems is determined by how much you fear them. But the only weight any fear can have is determined by how much you try to push it away. Risk not "burdening others" with your negativity. The less you burden other people with your problems, the less of a burden they'll be for you.

Risk being rejected. No is just a word, but fear of it is a prophecy self-fulfilled. Be bold! Risk asking for what you really want. Reject the fear of being rejected by daring to say no to the fear of NO.

Risk catching yourself in the act. Your life can't be both a show and be real. Whenever you catch yourself in the middle of some self-created drama or lie, just stop it. Risk being "The Real Thing" and not "All Show and No Go." Life is real only when you are.

Risk taking the lead. You can never know the true pleasure and personal satisfaction of having your own life until you take the risk of finding it for yourself, all by yourself. Followers fear the road less traveled. Risk going out front by traveling the road called "My Own Way."

The way to live in this world is to live in the real world. Lift the burden of having to "keep up with the Joneses" all the time. Stop lying to yourself and everyone else about what you're doing, what you've done, and what you're going to do. Stop telling others about your hard workouts and clean diet, and all the while pretending that what you're saying is true. If it is true . . . guess what? We'll know. Reality is about discovering the truth about the here and now. Reality is the ability to accept your present situation and love who you are through the process.

Tony H.

Gaining Mass with P90X

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Steve Edwards

"Don't want to look small!" —Lou Ferrigno in Pumping Iron
Guys have a thing for mass. It's hard to explain, really, but boys seem to grow up wanting nothing more than to be big. Guys want speedboats and trucks, and they want to look like The Hulk, regardless of what their wives may think of green skin. If this sounds like you, here's the article you've been looking for: customizing P90X® for mass.

Even if mass is your only goal, make sure to read the subsequent articles in the series on customizing the X. The principles discussed in subsequent articles will be put to use here. To look like The Hulk, you don't need to have a mad scientist father, but you do need to consider science as we know it. The articles that have appeared in our last few issues all led up to the question: what is mass?

What is mass?

Because many of our Success Stories, not to mention Tony, aren't exactly skinny, we must begin by defining mass—most of you are looking for more. Mass simply means size. As part of the word massive, we assume it means above average in size. It doesn't, but that's beside the point. A program targeting mass is concerned with one thing: muscle growth (from here on in referred to as hypertrophy), and a lot of it.

In a training cycle for mass, we should target hypertrophy even at the expense of other fitness goals. P90X is not a system designed for mass. It's designed for overall fitness, which means that ultimate gains in targeted areas, like speed, strength, flexibility, and muscle growth, are compromised to provide a program that improves all of your body's physical energy systems during one 90-day effort. We feel as though this is the preferred training system because it addresses the big picture. But if your picture is quite literally being bigger, then you'll need to read on.


You've read about the capacity for improvement throughout this series, so here's where I tell you to do a round of P90X as it's designed before embarking on a mass-specific program. It's healthier, sure, but it's more than that. Training all of your body's energy systems until they're running efficiently increases your body's ability to do, well, anything. Part of anything includes looking like Lou Ferrigno. Once you've done a round of the X and aced your fit test, the foundation has been laid. You're ready to start gettin' big.


Tony loves the word specificity. He often uses it when referring to exercise movements, but we're going to use it to refer to the equipment you'll need. With mass as your goal, you'd better acquire specific resistance equipment. The simplest form is weights; however, mass can also be created by using other forms of tension, like resistance bands. The bottom line is that if mass is your goal, you'll need to have more weight available than you've been using. Body weight and plyometric movements can be used effectively for strength training, but strength and hypertrophy are not synonymous. To make hypertrophic gains, you're going to need to find ways to make your body fail at a given number of repetitions. You'll want an array of weights and bands, and some extra devices like ankle and wrist weights, or a weight vest, to add resistance to all the movements you're doing.

The difference between size and strength

As we touched on last time, hypertrophy training simply increases the size of the muscle. Strength training increases the efficiency of the muscle. Large muscles have a greater capacity for strength. Absolute strength is the ability of the muscle to use all of its muscle cells for movement. People in sports dependent on strength-to-weight ratios target high muscular efficiency in their training, whereas those in sheer size-dependent sports will focus more on hypertrophy. Most sports are somewhat dependent on both size and strength, which are ideally improved during different cycles of training.


The periodizational concepts that have been discussed in prior issues need to be explained here before a mass schedule is created. Remember that a standard schedule would look similar to this:
Foundation phase (Power 90® or what you did pre-X) + block 1 + transition/recovery + block 2 + transition/recovery + block 3 + recovery = peak (final fit test)
The difference here is that we're going to structure an entire training cycle based only on hypertrophy. This means we won't be setting up a peak phase. Over a long period of time, you would want to teach your muscles how to function more efficiently. We'll get to this at the end.

For now, we'll just say that there is still a periodizational approach to consider. You will still adapt, gain, and plateau over time, so we'll need a structure to keep this happening. But the structure will be dependent simply on rep schemes (the number of repetitions that you target to bring you to failure) and progressive overload. The blocks of our 90-day schedule will each target a different number of repetitions, which you'll want to aim for to induce failure. But because we're not changing the schedule much, and thus creating less Muscle Confusion™, we won't need such frequent recovery phases.

Progressive overload

Hypertrophy is all about creating progressive overload. To create muscle growth, you must keep stimulating the muscles during each workout. This requires that you add weight as necessary to create failure at the desired number of reps.


The more we can focus on hypertrophy, the more muscle we'll gain. Since we only have so much energy to expend, this means we should spend less time working on other areas. This is where you'll see the biggest differences from the traditional P90X schedules. When you're not training for hypertrophy, your entire focus should be on preparing your body to create more hypertrophy. Therefore, the P90X mass schedule will have a lot of active recovery and flexibility work and very little intense cardio. This means we'll spend more time recovering during each training block and taking fewer periods focused solely on recovery.

Putting it all together

Before we get to the schedule, here are some general things to consider. The first is pacing. Instead of following the kids in the videos, target your rep scheme (and push pause when necessary). Do each set to failure (if you can add enough resistance; if not, get as close as you can), and don't exceed your targeted number of reps. Do not, however, use the pause button simply to increase the time between exercises.

A good way to choose the resistance for each movement is to use enough so that you can only do the lower number of your targeted rep scheme. Once you can do the higher number, it's time to increase the resistance.

Do your repetitions slowly and with control. Speed is for power, not size. Focus on perfect form and only add weight when you can do each rep with great form.

When you're done, you're done. You don't need to finish an entire workout if you're struggling. Once you lose the ability to move the weight or do the move in strict form, stop the workout. Any further training would only create more breakdown than you could recover from and increase your risk of injury.

Your diet

You won't be burning as many calories as you would during the classic schedule of the X. If you eat the same amount, you may gain more mass, but you'll also gain more body fat. This might or might not be acceptable, so pay attention and adjust your diet as necessary. If you want mass, then you need to eat enough for your body to put on weight. I will write more about this diet scenario in the future.

Block 1, phase 2
Weeks 4 through 6
  • Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps
  • Day 2: Cardio X, Ab Ripper X
  • Day 3: Legs & Back
  • Day 4: X Stretch; Ab Ripper X or Abs/Core Plus (from P90X Plus)
  • Day 5: Back & Biceps
  • Day 6: Yoga X
  • Day 7: Off
  • Targeted number of reps: 8 to 12 (focus on 10 to 12)
Block 1, phase 1
Weeks 1 through 3
  • Day 1: Chest & Back
  • Day 2: Cardio X, Ab Ripper X
  • Day 3: Shoulders & Arms
  • Day 4: X Stretch; Ab Ripper X or Abs/Core Plus
  • Day 5: Legs & Back
  • Day 6: Yoga X
  • Day 7: Off
  • Targeted number of reps: 8 to 12 (focus on 8 to 10)
Recovery Block
Week 7
  • Day 1: X Stretch
  • Day 2: Yoga X
  • Day 3: Core Synergistics
  • Day 4: Kenpo X
  • Day 5: Yoga X
  • Day 6: X Stretch
  • Day 7: Off
Block 2, phase 1
Weeks 8 and 9
  • Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps
  • Day 2: Cardio X, Ab Ripper X
  • Day 3: Legs & Back
  • Day 4: X Stretch; Ab Ripper X or Abs/Core Plus
  • Day 5: Back & Biceps
  • Day 6: Yoga X
  • Day 7: Off
  • Day 8: Chest & Back
  • Day 9: Cardio X, Ab Riper X
  • Day 10: Shoulders & Arms
  • Day 11: X Stretch; Ab Ripper X or Abs/Core Plus
  • Day 12: Legs & Back
  • Day 13: Yoga X
  • Day 14: Off
  • Targeted number of reps: 6 to 10
Block 2, phase 2
Weeks 10 and 11

Same schedule as weeks 8 and 9
Targeted number of reps: 4 to 8

Block 2, phase 3
Week 12

Same schedule as weeks 8 and 9
Targeted number of reps: 4 to 6

Final note: This is an entire cycle of training based only on hypertrophy. To have an athletically efficient physique, you should do other training cycles that target different goals. Even if your only goal is hypertrophy, training these other systems properly will improve your body's physical systems and increase your capacity for muscle growth, as well as the speed at which you can add or shed muscle and fat. So while you can tweak and reuse this basic structure over and over, it will also benefit you to get back to basics and do P90X classic from time to time.

By Team Beachbody

Want some down-home goodness without having to go to the Colonel for a bucket of fat and calories? Try this high-protein treat that you can enjoy with just a few minutes of prep time. Now that's fast food!
  • 8 6–8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 tsp. salt (optional)
  • 2 cups plain bread crumbs
  • 1–2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (canola, safflower, etc.)
In a large bowl, whisk together hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and salt (optional). Add the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade. Add bread crumbs to marinade and mix well. Coat chicken thoroughly with mixture.

Spread oil over the bottom of a shallow 9"x13" baking dish. Arrange chicken in the dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn chicken over. Reduce heat to 325 degrees; cook for an additional 15 to 20 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Makes 8 5-oz. servings.

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat Total
30 g 1 g 20 g 8 g 2 g

4th Law of Exercise: Purpose

Monday, August 16, 2010 | 0 comments »

By Tony Horton

Exercising and eating right help you feel better. When you feel better, you do more. When you do more, you meet other people. A healthy lifestyle gives us the energy to be better than before. We want to participate, share, communicate, and build a community. If you'd never found Beachbody®, you might be right back where you were—isolated and with nothing to share, because you weren't doing anything with anyone.

We come together because we all have one thing in common—the desire to improve our lives. Anyone willing to explore the Message Boards is given the opportunity to participate in something truly unique. The intent to help yourself turns into a chance to save someone else's life. We're planting seeds that affect much more than our own weight loss and improved fitness. The moment we decide to share our stories, we create an energy shift so powerful that it has the potential to change the world.

When we're in a state of fear and anxiety, the people around us aren't too thrilled either. If we have the energy to be kind, wise, and loving, we lift up everyone around us. The difference between these two states is CHOICE. Before P90X or Power 90®, many of you were overwhelmed, sick, and tired. Shortly after you started the program (even before you saw any real physical change), something remarkable started to happen. You felt better.

When you feel good, you act quite differently than when you feel overwhelmed and tired. The people around you don't need be told what kind of mood you're in. They know. Your behavior (good and bad) has tons of energy and power that affect everyone in your world. You are what you eat and what you do! If you eat junk and do nothing, friends and family will sink with you or abandon ship—not a terribly inspiring or productive outcome. If you choose to devote your time and energy to health and fitness with wisdom and courage, you become a beacon of energy so powerful, you could change the lives of thousands of people.

A healthy, fit body directly affects the mind and soul. The brain and body are one. The reason so many people reach for cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and fast food is because it makes them feel good . . . for now. These short-term pleasures deliver myriad physiological and psychological disorders and diseases down the road. Short-term bouts of exercise, on the other hand, will guarantee the opposite result—a lifetime of good health, energy, self-reliance, and hope.
"If you look after the body, the fragrance of the mind and spirit will come of itself." —B.K.S. Iyengar
Having purpose takes the onus off you and puts the focus on the people who need your help. The gift of giving is the greatest gift to receive. The people I know who practice this on a daily basis are well-rounded, content, empathetic, wise, and happy. They say that about 3 percent of the people on Earth live in bliss. What the hell are the other 97 percent doing? Maybe we're spending too much time on ME, ME, ME! I believe that our journey on this earth is to be serviceable. Discover what you love, learn how to do it well, and share it with others. It's also important to recognize when friends and family are not ready for change. The worst kind of advice is the kind that was never asked for.

Purpose is the driving force that moves you from here to there. Your purpose for taking care of yourself is based on intention and resolution. If your intentions aren't clear, strong, and true, the best food and supplements and perfect workouts won't help you discover your purpose. What are your intentions? Do you want to find resolution? What is your $64,000 question? If it's about looking hot for the weekend fitness camp, how will that hold up come Monday? Short-term goals are nice. It's one way to stay in the game. But if you want to make a worldwide impact, then put your energy into the long-term goals.

The key to success for Power 90 and P90X comes to people who figure out that when you share your experiences, your wisdom, your love, and your truth, you begin to know what it is to live like that 3 percent. The Message Boards, chat rooms, and WOWY® SuperGym can be precious commodities—we are given an opportunity to share everything about our journey with people going through the same thing.

Discovery + Learning + Sharing = Bliss!

Tony H.