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Work Out @ Home. Just You & P90X

Tania P:
I have been overweight most my life with little to no exercise. In January I began working out 3-5 times a week, March I walked a 5K and now plan to be in the Carlsbad 1/2 marathon in January. A co-worker has been training me with the P90X fitness book. I recently bought it and see there is also a nutrition guide. Previous to now, I was keeping track of calories and trying to eat between 600 and 900 calories a day. That only worked for a while. I am 5'3" and currently weigh 178. Any suggestions? are you familiar with P90X? do you suggest jogging at this point? my knees seem to always hurt and my hips too. Thanks for any advice you can give me. 

Seth 'Cash Money' Estrada
Tania - To answer your questions directly, jogging should probably be avoided till you're a little lighter on your feet. Try walking stairs instead. Seriously, walking up stairs for 20-30 minutes at a time will bring your heart rate up to whatever training zone you want to get it to, but have almost zero impact on your knee and hip joints.

On the nutritional side of things P90X, like any exercise program, is only as good as your eating habits. Unfortunately calorie restriction doesn't work for very long, as you discovered. I want you to borrow two books from the library. [Don't buy them! Try them out first] The first is 'Body for Life' by Bill Phillips. It's a great introduction to the higher-protein-plus-supplementation paradigm, and is largely responsible for the higher incidence of awesome physiques that we've been seeing since the mid 90's. It is a slightly more sustainable nutritional model.

The next book is 'Enter the Zone' by Dr. Barry Sears. This is a much more sustainable nutritional model, though it can be more expensive to get all the varieties of foods he recommends. That said, Barry Sears is a doctor, with numerous scientific case studies to prove the effectiveness of his hypotheses, and Bill Phillips is an 'expert', with really good anecdotal evidence. Both have their place.

Now, 'Enter the Zone' is really an introduction to the so-called 'Zone Diet', and lays down the scientific foundation for why it is so successful. 'Mastering the Zone' is a follow up book, which contains many more recipes, shopping lists, tips, and tricks to get you past the initial try-out period. If you find the Zone effective, then this book should help you stay in the Zone more effectively.

Try each book for 4-6 weeks, and then decide which one is working best/is more maintainable for you. Once you've chosen the best nutritional model for you, stick to it religiously, like your very life depends on it. Two weeks before the marathon, go ahead and re-evaluate the approach you wish to take for AFTER the marathon. Don't wait till you get home from that 13 mile run. Why? Because most people quit due to lack of planning. You will not quit.

Best of luck. Let me know how you like the books!

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