P90x3 Challenge Finale: Disappointment and Hope

The 90 days are up. So what is the verdict of my P90x3 Challenge Finale? As the title suggests: disappointment, but also hope.

First, a quick update on what has happened since the last check-in. After being discouraged by my progress up to that point, I had vowed to do better by cutting back on the fast food breakfasts and working out harder. I had mixed success. I was able to greatly reduce my fast food breakfasts, completely eliminating them for a few weeks and then only grabbing one or two in the last few weeks. Working out harder was also initially a success. I made sure to push myself and even started doing an extra workout some days. I was definitely feeling the post-workout burn again and my muscles were sore the next day. I was excited that I seemed to be back on track.

Then the injury happened.

Quadriceps anatomy illustration
The quadriceps muscles: used during a surprisingly large number of routine movements.

I was doing the Triometrics workout, like I had done dozens of times previously. Specifically, I was doing plyometric lunges. It’s an intense move, but nothing incredibly out of the ordinary. Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain in my left quadriceps that forced me to immediately pause my workout. Initially, I thought it was no big deal and shook it off, but when I went back to try the plyometric lunge again, I immediately felt the sharp pain again. Not wanting to push my luck, I cut the exercise short. To my dismay, not only did my quadriceps still hurt the next day, but it even started hurting when walking normally and seemingly simple moves like pulling my leg into bed suddenly became incredibly difficult. I did some research online on quadriceps injuries and every source I could find had the exact same advice: Don’t even think about exercising with an injured quadriceps and wait for it to fully heal, which usually takes at least 10 days.

I was pretty devastated. I had gotten nearly three quarters of the way through the regimen and had finally felt like I was making progress when this injury cropped up which pretty much demanded an immediate break. I tried doing some of the easier workouts at a slower pace, but I kept feeling instability and random pains in that injured quadriceps muscle and ultimately decided to listen to the experts and shut down my exercising to let it heal.

After about a week off, I was able to return to my workouts, but things were never the same. I was tentative while exercising, afraid to injury myself again and lose another week. Shortly afterwards, I came down with strep throat, which sapped my stamina and caused me to miss a few more workouts. I eventually finished the 90 day regimen, but it was the equivalent of limping to the finish line.

That was the disappointment. So what was the hope? My final numbers. Despite a thoroughly underwhelming final month or so, I finally started seeing results at the end. Despite a slight increase in my weight, I also saw a noticeable decrease in body fat and increase in muscle mass.

  • Weight: 192 lbs to 193.6 lbs for a gain of 1.6 lbs
  • Body Fat: 20.3% to 19.8% for a loss of 0.5%
  • Muscle Mass: 37.5% to 39.6% for a gain of 1.9%

Considering I saw those results with a final month marred by injury and illness, I’m excited about what I might be able to do if I were to continue working out. So even though my P90x3 challenge was ultimately a bit of a disappointment in terms of the results, I’m optimistic about the future. I’ve signed up for a Beachbody On Demand streaming account, another program to continue my journey to get into the best shape of my life. Assuming I can largely avoid injury and illness, I’m more confident than ever that I can do it.

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Paul Essen
Founder and Chief Discourse Officer at Rampant Discourse

Proud geek. Trekkie. Browncoat. Entil’Zha. First human spectre. Hokie. Black belt. Invests Foolishly. Loves games of all types and never has enough time to play as many as he wants. Libertarian who looks forward to the day he votes for a winning presidential candidate. Father to two beautiful daughters.


This article has 2 Comments

  1. I did a very similar thing with P90X3. Injured my elbow though. I think there’s not enough warm-up time and the program is overly strenuous not leaving enough time for muscles to recover properly.

    1. Oddly enough, I’ve been battling through an injured elbow also right now (although I injured it doing another exercise). It’s definitely a strenuous program, but the frustrating part is that I feel like I often suffer these injuries without any kind of warning. My muscles weren’t especially hurting in the seconds leading to my injury. It came out of nowhere.

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