Posted by: Jeremiah Graves | August 1, 2009

Beefy or Bust: The P90 Experiment


I love summer.

I really, really love summer.

Now I’m not just talking about Zooey Deschanel here—although, I do love Zooey, oh so very much—I’m talking about the season.

Summer took a long time to arrive in Boston this year—finally rolling in over the July 4th weekend and taking various opportunities to disappear off and on for weeks at a time since—but it finally appears as though it has arrived for the long haul.

You see, the summer is a time for cold beers, barbecues, sitting in the sun, more cold beers, more barbecues, softball games and not much else.

As such, my attempts to stick with my once-solid gym regimen have gone terribly awry as the temperatures have begun to soar.

I’m sure when the fall temperatures roll back in; I’ll be right back on my regimen. I’ve got no problem going to the gym four or five times a week in the winter when it’s cold and snowy or even in the spring when it’s rainy and cool, but come on…it’s summertime!!

I mean seriously, the last place I want to be when it’s 85 degrees and sunny is inside an overly air-conditioned building that smells like sweaty-asses and athlete’s foot.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t think I’ve been to the gym more than a handful of times since the end of June.

I’m not happy about this.

Partially because my gym membership is a trifle expensive and partially because I feel like I’m wasting a lot of what I gained by hitting the gym regularly for the past five months or so.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t ever expect to be in the same kind of shape I was in back in high school or even college for that matter.

I’ve had major lung surgery, my knees and back are basically shot and I work 40 hours a week—there’s just not enough free time to spend playing sports with my friends to ever get back into the condition I once was and I’m cool with that.

Hands down the best shape I have ever been in was the summer before I came to college. I was running anywhere from three to ten miles a day and lifting weights on a pretty regular schedule, in training for Hartley, Iowa’s annual SummerFest…a story for another time and place, perhaps a future “Confessions” entry.

Anyway, long story short, I’m a little annoyed that I’ve lost my gym-mojo.

Luckily, the feeling is contagious.

My oldest friend in the entire world, Mr. Craig “Craiggers” Denny, is pretty pissed off at his current physical state as well.

[Note: Craiggers isn’t super old, he’s just the friend of known the longest—upon rereading that sentence I realized how confusing it could be.]

Craiggers and I have been on-again, off-again workout buddies at various points in our lives. Back in high school—during the aforementioned summer of in-shapeness—Craiggers would often come out jogging with me and upon heading to college even tried to keep up the habit.

030Years later, after he’d transferred to Minnesota State we got back into the swing of things and became gym buddies again. We had some of those super-hard college classes such as badminton and tennis together and we’d play both games pretty regularly and then hit the gym.

We were lifting weights and running and playing basketball four or five days a week and both of us were in arguably the best shape we’d been in since high school at that point.

…and then I moved to Boston.

Once I got out here I got pretty lazy. I had to pay to use a gym. I didn’t know anyone to play any sports with. I did, however, live above a liquor store and near a lot of bars. As such, I drank myself into a nice little beer belly.

Trust me, my Faithful Readers, there is nothing worse than realizing you’ve become the dreaded “Skinny-Fat-Guy.”

Eventually I got into playing some sports out here. I played a few seasons of basketball, softball and ultimate frisbee and eventually found my way back to the gym.

Craiggers did not.

Craiggers has admitted that he let himself go and become a couch potato. This summer he played softball with some friends and although he had a great time, he felt really disappointed that he’d let himself turn into someone who was winded running out a base hit. He also found he was more prone to nagging injuries as a result of his—um—excess baggage.

As a result, Craiggers—along with his lovely wife Amanda—have decided to do something about it. They purchased P90, an intense workout that has an incredible track record of success with people. The hope is that they can use this to get back into shape and eventually work their way up to the far more daunting—and masachoistic—P90X, which you’ve no doubt seen a 3am infomercial for at some point.

I was very excited for Craiggers and Amanda and wished them all the best of luck. I even bounced around some ideas with Craiggers for the blog that he’s using to chronicle their progress and hold them accountable to keep it up.

And then, out of nowhere, Craiggers asked me if I’d join them.

At first I was a little hesitant.

I’m not one for strict workout plans. I generally go to the gym and do some random combination of various weights or weight machines and then some running or biking depending on how badly me knees are hurting. P90 seemed a little too “set in stone” for my tastes.

Then Craiggers told me that he’d really like me to do it as a motivational tool, he thinks it’ll be a huge boost to know that someone else—other than his lovely wife, of course—is going through the same thing.

Obviously, I couldn’t turn Craiggers down.

We go back to my first day of school when he let me sit with him on the bus when no one else would and we’ve been workout buddies—on and off—for the better part of the last decade.

How the hell could I say no to that?!

So folks, starting next week I’ll be joining Craiggers and Amanda as we begin the “P90 Journey.”

I’m super stoked for Craiggers and Amanda for taking charge and deciding they wanted to make a real change.

As far as I’m concerned, I guess I’m not expecting to end up on the cover of Men’s Fitness or anything, but I do think it’ll make me feel less guilty about avoiding the gym this summer and perhaps even give me a free-pass to continue my cold beer/barbecue/softball summer-rotation that has worked so well thus far.



  1. I have 3 things to say:

    1) Rock n roll!

    2) Badminton is pretty much the best college class of all time.

    3) Godspeed, my friend.


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