“I’ve Lost the Weight of my Bulldog”

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C.W. Post’s Senior Assistant Director of Student Life has successfully completed his first round of P90X, and he’s ready for more. Eric Zirlinger, 30, began the fitness program five months ago. He has since lost 50 pounds and gone from a 33” to a 28” waistline. “I feel… glorious,” Zirlinger said with a smile. “I’ve lost the weight of my bulldog.”

The P90X fitness program is a 90-day program that is designed to get its users “ripped” in 90 days. It consists of working out six days a week, and parallels a nutrition plan.

Zirlinger said his motivation for starting P90X was to look and feel better about himself, but also his realization of his increasingly slow metabolism. “When I was in college, I could eat an entire pizza pie, a dozen chicken wings, and go to the gym and work it off in no time,” he said. “Now I can eat seven french fries and need to be in the gym for two and a half hours!”

In recent times, the DVD-based P90X workout advertised on Beachbody.com is all the rage. Is it because it’s new? Or because your almost-50-year-old trainer is in better shape than the condition of most others his age? Maybe because of the convincing “Before and After” videos of people posting their results after completing the plan?

Zirlinger’s insomnia inspired him to buy P90X. “When you’re up late at night, there is basically one of two things to do — buy the ShamWow, or P90X.” After researching the P90X infomercial and seeing other users’ ‘before and after’ results on YouTube, ShamWow just wasn’t quite as appealing.

The arrival of the P90X was described as being very exciting for Zirlinger. “I don’t have time to go to the gym, but I could manage to turn on my DVD player,” he said. “I opened the box… and I was RIPPED… nah, just kidding.” Zirlinger said that he saw his first results after one week of following the program religiously.

“Doing this six days a week was like going to a sport — I mean I treated it like a sport,” he said. “Tony Horton was my varsity coach and I was the number one player on the team, which was pretty sad because I was… the only one there.” Zirlinger kept up his motivation by sticking to his routine and loving his results. “The first few weeks were rough, but you weigh yourself and see the weight come off little by little,” he said. “It’s kind of addicting.”

The workouts are a combination of different exercises lasting between one and two hours, meant to be completed on a daily basis six days a week — leaving one day for resting and stretching. “You have to do weight-lifting, pull-ups, push-ups, plyometrics, yoga, core synergistics, and martial arts,” Zirlinger said. His favorite moment of the entire program was the day he could keep up with the professionals in the videos. “I was doing as many reps as them, and at the same weight.”

Zirlinger described one time that brought out his real determination. “In one of the videos, there is a guy with a prosthetic leg. I’m thinking, he makes this look easy, and I’m struggling on two legs!”

According to the P90X nutrition plan web site, there are three phases to the diet. The first phase is called the “Fat Shredder,” and is based on eating less carbohydrates and and a higher amount of protein in order to fuel muscles and burn fat efficiently. The second phase of the plan is the “Energy Booster,” and is a healthy mix of proteins and carbohydrates with a slightly reduced amount of protein to maximize endurance and energy levels. The last phase is the “Endurance Maximizer.” This phase focuses on complex carbs, lean proteins, and reduced fat, fueling the body help avoid plateaus and promote body muscle definition during the last few weeks of the system.

Zirlinger said he eats a large breakfast of egg whites and wheat toast, and tries to eat every two hours. The only supplements he uses are the occasional protein bars or shakes. After realizing his major problem with late-night snacking, Zirlinger has resorted to indulging in healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables.

Prior to starting P90X, Zirlinger made sure to pay a visit to his doctor to be sure it would be safe for him to start this particular workout program. After being monitored several times throughout the next three months, his doctor had some very pleasing news. “My doctor said after the 90 days of P90X I’m now in the best shape of my life and I’ve never been healthier.”

At Day 90 of the P90X, Zirlinger said it felt like he had finished a marathon. “You feel like you want Tony Horton to show up at your front door with a huge trophy or something.”

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