Gordon Davidescu wrote this article.

“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” How often I have repeated this expression, an adaptation of a couple of verses from a poem by Robert Burns : “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” This seems quite relevant to my P90X training and it stuck out to me over and over again when I thought I had things just right, and then managed to fail in a glorious manner.

The second week of P90X went superbly well. I followed all of the workouts as I should have, and got a special treat on Thursday of that week courtesy of the UPS delivery person and the Clif Bar company. This does not go without explanation, rest assured. In many of the workouts, the trainer Tony Horton does a little bit of shilling for a product that the parent company sells which is a recovery drink meant to be consumed during and after every workout.

When I researched the product to see if it were kosher certified, I had trouble finding any information and so I e-mailed the company directly. They told me that they were not aware of any kosher certification and that I should follow up by e-mailing a different group in the company itself. I thought to myself that if they could not do the following up themselves, perhaps it would be worth it to pursue another avenue. I went to store after store that sold powders meant for different exercise and sports needs and not once did I find a single recovery drink that was kosher certified. Why, I wondered, was this so incredibly difficult? I thought about the different things that went into the recovery drink powders and it seemed to me that it was just a matter of applying for the certification and showing the appropriate organization that everything was kosher.

I started to wonder if the Clif Bar company had anything that might work since I knew that their protein bars were kosher certified, a fact that always had pleased me. It wasn’t long before I found what I wanted on their web site and after trying to physically locate it in Seattle, ordered it directly from them. Tony claims in the various videos that the recovery drink helps you during and after the workout. After I received the Clif Shot Recovery Drink I had to concur because it seemed that from the very first workout in which I used it, I already was putting a little more into every workout and not running out of steam nearly as quickly. Although I didn’t buy the ‘official’ recovery drink the one that I could buy worked for me.

The problems began with the third week of the program. I don’t know if it was just a matter of my not feeling well physically or emotionally but something just didn’t feel right. I had a difficult time concentrating on my work and for three consecutive days (Tuesday through Thursday) I kept on postponing my workout later and later and finally admitted to myself that it just wasn’t going to happen that day. I think that it was somewhat of a real slippery slope; every day would be harder to motivate myself to get the workout started because it had been so long since I had done it. By Friday I was fed up with myself and I forced myself to do that day’s workout, Kenpo X. Not at all by chance, I was feeling a lot better about myself by the time the workout had come to an end.

I had a restful Shabbos but by Sunday I was back to problems. I realized on Sunday that I was apprehensive about doing certain exercises because I do not have the proper equipment to do them and there is something about me that, if I am not doing something exactly as it should be done, I don’t want to do it at all. My apartment unfortunately does not have any proper door frames near where I work out; this is relevant because the chin up bar that I bought with the DVD set requires a frame for the support of the bar. Had I known that it would be needed, I would have purchased an inexpensive chin up bar that, like many shower curtains, simply relies on pressing on either side of the door to stay up. The second problem that I have is that I do not own any free weights. I do not mean weights that cost no money, I mean simple weights (like dumbbells) that can be easily moved around a room as needed.

The workouts assure you that using a resistance band can replace both the chin up bar and the weights but my experience thus-far has been that I have either been using the provided resistance band incorrectly or they provided me with a resistance band inadequate for someone of my height.

Entering into the fourth week, I felt it would be appropriate to do the workouts for the third week instead of the fourth week as it seemed to me that I had cheated myself out of the third week. While I was more consistent in the fourth week than I had been in the third, I still missed a few days and was not pleased with that at all. By the time the week was up, I realized that I had to make a decision. I had to either start the workout program from the beginning or I had to figure out what was causing me to miss all of these days.

It all came down to moving. As you are no doubt aware, I am in fact going from Seattle slicker to New York vagabond in a matter of a couple of weeks; my last full day in Seattle will be the 30th of August and I am leaving on a plane at five thirty in the morning the following day. I realized that this epic move of mine is a major distraction to me and has been causing me not to be able to think about other things quite as well as I could be doing.

This last week has therefore been completely different from the other weeks. I have been working out every day but I have been doing the workouts that I have wanted to do rather than the workouts that I knew I would dread going through because of the lack of proper equipment. The three best workouts for me due to lack of equipment need have been the Plyometrics workout, Kenpo X, and the Yoga workout. I just have to keep reminding myself that I need to “do my best and forget the rest” as the head coach likes to say.

I’m doing my best, Tony.


  1. Love this update, Gordon!
    I feel for you with the need for equipment to make the program work. It’s tough to get a full workout without some kind of kinetic resistance and that usually means weights or gravity pressing on your extended limbs.
    Space is also important. Our new Reformer takes up the entire living room. Good thing we had that area as our “Zone Out Zen Garden” because if we had a couch or any furniture at all in there our Reformer would never fit!

  2. Of course it got worse yesterday, the day I was supposed to start with a new week’s worth of workouts. I got extremely feverish all of a sudden. It happens to me now and again. I will get extremely cold even if it is not cold in the room and last night I woke up about once an hour to either drink water or use the toilet. I’m taking today as yet another rest day.
    I’m looking forward to having a more established workout space in New York. 🙂 That and I am going to get a real set of weights as soon as I can.

  3. That sounds like a great plan, Gordon. Some people think working out when you’re ill is good because it burns the sickness out of you while others feel just the opposite: Working out while sick makes you sicker!

  4. If I had to guess, I would say I’m more like the latter – getting a little sicker by working out. I have found that with a lot of flu like illness, heavy perspiration seems to be a good path to wellness. It’s almost like the illness is being perspired out of me.

  5. Hi Gordon,
    Great to read your progress with the P90X. Hope your new place has door frames!
    Do you combine this exercise regimen with some aerobic training or is the programme sufficient?

  6. Dananjay,
    There actually is a lot of aerobic training involved in the workouts – some days more than others. 🙂
    I am also hoping my new place has door frames, or at least that I will be able to get something sold to use for attaching the resistance bands.

  7. Hi Gordon,
    Good luck for your moving!
    I really like your attitude about the “working out regimen” – most people will leave it halfway through!

  8. Hi Katha,
    Thanks for the well wishing.
    The coach of the p90x workout puts it best:
    “Do your best, and forget the rest!” That’s all you can do. If today I don’t do as well as I hoped I would, there’s always tomorrow.

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