Knowing When To Press Pause

For over a year now I have been doing P90X + P90X2 workouts and HAD NEVER HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON…until this past Monday that is.

If you have ever done a P90X or P90X2 workout then you’ve probably heard Tony Horton tell you to “hit the pause button if you need to…we’ll be here waiting…”

Well, being that I love to push myself as hard as possible when at all possible, I had never allowed myself to hit pause.  I don’t know, maybe it was just stupid pride or something along that line, but for 15 straight months I never hit pause a single time.

But this past Monday it happened – the streak broke…I hit pause…and guess what?

The world didn’t end!


Why Did I Press Pause?

If you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been posting anything as of late (which I am sure you all are), it’s because I have been pretty sick for the last week and a half.  So sick in fact that I had to take a week and a half off from all physical activity, and yes, that included working out.

Longer story short – I came down with a very bad respiratory infection, which, coupled with my asthma, made for a pretty crappy two weeks.  The first couple of days I was able to “fight off” the infection and “muscle through” a couple of workouts.  But day three finally took me under and I had to throw in the towel…for 1-1/2 weeks.

Short story shorter – I had to take 11 days off from working out…I am not going to call them rest days because I really got no rest…and when I finally felt ready to start working out again I found myself quite humbled.


The Humbling Pause Button

Again, I don’t really know exactly why I had told myself to “never hit the pause button – stick with Tony” (yeah, I find myself talking to Tony from time to time…it’s a bit lame but hey man, whatever works right?), I just know I stuck to my guns for over a year and never hit that pause button for anything.

Well, that streak came to an end this past Monday when, after a week and a half off due to sickness, I jumped right back in where I had left off – P90X Legs + Back.

The workout started out awesome.  I did the warm up, the first leg set, and hit 20 Chin-Ups no problem – I felt great!

But then it happened…

Three moves before the final move of the first half I started to feel a bit strange.  At first I thought it was just a bit of asthma so I took a few puffs from my inhaler and continued.  But midway through the next set I was feeling very dazed, light headed, and overall exhausted.

Physically I felt as if I had just literally hit a brick wall…made of water!

I could not breathe, I could not see straight, and my mind felt as if it was about to shut off…so….



What Happens If You Hit The Pause Button?

There I was…not really sweating…not really breathing…just trying to stay conscience…and thinking to myself, “Did you really just hit the pause button…?  Sorry Tony…SORRY!”

There I was, sitting there just recouping, when all of a sudden it happened…

…wait for it…wait for it…wait for it…

…NOTHING!  Nothing happened, nothing but personal regrouping. 

Tony didn’t get mad at me, I didn’t get mad at me, my body didn’t get mad at me…I just sat there and focused on gathering my wits to finish the exercise routine.


I hit pause, took about a 10 minute break, gathered myself, hit play, and Tony was there, as he always said he would be (what a good guy, that Tony Horton…right?).  Tony was there waiting to finish the rest of the workout with me…and that’s exactly what I did.


So, I hit pause and the world didn’t end.

I didn’t feel like a quitter, loser, a wimp, a slacker, or any other degrading terminology.

It was the complete opposite – I hit pause and was able to finish strong! 

So, it’s okay to hit pause, and, though I wouldn’t recommend getting used to hitting pause on a regular or weekly basis, I would recommend hitting pause when you seriously need it.



Though I just hit my first pause button due to pure exhaustion (probably due to prematurely getting “back to the grind”), I did notice something after hitting play again…something I think I might start to incorporate into my regular workout routines.

This, my friends, will be our little secret…


…What if we use the Pause Button More Often?


What if instead of using the pause button merely as a means of catching our breath we use it as a means of…well, catching our breath?

Follow me now.

Say we go 120% instead of 85% – 100% for the first half of the workout and then use the pause button mid-workout as a means of catching our breath to finish the second half at 120% too!  Then what happens?




If we use the pause button as a power boost midway through a workout can we actually see more results…?

Yeah, we might be adding about 5-10 minutes to each workout but after all INTENSITY IS THE NAME OF THE GAME when it comes to getting ripped.

Some of you guys might already be taking this approach but it really never crossed my mind until I hit pause for the first time this past Monday.

Either way I think I will be incorporating this technique into my fourth round of P90X + P90X2 which I began next month. I think I’ll call it the 120% Pause-Button Approach to P90X…okay, might need something a bit more catchy but you guys get the point.