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P90X promises that if you follow the 90-day at-home exercise program, you’ll get in the best shape of your life. To do the workouts properly you will need some basic equipment, including dumbbells or resistance bands and a chin-up bar. Beachbody — the company that markets P90X — recommends additional equipment that may enhance your performance and results.

Essential Equipment

Many P90X exercises require some form of weight resistance. Beachbody recommends dumbbells or resistance bands. Resistance bands typically come in a set with bands of different levels from light to heavy. This is your most inexpensive, versatile, portable option.

Some people prefer dumbbells. If your goal is to build mass, dumbbells give you a more accurate way to gradually increase load. You can purchase an entire set of dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells or single dumbbells. What size dumbbells you need depends on your current fitness level and goals. Compared to resistance bands, dumbbells are more expensive and they take up a lot of space to store.

To complete the pull-ups and other back exercises, you will need a chin-up bar. Most bars fit inside a doorway in your home. Some need to be installed by drilling into the door frame, while others do not require hard installation. The latter type can also double as push-up stands for the chest workouts.

Suggested Equipment

Regardless of whether you have carpeted or hardwood floors, you may want to buy a yoga mat. The mat will protect your hardwood floors or save your carpeted floors from being soaked with sweat. A mat will also help absorb shock during plyometric exercises and protect your joints during the P90X yoga and stretching routines.

If you’re not very flexible and can’t use your fingers or hands to support your body during the yoga sequences, you may want to invest in yoga blocks to provide extra support and stability.

Push-up stands elevate you off the floor so your nose doesn’t end up in the carpet with every rep. They also put your wrists at a more natural angle to help alleviate pressure on these joints. If you have a removable chin-up bar, you can use that as a push-up stand, or you can purchase the specific equipment.

Additional Equipment

A heart rate monitor can come in handy during the three months you’re doing P90X. You can use it before you even start the program to track your resting heart rate. You can continue to track this during the next 90 days to see how it changes. As you become more fit, you should see your resting heart rate decrease.

Another useful tracking tool is a body-fat tester. Using special calipers, you’ll measure your subcutaneous fat — the fat just beneath the skin — to determine your percent body fat. As you progress through the program, you should see this change. If you’re trying to lose weight, tracking body fat loss can be very rewarding and motivating.

The popularity of P90X can be attributed to the fact you don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to do it. You can get outstanding results with a modest collection of equipment.

I’ve broken the list into two sections. The first is made up of must-own workout gear. The second section breaks down the stuff recommended by Tony Horton that you don’t need to get started. Pick up the absolutely essential equipment before you start the program then add optional gear once you are sure P90X is for you.

Equipment Needed for P90X

1. Pull-up Bar

This very well could be the most important item in your arsenal. Pull-ups work a number of muscles on your upper body, including: biceps, latissimus dorsi (lats), forearm muscles, deltoids and abdominals. There is no suitable alternative that does so much for your body so pull-ups are a must.

The cheapest, most convenient type of pull-up bar is the type that hangs on a door frame. No drilling or permanent modification to your door is required, which is especially good for apartment dwellers.

Tony Horton of course recommends the chin-up bar by Beachbody. The problem with it is there are alternatives that cost half the price and are just as good. Loads of members at swear by the inexpensive Iron Gym Extreme. It’s a big step up from the original Iron Gym. Save yourself some time and get it now.

2. Resistance Bands

A good set of resistance bands are indispensible. The wide array of exercises that can be done is mind-boggling, especially with the door attachment in the mix.

Don’t assume these are just for the ladies. Macho men among us can use the maximum tension bands for great effect. There are plenty of exercises that are awkward with dumbells, so it is best to keep an open mind. Switch it up between resistance bands and free weights as the need arises.

Bodylastics makes the best quality bands out there. Don’t cheap out as the lower priced products are prone to break. You’ll need a variety of bands with different tensions. Make it easy on yourself by getting the Max Tension Edition set – it’s perfectly balanced for P90X.

3. Dumbells

When you think of working out chances are images of dumbells pop into your mind. A good set is absolutely essential for a good upper body workout.

Preferences vary widely among men and women. Men tend to like to pump iron in a stationary stance while women use dumbells while engaged in cardio exercise. For this reason I have separate recommendations depending on your gender.

For men, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells are incredible. By turning the dial while the weights are sitting in their station, you get a weight customized for an activity. This gives you three things: quick access, portability and a compact package.

For women, the 32-pound set from Altus Athletic is ideal for toning. It features 3-pound, 5-pound, and 8-pound neoprene-coated dumbbells and includes a cool triangular stand. The rubberized material makes them a pleasure to work with.

4. Exercise Mat

Unless you want your carpet to smell like a locker room you need to invest in a good mat. In P90X mats are used for plyometrics and yoga exercises. It is of course important that the product you choose is slip-resistant, comfortable, ample in size and easy to clean.

The durafoam exercise mat from Harbinger is a versatile one. It excels as a plyometrics and yoga mat, making it one of the best choices for P90X.

Optional Equipment for P90X

The following are recommended by Tony Horton in the “How to Bring It” video. I’m listing these as optional because the items in the previous list are all you need to follow the program.

1. Yoga Blocks

These can be useful if you are new to yoga, need extra support, or are advanced enough to lengthen your stretches. Blocks are available in a variety of materials, although cork is currently very popular.

Cork blocks by Hugger Mugger are made from the bark of long-lived cork oak trees. They are nice and sturdy yet not overly hard. Some find them too heavy so keep your individual ability at yoga in mind before purchasing.

$14.99 View on Amazon

2. Heart Rate Monitor

Sometimes it can be challenging to know if you are working too hard at a cardio exercise or not hard enough. A heart rate monitor quickly gives you feedback without a personal trainer around yelling encouraging catch-phrases.

The Timex T5G971 is a top-selling personal heart monitor with the right amount of features for P90X at a decent price. The read out is pretty massive which makes it easy to keep an eye on your progress.

P90X Review

Think A ‘Beginner Workout Plan’ Can’t Get You Into Shape? You’ll Want To Read This

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It’s entirely possible that younger readers haven’t even heard of P90X, and for good reason — it’s nearly old enough to be an antique. Launched in 2003 via inescapable infomercials that every night owl at the time was familiar with, P90X (and Tony Horton, the trainer and co-creator) is now synonymous with home fitness the way long-forgotten names like Tae-Bo and Jane Fonda used to be.

That distinction isn’t without merit. For starters, it was one of the first programs of its kind to be all but explicitly targeted at men. The “X” stands for “extreme,” after all, which I assure you was a savvy marketing ploy back in the TRL days. More broadly speaking, it was designed for people who were already in shape as opposed to couch potatoes too lazy (or embarrassed) to go to a gym. This was not “6-pack abs in just minutes per day.” This was supposed to be hard. Its difficulty was its selling point.

While hard, it’s also simple: 11 workouts, spread over a 6 days a week, 90-day schedule that switches things up every 30 days. Equipment? Just some dumbbells and a pullup bar. Its simplicity was used to underscore a kind of sinister sales pitch: if you can’t get fit at home, with minimum equipment with very explicit instruction, what chance do you have at an endless, sprawling gym? Given that BeachBody (the company behind the program) sold some 4.2 million copies by 2010, I’d say it worked.

But despite its history, how well does a 14-year-old home workout product hold up today? Ignoring minor quirks like the fact that it wasn’t shot with HDTVs in mind, or that some of the cast’s workout attire has no business outside a turn of the century frat house, the question is the same now as it was then: can you get results from a workout without ever leaving your living room? I revisited the program (I’ve done it before) to see if time has been kind to it.

Who’s It For

Not a lot has changed in this regard. At it’s core, P90X is still designed to appeal to the person who, for whatever reason, would rather workout at home than at a gym. As far as why that may be, the reasons are myriad. Maybe you’re embarrassed about your current physique, and would rather no one else saw it. Maybe you don’t live near a gym, or don’t have the money to pay a fee every month. Either way, it promises gym-quality fitness without the need for a gym.

It’s also good for guys who (and this is why I like BeachBody products, personally) may know how to work out, but would rather have someone else tell them what to do every day. This may have seemed like a concession or a weakness years ago, but with the popularity of CrossFit and its WODs nowadays, P90X remains a viable option.

Who it’s not for? Beginners. While its XXXTREME qualities are a little overblown and you can definitely modify every move based on your abilities, you’re not going to get the most out of it if you can’t do a single pull-up or pushup.

Why We Love It

  • Freedom: At its core, P90X is a workout program that can be done anywhere there’s a screen and roughly 6×6 feet of space. Its emphasis on bodyweight exercises means you don’t need much to get started. And while resistance bands are far from a perfect substitute for dumbbells, they work well enough for P90X to be an option even when you’re traveling.
  • Room To Grow: A P90X workout should never feel easy. Not feeling fatigued? Do more reps at bodyweight, or pick up heavier dumbbells. Heart rate not where it should be? Jump higher, and faster. The workouts are specifically designed with modifiers to not only make them easier, but also harder if need be.
  • An Eating Guide: While it’s unlikely you’ll ever experience the kind of transformation that would get you featured in the program’s “before and after” shots, you’ll definitely never get there if you don’t eat right. Both the physical and digital versions of P90X come with a very detailed eating plan that, if anything, has a little too much information. It’s macro-focused, though, which should make it compatible with some of today’s more popular diets.
  • Old Fashioned: While P90X sells itself with buzzwords like “muscle confusion,” in reality there’s nothing weird happening here — it’s basically circuit training, using moves and splits experienced fitness enthusiasts will likely be familiar with. That’s a feature, not a bug. There’s no sense reinventing the wheel when the fundamentals always work.

What They’re Saying

John Paul Parrot (aka The Dysfunctional Parrot) runs literally the only site that features reviews for BeachBody workouts without being affiliated with the company in some way. Here’s what he had to say when he took a second look at P90X for its 10th anniversary:

Would I recommend this today? You bet I would… if you want a program that is great on its own and yet still incredibly modifiable then P90X is still holding strong even tens years later. That’s pretty impressive when you consider how so many other programs have disappeared after a much shorter time frame.

If you see any other reviews, they’re probably trying to get you to buy BeachBody programs, supplements or equipment. Up to you, but it’s definitely not an unbiased review.

What You’ll Need

  • Pair of dumbbells
  • Pull-up bar

We Recommend

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

Yes, the price tag seems a little hefty. But the reason why Bowflex will usually sit at the top of most review lists is because it solves one of the major problems with dumbbells: adjusting the weights. With weight ranges from 5 to 52.5 pounds, Bowflex offers the option to scale the weight as you go without ever having to swap out your dumbbells or purchase a whole rack of weights. Simply turn the dial, set your load, and get after it.
$213.68 at

Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar

You won’t need a lot of bells and whistles for P90X, just a normal doorway pull-up bar will do. Iron Gym’s perfect for leveraging the doorway so there’s no need to screws or damaging the door. It also gives the option to change your grip from wide, to narrow or neutral. And it can hold up to 300 pounds safely.
$23.62 at

What’s Included

  • 12 workouts on 12 DVDs
  • “How To Bring It” introductory video
  • Three-phase nutrition plan
  • Detailed P90X fitness guide
  • P90X workout calendar

The Drawbacks

P90X may have aged gracefully, but not perfectly. For starters, the workouts all clock in at around an hour. That may not sound long to the average gym-goer, but it’s kind of a long time when you don’t have to worry about commuting to the gym and showering before you leave. Plus, several other programs from BeachBody (like P90X3, Insanity: Max30 and 22 Minute Hard Corps) promise similar results in 30 minutes or less. If you’ve done any of those workouts, the pace of P90X will feel positively glacial in comparison. You can whittle the actual workouts down to about 45 minutes if you skip the warm-up and cool-down, but of course that’s at your own risk.

P90X also has weaknesses depending on your goals. Want to build muscle? You will, to a degree. Want to lose fat? These workouts are definitely calorie burners. But if you’re a dedicated lifter looking to specifically build strength, you may want to look elsewhere. The high-rep, moderate weight nature of the program is great for pushing your muscles to hypertrophy, and on certain exercises a savvy lifter can modify the reps and weight to meet his goals. But when it comes to chest and legs, two of the biggest muscle groups for weightlifters, there are NO weighted exercises — it’s all bodyweight. Great for building stamina and some nominal size and strength, but you’ll never break any squat or bench records this way.

RELATED: These Gadgets Will Keep You On Top Of Your Body Goals

Similarly, there’s no cardio in P90X. Well, there is: “Plyometrics” is basically cardio via jumping, and there’s both CardioX and KenpoX workouts, an aerobics and cardio kickboxing workout, respectively. But the latter two workouts are dreadful in terms of intensity compared to the rest of the workouts, leaving Plyo as the only true option. And given that it’s present in every single phase of the 90 day program, you’re going to get sick of it. Quickly. The circuit-training nature of the program means your heart rate should never want for much, but if you’re looking for a way to replace your running or biking routine, this probably isn’t it.

In general, it’s a superb workout for people looking to improve their overall fitness levels (at home, and cheaply), but it’s not anything more than that. Then again, it never claimed to be.

Meet The Competitors

Due to its success, the original P90X spawned a few offspring. P90X2 is a more advanced, sports science-y version of the original, and BeachBody doesn’t recommend tackling it until you’ve completed the original. That’s a bit extreme, but having done it, I can say that it definitely tests the body in ways that P90X’s straightforward exercises do not.
$139.89 at


If P90X’s pull-ups and push ups seem daunting, you probably aren’t ready for X2. P90X3, on the other hand, is basically an updated version of the classic. The workouts are shorter (but faster-paced) and hit on many of the same areas, but also add several new elements (cardio and weighted chest/leg exercises among other things) that just might make it a superior program. P90, a remake of the Power 90 workout that spawned the idea for P90X way back when, is a good option for beginners.
$119.85 at

Where To Buy

The P90X Base Kit can be purchased at for $119.85.

Related Reading:
Focus T25 Review
Body Beast Review
Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout
Top 10 Home Exercise Products Worth Your Money

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Fat Burning With P90X: Does The Program Really Work?

If you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect fat burning workout program to start up on, there’s a good chance that one you might have come across at some point is P90X. This system has been heavily marketed on TV and is now also appearing in many places online.

What’s P90X all about and will it really deliver you the results it promises or is it just another quick weight loss scam that will leave you feeling disappointed? Let’s have a look at the real deal of P90X.

The Promise Of P90X

The main marketing strategy of this system is that by using it, you will ‘get ripped in just 90’ days. Right off the bat this should throw up a few red flags in your mind.

Let’s put this into perspective. Say you have two people, both of whom are thinking of testing out the P90X system. One is 180 pounds, 10% body fat and the second is 180 pounds, 35% body fat.

Which individual is already closer to being ripped? Obviously the answer is the former, thus they are going to achieve the stated goal of the program much easier.

If you’re starting out in a position that’s far from ‘ripped’ (you have a higher body fat percentage), then expecting yourself to become incredibly lean in just three months may be unrealistic.

Taking into account that the safe rate of fat loss is between 1-2 pounds a week, and if you’re currently 35% body fat at 180 pounds (meaning you have 63 pounds of fat mass), means you could lose somewhere between 12 and 25 pounds over a 90-day period.

Even if you lost the highest safe amount, this will still mean you have 38 pounds of fat mass, which puts you at approximately 24.5% body fat if you assume no lean muscle mass is lost in the process.

At 24.5% body fat, you are anything but ‘ripped.’ So first off, put the claim into context. If you clearly know you have a lot of weight to lose, it’s going to take you longer than the stated 90 days.

To expect to do a complete transformation in that short of a period of time is just setting yourself up for disappointment.

What’s P90X All About And Will It
Really Deliver You The Results It Promises?

The P90X ‘Secret Weapon’

So what’s the secret or technique that P90X claims makes it so effective? Constant manipulation. Your body is highly adaptable and when you go into the gym day after day after day and perform the same workout over and over again, it’s going to get used to it.

It’s going to realize that it can easily get through that workout and it will see no reason to continue to progress. That’s when results stop and you hit the plateau.

To combat this, you must kick your body out of its comfort zone and give it something it’s not used to seeing. This could be new exercises, new rep ranges, heavier weight, reduced rest, a different execution order of the exercises and so on. As long as something changes, you should still get results.

The P90X system utilizes this principle to the max. They are offering you a total of 12 different workouts so you can be sure your body never knows what’s coming.

Why Is P90X So Effective?

It’s no secret that many people are having success with the P90X workout program. All you have to do is search for reviews and you find people reporting their ‘amazing transformations.’

But before jumping straight into the program thinking you’ll be the next to completely transform your body, it’s important to ask yourself why this program gets the results it’s getting.

Reason 1: It Provides A Variety Of Workouts

As pointed out above, the fact that you do such a wide variety of workouts is one key element, from a physiological perspective, that does help you continuously generate results.

Second to that though, if you are doing so many different workouts, you aren’t going to get bored. What’s the single biggest reason people fail with their workout program (P90X or otherwise)? Failure to stick with it.

The drop-off rate for any workout program is very high and you don’t need to be told that if you aren’t working out, you aren’t getting results. Those who have struggled to stick with traditional programs start up the P90X and find boredom dissipate, which then keeps them motivated to continue on. That plays a large role in their ability to generate success.

The Fact That You Do Such A Wide Variety Of Workouts Is One
Key Element That Does Help You Continuously Generate Results.

Reason 2: It Provides A Full Meal Plan

The second factor that is playing a role in the success these people are having is that it provides you with a diet. If someone was to just start up a workout program with no regard whatsoever for what they are eating, the chances are high that they aren’t going to like the results they get.

No workout program can overcome a poor diet plan, so without both factors being considered, results will be slim to none. Most people starting a workout program will attempt to ‘eat healthier’ but unless they are following some type of specific diet plan, chances are low that they will see success.

Those who are excited about the P90X system get themselves on the diet program as well as the workout, and that is why they actually start losing weight on the program.

Those Who Are Excited About The P90X System Get
Themselves On The Diet Program As Well As The Workout.

The Final Verdict Of P90X

So in closing, does the P90X system work? Yes, it does. But, there is nothing incredibly special about the system that is delivering the results. It’s based on the simple fact that you will stick to the workout program, follow the diet and shock your muscles with new training stimuli.

If the truth is told, most beginners who jump onto this program, who have never exercised before will get results simply because they are exercising. It wouldn’t have made a difference if they were to have used their own workout program or used this system. It’s a new activity for their body and that causes it to respond.

If you’re looking for something new to try and feel the system interests you – give it a shot. The nice thing is that it does give you a good variety of activities to perform including cardio training, resistance training, yoga-type workouts, and so on, many of which you wouldn’t get with a straightforward weight based program.

But if money is tight or there are any factors that you’re hesitant about, don’t think that you can’t get similar results with another program. As long as you are sure to avoid doing the same things day after day and take care of your diet, you too can be on the path to ‘getting ripped’.

Science Based P90X Workout Review: The Alarming Truth

I’ve always found the fitness industry comical.

Regardless of how worthless or ineffective a product may be, as long as an advertisement includes color coordinated bar-graphs, half-naked models training in a dungeon-esque facility, and a narrator with an oddly deep voice the product will inevitably be a massive success.

A recent example of this phenomenon is the P90X workout, the “scientifically proven training method utilizing muscle confusion techniques, guaranteed to get you shredded in 90 days!”

In addition to the never-ending barrage of commercials and advertisements showcasing ripped dudes smiling from ear to ear while performing the most intense bodyweight circuit I’ve ever seen (am I the only one who finds the smiling creepy?), the misleading claims made by the P90X workout and other programs of the sort (Insanity) are simply a marketing ploy.

To be honest, I would rather shove my own head into a freshly produced steaming pile of horseshit than answer another question regarding the efficacy of the P90X program. Repugnant humor aside, it’s difficult to express how irritated I get every day when I inevitably receive a comment such as, “Hey Jordan, I’m trying to get back in shape and my brother just finished P90X with all of his bro’s…he loved it! He and his boys got totally shredded and I was thinking I should do it too…what’ya think, bra?”

While I would like to reply with a snarky remark, doing so would unavoidably cause this person to get butt-hurt, bash me on facebook via status updates, and possibly even de-friend me, so I simply respond with “the best program is one that will allow you to experience long-term success,” and leave it at that.

At this point you should have a clear understanding of my feelings towards P90X. However, I’ve yet to fully explain myself. In an attempt to end any confusion regarding P90X as an effective training program, the rest of this article will be devoted to explaining why I view P90X as a waste of time, effort and money.

Is The P90X Workout “Effective?”

As you may recall from my article Back To The Basics: Creating An Effective Fat Loss Program, I outlined my personal definition of what the word “effective” means in regard to a fat loss program. Just in case you forgot, the definition bears repeating here.

In the context of this article, the word effective implies that the program:

1) Produces “significant” results

2) Allows for strength and muscle mass maintenance/gains

3) Facilitates long-term success

Keeping the above 3 requirements of an effective fat loss program in mind, let’s take a look at the P90X workout.

First and foremost, P90X is a form of high intensity circuit training. The standard program involves training 6 days per week for a minimum of 1 hour per day. The training, which mainly consists of intense full body movements and plyometric exercises often performed to complete muscle failure, requires little to no extra equipment apart from light weights, resistance bands, and a chin-up bar. The circuits are extraordinarily taxing and barely permit rest periods of 10-15 seconds between sets.

Needless to say, the P90X workout takes exercise to an extreme.

While some people may use P90X and experience simultaneous weight loss and strength gains in the short-term, these results can primarily be attributed to the rapid gains seen by all novice trainees. What many gym “newbs” fail to understand is they can/will see immediate and significant results by following any training program. However, attempting to follow severe programs such as the P90X workout for an extended period of time will eventually lead to an overall loss of strength, increased risk of injury, and burnout.

The P90X workout utilizes a tremendously high training frequency, intensity, and volume. The goal of this program is to burn as many calories as possible thereby putting participants in a substantial calorie deficit. As such, this exercise induced calorie deficit allows P90Xers (?) to lose weight without meticulously monitoring their diet. Seems like a good deal, right? Train hard and burn so many calories that you can eat more or less ad libitum and still lose fat? Might as well order my DVD set right now!

Unfortunately, training in this manner holds numerous limitations, one of which forces us to make the distinction between weight loss and fat loss.

As described in my article A Realistic Look At Progress: Fat Loss and Mass Gain, the terms weight loss and fat loss are by no means synonymous. Below is an excerpt from my article describing the differences between the two terms:


When you step on a scale the number displayed is your entire body weight. This includes everything: organs, muscles, bones, water, stomach content, and body fat are all being measured. Your weight is the sum total of everything you are composed of.


Fat is…well, it’s fat. The amount of fat a person carries depends on a variety of factors including age, gender, and genetics. An extremely lean male may have a total of 6% body fat meaning only 6% of his entire weight is fat tissue. On the other hand, a morbidly obese individual may have upwards of 40% body fat meaning 40% of his total weight is made up of fat tissue.

When fat loss is the goal, net weight loss is relatively insignificant compared to total fat loss. While high intensity/high volume training programs such as the P90X workout may contribute to a certain degree of fat loss in the short-term, overtime the extreme training and subsequent caloric deficit combined with a lack of handling maximal loads will inevitably lead to a significant loss of strength and muscle tissue (i.e. weight loss). As the program goes on and lean body mass continues to break down, a host of other problems may begin to arise including decreased metabolic rate, increased likelihood of weight regain, injury, and self-doubt.

I’ve said before and I’ll say again, the importance of preserving of muscle mass while dieting cannot be overemphasized. Whether you’re a male, female, athlete, or recreational fitness enthusiast is irrelevant…any fat loss program which causes a significant loss of strength is not only a waste of time, energy, and money, but is detrimental to your overall health and well being.

This brings me to my next issue…

The P90X Workout Can’t Account For Individual Factors

The P90X workout is short for Power 90 Day Extreme and, yea, I laughed at the name too.

As the name suggests, the P90X workout is simply a 90-day program intended to generate rapid weight loss and (hopefully) improve body composition.

But I have a couple of questions:

What happens when the 90 days are over? Do you regress to Disc 1, or would you simply repeat Disc 12 for the remainder of your training career?

What if, like most people, you don’t have the time to devote 6+ hours/week to high intensity physical activity because you have further obligations such as taking care of your family and going to school/work?

What happens if you get injured and can’t perform certain movements? Are you supposed to push through the pain and do the program as best as possible, or should you use your injury as an excuse, call it quits, and munch your way into a food induced coma?

What if you’re sick and your nose is so stuffy you can barely breath!? Do the 15 second rest breaks allow for sufficient nose-blowing action?

The P90X workout is advertised as a one-size-fits-all program. But a major drawback with these types of training routines is they can’t, and don’t, account for the needs of each and every individual, a concept touched upon by Dr. Mel Siff in his book Supertraining, called cybernetic periodization.

Essentially, the term cybernetic periodization refers to the capability to adjust a training program on any given day based on how a trainee feels. For example, say you hurt your back playing with your children and you have a training session scheduled later that evening. As the P90X workout has no clue you are injured it will inevitably provide you with whatever training program is scheduled next. However, a well informed coach with a flexible training approach may be able to change things on the fly and give you an appropriate training routine to aid in a speedy recovery and get you back on track.

Having the ability and knowledge to effectively utilize cybernetic periodization is an extraordinarily important and often overlooked aspect of any successful training program. Unfortunately, pre-designed training routines such as P90X are incapable of being tailored to the individual on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter if you catch a nasty cold, strain your shoulder, or need to skip a workout…the P90X workout can’t possibly know how you’re feeling or your current life circumstances. No matter what, the DVD will prescribe the exact same training routine, at the exact same intensity, at the exact same time. Always.

Where is The Progress?!?

Perhaps my biggest beef with the P90X workout is that it simply can’t promote long-term progress. First and foremost, as the name suggests, the program is 90-days long. Let’s assume you actually do get shredded in 90 days…then what? Where do you go from there? Do you just perform the same workouts for the rest of your life? What if you want to take a week off? What if you get severely injured and can’t complete the training routines as arranged? Unfortunately, life will always throw us curveballs and there will always be set-backs. Having a flexible program and being able to roll with the punches is absolutely necessary for long-term success.

Furthermore, as I alluded to earlier, there is a complete absence of maximal loading. While the P90X workout uses “minimal equipment necessary” as a selling point, the fact of the matter is that the body can only adapt to the load placed upon it and handling relatively maximal loads is essential to making long-term progress. Does this mean you can’t make progress with body weight workouts? No. Does this mean any program that doesn’t include heavy loading is a waste of time? Absolutely not. However, in order to see long-term progress, whether your goal is fat loss, mass gain, improved athletic performance, or bettering overall general health, incorporating maximal lifting into your routine is too valuable to ignore.

Finally, training at an exceedingly high frequency, volume, and intensity is almost always a recipe for disaster. While it can be beneficial at specific times throughout a training cycle, trying to do so for months on end will result in decreased performance, impaired cognitive ability, burnout, and often injury. I have personal experience with taking training to the extreme and it just about ruined me. I’m certainly not suggesting you go to the gym and be lackadaisical with your routine, but when you’re in this game for the long-haul, sometimes you’ve got to learn to put a muzzle on the voice in your head always telling you to go “harder, harder, harder,” and start listening to the one that’s yelling “smarter, smarter, smarter!”

The P90X Workout: The Final Word

In all fairness, I have to say the one thing I really like about the P90X workout is that it shows people in order to reach a goal you have to give it your all. There is no slacking. There are no excuses. You either do the work or you don’t. While I in no way agree with the program design or the methods used by the P90X workout, I do admire the hard work and sacrifices people make in order to complete the program. That being said, I can say with the utmost of confidence, if the people who can adhere to the P90X workout were to bring the same intensity and motivation to a well designed strength training and nutritional program they would see extraordinary results, far beyond what they could ever achieve with P90X or other programs of the sort.

I hope through reading this you have not only learned why I generally dislike programs such as P90X, but also how to analyze training programs from a well-informed standpoint.Whether or not a training program is optimal is not dictated by how much pain is endured or how much sweat is produced, rather it is determined by the needs of the individual and how the program progressively and systematically pushes him/her to transform a weakness into a strength.

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Does p90x Really Work? Here’s The Catch

Nothing much has changed in this regard. At its core, the program is still designed to appeal to that person, for whatever reason, would prefer working at home rather than the gym.

As far as what they may be looking for, the reasons differ a lot.

Nonetheless, the program promises gym-quality fitness without the need for a gym.

The program is also an ideal product for the guys who may know working out, but would rather have someone guiding them and telling them what to do every day.

Who Is It Not For?

Like we mentioned previously, the program is more or less of an extreme sport. While the extreme qualities are a little overblown and can be modified based on your abilities, you’re not going to get the best out of this program if you’re not willing and ready to push yourself to the limits.

The P90X Claim – Is it Legit?

The P90X, also the Power 90 Extreme, which is dubbed “The Ultimate 90-Day Home Fitness Boot Camp” is a program that promises to get you ripped in 90 days.

The marketing for this system is primarily built around the idea that you can get ripped in 90 days; that you can go from flab to fabulously fit, or as they put it, “Get ripped in 90 days. Guaranteed or your money back.”

During their commercials, they usually show several people who have completed the 90-day workout.

According to Horton, you’ll need to follow the P90X workout schedule for three months to see the results, which BeachBody calls “groundbreaking.”

However, the 90-day span is such a short time and should throw up some red flags, which we shall discuss later. Plus, given you’ll achieve your results in a short period, it means it’s not a gradual process, but you’ll have to work out daily, which again should be a reason of concern.

The P90X System: How it Works

The program is available in a set of 12 high-intensity DVD workouts that you perform throughout 90 days. During the 90-day course program, you’ll need to commit to working 6-7 days per week, for one to one and a half hour at a time.

Each workout on the program is presented in a circuit format, whereby you gradually move from one workout to the other with little rest in between, thus keeping your heart rate up.

Some of the DVDs, such as the strengthening DVDs will target certain parts of your body each day, for instance, chest and back, shoulders and arms, legs and back, triceps, biceps and so on.

Other DVDs will focus on plyometrics or the explosive “power” moves, Kenpo kickboxing, abs/core, cardio, kickboxing, yoga and stretching.

Here’s a snippet of the P90X circuit training:

Chest and Back

The chest and back DVD is a 53-minute workout that will target the chest muscles with variations of the push-up.

Here, the variations include;

  • The traditional push-ups
  • Wide-stance “fly” push-up
  • Push-ups done with the hands close together

The chest and back workout usually target the back muscles.

The variations of the pull-up and pull-down exercise are done with resistance band with your hands positioned at shoulder width, wider, narrower, or reverse grip.

Also included in the chest and back workout are rowing exercises that are performed with resistance bands or dumbbells.


Of all the workouts in the P90X, the Plyometrics circuit is the most intense.

After a lengthy warm-up, this cardiovascular routine will then lead you through a series of jumping moves that primarily target the lower body.

To perform the plyometrics, you’ll need an excellent pair of shock-absorbing shoes and a soft mat.

It’s worth noting that the plyometrics is a high-impact routine, and you should avoid it completely if you have back, spine, hip, knee and ankle issues.

P90X Yoga

Contrary to the mild yoga you’re accustomed to; the P90X yoga workout is an intense program.

For a start, it’s 90 minutes long, and more importantly, it is a challenging quest, especially to those who are not accustomed to yoga.

Other P90X Workout Programs
  • You can count on the “Ab Ripper X” and “Core Synergistics” to work on your core
  • The “Leg & Back” workout, which emphasizes on squats and lunges should work on your legs.
  • The “Leg & Back” workout, should again ire up your glutes
  • The “Back” workout specifically targets your back
  • The “X Stretch” should allow you to improve on your overall flexibility
  • The “Cardio” and “Plyometric” workouts are aerobic exercises in the form of explosive jumping cardio routine.
  • The “Strength” workout is a total body workout that will work on a plethora of muscle groups to build strength.
  • The ‘Arm” workout is yet another workout that targets your arms, shoulders as well as biceps.

Over the 90-day program, you’ll change your workouts every week.

You can also design your schedule to the kind of results you want. For instance, you can focus more strength, cardio, or going the super-intense “Double” route of two workouts in a day, all depending on what you want in the program.

With the above workouts, your muscles will get stronger; you’ll experience a boost in your cardio health, and shed fat on this plan designed and led by Tony Horton.

The P90X Nutrition Plan

Evidence suggests that the best bodies are built in the kitchen.

Beyond the fitness guide, P90X also include a nutrition plan. A combination of diet and workouts will work together to improve your fitness and physical performance.

The P90X 3-Phase nutrition plan was designed by experts, and it will provide you with the right amounts of calories and nutrient you need to burn stored fats while building lean muscles.

What we like most about this nutrition plan is the fact that it’s customizable to meet your specific fitness goals, allowing you to get the absolute best results from your program.

P90X 3-Phase Nutrition

The first phase entails a diet rich in proteins. Proteins are bodybuilding foods, and they will help build and strengthen your muscles, while at the same time allow you to shed at quickly.

Phase 2- P90X Energy Booster

The next phase of the nutritional plan demands you consume a balanced mix of carbs and proteins, and lower the total amounts of fats.

This meal plan should provide you with the extra energy boost for enhanced performance.

Phase 3- P90X Endurance Maximizer

The last phase of your nutrition should fuel your workouts. As such, it demands you consume an athletic diet that primarily revolves around complex carbs and lean proteins.

The P90x ‘Secret Weapon’

Every fitness program has some secret weapon or its major selling point.

What makes P90X a unique program and what makes it stand out from the rest?

“Muscle Confusion”

For those with first-hand experience with the program, they can all agree that the system works, and its success is largely due to its muscle confusion aspects.

In P90X, the muscle confusion states that you should consistently switch up your exercise selection to continue burning fat, building muscle, to avoid plateaus.

The “muscle confusion” concepts insist varying your workout schedule and introducing new moves so that the body never fully adapts. It takes a similar approach to the periodization techniques that athletes usually use to get their bodies in top condition.

Importance of Muscle Confusion

See, the human body is versatile and adaptable at the very least. However, when you perform the same movements repeatedly, time and again, whether at home or in the gym, your body becomes used to it.

In effect, when you start going through a workout without any difficulty, your body hits a plateau, comes to a standstill and henceforth, you will not witness any progress.

To fight that and avoid muscles from becoming familiar with certain aspects of the workouts, you have to take your body from the comfort zone and perform something it’s usually not accustomed to.

This means new routines and workouts within the program to challenge the body muscles, keep them “confused” and encourage growth.

This could mean new exercises, heavier weights, varying rep ranges, less rest, changing the order of exercises and more.

What matters here is you change something, and this change should allow you to achieve results progressively.

The P90X system takes this concept and runs with it. The program offers up to 12 different workouts in all, and they will allow you to switch things up and ensure your body will never know what you are going to do next.

Why is P90X so Effective?

Undoubtedly, a lot of people are having success with the P90X program.

But before jumping straight into the program, let’s look at some of the reasons why and what makes this program so effective.

  • Offers a Variety of Workouts

As we had indicated above, P90X will allow you to perform a plethora of exercises, all which are an essential key to the success of the program, from a physical perspective that allows you to generate results continuously.

A second reason is probably the fact that having varying workouts at your disposal means that you are unlikely to get bored with the system. Remember the biggest reason why people usually drop from any program is because of boredom and failure to stick with it.

Contrary to a majority of the programs with a high drop-off rate, users of P90X don’t struggle with the system; in any case, P90X is going to motivate them to continue with the program and get the results they want.

  • A Full Meal Plan

The second factor that plays a huge role in the success of the P90X is the complete diet offering.

Regardless of how good a workout program is, if you do not consider what you eat, then it would be all for nothing and highly unlikely they would the results they wanted.

A common impediment we see with a majority of the fitness enthusiasts is they start working out to “eat healthier,” but the only way of seeing real success is by following a specific diet plan.

Those who are excited about this program get themselves on the diet program as well as the workout, and that’s why they start experiencing success on the program.

Why We Love P90X?
  • Freedom: At its core, P90X can be done anywhere. Given it emphasizes bodyweight exercises, it means that you will not need much to get started. Also, the entire program can be streamed online, meaning you can follow along with the program whether you’re at home or traveling.
  • Comprehensive: This program is the go-to solution for all your fitness needs; it caters to every objective that you might be looking to work on. Whether you are looking for weight loss, strength training, cardio training, or flexibility, this program will work on every of your major muscle groups.
  • Customizable: Contrary to a majority of the fitness programs, P90X doesn’t pretend to be one-size fits all. It offers a variety of workout schedules that can be tailored to meet the diverse range of fitness goals, nutrition preferences and time.
  • Room for Growth: At its best, the program is not easy. For instance, if you are not feeling fatigued, the system will allow you to go a step further to challenge your body. In a nutshell, the system is specifically created with modifiers that will not only make the entire system easy but also harder if need be.
  • Minimal equipment required: The system will allow you to perform a variety of workouts without having to use any equipment. In any case, dumbbells or resistance training band or chin-up bar are the only ones that will require equipment. However, we do recommend investing in an impact-absorbing yoga rug and a heart rate monitor.
  • Less risk of injury: Sure, no full-proof workout will cushion you against injuries, especially if you’re starting. However, injuries often happen when you perform the same motion repeatedly. Given that P90X has you changing up your routine constantly, it will reduce your risk of repetitive use injuries. Moreover, by working your muscles in different ways, it allows you to increase your muscle resilience.
  • Entertainment: Tony is naturally a funny guy. Tony and his crew will crack jokes and keep you entertained to keep your mind off the pain.
  • All day calorie burning: While running will burn a lot of your calories while doing it, lifting weight and doing interval training will have you burning calories around the clock.
  • Athlete-caliber workouts: Tony is an experienced fitness trainer, who has worked with A-list athletes, and celebs, so you are guaranteed of a professional program.
  • Online support: Anyone that purchases the program is entitled to complete access to online fitness support. This is in addition to an online forum where you can connect to other P90X users and Beachbody experts.
  • Money guarantee: Depending on which version of the program you purchase, you’re going to receive a money-back guarantee, which goes a long way to show the commitment of the brand to offer quality products.

What We Don’t Like About the P90X

  • Cost

The ultimate kit is relatively costly, but the base kit is surprisingly affordable.

The good thing is that buying the DVD is still cheaper than hiring a personal trainer but on the flip side more expensive than getting a gym membership.

  • Time

It takes roughly one hour to complete your daily workout for 90 days, though some of the programs are shorter.

  • Intensity

Though the flexibility of the program allows both beginners and the experienced fitness enthusiasts, some of the workouts can still be challenging.

It can be hard to suggest that P90X is the best home workout solution for everyone.

  • Workouts are an Overkill

In my honest opinion, at the very least, I think the exercises on this program are overkill, and to an extend unnecessary.

If the professional athletes train for 5-7 days, why would an average Joe who wants to lose weight or look better workout every single day?

I think there is no need to that, and its just part of P90X’s extreme branding.

With this regimen, you are going to get incredibly sore.

While the program will get you the results you want, it’s by far one of the least approaches to doing it.

Is P90X Worth It?

The P90X has a reasonable upfront cost of ownership.

However, the addition of elements such as the chin-up bar, resistance bands, and dumbbells, make the workout even more effective.

Despite the upfront costs involved in purchasing the program, it’s by far more affordable than buying equipment for a home gym or hiring a trainer.

The P90X is worth the investment, and it presents an awesome opportunity for men and women alike to get the best shape of their lives.

Used P90X: The Pro’s and Con’s

You’ve decided to buy P90X and get in the absolute best shape of your life. So like all of us would do, you search around for the best deal. You might also consider purchasing a used P90X program. As a fitness coach and an “official retailer” of the P90X workout, let me break down for you the pro’s and the con’s of buying a used P90X. Before I get any further, let me qualify the term “official retailer”. Extremely-Fit sells the exact same product as Beachbody, as we obtain this product from Beachbody. Please be careful where you purchase, you don’t want a “knockoff” or a “fake” as some of the sellers on Ebay are offering. These are likely only copies of the original, and may or may not be properly recorded or copied, or contain everything you need.

  • Make sure everything is included. The used P90X should come with at least the following: 12 DVD’s, a fitness guide, a nutrition guide, a calendar, and a “how to” dvd. You may want to review our item description for a new P90X program. This will provide you with everything you need to know about what you need with your used P90X program. You want as much of the contents as possible.
  • Make sure the used P90X comes with both of the guides! You want to make sure you get a nutritional guide and a fitness guide! Don’t skip the guides! I have people contact me all the time, asking questions about the nutritional plan, and what order they should do the workouts. What does this tell me? They researched the best price of P90X, and thought they purchased the entire kit, but ended up with a copied set of DVD’s. Or alternatively, they purchased P90X, for less, and had no idea it came with a nutritional and fitness guide. Don’t let this happen to you! This is the number one reason I am writing this article. Just because you have the DVD’s, does not mean you have everything you need to get in great shape. The fitness and nutritional guides are very important. Diet and exercise go hand in hand, and ensure your success! Especially the nutritional guide. It explains everything! How much to eat, what to eat, and how to make sure you are eating the right foods.
  • Make sure your used P90X DVD’s are in working condition. This program goes in phases of 30 days each, and each phase is depending on specific DVD’s for that phase. If one of your DVD’s is not working, you miss that workout, which has a vital role in the program. I know for a fact that when you purchase a new P90X, you get a 90 day guarantee. At least you do from Beachbody or from our store. So if you find out 30 days into the program, that your 2nd month DVD is not working, you can get a replacement for free. Does your 3rd party sellers offer this on their used P90X? Find out about the guarantee! You can check out our guarantee by clicking here.
  • Make sure you are buying an original copy of P90X. Make sure the person selling the used P90X program has a legitimate (original) copy of the program. There are sellers out there (Ebay and others) selling a product that is a “copy” of the original. This is pirated software and illegal. Please be careful.

In summary. I believe there are some great deals on a used P90X program. Perhaps people that bought P90X, tried it, and found it was not for them. But be careful who you buy from. Make sure you get a legitimate copy that has all the important parts of the program. I have been using P90X since January of 2006, it’s a program that you can repeat over and over, and I wholeheartedly believe, it is worth the retail price. If in doubt, buy a new copy of the P90X program.

10 Reasons You Should Try P90X

Chances are you’ve already seen Tony Horton. Built like Brad Pitt but with a sense of humor like Will Ferrell waving a cowbell, he’s hard to miss whether he’s on late-night TV (pick a channel, any channel) pimping his 10-Minute Trainer workouts or on QVC selling out his wildly popular P90X workout program. When he enthuses, “Just give me 90 days and I’ll get you huge results” it sounds a little too good to be true, but having done two cycles myself, I can tell you this is one workout that lives up to the hype. And since Tony, as he asked me to call him in our interview, is coming out with P90X 2 in December 2011, now is the perfect time to try P90X! Here’s why:

1. No more plateaus. The core idea behind the P90X workout is what Tony calls “muscle confusion.” By doing a different type of workout every day you’ll keep your muscles guessing, which means you’ll keep them working hard.

2. Entertainment. Tony and his crew crack jokes and do all kinds of hilarious moves (my favorite is The Rockstar) to keep your mind off the pain. And the dude is funny.

3. Well-rounded workouts. Drawing from weight lifting, interval training, yoga, plyometrics, and martial arts, among other things, you’ll work your body from every angle thereby increasing your power, strength, balance, and athletic ability.

4. Less risk of injury. Injuries often happen when you repeat the same motion over and over again, as in running. P90X has you changing up your routine so often that it reduces your risk of repetitive use injuries. Also, by working your muscles in different ways, you increase their resilience.

5. No boredom. Hate interval training? No problem, the next day you’ll be doing yoga. And the day after that you’ll be lifting weights. And the day after that you’ll be boxing. With all this variety, you’ll find some things you love and some you don’t, but as Tony put it, “P90X is about forcing you to work on your weaknesses while still training your strengths.”

7. Mental toughness. Forcing yourself to try so many new things can be difficult, but once you find yourself doing something you never thought you could (pull-ups, anyone?), you realize that you’re capable of a lot more than you thought.

8. Sound nutrition advice. P90X comes with a diet plan that focuses on eating whole, quality foods in reasonable amounts to fuel your workouts like an athlete. P90X 2 builds on this by offering a tailored approach to allow for different philosophies such as vegetarianism or paleo-style eating.

9. All day calorie burning. “Running may burn a lot of calories while you do it, but lifting weights and doing interval training will have you burning calories around the clock,” he explains.

10. Athlete-caliber workouts. Tony has trained many professional athletes and celebrities and uses the same techniques in his program as his does with his more famous clientele.

  • By Charlotte Andersen

What you need for p90x?

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