Here’s the deal: I don’t think P90X has quite the reputation it deserves.
As most of my regular readers know, I am doing Beachbody‘s P90X program right now. I’d venture to say it’s probably the biggest fitness infomercial ever, since most people seem to know about it. It’s an effective infomercial too, with just about anyone getting inspired by the 90 day before and after pictures.
Here’s what the website had to say about P90X:
P90X® is a revolutionary system of 12 sweat-inducing, muscle-pumping workouts, designed to transform your body from regular to ripped in just 90 days. You’ll also receive a comprehensive 3-phase nutrition plan, specially designed supplement options, a detailed fitness guide, a calendar to track your progress, online peer support, and much more. Your personal trainer, Tony Horton, will keep you engaged every step of the way, and you won’t believe your results!
The secret behind the P90X system is an advanced training technique called Muscle Confusion™, which accelerates the results process by constantly introducing new moves and routines so your body never plateaus, and you never get bored! Whether you want to get lean, bulk up, or just plain get ripped, there’s an endless variety of ways to mix and match the routines to keep you motivated the full 90 days and beyond!
I agree with their claims (well I don’t personally know about regular to ripped yet), and it really does provide all the information you need. However, I’ve noticed lately that there seems to be a bit of a bad rap for P90X amongst some readers, infomercial viewers, and other bloggers. I think many people have this preconceived notion that P90X is “dangerous” and sure to be injury inducing. People seem to think that P90X is a crazy mess of (excuse me) balls to the wall every single time, 90 days of non-stop action, and as soon as the 90 days are over, you’ll go back to being your lazy, flabby, previous self.
First of all, the program does not encourage someone who’s inactive and not doing anything to pick right up with P90X. In fact, it says first thing that there are other programs out there for you!
Within the actual program and DVDs, there are SO many ways to customize this for yourself! The time breakdown of the DVDs is as follows:
1: Chest & Back – 52:50
2: Plyometrics – 58:36
3: Shoulders & Arms – 59:53
4: Yoga X – 92:24
5: Legs & Back – 58:56
6: Kenpo X – 58:46
7: X Stretch – 57:32
8: Core Synergistics – 57:27
9: Chest, Shoulders & Triceps – 55:44
10: Back & Biceps – 51:36
11: Cardio X – 43:18
12: Ab Ripper X – 16:07
The thing you should know about these times is that every workout includes a warm up and cool down AND stretch and water breaks! That doesn’t sound over the top and too extreme, does it? Just (on average) an hour a day, including the warm up and cool down? That’s nothing! (And yes, Yoga X is longer, but many yoga workouts are 90 minutes, so this really isn’t that different from the time commitments of a “normal” yoga workout).
You also have one rest day a week (which you can also do the Stretch X on if you feel the need to loosen up some more) and after every third week there’s a recovery week where cardio intensity drops and you do zero strength training (i.e. all Yoga, Core Synergistics, X Stretch and a Kenpo).
Another thing that makes P90X more accessible is that they show you ways to do modifications. Example:
- If you have knee problems, they show you how to modify virtually everything in Plyometrics.
- They give you alternatives to pull ups so you can build yourself up (i.e. using a chair for assisted pull ups, using a resistance band, etc.)
- You can do push ups on your knees and build yourself up (like I’m currently doing part “real” push ups and part “girly pushups” as I build myself up to no knee at all).
- Tony will actually say in some instances not to do something if you can’t, or take a break if you need it – they don’t want you getting hurt anymorethan you do. (examples of this are any variety of instances when he shows that you can rest for a few seconds during an exercise, or when in Yoga X he tells you to basically chill on the crane pose if you can’t hold it safely yet).
For your strength workouts, it includes time between each move where you can write down what and how you did. If your number of reps is lower than what they’re doing on the DVD, you’ll even have an additional 10-20 seconds per move, on top of the 30-60 second water and stretch breaks (I believe in the Shoulders and Arms DVD, for example, these breaks are after every fourth exercise).
To continue the personalization even more, by no means do the P90Xers tell you how much you have to lift and how many reps to do. It’s YOUR choice made by knowing YOUR body and what you can do. You keep track of what you’re doing and how much you’re growing. If you’re doing it smartly, you’ll be able to see yourself grow and improve every week!
I feel like in the healthy living blog community there is, for some reason, a bit of a bad rap for P90X. There’s nothing wrong with it! It’s essentially three days of strength training, two days of cardio and one day of yoga. Plus a rest day. I truly believe that P90X is a MUCH more balanced workout program than the majority of average fitness fanatics can do on their own. And how is it balanced just to go running most days of the week and do a few minutes of strength training once or twice a week if you feel like it? (There’s nothing wrong with running, I’m just personally a big fan of balance and variety. As well as a huge fan of strength training – I feel it’s invaluable!)
My final thing is this: if you’re looking for a quick fix, a fast diet, a way to drop the pounds immediately, P90X is not for you. It is hard work, like every work out should be! If you make it through P90X, or you can stay committed to any workout over a period of time, I do not believe you are naive enough to think that you can then all of a sudden gorge on cake, soda, and do nothing. You WON’T stop being active.
That’s just my two cents. What do you think of P90X?