As a personal trainer, I’m always interested in helping people choose alternatives to gym and fitness classes.
And I totally get it. Heading to a gym after a tough day at work with a few hours of getting your kids to bed isn’t an option for a lot of people.
So, when a lot of people started raving about P90X, I decided to look into it a bit more.
After spending the last 6 weeks speaking to friends and clients who have tried it, reading through hundreds of customer feedback comments, and trying it out for myself, I have to say that I’m quite impressed.
Maybe I’m crazy for sharing all this information, but I’d rather see folks getting fit and healthy at home than not doing any exercise at all.
So, let’s dive right into my findings in this P90X review.
*Keep reading to see why we don't recommend P90X and what alternative we suggest instead...
What is P90X?
P90X system is a 90-day home fitness DVD program created by Beachbody Super Trainer Tony Horton. With just an hour a day, an exercise mat, and a few home equipment, it can help you get in the best shape of your life.
This intense workout program claims to give you a lean and stronger body through several, varied exercises that aim to challenge different muscles, improve your overall strength, enhance your core, lose excess weight, and burn body fat.
Through the principle of muscle confusion, it takes a healthy and balanced approach to weight loss, muscle growth, and overall strength.
It also offers a workout schedule to help you power through the routines while minimizing injury and a nutrition plan to bring your efforts closer to your goal.
But from the name itself, this extreme workout program may not work for everyone who wants to get lean and ripped.
Who is P90X For?
P90X is designed for both male and female to give maximum results in just a span of 90 days. It may sound simple, but the workout routines involved are really challenging for beginners. You need lots of motivation and dedication to push through each session to get to your desired results.
Based on the P90X review comments I've read, people who have never worked out before shouldn't start with P90X. I agree with this, so if you are a total beginner, it might be best to begin with a less intense workout program before trying P90X out.
The first positive I have to note is that this is not some hastily put together video of a few people doing some exercise routines.
There are a total of 12 different sets of exercises that cover everything from your calves to your shoulders, with cardio and yoga workouts added into the mix as well.
A lot of people commented that this gave them a clear picture of what they had to do, just as if they had an instructor lay things out for them.
The instructions are very easy to follow, which a lot of beginners appreciated since you don’t actually have someone checking what you’re doing.
Personally, I was happy to see that each set contained a decent warm-up and cool-down section with some light stretching.
With the package, you will also get a clear 90-day plan of action on which sets to do on any given day.
This might sound unimportant, but especially for beginners, this is the best way to avoid injury. (1)
What a lot of my friends highlighted as well is that you really don’t need much space at home. So, if you live in an apartment or a small condo, then you don’t have to worry about missing out on some exercises.
Having gone through all of them myself, I would say you only need about a 6 or 7-foot square area of free space.
Overall, the mix of high-intensity and cardio workouts provide very good results for weight loss and toning. All the feedback points to good results.
Program similar to P90X
|Bodyweight Burn||⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐||CLICK FOR BEST PRICE|
After all the P90X review comments I read, the overall opinion is extremely positive, but there are a few minor things to keep in mind.
First of all, to get the results that P90X promises in a lot of the promotional materials and videos, you will have to dedicate a lot of time.
How much time?
The average video is about 60 to 70 minutes long, and there are 6 of these to do each week with one rest day.
You can spread things out more, but this will delay the results you get.
Secondly, while the majority of the routines rely on body weight exercises like push ups and squats, there are some extra pieces of gear you may need to buy such as dumbbells, yoga mat, pull up bar, and resistance bands. One option is to buy one of the package kits available though, which I’ll get to shortly.
The best unforeseen consequence of punishing myself with P90X, a project inspired by fitness fiend Paul Ryan, is the return of an appetite I haven’t felt since pimples were an adolescent reality.
- Eric SullivanContributor at GQ
- Very clear and easy to follow instructions suitable for beginners
- Total of 12 different exercise routines covering all muscle groups
- Great combination of cardio and high-intensity toning exercises
- You can do all the exercises at home with very little space needed
- Significant cost savings compared to joining a gym or fitness classes
- To get fast results, you have to commit a lot of time
- Some additional gear is required
How Do You Get The Best Results?
You get the best results from P90X by committing 1 hour a day and making some changes to your diet as recommended by the included P90X diet plan.
I always remind my clients, that their weight loss goals are 70% diet and only 30% exercise.
So don’t think you can stop off at Dunkin’ Donuts on the way home from work, just because you’re going to burn a load of calories later.
Now, the other recommendation I would make is that you start with the fitness test included in the guide. No matter what shape you’re currently in, you need to have a starting baseline.
This test involves doing some pull-ups, push-ups, vertical leaps, squats, biceps curls, and a heart rate maximizer. Don’t worry if you feel like you’re miserably failing; this is only meant to help you see your progress.
Once you’ve completed this, you’re basically ready to start some workouts. Before you do though, print out the workout sheets and make sure you keep detailed track of what you do. Even just doing one extra push-up from one session to the next can be highly motivational.
Finally, don’t be disappointed if you struggle with some of the workouts. If you stick with them, you will get better, and you’ll notice changes to your body shape in a matter of weeks.
What Are The 12 P90X Workouts?
The P90X home fitness program provides 12 different routines that cover the lower and upper body in different combinations.
Here is a quick overview of what you receive:
- Chest & Back: Heavy focus on pushing and pulling
- Plyometrics: This one is all about jumping for a heavy and intense cardio training
- Shoulders Arms: Focus here is on dumbbells or resistance bands
- Yoga X: A surprisingly effective combination of yoga moves
- Legs & Back: Get ready for squats and lunges using just your bodyweight
- Kenpo X: A lot of fun with punching and kicking
- X Stretch: This is great for muscle recovery
- Core Synergistics: Heavy focus on core muscles
- Chest, Shoulders & Triceps: on the beach muscles
- Back & Biceps: Combination of pull-ups and curls
- Cardio X: Workouts with a constant, but lower heart rate
- Ab Ripper X: A quick ab ripper routine that you do multiple times a week
Here's a sample P90X workout video led by Tony Horton.
Any Equipment Needed?
While a lot of the workouts will rely on just your own bodyweight, there are a few products that you will need as well:
- Exercise or yoga mat
- Pull-up bar
- Dumbbells or resistance bands
- Push-up bar
- Heart Rate Monitor (optional)
Based on the reviews I’ve read and having gone through the workouts in detail, the above list will give you everything you need.
There are a few extras like yoga blocks and additional weights that can be helpful, but if you’re starting out and want to lose weight or build lean muscle mass, then spend the extra money on some supplements instead.
Related Article: P90X Equipment List
Is P90X Really Effective?
Yes, P90X can effective provided you religiously stick with the exercise program and diet plan.
One reason a lot of people don’t get the full potential results is that they only take a half-hearted approach to change what they eat.
If you listen to Tony Horton and a lot of the advertising material, it works because of “massive muscle confusion.”
Basically, the claim is explained by the constant switching of muscle groups and exercise routines which can make your muscles become “confused”, and hence, will react better to the stimulating effects.
Personally, I think this "muscle confusion" thing is a little bit of a marketing gimmick, and it’s more down to the fact that you will be doing a lot of compound exercises that target groups of muscles, rather than individual ones.
See, when you’re doing strength training and you work on multiple muscles at the same time, you will (a) get more out of every minute you work out, and (b) maximize testosterone and growth hormone production. If you're looking to boost your testosterone levels and check out this Testogen full review.
The result is enhanced body fat burning and bigger muscles.
Other training programs:
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.
- Shannon Clark, Personal Trainer
How Much Does P90x Cost?
P90X costs between $120 and $330 depending on the package that you choose to buy.
And let me start by saying that the base package is perfectly good to get you to your goals, but you will have to budget for some extra gear.
Let me break it down by package.
|P90X Base||3 payments of $39.95 plus shipping and handling||12 workouts, a detailed nutrition plan, fitness guide|
|P90X Deluxe||3 payments of $79.95 plus shipping and handling||Base kit plus additional P90X3 Elite Workouts, Energy & Endurance Pre-Workout Formula, and P90X3 Pro-Grade Resistance Bands|
|P90X Ultimate||3 payments of $109.95||Deluxe kit plus 5 workout DVDs, a set of push up stands, and a more fully featured chin-up bar|
From all the reviews I’ve read, and looking at the price to value ratio of the different packages, I would suggest that the Deluxe one is probably the best value for money. It will get you started with the basic gear needed, and a lot of users were quite happy with the quality of the gear.
I should also say that compared to other programs I’ve looked at, this is actually quite reasonably priced.
P90X vs. P90X2 vs. P90X3
This is something that confuses a lot of people, but the explanation of these 3 programs is actually quite simple. You already know what P90X is all about, so let’s move onto X2. This essentially is a graduate program to be done after you’ve completed the first one.
It intensifies the workouts even higher, focusing more on muscle building than weight loss.
X3, on the other hand, is made up of workouts that are “just” 30 minutes long. They are still very intense but designed for people who are a bit strapped for time in their day.
Basically, the first one helps with weight loss and looking fitter, the second builds on that to look more athletic, and the third one is for those short of time.
You can see a more detailed comparison between P90X vs P90X2 here.
How long is a P90X workout?
A P90X workout is on average 60 to 70 minutes long. On three of the days, you’ll be adding the Ab Ripper set along with another DVD meaning the total exercise will take about 80 minutes.
What’s better, P90X or CrossFit?
Is P90X good for losing weight?
Yes, P90X is good for losing weight as long as you stick to the daily plan and follow the diet tips in the nutrition guide. I can’t say it enough: if you keep eating crap, you won’t achieve much from working out.
Is P90X good for beginners?
Yes, P90X is good for beginners as all the exercises are easy to follow along with. Start with the fitness test to get a picture of where you’re currently at and use it as motivation as you gradually improve.
Can P90X build muscle?
Yes, P90X can help you build muscle, and you will notice a big change if you stick to the 90-day program. How much you build will depend on the intensity and weights you choose, and you can always graduate to P90X2 to get some even more ripped muscles.
Is P90X Worth It?
If you set some clear goals and stick to the program and nutrition plan, then you will see some good results with P90X.
However, I feel like 70 minutes a day may not be realistic for many people. After all, these people opted to workout at home. For a home workout routine, an hour a day is a little bit overkill, especially for beginners.
And let’s admit it, it’s an expensive program.
You’ll be able to achieve the same results with shorter, high intensity workouts that don’t have to take a huge chunk of your time.
Because of this, I think the Bodyweight Burn System by Adam Steer
Adam is a Bodyweight Exercise Specialist and Fat Loss Expert. He's created a workout program that's just as effective, and takes no more than 21 minutes per day. It also doesn’t require any equipment, so it’s convenient to perform at home (or anywhere, really).
So, have you tried P90X?
How was your experience with it?
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