Fitness | Total Shape

P90X Workout Program
Our Honest & Unbiased Review

P9OX Review Featured Image
Written by Connor Sellers

As a personal trainer, I’m always interested in alternatives to gym and fitness classes that people are choosing. And I totally get it, heading to a gym after a tough day at work and spending a few hours on getting your kids to bed, isn’t an option for a lot of people.

So, when a lot of people started raving about P90X from BeachBody, I decided to look into it a bit more.

 After spending the last 6 weeks speaking to friends 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 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.

P90X Benefits

man and woman

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 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 exercises provide very good results for weight loss and toning. All the feedback points to good results.


  • 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

Are There Any Downsides?

gym equipment

After all the P90X reviews 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 Beach Body 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. One option is to buy one of the package kits available though, which I’ll get to shortly.


  • To get fast results, you have to commit a lot of time
  • Some additional gear is required

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

How Do You Get The Best Results From P90X?

man working out

You get the best results from P90X by committing 1 hour a day to the workout program 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 seeing 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?

12 P90X Workouts

The P90X home workout program provides 12 different routines that cover the lower and upper body in different combinations.

Here is a quick overview of what you receive:

  • 1
    Chest & Back: Heavy focus on pushing and pulling
  • 2
    Plyometrics: This one is all about jumping for a heavy cardio session
  • 3
    Shoulders Arms: Focus here is on dumbbells or resistance bands
  • 4
    Yoga X: A surprisingly effective combination of yoga moves
  • 5
    Legs & Back: Get ready for squats and lunges using just your bodyweight
  • 6
    Kenpo X: A lot of fun with punching and kicking
  • 7
    X Stretch: This is great for muscle recovery
  • 8
    Core Synergistics: Heavy focus on core muscles
  • 9
    Chest, Shoulders & Triceps: Focus on the beach muscles
  • 10
    Back & Biceps: Combination of pull-ups and curls
  • 11
    Cardio X: Workouts with a constant, but lower heart rate
  • 12
    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.

What Do I Need For P90X?

While a lot of the workouts will rely on just your own bodyweight, there are a few products that you will need as well:

  • Yoga or exercise mat
  • Pull-up bar
  • Dumbbells or resistance bands
  • Push-up bar
  • Heart Rate Monitor (optional)
Workout Equipment

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, then spend the extra money on some supplements instead.

Is P90X Really Effective?

man and woman

Yes, P90X really is effective provided you 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.

But the big question is: why does it work so well?

If you listen to Tony Horton and a lot of the advertising material, then it’s all down to “massive muscle confusion.”

Basically, the claim is that by constantly switching muscle groups and exercise routines, your muscles become “confused” and will react better to the stimulating effects.

Personally, I think this 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.

The result is more fat burning and bigger muscles.

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 ClarkPersonal Trainer

How Much Does P90x Cost?

P90X costs between $120 and $330 dependent 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
  • P90X Deluxe
  • P90X Ultimate

This comes in at 3 payments of $109.95, and you get an additional 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

man and woman working out

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.


P90X workout DVDs

1. 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.

2. What's better P90X or Insanity? 

P90X is better than Insanity if you’re looking to lose some weight and build up some lean muscle. It provides a great combination of cardio and strength training to get you into a slim and fit appearance. See our full article comparing Insanity vs P90X.

3. What’s better, P90X or CrossFit?

P90X is better than CrossFit if you prefer working out at home and don’t want to spend a fortune on membership fees. For the price of one month’s CrossFit membership, you’ll have the Deluxe package paid for.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

Bottom Line: Is P90X Worth It?

P9OX workout

Yes, P90X is well worth the investment for anyone from total beginner to advanced athlete. If you set some clear goals and stick to the program and nutrition plan, then you will see some very good results.

With clear instructions in the DVDs and home fitness guide booklet, it is really aimed at people who have not had any professional coaching before.

So, if you’re concerned that you might struggle to follow along, don’t worry; the instructions are clear, and you can always hit the pause button to catch up.

 It’s an excellent choice if you’re struggling to get to the gym, but you still want a way to exercise on a regular basis. 

  • Very clear and easy to follow instructions suitable for beginners
  • Total of 12 different exercise routines covering all muscle groups
  • check
    Great combination of cardio and high-intensity toning exercises
  • check
    You can do all the exercises at home with very little space needed
  • check
    Significant cost savings compared to joining a gym or fitness classes

If you're looking to buy P90X (or P90X2/3), then you should check out Beachbody as they have a 14 Day Free Trial. You really have nothing to lose.

About the author

Connor Sellers

Connor Sellers is a personal trainer and senior coach at Total Shape. His mission is to inspire people to relentlessly pursue their fitness and lifestyle goals. He believes staying fit has an overall positive effect on one’s body, mind, and spirit. Read more about him here​.