P90x Review

By Andy / June 22, 2014
Review of: P90X
DVD:
Tony Horton

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On June 22, 2014
Last modified:June 22, 2014

Summary:


Are you ready for one of the most challenging workout programs you’ve ever done? You’ll find that the P90X is an amazing series of workout videos, and you can get some pretty amazing results by following the workout schedule and nutrition plan.

As someone who has gone through the P90X program, I can vouch for its effectiveness. However, for your sake, I’m writing this review to help you understand how the program works.

What is P90X?

The P90X program is one of the many series of workout videos produced and marketed by BeachBody LLC.

BeachBody offers a number of workout programs, such as the Insanity, the Power 90 program, and the ever-popular Brazil Butt Lift. Power 90 is the basic program for those with fitness experience, followed by P90X. The name means Power 90 Extreme, and it’s a harder version of the 90-day fitness program.

(Note: For those who have done P90X, there is now a P90X2 and P90X3.)

The Mind Behind P90X: Tony Horton

Tony Horton is probably one of the best-known male celebrity fitness trainers in the country. He has written books, produced a number of fitness programs, and gives fitness lectures, seminars, and motivational training courses around the country.

According to his website:

TonyHorton

Tony Horton

“His expertise includes post-rehabilitation training, advanced stretching, yoga, weight/resistance training, cardiovascular/aerobic training, boxing and kickboxing, plus circuit, cross and interval training.”

“Tony has been featured in numerous national publications like Men’s Fitness, Fitness, SELF, Women’s Health, People, LA HEALTH, ESPN, Washington Post, Washington Examiner, Politico, LA Times, Roll Call, Military Times and has made multiple appearances on National Television, including CNN, ABC, A&E, NBC, CBS, FOX and TV Guide Network.”

“His training techniques have produced amazing results for TV celebrities such as Without a Trace’s Poppy Montgomery and Roselyn Sanchez, Brothers and Sisters star Rob Lowe, James Bond star Sean Connery and legendary film star Shirley MacLaine. Music celebrities such as Bruce Springsteen, Usher, Tom Petty, Billy Idol, Annie Lennox and Sheryl Crow credit Tony for their mean touring machines.”

Quite the resume here! He definitely has the bona fides to make a great fitness program, so let’s take a look at the P90X program review below!

 A Look at P90X

Right off the bat, be warned: P90X is not for beginners! The workout program is QUITE intense, and you’ll find yourself sweating hard even while doing the stretching workout video. For those totally new to the world of fitness, the P90X program isn’t the best choice. However, for those who are ready to push themselves hard and who have some experience lifting weights, running, and training, the P90X program is an excellent one.

Most of the P90X reviews you read will give you basic information on the program and the trainer, but in this review we’re going to take a much closer look at the individual workouts and the way they’re laid out on the calendar.

The P90X Workout Videos

What makes the P90X program so effective is the fact that each workout is performed by the people on the video screen. Each video comes with its complete workout, including:

  • 5 to 10 minutes of stretching to get you started. This is very important to start with, as you’re going to be pushing yourself HARD throughout the next phase.
  • 45 to 50 minutes of working out. You do a lot of different exercises, many of which focus on your cardio while pushing your muscles at the same time. Be prepared to sweat!
  • ​5 minutes of cooldown. At the end of your workout, you’re going to feel amazing just relaxing and cooling down. You’ll be soaked in sweat, and you’ll love every minute of it!

The P90X program is comprised of 12 workout videos:

  1. Chest and Back — As the name of the video suggests, the focus is placed on your chest and back. You do A LOT of pull-ups and push-ups, but many variations on each exercise.
  2. Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps – With this workout, you’re focusing on your shoulders and triceps as well as your chest. You do a lot more isolation exercises to give those triceps a workout, and many of the exercises hit both chest and shoulders.
  3. Plyometrics – This workout is all about combining upper body and lower body movements in the same exercise, and you’ll find yourself breathing hard while doing exercises like Burpees, Lunge-Curl-Presses, and more.
  4. Shoulders and Arms – This workout focuses on building strong shoulder muscles, but works out both biceps and triceps at the same time. It’s a more well-rounded shoulders and arm workout.
  5. Back and Biceps – Most of the exercises done in this video involve “pulling” movements, so your biceps are hit hard as you work out your back as well. This workout will give you nicely sculpted arms.
  6. Yoga X – You may think this will be an easier video, but it’s probably the most challenging of all. Not only do you do classic standing Yoga poses, but you do seated poses, stretching poses, and twisting poses. Plus, you finish it with an intense ab workout.
  7. Legs and Back – Working out upper and lower body in the same exercise video is a good way to balance out the effort. Your legs will be complaining loudly once you’re done, but it’s amazing for building strong leg muscles.
  8. Kenpo X – For a fun, TaeBo-style cardio workout, this is the one for you. You do lots of jumping, punching, and kicking, all while breathing hard and moving around. The hour will fly by before you know it!
  9. X Stretch – This is the workout you do on your day off, but it’s no cakewalk. You do some pretty intense stretching, and you’ll be sweating even at the end of this “relaxing” workout.
  10. Ab Ripper X – Want to shred those abs and build some serious strength? With this abs workout video, your core will be complaining in no time. You build back, abs, and oblique muscles, increasing your core strength dramatically.
  11. Core Synergistics — This one is designed to focus on your core, but it uses muscle-building exercises that focus on both upper and lower body movements. Where Plyometrics is all about cardio building, this is about muscle and core-building.
  12. Cardio X – This cardio workout is usually only done by those who are doing P90X doubles, a workout program that involves both a cardio workout and the regular P90X video on the same day.

As you can see, P90X is not for the faint of heart! However, when you compare your before and after pictures, you’ll realize just how much progress you’ve made.

Workout Schedule

If you check out the workout calendar, you’ll find that the workouts are divided into a number of weeks:

Weeks 1 to 3

These three weeks give you the intro to the hardcore course, focusing on improving your cardio while building muscle at the same time as well. As you can see by the layout of the workout schedule, you work out your abs and core three days a week.

Day 1: Chest and Back, Ab Ripper X

Day 2: Plyometrics

Day 3: Shoulders and Arms, Ab Ripper X

Day 4: Yoga X

Day 5: Legs and Back, Ab Ripper X

Day 6: Kenpo X

Day 7: X Stretch, or a day off

By the end of Week 3, you’ll be looking forward to the slightly easier Week 4.

Week 4

The focus on Week 4 is on your core, giving the rest of your body a chance to recover from the highly intense previous weeks. You also improve your cardio, and the workouts tend to be much easier on your body.

Day 1: Yoga X

Day 2: Core Synergistics

Day 3: Kenpo X

Day 4: X Stretch

Day 5: Core Synergistics

Day 6: Yoga X

Day 7: X Stretch, or a day off

When recovery week ends, it’s back to pushing your body!

Weeks 5 to 7

In these three weeks, you focus on building muscle again, but with all different exercises from the previous workout videos. You change up the muscle groups you work, which means your body won’t adapt to doing the same exercises over and over.

Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, and Arms, Ab Ripper X

Day 2: Plyometrics

Day 3: Back and Biceps, Ab Ripper X

Day 4: Yoga X

Day 5: Legs and Back, Ab Ripper X

Day 6: Kenpo X

Day 7: X Stretch, or a day off

You’ll be feeling it by the end of Week 7, and you’ll feel so glad when you slip into recovery mode in Week 8!

Week 8

This week is exactly like Week 4, and you follow the same workout schedule:

Day 1: Yoga X

Day 2: Core Synergistics

Day 3: Kenpo X

Day 4: X Stretch

Day 5: Core Synergistics

Day 6: Yoga X

Day 7: X Stretch, or a day off

Now, things are going to get a bit complicated…

Weeks 9 and 11

Day 1: Yoga X

Day 2: Core Synergistics

Day 3: Kenpo X

Day 4: X Stretch

Day 5: Core Synergistics

Day 6: Yoga X

Day 7: X Stretch, or a day off

Weeks 10 and 12

Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, and Arms, Ab Ripper X

Day 2: Plyometrics

Day 3: Back and Biceps, Ab Ripper X

Day 4: Yoga X

Day 5: Legs and Back, Ab Ripper X

Day 6: Kenpo X

Day 7: X Stretch, or a day off

You switch up the workout each of the last four weeks, ensuring that you get the best muscle building from your workouts.

Week 13

To complete the 90-day exercise program, you finish off with a recovery week:

Day 1: Yoga X

Day 2: Core Synergistics

Day 3: Kenpo X

Day 4: X Stretch

Day 5: Core Synergistics

Day 6: Yoga X

Day 7: X Stretch, or a day off

 

By the end of Week 13, you’re not only going to be a lot stronger and have a lot more endurance, but you will have lost a lot of weight, build visible muscle, and burned a whole lot of fat! The P90X program is designed to get results, and anyone who has gone through the program will write reviews saying just how effective it is!

P90X vs. Insanity

If you’ve read our Insanity review, you’ve seen just how hard the program can be. The good news is that the P90X program isn’t quite as difficult or intense as the Insanity workout. In fact, Insanity was designed AFTER P90X, and it was meant as the “next step” in your Beach Body fitness journey.

P90X2 and P90X3

Thanks to the popularity of the P90X program, P90X2 and P90X3 were created. Both of the follow-up programs increase in difficulty, but the purpose of both workouts is the same: to get you shredded and ripped in no time! If you have already finished the P90X program, it’s worth considering doing the next one. If not, it’s always best to do the P90X first. You may need to do it a couple of times to get accustomed to the INTENSE workout style, but it’s worth it.

P90X Diet and Meal Plan

Included in the P90X package is a diet plan for those who are trying to lose weight with the P90X program. It’s a pretty simple plan, nowhere near as complete as many of the other diet programs we’ve reviewed here. However, considering that P90X is a program designed to help you lose weight by doing exercise, the diet side of things isn’t as important as the supremely intense workouts.

What We Think of P90X

As someone who has gone through the P90X program, I can attest to the fact that it works. I lost a lot of weight, improved my stamina and endurance, and even cleared up my back pain thanks to the Yoga X and X Stretch videos.

There are a few things that I loved about the program, but there were some things I didn’t enjoy as much:

We’re Not Too Fond Of:

  • Tony Horton’s voice — While the workouts are amazing, you can get pretty sick of Tony Horton’s voice after just an hour or so of working out. He makes the same jokes, says the same catchphrases, and the nasal quality of his voice can grate on the ears. This definitely isn’t a reason not to try P90X, but it definitely gets annoying.
  • Repetition of videos — While doing the P90X program, you do the same 11 videos over and over again. By the time you reach Week 13, you’re sick of hearing the same lines, jokes, etc. Other workout programs help you tailor-make your own fitness routines, but all you can do with the P90X is follow the same videos every week. It can be tiresome after a few weeks.
  • Difficulty — The fact that these videos are so challenging is one of the downsides. For those who are trying to work out to get in shape, they may be too hard. You have to be in pretty great shape to do the P90X program, and you can’t just pick up the videos and start doing them. Those who need the videos the most are the ones who won’t be able to do them, and only experienced exercisers will actually complete the workouts.

We Love:

  • Detailed instructions — With the P90X videos, you are shown EXACTLY what to do every time. Not only do you learn new exercises, but you are given and shown detailed instructions on how to do the exercises correctly. There are even variations that you can do if you find the exercises too difficult, and there are options for everyone.
  • Easy to follow — Many workout programs force you to follow a tough program that involves a lot of guesswork and experience, but the P90X program is very easy to follow. Even if you’ve never lifted weights, taken a Yoga class, or learned martial arts in your life, you can get through the program thanks to the easy-to-follow videos.
  • Complete program – With P90X, Tony Horton takes you from start to finish. There’s no guesswork involved, and you are told exactly what to do, how many times, and with how much weight. It’s as easy a fitness program as it gets, and you’ll never find yourself wondering, “But what now?” It’s laid out simply and easily.

Conclusion

The truth is that the P90X program is great for anyone who wants to take their fitness to the next level. It’s definitely not for beginners, but it’s excellent for people who are trying to get fit to the extreme. If you’ve never tried the Beach Body programs, it’s a good place to start.

Final Verdict: 4 Stars

About the author

Andy

I'm as passionate about fitness and health as I am about writing. I currently run 10 to 15 miles a week, box at least twice a week, attend Karate lessons four or five days a week. I've always been fascinated by dieting and fitness, and it's long been a passion of mine to learn more about healthy living, exercise, and eating right.

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