P90X: Is It Really Extreme?

Anabolic Steroids / Bodybuilding Blog

P90X: Is It Really Extreme?

Don’t we all want to look like this guy?  He’s Tony Horton, the owner of Team Beachbody.  They have about eleventy jillion workout programs, but their big seller is P90X.  I bet you’ve seen the infomercial (and if you haven’t, apparently either you never have insomnia or don’t own a television).

The basis is this:  You, the average couch potato, can go from flab to fab in 90 days.  Ninety days of “extreme” hard work, “extreme” focus, and “extreme” diet change.  So does it work?

P90X is a “total home workout”.  That means that you don’t need to leave the house to get crazy ripped in 90 days.  You need to buy the DVD set, and they suggest several other items.

Dumbbells are necessary, as is a yoga mat and a pull-up bar.  You can buy all of these things from beachbody.com or elsewhere, depending on how spendy you want to play it.

There are also many optional items, such as push-up stands, a yoga brick, resistance bands, and Beachbody’s nutrition supplements.

Dumbbells aren’t cheap, so check Craigslist or local Ebay auctions if you need them.  I’d say most women who don’t lift heavy on a regular basis would use 10, 15, and 20 lb dumbbells, and most men 15, 20, and 25 lbers.

If you’re just starting with resistance training, subtract 5 lbs from each of the above weights.  No one wants you to get hurt, and you can always pick up more bells during the 90 days.

The Good

1. The program keeps your heart rate up in target zone most of the time.

2.  You can choose three programs: Classic, Doubles, and Lean.  It’s my opinion that unless you’re a women with a really high percentage of body fat, you’ll want to start with classic.

However, you may want to plan to do the program three times in a row from the outset, and if so start with Lean to mix things up.  Next time through, attack Classic, and then show off your beasthood with Doubles on the third 90 days.

3. You can convert the videos to play on your MP3 player and take the whole setup to the gym if you don’t like to work out at home.  That will save you some cash if you have a gym membership and just want a fresh routine.

4.  The Yoga X DVD is killer.  I practice usually twice a week and this was hard.   Sweat was dripping onto my mat within twenty minutes, the good kind.

5.  The amount of hand holding is perfect.   Tony is absolutely encouraging and you feel like he really wants you to succeed.  Love that.

6.  The stretching DVD.  Honestly, it might be worth the purchase price of the entire program.  It’s a shame, because it’s meant to be used on day 7, and most people will probably choose to rest instead.

Hear me here:  If you’re doing P90X every day, you need the stretching DVD.  Do it once and see how amazing you feel.  It’s out of this world.

The Bad

1. Some exercises seem unsafe to me in phase two.  Doing shoulder pourers with 10 lb dumbbells puts a ton of stress on the shoulder girdle, and I could hear them pop doing this move.

The first time one of the older guys saw me do this move, he stopped me and told me not to do those again.  Ever.  After feeling how sore I was, I have to agree.  Thanks, Duke!

Bottom line: if it hurts, don’t do it.  I’m all for hard work and feeling the burn, but some of these exercises just aren’t safe.

2. Another thing that drives me up a wall is the language.  I’m not a prude and don’t mind a swear word here or there, but this program is meant to be done at home.  You know, where my CHILDREN are.  If I’m watching the DVD and a little one walks in, I don’t want them hearing profanity.

3. The rest time between sets is way too long.  I’d hazard a guess that most people who pick up P90X aren’t going to be doing the 15 reps on bicep curls, so the rest of us just sit around twiddling our thumbs for half her set.

Too much downtime lowers the heart rate and allows the muscle too much recovery time.  Thirty seconds to one minute is the max recovery time needed for just about everyone.

4. As for the nutrition program, I’ve gotta say that Phase 1 is pretty much impossible for me.  50% protein is crazy hard on the kidneys.  Most people who eat carb-heavy can easily lose just cutting carbs back to 40-50% of their diets.

5.  The cardio.  Plyometrics is reasonable, but even giving it all I had, I didn’t burn as much in plyo as I did in the legs strength workout.

Kenpo X is a total joke.  I literally made tic marks for every time I had to drag my butt through this workout and scratched them off like a prisoner waiting for execution.  Halfway through, I gave up and either went running or dancing to get extra cardio in.

6.  The purchase price.  Yes, you get 13 DVDs, the manual, the nutrition guide, the calendar, the Easter bunny, ad nauseum.  However, I think it’s flat out ridiculous to charge $120 for the DVDs and a few pieces of paper.

To add insult to injury, they want $20 more to ship it to you!  P90X is the biggest selling infomercial product ever.   Take that, ShamWow.   That said, don’t you think they could offer a more fair price for some plastic discs and glossy paper?

The Ugly

1.  Beginners are going to attempt this program, and all I can say is be careful.  I’m 5’2″ and burn almost 600 calories in that leg workout.  That means that my HR says in the high end of the target zone for a very fit woman.

In fact, the first time  I did it, I almost dropped my kid picking her up from the nursery.  Mother of the year, I tell you.  This was after working out 14 hours a week for 18 months and losing 90 lbs.

They put the fitness test in the beginning of the booklet for a reason.  It’s important.  If you’re literally getting off your butt for the first time in years, you’re going to get frustrated fast.  If you’re frustrated you’re more likely to quit.

You can manage this if you know what’s coming.  The back and chest workout is butt-kicking, especially for women (and most especially for pear-shaped women).  Keep at it and you’ll see massive gains.

I cannot stress highly enough how important it is to keep the logs you can print fromIf you’re ready to work, sweat, and spend, go for it.  If you don’t want to buy the set from Beachbody.com, you can go the Ebay or Craigslist route.

Be aware, though, that if the set you’re looking at doesn’t come with all of the guides and whatnot, it could easily be a pirated copy.  I’m not down with stealing content, so just keep your eyes open.

If you’ve done the program, leave me a comment.  I want to hear what you think!  If you decide to try it to look like this guy, I’d love to see your pictures in 30, 60, and 90 days.  Get going!

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