I’m sure by now you have heard of P90X. For Heaven’s sake, it has become so popular that it was used as a lyric in a Bruno Mars song (Lazy Song). Millions of people have tried P90X, and many people swear by it. Tony Horton, the “Master of Motivation” and creator of the P90X Extreme Home Fitness System, gives a money back guarantee that you can get the results you want with this program. In a mere 90 days, he promises you can achieve your goals no matter what they are.
Is this home fitness system the perfect program? Is it just another infomercial hoax like the Shake Weight? Let’s take a look and see what this craze is all about.
The P90X system is a series of video workouts that you can do from the comfort and privacy of your home. No memberships are required and you don’t have to be an advanced lifter, but they do have a fitness test that you can take to determine if you are ready for the program or not. If you don’t feel you are ready for this rigorous program, you can use one of Tony’s other convenient programs to get up to snuff before tackling the hardcore one. All you need for the P90X is a DVD player and TV, around a 6’ by 6’ space you can move around in, and maybe some resistance bands, light dumbbells and a pull-up bar. The program takes a time commitment of about an hour a day, six days a week. After 90 days, you should be where you want to be if the system really works.
The premise behind the whole system is to eliminate plateaus via what they call “Muscle Confusion.” Over the course of the program, the exercises and intensity change to ensure that your body doesn’t have time to adapt and you keep making progress. The program also includes 12 different workouts that include a variety of resistance workouts targeting different muscle groups, core work, cardio, plyometrics, stretching, yoga, and even some martial arts. Changing the activities, intensities and exercises is supposed to keep things interesting and prevent the dreaded plateau. Muscle Confusion isn’t an actual scientific term, and it might sound cheesy and made up, but the principles behind the idea are sound to an extent. Mixing things up might keep you from plateauing for 90 days of this program, but just like with any other activity, your body will adapt and stop making the same amount of progress at some point. Whether this happens 60 days into the program, at 180 days, or even a full year in, it will eventually happen, regardless of what they guarantee. For the 90 days that the program is supposed to run, the methods should be effective if you stick to the regimens.
Unlike many other programs, the P90X does include three phases of nutrition planning, complete with recipes. Phase 1 is a high protein diet, called the Fat Shredder. Phase 2 is the Energy Booster, a mix of protein and carbs, with low fat. Phase 3 is the Endurance Maximizer, based around complex carbs and lean proteins. With six days of workouts, carbs probably won’t be a huge problem, but what kind of low energy diet eliminates fats, which provide the main source of energy for your body? As you can probably tell, I am a little skeptical about the nutrition guidelines that come with this program--particularly because there is little talk of any science-based evidence, or any renowned nutritionists in the development.
The results of the people you see in the advertisements are remarkable, and I personally know a few people who swear by this thing. It is convenient, cheap compared to a gym membership, and the workouts are fun. However, just like with any other infomercial product, there is that fine print at the bottom of the screen that says “Results not typical.” The P90X system can be effective for the sole reason that it gets people moving, but so do CrossFit, Rumba, Tae Bo, and training for a marathon. If you need the motivation and don’t want to pay for a gym membership and a personal trainer, the P90X can be a great solution, so you might want to give it a try. Is it any better than any of the other workout programs out there? Not necessarily. The program can be supplemented with extra cardio as outlined in the program guidelines, but it is limited in what it can do in terms of muscle gain due to the fact that it relies mostly on bodyweight exercises, small dumbbells and light resistance bands.
It is a very well rounded program, and a solid option for general, overall fitness, but if you have more specific goals, you may want to look elsewhere.
"P90X Workout - P90X Workout Review - P90X Extreme Home Fitness Workout Program - Beachbody.com." Workout Videos & Home Fitness Programs - Beachbody.com. Web. 13 June 2011. <http://www.beachbody.com/product/P90X.do?t=P90X2c2>.
Jessica Gereau – Jessica has a BS in Kinesiology from San Francisco St. University. Before becoming a certified personal trainer she achieved a personal weight loss of 60+ lbs, and this has motivated her to help others obtain similar goals. She founded Gym Class Fitness Studio in the Bay Area as a place where people can learn what she learned along the way - that cookies are a part of life, and the hard way is the only way. Jessica currently carries certifications for ACSM and NASM.