Way back in 2004, the workout program P90X quietly made its debut. In the seven years since, P90X and its creator Tony Horton have exploded into social phenoms and household names thanks to unbelievable word-of-mouth, eye-popping results and infomercials with insane rewatchability.
But through it all there’s one important question: Does P90X work?
In short, YES. In fact, P90X can be a life-changer. While a lot of the success you’ll find in the program depends on your level of dedication, P90X can not only transform your body, your health and your outlook on what you’re capable of.
(I’m still working on my “picture taking” faces…)
So What Comes With P90X?
The P90X package spares no expense and arrives with 12 DVDs in a glossy, book-style case coupled with a 100 page Fitness Guide explaining all the exercises and a super-detailed, three phase Nutrition Guide that walks you through every aspect of how you’ll be eating over the next 90 days (and hopefully, for life). The Nutrition guide is really the golden ticket to this whole program. It calculates your food intake, gives you grocery lists and details what you’ll be eating every day of the week. And bonus– it gives carbs a high-five. You need ‘em, P90X knows it and they want YOU to know it.
Do I Need Any Special Equipment?
After taking the fit test and getting a baseline of your fitness level (one you’ll repeatedly break through every few weeks once you start– make sure you write everything down to see your successes) you’ll want to make sure you have dumbbells and a pull-up bar. P90X can be done–and gives workout examples– with bands, but in my experience, they’re less effective and get in their own way when resistance training.
The dumbbells and pull-up bar do factor in as an additional cost, but the benefits are well worth it. And really, that’s all you’ll need to go from mushy to rock-solid. That and a towel, as once you get started, you’ll know you’re in for a sweat extracting, push-yourself experience. Soreness will be the name of the game for the first few weeks, but as the Marines say, “Pain is weakness leaving the body”– and you’re going to be shoveling weakness out of your body in sweat-filled buckets. Thing is, you’ll love every minute of it.
How Does the Nutrition Plan Work?
The P90X nutrition plan is a well-rounded plan that’s designed to not only fuel your workouts, but help you understand the results of food and eating clean. If you want the kind of success you’ve seen on TV (or here), this is the most critical part of the program.
The plan is broken into three phases graduated over the 90 days (NOTE: P= protein, C=carbs, F=Fats):
- Phase I: Fat Shredder: Higher protein (50% of your daily food intake), to rev your metabolism and teach your body to stop relying on carbohydrates for all energy and instead focus on fat. While you still get carbs (roughly two servings a day– 30% of your food intake), this can be a tough phase for folks, but it’s definitely no Atkins or South Beach and well worth the effort.
- Phase II: Energy Booster: This phase graduates you to an even level of carbs and protein (40 P/40 C/20 F) as you see how clean carbs found in fruits and grains can fuel your body. Most people eat like this normally and is really easy to manage.
- Phase III: Endurance Maximizer: For carb junkies, this portion of the diet plays out like you’ve died and gone to heaven with a 30P/50C/20F split. Heavy on fruit, grains and all kinds of clean carbs, this is the diet your body will need as its completely transformed itself, revved up and hungry for energy.
The Nutrition Guide will point you in the right direction and where you should start, including calculating your daily caloric intake, your menus, ingredients, recipes, a meal by meal calendar and even a grocery list. Nothing is left to the imagination, which is a great help if you don’t want to have to worry about what foods are good or “bad”.
Can Women Use P90X?
A common concern I hear when talking to women about this program is the idea lifting weights will turn them into hulking, boobless dudes. Nothing could be further from the truth and transformation after transformation proves it (the proof is in the YouTube). By genetics alone, most women can’t easily and naturally add man-sized amounts of muscle mass. P90X, with its even split of resistance workouts and cardiovascular training will tone, lean, lift and flatten in all the right places. After two months of doing the program, my wife was accused of having a butt-lift. She was never accused of being a dude as she leaned out and earned a swimsuit model body. P90X isn’t just for guys. Result after result proves this out.
Do I Have To Be In Decent Shape to Start P90X?
Anyone with dedication and drive can start and succeed with P90X. While P90X is designed as an advanced level, athletic workout, I started the program in terrible shape. Just look at that picture- Day 1 was a body forged by cookies and duffing it. But that’s the beauty of P90x– the workouts allow you to pause, modify moves and work for YOUR fitness level… all while increasing its difficulty as your body adapts to it and becomes stronger and quicker. As with any program, you should consult with your doctor, but anyone with a desire to commit can not only do it, but make gains from it.
At Day 65, when the picture above was taken, I’d lost 10 pounds (while packing on lean muscle) and 55% of my body fat, leaving me at an ab-baring 9-10%– easily at the best shape of my entire life– and going from two strained pull-ups to 24 without rest. Again, this was only day 65. As of this writing, I’m closing in on Day 210+ and have posted updated the pics. I can’t recommend this program enough.
Wondering how to make P90X work for you with nutrition tips, help and support? If you have any questions, feel free to email me at email@example.com or make me your coach.