Why P90X Works
At this point, I don’t think there’s a question: P90X works like nothing else out there in helping you not only give fat a roundhouse kick to its chubby face but also kick-starting a stronger, athletic and overall better functioning You. But it’s not because P90X is just a bunch of booty-spanking moves thrown together on a whim or because it has you using certain supplements or even because thousands of results pictures speak for themselves. P90X works because it was designed to work.
And that’s not all rhetorical and philosophical mumbo-jumbo stuff…Let me explain.
P90X: Designed To Work
“Designed to work” means this: certain workouts and trainings target specific energy systems within the body.
Of course, I know when you start tossing around terms like “Energy Systems”, eyes start looking for “where’s the ‘close window’ button”. So hey- picture it like this: you have three fuel tanks. Your body picks one, or eventually all three, for use based on what it’s being asked to do. Often times, the results show up visually. For example- if you stand a marathon runner next to a basketball player next to a power lifter you’ll (generally) notice a few things in their physique. Marathon Runner: Skinny. Basketball Player: “Athletic”. Power Lifter: “Beastly”.
The different “looks” aren’t necessarily because these athletes were born that way, it’s because they “trained that way”. IE- their bodies use different fuel tanks (training specific energy systems) in specific ways and, in many cases, one more predominantly than the others to accomplish their athletic tasks at hand. Athletes of all stripes may be fit in their respective fields but ask a power lifter to run 26 miles and he’ll run out of gas before he hit the first water station. Ask a Marathon runner to punch out a super set of chest and incline bench and she may only accomplish it with the lightest of weight. An endurance athlete will never look like a power lifter and vice versa. P90X success stories look the way they look because of how they train.
P90X- The Friendly Gas Guzzler
P90X works so well because the “program that Horton built” casts its sweat-inducing net far and wide through interval training to failure (in most cases). P90X is an off-season sports training program and works because it’s designed to improve athleticism overall, not a specific discipline (which is why there’s P90X Mass and P90X Runner’s training– separate, FOCUSED 90 day training programs). In doing so, P90X is a gas guzzler.
Remember those “fuel tanks”? P90X targets two of the main main energy systems and trains the third indirectly:
Phosphagen Fuel Tank:
Remember that power lifter example? Yeah- think that guy and his pals football players and sprinters. Short duration moves like weight lifting find their home here. Quick, power movements that use the quick, explosive energy systems that tap out very quickly. Uses lots of bigger, fast twitch muscle. This is the “short distance” fuel tank.
Glycolytic Fuel Tank:
Here’s the “middle group”. Think basketball players and sprinters who need more than just explosive power– they need a little gas in the take to extend that power for a few minutes at a time. These activities tap stored energy or “glycogen” to keep things moving. They also use lots of bigger, fast twitch muscle. This is the “going to the grocery store” fuel tank.
Aerobic Fuel Tank:
Hello, endurance. Think distance runners, cyclists, etc. It’s here you’re using it all up. Fat, glycogen… virtually everything the body can utilize to keep energy up for your body to use for extended periods of time leasing to depletion. It’s here those slow-twitch muscle fibers start kicking in and carrying the load. This is the “I’m taking a trek to Tibet” fuel tank. P90X doesn’t train specifically for this (a 2-4 hour workout…? No thanks) but aerobic benefits are found in the training… as I can attest here.
P90X Muscle Confusion- AKA: Adaptation
You’ve heard the term: Muscle Confusion. And while that’s the catchy phrase used to describe “adaptive phased training”– it’s something P90X delivers in daily 50-60 minutes trips to the fit metropolis of Burntown and its suburb, Sweatville.
Broken down, it all means this: When you place stress on your body (one more pushup than last time, a faster pace than last time, a new move) your body doesn’t like to be uncomfortable or “second best” and, like all over-achievers, works to be the best at whatever it’s struggling with by adapting. When the body adapts, it builds muscle or improves energy use for more strength so it can do the job next time without wanting to give you a birds eye view of your lunch; IE- the next time you perform you can run farther (IE- the warm-up becomes a true warm-up, not a workout) and lift more.
To keep that improvement going, you need more load or more intensity the next time. Enter, P90X Phases I, II and III and the four steps of adaptation that should occur in every Phase:
1. Training Stimulus: This is the introduction of a new move or and extra set of pull ups and the fatigue you feel when you do it. Think first time through Plyometrics. In many cases, this will lead to the feeling of “I suck”. See, now you know that’s normal– it’s PART OF THE PROCESS.
2. Recovery: Rest or light training allowing for the body to get back to normal.
3. Supercompensation: The body begins improvement, using recovery to build a new standard. This is where you’ll notice, more reps and less “feeling like I need to puke”.
4. Involution: The stuffiest name of all the phases, involution simply means slight regression or plateau unless new training or intensity is added.
The take-away? P90X guides you through each of these steps in every phase of the program. The adaptation cycle isn’t typically seen in a day as much as over weeks at a time… which is where P90X earns its “90″(days).
P90X Nutrition- The Golden Ticket
Of course, P90X doesn’t just pick you up and take you to the gym for a good butt-kicking… it’s also nice enough to take you out to dinner afterward. With P90X you’re also given the Nutrition Guide– an equally important aspect in addition to your workouts. You’re not only shown how to do the work and THEN how to feed yourself to make that work count. In fact, if you’re looking for visual results, the nutrition plan is at least 50% of the P90X equation.
Skip at your own peril.
Funny enough, nutrition is the area most people overlook when doing their program. Don’t be like most people. Nutrition is key and P90X lays it all out for you. That’s why P90X is awesome and more importantly, combined with the workouts and methods to its madness….that’s why P90X works.