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How To Design Your Own P90X (or anything) Hybrid Workout

As much as I love the P90X and P90X2 programs, sometimes it’s fun to switch it up. And by switch it up I don’t mean give it up— I simply mean throwing new elements into the mix to add some variety while still focusing on results. The nickname for this is called a “hybrid”: a mix of two or more programs that use their own strengths to create a newish training program– aka, using P90X and Insanity together with Insanity cardio replacing P90X’s Kenpo, Cardio X and Plyometrics. Kind of like a lean, mean training version of “Sharktopus”.

With the full suite of at-home workout programs Beachbody offers (with more coming all the time), it’s pretty easy to come up with ways to keep your hard-fought results or add a new, refreshing twist to your favorite program for improved gains.

Why Use a Hybrid Workout?

While certain programs are designed for specific performance training, (Body Beast for mass, Insanity for endurance and fat loss , Turbofire for some choreographed HIIT and Asylum for 30 day sports training “hell month”) they’re not all designed to be everything at once– after all, inevitably you may end up sacrificing improvements in one area for another. P90X is about as close to “holistic, all-around” training as you can get but even there you may want to boost your anaerobic training even further after conquering and mastering the fitness base P90X provides. Using a hybrid workout allows you to round out or refocus in certain areas you may want to strengthen.

Before Going To A Hybrid Workout, Build Your Foundation

A foundation is critical for any construction project to build up and away from and training and fitness is no different. You’ve got to have a decent fitness base to provide a nice jumping off point to any hybrid. P90X serves as an incredibly solid foundation mostly because it conditions every energy system: short-burst, strength and endurance– aka, phosphagenic, glycolitic and aerobic– your body uses without short-shrifting one for the other. Training all allows you to improve specificity (training for a 5 or 10k, for example) and effectiveness without injury or plateau when it’s all said and done.

If you’re not doing P90X, foundation can mean completing a full program as its designed before incorporating a new one into the mix.

The Key To a Hybrid Workout: Periodization

Fancy words again. But to make it simple, periodization just means the amount of time you need to train before your body adapts and makes things “easy”.  In general, that’s 3-6 weeks. If you’re familiar with P90X, the 3 weeks off, 1 week on begins to make sense here. First, you struggle, then you get successively better and finally– you “master” it. That’s where plateaus hit and that’s where you want to switch it up again– aka, periodization: Periods of training.

There’s a subset “built in” to these periods of training as well. You’ve also got to include “progressive overload”.  Again, sounds fancy but it’s what most of us do when we shoot for “one more rep” or “more weight”. It’s adding weight or intensity to your workout (or exercise) to make it harder than the last so your body must improve each time to compensate and keep up. Progressive Overload isn’t exactly a phase but is a critical mindset in designing and performing to progress instead of plateauing.

The Less Glamorous Key To a Hybrid Workout: Recovery

As much as we like to train, recovery weeks are critical to overcoming potential plateaus which are, unfortunately, inevitable. Recovery weeks are critical. And I say this all the time after a recovery week, I ALWAYS come back stronger and faster. Recovery weeks are mentally tough to get around but once you come around, you see why they’re awesome.

Still, a recovery week isn’t just duffing it. It often consists of working out– but in ways that promote recovery as opposed to keeping it in check. In this we’re talking, lower-intensity workouts. Not Yoga per say (but Yoga is awesome and great for recovery and there’s quite a few decent Yoga options available) but could be walks, light runs or something a little different from the standard training you’ve been doing.

Putting Your Hybrid Workout Together

Step 1: What’s the point? Beyond your foundation, what is the point for the rest of the hybrid? More muscle? Marathon? Fat loss? Variety? You can get an idea from the P90X Mass Building hybrid and the Runner’s hybrid. To play with more ideas and how hybrids can be set up, there’s also a list of official hybrids you can find here.

Step 2: Begin with a foundation. This the the kick-off phase which will allow you to “test” in– see how you’re doing and build the basics for further training. For example, think P90X. You start off in Phase I with more pushups than a day at boot camp. It all seems pretty tough… but then you move into Phase II where you’re doing one-armed pushups. Then in Phase III you’re combining them. Foundation to Progressive overload. Another example: Insanity. 40 minute workouts the first 30 days. 60 minute workouts the last 30. Foundation to progressive overload.

Step 3: Remember: Progressively harder and recovery periods in cycles to avoid plateaus.

The Easy Way: Official Beachbody Hybrids

So maybe you’ve decided making a hybrid is a lot of work and you just want to “plug and play”. Good news– Beachbody offers official hybrid training programs and some programs, like Asylum, come with hybrid options included. Easy peasy.

Using these ideas and techniques as a baseline will help you get after your own hybrid in a way that’s effective. Not just slapping a couple workouts together and calling it good. If you have any questions, let me know and as always– free coaching is where it’s at if you’re interested

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