How effective is p90x?
June 17, 2010 5:28 PM   Subscribe

What are your thoughts on p90x?

I've read through a ton of the exercise related questions, including the few ones on p90x. Who on the green has tried it? What are your thoughts? Would you recommend?

For those of you who will suggest other programs - I'm open to listening but I've done the "do it yourself" and even made a few attempts as modified crossfit. I'm not good at the do it on your own programs - I am great in various class settings but I can't get much further than the EFX and playing on the weight machines on my own. Right now, I'm in decent shape (I've passed the p90x fitness test online). Currently, a gym is not an option for me but I do have free time, weights, and space at home.
posted by quodlibet to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I have a few friends who have done P90X (and P90) and they all said it was a pretty good thing. One thing I noticed is that they were doing it in groups so they had others to motivate them. I don't know if you have the same opportunity to work out with friends...
posted by JV at 6:13 PM on June 17, 2010

I very slightly know someone who lost a TON of weight and got really fit on p90x, but to be honest he's taken on the crazed look and voice of an informercial actor whenever he talks about it. Because apparently P! 90! X! IS! REALLY! INTENSE!
posted by sallybrown at 6:13 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think you're probably the perfect target audience for the program. You're already in decent shape and have weights and space, all you need is the motivation to stick with the routine for 3 months.

I've done P90X for about 2 weeks at a time, but I have serious workout ADD. I start going crazy if I have do the same workout more than say, 5 times a year. It is a fantastic program though. I have quite a few friends who have gotten incredible results, even without changing their diets much.

Right now, I pretty much do half video workouts and half written workouts, and the P90X workouts are definitely some of the better ones out there. Tony Horton is definitely kind of goofy, but for me at least, that sense of humor helps me push through the pain.
posted by evilbeck at 6:13 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

P90X will kick your butt. I have no doubt that the claims it makes are true. It is a serious workout.

Mr. Shoes got it and I did it with him a few times. We had to stop because we are both so out of shape that we couldn't keep up with it. It is not for beginners. Not even a little. It was fun though, so I do recommend it. Once we get in a little better shape we'll start it again.

There seems to be plenty of support once you buy it, but be aware that they'll try to sell you a ton of supplements and things like that after. So you might want to give them a dummy email.

Since you say you're in decent shape you should do okay. But it will kick your butt.

From Mr. Shoes:

I am working on getting in better shape and losing weight. I am currently working with a personal trainer to get in shape. I told her that I tried P90X, but that it was above my current abilities. The trainer said that it is a great program, but it is not for beginners. So, if you are are in good shape to begin with, this program will take you over that edge and to the next level.

posted by TooFewShoes at 6:18 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

P90X is great. Easier to do with others than by yourself.

Not a lot to talk about or discuss. Do it. You'll feel great and you'll get in shape.

Do it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:36 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

My brother did it a couple of years ago at age 37 and it transformed his appearance. He was really hyped about it while doing it and the results got him back to the gym afterwards. He was always a big guy but had really gone to pot, so most of what he was doing was losing weight and toning up.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:52 PM on June 17, 2010

I'm finishing it up now. Would consider myself to be in very good shape, a distance runner, and I have been lifting consistently for the past four years (anywhere from 2-4x per week depending on the season). 31 year old female, FWIW. Here are my impressions:

1) I bought this workout because I started working from home and wanted something I could do without driving to the gym. For this purpose, it is very useful and it is the main reason why I am satisfied with the program as a whole.
2) The workout consists of WAY more specific exercises than I would ever bother to do in the gym. The biceps day is just tons and tons of reps. I'm more of a believer in compound lifts and so this aspect of the workout annoys me - I just find it to be overkill. If you download the worksheets from the beachbody website, you can see what they entail.
3) I generally do not find the workouts to be too hard at the time, probably because I have been weight training so consistently for so long, but I am pretty wiped out at the end from the cumulative effect of all the very specific exercises.
4) The workouts are very time consuming. This is good because they burn more calories (if that's a pro for you), but it's also possible to get a very good workout in a lot less time. Take the amount of time you have to spend on this into consideration, because it's on average an hour a day.
5) The yoga workout is terrible. Tony needs to shut the hell up and let us breathe/concentrate. I ended up switching it with a Power Yoga DVD I have at home.
6) Don't spend money on the nutrition stuff they are pushing. I bought my copy on Amazon, so I'm not getting all the e-mails mentioned above, but they do enough selling on the website. Make your own recovery food.
posted by smalls at 6:54 PM on June 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

I'm on the north side of 40 and I wasn't in that great of shape when I tried it. I finished up a few weeks ago. Going into it, I had serious doubts about what kind of results I could expect at my age, fitness level, and level of commitment (casual). I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome. I did find it a bit hard on the knees, but not too bad with a few modifications.

On preview, everything in smalls comment is spot on. Favorited for emphasis.

Two little bits of advice/encouragement:

1) Push Play. Even on the days you don't feel like doing it, suit up and push the play button. Even if you only go for twenty minutes, even if you have to stop every few minutes, or if you have to skip whole sets. Show up and do what you can, and then congratulate yourself for showing up.

2) Eat. You need the food if you're going to have the energy. This was the hardest part for me to accomplish, because I'm lazy about food, but figuring out what to eat and when was key to what success I had.

My one disappointment is that the cardio days didn't translate that well into other activities, specifically running. But that should be easy enough to fix with a few additions/substitutions.

Have fun.
posted by zueod at 7:31 PM on June 17, 2010

I loved it when I did it steadily for two months (it's a 3 month program). I even recorded each workout I did each day, but you need a full hour or hour and a half each day to complete the program. You could always go out of order or shorten the workouts, but it's more satisfying to follow the schedule. The length of the workouts is what killed it for me in the's really hard to keep up unless you have a 9-5 job or...just have lots of time. If you do try it, you'll feel muscles move in parts of your body that you never thought you could "feel"...that's hard to explain. For more reviews, I'd suggest reading the reviews at or some other fitness review site.
posted by KimikoPi at 7:32 PM on June 17, 2010

It'll kick your ass but if you can stay with it, it will work. It is definitely no BS.
posted by CwgrlUp at 7:47 PM on June 17, 2010

I agree with almost everything smalls has to say, especially about the worthlessness of the 'nutritional' supplements.

One thing I will say about the program is that, while it's a great thing to have in your back pocket for when you don't have access to a gym, it operates at a level of intensity that is massively difficult for most people to maintain. Of my dozen acquaintances who have done it, only three made it through the whole program. All dozen were in decent shape to start.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:33 PM on June 17, 2010

My husband and I are on day 45 (not including the random skipped days) of P90X right now. I love it!!! About two weeks in I cancelled my gym membership. It's just very cool and satisfying to me to see this body that I've been working so hard to sculpt come to life. I also feel much better during the day and suffer less aches/pains at the end of the work day.

I am a total convert.

Just as a data point though, before P90X I ran 3-4 miles 3-4 times per week and interspersed the rest of the week with random cardio equipment at the gym. You definitely have to be in somewhat good shape to do the workouts. Also, I felt very discouraged after the first few workouts because I couldn't really do any push-ups/pull-ups. You gotta just keep going even if you suck at it.
posted by sickinthehead at 9:16 PM on June 17, 2010

I haven't done P90X, but I have several friends & co-workers that have tried and not completed it - mainly because they weren't in good enough shape to begin with and became really discouraged because it is such an intense workout.

When I wanted to start working out, I initially considered P90X, too. It sounds like you're in a lot better shape than I was when I started, so you may fair better. I started from a point of basically no regular exercise.

So, as an alternative suggestion (mainly for anyone else reading who is thinking P90X isn't for them...), they also sell a fitness DVD called Power90. It's very simple and no where near as intense as P90X - think watered-down, diet P90X. The Mrs and I were very successful at going through Power90, and I would think that after 3-6 months of Power90 someone as out of shape as I was could continue on to P90X. Also, Power90 doesn't require all the "stuff" that P90X does. It's really just resistance bands and that is all for equipment. One thing about Power90 that some might consider bad is because it is a simpler program the DVDs do get repetitive. On the other hand, we actually had a lot of fun yelling at the TV whenever Tony messed up or said something dumb because we had watched it over and over so much.
posted by JibberJabber at 6:53 AM on June 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

I just started my first week of P90X - being inspired by my 39 year old brother who got into the BEST shape of his life through P90X. He's a believer and made me one, too!
I am only in my first week and not in superb shape so I am modifying a bit. I do everything, but often make it through about 20 seconds of a 30 second exercise. I'm okay with that as long as I do my best and finish the video even if modified. I'm still feeling the workout, and I know I'll get better. I've got 84 days to go!

Though I will do the same workouts for 3 weeks in Phase 1 , it is a different workout every day. I like the variety and the different ways the program works on my body. It's much more interesting that lifting weights in the gym. And there are some different moves that I have never done before. The Ab Ripper routine is way more than crunches - it's almost fun!

I'd give it a try. You can find copies on eBay or Craigslist, but try to get the two books that come with the videos.

If you already have weights and space, all you need is a pull up bar, a mat, and a recovery drink. My brother didn't buy any of Beachbody's foods. He actually recommends Carnation Instant Breakfast since it has the 4:1 carb to protein ratio needed. For extra protein he gets his protein bars and shakes at Walmart (their brand if they have one) since they seem to have fewer calories and fat and carbs than other bars.

I'd say the hardest part for me so far has been trying to squeeze in all the protein required for Phase 1 and finding the best time of day to do this with my husband. It's more fun with him, but we don't have the same schedule. We'll figure it out because we don't want to quit!
posted by LilBit at 7:13 AM on June 18, 2010

I am in reasonably good shape, and P90x kicked my ass. This is coming from a guy who does plyometrics, jumps rope, runs, and lift weights. If it is not seriously kicking your butt, your aren't doing it right or are not using enough weight. If you do AbRipper with correct form, you shouldn't be able to lift your head off the ground when your done. If you can, bang out more reps.
posted by jasondigitized at 9:47 AM on June 18, 2010

Funny enough, I just found out about this a two weeks ago and I completed my first week of P90X last night.

I used to be quite athletic, but that has lapsed over the past four years to almost nothing. At work we recently started up a challenge to see who can complete the full 90 days. Some of the work outs have been rough, but I can honestly say I already feel a lot better after only a week in. I definitely recommend starting a little competition to motivate yourself through the less encouraging days.

My Comments:
1) If you have weights, a bit of space, and some bands (or a pull-up bar), you have everything you need.

2) Don't worry about the special P90X supplements. Buy whatever you think is best/cheapest for you (do a quick Google for some tips) or buy nothing at all. But also remember to eat healthy! You'll feel a lot better and perform a lot better if you eat right (I don't follow the eating plan, but you can follow the basic ideas).

3) "Do you're best and forget the rest!" He says this constantly, and it's true. You will improve, so just start and whatever is comfortable.

4) I've never done a guided workout before, but the videos are pretty enjoyable to watch and go at a decent pace. Keep the remote close by to hit "pause" though... there are some points were you'll need a break or need to review the proper positioning.

5) The videos are also good for showing what to do and what not to do. Very helpful compared to pictures or reading about it online.

After week in, I fully recommend it. At the very least, remember that any workout is better than nothing, so go for it and challenge some others to keep up with you. ;)
posted by Kippersoft at 11:10 AM on June 18, 2010

I'm on week 10.

Background: prior to starting p90x, I would ride my bike to work most days, did a lot of walking around my city, always took the stairs, etc. As far as working out, I've got a young child, so at best I could get in 1 or 2 cardio sessions a week (30 minutes on bike, elliptical, or rowing machine) and once a week tennis. I thought I was in ok shape, and figured being tired was just part of having a toddler. I was about as active as you could be while having a desk job and not specifically following a workout program. I passed the p90x fitness test easily.

P90X kicked the crap out of me for the first few weeks. I was sore everywhere, for days. Then it got better. Now I'm not nearly as sore, for nearly as long. I don't follow the diet plan (though I am making better eating choices), and truth be told, I'm lucky to get in 4 or 5 of the recommended 6 sessions per week.

Results so far: I've definitely got more energy. All I really care about is the tennis - and prior to starting p90x, I had a 4-4 record on my team's internal ladder. Immediately after starting p90x through today my record has gone to 11-2. It's not an easy program, but you'll see and feel results quickly. Weight loss wasn't a goal, but I'm down 7 pounds. I didn't realize how much my lack of fitness was holding me back on the tennis court, or in life in general - now I do.

It's not a perfect program. Once I finish the 12 weeks, I really don't see myself doing any of the specific workouts again except for legs, ab ripper, and plyometrics. I think most of the benefits are just getting off your ass for an hour to hour and a half most days.

I'm glad I did it, and will either do another round or do p90x insanity next. The at-home video thing works very well if you've got kids, too. If you're trying to decide between doing nothing and doing this program, do the program, no doubt. Yes, there are other ways to start getting or stay fit, but if p90x is nothing more than an on-ramp to general lifestyle changes, you're getting plenty out of it.
posted by NoRelationToLea at 2:13 PM on June 18, 2010

« Older Should I buy an iPad?   |   hali burton little help out there?! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.