Determining the best home workout DVD plan is a tricky job because so many of us have different expectations and experiences when it comes to fitness. Personally, I think the best workout plan should allow you to reach your goals, be possible to perform safely from home, and survive the test of time. In a nutshell, P90X checks off all those boxes.
Full disclosure- I own the P90X base kit. I purchased the P90X program back in 2010, so I do have first hand experience with this workout. I’ll tell ya more about my experience with it in a bit, let’s discuss what it is and who is producing it first.
What is P90X All About?
You’ve probably seen the infomercials on tv for the P90X program, it’s been around for awhile…since around 2003 I believe. It’s still on the market, pretty good for a home fitness program these days with so much competition out there .
P90X is a ’90’ day workout ‘program’ designed to get ‘extreme’ results. Name is catchy enough. It is produced by a company by the name of Beach Body LLC. Beach Body has been in the game since the late ’90s, producing multiple workout videos you have probably heard of: Insanity, 21-Day Fix, Body Beast, plus a bunch more.
P90X was one of the first home workout programs Beach Body developed. It was created by a zany trainer by the name of Tony Horton. Good ‘ol Tony. He, with the help of a few others, designed the workouts and developed a nutrition plan to help people “get in the best shape of their life”.
The P90X program is based on an idea they refer to as “muscle confusion”. The idea basically means that the workout routines change every few wks (4 actually) so that the muscles don’t get used to the routine. Changing the workouts keep the muscles ‘on their toes’ so to speak, therefore working harder so that you get better results.
A lot of personal trainers out there would agree with this concept.
What Does P90X Include?
The P90X plan is pretty inclusive. The base package (the one I purchased all those years ago) includes:
- 12 Workout DVDs (chest and back, plyometrics, shoulders and arms, yoga X, legs and back, kenpo X, X stretch, core synergistics, chest, shoulders and triceps, back and biceps, cardio X, ab ripper X)
- “How to Bring It” Intro video
- Comprehensive 3 Phase Nutrition Plan
- Detailed P90X Fitness Guide
- Workout Calendar
- 24/7 Online Support
There are also Deluxe and Ultimate P90X packages they have developed.
With the Deluxe package, you get the above, plus a chin-up bar, recovery drink, and 3 resistance bands.
With the Ultimate package, you get the Deluxe plus 5 extra workouts, power stands (for push ups), and the chin-up max (band designed to help you knock a few more reps on pull ups).
There are also P90X2 and P90X3 programs out there, completely different workout plans. Once you finish P90X you could always switch it up and try part 2 or 3, but the workouts aren’t related in any way. You don’t have to finish one to be ready for the other.
Ok, so now we now what P90X is made of. Let’s discuss what works and what doesn’t.
- You are getting 12…I’ll repeat…12 workouts with this system. Each workout is approximately 1 hr long, give or take.
- P90X is a total body workout. I included what the different workouts are up above, as you can see you have multiple upper body and lower body routines, as well as several varieties of cardio and stretching routines. The system incorporates A LOT OF VARIETY…goes back to their ‘muscle confusion’ concept.
- These workouts can easily be done at home, most only require a 6×6 ft space. There are different options for equipment, you can use dumbbells, bands, or a combination. A pull up bar is highly recommended, but not necessary. You will get a better workout with the pull ups, but you can use the bands in place of pull ups if you want.
- Nutrition plan included. The system gives you 3 different plans to choose from, depending on your starting fitness level and goals. If you are trying to lose fat, the first program is a high protein low carb option, each following plan basically incorporates more carbs. The idea is as you lose fat and get more lean, you will need more carbs to give you more energy while exercising. Makes sense. The nutrition plan is pretty impressive, teaches you how to calculate your daily calorie needs, gives you recipes and example menus.
- The fitness guide is pretty good, is basically a written version of the videos. Has all of the exercises listed and how to do them.
- The workouts are hardcore. Be advised, Beach Body was not exaggerating when the called this system “extreme”… these workouts are no joke. Nothing fancy, a lot of push ups, lot of pull ups, and good old fashioned weight lifting. I consider this a pro…unfortunately there is no easy way to get in shape. If you want to reach your goals, you have to put the work in.
- The workouts include different variations for each exercise…not everyone can do a push up or pull up on day 1…P90X knows this and it’s ok. They teach you how to modify each exercise to your fitness level, and you can progress up as you get in better shape. It’s fun to see yourself improve along the way, you may surprise yourself. If you stick with it you can get in the best shape of your life.
- This program takes time…each workout is at least an hour long…includes warm-up and cool down, and ab workout is an additional 15 min 3x/wk. It can be difficult for busy parents to find 60-75 min, 6 days a wk for exercise.
- I want to repeat, this program expects you to exercise 6 days a wk… that’s a commitment not everyone may be willing to make. These workouts are tough too, probably not the best option for the novice. More appropriate for moderate to advanced fitness levels.
- The different routines are good, I like the change that occurs after 4 wks…but I wish they had included a different leg routine. The ‘legs and back’ routine stays the same throughout all 12 exercising wks. It is always done on Fridays. It’s a great workout, it’s tough, but it gets really boring. I used to dread the Friday workout.
- The ‘yoga X’ workout is literally 90 min long… I have a hard time doing any exercise for 90 min.
- Tony is kinda funny the first 3 or 4 viewings. His jokes get old though, sorry Tony!
- The workouts are still on DVD I think, I would like to see them upgrade to a Blu-Ray option.
My Experience With P90X
Oh, I guess I should fill ya in on my personal experience with the program. Ok. So, back in 2010 I purchased the program because I was getting married in the Spring of 2011 and I wanted to really get in shape and look good for the wedding. I had seen the infomercials several times and I figured I would give it a shot, why not?
I’m a guy who has been pretty much working out regularly…with some breaks here and there…since I was 13. Always lifting weights, doing cardio machines at gyms, playing basketball. I considered myself a fairly fit guy.
I still remember (and I’m a little embarrassed to admit this) my first P90X workout…chest and back… I had the great idea of inviting my fiancé at the time to come workout with me…for MY FIRST P90X WORKOUT EVER… turned out to be a bad idea, I had to stop the video about half way through and excuse myself to the bathroom (to vomit).
It was tough. I had never attempted so many push ups and pull ups back to back before, so I, uh, had a little more than I could handle. Anyway, I am proud to say that I did come back and finish the workout. After a little rest. Anyway, I did complete the 90 day program… working out 6 days/wk for 90 days (with 2 recovery wks in there). It was intense, but I can honestly say I did get in the best shape of my life.
I lost about 10 pounds during the program. Started off around 195, ended up around 185 (I hadn’t been this weight since high school). I only followed the nutrition plan for about half of the program…I got weak…I like beer and pizza too much.
So I wasn’t one of the huge success stories you see online or on tv, but if you have the discipline to really eat clean, I see how you could. But, when I started I could do maybe 6-7 pull ups…at the end of the program I could literally do 25 pull ups, no joke.
This is an easy one for me, I’m 100% in. The P90X program is awesome. It gives you the education and tools necessary to get in the best shape of your life. It’s one of the most comprehensive home fitness programs I’ve come across. The fact that it is still on the market after all these years should say something, especially with all of the other programs and fads out there that didn’t survive.
12 different workouts…great nutrition plan…fitness guide… yeah, really good stuff. I actually think the price is pretty reasonable on this program too. Basically $120 plus S &H. All in thats less than $10 per dvd…not bad.
But, like any exercise program, you will only get out of it what you put in. It’s really up to you. Like Tony would say, “you have to bring it”. These workouts are intense and can get you in amazing shape, but you have to be willing to put the effort in. There is no magic button, no magic workout that will somehow get you ripped with minimal effort.
The harder you work, the better shape you get in…that’s as simple as it gets.
This program gives you everything you need to get in amazing shape. 8 years later and I still do the workouts intermittently as part of my routine. I have done the whole 90 day workout program from start to finish 4x (normally starting in January to make up for the holiday binging).
Long-story-short, I highly recommend it for anyone who is working out at home.
I hope this review was helpful. Hit me up with any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from others who have graduated from the P90x program.