Friday, January 20, 2012

Fitness Friday: P90X

Today we come to my current favourite program: Beachbody's P90X. A lot of people have seen the infomercials  - if you haven't, just head on over to and you'll see lots of stuff for P90X.

P90X stands for Power 90 Extreme. There are three configurations: Lean, Classic, and Doubles. Lean has 2 strength workouts a week, Classic has 3, and Doubles is Classic with extra Cardio workouts scheduled on strength days.

I've done Lean and most of Classic and my fave is Lean. I love the strength workouts, but I find that with Classic I miss some of my favourite routines - notably cardio and core. Core Synergistics especially works to support all the other programs. My balance and stability improved so much doing the core routine. It is one of those love it but hate it workouts, as there are particular exercises that are just horrible for me (like prison cell pushups). But love it for the results.

The plan works on a 3+1 week structure - Three works of high intensity followed by a recovery week that focuses more on yoga, stretch, cardio, etc. and it is fantastic. During that week, that's when you really see your body change. During the last segment, you do 4 weeks before your final recovery week.

The one thing I'm doing this next round is swapping out Cardio now and again in Lean and putting Plyometrics in its place. In the Classic version, Plyo takes the place of cardio, so it's a good swap. I didn't think I'd enjoy Plyo, but it's one of my favourites.

And just because you do lean doesn't mean you're not building strength. You do 2 strength workouts a week, and the other workouts all contain some sort of weight bearing exercise - like pushups and squats. If you've ever held the warrior pose for long, you KNOW how hard it works your quads. Even if you're not lifting weights, you are working your body HARD.

Speaking of yoga - the P90X yoga is 90 min long. I hated it. My beachbody coach suggested I try Tony Horton's (Tony is the P90X instructor) Fountain of Youth yoga which is 48 minutes. I love it so much more.

There's not much designer about this program when it  comes to staging and clothing and all the fancy stuff. The designer stuff is all put into the science of the exercise and it works. I may not have been utterly ripped last summer, but before RWA Nationals conference I left the plus size stores behind and shopped in a regular store. I lost inches off my waist and hips and felt so much taller.  It's hard because it's supposed to be. It's going to push you big time. But one thing I like about Tony is his motto "Do your best and forget the rest". You do what you can, with the assumption that you are going to go not just until "oh that's enough" but to failure (I can't do one more). The moves are also not difficult if you are challenged with bad coordination. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of the conditioning I did when playing sports (especially Plyo. Who thought I'd end up loving the exercises I cursed back then?). Less glam, more boot camp. Suits my personality to a "t", so I like it. My fave workout of all is KenPo - kickboxing. It is an hour of awesome.

And you do a LOT of warm up and cool down, which adds to the workout time but prevents a lot of injury. Like Power90, it has the clock in the corner so you know how far you've got to go. When I hit the 20 min left bit, I'm like hell yeah I can kick this thing. 20 min used to be a whole workout! Now it's the homestretch!

For specs at a glance:

90 days of workouts, on average 1 hour a day
Food plan included - and you're doing a major burn so you can eat a LOT on this plan - in fact, I could never eat all that was listed for the third phase. All good stuff, of course!
Mix of strength and cardio
Advanced level - not to say beginners can't do it, but they should be prepared so they don't get discouraged at first.
Equipment needed: resistance bands for sure. A pull up bar for pull ups but there is a band modification. Personally I like using free weights for a lot of it - I use anywhere from 3 lbs to 20. But the bands will do it.
Cost: The program retails for around $140. For that you get 12 dvds, the food plan, the wall chart, and I believe a resistance band. And you can log on to Beachbody and have online support in the forums there.
Optional equipment: extra bands, hand/free weights, yoga mat, and my personal fave since I have tweaky wrists: push up stands.

Recommended: Oh yeah. Well worth the money in my opinion. Depending, of course, on what style of workout you prefer.  Favourite DVD program I've ever done hands down.


  1. I wish there was a way to "try before buying", because I'm really intrigued by the idea...I just don't have $140 lying around. :P

    And I would hate to spend the money and discover that the workouts don't work for my personality or whatever.

    I also probably need to wait until E. goes to JK and then I'd have my days to myself again...

  2. Your discipline is impressive. I'm from a small town with a tiny gym that is offering a boot camp which I just started. They really mix it up with boxing with a punching bag and zumba and weights, too. I love it, but I don't think I would push myself if I were by myself. Pushing the start button is the hardest!

    So, you work out an hour+ a day? The recipes are often so complicated and not appetizing to the family. Do you just cook the eating plan for one person? BTW, I am reading "Hired by the Cowboy" right now.

  3. Cathy, I confess that I use a "portion" method rather than the recipes, because in this house, there are no "special" meals. If anything, I leave out the extras. So if there are rolls with chili, for example, I'd eat the chili and leave out the roll. What's good for me to eat is good for the kids and hubs, so making grilled chicken, brown rice and steamed broccoli is good for everyone (and everyone likes it). The kids are very good eaters.

    Tanya - I know what you mean. A friend of mine is loaning me TurboJam to try because I don't want to outlay more $$ for a program I may not like. After doing Power 90, I was fairly sure I'd like P90X because I like Tony's approach to things. I was right.

  4. I wish I knew someone around town who owns Power 90 or P90X so I could ask to borrow it! :P Oh, well. Maybe I'll start putting some pennies aside.. :)