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P90X, designed by Beach Body, has fast become one of the most popular at-home workout or exercise program around to burn calories and build muscle. A lot of people have tried the workout routine and found that it offers great results as a personal trainer. Others, however, have found the workout schedule doesn’t quite deliver on its promises.
So which is it? Does P90X really guarantee weight loss, or is it just one more “fad”? Below, we take a look at the complete P90X program to help you know for sure whether it works for building muscle…
What is P90X?
P90X is a 90-day workout plan that combines resistance training, Yoga, cardiovascular training, bodyweight/functional training, martial arts, plyometric training, and stretching protocols. It’s definitely a well-rounded workout schedule, one that targets all four elements of fitness:
- Muscular Strength — Most of the workouts target muscular strength. There is emphasis placed on developing functional strength through a variety of push-ups, pull-ups, squats, lunges, and other bodyweight exercises. However, weights (dumbbells) and resistance bands are also used for building muscle.
- Muscular Endurance – The low-weight exercises help to increase muscular endurance as well as strength. The Yoga, martial arts, and plyometric workouts also target muscular endurance.
- Cardiovascular Endurance – The P90X program includes cardio workouts like Plyometrics (jump training) and Kempo (martial arts) training session each week, which delivers the cardiovascular training you need elevating your heart rate.
- Flexibility/Mobility — Not only does every workout begin with a warm-up, but there are weekly 90-minute Yoga sessions and 45-minute stretching workouts included. The workouts help to increase joint mobility and flexibility.
The program comes with 13 workout videos to get you in good shape. The fitness guide workouts are usually 60 minutes long, including warm-up and cool-down. Of course, the P90X promise is that you’ll get ripped and fit in just 90 days. This may seem a bit far-fetched, but it can deliver excellent results like help you lose weight and start a workout routine. After all, 90 days of pretty hardcore training will do your body good!
The P90X Principle of Muscle Confusion
The P90X program is based on the principle of “muscle confusion”. Basically, this principle states that working your muscles from different angles and in new ways, every day/week prevents plateaus in strength and endurance.
The truth is that the human body is designed to adapt to strain. If you perform the same exercises day after day, your body will develop strength for that particular set of movements. You won’t have the well-rounded strength that will carry over into all other exercises. The exercise will provide limited strength and functionality.
But that’s the beauty of P90X. The workouts change every week or two, so your body never has a chance to adapt to the movements. It leads to a much more well-rounded strength and endurance. It’s functional training at the core, but with weights and resistance bands to add a measure of difficulty.
There are 12 workout videos included in the P90X program:
Muscle Training Videos – You get five videos targeting muscular strength and growth: 1) Chest and Back, 2) Shoulders and Arms, 3) Legs and Back, 4) Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps; and 5) Back and Biceps. These workouts hit both your upper and lower body effectively.
Other Training Videos – The rest of the videos target other aspects of your fitness:
- Plyometrics – This “jump training” not only shreds your lower body muscles but encourages better cardiovascular and muscular endurance.
- Yoga X – This classic 90-minute Yoga session focuses on muscular endurance, balance, stability, mobility, and flexibility.
- Kenpo X – This is more along the lines of Tae-Bo, a workout that uses martial arts movements for an aerobic workout.
- X Stretch – This is the “relaxing” workout to help you work on your mobility and flexibility without straining your muscles.
- Core Synergistics –– This workout hits your core, but in a way that encourages better spinal mobility and movement.
- Cardio X – This is some straight-forward killers Cardio workouts that will seriously enhance your cardiovascular endurance.
- Ab Ripper X – This workout focuses on your abs, with a bit of emphasis on your back and obliques as well to lean muscle.
The hour-long workouts are excellent for those who want to push themselves hard and burn some calories. The variety of movements ensures that your muscles never grow too accustomed to the training—leading to better results in the long run!
This is the part where we talk about what P90X can do for you.
Can you get fit in 90 days? This is a bit of a stretch, truth be told! No one is going to go from out of shape to fighting fit or fitness model in just 90 days, no matter how hard they push themselves with the exercise. The body takes time to adapt to increased energy demands, so you won’t see total fitness by the end of the program.
That being said, you can expect some excellent results from your efforts. You’ll be doing some pretty hardcore workouts every day, pushing your muscles to the limits of endurance. If you actually complete the 90 days of training, you’re all but guaranteed to see muscle growth, better cardiovascular function, and enhanced mobility and flexibility, right in the road of a good shape!
What about weight loss? If your goal with doing the P90X fitness guide is to lose weight and fat, you’re in luck! The fact that you’re pushing your body so hard (cardio and resistance training both) means you’re going to see results. Every workout burns A LOT of calories and fat, and you are going to walk away from every workout (even Yoga X or X Stretch) drenched in sweat.
The great thing about the P90X program is that you target both muscle growth and fat burning with the exercise. The creation of new muscle fiber ensures that your body burns primarily fat. You may not drop 20% of your body fat over the 90 days, but you can expect some excellent results in terms of weight loss and fat burning with this exercise program.
Will I see overall improvement in my fitness? Absolutely! Any workout program that pushes you as hard as the P90X program is going to yield some pretty awesome results in your overall fitness. You’ll find you move easier, can perform your activities of daily living better, and have more energy. It will also be easier for you to take up other forms of training once you get through the P90X program.
Who is P90X For?
This is a question that most people fail to ask, but it’s an important one!
The truth is that the P90X program is NOT for beginners. This strength training workouts involve a lot of very difficult exercises, and the training can put a serious strain on a cardiovascular system and heart rate unused to strenuous exercise. If you’re totally new to exercise, you’re better off spending a few months at the gym with a personal trainer and on the track to get your body accustomed to the hardcore fitness program.
If you’ve been training at the gym for 6 to 18 months and have a rigid meal plan, you may be seeing good results from your efforts. P90X offers you a way to step things up and see serious progress in a short amount of time.
It won’t replace your regular fitness workout completely—it’s just a 90-day way to kick things into high gear and shake up your training regimen.
For the very fit and those who have been training at the gym for a few years, it’s worth considering P90X. There are a lot of variations that this fitness program makes the standard exercises even more challenging for the truly fit.
The unique design of the workouts can help you to drop those last few pounds of body fat, improve your mobility and muscle strength, or work on your cardio, hopefully with a nutrition plan to improve the results.
Health enthusiast, runner, protein nut. Owen likes to write about protein, particularly alternatve supplementation and supplement comparisons.