My P90X Experience

[Note: I've posted a review of P90X here.]

P90XOne of the guys at work was telling me he got great results from P90X.  (Sound familiar?  This program’s all the rage these days).  So I thought “hey, I’ll give that a try, what have I got to lose?”  Well, having just finished the program a couple of weeks ago, I can say that while I’m glad I did it, I like it but it’s not my favorite.

Pros from my experience:

  1. My upper body strength increased significantly, in particular my arm strength.  I can do more pull-ups.  Clapping push-ups are a lot easier now.  My biceps, triceps, shoulders and forearms are all larger and stronger than they were.
  2. There’s a kickboxing workout once a week that’s really a lot of fun.  I learned wing-chun kung fu a couple of decades back, and although the moves in this workout are completely different, it was fun doing lots of kicks and punches.  After a couple of months I got pretty fast and fluid.
  3. I did the whole thing with dumbbells, a pull-up bar, a bench, and a yoga mat.  That’s a pretty minimal set of equipment.  I ended up getting some $15 push-up stands too.

Cons from my experience:

  1. The workouts are long.  I mean l…o…n…g.  These are 60-90 minutes in length, averaging around 75 minutes, six days a week (with an optional 7th day).  That’s a *lot* of time.  A lot more time than is really necessary to get results.  20-30 minutes of intensity is all that’s really needed to get an awesome workout.  These long workouts had a lot of breaks, and while they were very demanding, it really is hard to put in maximum effort for that lengthy period.  The other issue is that I had to change my schedule to fit them in.  I couldn’t just do them in the morning to start my day.  So it was a real hassle.
  2. Working myself to exhaustion like that really cranked up my appetite.  Even though the workout came diet instructions, they were hard for me to follow with my lifestyle (it’s not fun when dad’s eating stuff the rest of the family isn’t interested in).  They also advocate taking lots of supplements, powders, etc.  I tried for the first half of the program, but it was pretty hard to take (I prefer to just eat healthy food – that’s what our bodies are adapted for anyway).  Ultimately I ended up putting on some flab along with the muscle.  Nothing serious, but something I’d prefer to have avoided.
  3. There wasn’t as much sustained intensity as I’m used to.  Going back to Max Workouts in the past week was a real shock.

Will I do P90X again?  Probably occasionally (maybe once a year?) just for some variety, or maybe to focus on arm strength, which it seemed to be very good at.  But I’ll cap the workouts at 60 minutes, and swap out some of the routines for something a little more athletic.

More info:

  • The reviews on Amazon are pretty good – not everybody likes it, but you’ll see who does and who doesn’t and why/why not.

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