Although most of you already know what P90X is, some of you may not. Basically, P90X is an at home fitness program created by Tony Horton. Tony Horton is an elite fitness trainer who has trained numerous athletes, celebrities, and many others. His P90X fitness program is the number 1 selling at home fitness program in America. It consists of strength training, plyometrics, yoga, cardio, and martial arts that are about 1 hour-long performed 6 days per week. Three weeks of hard training is followed by one week or rest recovery (which still does not seem to rest because you are still working out!) 💯
Before I review P90X I just want to say that this is strictly my opinion and what I have experienced with the program. I have no intention of putting down P90X whatsoever and if you have a differing opinion than my own please share as everybody's opinion and warranted and appreciated!
All in all, P90X can significantly increase strength. You might be asking, it can? I thought it definitely will increase strength! Maybe. Maybe not. Let me explain why!
For a beginner exerciser, P90X will most likely increase strength and power. The reason is that people who are new or somewhat new to exercise experience anatomical adaptation. In other words, the body undergoes significant physiological and anatomical changes due to the new exercise stress placed on the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, etc. That is why many people experience the most fitness improvement within the first few months they begin an exercise regimen. However, once the body becomes used to exercise it begins to adapt, thus making it difficult to make further strength and muscle gains unless resistance is increased.
On the other hand, P90X will probably not increase strength in serious strength trainers who have already been weight lifting for many years. In fact, I noticed that I lost a good amount of strength after doing P90X for a few weeks. And let me clarify what I mean by strength. Strength is the ability to exert a maximum amount of force for ONE repetition. Thus, my 1 rep max on bench press immensely declined. I do not max out on squats; however, if I had done squats previous to starting P90X I'm almost positive my 1 rep max on squats would have decreased as well. The reason for the decrease in strength among advanced weight lifters is that most of the P90X exercises use your own body weight as resistance. Once you get to a certain level, your bodyweight becomes too little of a resistance to make any serious strength gains. Another words, increased resistance is needed for the muscles to become overloaded thus making it possible for them to compensate by becoming stronger.
One of my favorite workouts in P90X is plyometrics, also known as jump training. It consists of a variety of exercises that specifically increase power which includes squat jumps, tuck jumps, rock star jumps, tire jumps, and jumping lunges, just to name a few. Power is extremely important in nearly all sports, which is why nearly all athletes include plyometrics in their training programs. Additionally, plyometric training can burn a massive amount of calories, which can further contribute to fat loss.
For a beginner exerciser, the P90X can significantly increase power. As I said before, most of the improvement revolves around the fact that a beginner exerciser experiences to anatomical adaptation, However, for someone who has done plyometric workouts previous to P90X, they may not see much improvement. In my case, I was still able to do the same amount of squat jumps, tuck jumps, etc. after completing the P90X program as before it. Ultimately, plyometric training is extremely important if you wish to maintain or increase strength, power, and cardiovascular and muscular endurance. All in all, the P90X plyometric routine is a killer!
The biggest physical improvement I noticed from completing P90X was that of aerobic endurance. Most of the P90X workouts consist of high repetitions, total body exercises, and short rest periods. When you combine those three elements, you end up with an extremely intense aerobic endurance workout! Although you may not achieve the same effect of typical aerobic endurance exercises, such as running or swimming, it is very comparable. I can guarantee that if you are working hard and giving it your all, your heart rate will stay elevated the entire workout, especially when doing the plyometrics! So, to wrap it up, YES! P90X can significantly increase aerobic endurance, especially in beginners!
P90X definitely has the potential to help you build a muscular body and defined body. The combination of plyometrics, total body exercises, high repetitions, and variation makes it stand out as an extreme, fat burning program. However (there is always a however or but) you will only build that “beach” body IF and only IF you follow a healthy diet! Tony Horton even says in his video a few times not to go out after a workout or during a break and eat a pastrami sandwich!
To lose fat, you MUST burn more calories than you take in, creating what is known as a calorie deficit. Makes sense right? If your body contains excess calories at the end of the day, it can store it as fat! If you burn more calories than you consume by the end of the day, theoretically you will lose fat! Now, notice how I said “theoretically.” That is because everybody's body is different and regardless what so-called “fitness experts” may tell you, no one method is best for losing fat. Unfortunately, genetics has a lasting impact on body composition. One thing you can be sure of, however, is that following intense strength training programs, such as P90X, can significantly improve your health and help you shed body fat, as long as you stick to a healthy diet!
Although P90X is an excellent program to help people lose fat, it can easily lead to overtraining. Overtraining basically means exactly as it sounds. When you over exert the body and do not rest enough, overtraining and ultimately injury and detraining can occur. One of the selling points of P90X is that it is high intensity, which is basically short or no rest breaks and high repetitions, both of which increase intensity. However, too much high repetition workout and not enough rest can and will lead to overtraining eventually. Personally, I feel that working out intensely for 6 days per weeks for 3 weeks straight is too much. My wife's knee was in pain by the 3rd week of P90X. But, that is the risk you take when starting a fitness program that is intended to give immediate results. P90X for some people will be “too much too soon.” Now, that is not typical for everyone. If you are already in great shape and physically active, you probably will not experience overtraining.
Warm Up and Stretching
One of my favorite aspects of P90X is that Tony Horton really emphasizes warm up and stretching. Being that P90X is such an intense exercise regimen, warming up and stretching is crucial if you wish to prevent injuries and perform at your best. Not only does Tony emphasize stretching, but he ensures the muscles are warm before stretching by doing exercises such as running in place and jumping jacks. This ensures that the muscles are warmed up before stretching which can help prevent injury.
All in all, P90X is an effective fitness program if you are looking to lose fat and increase lean muscle mass. Although advanced exercisers can make improvements, the people who will benefit most from the program are beginner exercisers or athletes who have never engaged in an intense exercise regimen and stuck to it. Like I stated previously, I actually lost strength after completing this program. However, I think I made up for it by improving my cardiovascular endurance. Additionally, I actually lost weight, probably due to the high amount of calories you burn during the workout. So, if you are looking to maintain or gain lean muscle mass, P90X is probably not for you.
In contrast, I highly suggest P90X for beginners or for anyone else who wants a change in their exercise regimen. However, know that P90X is extremely high intensity and I do not recommend doing it as a permanent routine. 90 days is all you really need for those of you who are trying to get into shape. I think any more than that and overtraining can occur and possibly cause injury. As always, consult a physician before you start any exercise regimen. Continue…