What is P90X?

P90X (Power 90 Extreme) is a fitness program designed to be performed at comfort of your home and with its boot-camp style deliver improved fitness within just 90 days. It is advertised under a claim of fame that anyone can be absolutely ripped in just 90 days. Program is designed around the concept of ‘muscle confusion’ and presented by its designer Tony Horton.Muscle confusion or set of workouts, their rotations and proper diet are keys to this program. Often, the ratio of success is assigned as 80% diet and 20% workouts themselves. This, however, does not make the program ‘easy’ by nature.¬†Whenever I tell people about having done P90X a few questions are immediately in conversations:

  1. What is P90X?
  2. How much nutrition & food is needed?
  3. What gear do I need for P90X?
  4. How do I start?
  5. Does it really work?

1. So, what is it or how does it work?

Types of P90X

There are three types or kinds of P90X depending on your goals and they are Lean, Classic and Doubles. Just as the names imply, choose yours based on goals and go for it. I did Classic P90X. For the most part workouts alternative where Lean has more cardio based workouts than Classic while Doubles requires some an additional AM cardio workouts. I went with Classic as I did not want to look into this that deeply nor workout 2-3 hrs a day.

Here is a link to a calendar and schedule for each type,  you can also download printable schedule.

2. How much nutrition & food is needed?


All types of P90X workouts are supported by ‘3 Phases’ where each phase consists of 3 weeks of workouts + 4th of a ‘recovery’ week. Each phase is aligned with the nutrition plan where

  • Phase 1 (days 1-28) Fat Shredder

A high-protein based diet designed to help you strengthen muscle while rapidly shedding fat from your body.

  • Phase 2 (days 29-56) Energy Booster

A balanced mix of carbohydrates and protein with a lower amount of fat to supply additional energy for performance.

  • Phase 3 (days 57-90) Endurance Maximizer

An athletic diet of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and lower fat with an emphasis on more carbohydrates. You’ll need this combination of foods as fuel to get the most out of your final training block and truly get int he best shape of your life!

The above is just a quick glance at the full Nutrition Guide that comes with the purchase of P90X program. Based on your own goals (and a few Mother Nature factors such as age, weight, height) you can calculate how many calories you will need. Team BeachBody website offers nutrition tools to calculate your caloric needs.

3. What gear do I need for P90X?

One of the bigger selling points for me was that program does not require a lot of gear or a gym. Quite honestly, it was about time I get a few items that promote health.

  • Pull-up Bar

You can also use Resistance Bands but I had no decent place to anchor the bands and always felt paranoid of the band snapping. For the first 2 weeks, I used a red (20lbs-40lbs) band for the workouts as freeweight substitute but soon felt that I can could not fairly control the resistance and effort.

  • Freeweights

Make your own choice based on your strength but as a complete newbie I would suggest 10lbs, 25lbs,35lbs but then again you might outgrow them. I decided to invest into a compact set of powerblocks 5-50 with enough room to progress.

  • Yoga mat or padding

Spending time on the floor on your tailbone can wear on you after a while; also, you will be sweating a stain so use something such as yoga mat or some form of padding that is easy to clean up. You can find a yoga mat for $15-$20 at your local Wallmart if you lack a sports store. If you are not the most flexible unit, like me, then pick up some yoga blocks or find something of block statute. I happened to have a Belkin CushTop pad for a laptop so I used used that and worked out fine.

This is all you would need to get going and every other bit of equipment you see in DVDs can be improvised. I did end up picking a few more items on the way that you can check out here.

4. How do I start?

Fit Test

First, set some time aside to do a Fit Test and determine where you stand. There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ results here just simply a few tests and measurements of your current fitness level. You can download the fit test sheet from BeachBody website or download it from this page.


Now that you know what type of workouts, at what schedule, how much food you need to consume and you have the gear then…you can hit the play button. Each DVD and comes with a set of workouts for the day scheduled. On the strength training days you will be also doing Ab Ripper X and this workout will play right after the main workout so you don’t need to switch DVDs. Here is my experience with all workout sets.

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