facebook icon

Sign out complete

arrow up iconGO TO
London, UK Posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Will P90X3 Build Muscle? (Review of Schedule & Results)

When the Tony Horton & Beachbody tag-team released Power 90 in the early 2000s, nobody expected it to evolve into the platform’s best-selling series.

Next came P90X, the unofficial 90-day “shortcut” to a ripped and aesthetic physique. Then P90X2 slid through the pipeline, designed for P90X survivors with athleticism on their minds.

Here we are now with the latest P90X installment — P90X3 — a program compressing the finer details of P90X and P90X2 into daily 30-minute workouts.

The question is: will P90X3 build muscle through what Horton calls “muscle acceleration?”

Stay tuned to find out!

About the Creator – Tony Horton

Between the distinct voice, cheesy slogans (i.e., “Do your best and forget the rest”), and tight-fitting tank tops, you might not know Tony Horton by name … but he’s certainly no stranger.

You either unearthed your parents’ DVD collection and discovered P90X (amongst other things), followed one of his workouts in high school, or woke up to a Beachbody infomercial at 3 a.m.

So who is the genius behind Beachbody’s breakout hits?

Tony Horton’s career began with a connection at 20th Century Fox and a training gig charging $20/hour. His clientele later expanded to include stars like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Idol.

However, being a so-called “trainer to the stars” wasn’t enough for a motivated Horton. The fitness legend eventually partnered with Beachbody and released his hit programs:

  • P90
  • P90X
  • P90X2
  • P90X3 (this program)
  • Power 90
  • Ten Minute Trainer
  • 22 Minute Hard Corps

Horton has since stepped back from the Beachbody craze to focus on building his own brands. But with more than five million copies sold (and counting), his BOD legacy is still in full swing!

What is P90X3?

Unlike the two P90X “episodes” before it, P90X3 isn’t a follow-up program for those hoping to continue their training journey alongside Tony Horton.

Instead, it’s a standalone program combining the training styles and results of P90X and P90X2 into a 90-day program, with workouts lasting just 30 minutes per day, six days a week.

In what Horton dubs “extreme fitness accelerated,” this “get ripped fast” program four-five goal-oriented training schedules (plus an Elite Block):

  • Classic: a careful balance of cardio and resistance training for an aesthetic physique
  • Lean: focuses on a leaner build that’s equally as functional
  • Mass: the P90X approach to bulking and noob gains (getting ripped is an afterthought)
  • Doubles: a twice-a-day program to maximize results on round two of P90X3
  • Elite Block: leans on P90X2’s post-activation potentiation strategy to enhance athleticism and prevent sports injury if you’re amped up for weeks 14 and beyond

Each version also cycles through three “blocks” that’ll introduce you to more than a dozen P90X3 workouts that’ll maximize your results to their core.

Horton’s fourth P90X installment (or fifth, if you count the prequel, Power 90) has a long line of satisfied users raving about their results, such as shedding 43 pounds and sculpting six-packs.

But we’re also a bit hesitant to tout it as any better than P90X or P90X2.

Promising a full-body transformation that’ll leave you ripped in 90 days with 30 minutes of training a day (including a warm-up) definitely sounds unrealistic.

(Plus, if you can achieve the results of both programs through P90X3, why spend 60 minutes a day and six months following the two of them when you could really do it in half the time?)

P90X3 Details & Features

Horton describes P90X3 as an extremely efficient routine built around the latest scientific discoveries. But before we take the guru’s word for it, let’s sift through the finer details!

“Start Here”

Whether you’re dead-set on following P90X3 or still deciding between a few Beachbody programs, all roads lead to the routine’s “Start Here” tab.

Here, you’ll find a generic run-through of this 90-day program, including:

  • A P90X3 program overview (which claims P90X3 is an “advanced program” — we’ll touch on that point a little later on)
  • A 17-minute “Get Started” video that details what to expect
  • A completely skippable link to the Beachbody Nutrition Center you don’t need
  • A few sentences explaining who Tony Horton is for our Gen Z friends
  • A couple of P90X3 success stories that’ll leave you saying “WOW!” or “psh, yeah right”

Nothing on the Start Here page jumps out as a red flag or true life-upender. But if Horton’s voice brings positive flashbacks or 30-minute workouts fit your schedule, it’s definitely a contender.


If exercising in an abandoned warehouse or the Ninja Turtles lair doesn’t give you the creeps, the videos themselves are definitely a more modern spin on the old-school P90X.

Horton calls the first few days of P90X3 “humbling” while explaining that the modification-heavy program is for everyone, not strictly advanced athletes like the Start Here page suggests.

P90X3 emphasizes three aspects of training — variety, intensity, and consistency — and leans on an oddly uncited study suggesting that training benefits fizzle out after half an hour.

With all that in mind, here’s what you need to know about the P90X3 training sessions:

What Do You Need For P90X3?

Beachbody is notoriously misleading when listing the equipment you supposedly need to follow along with a program. But to get the most out of P90X3, all you really need are:

There’s really no need to buy into the name-brand craze and splurge on the Beachbody Chin-Up Max Bar or jump mats.

Regular P90X3 Workouts

Following in P90X’s giant, size 18 footsteps, the more condensed P90X3 also delivers plenty of training variety. Most of the four schedule options available feature the following workouts:

  • Cold Start (12 minutes): a warm-up for a smoother transition into the day’s workout when the outdoor temperatures dip or fatigue is weighing you down
  • CVX (35 minutes): a cardio and resistance fusion workout focusing on total-body power and endurance
  • Total Synergistics (30 minutes): a full-body, compound exercise workout designed to enhance the body’s release of growth hormones, including testosterone
  • Agility X (30 minutes): a foot-pounding workout emphasizing explosive power, acceleration, and change in direction
  • Triometrics (30 minutes): a back-to-basics plyometrics workout bouncing between three intensity levels to limit rest periods while maximizing speed and power
  • X3 Yoga (30 minutes): a short (for Tony Horton, that is) yoga session revolving around core strength, serenity, balance, and flexibility
  • Pilates X (30 minutes): a balance and breath-controlled workout meant to improve joint and muscle health and stability
  • The Challenge (30 minutes): a borderline ridiculous back-and-forth between push-up and pull-up variations
  • Incinerator (30 minutes): a push/pull-style workout that fatigues your muscles with back-to-back exercises with a goal of hypertrophy and the dreaded muscle failure
  • MMX (30 minutes): an MMA-centered workout combining the basics of karate, judo, jiu-jitsu, and other martial arts to improve every area of fitness
  • The Warrior (30 minutes): a completely equipment-free workout that resembles the training style common in military members
  • Isometrix (30 minutes): a unique combination of instability and isometric training designed to strengthen your stabilization and core muscles
  • Dynamix (30 minutes): a fast-paced workout emphasizing flexibility and range of motion with near-constant movement
  • Decelerator (30 minutes): an injury-preventing workout with the sole focus of protecting the muscles and joints upon landing
  • Accelerator (30 minutes): a fat-incinerating workout that alternates between two speeds to boost training efficiency
  • Eccentric Upper (30 minutes) & Eccentric Lower (30 minutes): resistance workouts honing in on the “negatives” of a lift to maximize time under tension and encourage greater growth hormone release

P90X3’s 16 workouts (plus a Cold Start) would be on the brink of overkill if it weren’t for its three training blocks also divided into 2–3 sub-blocks apiece.

It might be four weeks before you see CVX on your calendar again, and the Eccentric workout duo may not make its grand entrance until week five or later.

The anticipation of “what’s next?” is an exciting twist on a long, 90-day journey.

P90X3 Deluxe Workouts

The “Elite Block” schedule tacks an extra three weeks onto the end of the other four P90X3 training schedules in the form of three intense workouts:

  • Complex Upper (30 minutes) & Complex Lower (30 minutes): post-activation potentiation workouts bouncing between heavy lifts and explosive movements, dragging strength and power gains to new extremes
  • X3 Ab Ripper (15 minutes): a 15-minute core workout Horton claims can chisel out an eight-pack and washboard abs

Pre-BOD, you’d have to pay extra for these three workouts (and they weren’t exactly on the cheap). These days, a Beachbody On Demand subscription provides unlimited access to ‘em.

Program Materials

Tony Horton’s 17-minute “How to Accelerate” video is a decent intro to P90X3, though there’s no 1.5x speed option, and you’ll have to suffer through a few Beachbody/Shakeology ads.

If you really want to learn about the day-to-day of P90X3 and whether you’re cut out for the program, the Program Materials tab is your best friend.

This section is jam-packed with five PDFs and two links:

Fitness Guide (117 Pages)

The P90X3 Fitness Guide is a clunky 117 pages, which makes us appreciate that it’s a digital file and not a physical book even more (who needs a glossary when Ctrl + F exists?).

Once you overlook the 10+ page introduction, 64+ pages worth of workout guides, and 5+ pages of Beachbody ads, you’re left with about 38 pages of digestible need-to-know material.

In the official Fitness Guide, you’ll discover:

  • The logic behind P90X3, including an overview of the research backing the program’s layout and training styles
  • An overview of each workout and the exercises you’ll come toe-to-toe with
  • How to best prepare for P90X3
  • The Fit Test, which we recommend everyone take before committing to P90X3
  • The four scheduling options to help you capture your physique and fitness goals
  • A complete run-through of each workout, including modifications and rep counts

Even if you only read a quarter of this guide, you’ll walk away understanding why Horton created this routine, how to achieve more aesthetic results, and how to perform each exercise.

Do not skip this one!

Quick Start Guide to Nutrition (84 Pages)

If you’re a long-time Beachbody On Demand, you’re likely well-acquainted with the Quick Start Guide to Nutrition (and we’ll guess you don’t see it in a positive light either).

Before you wipe out the pantry, choose between the 2B Mindset and Ultimate Portion Fix diets, and spend your entire paycheck on Shakeology products, know that this is not the P90X3 diet.

We repeat: this is not the P90X3 diet!

For whatever reason (we could probably guess why), Beachbody insists on adding this massive guide to just about every popular program on the platform.

It looks like a knockoff Rachel Ray magazine with:

  • A lifetime supply of Beachbody and Shakeology ads (if you’re a fan of the squirts or becoming a willing victim to MLMs, go ahead and spend!)
  • Random diet and cooking tips to help you lose weight
  • Two recommended nutritional plans, neither of which is sustainable with a high-intensity program like P90X3
  • A list of recommended supplements that all happen to be under the Beachbody label
  • Dozens of recipes that actually look pretty delicious

Nutrition Guide (57 Pages)

It shouldn’t have to be this confusing, but this is the real P90X3 Nutrition Guide that Horton spruced together to emphasize three things: flexibility, variety, and simplicity.

Horton begins the guide with a basic overview of the P90X3 diet, including:

  • Whether cheat meals are acceptable (nope)
  • How much water to drink per day (your body weight divided by two — in ounces)
  • His thoughts on caffeine and alcohol (moderation, moderation, moderation!)
  • Which supplements will help (would you believe us if we said they were Shakeology?)

On page 19, you’ll complete the nutrition quiz to learn which plan is best for you, A through F. Not surprisingly, it’s yet another point-based sham calorie calculation instead of BMR or TDEE.

(Why must we reinvent the wheel?)

Once you have a diet plan, you’ll turn to the chart that explains how many servings of protein, carbs, and fats you need with each of your five meals — three square meals and two snacks.

Now, you might be wondering: how does any of this translate into noob-friendly terms?

Well, the guide includes lists (along with serving sizes) of the best sources of carbs, fats, and proteins ranked in order of healthiness — the higher it is on the list, the healthier it is.

This creative yet simple strategy provides newbies with plenty of options and some much-needed perspective to guide them toward healthier dietary choices.

Horton ends the guide with a few food preparation tips, recommended recipes, and a more detailed macronutrient breakdown if those generic serving recommendations don’t cut it.

Workout Calendar (8 Pages)

The P90X3 Workout Calendar is a missed opportunity for one reason: Horton created four possible schedules to choose from, but the calendar only reflects the “Classic” route.

The sheet comes pre-filled-out in a day-by-day format. So once you crush through Day 1’s Total Synergistics workout, you can etch an X through the entire box (which is satisfying as hell).

You can also check “Y” or “N” in each box to track how well you follow the P90X3 diet. But the black-and-whiteness of this can definitely be off-putting to newbies more prone to cheat meals.

(Early research from 2016 also reveals that planned cheat days at the end of the week didn’t hurt weight loss and actually improved self-control and long-term motivation!)

If you are on the Lean, Mass, or Doubles plan, there are pages listing which workouts fall on which days. You’ll just have to block out the pre-written workout and replace it with the right one.

It seems like these alternative paths were a bit of an afterthought.

Worksheet (7 Pages)

Fast-paced programs like the P90X series create a challenge of their own: tracking your progress from week to week.

The P90X3 worksheets allow you to record the number of reps and the weight used for seven of the programs resistance training workouts, including:

  • Eccentric Lower
  • Eccentric Upper
  • Complex Upper
  • Complex Lower
  • Incinerator
  • Total Synergistics
  • The Challenge

Now, the launch of Beachbody On Demand signaled the franchise’s entry into the digital era. However, the company still has a ways to go, and the P90X3 worksheets are evidence of that.

PDFs you can type directly into do exist … just not here.

That means you’ll need to print out a copy of these seven pages and have a pen/pencil on hand to jot down your stats during rest breaks.


Read the full article at: noobgains

There are currently no comments.

Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Register
Old Password
New Password
New Password Again
Safety of your password:
Already a member? Log In

credits remaining

We don't like stress and we're sure you don't either! Save time and money when making purchases on Arena 100 by topping up with A100 Credits.

0 credits equals 0



Save Time, Save Money and Satisfy All Your Dietry Needs Over 750 Products
Over 50 Brands
Life Store pop up image.
Oh you didn't know?


Look Good In And Outside The Gym Shop Athleisure Shop Streetware
back to browsing


Ok we get it – you don’t want to make a fuss, or say it out loud, but you’re feeling slightly overwhelmed. Just like Texas, Andre the Giant, and a famous Tom Hanks movie, the Arena100 platform can be described in one word…BIG! Now we’ve got that awkward moment out the way here comes the good news. We’ve designed a User Guide section that can be used as a point of reference to answer all things "A100". Tutorials here detail how to best navigate the platform and maximise its capabilities for your enjoyment.


Reach out to us in the Contact Us page...we're pretty friendly and we won't bite.
Team 100
Go to User Guide
Your request is being processed