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London, UK Posted 2 years, 11 months ago

P90X Workout Review: Schedule, Cost, Equipment, & Results

“Sooner or later, everything old is new again.”

P90X — Power 90 Extreme — made its debut 15+ years ago, sweeping the airwaves with its 3 a.m. infomercials featuring Tony Horton’s voice echoing through a dim fitness studio.

That clunky 12-DVD set is now neatly packaged in Beachbody On Demand’s online module. And, when COVID-19 ravaged the nation and shuttered gyms, P90X saw an unexpected resurgence.

You heard that right: P90X is back, baby!

Now, it’s our turn to sift through this 90-day circuit program to learn three things: whether you’ll get ripped in 90 days, survive a 6+ day-a-week program, and build considerable strength/torch fat.

Let’s find out!

About the Creator – Tony Horton

As fitness DVDs became gym alternatives in the early-2000s, Tony Horton officially entered the limelight with his “Ultimate 90-day Home Fitness Boot Camp,” now known as P90X.

By 2010, skyrocketing sales invited the 12-DVD program into over three million homes!

Today, Tony Horton is self-described as the “most influential man in health and fitness” (humble, eh). But just who is the face of and mastermind behind P90X?

Let’s introduce you to him.

Tony Horton’s soiree into the fitness industry began in 1980 when he took a film executive on as a client. This early Hollywood connection later kick-started a stream of famous clientele, including:

  • Bruce Springsteen
  • Tom Petty
  • Billy Idol
  • Usher
  • Rob Lowe
  • Antonio Banderas

Horton became the unofficial face of home fitness by the 2000s, attaching his name onto Thighmaster, NordicTrack, and, finally, his Beachbody brainchild — P90X.

He eventually severed ties with Beachbody, but not before releasing 15 programs and workouts on the platform (including 10-Minute Trainer and P90X3).

These days, his digital following is stronger than ever: 220K YouTube subscribers, 254K Instagram followers, and 164K Twitter followers.

What is P90X?

P90X is a Beachbody On Demand program launched as a 12-DVD set in 2005. The unofficial catchphrase seems to be “get in the best shape of your life,” setting the stage for the road ahead.

Warning: it’s not for the faint of heart.

In fact, if you struggle to meet the minimum Fit Test requirements or have pre-existing health conditions, Horton suggests you select a milder program (like his 10-Minute Trainer) instead.

This 90-day six-day-a-week program boasts 12 unique workouts hovering around the 45 to 60-minute range; the Ab Ripper X is the lone wolf, at just 16 minutes (short ≠ easy).

With this advanced routine, breaking a sweat, building your flexibility, avoiding plateaus, and slimming down (possibly 40+ pounds) are the goals.

Before you question how tough a 2005-era workout program can be, here’s what to expect:

  1. Training blocks divided into three pieces to accelerate progress: adaptive, mastery, recovery, repeat
  2. An anti-crash diet to help you sculpt lean mass and shred stubborn body fat
  3. Twelve unique workouts (everything from chest & back and Yoga X to core synergists and cardio X)
  4. Constant nods to the Beachbody and P90X product line (legend has it, if you say “Shakeology” three times in a row, Tony Horton will appear to serve you a smoothie)

Success hinges on your ability to persevere through the aches, catch your breath during hour-long workouts, and commit 6-7 hours a week to chase a “ripped” physique.

P90X Details & Features

P90X is a wild journey for the fitness buffs hoping to shed pounds and sculpt well-defined, vascular muscles. It’s not a program to buy on impulse unless you’re already in shape!

If you’re debating whether to dedicate the next 90 days to Tony Horton, read on.

The Module Layout

The Beachbody module sets a high bar for any online fitness platform looking to launch routines. It’s user-friendly, easy to navigate, and is compatible with your desktop browser and your phone.

When you type P90X in the Beachbody On Demand search bar, you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips (at least for the next 90 or so days).

There’s a 1:12 trailer that offers a taste of the journey ahead.

The home page also features things like:

  • How many workouts there are, how long they last, and the preferred skill level (22, 45-60, and “advanced,” if you’re curious)
  • A Tony Horton video called “How to Bring It” that explains the P90X philosophy
  • A link to the Nutrition Center with two choices: 2B Mindset and Ultimate Portion Fix
  • The low-down on Tony Horton, featuring his social media handles
  • Convincing success stories

There are three tabs: Start here (which we just reviewed in this section), Workouts, and Program Materials. Let’s dive a little deeper into the meat and bones of the decades-old P90X!


The Workouts tab is where you’ll find all 22 P90X workouts. The collection features 12 P90X workouts, 5 P90X Plus videos, and 11 P90X PRO Team clips, which doesn’t equal 22.

This section is a bit of a mess. We’re not sure where the number 22 came from, and the PRO Team clips skip from round 16 to 21, with some split into two workouts.

Math is hard.

“Plus” seems to be an option if you’re a sadist and want an even more intense P90X workout. But it’s not clear whether you swap these workouts in occasionally or if it’s a brand new program.

What a P90X Workout Is Like

Unless you’re a professional athlete, even the tamest P90X workouts will leave you dripping sweat and begging to catch your breath and give your muscles a break.

For one, P90X hails from the early 2000s. The only reason we mention that is because it’s a blast from the past: somewhat pixelated video and — no surprise — microphone headsets galore.

What Horton describes as a “world-class workout” looks like this:

  • A two or so minute of a light calisthenics warm-up (warning: Horton is already out-of-breath about a minute into the warm-up)
  • About six minutes of dynamic and static stretching
  • Somewhere around two rounds of 12 sets (in other words, circuit training)
  • Form tips with literally every exercise; sometimes, Horton talks about how to modify an exercise (ex: resistance band pull-downs or chair chin-ups instead of standard)
  • Occasional water breaks that you’ll be praying for after the first few sets
  • A lot of chatter between Horton and his backup crew; he even talks directly to the camera, which could make it feel like an in-person group fitness class

As Horton mentions during each video, it’s your job to make this program work for you. Modify, take longer breaks, and lower the weight whenever you see fit — just finish the set strong!

And, of course, all 12 workouts are different.

The above-listed run-through might be totally off-base when you get to Ab Ripper X or Yoga X. For example, ab day is 11 moves with 25 reps apiece, all squeezed into a 16-minute workout.

Types of Exercises

Exercise-wise, nothing is off-limits.

In fact, the program features hundreds of exercises, meaning you’re sure to see at least a handful or two that are brand new to you.

You might see exercises like:

  • Decline push-ups
  • Swing kicks
  • Warrior two
  • Calf-raise squats
  • Groucho walks
  • Jab/cross/hook
  • Camels
  • Towel hoppers

If regular gym workouts with 5-8 exercises per session are boring or too short, the 20 or so exercises in each hour-long P90X workout will certainly catch your interest.

Reps and seconds per exercise are all over the place, which adds a mysterious and exciting touch to every workout (unless you memorize all 12 programs).

“Program Materials”

The Program Materials tab offers a good deal of reading to guarantee you’re satisfied with your physique by the end of the 90 days.

In this section, you’ll discover:

A 109-Page PDF Fitness Guide

Most users can go without reading the entire thing.

But if you want a run-down on the muscles, explanations for how to follow P90X, a guidebook to your workouts, and a written version of each workout, it’s worth a read.

You’ll also find ads, ads, and — no surprise here — more ads.

An 84-Page Quick Start Nutrition Guide

Unless you want Shakeology and other Beachbody bars jammed down your throat for 60-some pages, scroll down to page 42.

From there on out, you’ll learn about which beverages you can drink and find recipes for every meal of the day. It’s a generic Beachbody plan, so the calorie recommendations are way off.

A 126-Page P90X Nutrition Plan

This guide overviews your P90X three-phase eating plan: fat shredder, energy booster, and endurance maximizer.

Each has a unique macro breakdown, encourages you to calculate your BMR and a more accurate calorie count, and explains how many servings of each food type you need per day.

It explains portions and even offers meal plans and healthy recipes for each phase.

Seriously, every meal you’ll eat during the next 90 days is laid out for you.

Don’t skip this one!

A Workout Calendar

There are vague calendars, and then there’s this one. The calendar divides your program into three phases, but that’s about as much detail as it provides.

Write down which workout you did and circle Y or N to reveal whether you followed the diet.

It’s been 15 years; we need updates!


Log your reps and weight for every workout!

Of course, the worksheets feature even more shameless self-promotions. Every post-workout nutrition recommendation includes a Beachbody product and not, you know, generic protein.

(There are also P90X Plus Worksheets if you’re traveling that route.)

Fit Test

The Fit Test is your way of seeing just how much your physique and fitness improve after hauling ass and completing all 90 days of the program.

On day one and day 90, you’ll measure things like your resting heart rate, toe touches, bicep curls, and more.

Each also has a black box beneath it called “P90X Minimum.”

Anyone can try P90X, but if you struggle to meet the minimum, you may find the program to be too intense or have to sit a few exercises out if your strength isn’t up to par.

P90X Schedule

The 13-week P90X schedule looks simple from the outset but isn’t as simple as following the videos (or discs, if you enjoy the 2000s nostalgia) in order.

The 12 P90X workouts are:

  • Chest & Back (52:50)
  • Plyometrics (58:36)
  • Shoulders & Arms (59:53)
  • Yoga X (92:24 — not a typo)
  • Legs & Back (58:56)
  • Kenpo X (55:46)
  • X Stretch (57:32)
  • Core Synergists (57:27)
  • Chest, Shoulders, & Triceps (55:44)
  • Back & Biceps (51:36)
  • Cardio X (43:18)
  • Ab Ripper X (16:07)

What Makes Each Phase Different

But then things take a somewhat confusing twist. The P90X program consists of three phases (three weeks at full intensity, a cool-down “recovery” week, repeat).

Each three-week batch follows a unique pattern; this is phase 1, for example:

  1. Chest & Back, Ab Ripper X (a twofer)
  2. Plyometrics
  3. Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper X
  4. Yoga X
  5. Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X
  6. Kenpo X
  7. Rest or X Stretch

The follow-up to that is a week of core synergists, yoga, stretching, and Kenpo to give your body (and mind) some much-needed recovery time.

More About the Phases

P90X might seem like somebody put all 12 workouts into a hat, shook it, and planned the entire routine around sheer luck and chance. But to put the “phases” into better perspective:

  • Phase 1 (weeks 1-3) is about mastering the movements.
  • Week 4 is a recovery and ab focus.
  • Phase 2 (weeks 5-7) turns the attention to adding mass (8-15 reps).
  • Week 8 is another recovery week.
  • Phase 3 (weeks 9-13) emphasizes “extreme muscle confusion” to maximize your results before the program ends.

You can add a week or two to a phase if you toned down the intensity or skipped a few workouts, but it won’t make or break your results!

P90X Cost

P90X (and Beachbody On Demand) costs are always on the move. But generally, expect to shell out around $100-150 for the 16-year-old program — unless you buy an old-school used DVD set!

Or dust off that old one in your parents’ storage unit.

A Beachbody On Demand annual subscription sits at around $99, offering you unlimited access to the entire BOD workout and nutrition collection.

The physical DVD set (including the nutrition plan, workout calendar, the whole shebang) is closer to the $140-ish range.

The online subscription is the safer option because, if history repeats itself, discs face the same fate as VHS tapes (R.I.P) and CDs.

P90X Equipment

Since P90X is a bodyweight & resistance training fusion, you need some basic equipment to guarantee you don’t have to skip or substitute any exercises.

Stock up on the following gear:

  • P90X Jump Mat: nothing like shameless self-promotion; a regular exercise mat with shock-absorbing features will do just fine during P90X’s plyometric workouts
  • P90X Chin-Up Bar: again, a standard doorway or standalone pull-up bar is fine; bonus points if it has multiple grip options (back-up chin-up bar if out of stock)
  • Dumbbells: somewhere between 5-70 pounds; an adjustable dumbbell set can save you some hard-earned cash and space in a tight apartment
  • B-Lines Resistance Bands: this is ridiculous; a simple ergonomic-handled three-piece resistance band set will get the job done
  • Heart Rate Monitor: a Fitbit wrist-worn tracker can put your workout intensity and cardio improvements under a microscope and keep you in your target heart rate zone (THRZ)
  • Yoga Blocks: regular old yoga blocks can help you build flexibility and balance during those 90-minute Yoga X workouts
  • Body Fat Tester: skinfold calipers might be old-school and require a little math, but they’re far more affordable than bioelectrical impedance devices
  • Tony Horton’s Push-Up Stands: when sets of 20 push-ups seem like child’s play, any non-skid push-up stands can ramp up the intensity and the resulting growth (back-up stands if out of stock)

Holy, advertisements, Batman.


Read the full article at: noobgains

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