Lately, it seems everybody’s been asking me about the current darling of infomercial fitness products, P90X, so I’ll give you my $.02 (and you might be surprised by some of my thoughts on the program)
It’s a product of BeachBody – the same company who brought “Hip-hop Abs”, “the 10 Minute Trainer” and “Turbo Jam” to the world (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
According to the official website, the P90X program consists of a series of “12 highly diverse and intense workouts”
1.) Chest and Back
3.) Shoulders and Arms
4.) Yoga X
5.) Legs and Back
6.) Kenpo X
7.) X Stretch
8.) Core Synergistics
9.) Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
10.) Back and Biceps
11.) Cardio X
12.) Ab Ripper X
Plus, you also receive some bonus materials including a nutrition plan, online resources and a training calendar.
Unlike the Thighmaster or the still-popular “Body for Life”, P90X includes a variety of training tempos. From the methodical, controlled principles of yoga to the more traditional lift-as-you’re-able body part focused workouts to maximally explosive, total body plyometric movements – what I often refer to in my own training model as Stability, (resisted) Mobility and Agility – the 3 main “ingredients” of human movement.
The P90X marketing material suggests “the secret to the program’s effectiveness is …constantly introducing new moves and routines so your body never plateaus, and you never get bored”
Not getting bored can be important for someone who doesn’t already live and breathe to work out. And I do agree with the need for variety, though not necessarily “constantly”. It’s important to provide a repetitive, progressive stimulus over a period of time so that your body can be given an opportunity to “learn” what you’re asking it to adapt to. Taking the randomly-different approach may help you avoid ‘plateaus’, but any results will be unpredictable and random (again, not that there’s anything wrong with that – as long as you’re happy with random results).
If there is any one thing that makes P90X effective, it’s the accountability factor. Between the done-for-you training calendar and the online peer-support, it’s entirely possible to take something as laughable as the Thighmaster (sorry, Suzanne… I really don’t mean to pick on you all the time, but c’mon, the Thighmaster?!), create a way to get purchasers to actually USE the product… AND have other purchasers hold each other to the fire when they DON’T use it. Couple these accountability systems with even a half-way decent training program, and you’ve got yourself a hit product.
On the other hand, you could have access to the best training plans, equipment and support systems known to man – if you fail to use them as intended (if at all), well… we might as well be talking about that Thighmaster sitting in your closet.
I don’t particularly care for the way the P90X program makes the “specially designed supplement options” a leading feature of the product. It makes it seem as if your results will be somehow diminished if you fail to take (read: invest) in the exact supplements they recommend (I suspect it’s an important back-end profit center for ’em – not that there’s anything… you know the rest). But overall, it’s a respectable product because it takes a systematic approch to fitness.
So what’s my bottom line on P90X? For $140 (3 payments of 39.95 + 19.95 S&H), I’d much sooner recommend Dr. John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition ($109 incl. shipping) and the Lou Schuler/Alwyn Cosgrove book, New Rules of Lifting (or if you were born with ovaries, you might prefer NROL for Women with Schuler/Cosgrove and the addition of Cassandra Forsythe). Each is available for about 10 bucks through Amazon. Then you can take the extra $20 and send it to me for pointing you in the right direction ;-)