Content Part

Please enter your email below to receive blog updates and news.




P90X Review

This month I’m going to be starting a new section on my website where I’ll be reviewing fitness products, equipment, supplements, books, diets, and the like. The idea is providing you with resource to get my unbiased opinion of fitness and nutrition related products.

I figured I get a jump start on this project and give you my review of one of the hottest fitness DVD training systems out there right now- P90X.

Everywhere I go people are asking me my opinion of P90X. Of course, the questions are usually framed around “does it really work?”

The infomercial is great, I’ll admit, and they use all the best marketing tactics to get you to buy. But is this product effective or will you find it to be like so many other infomercial products, an utter disappointment and waste of your hard earned money?

My personal review of P90X

I’m happy to report after reviewing, this is one fitness infomercial product I’ll certainly endorse. So the answer to the biggest question of “does it really work?” is yes.

But before you rush out and buy it let me give you the straight scoop on everything so you can make an informed decision.

What makes P90X different?

First things first, the exercises and training methods used in the P90X videos are NOT breakthrough, new, or remotely ground breaking. In fact, there’s nothing special about the exercises at all.

The creator of the P90X program, Tony Horton, is a promoter and believer of “functional strength training,” which are the same principals we teach and instruct with my Charleston personal training programs here at Shaping Concepts.

The majority of exercises either use your own bodyweight, bands, or dumbbells for resistance. You won’t find fancy equipment or special machines in any of the videos.

The TRUTH on seeing fitness results!

The truth is what’s worked BEST to get a person in shape has not changed in the last hundred years. There are a lot of people who will try to convince you otherwise- normally to sell you on their product or service, but the reality is the “old school” movements are still the best.

Our military has been getting young men and women in shape since it’s inception using “simple” exercises like jumping jacks, push-up’s, pull-up’s, bodyweight squats, and other movements regularly featured in P90X.

Ask yourself this simple question…if these so called “simplistic” movements weren’t effective, do you think the military would still be using them to this day?

The secret of applying an “overload stimulus” to your muscles

The P90X program works because it focuses on creating an “overload stimulus” for your muscles using resistance exercises done in a functional manner (simply meaning you’re not sitting down like with health club equipment).

The program is effective because it’s constantly changing and incorporates the principal of “progressive intensity,” something most programs leave out.

This keeps the body from getting stuck in a plateau because the workload and overload stimulus is constantly changing. This is in stark contrast to a typical health club workout where someone might make the rounds on 6-8 different machines doing the same old “3 sets of 10.”

The human body will always gravitate towards a state of homeostasis, or balance. If you give it the same workload over and over, it adapts quickly and there’s no need for your muscles to change.

Simply put, for your workouts to be effective they must be varied and have increasing intensity, giving your muscles something they’re not used to. The P90X program accomplishes this because it has you increasing “intensity” over time by adding more weight, repetitions, etc.

P90X follows “burst training” principals…another major benefit

The exercises in the P90X routines are done in “burst training” fashion which is another significant benefit. If you’ve followed me for a while you know how big I am on this training method. If you’re not familiar with burst training, click on the link above to go to a page on my website where I explain it in full detail.

Drawbacks of the P90X training program

There are however a few drawbacks to this program I should mention. As with any fitness DVD training system, there is no such thing as a “perfect” product.

There’s just no way to create set routines that are ideal for everyone at every stage of fitness progression. I’m sure you can understand this since people can be anywhere between beginner to advanced in the fitness level spectrum.

Because of this, the 60-90 minutes workouts featured in P90X will be way too much for many people just starting out. And while I’ve personally not found it unecessary to workout for that long, I completely understand why the program is set up that way. Look, if you’re doing 60-90 minutes of exercise 5 times a week, you’re going to see results, period…especially during the first 4-6 weeks.

Be wary of unrealistic expectations, burnout, and overtraining

The downside of this strategy long term can be burnout, overtraining, and diminished results if you’re not careful. It’s just not feasible or necessarily the most effective strategy to exercise 60-90 minutes 5 x week for most people.

When using high intensity “burst training” you really only need 30 minutes for your workouts in order to see a body transformation. If you have the time for additional stretching, yoga, etc like included in the P90X program, by all means go for it. But is it absolutely needed? The answer is no.

If you did burst training 3 x week for your resistance training and mixed in interval training and lower intensity “aerobic” cardio workouts (still a 5 x week strategy) you could see equivalent results, simply in less time spent with your workouts.

“Do your best and forget the rest!”

My advice if you start a P90X program is to go slow and work at your own pace. Tony Horton, the lead trainer and creator, has a great saying which I love. He often says during the workouts “simply do your best and forget the rest.”

Forget about the person beside you and/or forget about the people on TV doing the workout. Simply follow along and do the best you can. You don’t have to kill yourself trying to keep up early on and I would strongly suggest that you give yourself time to progress.

If you can only make it to 15 minutes in the beginning, that’s ok! Simply try to keep getting better with each workout. Little by little you’ll get stronger and be able to go longer through the workouts.

Consistency and effort rules the day!

Just know that the exercises and training strategies used in the program work, but in the end it will always come down to your consistency and effort provided during the workouts.

Something you should consider if you decide to start the program is possibly partnering up with a spouse or family member. I’ve seen much better results from people who went through the program together (ex. husband-wife) compared to those who went through it all alone. This is not surprising as it all goes back to the one thing you can’t get in any exercise video or program…accountability!

Don’t neglect the importance of having accountability

That’s what still makes personal training the most effective means of getting in shape. You’ll find it’s really not about the exercises or routines; hard work is what gets it done, regardless of where or how you train. The secret to seeing great results is having accountability and sticking to a routine (that works) with consistency.

I firmly believe the most important thing you can do to see the results you desire from a fitness program is to build a solid foundation first.

Ask yourself the following questions before committing time and money to ANY fitness program.

  • Are the exercises routines effective?
  • Have they been proven to work for other people who are like me?
  • Are the testimonials or “social proof” from real people with similar concerns, time constraints, etc?
  • Are the workout time requirements realistic for my schedule and lifestyle?
  • Do I have support and accountability built in either from a personal trainer, exercise partner, or from being in a small group.
  • Can I be consistent with my exercise routines or will I be likely to make excuses and blow them off on occasion going it all alone?

If you have ridiculous discipline, structure in your life, and can commit to 60-90 minutes of exercise daily…you’ll see great results from P90X and won’t be disappointed.

If on the other hand you don’t have an exercise partner to go through the workouts with you every day at the same time, you need accountability and structure, or you simply don’t have the time to commit to longer workouts all the time, I’d recommend you look at personal training or the less expensive option of small group training classes.

What I wouldn’t recommend…

Going to a gym or a health club to workout on your own would be last on my list of recommendations.

Few people have the knowledge of how to structure a workout program effectively using “progressive intensity” principals and then you have the issues of accountability, support, and structure.

Simply put you’re twice as likely to quit, drop off, and NOT see results working out on your own in a health club compared to the alternatives.

The bottom line…

The P90X program provides you a flexibility (workout anytime you want), motivation, and exercise routines that work. Are they easy? No. Is it going to be hard work? Yes. But deep down in your heart I’m sure you already knew that hard work must be part of the equation.

Just be honest with yourself if you have the other components in place I just mentioned for this program to be effective. If not, save your hard earned money and invest it more wisely in a program that gives you the structure, accountability, and support needed to see results.

I often advise people new to exercise or who’ve been out of training for a while to hold off on making an impulse buy with P90X. If I was giving a recommendation to a family member or close friend I’d tell them to hire a personal trainer or get with a small group personal training class, boot camp, etc. to start out with.

Make sure you’re truly getting the best “return on your investment”

I understand finances are a factor in this equation but in the end you’ll save money, not to mention frustration, and time by taking this approach of building your foundation first.

This way you can start off with accountability, support, and structure not to mention learning how to do exercises correctly. Then once you’ve developed a good base of physical conditioning along with set routines (habits) and knowledge of how to do exercises correctly…you can move to an in-home fitness DVD program like P90X if you want.

This is a much more effective approach to seeing a return on your investment, not to mention results. Let’s be honest, if you don’t have all the pieces in place, the odds are simply stacked against you and this program is likely to wind up sitting on a shelf somewhere after a week or two.

My grade for P90X

Having said all that, I would tell you that if you’re going to buy a fitness DVD training program I’d put P90X at the top of my list and give it an “A” rating. Tony Horton is an excellent trainer and he knows his stuff.

This is the real deal and not some “gimmicky” hype on getting in shape by doing dance moves or sit-up’s in lounge chair. Get prepared to do some old school exercises, work hard, and break a good sweat if you do P90X.

Regardless of how or where you train, hit it hard, go 110% every time, eat primal, get adequate rest and recovery…then rinse and repeat. That’s the secret in a nutshell my friend.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. Learn more on how you can receive a FREE no-obligations trial of his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

View Our Web Site - Click Here
RSS Feed - Click Here

Category: Fitness Training.


  1. [...] more information on P90X, read my friend Shane’s review on it.  He also really knows his stuff, and is an expert on all things [...]