Author: J. Hawthorne

So you’ve decided to get serious about working out but aren’t sure if P90X is worth it. Well, that depends on you and your goals.

The first thing you need to look at is your current level of fitness. Do you manage to work out on a regular basis (even if only once a week)?

If you’re die-hard couch potato that doesn’t schedule in time for exercise you’ll have a tough time turning your lifestyle around and sticking to a rigorous system like P90X. Don’t waste your money unless you are sure you’ll follow though! You may want to start with something more casual that requires less commitment such as EA Active 2 or a few workout videos from Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper. Once you outgrow this introductory material you can step up to P90X.

People that are already active have less to be concerned about. You’re already used to sticking with some kind of routine so now all you have to do is scale it up to the next level. P90X can get you to where you want to be.

Now let’s get to the specifics for those that are ready to tackle a challenge!

The P90X system itself costs around $140. At first it seems like a lot of money to drop. There are 13 DVDs included in the slick retail packaging along with a hard copy of the nutrition guide. If you break it down per video that is about $10.75 each. If you think of it that way P90X isn’t expensive at all, it merely seems like it because you are grabbing a comprehensive set of videos and content all at once.

Another item to consider is the equipment you’ll need to get started. It’s recommended that you start with the basics and grab the additional toys once you are sure P90X is for you. At the very least you’ll want a solid pull-up bar, dumbbells or resistance bands, plus an exercise mat. This of course assumes that you are starting from scratch.

Here is an example cost breakdown for a very basic setup that makes use of resistance bands. View this article about equipment needed for P90X for more options.

P90X: Tony Horton’s 90-Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout DVD Program – $139.80
Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar – Extreme Edition – $34.09
Bodylastics 13 pcs Quick-Clip Resistance Bands System – $44.95
Harbinger 340100 Durafoam Exercise Mat – $17.50

Total: $235.34

So if you currently don’t have any equipment you can use for P90X you’re look at around $240 to get started at the very least. This is certainly way less than buying a gimmicky exercise machine that may end up collecting dust in the basement or the long-term costs of a gym membership.

The Verdict

P90X is totally worth the admission fee but only for those that are willing to stick to it. The 13 DVDs have enough material to keep even the most hardcore workout enthusiast busy for quite some time. The people that get taken by the P90X craze are inactive folks that hop on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon but quit after two weeks.

This system requires some serious lifestyle changes. Of course the payoff is astronomical. If you are ready to improve yourself and aren’t afraid of a little commitment, quit pondering the issue and pick it up now!

A good pull up bar will rack up more mileage with P90X than other piece of work-out gear. Using your own body weight instead of relying on workout machines is at the core of the system.

First off, many of the generic chin-up bars out there are absolute junk. Both the Iron Gym Extreme and 90X bar have an extensive track record with enthusiasts. So these two bars are the only obvious choices out there. It’s highly possible there are some obscure workout bars out there that are just as good, but there’s no reason to seek a needle in a haystack.

Not every door frame is a worthy choice. Consider the fact that supporting the entire body weight of a person is no easy task. You need to carefully measure your doorway and compare it with the dimensions of the pull up bar. The 90X bar works with doorways up to 32 inches wide. The Iron Gym claims to go up to 34 inches but in practice it is more like 32 inches. Ideally you want a few inches to spare for extra support, so if your door is 30 inches wide or less, you are among the lucky ones.

The P90X bar touts its ability to support up to 12 different grip positions. The Iron Gym is identical in this respect. The grips are all placed in the same way. Beside minor cosmetic differences, the design of these bars is close to identical. The all-black P90X does look a little slicker and more refined.

One major difference between the P90X chin-up bar and the Iron Gym Extreme is price. Currently the P90X bar by Beachbody sells for a touch over double what the Iron Gym costs.

Both bars have a good solid feel once mounted. Components tend to loosen up over time so you’ll need to tighten screws here and there if you want to retain the sturdiest feel possible. The screws on the P90X model were inclined to loosen quicker as they are undersized compared to the Iron Gym.

One common complaint with the Iron Gym is the low quality of the screws, bolts and nuts. If you are above 200 lbs. this may start to become as issue as there are reports of the screws snapping. So are you in the clear with the more expensive P90X? Not quite. The hardware might break with this model as well. Either way, you’ll want to have some backup hardware on hand in case something snaps. Replacements are cheap and readily available at any hardware store so this isn’t a biggie.

The Verdict

It’s hard to find any obvious differences in quality between these pull-up bars as both are incredibly similar. Neither product is perfect as screws tend to loosen over time and have a chance of snapping – this is simply the nature of the beast. Some simple maintenance is required.

The price factor makes the choice obvious. The Iron Gym Extreme is just as good and sells for less than half the price.

It hurts to let go of an old friend. You’ve spent so many years together and have shared amazing experiences along the way. More recently you’ve grown apart. These days it is tough to relate to your old friend. You’ve changed, and so has she.

The above statements aptly apply to my former workout buddy: Gatorade. I’ve chugged countless gallons of the stuff. There is no doubt that it has done its job admirably. I guess the problems lies in the fact I’ve been moving over to natural products. Many of the feats science pulls off today have already been achieved by nature. Often the natural route works better while being more in tune with human physiology.

Coconut water is nature’s sports drink. It has all the benefits that Gatorade has, plus a few tricks of its own.

First off, it replaces electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium, are lost during workouts when you sweat. It is important to keep your levels up because these charged ions are used to regulate muscle contractions and nerve impulses. Your kidneys can have a tough time regulating the correct electrolyte concentrations.

Secondly, Zico contains naturally occurring carbohydrates. You need hydration to keep your workout going at maximum speed, but it won’t do you much good if you don’t have some extra fuel to burn.

Between the electrolytes, potassium, and carbohydrates, active muscles have everything that is necessary to function effectively.

So you may be wondering if Gatorade and Zico essentially do the same thing, why pay more for coconut water? The answer lies in the fact that PepsiCo also loads Gatorade with suspect additives. It contains artificial sugars, colouring, ester gum and brominated vegetable oil to name a few. In short, it is essentially sugar water with the useful ingredients you need to keep your muscles moving shoved in.

Coconut water isn’t very sweet but it has enough natural sweetening to make it pleasurable to drink. For those that like a little more bite, you can get versions with natural flavours added; some include: passion fruit, mango, pineapple, and tangerine. As drinks like Zico and O.N.E. are essentially pure coconut water, you don’t have to worry about additives that are bad for your health. Unlike sweet drinks that are acidic like Crystal Light, coconut water is pH balanced.

To me, it seems that Gatorade had a good thing going until more enlightened health freaks started realizing that it isn’t the only game in town. Natural substances aren’t patentable and this tends to scare big companies like PepsiCo away. It isn’t feasible to spend all that money promoting something that grows from the earth. A competitor can easily swoop in and offer the same thing for less. It becomes a commodity.

The only thing that bothers me about Zico is the price. This stuff is extracted from a coconut and last time I checked, they are pretty darn cheap. It may be that they need to crack open a number of coconuts to get enough water to make a drink product out of it.

Despite the fact that one serving costs around $1.80, I’m never going back to my old friend Gatorade. It isn’t particular cheap either. Gatorade has a ton of “cutting-edge science” and marketing hype on its side but at its core it is artificial sugar water. My new buddy is genuine.

The popularity of P90X can be attributed to the fact you don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to do it. You can get outstanding results with a modest collection of equipment.

I’ve broken the list into two sections. The first is made up of must-own workout gear. The second section breaks down the stuff recommended by Tony Horton that you don’t need to get started. Pick up the absolutely essential equipment before you start the program then add optional gear once you are sure P90X is for you.

Equipment Needed for P90X

1. Pull-up Bar

This very well could be the most important item in your arsenal. Pull-ups work a number of muscles on your upper body, including: biceps, latissimus dorsi (lats), forearm muscles, deltoids and abdominals. There is no suitable alternative that does so much for your body so pull-ups are a must.

The cheapest, most convenient type of pull-up bar is the type that hangs on a door frame. No drilling or permanent modification to your door is required, which is especially good for apartment dwellers.

Tony Horton of course recommends the chin-up bar by Beachbody. The problem with it is there are alternatives that cost half the price and are just as good. Loads of members at bodybuilding.com swear by the inexpensive Iron Gym Extreme. It’s a big step up from the original Iron Gym. Save yourself some time and get it now.

2. Resistance Bands

A good set of resistance bands are indispensible. The wide array of exercises that can be done is mind-boggling, especially with the door attachment in the mix.

Don’t assume these are just for the ladies. Macho men among us can use the maximum tension bands for great effect. There are plenty of exercises that are awkward with dumbells, so it is best to keep an open mind. Switch it up between resistance bands and free weights as the need arises.

Bodylastics makes the best quality bands out there. Don’t cheap out as the lower priced products are prone to break. You’ll need a variety of bands with different tensions. Make it easy on yourself by getting the Max Tension Edition set – it’s perfectly balanced for P90X.

3. Dumbells

When you think of working out chances are images of dumbells pop into your mind. A good set is absolutely essential for a good upper body workout.

Preferences vary widely among men and women. Men tend to like to pump iron in a stationary stance while women use dumbells while engaged in cardio exercise. For this reason I have separate recommendations depending on your gender.

For men, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells are incredible. By turning the dial while the weights are sitting in their station, you get a weight customized for an activity. This gives you three things: quick access, portability and a compact package.

For women, the 32-pound set from Altus Athletic is ideal for toning. It features 3-pound, 5-pound, and 8-pound neoprene-coated dumbbells and includes a cool triangular stand. The rubberized material makes them a pleasure to work with.

4. Exercise Mat

Unless you want your carpet to smell like a locker room you need to invest in a good mat. In P90X mats are used for plyometrics and yoga exercises. It is of course important that the product you choose is slip-resistant, comfortable, ample in size and easy to clean.

The durafoam exercise mat from Harbinger is a versatile one. It excels as a plyometrics and yoga mat, making it one of the best choices for P90X.

Optional Equipment for P90X

The following are recommended by Tony Horton in the “How to Bring It” video. I’m listing these as optional because the items in the previous list are all you need to follow the program.

1. Yoga Blocks

These can be useful if you are new to yoga, need extra support, or are advanced enough to lengthen your stretches. Blocks are available in a variety of materials, although cork is currently very popular.

Cork blocks by Hugger Mugger are made from the bark of long-lived cork oak trees. They are nice and sturdy yet not overly hard. Some find them too heavy so keep your individual ability at yoga in mind before purchasing.

2. Heart Rate Monitor

Sometimes it can be challenging to know if you are working too hard at a cardio exercise or not hard enough. A heart rate monitor quickly gives you feedback without a personal trainer around yelling encouraging catch-phrases.

The Timex T5G971 is a top-selling personal heart monitor with the right amount of features for P90X at a decent price. The read out is pretty massive which makes it easy to keep an eye on your progress.

p90x-recoveryP90X is no joke. It takes persistence and perseverance to get the most out of the program. People flock to P90X when they see the quick results of others but fail to think about the sacrifices those people made to get there. The problem is that the routine takes a lot out of you.

As a man with a physically demanding job I need to be at my best post-workout just as much as pre-workout. Dealing with a sore body at work due to an overzealous workout hampered with my day too often. That was until I decided to do something about it.

First off you should know that I’m not a supplement head. Typically all I take during the course of a day is whey protein powder, a multi-vitamin and fish oil.

Eating a balanced, high-protein diet is of course paramount to success with P90X. I was eating as well as my schedule would allow but still felt like a needed an extra bump post-workout. For this reason I decided to give the Results and Recovery Formula a spin.

The formula comes in either packets or a tub. Personally I went with the tub as I work out at home. You get a 30-day supply based on a 5-6 day/week workout schedule. Serving size is two scoops of powder per 12 oz. of water. A blender isn’t necessary. You can use either a drink mixer or a spoon to make a serving for yourself.

Before the formula was changed the drink tasted like an orange Creamsicle. The current version tastes more like Tang orange drink. I found the older version to be a little tastier. Then again flavour isn’t a priority to me when it comes to health supplements. I wasn’t drinking the stuff on the merit of its great taste from the start. It’s for quicker recoveries and bulking up.

Here’s how it works.

After an intense workout your muscles are depleted of glycogen. In order to encourage your muscles to repair themselves as quickly as possible Results and Recovery Formula replenishes the glycogen. Both simple and complex carbs are used to achieve the optimum balance.

A high Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) blend then provides the protein and amino acids needed to rebuild muscle tissue. On top of that, the formula includes the right balance of vitamins and anti-oxidants to reduce soreness and speed up recovery.

Is it Worth the Price?

After working out with the recovery formula for several weeks I can confirm that delivers what it promises. I don’t tend to feel spent after workouts like I used to. Although there is no way to tell it isn’t just a placebo effect, somehow I doubt it. The formula is backed by scientific studies mentioned here. It is a little hard now to relate to how I felt before because I’m now accustomed to the energy bump and now it seems “normal.”

P90X Results and Recovery Formula is well worth it if you are eating well and have the extra cash to guarantee the best results. Now that I’ve experienced its benefits, it would be hard to go back to pumping iron without it.