The P90X System
The P90X System: Cons
The P90X workouts are designed for healthy people in good physical condition. They're not intended for people with chronic diseases, the obese, or people with physical limitations.
In addition to the $120 cost for the P90X system, you'll need to buy some basic resistance training equipment if you don't already have it (the weights, bands, pull-up bar and mat). And, as with any home-based exercise regimen, distractions can often interfere with your workout.
If your fitness goal is primarily to gain muscle size and strength, you'll likely see greater benefits with traditional strength training that includes a variety of types of resistance exercise equipment. Because of their circuit format and minimal equipment, the P90X workout DVDs are mainly geared toward improving muscular endurance, muscle tone, and cardiovascular fitness.
The circuits target one body part right after another, which is great for a muscle-pumping/toning workout, but not ideal for increasing strength. For optimum development of muscle strength and size, it's recommended that you rest at least 1 minute between each set to fully recover so you can lift maximum weight on the next set.
As for the P90X nutrition plan, phases 1 and 2 are essentially low-carb diets, which most nutrition experts don't recommend for the long term. The nutrition program’s designer does not appear to be a registered dietician, and the diet plan is not based on the standard Food Pyramid recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The P90X System: Bottom Line
The P90X workout system sounds simple -- just follow the program for 90 days and you'll be more muscular and leaner than you ever imagined. But these challenging workouts require lots of dedication to complete.
Beginners, or those who are seriously unfit, probably will not make it through the rigorous schedule and should instead begin with a less intense workout.
If you're fairly fit and dedicated to completing the program, you will see results. But, as with any exercise program, the quality of those results will depend on how much effort you put in.
(Michael R. Esco, PhD, CSCS, HFS, is an assistant professor in The Department of Physical Education and Exercise Science at Auburn University Montgomery, in Montgomery, Ala. His opinions and conclusions are his own.)