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The P90X System: Pros

If you're already fairly fit, the P90X system is an excellent workout for losing body fat and increasing muscle tone.

Instructor Tony Horton does a nice job of explaining each exercise. The workouts can easily be done in your home, without a lot of equipment. Although the workouts are tough, you can pause the DVD if you need more rest.

The variety of DVDs allows you to change your workout frequently, which keeps you on your toes and prevents boredom.

The exercise and nutrition regimens are easy to follow, as workout schedules and daily eating plans are laid out in the booklets. The nutrition booklet also includes a variety of recipes.

You'll get a great workout with each DVD if you can maintain such an intense level of exercise. If you're a fitness enthusiast, you’ll enjoy the challenge of completing the 90-day program.

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.

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