My wife and I purchased P90X back in January after trying it out with some of her family members. We had both finished spent the fall working out with various DVDs (The Biggest Loser and Jillian's 30 Day Shred), and I was pretty much already at my target weight, having lost about 50 pounds since August. But I wanted "more" and so we bit the bullet.
Throughout the spring, I would say I worked out "casually" maybe 3-4 times a week. I felt I didn't have time for the full P90x routine, so I would split the hour-long workouts into two 30-minute days. I might have gone in the prescribed order but did so slowly and skipped the Yoga X and Plyometrics workouts, substituting in Cardio X and Jillian's Shred Level 3 on those days instead. 1 I also used bands for the chin-ups instead of a chin-up bar. 2
I slacked off at the end of spring semester while work got busy, and then we moved and had a vacation. On return from vacation, I was determined to do Phase 1 completely and not skip days. I bought a chin-up bar.
Initially, I still subbed in Jillian's Shred and Cardio X for the Plyo-X and Yoga X. But then I added Plyo back in on Week 2, and did the Yoga X both days on Week 4.
My opinion is that P90X works. While I haven't lost much weight (I was already at my "target" weight) I have definitely started changing shape. Here are some thoughts if you're looking to do it:
- Adding a pull-up bar makes all the difference for your shoulders, arms, back, and core.
- Yoga X is totally worth the 90 minutes. It gets easier as you do the other exercises, and makes the other exercises (like wall-sits) "easier."
- The more you do the workouts the longer they will take. This seems counter intuitive, but as you set and meet goals for your number of reps, you have to keep adding more reps. That means pushing pause, finishing your set, and then moving on. It's also true when lifting weights where you might not have the money/option of moving to a heavier weight-- you do more reps with what you've got.
- I use 20 pound weights for most exercises. 10 pounds for the exercises you do on days like Plyo X. Those have been perfectly adequate for Phase 1.
- X-Stretch is also a good idea. It helps you heal and will also help your Yoga X.
- It takes time. You have to commit to 90 minutes one day a week, 75 minutes three days a week, and 60 minutes the other three days. Carve out that time. I was able to do that easily only because I am a teacher who gets summers off.
- Keep pushing play, keep pushing play. If you're completely winded and it's break time, no shame in adding another minute of break to get your heart rate down a bit.
- Expect to be sore ALL the time. Working out intensely 6 days a week every week is tough on your muscles.
1I found Plyo X initially really killed the arches of my feet. I'm not sure whether this was because I was on my feet teaching most of the day, or had new workout shoes, or because of the carpet in our house or what. We moved to a new house with different carpet and I haven't been teaching and I haven't had nearly as much pain. Yoga X was just awkward, uncomfortable, and time-consuming the first time I did it. My mind just wasn't "open" enough. But after a few weeks of serious P90X, I found it wasn't so bad. Highly recommend it.
2Some people use bands rather than free weights, and I would imagine it's time consuming to set that up every set. I bought a Golds Gym set of 3 bands that you can either use together or separately (using them together is more resistance). Before buying the bar, I used all 3 bands together for the chin-up/pull-up sets. You could sit and do that all day and not get the same workout as just doing a few pull-ups.