Review Snapshot

It's home-based and can be completed with minimal equipment.


Many of the nutrition and fitness recommendations are outdated or just plain wrong.


This workout program is best for those who are already in shape, not for those who want to get in shape.

Reviewed by:
Annie Oh : I am a 20-something freelance writer who specializes in technology and health re...Member Reputation 124 • 110 active Krits
P90X Home Fitness Workout Program from Beachbody
P90X Home Fitness Workout Program Review
Annie Oh rates this 4/5
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Is the P90X Home Fitness Workout Program Worth the Hype?

For those who want to get lean instead of skinny, here's your perfect solution: the P90X Home Fitness Workout Program, led and created by exercise guru Tony Horton. Based on the principles of circuit training, this workout program isn't for the feint of heart; you'll spend 6 days a week using circuit body weight exercises to get rid of excess body fat. Here is my review.

  • Can be completed with minimal equipment
  • Is a home-based workout program
  • Designed to increase fat loss, not weight loss

  • Practices the outdated concept of muscle confusion
  • Focuses mainly on cardiovascular exercises
  • Hard to do

The Program

P90X is an intense home-based exercise program based on two concepts: circuit training and muscle confusion. Circuit training makes up the bulk of this exercise program because it supposedly improves fat loss, which is true--but only in the presence of a hypocaloric diet (meaning you're eating less calories than you need). Circuit training essentially means you'll do a set of exercises back to back with little rest in between, which some exercise experts believe accelerates fat loss--and makes people look leaner faster.  Not surprisingly, this program is very similar to INSANITY, another home-based workout developed by Beachbody--the company also behind P90X.

After ordering P90X, you'll receive 12 individual workouts, which you'll cycle through. Unlike other circuit training programs, P90X focuses on strength training as well as cardiovascular training as a well to build muscle--unfortunately, you probably won't build any significant muscle mass while dieting, so all this will really do is retain your muscle mass. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however; retaining muscle mass will prevent metabolism slowdown, which can occur while dieting, since dieting has a tendency to sacrifice muscle mass.

With the program, you'll also receive a three-phase nutrition plan, which is nothing more than a "clean eating" program which emphasizes eating frequently for a higher metabolism. Foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meat are in--processed foods are out. P90X says this is because these foods are high glycemic and more likely to lead to weight gain, though the glycemic index has been debated as being nothing more pseudoscience. Still, this diet puts you in the caloric deficit needed to lose fat.

Types of Programs

To accelerate fat loss and promote muscle gain, P90X gives you 12 programs which usually last an hour in length, ranging from circuit training to strength training. P90X recommends cycling through these and never repeating the same workout back to back; this creates muscle confusion, which constantly challenges the muscles and prevents plateaus, according to them. Unfortunately, scientific evidence does not support this--evidence shows that progressive overload, rather than muscle confusion, is the best way to consistently improves strength and muscle gains.

The Workouts

Each workout is usually focused on a single body part or a group of body parts, designed to strengthen and challenge these muscles. For example, it contains a chest and back routine, and then a legs and back routine. It also contains a dedicated ab workout, called Ab Ripper X, which challenges the core. This supposedly helps develop the abs, though you won't see any ab muscles until your body fat is low enough (usually 10% body fat for men; 18% body fat for women). For fun, P90X also contains a few "fun" exercise routines, such as Yoga X, Kenpo X, and a relaxing stretching routine. Don't let the names fool you, however--these exercises are extremely challenging, fast paced, and not meant for those just new to exercise.

What the Customers Think

Overall, P90X's customers have very few complaints about the program. Here is what they had to say:

"Overall, a good deal. But be warned, it isn't for the fat couch potato. Like the infomercial says, its for folks that want to get in BETTER shape; the expectation is that you already are in shape and want to take it to the next level." - Krykie

"Straight forward program, just follow the leader. This program is not boring like Body for Life. I completed the 90 day program and feel incredible." - Shannon

"I highly recommend it to anyone who is pretty fit, looking for a change, and looking to improve their overall fitness." - G. Eirschele


So, should you try this program or skip it? If you're just new to exercise, I probably wouldn't recommend this program simply because it's just too intense--consider using easier programs such as Zumba to build up your fitness level. However, if you are in shape and want to take it to the next level, then this program definitely will get you there.
Date Reviewed: May 15, 2012, 10:57 am
Reviewed by Annie Oh
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