Posted by: thefitacademic | March 30, 2011

P90X Review

So many of you know that I’ve been doing P90X this month. Well, I’ve now finished my 4th week, which is my last week of following the program as mandated because at the start of April I need to start training for the CapTex Triathlon (which I talked about here). I wanted to give you guys a little review for anyone who hasn’t tried out P90X (I know – I’m always late to the party on things like this! Many of you have probably already tried it at some point!)


First, although there are 12 different videos, they are extremely boring and offer pretty much zero incentive to listen to the guy talking. I usually listen to the radio while P90X is on TV muted.

Although the videos were really challenging the first week  (and still challenging, a little less so, the second week), by week 3 I was pretty burned out on them. It’s hard to consistently push yourself to the max for a video that you’re bored with, and even though the principle of P90X is based on “muscle confusion”, the fact of the matter is that when you are rotating through the same 12 DVDs, you get used to them after awhile. That means it is not as challenging the longer you stick with the program. Judging by how bored I was with the videos during week 4, I don’t know how I’d get through all 90 days (Yes, there are a couple new videos that get introduced, but a lot of the “core” videos are the same throughout the entire 90 days).


(On my mat, about to get my Ab Ripper X on!)

To address the claim that P90X is hard on the knees (I know relatively recently Caitlin said that  fitnessista had reviewed P90X and said it was hard on the knees???). I did not find this to be the case. If you are on a carpeted floor or a rug with a mat, then I don’t see the problem. I don’t think its any worse than what you encounter running outside (probably easier, actually). There is one DVD that consists almost entirely of lunges, and that can be rough on the knees, but that’s only 1 out of 12 DVDs.

Also, the DVDs are LONG…sometimes you’re doing DVDs for almost 2 hours a day! I’m of the belief that it’s better to have a shorter workout where you REALLY work hard, rather than a longer video where you are totally burned out by the end and, therefore, don’t push yourself as much so you can maintain stamina until the end. It’s difficult to push yourself 100% all the way through the painfully boring videos, and there is little motivation on the part of the P90X people in the videos, too.

But I guess what people mostly care about are the RESULTS. From my 1 month doing P90X, I did see modest improvements in the areas of weight, percent body fat, and BMI. I will give a caveat that I didn’t follow the food program as strictly as I could have, and that there were 3 days over Spring Break when I didn’t do any videos and ate…well…crap. Smile I think that’s fairly normal Spring Break activity though. And lots of people are likely to fall off the program for a few days here or there, so I think my results are pretty typical of the average person.

Overall, I lost 2 lbs, 5% of my body fat, and my BMI dropped 2.5 points. This is why it’s so important to use multiple forms of measurement, because by weight only, it doesn’t seem like P90X did a lot for me, but in terms of percent body fat – I’m very happy with going down 5%. I would have liked to see larger results given that this was an entire month, but I’m not overweight or obese, so I think this is good progress. Slow and steady for lasting results, right!?


-Boring Videos

-Minimal Instruction on Proper Techniques

-Minimal Motivation to push through the videos

-Very long videos

-Pretty pricey ($140 on Amazon), but I got mine from a friend who didn’t want it anymore, so maybe you can find it on Craigslist, etc., for much cheaper.


-Challenging (for at least the first couple weeks)

-No harder on the knees than running

-Modest weight-loss/fat-loss results


So in the end, I didn’t have a body transformation of this magnitude


but although my P90X journey (strictly following the program) is now over, I’m moving onto another exciting workout regiment, which will prepare me for my upcoming triathlon. I’m a little nervous about the intensity, but I know I can do it and I look forward to being able to compete in my own hometown, where family can cheer me on!

Do you have any big fitness/health-related goals you are working towards?

Have you done P90X before? Do you agree/disagree with my review?



  1. I have not done P90x but I like that it’s a program targetted to beginners and intermediates that does incorporate strength training. I feel that most people’s fitness regimens are lacking in the strength training arena and that this dvd makes strength training more accessible to those with no experience in it — which is definitely a positive!

    • Agreed completely!

  2. p90x is hard!! i tried it but couldnt get through :/ have you done insanity?

  3. My uncle started doing it and I think he gave up 🙂 Apparently it’s really hard, so good for you for doing it!

    • yeah, most of the people I know from “real world” (non-bloggers) who have tried it ended up giving up. I think doing the blogging thing helps with accountability : )

  4. ha-lovey our review, I know a lot of people who live or die for P90x….and i’ve seen a LOT of people come into my ortho’s office with ligament tears from it too!

  5. I’ve never tried the P90X, but I’ve heard that the videos are super long and can be boring too! Don’t know if I’d ever try them…I’m more of a Jillian girl! 🙂

  6. Im glad you posted this review. Ive never done it or really any program.. I just kinda do my own thing. Ive been hearing a lot people doing the “insanity workout” which is supposed to be harder than p90x..

  7. 30 day shred is pretty entertaining to me but I still somewhat find all workout videos semi-boring! I can’t help it! I’m a group fitness kind of girl!

    go you for finishing p90x and your goal! and 5% down is AWESOME!!!

    • i definitely want to try Jillian’s shred! Maybe AFTER the triathlon training : )

  8. My roommate just got done doing P90X and she didn’t see any results. Granted, she was already in great shape to begin with, she really didn’t like the videos after a while. I think she got bored with them too, and by the end of the third month she was even doing them off the top of her head without the dvd because she had them memorized.

  9. I have to say that in one month those are AMAZING numbers! 2 pounds doesn’t sound like much, but if your BF% dropped by 5% that means you lost fat WHILE gaining muscle, which is pretty much the holy grail of weight training. Did you do the photos? When I did it, my numbers barely changed at all, but I definitely saw the diff in pictures.

    Also, I think Gina and Caitlin were talking about Insanity being hard on the knees – neither one did P90X. I did both and they are like apples and oranges, but Insanity is WAY hard on the knees, but not P90X.

    great review! I agree with all the other things you said!

  10. My health fitness goal? Actually exercise. Which I haven’t done seriously in over two years. Oops.

    Well done for trying this p90x thing out! It seems so intense.

    • pre-blog I wasn’t an exerciser either! I started small: walking my dog every day. Eventually the walks turned into jogs, and then it kinda snowballed from there : )

  11. I’m glad you reviewed this as it’s one of the “maybe I should beef up my workouts, P90x looks interesting…” options that I weigh. Even though I think I’d probably not try them based on this, the 5% body fat is impressive. Are your clothes any looser?

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