(Editor’s Note) Our fitness expert Jonathan Ross is out there in the trenches with folks just like you and me looking for workouts that fit our needs and motivate us. Through the eyes of a certified trainer, he takes a look at the latest fitness trends and products to take us past the hype and give us some real, honest opinions. Here’s his take on the popular P90X program:
I’m always getting asked about fitness products, and I always give straight answers on what works, what doesn’t and everything in between. Below are some of the most common questions I get asked about a popular program P90X, and the truth about what you need to know before you consider ordering and using a program like this.
1. What makes P90X different from other workout DVDs?
There are many different types and intensities of exercise shown. Most DVDs and programs focus on one type of exercise or one type of equipment, and it’s up to the individual to integrate the workouts into whatever else they may be doing for exercise. The variety keeps the workouts from getting boring and can help prevent injuries from doing too much of one exercise.
2. What should I know about it before ordering?
It’s a big commitment – both financially and time-wise! Twelve DVDs plus the program manual isn’t cheap. Also, get your schedule ready for 90 minutes of exercise five to six days per week. If you can devote that much time to exercise, it almost doesn’t matter what program you follow, you’ll get results. I’ve rarely met people that find the prospect of such a big time commitment realistic.
There’s nothing magical about “muscle confusion” – it’s a term created by P90X, not an idea created by P90X. To describe what every entry-level trainer has known for decades: without a varied stimulus to the body, it is difficult to make long-term progress. You’ve got to force the body to change. The only thing revolutionary about “muscle confusion” is the term itself. The concept is an old one.
3. Any precautions about who should be doing the program (is it safe for everyone?), how to execute it safely, etc.?
If you know how to listen to your body it can potentially be for anyone. New exercisers will need to make the movements easier at first. In general, it’s for younger people (teens, 20’s and 30’s) who are exercising already but not getting great results from their time and effort. Just jumping in and following everything at full intensity if you haven’t already been exercising is not going to be a wise choice.
4. Is there anything I should do before I begin the program to be more prepared?
Make room in your schedule – can’t stress this enough. The time commitment on this program is more than most people typically say they have available for exercise.
5. Anything I should do (either during, before or after) to get the best results from the program?
Plan on getting seven to eight hours of sleep every night, eating small, frequent meals that are high in veggies and fruits and taking a fish oil supplement In addition, either schedule a deep-tissue massage every two to three weeks or spend some time on self-massage with a tennis ball, foam roller or other similar device. Your muscles will need it!
Remember: Progress from fitness isn’t from the workouts – it’s from the body’s ability to recover from a workout.
6. Any advice for when I’m performing the workouts to help me get the most benefits?
Feel free to modify any exercise for your body, your injury history and your goals. There’s nothing magical about doing everything exactly as someone else does it. Know your limits, and push them. However, know that the risk of overdoing it is common with this ambitious program.
7. Anything I should not do while performing this program? Is there anything that will sabotage my results?
Don’t feel pressure to do all the sets and reps at the highest intensity shown. Listen to your body and know that during a workout, it can be easy to get “in the zone” and overdo it. Then a few hours later, you’re hurting – and not in a good way. Intense muscle soreness is from a poorly executed workout. A little soreness lets you know you had a challenge, but very sore or painful muscles need to recover before getting hit hard again. Even if you have to take an extra day or two of light exercise to recover and skip a workout or two, that’s fine if it is what is best for your body.
8. Are there any other things you think i should know about P90X before I begin? Or tips/advice on how I can see the best results while completing the program?
The over-the-top delivery style of the workout leader on the videos can get irritating after multiple viewings. After one or two times through and you have a good idea of the moves, try following the videos with the sound down while you’re listening to your own motivating music.
CalorieKing Fitness Expert