Unless you’ve been living under a rock, if you’re any sort of fitness enthusiast, you have definitely heard of (or tried) P90X: Tony Horton’s 90-Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout DVD Program. But for those of you who haven’t, its a super-intense home exercise program created by fitness guru Tony Horton. It consists of 12 intense workout DVDs and includes the use of heavy free weights (you have the option of using light weights or resistance bands), and incorporates a tremendous amount of pushups and pullups, plyometrics, and some yoga. The DVDs are designed to be done in a specific routine that you follow 6-7 days/week approx an hour and 20 min a day for 90 days. The program also includes a Nutritional guideline and supplement recommendations to enhance your workout.
I did P90x about a year ago and loved it. I followed the program to the letter of the law: the workouts, the nutrition program, and the supplements. I loved the program (and the results) so much in fact that I did P90x-plus almost immediately after, which is another 5 DVDs and 90 days of more torture. I enjoyed that too, although not as much as the regular P90x, since the workouts were shorter and not as fun or intense. I decided to do a 3rd round (did I mention I am a little crazy?) by combining the 2 programs and rotating all the DVDs. I stopped doing the program halfway through the 3rd round when I realized I was doing more harm to my body than good. You see along the way, most people who do this program will experience pain, some of it pretty significant. And at some point, the line between muscle soreness and muscle and joint pain becomes a little blurred.
So why didn’t I just stop after the first round? Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20. In my defense, aside from the aforementioned fact that I’m a little crazy, the only way I can explain it is that Tony is addictive. I mean, as a personal trainer I always exercised about 4-5 days a week, an hour each day. But training yourself, as most people can attest to, is or becomes boring, no matter how great your exercise routine is. Tony makes you feel like he’s there in the room with you along with his friends. He cracks corny jokes and motivates you, plus he kicks it up a notch in a way I would never have done on my own. What can I say?………He had me at “Bring It!” and I was hooked. Most people who have done this program will agree that it’s highly addictive, and unfortunately, addiction of any kind is not a good thing!
So, as much as I love high-intesity exercise, and P90X in particular, I’d like to caution those of you out there thinking of doing this program, especially you women who may not be used to doing pushups and pullups. Do it with proper form, first and foremost. Do it ONCE and take a break before going for round 2. Don’t push yourself past the point of failure even if you feel strong, because it is guaranteed to get you injured. Tony does a lot of innovative twisting moves that put a lot of strain on the back and neck, especially in P90X+. Take it from me, I was in the best shape of my life and after P90X I had 2 herniated discs in my neck along with significant back pain. I had to take a break from any kind of weight training for quite some time, and get numerous chiropractic, active release technique, and massage treatments for my neck and back. Now I’m not saying the P90X program is to blame: In my particular case, my form was never the greatest on those last few reps – it’s nearly impossible when youre pushing yourself past the point of muscle failure to maintain perfect form. Being 5’10”, I also don’t have the best posture which puts a lot of force and pressure on all the vertebrae of the spine, especially the neck, while doing these types of exercises. Thank G-d, I’m okay today and back to doing strenuous forms of exercise, although I shy away from too many pushups or pullups because they tend to cause me aggravation.
Would I do P90X again? I still do some of the workouts, such as “Shoulders and Arms”, “Legs and Back,” and “Kempo Cardio Plus” in rotation with my regular routine. Would I recommend it? Yes, if you’re fit and you lift just enough weight or do enough reps to maintain proper form. Daily stretching, proper supplementation and adequate rest are also extremely important when doing the program.
P.S. I’d love to hear your feedback on P90X if you have done (or attempted to do) the program.