P90X3 is a 90 days workout program created by Tony Horton, a personal trainer and former actor. It’s a program that you can follow at home, or in a gym. We gave it a try and we were pleasantly surprised by its quality. It’s fun, challenging, but not easy. In this article, everything you need to know about P90X3.
P90X3 is a combined workout program, comprised of various videos (roughly 15), 30 minutes each. The idea is quite simple: a schedule, one video per day, and 90 days to get you in shape. P90X3 is an evolution of P90X2, itself being the successor of P90X; all created by Tony Horton. While I didn’t myself try the precedent series, many people complained about their length (60 minutes), hence a shorter and more convenient version: P90X3.
The website proposes different bundles, but they all contain the same base items:
- A set of DVDs
- The P90X3 nutrition guide
- A fitness guide
- Tracking sheets
The “Deluxe” and “Ultimate” packs also contain:
- Resistance bands
- A pull-up bar
- Some dietary supplements
Find more about the bundles their official page: http://www.beach-body.com
P90X3 is a really interesting program comprised of various videos, making it fun and challenging, as it helps one expanding his or her comfort zone. Videos could be put in 4 categories:
- Resistance training (Synergistics, The Challenge, Incinerator, The Warrior)
- Cardiovascular training/ interval training (Agility X, Triometrics, Decelerator)
- Cardiovascular training (CVX, MMX, Accelerator)
- Stretching/ balance (X3 Yoga, Pilates X, Isometrix, Dynamix)
There is one video per day, and each “block” goes for 4 weeks, followed by a week of “deload”: it’s a week that is less intense than the previous ones. This system allows you to familiarize yourself with the exercises, improve your performance for a given block and get yourself ready to move to the next one.
Videos all start by a short warming up, then dive into the hardcore routine; once the session is done, a couple of minutes are dedicated for cooling down the body. The quality of the videos is really good, so the music.
As explained earlier, there are 4 type of videos, and that really helps to work different body parts we often don’t work; for many of us, once we have established a way of training that we enjoy, we rarely try new things. P90X3 teaches you yoga, stretching, or Pilates.
At the beginning of the week, exercises are more intense, with resistance or interval training often placed those days.
It’s a really smart approach, because it allows the athlete to intensively work out, and carefully stretch afterwards; some days are dedicated to recovery and injury prevention. On top of that, the program is as challenging as fun. And I think it’s something that shouldn’t be dismissed: how many of us have real fun while working out?
Finally, there’s another benefit, because as we’ll see later, some videos can be quite hard.
Each pack contains 3 programs:
- “Classic“: this program is recommenced for the started, and this is the one I followed for 90 days. During the first weeks, it mostly focuses on less intense exercises, then gradually builds up the difficulty. As you can see, it contains a stretching routing every Sunday.
- “Mass“: this program focuses on mass building. This program is a bit harder to follow than the “classic”; it supposes good physical capacity but also good resistance to training.
- “Double“: this programs contains two training sessions per day, amounting to 1 hour worth of training every day. This program adds a cardio routine 3 to 4 times per week. This program is suited for people looking for more cardiovascular exercises; but beware, the guide itself stipulates that you must be free from any form of injury and have plenty of energy throughout the day. I strongly suggest you to start with a different program before even considering doing the double, otherwise you’ll give up, plain and simple. Moreover, it supposes a good understanding of your diet so you can adapt it throughout the program.
In the end, no matter which program you choose, it’ll be possible for you to adjust your diet, depending on the program you go with, and your goals.
Is P90X3 easy? No. If you just started to work out, you will be likely to give up. Videos are quite intense, and the breaks are really short (30 seconds to 1 minute). In order to be able to follow the videos every day requires discipline but also a really good understanding of:
- Your resistance and endurance levels
- Your recovery level and breathing technique
- Your ability to follow the program for weeks (12 weeks)
While I consider myself in good shape (I’ve been training for 4 years), I had a hard time with some videos (especially during the first days); it took me a couple of weeks before being able to follow some videos, but also get my body used to certain movements I never practiced before!
The Pros of the System
As explained earlier, this system has many benefits; Tony Horton came up with an almost “perfect” way of training; he managed to make the program fun, challenging, and motivating; because it contains various videos, you’ll never be bored, and the rhythm is intense, you hardly lose your focus and motivation.
Depending on your goals, it’ll be possible to adapt the program to keep progressing and improve your level on certain exercises. For instance, the yoga routine will boost your static strength as well as your balance after a couple of weeks only.
Moreover, every program is easy to stick to (one video per day), there’s nothing hard or cumbersome to understand: you play the video and get yourself ready to sweat.
In every video, athletes do follow the exact same routine, as they have the same breaks during which they hydrate: it’s easy then for you to follow .
Because the programs mostly contain bodyweight exercises, or use light weights, they reduce your chances to get injured at home; Tony Horton secured every session, and he really takes the time to explain how you should be performing the movements, he also doesn’t hesitate to correct athletes’ moves if they are not well executed.
Finally, all athletes are really in shape, and that helps one to find the required motivation to go through each video.
- Gained strength in my quads and glutes
- Gained strength in my calves
- Greatly improved my balance (that used to suck)
As far as the upper-body is concerned, I especially gained some strength around the mid-section, shoulders and forearms; other body parts didn’t change that much. For those of you who are skeptical vis-a-vis such program, especially if you’ve been working out for year in a gym, I strongly recommended it you, at least to try something new.
While this is an excellent program, and while there’s almost nothing to say about it, I’d like to bring up two things:
- Some videos are really hard to follow if you don’t have a background in a particular sport. For example, the “MMX” routine contains mixed martial arts; and without a background in MMA, it’s not really possible to follow through. I would have liked extra videos related, perhaps easier, or a way to slowly increase the difficulty. For your information, one of the athletes in the videos is… a black belt of Taekwondo. Suffice to say it’s a hard one.
- Videos mostly focus on body weight exercises, thus some body parts will never be properly worked out; I’m thinking about the calves, the traps, or the lower back: these body parts are often forgotten…
This is an amazing program to get you started and to get your ass in shape. I’m not sure you’ll be able to follow it if you just started working out; indeed it’s a bit hard and requires some experience in training. P90X3 requires you to have a dialed in nutrition. Because every program lasts 3 months, a bit of dietary strategy would benefit you; otherwise you will have a hard time to find the strength, the energy, and the motivation every day.
If you want to push past your limits, improve your physique, your balance and your body, then P90X is for you.