Plyo Ouch! A First Impression Review of P90X

Something they don’t tell you about pull-ups is that they work your core and the thin layer of muscles over your lower rib cage as well as your arms, shoulders, chest and back. I woke up this morning after my first P90X workout with the distinct feeling that someone had gripped the skin and muscles on my shoulders and yanked UP really hard, because everything between my lower abs and traps is going through DOMS now.

Another fun thing I learned was that doing 60 minutes of plyometrics while in this state of “Don’t touch me or I will smack you so hard you’ll be able to see first hand if your rump is getting bigger” soreness is not exactly a jolly experience either. Imagine feeling a jolt of DOMS in your entire torso every time you land a jump…over and over and over again. Yeesh. I’m glad I’m not a busty gal; plyo must KILL when you have that much adipose tissue, saline, or silicone grafted to your chest. Ladies, do NOT attempt plyo without a really good sports bra. 😉

Plyo, like the chest and back workout, is 60 minutes long. The workout is broken up into 4 or 5 sections consisting of 2 sets x 4 different exercises each. You get a 30 second break between each section which never seems long enough. I like it because I can feel it building more explosive power in my legs, and it is one kickass cardio workout to boot. At this point in my training, I don’t think I really need to build more mass in my lower body, just lean out and maintain what I have, so plyo and the leg workout tomorrow should be sufficient to do that.

And best of all, there’s no running involved. :biggrin:

So my assessment of P90X so far: It is an advanced level bootcamp style workout series that is extremely challenging even if you are already fit. I think based on the success stories and photos on the site and the type of exercises involved that men will build more upper body mass than women (surprise surprise) because they can actually perform more reps of push-ups and pull-ups, but the high average calorie burn per workout (600 calories) when combined with the very moderate calorie restriction recommended with the program (1800 calories/day for a woman of my height and weight) WILL lean both men and women out during the course of the 90 day program.

This program will get you lean, ripped, and compact, but arguably not lean, ripped, and BIG, especially your legs. There are no major leg mass building exercises like heavy squats or presses, so if you are hoping to balance out some chicken legs, I’d recommend sticking with the iron. I also think that chest development might be a bit weak in this program relative to traditional weight training. If I were a fella trying to work on my chest, I’d probably supplement the workouts with some good old-fashioned bench presses and flyes once my strength progressed beyond body weight exercises. If you are a woman with dreams of becoming a fitness model or figure competitor, I don’t think this will get you there either. You would still need to refine with gym workouts and exercises, but you will sure surprise a lot of folks with how many “hard” exercises like pull-ups you can perform. :whistle:

The variety of workouts is excellent. It’s an expensive program at $119, but you get 12 different workouts that mix resistance/strength, cardio, endurance, and flexibility training into a nice, organized program for you. There are also two well-written guides included–one for the workouts and one covering the nutrition plan you can use with the program for maximum results. Equipment is pretty basic as well: yoga mat, resistance bands/tubes, pull-up bar, and dumbbells. You can get away with just the mat and bands if do the modified exercises for bands instead of the pull-ups and dumbbell moves in the workouts. They also recommend a heart rate monitor, but I’m way too cheap to bother with that. I use the free internal Gasp-o-meter to gauge how hard I’m working.

The emphasis on arm/upper body work, power and bodyweight-based lower body work, non-running cardio, pull-up training, and yoga/stretching is a perfect fit for my current training goals of

-Dropping body fat
-Improving flexibility
-Maintaining muscle mass in legs without adding more
-Increasing upper body muscle mass
-Doing 10 unassisted pull-ups
-Working on functional aspects of fitness instead of just the aesthetics

If you are thinking about picking up P90X, check out the web site first, take the fitness assessment test, and think about your goals and current fitness level before you order, because make no mistake, this program will work you hard. It would be kind of wasteful to spend $149 bucks and a ton of sweat and effort on it if it won’t further your specific individual fitness goals.

Nutrition: 1700 calorie low zig zag day

1: 3×1 spinach and pepper omelette and large navel orange
2: Proatmeal PWO combo (1/2 c. (dry) oatmeal, 1/2 serving fruit and 3/4 scoop Myopro whey)
3: 3.5 oz. grilled pollock, 1 c. sauteed broccoli, 1/2 c. rice
4: Peanut butter banana protein shake
5: Oatmeal tuna salad with 1/2 banana
6: 3/4 c. FF cottage cheese and large navel orange

Total: 1632 calories, 50.9% carb, 35.5% protein, 14.7% fat

Daily Supplements: multivitamin with iron, calcium 500 + D

7:45 AM P90X Plyometrics
3:00 PM 1 mile walk (4 mph / 15 minutes)

The Awful Truth:
1. Extra 1/2 c. of Great Grains cereal around 10 pm.

Brownie Points:
1. Really, really sore from chest/back/abs workout yesterday. :ouch:
2. Adjusted personal finances to pay off last credit card by June 30 (one month earlier than expected). :prop:
3. Cleaned the bathroom this morning.

Short-term Goals:
1. Take both cats to vet at 2:00 pm today for annual exam and shots.
2. Deposit FSA check.
3. Work on paper doll project.
4. Do thumbnails for 5-6 new prints.
5. Clean the kitchen.
6. Set up dual monitors with desktop system.
7. Test scanner set up.

28 thoughts on “Plyo Ouch! A First Impression Review of P90X

  1. Ever have a problem motivating to do your home workouts? I have tended to like gym workouts because it forces me to get out of the house and concentrate on my workout. I’ve worked out at home before (tae-bo, situps, etc) and I find myself making excuses to cut the workout short. Are you with renewed vigor to workout at home, or have you always been good at home workouts?

  2. Just curious, do you need any other equipment for this program (weights, etc.)? Besides the pull-up bar of course…

  3. I have a hell of a time getting motivated to do stuff like pilates or other “girlie” workouts at home. I *HATE* New Age-y chatter and cheesy admonitions to breathe “from the top of my head to my toes.” Anything that looks like it’s been choreographed by some anorexic dance instructor on crack is out, too, as I lack the memory and coordination for that sort of aerobic exercise. 🙂

    Even Tae Bo was a bit too phony for my taste, especially since I could clearly see that those chicks didn’t get their buff arms and abs from doing those exercises.

    Chick-oriented tapes usually don’t make me feel like I’m doing much of anything, which is why I tend to try them out once or twice, then kick them to the curb in favor of REAL exercise at the gym.

    Now that I think about it, I think I am actually biased against most female fitness instructors, especially the ones with physiques which are obviously built from heavy weight training, not the bouncy routines they are demonstrating on the screen. Good luck trying to get them to admit THAT, though. It’s a bit like the false advertising in Tae Bo since thousands of women who don’t know any better will believe that they can look just like Ms. Peppybritches on TV by flapping a pair of 3 lbs dumbbells around while doing some low-impact, quasi-line dance footwork. :whistle:

    Back to P90X though…it helps that the system wasn’t designed for women who want to develop long and lean dancer muscles and shudder at the thought of adding any “bulk”.

    🙄 (Get real. If I wanted to look like a dancer, I’d just take up anorexia as a pastime and save the money I’d otherwise spend on workout gear and food for my impending treatments for chronic osteoporosis.)

    The instructor is a major goofball, but he never crosses the line into the annoying peppiness of the cheerleader style of female instructor (you know, the ones that look like they are always on the verge of doing the ponytail head nod with one hand on their hip and one in the air making a victory sign) or the soporific, spiritual mumbo jumbo of the typical string bean pilates/Bar Method style instructor.

    P90X makes me feel like I’m doing morning PT with my own little squad, and there’s a timer bar on screen at all times so I know how long I’ve been at it and how much longer I need to workout. It’s amazing how much that little feature helps.

    So I wouldn’t say that I have renewed vigor for home workouts. It’s more that until now, I haven’t found a home workout program that suited my quirky, Army-bred exercise mentality. And when it comes to pull-up improvement, I’d MUCH rather do that in the privacy of my own home rather than look like a dweeb in front of a room full of Gold’s Gym muscleheads. 😉

  4. Shannon–At a minimum, you need a yoga mat and resistance bands of varying resistances. Pull-ups and most dumbbell exercises can be mimicked with the bands. I think you’d get more out of the program with an actual pull-up bar and small selection of dumbbells (maybe 5 to 25 or 30 lbs), but it’s nice to know that you can take the DVDs and 2-3 resistance bands with you on the road and still be able to do your workouts.

  5. haha, you crack me up! I totally agree with you on how those chicks on Tae-bo DID NOT get that physique from just Tae-bo. And that in itself is infuriating… 🙄

  6. Yeah, and the Tae Bo series definitely implies that you will have that Street Fighter girl physique if you just punch and kick with Billy Blanks every day. I can see using TB as a sub for cardio day or as an extra funtime workout, but I’d still be lifting weights on alternating days to really change my shape and body composition.

  7. I have moderately been doing P90X for 3 months and if I’d have stuck to it like I should have I’d be ripped. However work schedule and mandatory overtime have cut that dream short for now. My question is after 2 years do you still do P90X and are you still motivated by it? I know that in my brief hiatus I still enjoy working out w/ Tony and the gang but I’m curious if those results stick with you or is it something you need to maintain. By the by I loved reading all of your blogs as they are witty and entertaining. So thanks for providing me…and everyone else a little bit more inspiration

  8. I have been working out with p90x for 2 weeks now, I can see results already. This plyo workout though is something else, I used to be a runner 20 years ago, now I have those chicken legs maggie mentioned.The first time I did the plyo workout, I had trouble walking for 3 days. I plan to stick with this all winter long , doing the doubles ( extra cardio 3x/ week) and I know I will be ripped come spring. The variety is good, I bought it on ebay for 110$ and it is well worth it.

  9. Morning,

    Today has been day 10 of P90x, and I’m really enjoying it. I agree with you wrt to ‘girlie’ workouts – I have been becoming one with the iron now for over a year and thoroughly love the heavy-duty exercises P90x incorporates.

    My chinup record so far is 4 unassisteds!

    Ever upwards and onwards,

    Barbara Ling

  10. Plyo kicked my butt when I first started too. Heck, it still kicks my butt but I can keep up with dominic now! My girlfriend introduced me to p90x. She was lifting heavier weights than me and that just wasnt right! That was serious motivation for me as a man. So, I bought my own copy of p90x, followed the complete program as its layed out and transformed my body from the inside out. Here are just a couple examples of many examples I could point out in how my strength has rapidly improved. Day 1 I could do 1 pull up and curl 40 total pounds. Day 90 I could do 12 pull ups and curl 80 total pounds. HUGE gains like this were occurring everywhere in my personal fitness. I documented my p90x journey on my site for anyone who is interested in reading more about my success along with progress pictures.

    To anyone on the fence about p90x, just get it before you talk yourself out of it. The only way you could fail is if you tell yourself its too hard and end up cheating and or quitting. If you want to ask me questions personally I would love to talk to you.

  11. Did the PX90 routine for 90 days (had to take off the last week due to shingles). Kicked my butt. Several weeks in the middle I could only muster 5 days not the full 7 (just too tired!). All my pants are too big now. Kids and wife say I look different. Shingles suck, I have not exercised in 2 1/2 weeks. PX90 might have pushed me over the edge. I’m starting my 2nd run at the full 90 day routine in the next 10 minutes. Good luck everyone. Thanks for the PDF’s so I can write down what I’m doing! Big help.


  12. I am starting today…I hope… with the Program. Hope to tell you how it went
    tomorrow. I work 12 hr night shifts so sometimes it is difficult to be alive during the day. But I gotta give this a shot… Will comment tomorrow.

  13. I’m halfway through week 6 of P90x and I can honestly say it is awsome. This morning I went down another loop on my belt (that makes 4 in the past 6 weeks). I’m toned and feeling great. I find it much easier to motivate to workout at home b/c there really is no excuse since you are already “at your gym”. I agree that the timer at the bottom helps when the going gets tough. I would recommend this program for anyone looking to tone up and drop weight fast… I’ve done Body For Life in the past which also works great but I find that the monotony of BFL leads to a faster burn-out of the program. With P90x you have forced variety and a fun based workout. I find that I still do the BFL eating regiment with the P90x workout program. For some reason I found the P90x eating program to be alot of food. I like the simplicity of the BFL program (1 carb, 1 protien, 1 vegetable). Anyway, that’s my two cents on the program

  14. I had a baby 3 months ago and am currently on day 10 of P90X and loving it. I can already see the baby weight melting away. What I like about this program is the nutrition to accompany the workout. I can work out all day, but if I had not also changed my eating habits, I don’t think the results would be the same. AND this is a diet/exercise program I can do while nursing my daughter!! Good luck to everyone. “Keep pushing the Play button” as Tony says.

    BTW I often cuss at Tony during Plyo LOL He makes it look so easy and with about 30 minutes to go in Plyo I want to KILL him. but it is making me stronger. I feel healthier and it is working, so I can’t really complain too much.

  15. Update: Take this advice: Don’t look at the scale…I have only lost 3 pounds, but I measured last night and I have lost 1.5 inches in my waist and I am only on day 10!!!

  16. First off p90x is awesome to sharpen and define mass. As for those looking to uncover a ripped and massive physique you’ll be sadly disapointed workout in the gym bulk up and then try this you don’t get 20 inch guns with bands and pull ups dont be a girlie man and pump some iron. Even though sometimes I feel like I’m overtraining since I still doing my other workouts. I love you Tony you know man to man love lol

  17. A word of warning. In early 2007 I began P90X and completed the equivalent of about 1.5 rounds with a small 60-day gap in the middle. Its not designed for large muscle mass gain, regardless of the number of pullups and pushups, because your maximum load is always limited by your body weight, and most of the exercises only utilize a portion of body weight resistance.

    I had great results for what I was looking for, lean and toned, with lots of energy, strength, and endurance. Got my body fat under 10%, which I’ve only been able to maintain a handful of times in my life.

    Unforunately, I then moved across the country and started a job where I did not have access to a home gym (I was in a crappy extended stay hotel), or any of my equipment. Due to the nature of the extremely rapid weight loss, the weight can COME BACK ON just as fast; your body will attempt to readjust very quickly. I still did the occasional run, but even with a moderate diet I packed on pounds galore. If you start P90X you need to finish it with a very long transition period back to a normal caloric diet and maintenance routine. If you don’t you’re doomed!

    I am now attempting to restart P90X and its very discouraging, because I’m not in shape anymore and I can only do a fraction of the workout routines that I used to dominate. The good news is that its easier to get back in the groove even from an out-of-shape starting point.

  18. I have tried Hip Hop Abs (my back KILLED me but that was about it), Tae-bo (love Billy, he got me in the best shape of my life when I was 30, but 8 years later I need more), tried Hard Body Yoga and HATED the instructor’s sensitive platitudes…etc. I had trouble trying to figure out what exercises to do when to get results. My husband told me I needed cardio, strength training, yoga, but who has the time???

    I saw a commercial for p90x one night and realized it could really work. I’m a working mom of two in fair condition. My first workout was two nights ago, cardio (I didn’t have the calendar yet) and what I really liked was the variety. I can feel the burn in many parts of my body but realized last night while doing arms I didn’t use the right bands.

    I can only work out after the kids go to sleep, which means I start at 9:30pm, but I’m hoping that my normal diet of grains, veggies and protein will yeild great results in time for my trip to Aruba in 4 weeks!! Fingers crossed.

    Thanks for all the posts. I really enjoyed reading them!

  19. Hi

    Love all the comments. Started p90x 2weeks ago and really got sidelined with the flu but now I’m back! I have always worked out and I’m pretty self motivated so P90X suits me to a T. I’m on week 8. The workouts are fabulous and Plyo kicks butt! I needed a program to mix it up a bit and this is definitely it. I already feel the extra stamina an energy and clothes are fitting better already.

    I did order the pull up bar and I’m ordering the heavy duty mat because of my knees. Love the recovery drink, I also play a lot of golf and I’m 67 and one very happy camper.


  20. Hello,

    I just got the dvds and am still waiting for the pull up bar to arrive. I was wondering if I should get the recovery drink as well? I don’t plan on getting the bars or following the diet plan simply because I actually have more trouble keeping weight on than losing it, so I am not expecting to get quite the same results as to they show in the videos.

    I would appreciate it if anyone would tell me how they feel about the recovery drink it self

    Also, my current diet consists of steamed white rice 3x a day – traditional chinese meals


  21. Hi,

    I finished my first round of P90X 3 weeks ago and will start my second round this evening. I love this workout – I have been in pretty good shape my whole life – mostly from playing basketball but it was getting to the point where my joints would take 2 or 3 days to feel normal after 2 hours of basketball. I had my knee scoped (basketball injury) in June of 2008 and by September I had not regained the muscle mass or strength in my left leg. I was watching the golf channel one night and saw P90X and decided to give it a try and it turned out to be one of the best things I could have done for myself. The number and variety of lunges and squats Tony does was the ticket to build strength in my left leg without stressing my knee to the point of creating a lot of pain. I did have to back off on the intensity of the plyo workout because I was feeling a lot of pain in the knee joint.
    I was so excited about the program that I bought it for my brother for his 50th birthday and he is starting next week. I like to play golf and would develop pain in my right shoulder during golf season and after 90 days of P90X and then 5 rounds of golf in 4 days I have no pain at all in my shoulder. My body fat is at 7% and I am back to my college weight (180) and waist size (32) – that was 25 years ago.
    This is an awesome program and I recommend it to anyone who wants a fitness program that works every part of there body. A tip when doing pull-ups: Have the chair in a position where you can use it and start by doing regular pull-ups and when you cannot do anymore use the chair to finish and then record it as 7 + 10 (7 regular and 10 assisted by the chair.) I used this technique and went from 5 regular to 16 regular in 90 days.

    Good luck – 9:30 tonight will not come soon enough.

  22. I am very interested in p90x, but I’m am probably borderline obese, 5’6 @ 195lbs. I am ready to take control of my life, body, and future. The program looks so incredibly hard I’m not worried that it’ll work just worried if I can handle it… I watched the infomercial and really didn’t see any “big ol’ girls” on there. I guess I’m just wondering is this going to give me results? Or do I need to lose weight before I can commit to this? Thanks for any answers I receive!

  23. at 5’6″, 195 and with no traing behind you, you wont make it past the first day. It may be the best program out there, but it’s not for you. they have fitness tests to see if you’re ready and the good news is power 90 (before we got the x) is a really good program and easier although that isn’t a cakewalk ether. Sorry, I fear that I may have rasied more questions than I answered.

  24. My wife and I started P90X last night. It kicked our butts. Plyo is tonight I’m thinking another butt kicking is in store.
    If you can’t pass the fitness test P90X will eat your lunch and leave you discouraged. Use some of Maggie’s ideas to get your self to the point you are ready.

    Great site Maggie very enjoyable!

  25. My wife and I started week 5 of P90X today. We are both sore! But the gains are there. I feel lighter ( Lost 11 LBS ) and the soreness is the type you get from hard work. I cant keep up with the animals on the DVD’s but I’m getting there. I bought a cheap pull up bar at first but ended up buying the one from beachbody. It’s superior to the one I had but I really need a higher one ( I’m 6 foot 3) but can make do. Bottom line, does the program work? Yes!

  26. I CAN’T FEEL MY LEGS!! hahah I’ve skateboarded, surfed, and snowboarded religiously the past 16 years and I figured I would be able to handle any workout thrown at me. My mom comes to be and says “hey I have something for you to try, and you have to do the whole workout”. I laughed and told her it would be nothing. I start the workout this week and did the plyo last night. I thought because of my boarding background I have developed every leg muscle I own . . . I was wrong! I can’t walk today and I love it.

  27. Maggie – great website by the way! I started the program this week and have tried my best to keep up with everything. Over estimated my abilities a little on how much weight I can handle on some of the routines so I have to go back and buy some smaller dumb bells. I am sooooo sore right now and in soooo many places. Never realized how out of shape I really was! That being said its the good hurt and I’m looking forward to getting just a little better next week.

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