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Keep it Tight with P90X


Keep it Tight with P90X

By guest KIT blogger, Nat Miller

This is a review of my experience with P90X, the hardcore fitness program developed by Tony Horton and marketed by BeachBody. Originally, I believed this post would simply discuss specific P90X workouts, the diet, and my results I experienced. However, I began to realize that in true KIT style, I needed to stay holistic in my view of this program and how it played into my overall fitness and lifestyle. P90X is a cyclical, periodized program of high intensity cardio, plyometric, and weightlifting exercise routines. The methods used throughout the program are not rocket science or paradigm shifting: if you commit to performing 1 hour of high intensity exercise 6-7 days a week, you will see results. Period. The exercises themselves are also nothing new as most workouts are built on the almighty pull-up, numerous variations of pushups, curls, and squats. The real difference in this program however is the variety and volume of exercises you fit into an hour. Each workout routine involves a warm-up, cool down, and at least 45 minutes of exercises performed at full gas. Typical rests are 30 seconds twice throughout the entire routine, so it is like performing a giant superset of exercises.

“Biceps Don’t Pedal Bikes”

When I first thought about working out with a “fitness video”, I was skeptical…anyone remember Richard Simmons? Multi-colored, fro-sporting fitness mogul, Tony Horton is not (but he still cracks pretty terrible jokes…). I was pleasantly surprised by how motivating the videos were and how well the program worked. Going into Month 2 I had lost 10 lbs. and leaned out considerably. Through the second month I actually regained the weight I had lost and then some, this time in muscle weight. While I was not completely shocked by this outcome, it does beg the question of how effective the program is for cycling. My back was wider, biceps bigger, and chest broader…which translated into more “useless” muscle on my upper body. I was not complaining, but I was not going uphill any faster.

Following a short hiatus from the program, I have switched to the “Lean” version of P90X (the program can be followed in the Classic, Lean, and Doubles format). My focus is now using P90X as a supplement to my cycling and running program, particularly when I’m unable to get on the bike or out for a quick run. I now do P90X in the mornings, commute to work a few times per week, and train on the weekends to get me around 10 hours of training time per week. This new plan should better prepare me to achieve my goals (lean, on-the-bike fitness) versus just doing P90X alone.

The take away is that P90X is a legitimate program for the time-crunched athlete. It is a well-organized program that achieves results if you can maintain the intensity. It’s a great way to build core strength and tighten muscle groups that often are neglected if your typical routine is centered on solely putting miles in. The only caveat is that it is not a replacement for sport-specific training, it’s simply adds a piece to the overall fitness puzzle. P90X will not prepare you to race without actually spending time on the bike and/or running.

Summary: P90X is a great way for time pressed athletes to stay fit and keep it tight.

*Nathaniel Miller is a full-time technical writer with a passion for the open road, but enjoys a healthy dose of trails on occasion. He prefers gut-wrenching climbs to walks on the beach, 55mph descents to bike lanes, and assumes everyone knows what “riding on the rivet” means. His goals in 2012 include catching a handful more races than last year and riding the same distance the pros do during each stage of this year’s Tour de France.

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