You’ve seen the ads on TV, and the beautiful bods pumping out sets of 20 pull ups. You’ve seen the before and after pictures, and you’ve probably been tempted to try it out. But, does P90x really work?
I’ll be honest, I’m a huge fan of Tony Horton, the notorious creator behind P90x. With the original P90x he created a dense package of challenging exercises, and he’s an entertaining coach, often reminding you to “do your best, and forget the rest”. There’s no doubt that P90x is a hell of a workout program, that leaves you asking for mommie at the end of your workout. Tony has a way of getting you to put your best effort forward.
But again, does P90x really work? Will it get you into shape?
Here’s the truth.
Yes, P90x will work…
If you can stick to the program.
And this is my main problem with P90x. It actually doesn’t work for a lot of people.
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Why P90x Doesn’t Work for a Lot of People
If you’ve ever tried P90x and gave up in frustration, don’t worry, you’re not a failure. And, you’re definitely not alone. I’ve struggled with P90x in the past, even though I also loved the workouts. I’d guess that most people who try the P90x workout don’t actually complete it.
Again, no disrespect to Tony Horton. I love the guy, and P90x is without a doubt a an awesome program for those people who can get through it. It’s just that that’s a low percentage of people.
Here are the main reasons I don’t think P90x works for a lot of people.
1) The Bar is Set too High
For the average person, P90x is a pretty intense program to start with. The original program involves daily exercise routines that require you to set aside about an hour of your day, and when you do, you’re joined by a group of beefcakes who will be busting out reps, long after your exhausted on the floor.
Then you have to do it all again tomorrow. You have to push through the fatigue, and soreness, to join these supreme specimens of muscle once again for another flogging.
When you do a P90x workout you feel like the weakest person in the room. If you love setting time aside for that type of punishment, you’re clearly a special sort of masochist.
2) You Don’t Have Enough Time
Making time to workout is a huge challenge for most people. If you’ve had some success creating a workout schedule in the past, you’ll have an easier time. But if you’re looking to start a plan, it’s going to be really hard to miraculously find one hour per day to dedicate to exercise to an exhausting workout plan.
After all, most of us have other priorities in our life. Even though your own health should be at the top of that list, it typically falls behind family and work. And the unfortunate reality of our society is that we barely have enough time as is.
3) You Get Burnt Out After 1-2 Weeks
With little rest, and so much time investment it’s hard to stick to P90x. Basically, if you have a life outside of P90x, you’re going to struggle. You’ll probably start out with motivation, and stick to the program for a few days. But then, when life gets busy or stressful, it’s going to be the first thing to fall of your schedule.
This is where some people will say, “you have to make time if you want results”. Yeah that’s true. But, maybe you don’t need that much time. Maybe you don’t have that much time.
P90x is one of those workouts you can start when everything’s going well in life and feeling stable. If you’re life is feeling volatile, it’s fucking hard to stick to the schedule. Stay late at work, and whoop, there goes your workout. Gone.
If you have an hour a day, and the vigor to do P90x, do it. Otherwise, you have to find something that you can do consistently. For most of us, it’s probably not a high intensity daily program that lasts an hour. So, scale it back.
How many days can you do? If you scale back the time commitment to 10 minutes, can you do that every day? What about 20 minutes per day?
You have to find where that cutoff is for you.
I recommend working out every day, but reframing what that means. That doesn’t mean working out every day for an hour in the gym. I’m talking 10 minutes per day of 2-3 exercises. Each day you do a different muscle group, and you do the quality movements at a high intensity.
If you’re struggling to find time to exercise (most of us are), you have to make time for yourself. But it might not need to be all that much time. Studies have shown that higher intensity training, performed for less time, can actually have better results than longer training at lower intensity.
I recommend you start by finding 10-15 minutes per day. That’s more time than you’re giving yourself now, right? Okay, so that’s success. You don’t need to go from 0 minutes to 60.
Find something you can do consistently. Less is more. Before you can get into better shape, you have to find a system you can stick to consistently.
For me, that means I do 10-20 minutes of exercise each day, alternating muscles groups. I do upper body exercises one day, then lower body exercises, the next day, and I continue to alternate. Aside from that, I look for opportunities to walk more. I take the stairs, and park my car further away. Every chance I get, I try to get more steps.
If you’re looking to start an exercise routine, start here. Start small. Get consistent. Then, raise the bar. But, start with something you can succeed and build a habit with.