P90X is a popular fitness program known for its charismatic founder, extreme workouts and impressive health benefit claims. P90X provides a well-rounded workout based upon the principles of muscle confusion and interval training. The P90X program also provides nutritional recommendations to complement the strenuous workouts. Talk to your doctor before attempting a P90X workout as this grueling regimen is not for everyone.

The Skinny On P90X

Tony Horton is the enthusiastic founder of P90X. The P90X system consists of a dozen DVDs, with each disc featuring a different workout. Some workouts target specific areas of the body, like the chest and back, while others focus on a particular kind of exercise, like stretching. The only necessary equipment — other than a DVD player — is a set of dumbbells or resistance bands and a pull-up bar. Each workout takes about an hour to complete. A three-phase focus on nutrition is included. The entire program is designed to be completed in 90 days.

P90X Health Benefits

P90X offers all-day calorie-burning through its combination of intervals and strength training. By confusing your muscles with a varied workout, you avoid hitting performance plateaus. Because of the constant variety in exercises, P90X may reduce your risk of repetitive-use injuries. The high-energy workout offers a new routine each day, keeping boredom at bay and increasing your odds of completing the program. The program is designed to be performed at home, which is convenient for those who don’t like working out in gyms.

P90X Research Results

A P90X study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise was performed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and published in 2011. The results of the study indicated that P90X is an effective fitness program. The subjects’ heart rates stayed within the target zone during the workout, registering 67 percent to 83 percent of the maximum heart rate for men and 65 percent to 88 percent of the maximum heart rate for women. The number of calories burned was substantial for the 33- to 43-minute test: between 441 and 699 calories for male subjects and between 302 and 544 calories for female subjects.


The demands of the P90X workout may limit its long-term effectiveness for weight loss and muscle building. When you exercise at home, poor form cannot be corrected by a professional. The P90X DVD set is expensive and users are encouraged to buy accessories and supplements. The American Council on Exercise warns that the P90X nutrition program deviates from the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines. The diet is deficient in carbohydrates, and that can increase fatigue and place extra stress on your kidneys and liver.

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