Power 90 and P90X Review 2017: Get the Power!

Beachbody, a health and fitness company based in California, was founded in 1998. The two who thought it up – Carl Daikeler and Jon Congdon – were interested in helping others live out a healthy and fulfilling life. Very California, right? You bet. Fitness and weight loss are two items of business which appear on everybody’s list. We all want to live out a happy, healthy life, and there are certain factors which can make happen. Our body is the most important tool we own, and taking good care of that body is paramount. To that end, Beachbody was created. It is a series of fitness, weight loss, and dieting solutions, which get results for those who commit to the program.

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1Some time later, in the early 2000's, Tony Horton joined the Beachbody crew. Horton is now pushing 60, yet he looks amazing. There is no doubt that we can all learn a thing or two about health and fitness from this guy. Horton is the creator of the Power 90 (P90) and Power 90 Extreme (P90X) workout regimens, and is one of Beachbody’s most recognizable faces. Or should I say bodies.

The idea behind these workouts is simple – 90 days. A 90-day program which can help you get results. This figure of 90 days is not pulled out of thin air, but is rooted in fact and experience. Whether it is a case of fighting an addiction, overcoming a mental block, getting in physical shape, or basically changing any kind of habit – there is tons of research showing that the first 90 days of any long-term process are critical. In some cases, they can make or break a person’s long-term goals. There is some merit to 40 days as well, but many agree that 90 days is the ideal amount of time for habits to change and for minds to re-wire themselves, chemically.

We're no strangers to fitness here at EduMuch, as evidenced by fitness features like our series of activity band reviews (such as the Polar Loop, Loop 2Surge, Blaze, and Alta reviews). Change is hard, and beginnings are always tough. Still interested? Read on.

An important note: The P90 programs are all very challenging, by definition. They are result-oriented, and they may take a lot out of you. It can be strenuous, to say the least. This is especially true for those who have not worked out in a while, or those who haven’t been eating right. Before starting any of the P90 or P90X programs, make sure you consult your physician. Extreme activities are just that – extreme. Make sure that you are up for the task, before commencing these workouts.

Power 90 Overview and Review

2The Power 90 workout program was introduced in 2001 by Tony Horton. It is a workout solution which remains popular to this day, because it is so accessible. Not everyone has the stamina for punishing workouts, nor can everyone maintain a fitness diet for 90 days without any kind of support. This is where P90 really shines. It is a foot-in-the-door kind of workout program, which allows anyone to get on board.

Whether you have not worked out in years, or whether you are simply looking to maintain the physique you currently have, P90 can help get you. Even though it's a 90-day program, the P90 lifestyle doesn't end there. For many, 90 days are just the beginning. The key to any health and fitness plan is not to complete a 90-day plan, but to use those 90 days in order to instill a real lifestyle change and ingrain healthier habits into one’s psyche and, consequently, one's daily life.

As a side note: some workout programs, especially those of the home fitness variety, get a lot of heat from naysayers. Some are very skeptical, saying ‘why on earth should I pay someone for something I'm doing in my own home?' But you know what – the thing is, people need motivation. Once you pay for something, once you have a set schedule and plan, you're more likely to follow through on your workout ambitions. Personally, it totally helped with my feeling of obligation. I figured that I had already paid for it, so I might as well make the most of it.

So, P90. When I started P90, I was in okay shape. Maybe even better than okay. I'm not sure, really as I never made a real assessment of my physique and condition. I would cycle a few times a month, mostly on weekends, but not for crazy distances. I also always walk my dog everyday for at least 20-30 minutes, and I pick up my kids – literally, them and their stroller – quite a lot. Nothing very habitual, just day-to-day stuff. I wasn’t in bad shape by any means. My bloodwork was fine, my BMI was within range, and I felt good. Like I said, I was okay. Ah, but I didn’t want “okay”. I wanted fit, toned, and strong. And since I knew that something extreme like the P90X would probably butcher me, I went for the P90 first. A wise decision, I feel, based on what happened.

The first month – probably the first couple of weeks – of P90 really solidified my decision. I figured I’d start and see where it took me. I can totally see how this is fit for beginners and non-beginners alike. These workouts leave you feeling good. They are challenging and effective, if you do them right. By the way, by “doing them right” I also mean allowing yourself a proper warmup and cool down. This is my one critique of this fitness program. Maybe it has changed, but I found that it didn’t invest enough time in a post-workout cooldown.

The P90 workout itself is set up in an A, B, C scale, which gets more challenging as time goes on. This is key. This is why keeping up with the program is crucial. I know, I know, it's crucial for any kind of program, but we’re discussing health and fitness here. If you leave your body alone, if you get out of the mindset for a few days – it is hard to come back to with the same kind of force and enthusiasm. I am saying that from bitter experience. Keep up with the program. If you can do it with someone else, do it. Keep yourself and each other motivated, and the program will be a lot easier to stick to.

After 90 days, I saw tremendous improvement in my fitness – to the extent that I didn’t really want to stop. This was a great indicator of just how much those 90 days have affected me. Telling yourself you're going to start living a healthy lifestyle is one thing, but when you give it a timeframe, it becomes a goal. A clear aspiration. That, my friends, changes everything – you have a date, a deadline. I am a deadline guy. Without a proper, clear-cut deadline, I may never get any work done. I knew this of myself from a relatively young age, and it remains true now. I need a timeframe in order to stay focused. Sometimes life can make it difficult to keep to deadlines, but when you keep your eye on the overall goal, this become easier. Like I said, 90 days are just the beginning. There are those who choose to stretch that period to 180 days, 270 days, or more. The program gives you a basis on which you can expand, and that is an invaluable thing to have.

That sums up my pretty great experience with the Power 90 workout program, and now I will give a quick overview of the extreme P90X program. I haven’t done it, but I did witness a 90 day P90X transformation that a close friend went through, and I will write about that from my point of view after this brief overview.

P90X Series Overview and Review

P90X was released in 2004, several years after P90. During those years, Horton was busy doing extensive research on a program which would act as a sequel to the P90. He developed P90X in order to provide beginners and more advanced users with the tools necessary to take their workouts, their power, to the next level. Eventually, he wanted P90X users to build on their P90X progress as well, which led to the birth of an entire P90x series. The P90X series includes the following programs:

P90X Overview and Review

4P90X features 12 exciting workouts and stresses the importance of a corresponding calorie-counting kind of diet. Now, I'm not a fan of calorie-counting and never did it myself, but it does seem to help a lot of people. P90X is said to be aimed at beginners, but the truth is that true ‘beginners' will likely find P90X to be overly challenging, particularly at the beginning of the program. P90X is more complicated than P90, and this is clear as day for anyone who has experienced both programs. Like I said, I had a friend who did P90X alongside my P90, and we boast different kinds of results. The main reason for that is P90X focuses on what is called “muscle confusion” – changing routines and movements in order to stimulate faster and more varied muscle growth. Everyone knows that one small movement can go a long way, and P90X is all about that.

P90X Plus Overview and Review

5Released in 2007, P90X Plus is meant for graduates of the P90X program. Those who make it through the P90X are invited to continue their journey to a happier, better, and fitter self with P90X Plus. “Plus” is considered the natural progression from P90X – a way to provide users with more intense workouts and newer exercises. After all, the P90X might be great, but 12 P90X’s workouts could get stale after a while, which is where the “Plus” comes in.

P90X2 Overview and Review

6Introduced in 2011, P90X2 is the next step in extreme fitness programs by Beachbody. P90X2 is for those who loved the P90X and P90X Plus but still wanted to push themselves with new and exciting workouts. Harder sets, more extreme workouts, and muscle confusion yield powerful results in 90 days. The twist on P90X2 is in its focus on “Muscle Integration” – the program utilizes as many muscles as possible in every exercise, ensuring full-body results.

P90X3 Overview and Review

7Not everyone has an hour or more to dedicate to working out on a daily basis. For those on a tight schedule, Tony Horton created the P90X3. According to Horton, the idea is this: you give me 30 minutes a day, and I will get you ripped. While it is being marketed under the P90-series, it is unlike any other P90 program out there. You know that time-tested line, “less is more”? Well, this is true in the case of the  P90X3. You will be able to get a maximum workout in half the time, because of the way this program is built. The 30-minute workouts are designed to be as intense and efficient as possible. Sounds promising.

Does P90X Really Work?

In a word – yes. In two words – hell yes. P90X is tough, but fair. If you put in the time and the effort – and stick to a proper, responsible diet – it will most definitely work. This doesn’t mean being a food nazi, and following the diet programs to a tee. It means being aware, more than anything. Self-awareness is a big part of any kind of self-improvement, and when it comes to our body, improvement takes a lot of commitment. No way around this. You are going to have to put in the time and energy. Recognize your weaknesses and strengths, and have faith in Tony Horton’s extensive experience.

8Another note on the P90X series – equipment matters. If you're serious about your desired level of fitness, it will be best achieved with a higher quality of gear and equipment. This is not something which everyone can afford, I know, but I felt it was important to mention. The better your equipment, the easier time you'll have in achieving a proper workout. This is not to say that you cannot achieve positive results with basic gear, but for some of these extreme exercises, having the right range of weights or fitness bands available can make a big difference.

P90X is a one-size-fits-all extreme workout. Is it for everyone? No. Is it effective? Yes. A resounding yes. I saw it with my own eyes, and here is how it went down. My friend and I started separate P90 runs, and we also decided to start a fitness journal for the length of our journey. We both wanted to finish the program, and compare notes and figures as we go along. My transformation with the P90 wasn’t a very dramatic one, although I was undoubtedly in better shape at the end of the 90 days than I was at the start. My friends' transformation, however, was quite dramatic thanks to P90X. I encourage anyone – literally, anyone looking for self-improvement – to keep a journal of their progress. It can help you notice patterns in behavior and mindset, and it can be a place you can return to for inspiration and motivation.

P90X Before and After Transformation

9My friend (let’s call him Bob Sacamano, because I adore Seinfeld) was never obese, but was always overweight. By his own admission, he was nothing more or less than fat. When I mentioned that I wanted to get more toned and in shape, he began his process by giving me an ironic and dirty look. After the dirty look, though, he actually expressed interest in a fitness journey of his own. He was so interested, in fact, that he decided to come on board with me and make a change. He did his research, and decided to go all-in and invest himself in the P90X program. Two guys, two separate programs, 90 days.

I won’t bore you with Bob’s play-by-play. I mean, we are all different, and your mileage will most definitely vary when P90X'ing. I’ll tell you this – for the entirety of his 90 days, Bob was pretty sore. But for the first couple of weeks, he was sore all the time – the good kind of sore. That was what he communicated to me more than anything. But, to his credit, he did not give up. He did everything he could, and stuck with the program to the best of his ability. This was tough, considering he didn’t have too much workout experience heading into this. Let’s not forget, there is something very invigorating and energizing about making the decision to finally make a difference in your life, and Bob was intending to do just that. I suppose his positive mindset is what carried him through those first few weeks. He stuck to the workout routines, but the adherence to the nutrition plan only came later. This is key.

The most dramatic changes began to take effect after he started eating according to the P90X nutrition plan. Could he have been successful while freestyling the nutrition aspect of the program? Yes, of course, but he probably would not have achieved the same physique without the diet. The P90X plan is “eating for power performance”, and it certainly does that. Eat more, work out more. Your body requires the tools for making a change. Exercising is great, but if you want to fat into muscle, your body needs the fuel. We each have a different body, which requires different amounts and kinds of fuel, and the P90X nutrition plan understands that.

After 90 days, there was very little room for doubt – Bob had committed to change, and that is exactly what he got. It's amazing what you learn about yourself in 90 days – it makes you wonder what else you can achieve! Beachbody’s 90-day programs have the ability to provide a lot more than a toned physique. They can really reach inside and help you evolve mentally, if you allow them to. The connection between mind and body is one which is constantly being researched, studied and pondered over. We aren’t all scientists or researchers, but we do all have a body and mind to maintain. Beachbody provides people with a way to not only become stronger physically, but also mentally. If you are looking for a way to boost your confidence, lose weight, and walk a path of health and fitness, these P90 solutions are a great place to start. Like I said, 90 days are not the end, but merely the beginning of a much more fulfilling and balanced life.

I can’t promise you that you will stick with your new path once those 90 days are up. That is completely on you. I can, however, echo Horton’s and Beachbody’s promise: Decide. Commit. Succeed.

Stay tuned for more fitness features here at EduMuch! In the meantime, check out some of our latest tech reviews – like our Corsair K95 and K65 features.

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