Erica is a writer, editor, wife, and mom. She has always found employment with an English degree and she excels at nurturing children and animals but struggles to keep houseplants alive. Erica currently writes at

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Does P90X Work?

In a word, Yes.  But…you have to BRING IT.

What is IT, you ask?  IT is the most kick-butt, committed part of your being.  And if there’s even a nugget of that in you, Tony Horton will pull it out of you and make it do 349 crunches.


Dreya Webber, one of the exercise leaders & a Cirque du Soleil performer.

In case you haven’t seen the infomercials or been exposed to a plethora of friends, colleagues and Facebook acquaintances doing  P90X, it’s a 90-day full-body workout program that works by way of muscle chaos.  There are a few different versions of it — the Regular workout and the Lean workout.  Other than a difference of Cardio, both programs mix Chest, Back, Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps, Legs, Abs, Yoga, Kenpo, Core Synergistics, Plyometrics and Stretching.

Do you remember that first-time pregnancy feeling where your body is freaking out with all the new stuff and trying to build a person in your tummy?  P90X is kind of like that, but it’s re-building the body you already have.  It hurts and it’s amazing all at the same time.

Besides the physical side of it, here’s the low-down on the program.


It takes 1-1.5 hours, 6 days per week, to do this workout.  Each day is different since it’s dealing with the muscle chaos thing.  The workouts are hard, and once I get my momentum up it’s maddening to stop to get my kids a snack, stop an argument, have my 2yo climb on me, etc.  Also, it’s stressful to have this workout hanging over my head all day.

Solution: Work out first thing in the morning.  For my husband and me, that’s at 5am.  Yes, this is a miserable time to wake up.  Yes, I am warming up to Tony Horton’s cheerful smile at 5:05 while my contacts are burning my tired eyes.  Yes, I want to take a nap or inject my veins with coffee at 2pm.  It’s not easy.  P90X is not about Easy.  On Ab-Ripper days, you could do the main workout in the morning and the Abs later in the day.  You could, but trust me when I say it’s better to just bust it out all at once.


There are one million excuses to not work out on a given day.  I usually begin my excuses around 9pm the night before.  And did I mention that I’m not a morning person?  An alarm doesn’t work.  It takes the work of a great man (my husband) to patiently wake me up at 5am.

Solution: Find an X partner.  Mine is my husband.  You can keep each other accountable for working out, complain to each other about being sore and compare your new biceps.  Also, having an end-goal is helpful — whether that’s bikini season, hiking Mount Kilimenjaro, running a local 10k or looking HOT at your 25th high school reunion.

Me using push-up bars. My other pictures were unusable for this post because I look evil while working out.


Solution: P90X is much cheaper than joining a gym.  Necessary purchases include the workout DVD’s, exercise bands and a yoga mat.  You can do the entire thing with just these things, for real.  If you choose to, you can make life cushier with a pull-up bar, push-up bars, free weights and a yoga block.


This one could also be filed under Money.  My husband and I didn’t follow the X nutrition plan because we’re not trying to lose weight and we eat healthy already, but we did have to increase our protein intake and small meals during the day.

Solution: This equated to about $30 extra dollars per week in groceries, including protein bars (usually found on sale).  If you’re overhauling your eating habits, the initial outlay to rid your pantry of waste fats and buying healthy staple items could be expensive, but will likely level out after that.  The bottom line is that you’re getting healthy, and there’s no price too great for that.

It hurts

It hurts like a Motha’.  I almost puked on Day Two.

Solution: Do your best.  Tony says it over and over:  Do your best and forget the rest. It’s ok if you can’t keep up.  It’s ok if you can’t do one pull-up, let alone 20.  It’s ok if your gut prevents you from holding the crane pose during yoga.  It’s ok if you try to do a one-handed push-up and fall on your face and get knee burns (which I know from experience).  The point is that you’re doing it, and the more you do, the better you’ll be.

Tony Horton

Yes, the dude’s jokes are bad, and it’s easy to make him your target of hatred when you hurt and are only 25 minutes into the workout.

Solution: I don’t know.  It seems best to mock his jokes all day with your workout partner.  The up-side is that he usually mentions how much he’s hurting and sweating, which somehow makes me feel better for my hurt and sweat.  I don’t know if this is empathy or sadism on my part.  Maybe both.

Why am I doing this?

Because after some illness I was downright skinny and weak.  I don’t like that.  I was also plateauing too quickly when I’d work out on my own, because I’ve been using the same workouts for too long.  My husband and I are only half-way through the program and have already seen drastic results in our physiques and energy. [Note: a friend who wanted to lose weight lost 68 pounds in his first round of the 90-day lean program.]

We did take a break in order to completely re-do our yard, because P90X + extra hard yard labor were too taxing all at once.  It’s ok if life gets in the way a little bit, and when our yard is finished next week, we’ll just pick up where we left off.

I’d like to say, “Try it for a day!” but this isn’t a workout to do for one day because you’ll hate it for the first two weeks.  You really need to decide on this workout plan and commit to it.  Then BRING IT.

I know you can!

Disclaimer:  P90X is a strenuous workout.  Please read P90X’s FAQ’s before beginning the program.  No one asked me to write this post and I didn’t receive compensation or equipment for my honest opinions.


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Comments (13)

  1. Pingback: The Bar Method - TodaysMama TodaysMama

  2. Kim 05/31/2011 at 1:45 pm

    LOVE the P90x!! I was still carrying around the extra weight from my first baby…and he was 5 years old. So, I jumped on the P90x wagon and after 7 weeks I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I looked great, felt great…and then, along came baby #2. 🙂

    Now that life has settled in a bit and I am ready to get back to work, I have thought about jumping back into P90x to try and rid myself of this extra baby weight again. Remembering how tough it was I think is making it a little harder to jump back in this time but I am working myself up to it. I don’t want to still be carrying this extra weight around when this baby is 5 years old! Wish me luck!

  3. Sisifo 05/31/2011 at 12:41 pm

    After baby number three I’m dying to try something. Hubby and I are debating between this and Insanity. We tried TurboFire, but it’s too dancey. We just want to work out. And while I love to dance, I don’t want to end up hating it because of TurboFire.

  4. Shannon 05/26/2011 at 10:55 pm

    I want to P90x my way back into my pants after this baby comes out!

  5. Becky Nicholas 05/26/2011 at 9:04 pm

    As a girl, how did you handle all the pull-ups. I love the program, but am nervous after experiencing a pretty severe neck muscle spasm. Any thoughts? My hubby and I got through a month and a half a year ago, then I found out I was pregnant. Now that my daughter’s 2moro months, we’re looking to get back into it.

    • Erica Fehrman 05/27/2011 at 3:16 pm

      I’d say, talk to your doctor or PT before beginning the program again. If you’re no longer under their care, you can do the pull-up routines with the exercise bands. Follow the exercise band user on the program, start with the lowest-strength band and start slowly. Good luck!

  6. Kristin Morrissey 05/26/2011 at 7:57 pm

    I absolutely completely agree with you on every. single. point. My husband and I did P90X 3 years ago and while we didn’t STAY in awesome shape, I have carried many of the principles and philosophies with me. Also we will throw on the DVDs occasionally to get out of a slump. And after 2 years of learning yoga, I still find Tony’s yoga incredibly challenging and thorough. Thanks for this well-written review!
    p.s. Don’t bang your joints! 🙂

  7. Karen Huse Clifton 05/26/2011 at 7:45 pm

    I have these dvds. They have been sitting on my player for almost a month. I have been waiting for a good time to start. I read the menu book and watched the watch me first dvd but have yet to move my lazy but. Wow 1.5 hours a day?! don’t know if I can do that I have 4 little ones. Still want to, maybe one day.

    • Erica Fehrman 05/27/2011 at 3:19 pm

      Doing this and taking care of 4 kids…you’ll say “yes” to nap time 🙂

  8. Kim 05/26/2011 at 7:34 pm

    I love P90X!! I love it but I hate it 😉 My husband and I recently ‘graduated’ from our first round he has just started his second round next week.

    It is a huge commitment, I know I would NEVER have been able to do it if I didn’t have him pushing me along the way.

  9. Belladune 05/26/2011 at 7:05 pm

    I’ve been contemplating this one… But I do need to get hubby in on it, and now is never going to work, as he’s a plumber and already doing hard physical labour through out the day (yes, plumbers do more then unclog toilets. He builds houses mainly, which involves a lot of heavy lifting) Anyway, perhaps by the time it slows down again in the fall I’ll be doing this 😀

    • Erica Fehrman 05/27/2011 at 3:20 pm

      Yeah, fall/winter would be a good time to do P90X since everything slows down a little. Between our yard and other spring/summer schedules and activities it’s become hard to keep up. Maybe a New Year’s resolution would be good for you! 😀