Is the P90X the ultimate home workout?

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Bored with your fitness DVDs? It’s time to try P90X, the hardcore-home workout that’s sweeping the world.

If you’ve been struggling to find a challenging home workout, the wait is over. P90X is a 12-disc, 90-day DVD programme of cardio, strength and flexibility workouts designed to challenge your entire body.

Since the first P90X system went on sale in the US in 2004, over three million DVD sets have been sold. Celebrity fans include Demi Moore, Pink and Sheryl Crow.

Description: Description: P90X package

P90X package

“The P90X programme alternates 12 intense workouts, which helps create muscle confusion,” says P90X founder Tony Horton (beachbody.co.uk). “It’s built on the proven principles that consistency, intensity and variety is what you need to get in shape.” The variation helps to starve off boredom and ensures your body doesn’t plateau, while the three-month challenge of six workouts a week is demanding but also keeps your training consistent.

“Doing anything for six days a week consistently is more than enough to help you lose weight and see muscle definition,” explains Horton. Moves range from plyometrics and cardio, to yoga and resistance.

Feel the burn

Horton is tough and, according to a recent study by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), this is an advanced workout that really works. The study found the type of high-intensity interval training done in P90X is probably the most effective way to get in shape compared to similar circuit-style weight-training and aerobic workouts. In the study, women burned up to 544 calories per workout, with the plyometric workout proving to be the biggest calories burner. “The muscle confusion is one of the biggest draws because you don’t get bored, says study leader, Dr John Porcari. “You’re doing a lot of different workouts in a different sequence and your body never gets a chance to plateau.”

Lose fat fast

Joni McAuliffe, 33, from Newbury, turned to P90X after she had a baby. “It was brilliant, because I wanted something tough I could do at home and fit in around my baby” she says. “As soon as I woke up, I put my workout gear on and did the plan every day. I lost a stone and a half in 90 days and would do it again” It’s not easy, but I went from a fat to a fit person without even going to the gym.”

“The P90X program slightly differs from many DVDs on the market because it’s more resistance-based than cardio, which women will benefit from hugely, because it increases lean muscle tissue and boosts your metabolism” says Charlotte Ord, personal trainer of the Year 2010 and trainer on ITV1’s hit show, The Biggest Loser (charlotteord.co.uk). “This means you burn more fat, even at rest”

And if P90X doesn’t sound enough of a challenge, from September you’ll be able to get P90X2 which goes one step further with new cutting-edge workouts.

The P90X package includes 12 DVDs, a workout guide and a calendar to track your progress. The new P90X2 includes these, plus a nutrition guide and online support. It costs $153 from beachbody.co.uk

Description: Description: Your body never gets a chance to plateau

Your body never gets a chance to plateau

Get the best from home workouts

Plan your workouts

“Schedule your workouts a month in advance, and do not de-track from them unless you absolutely have to,” says Horton. “You need to form a routine and keep your workouts consistent to see results.”

Warm up

“Never skip your mobility exercises, such as squat to overhead press and rotating marches in your warm-up” says Ord. “The better you move, the more muscles you’ll recruit and the more calories you’ll burn. It’s always tempting to skip them.”

Push yourself

How many calories you burn during each workout is self-dependent” says Horton. “If you push yourself and crank out reps like the people in the videos you’ll burn a huge amount of calories. However, if you do it half heartedly you’ll only burn a couple of hundred and it would’ve been better for you to walk around the block for an hour! If it’s easy, it’s not working!”


“There are so many exercises DVDs out there, so make sure you do your research. Look at the instructors’ qualifications and credentials and spend a bit of time learning the proper technique for exercises,” says Ord.

Work at the right intensity

“A heart rate monitor is great for gauging how hard you’re working,” says Ord. “You need to work above 60 per cent of your resting heart rate to burn fat and around 80 per cent to improve your fitness and performance. If you haven’t got a heart-rate monitor then make sure you’re out of breath, breaking a sweat and working out of your comfort zone. To see changes you need to overload your body, otherwise you’re wasting your time,” she adds.

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