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Like I was saying....

P90X – My First Week

So I know I’ve been needing to make a change in my life. Specifically for my body. That was the motivation behind The Challenge from back in the spring. And FYI I came in second in The Challenge losing around 15 pounds. I’ve put a little of that back on because I’ve stopped running frequently. A goal would be to regularly do CrossFit workouts. They are intense, but I’m probably not near in shape for them right now. But what about P90X?

I’d heard of Power 90 and P90X before. But didn’t know if they were gimmicky or not. My wife owns more Tae Bo videos than you can find at WalMart. And those just seemed dumb to me. But then I started hearing from people I knew in real life about P90X. And finally caught the infomercial. Then saw the countless “transformation” videos on YouTube. And thought, “I should do this!”


I know I need to add strength and flexibility in my body. And my back/abs/core are pretty pitiful. It seems every other month or so my lower back will get really sore and stiff. So I was thinking P90X can help me with some overall fitness goals. Plus pullups are hard, and I’d love to do a lot of those.

After searching eBay and CraigsList I decided to buy a legit copy instead of risking getting scammed. But I found a great deal where I got 25% off. So I bought the P90X videos, bought a pullup bar (from, and started it last week. Here’s my one week review:

The first three weeks are exactly the same. Then there is more variety afterwards. But here is how the first week shook out.

  • Day One – Chest & Back + Ab Ripper X: It was lots of pushups and pullups. Like a lots. And a few rows. So I did twelve exercises then repeated those twelve. You had your basic pushups, but then wide, military, diamond, “under the fence”, and decline. And you had wide grip pullup, reverse grip, close grip overhand pullups. And then some rows. I tried to do the “Hundred Pushup” plan a  few times. But this was pretty tough. And pullups are tough. I can knock out about four or five maybe with a few days rest. But doing multiple sets of different types…I tire out quickly. I only had some weights that my wife already owned (15lbs) so doing rows with those was almost pointless. But buying dumbbells is expensive and I’d already bought the set of DVD’s and the pullup bar. Ab Ripper X? Man, that’s a weak point of mine. And it kicked my tail. It burned. But I did better than I expected. But there are exercises where I’m supposed to lie on my back and point my leg straight up to the sky. But my inflexible body can’t do that. Hopefully it will w/in the next 90 days. But Ab Ripper X definitely burned. And I took breaks instead of doing all 339 reps of core exercises.
  • Day Two – Plyometrics: It’s basically a lot of jumping around. It takes some balance.  But gets your heart rate up. And makes you sweat some. P90X likes you to sweat a lot.
  • Day Three – Arms and Shoulders + Ab Ripper X: Curls, shrugs, presses, dips, kickbacks, etc. Just lots of that over and over. For some of the exercises 15lbs was perfect, for some it was too little, and for others it was too much (if you’re wanting to get in the 8-12 rep range). But it gave me a good workout I think. It produced some soreness. And more Ab Ripper X. Could tell my abs were sore from before.
  • Day Four – Yoga X: On the front end I was wondering if I’d like this or not. I know some people love Yoga. And I know a guy who likes to do the Yoga X video often. This video was 90 minutes! Let’s just say I did only 30 minutes of it. And I pushed to get to that 30 minutes. I hated it. I’m inflexible. And you gotta hold these poses and positions. And it takes strength to do it too. And I was already sore from the first three days so it was tough. And not enjoyable. But my aim is to finish it at some point. It made me sweat more than the others so far I think. And I only did it 30 minutes (and some of that 30 minutes was me standing up saying, “I can’t do THAT!”
  • Day Five – Legs & Back + Ab Ripper X: This had lots of squats, lunges, and more pullups. The pullups were about like the first day of pullups. Tough. But hoping to improve. The leg exercises? TOUGH. For me at least. When I’ve been to gyms I’ve never done much in the way of weighted squats. And when I did, my back ended up hurting in a few days. These were all body weight leg exercises. But it was over and over and over. My legs were burning afterwards for a bit. And I finally had to get a towel to sop up the sweat as I did the workout. But the biggest consequence was the days that followed. My legs were sore as crap! I walked funny. It was the first real sore that affected how I moved around. And more Ab Ripper X. They’re going to get hit three times a week at first it seems.
  • Day Six – Kenpo X: It’s a karate workout. Supposedly. It’s a lot of kicking and punching. But I think it’s a cardio workout masked as a karate workout. I guess it’s sort of like Tae Bo now that I think about it.
  • Day Seven – X Stretch or Rest: My body is about a flexible as my concrete driveway. So I really need to do the X Stretch workouts. But I took a rest instead. It fell on a full day. That’s my excuse. So I can’t review the Stretch

So after one week I’ve done seven of the 12 DVD workouts. I’ve not done X Stretch; Cardio X; Core Synergetics; Chest, Shoulders, Triceps; and Back & Biceps. The workouts are good. They can be long though. You’re using your body weight for resistance in many of them. But I definitely got sore. At least it’ll tone you and maybe rip you up (IF YOU FOLLOW THE EATING PLAN). But I don’t know that anyone is going to add much bulk.

Think about it, the only chest work you’re doing is variations of pushups. And trust me, they’re not easy. But you’re not getting down on a weight bench and pressing lots of iron above you. Same with the legs. Now my legs are weak already, so I’m not complaining. But sometimes I look at these videos and wonder if the people got big using weights in a regular gym, and then got definition and shredded using P90X? Also, through out the whole 13 weeks, you are only targeting your chest or legs once a week where most weeks your back is getting two days a week. Interesting.

So, after one week what do I think about P90X? I think it’s probably too early to have an informed opinion. But my partially informed opinion is that it’s a worthy exercise program. Some people might not want to watch their TV or computer screen for an hour a day. Yes, an hour. And the Yoga is 90 minutes. But I don’t have to drive to the gym or drive home and can manage my kids’ schedules easier if I do it at home as well. I can see why some people love it. But I can see why some think it can get boring. In a real gym can you get in a quicker workout using free weights? Probably. And Tony Horton, while not over the top, is borderline cheesy sometimes on the DVD’s. And I need to get a few more dumbbells to have variety in the poundage to get the best results.

So I think it will be a great program to go through a time or two. Plus, once you have the equipment there’s really nothing else to buy. They will sell you tons of supplements and nutrition drinks and such. They’re probalby good. But it can get pricey too. But the key to remember is that your body composition is 80% what you eat. So unless you’re paying good attention to what you eat, you can have an 8-pack of abs, but have it covered in a layer of cookies, ice cream, and fried foods so that you never see your abs.

P90X comes with a very detailed eating plan. I’ve not read it yet. I should. But I have to finish eating up the ice cream in my freezer first! I did actually take some “before” pics after I did the fit test. Maybe one day I’ll show them if there’s enough difference after 90 days.

I don’t plan on doing a weekly update about P90X. Maybe after the first full month. But definitely after the 90 days are done.


  1. I have been extremely interested in buying P90X, I am going to monitor your progress through this. I am only worried about me being too old to do it, but I guess I can do it at my own pace. After major knee surguries on my knees they are the weakest part of my body now I'm not sure they could handle it. The last month has been a reality check for me, my body telling me how bad of shape I'm in so something has to be done. Keep the updates coming and I will continue to track your progress.

    • I don't think you'd be too old. You'd just need to scale back some of the workouts. But if not sure, then getting the Power90 workout, the precursor to P90X, might be the way to go. As far as your knees, so far I've not seen any squats or lunges that require weight. They've all been just using your body weight. And you could use the bands instead of a pull up bar too.

      There is a fitness test you can do before P90X to determine if you're ready:

  2. Will Chandler

    08/04/2010 at 8:56 pm

    I've actually started doing this too. I'm about to start week 5 (I'm outta town this week, so had to take a little break from Tony). I had just started the DVDs when you sent out the message looking to borrow someone's. Sorry I couldn't help. You're description of each video fits my experience to a tee. I bought a set of 20 lb dumbells (my wife had some 8 lb) and a pullup bar as well. Instead of doing all the pullups on chest days, I do the resistance bands instead and it seems to work out well. You are dead on about the yoga and the sweating – unreal! Never thought it would generate that much. But it's not really stretching for 90 minutes; the last 20-30 is meditation junk, so I scrapped that.

    The Ab Ribber is absolutely brutal, but you'll get better at it around the 4th or 5th time. I think I'm going to add one more set of dumbells – probably 30s for more variety.

    You'll get to Core Synergystics in week 4. Lots of pushups, leg and ab work. My main goal is to shed inches around the waist. I've seen a little improvement in arms and chest, but hope for more overall in the next month.

    • Week 5. That's awesome!
      Good to know about the meditation junk, I'll probably scrap that too.

      Do you do all the warmup/cool down stuff? I find myself halfway doing it. Seems to take a lot of time. And especially if I'm going to be doing the Ab Ripper next I don't do a cooldown before it. I did AbRipper for the 5th time today. And I think I might have regressed rather than getting better! That's not supposed to happen, right? But I do feel tighter/firmer in my core through out the day. So there's been improvements.

      I need to shed a few inches as well. But I HAVE to make a difference in how I eat. Have you been following the eating plan at all? I know you're on the road a lot. Didn't know how easy it was for you.

      • Will Chandler

        08/09/2010 at 9:20 pm

        I do them in the mornings, so yes I always warm up. I usually have to do the ab ripper later in the day b/c of time. I can see where you could skip the cool down and go straight to it. I actually don't have the eating plan, so maybe you can help me out on that. I just burned the discs from my bro-n-law (shhhh).

        Did day one of week 5 today – the chest, shoulders and arms. Wow. Completely new forms of pushups than before. Wore me slap out.

  3. That stiffness is oftentimes hereditary. Even as a well-rounded athlete, I was inflexible.

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