P90x Review: The Brutally Honest Truth About P90x

P90x reviews

P90x review time.I don’t do a lot of reviews on my site but today I’m going to tackle the granddaddy of home workout programs, P90x.

First let’s get this out the way: Unlike most P90x reviews this is not going to be some feel-good story filled with fairies and unicorns about how P90x has changed my life.

Quite the opposite.

This is going to be a brutally honest P90x workout review and analysis of its system and methodology.

Let’s get to it.

Muscle confusion is (kinda) bullshit

Yeah that’s right, I said it.

In P90x, muscle confusion basically states that you must consistently switch up your exercise selection to continue to burn fat, build muscle, and avoid plateaus.

There is some truth to this but a lot of the theory behind muscle confusion is bullshit.

Your muscles can’t get “confused.” Sorry to break the bad news. As a human being, you and your thoughts can get confused (like when you go to Bangkok and find out half the girls there are dudes). But your muscles can’t get confused. Making your workout more confusing doesn’t result in a more effective workout.

Your muscles can ONLY adapt to volume and load. This means that if you want to gain more muscle, you need to be progressively push more weight and/or reps. For example, this can be as simple as going from only being able to do 1 push-up to being able to do 2 push-ups. You progressed from 1 to 2 so your muscles will automatically get stronger. And when you’re able to do 50 push ups, you’re going to have much stronger muscles.

See what I mean? You progressed from 1 to 50 so your muscles are now bigger and stronger. Boom! Logic and common sense FTW, none of that muscle confusion silliness.

P90x review: The workouts  are overkill and unnecessary

P90x workout review

With P90x you workout 6-7 times per week depending on whether you take the 7th day as a Rest or “X Stretch” day.

Day 1 – Chest&Back, Ab Ripper X

Day 2 –  Plyometrics

Day 3 – Shoulders & Arms, Ab Ripper X

Day 4 – Yoga X

Day 5 – Legs & Back, Ab Ripper X

Day 6: KenpoX

Day 7: Rest or X Stretch

7x per week workouts. Fuck…

Professional athletes train 5-7 times per week, so why would an average Joe who simply wants to lose weight and look better need to workout every single day.

The answer – there is no need to train 7 days per week. This is just all part of P90x’s extreme branding. Obviously you’re going to be tired and incredibly sore from doing P90x so people inevitably say it’s “working” for them.

Even if you’re an advanced trainer, I can almost never recommend training 7 days per week. Granted some of these days are more relaxed than others (yoga and stretching) but still, training 7 days per week is unnecessary especially if your goal is to simply look and feel good (which is probably what most are trying to accomplish).

Will P90x get results if you do it? Yes absolutely, but it is by far one of the least optimal approaches to losing weight.

When it comes to fat loss, one of the best approaches to working out is to simply train 3-4 times per week to mainly preserve muscle mass, and to let your diet create the majority of the calorie deficit and burn fat. P90x takes the opposite approach – it tries to use the workout to create a calorie deficit/burn fat and the diet to sustain energy.

It’s much easier to eat 100 less calories than it is to burn 100 calories via exercise.

P90x review: Dieting not made easy

P90x diet and workout

I’m not going to dive into the dieting section much since it’s a very very typical eat every 2-3 hours, 6 meals per day  “eat clean” diet. You’ll also get the and exact meal plan to follow in the diet section.

And I am not a fan of these typical diets mostly because they’re restrictive, allow no room for error, and makes you form a bad relationship with food.

Not to mention the fact that the whole “You need to eat breakfast and eat every 2-3 hours.” saying is complete myth. Sorry, eating every 2-3 hours does not boost your metabolism.

You can eat 1 meal per day or you can eat 6 meals per day. It doesn’t matter.

Check out a sample day of how I eat here.

Dieting is a lifestyle change but do you really want to live a lifestyle where you have to eat every 2-3 hours on the clock and can only eat a specific list of foods. Of course not, that’s lame. You want to live a life where ice cream and doughnuts are regularly involved.

I really like how Nate Miyaki’s approach to dieting, Feat Your Fat Away where you get to feast on food every night and still  lose fat. His approach makes it super flexible and easy to lose fat.

Why do you want to do P90x?

Serious question: Why do you want to do P90x? Just be honest.

Most people who do P90x fall into the following categories:

  1. You simply want to get in shape (lose fat and build a little muscle).
  2. You want to get in shape but are too lazy or embarrassed to go to the gym
  3. You want to get absolutely ripped and need an intense workout program to help you do that.

People in category 1 are typically the beginners. They end up doing P90x because they simply believe it’s the best option. They constantly hear their friends talk about it, they see the infomercials, and what the hell, it’s the New Year so I may as well give this new workout a shot, right?

Those in category 2 have probably already tried losing weight in the past with no success. Perhaps they went to the gym and had no idea what they were doing or perhaps they had a bad experience with a personal trainer that touched them in weird places. Now they simply want to stay in the comfort of the home and maybe give this P90x thing a shot.

Category 3 people are those who are already familiar with working out but want to give themselves more of a challenge. These aren’t beginners, but they want a workout to push their body to the limit.

To be completely honest, the only people who should do P90x are category 3 people. If you find yourself in category 1 or 2, P90x is going to be overkill for you. There are much better options out there.

Conclusion: P90x gets results but it’s not the optimal solution for weight loss

P90x2 reivew

I know what you’re going to say.

“But Tony Horton does P90x and he’s ripped.”

“But my friend’s uncle’s second cousin did P90x and he lost a ton of weight.”

“Shut the hell up, obviously P90x works since so many people have used it and got in shape.”

And you’re 110% right. If you follow P90x to the letter, you will get results. You will lose weight and look better, guaranteed.

But you don’t need to do P90x to lose weight and get in shape. If you truly want to improve your conditioning, then P90x may be right for you otherwise it’s a bit pointless.

In fact when you talk to people who do P90x, all you do is hear them bitch and moan about how tough the workout is and how it’s kicking their ass. “Oh man, P90x is so hard but I know it’s working because I’m so sore.” No shit Sherlock, if you do any intense workout that you’ve never done before, you’re going to be sore. And people always tend to equate soreness to results even though it’s not true (but that’s another article altogether).

My point is – P90x works but it’s not optimal if you simply wan to to lose weight and get in shape. There are just so many more effective and simple options out there. Whether you’re looking for a great at-home workout routine (I like Bodyweight Burn) or you can just go to the gym 3x per week and do a few simple strength training workouts.

And boom, you’re done. There’s no need to train 6-7 times per week…absolutely no reason at all.

Remember, use your diet to lose weight and your workout to build/maintain muscle.

P90x review breakdown


  • Exact meal plans for those who don’t know what to cook
  • Good workouts for building endurance and overall conditioning


  • Over the top and unnecessary workouts if you simply want to lose weight and look/feel good
  • Absolutely no science to back up muscle confusion
  • Diet plan is laughably cliche – your typical eat 6 meals per day, eat clean stuff
Overall P90x score – 6.5/10

Need a more better home workout routine than P90x?

So if P90x isn’t as great everyone else makes it out to be, what are you suppose to do use for a home workout program?

There are a ton of great options but one of my favorite programs is Bodyweight Burn by Adam Steer.

It’s a fantastic program that allows you get a great workout in as little as 21 minutes. To some that might not seem like a lot but if done effectively like in Bodyweight Burn, sometimes that’s all you need.

I know I’m in the minority when it comes to doing more negative P90x reviews, so PLEASE leave any questions or comments you have in the comment section below. I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you have. As Tony Horton would say, “Bring It!”


  1. says

    I enjoyed this article, your website and the links from this site I’ve been visiting.
    I’m almost afraid to post here when I see others trying to “get back into shape” when they’re a mere 180lbs.. wow! I was 322lbs (5’10” Male) just a few weeks ago. I am down to 300 right now. I am strictly watching my carb intake eating only some vegetables, but mostly meats, some cheese and a glass of wine every other night or so. Oh, some nuts as well.
    I absolutely HATE my diet! I cannot think about putting another piece of steak or chicken in my mouth. THIS is the reason Low Carb works.. in my opinion.. because it simply forces most peoples appetite into suppression and eventually, tremendous calorie restriction.
    I am CRAVING carbs at times. But, less often then when I am eating crappy carbs everyday. And the cravings go away quickly. Then I have to attempt to and STRUGGLE to find some way to eat a piece of meat – no matter how awesome it’s quality or how it is prepared.

    You’re motivating me to give up this low carb crap but my wife, who is half my age and physically fit it probably going to be very mad at you if she finds out! But kidding aside, please tell me more about calorie reduction without being so hungry all the time.
    So, going by your calculation I need like 3600 calories to I suppose maintain my fat self. And I should take in about 240 grams of protein per day. How do I do that, do you suggest weighing all the meat I eat?
    And, I am assuming in order to lose weight I need to cut my calories by a certain amount in order to lose weight. Well obviously, it’s very important, critical that I drop a lot of weight soon. I mean, I am NOT at a healthy weight at all, obviously.

    So what do you recommend? 2400 calories per day? More, less? It worries me to only lose 2 lbs per week while I work so hard to cut the calories and at the same time end up hungry most of the time.

    Thanks for you advice, I will visit this website often. I may stay on restrictive low carb for another week or two. I will feel so much better on the treadmill at 290 vs 300. I know some people here cannot fathom that, but, until you’ve walked in my shoes, really you have no idea. Don’t judge.


    • hvd2222 says

      i did it all and he is right i was in shape before p90x came out.all it really is is 3 days of weight lifting and 2 days of cardio.the you switch up the routine to keep it diffrent .its pretty basic stuff.they stress eating right and and exercise.thats petty 101.they just go in to detial about meal plans to make it easy. its calories in vs out and healthy eating and exercise thats all it takes.but some people feel the have to follow a program to get in to shae.you can do you own research on diffrent weight routines and add cardio and just eat right. thats all it takes

  2. Erik says

    A lot of what you said can be said for any program out there.

    The article itself simply reviews the schedule and diet and doesn’t breakdown the actual workouts other than to say working out 7 times a week is stupid for the average Joe. Did you actually try the program? I would have liked to see the breakdown and thoughts after doing each workout.

    All the pictures coupled with the lack of actual review of the product just seems like you are either pushing another product or already had your mind made up before the article was even written.

  3. Tori says

    Im sorry but i strongly disagree with the way u portrayed eating it is very important to eat breakfast and have multiple smaller meals because it gives you energy for the day and breakfast speeds up ur metabolism for the rest of your day (is eaten within half an hour after waking up).
    So sure its aN exhausting process but weight loss is not meant to be easy, many people also do modified p90x so take breaks between workout(1-2 days) .

  4. Joshua says

    P90x doesn’t have to be over kill…tony constantly says take a break if you need one…make sure you do what you can don’t over do it. He doesn’t give you a specific weight or reps it’s basically up to you how intense you want it to be so what you were talkng about is actually very inaccurate.

    • Suzy says

      True. I just started p90x and love it. I don’t do overkill and sometimes I don’t even finish the videos (yoga is freaking hard lol)

  5. Andre Castro says

    You’ve made some good points and some not so good. Eating once a day? Have you read the research? It’s only been proven since Roman times that eating smaller healthy meals through out the day prevents insulin surges and spikes in your blood pressure. (I could go on and on about this) As far as the p90x diet plan, if you are going to workout 7 days a week you will need enough food/energy too keep you going. A better approach is just eat healthier and do some of the workouts since it’s very time consuming, but yes if you want results in 90 days stick to what Tony says. I got to say, It sounds like this is your own assumptions and you didn’t put in the time for research. I wish we would stop using the word diet… Diet=temporary. Make it a life style change and never go back to your old ways.

      • John Doe says

        Actually, Db was unaware of the need for a contraction and used the wrong word. Rather, it should be written as “You’re a douche bag”. Db made a grammatical error. Some sensitivity to English language learners is recommended. And Db, calling Keith a douche bag was unnecessary.

        I’ve been exercising 4-6 days/week for over 20 years. I played 2 NCAA sports and trained a number of athletes over a lifetime. There are some truths in this article, but there is an overwhelming bias that needs to be addressed.

        1. Keith claims that “there is no need to train 7 days per week. This is just all part of P90x’s extreme branding”. The first part of this statement may be true for some, but not for others. More accurately, there is no need for KEITH to train 7 days per week. Keith also implies that P90X’s regimen is a 7-day per week program. The fact is that its not. Participants are encouraged to either rest or stretch on the 7th day. Stretching is not a workout.

        2. Instead of making blanket statements such as “P90x works but it’s not optimal if you simply wan[t] to lose weight and get in shape”, it would be more prudent to state that “P90X works but it’s not optimal for ME to lose weight and get in shape” (please note that I added a “t” on “want” for accuracy and omitted a redundant “to”). Rather, what works is what works for Keith. Everyone’s body is different. Everyone responds to various exercise programs differently, everyone has different metabolisms, and (most importantly) everyone has different goals.

        3. Stating that “muscle confusion is (kinda) bullshit” and that there’s “absolutely no science to back up muscle confusion” is completely false. Research clearly states that long-term muscle adaptation without exercise variations fails to work stabilizer muscles necessary for optimal physical fitness. Most importantly, variations in exercise regimens (i.e. isometric muscle contractions) prevent injury by strengthening underused and/or overworked muscles. This is especially relevant for older athletes. It’s also a widely known fact that professional athletes often experience training plateaus and “muscle confusion” pushes them beyond these barriers.

        4. P90X, if examined using research in exercise physiology, is the most well-designed, comprehensive, and holistic exercise program available to the general public. Why? P90X is economical, time-efficient, can be modified for almost any participant regardless of athletic ability and teaches people how to adopt healthier lifestyles.

        5. The needs and demands of budding athletes constantly change. Stress on the body necessitates changes in food choices, sleeping patterns, meal number, quantity and quality, water consumption and thinking/behavioral patterns. Attitudes, beliefs and behavior of aspiring athletes change as they progress through stages of development. What this means is that each athlete has different physiological needs and associated lifestyle choices. What appears to work for one athlete may not work for the next.

        I respect the efforts of those who have contributed to this page and hope that each person continues their personal journey of physical fitness. I wish I had more time to comment on this article but I need to start my first workout of the day followed by one of many calorically dense meals. My routines are entirely based on my goals, unique physiology, and associated lifestyle choices.

        PS: APA punctuation rules are boring, so please don’t hold it against me.

        • Greg says

          Yeah, this guy is giving rogue advice. I’ve been a certified nutritionist for 10+ years with continuing education as well as a personal trainer for 15+ years. This guy is saying that his opinion circumvents clinical studies. That’s what’s bullshit.

          This blog rarely cites credible information, and is extremely bias. He bases his “information” on personal preference and preconceived conjectures. I just hope people don’t take him seriously.

          • Keith says

            Yeah, guy is full of shit.

            P.S. What would you like me to provide scientific backing to? Just let me know.

          • Greg says

            Here’s why no one can believe you:

            1) If there was scientific data to support your erroneous claims, you would have provided it in your article, as many health professionals are required to do on credible sites.

            2) You can’t even intelligently or professionally respond to criticism, rather, you attack or demean visitors to your site.

            3) Rather than refuting the data that is in question (which you have previously claimed to be true), you engage in ad-hominem tactics while actually providing no tangible or enlightening information. If you WERE to support your claim, I’m positive that the only sites you could reference are other sites with opinion-based claims rather than the clinical studies that ACTUAL health professionals are required to study.

            Congratulations on your ability to formulate an opinion, unfortunately, that doesn’t make any of it true. You are also acting like a child who doesn’t want to be wrong and is un-open to differential opinions. If you wish for me to counter your statement with actual empirical evidence, I would be glad to provide it from CREDIBLE studies, and actual, regulated courses and education from licensed companies rather than some no-name blogger.

          • Keith says

            attack? Maybe a little cheeky but I never attack my readers.

            Okay sure let’s start if you want to have an intelligent debate – show me evidence that your muscles have the ability to be confused and that meal frequency affects the rate at which you are able to lose body fat.

  6. Amigo says

    I’ve been through P90X 3 times. Once at 44, another at 47 and another just finished (52). In between I stay in shape with ad-hoc cardio and weights. No programs, just 1 hr a day 4-5 days a week. The KEY statement in this whole article are about the people who should be doing P90X. IF you follow the program you will get absolutely kick butt results. But this means 6-7 days a week of an hour to an hour 1/2 a day AND you are eating a diet that doesn’t allow for things like brownies, cookies and cake. (My favorites!) This takes a discipline that might scare away the people who really NEED to get in shape/lose weight as opposed to those that already have that ingrained in their lifestyle. My $0.02

  7. angela says

    Thanks for the honest article. Ususally Reviews say they are goimg to be honest and then the reviewer turns out to be a BB coach and says it is amazing. Nice to have some balance.

  8. Jared says

    Before p90x there was Power 90 by Tony Horton
    It was way shorter and way easier and it’s considered now a “inferior version of p90x”
    But still testimonial of Power 90 were as amazing as those from p90x.
    People were already transforming from flabby blobs to athletic specimen and of course Tony was claiming it was “the best program ever”

    So why in the world all the extra stuff of p90x should be needed?
    If people know a little how marketing works they would realize they just a new version, claiming all the extra was necessary, to make something new to seel and make more money.

    But really the fact alone that before p90x, a program by the same Tony Horton which is less intense and less “overfilled with stuff” was working equally good /by the transformation pictures you could see) than p90x, says you’re dead right that p90x is overkill, marketing overkill.

    By the way, what do you think about Power 90, the original one?
    Thanks for the honest review. It was indeed an honest review not the usual bashing or the usual worshipping.

  9. says

    well they say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and they also that opinions are like… well you know the rest… DUH its supposed to be a simple plan for anyone to follow and P90X changed my life twice… here is my story…
    my journey is not unlike many of yours, a man that had become disgusted by what I had become.

    All my life I have dealt with weight issues, the largest in my class all through elementary school until my soon to become best friend came to town, but he had an excuse, he was Tongan and naturally much larger then most, and solid, I on the other hand was soft n cuddly.

    I stayed “husky” until High school when athletics and natural growth slimmed me down and I strived to become the athlete that I had dreamt of being.

    With weight training at school and at Bally’s total fitness (it was Pac West back then and they totally tricked me into a long term, rip off contract) I started to develop my favorite muscle groups, (arms, shoulders and chest) favorite because I was vain and didnt know any better.

    With my eyes on division 1 football, I thought i had it all athletically, not to mention a very gifted vocal performer and song writer.

    Summer of 1992 I was involved in a near fatal car accident outside of Salt Lake City, UT while driving from Long Beach, CA. I broke my pelvis in 7 places when my friend fell asleep at the wheel, spent my senior year in the hospital and in rehab (my dreams of playing football fading away).

    My doctor assured me that with time and rehab that I would walk again, but never run, especially in a competitive nature.

    Well I did walk again, and after missing an entire year of school, I went back in the fall of ’94 after all my friends had already graduated.

    I was determined to play ball again so I worked and worked (if only there was a P90X back then, this tale may have gone a different direction) and found my way back on to that field but I had lost a step and my heart was never fully back into it for fear of injury.

    Feeling out of place and alone, i dropped out of school and received my GED, shortly after, was married and started having children, the athletic days really starting to fade at this point.

    Music was going well and I was having what some would call success but my weight kept climbing and climbing.. what they didnt tell us was that all those “muscles” I was so busy trying to build?? well they turn to goo if you ignore them long enough. Well in the music biz, fat is not curte nor acceptable and those dreams started to wain. That is when the depression kicked in, dead end jobs, an unstable marriage and broken dreams…

    Always in the back of my mind i wanted to get fit and in 2003 i tried an experimental new rage in weight loss called Ephedrine, in my case Xenadrine. It was a miracle cure, i had energy, never hungry and the weight started flying off, i went from just over 280 to 225 in a matter of a couple months (keep in mind, I ate whatever I wanted when I was hungry but I had no idea what I was supposed to be eating etc.) I played alotta basketball in the warehouse at work to help the weight come off but I wasnt going to the gym or doing any type of regimen.)

    The music picked back up and things seemed to be going in the right direction.

    About a year or so later, I find out that my manager left me for an already famous artist of the same vain, Robin Thicke (i have disdain for this dude to this day) and the depression came back.

    I ballooned up over 300 lbs over the next couple years and all I did was watch movies at home, stayed hidden and ate garbage, doritos, mtn dew, pizza, burgers, ice cream, candy…you name it, if it was horrible for me?? i ate it.

    I got to a point where I was around 270 and maintained that weight for a long time. my music had moved to local stages and venues in casinos and such around Washington state and I was not happy, but i was content wit music but never with myself and the way i looked and felt.

    Around that time I had lost my day job and depression was rearing its ugly head again…


    it was 2008 at about 3am when I first saw the infomercial… i was literally sitting in my room, crying with a tub of ice cream. I know, that sounds like something that a female would have gone through, not a big ol burly football player.. well, I have always been ultra sensitive and in tune to my emotions so that just is what it is… i digress.

    I ordered the program IMMEDIATELY and with free 2 day shipping, i was working the program before I knew it.

    THIS WAS AMAZING, FANTASTIC AND AWESOME!! I didnt take all my measurements, I didnt pay attention to the nutrition guide, i just pushed play every day for 60 days and went from my largest weight to date 308 to 230. yes i said 60 days.. well isnt P”90″X a 90 day program?? of course it is but my results were so amazing that I just stopped working out, i was happy with me and really full of myself, i never did the yoga and by about week 5 i was just doing the Cardio X, Kenpo X and Plyometrics programs. I TOTALLY FELL OFF THE PROGRAM AS IT WAS INTENDED.

    Well the weight stayed off for a cpl years and then life happened again, another marriage on the brink of failure, 2 more children to bring the total to 5 and after leaving my band for artistic differences the depression set back in while my P90X box set collected dust on my shelf.

    Fast forward to April 2015, i had decided that enough was enough and I was tired of being tired, fed up with being the fat dad and sick of looking into the mirror. at 40 yrs of age, i made a committment to myself, to live. I want to be active, i want to see all my kids grow up and have their own kids, i want to LIVE!!

    I started to prepare myself to start the program over, ordered the bands, a heart rate monitor and any other equipment that was necessary, read the nutrition guide and started getting rid of the fatty foods at home and in my life.

    For the first week, I just did Cardio X and Kenpo X 5 days to make sure my heart could take it and once that happened, i was off to the races.

    I am currently on day 11 (Yoga X) and I am down 8 lbs since faithfully starting the program. I am eating CLEAN, I mean I FINALLY GET IT!! this is a complete lifestyle change, not a fad workout or diet, i am so inspired to live the rest of my life fit and aware.

    I only eat lean proteins, fruits and veggies every day, i drink a protein shake sometimes for breakfast and i take supplements for my pre workout but I am changing my life and changing other lives at the same time.

    in 80 days or so, i will officially become a team beach body coach and I already have my first client. my brother has had a similar fitness path as myself but now, because of the weight, he has suffered new ailments such as gout and arthritis.

    I want to inspire others, i want to fight the obeisity epidemic that has plagued our country and everyday i have an opportunity to be an example for my 2 young children that live with me and an example to others through social media, music and life.

    If you are struggling with your weight, and want to make a REAL change, trust me that you have found the right program and the right support community.

    Push play every single day and you will be the you that you were meant to be… so will I.

    Find peace in your journey and continue to BRING IT!!

  10. Matt says

    Great article, but I’d like to point out a couple errors in your logic.

    First, muscle confusion is not literally having your muscles get confused in the way that your mind might, but rather physiologically in that switching up movements will cause the utilisation and stimulation of differing muscle tissues, leading to being able to break through plateaus that are known facts in traditional physical training. If all you ever do is increase volume and load, your muscles will not be as balanced, and you will reach plateaus much faster, than if you were to take an approach of varying exercises and what P90x calls “muscle confusion”.

    Second, the workouts of professional athletes varies greatly with the type of sport. In sports that are most physically demanding in terms of muscle strength and power, working out 6-7 times a week is very common. In rowing for example, a sport considered one of the most physically demanding in terms of strength and power, it is very common to have 10 to 13 workouts a week. As long as you’re switching up your routine and not over working muscles using the same or related exercises, working out more per week has no negative affects. This is not the case if all you’re doing is increasing load and volume, in which case working out more than 5 times a week is generally a bad idea.

    Aside from these, some good points made.

  11. queen thompkins says

    I am just a 13 year old girl and i wanna try this with my mom. I think both sides are valid. And i thank the author for giving me his opinion but i think i wanna give it a shot. and as a former track champ. i can clarify that your muscles cannot get confused. I think its worth a shot i have a gym membership and i do visit regularly but id like some faster results. I think this is the way to go with the right eating choices me and my mom will have a blast!

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