P90x Review: The Brutally Honest Truth About P90x

September 26, 2018 | 335 Comments

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.

Want the ultimate alternative to P90x? Find out how to get the same results in just 20 minutes per day.

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!”

335 Comments - Leave Your Thoughts

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  1. I did this program in 2009 when I was preparing to solo the Baja 1000 on a motorcycle. I finished and a lot of the credit goes to p90x. I was 50 at the time and have lost count of the number of times I’ve done the program since but in 2 months I will be attending my 40th high school reunion and am really, really looking forward to it!

  2. “Granted some of these days are more relaxed than others (yoga and stretching) ”

    Clearly you are reviewing a work out you probably didn’t do, ask anyone who does P90x, the Yoga is one of the most challenging work outs in the program.

    1. Agreed. That one nearly killed me. Made me hate yoga! It’s the only one I have yet to go all the way to the end with.

  3. Do it, I quit smoking when I was 34 and from 68kg I jumped to 80kg. I stopped Kitesurf and became a bear. Then I did p90x for 3 months and all my life routine changed, I am 38 now and still weight between 68-70kg and still do Swim and Kitesurf and all thanks to P90 which gave me back motivation and proudness

  4. I agree this program is not for beginners. I fall under category 3 and love it but I do not recommend it to family and friends who have not started any or have little exercise.

  5. 1st) A Workout is a workout (depending on fitness level) as long as the body is being challenged and the heart rate is going up, then its all good.

    2nd) IT shouldn’t be called diet. Diets are fads and just like fads, it goes out as time goes by. Focus on nutrition instead. (Depending upon the individual and their goals) one should eat according to their goals.

    3rd) As long as the individual is being motivated to get moving and seeing results, then it should not be a problem. A slow result is still a result. Not everyone is the same and will have the same results as the other. Some just get faster results than others and vise versa. (Ecto, endo, meso). So depending on the individuals body type, there will definitely different results.

    4th) as I said before, A workout is a workout as long as the individual is moving, getting motivation, and seeing results then it should be good. What I dont like is when one disect a workout program and point out flaws (of the program) but then at a certain point on the articel they mention “try this instead” or “I preffer this”. Again, some like to do cardio, some like to do strength training, and some like to do both to lose weight. What may have worked for you may not work for others. I did P90x and got awesome results. So with that being said, this article is not about the flaws of the program. Sounds like a pitch from a salesperson who wants others to try other products or routine.

  6. I fall into category 3. I guess that is why I love it. Twenty minutes a day, 3 days a week is not enough for me. I long for intensity. I am former military, so I guess it just isn’t out of my blood to push to the limit. I agree this is not for beginners or people that just want to work out at home. But I wouldn’t give a negative review because of that. I see your point, but had to read a lot of negative stuff to get it. Doesn’t bother me…just my two cents 🙂 And if anyone knows of anything even tougher for when I am through with this, would love to know!

  7. As for your “Eat breakfast and eat every 2-3 hours’ is a myth.” Go back and study what true fitness athletes body builders and competitive athletes have learned and you’ll realize that your “Eat one meal per day or eat six meals per day. It doesn’t matter.” Is just lazy mans crap. While you can lose weight with just about any diet you can think of including eating nothing but twinkies if you eat little enough or little enough calories the reality is simple.

    Your body needs nutrients and your body has scientifically calculable needs. Eating smaller more nutritious meals more frequently meets those needs more efficiently and allows the body to absorb the nutrients with less waste.

    There is a HUGE difference between weight loss and fat loss.

    If you want to be healthy listen to the people who actually look like the know what they’re doing and can do more, lift more, and go farther than the rest of us who sit on our buts and act like we know what we’re talking about.

    Do some homework and learn from it.

    Food for thought (pun intended)

    The nutritional food guide pyramid is the exact nutritional proportions fed to cattle and pigs to fatten them up for slaughter.

    Eat to live. Don’t live to eat!

    Semper FI

  8. Thanks for this review! I do have to say that I absolutely love the P90X DVDs (especially Kenpo X and Ab Ripper X) because for me, personally, they are very effective at helping me get in a really good workout for the day. I rotate with them, BBG, 22 Minute Hard Corps, Evolution 20 and some YouTube video workouts, so I do P90X maybe 3-4 times a week. I never followed their diet plan but looking back, it does seem quite restrictive and nothing extraordinary, but regardless, I do love the workouts they provide and I find them really fun to do!

  9. I suffer from lower back spasms related to degenerative disc disease and I have to say that P90x does wonders for my overall well being. I used to play lots of basketball and volleyball (high impact sports) but had to give them up due to my lower back issues. Other than a spinal fusion the only option for me is physical therapy. Surprisingly upon completing the P90x program, I was able to play basketball and volleyball again – along with other activities that became complicated (bedroom haha)… I did not follow the diet since I already eat the 80/20 diet…

  10. I’ve done p90x (and its sequels) a few times since 2011. When I began the program for the first time, I was very out of shape. I’d previously kept in shape through boxing and martial arts, but had stopped a couple of years prior, and was somewhat overweight, but mostly just soft and unfit. I really wasn’t into lifting weights or anything like that – just the casual gym visit here and there.

    The first week of P90X was brutal, but as with everything, you get used to it. If you stick it out, you definitely see excellent results. Though I’d had *some* muscle definition in the past, P90X was the first time I looked ‘ripped.’ The first time I had a real, defined six pack.

    Here’s the thing, though: following the diet was as instrumental (if not more so) to achieving the results as the workouts. Without proper management of one’s carbs and sugars, the results are not as drastic as advertised. But if you’re looking to “look good,” and follow the diet, P90X works great.

    I agree with the author, though – working out six days a week is overkill. I didn’t know that at the time. I do know. A good diet plan (it really does come down to what one eats) and a smart workout regimen three times a week is sufficient.

  11. for the author…what do you think of P90x 3? the shorter 30 minute workouts seem to be much better, even though its still 6 days a week. i usually dont do all 6 days. i just pick and choose the workouts from that program that I feel like doing about 4 or maybe 5 days a week. thoughts?

    1. I have done P90X, P90X2, and P90X3, all multiple times. I did P90X3 while on long term travel. P90X3 is very good for weight loss (or weight control), and will get you toned, but i did lose a little strength as it is less on the weight lifting and more on the overall fitness. Really like the 30 minute workouts.

  12. So pretty much all of the dietary advice you provided is false. You can’t eat one meal a day and expect to be just as healthy or well maintained. In fact eating only one meal a day is the prime way to store fat. There may be a few that can pull this off due to awesome genetics, but that is so rare a case. Plus, there is no reason at all you can’t cheat once in a while as long as you exercise properly. In fact, it’s recommended. As for exercise? It’s already recommended to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes 5 days a week of cardio and a minimum of 2 days of weight training a week to maintain health (coming from the CDC and Mayo Clinic, for 2). So, not far off from P90X at all. Yeah it’s a lot of exercise, just do the modified version, and take a break if youre tired. Instead of complaining, leave it to those that can do it.

    1. Plenty of evidence for an IF diet vs 6 meals a day. Pretty much all about calories in calories out for weight loss and and then going into macros and such for building muscle. http://Www.leangains.com great resource for IF info.

      As for p90x, it’s structure for those that need it. May not be perfect but if you do it you will see results vs sitting on your ass. Probably better stuff for people and muscle cornfusion is Prolly bullshit, but it’s something someone can follow.

  13. How can you review a workout program you clearly did NOT do? Or maybe you tried and it was too hard for you? It’s advertised to “get you in the best shape of your life” and that is exactly what it does.

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