How to Start P90X

P90X is an exercise program designed to help you improve muscle definition during a 90-day workout program. The program includes aerobic exercises for weight loss, but focuses on resistance exercises that promote muscle building. If you are significantly overweight or new to exercise, it’s a good idea to thoroughly check out the grueling P90X system before you buy the DVDs or related exercise equipment to make sure this program is right for you.

Learn the various components of P90X to prepare yourself for performing them.

Find Out When it’s on TV – Call your local cable provider to see if you can find the days and times for any P90X infomercials they run. This will allow you to watch the specific exercises to determine if you will be able to do them. Make a list the different types of exercise equipment you will need to follow the program.

Check the ‘Net for Freebies – Perform Internet searches, using the phrase “P90X.” Watch videos, both on the official P90X website, as well as those made by users who may have posted them on YouTube or other sites, to see an average person performing the exercises, get additional explanations and find reviews.

Get Your DVDs – Purchase the P90X materials from Beachbody or borrow them from a friend. If you have several days or weeks to prepare before the materials arrive, think about starting a “starter” exercise routine to build your muscle strength and cardiovascular stamina while you wait for your DVDs.

Start your workouts with five minutes of light warm-up exercises such as jogging in place and jumping jacks, then work out using weights you can lift without pain or injury, exercise machines such as a treadmill or elliptical, calisthenics, or walking or bike riding. Cool down with slower muscle movements for five minutes at the end of your workouts and stretch each time. Purchase a heart rate monitor, if you do not have one. This is not necessary for the program, but will help you track your performance and results each workout.

Know your Target Heart Rate – Use an online calculator or a manual formula to find out your target heart rate. A popular manual calculation for men starts with you subtracting your age from 220, then multiplying that number by .70 and .80 to get your cardio exercise target heart range. An manual formula for women, created by researchers at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, has you subtract 88 percent of your age from 206, then multiply that number by .70 and .80.

Read the printed materials that come with the P90X system. Start from the beginning, taking specific note of the health warnings and recommended fitness levels included. Take note of the descriptions of the exercises to learn the correct techniques. Watch the DVDs, taking notes with a pen and paper as you watch each one. Write down the lengths of each workout so you can budget enough time to perform each one. Don’t attempt to start the program following along with the DVDs the first time, since the routines may go too quickly for you to learn the movements and perform them along with the fitness models.

Learn the order in which you should perform each workout so you can follow the program correctly. The program uses a training technique called “muscle confusion” that changes workouts before your body can adapt to them. If you randomly use the workouts in no particular order, you will not allow the P90X system to work as it’s intended.

Begin following along with the DVDs in the order the program suggests. Do not skip the warm-up and stretching routines at the start of each routine. These are necessary to give you the best results and prevent pain and potential muscle strain, according to the program’s creator, Tony Horton. Perform the exercises using the intensity level recommended for someone of your fitness level. Each workout shows methods of performing the exercises at different levels of intensity, with or without equipment. Perform the cool-down and stretch at the end of each workout. Write down the number of repetitions of each exercise you perform during each workout to guide you when you do the routines again later. This will prevent you from working too hard and fatiguing before you can finish future routines.


•Consult with a physician before you start any exercise program, especially one as difficult as P90X, even if you think you’re in good shape to begin with.

•Drink enough water to slake your thirst throughout your workouts.