Category Archives: P90X3

P90X3: Final Thoughts on Classic

So my initial journey through P90X3 has come to a conclusion.  The past three months or so have flown by and I’m glad I somewhat stuck with the plan.  Like most of the Beachbody routines I’ve tried (P90X and Insanity), my will to push play wavered towards the end of the program.  But unlike the others, I can see myself going back to P90X3 soon to try some of the other schedules such as “Mass” to see what gains it can provide.

My main complaint about P90X3 is the lack of a dedicated ab routine in the base product.  If you splurged for the Deluxe or Ultimate kits, they came with three additional workouts and one of which is X3 Ab Ripper.  Even though most of the routines involve engaging the core, it wasn’t the same as devoting a 15 minute segment to just working this area.  Towards the end, I resorted to replacing Dynamix with Ab Ripper X from P90X which helped alleviate this complaint.  Not getting the more expensive versions also meant I missed out on Complex Upper, which is described as “A 30-minute workout featuring explosive training for absolute upper-body strength and power”, which is right up my alley for my fitness goals.  So that was a bummer.

Besides that minor complaint, my overall experience with P90X3 has been quite positive.  First, the main hook of the program promising 30 minute workouts was the primary reason for trying it out.  Most of the general population probably has the same mindset as me when it comes to working out in that 45 minutes to an hour just isn’t feasible on a daily basis.  On days where I didn’t quite have the willpower to push play, the fact that it was only going to be 30 minutes got me over that hump.  Everything is relative and if I can waste 30 minutes watching a dumb TV show, then I certainly have time to get up and move.

Another big plus is that I achieved gradual measurable results as I progressed through the program.  Strength, flexibility, and my weight all went up, the last of which was my primary goal.  I didn’t follow the included nutrition plan but I made a conscious effort to intake more calories since I was expending more energy.  As has been well documented, my flexibility wasn’t winning me any awards so being able to finally touch my toes when I bend down has been a huge win.  As for strength, I’m now back to where I was when I completed P90X, but in half the time!  I still have a ways to go in all three of these departments so this is just the beginning of my journey.

The positives for this program far outweigh the minor quibbles I have and I wholeheartedly recommend P90X3 to fitness novices and veterans alike.  Tony Horton does a good job of keeping you engaged in the workouts while also pushing you like never before in only 30 minutes a day.  I hope to start a new round and follow the “Mass” schedule soon so look for recaps of that journey in the near future.  Until then, decide, commit, succeed!

P90X3: Week 12 Recap

Week 12 was the last “real” sequence of workouts in P90X3, since week 13 is considered a victory week.  This past week featured the ever tough Decelerator, which I have become quite familiar with as it is the lead routine in every week of block 3.  Crane push-ups have become slightly more manageable in terms of form and balance but it is still no walk in the park.

Eccentric Upper and Lower were challenging as always and I look forward to doing them back to back and twice a week once I start the mass schedule.  I managed to substitute Ab Ripper X for Dynamix this week for just the second time.  I had high hopes of doing this more frequently because I do get more out of 15 minutes of intense core work than another day of stretching.

P90X3 concludes with a victory week that cruises to the finish line with Isometrix, Accelerator, Pilates X, X3 Yoga, Dynamix, and ends with a final fit test.  With this journey almost at a completion, I can say that the past twelve weeks have gone by like a blur.  Even though I might have struggled during individual workouts, it was all about putting things in perspective and just pushing play from one day to the next.  Almost 90 days later, I’m glad I took this challenge and look forward to being able to say I’m a P90X3 grad.

P90X3: Week 11 Recap

With week 11 in the bag, the light at the end of the P90X3 tunnel is starting to get brighter and clearer!  Just like last week, I modified the workout schedule and ended up omitting X3 Yoga and the Dynamix or  Rest day.  The biggest leap this week was the amount of pull-ups and chin-ups I was able to muster without the assist band during The Challenge and Total Synergistics.  I’m finally back to where I was at the end of my run through of P90X a couple years ago.  With that said, I”m still nowhere near where the guys in the DVDs are at but the improvement is nice to see.

Agility X and Triometrics got me feeling “like Kobe in the fourth quarter” as Tony Horton so eloquently put it.  I was gasping for air and tugging on my shorts whether it was from pushing myself harder or my cardio not being up to par recently.  I’m looking forward to really maxing out the workouts next week before the final victory week.

P90X3: Week 10 Recap

Well, this was quite the wild week in terms of actually getting my workouts in.  Due to unforeseen situations such as a different work schedule and the always fun migraine, I ended up falling behind by two days and skipped Pilates X as well as the rest/Dynamix/Ab Ripper X day.  I usually finish up the P90X week on a Friday and then start right into the next set on Saturday.  As you can tell from this post, I just ended week 10 today, a Sunday.

Just got to keep plugging along though, so I choose to look at this minor setback as a way for my body to have more time to recover for me to power through the last 3 weeks of this program.  The major difference I noticed this week was that I am starting to increase the flexibility in my hamstrings!  Before starting P90X3, I couldn’t bend forward and touch my toes due to the tightness in my hams.  I was in the middle of the cool-down of Eccentric Lower today when I performed said move and impressed myself with actual finger to toe contact.  Minor stuff but pretty exciting in my book.

This week’s actual schedule according to the books was supposed to be Decelerator, MMX, Eccentric Upper, Triometrics, Pilates X, Eccentric Lower, and Rest/Dynamix.  Next week is a repeat of week 9 and will be the last time we see Agility X, The Challenge, and Total Synergistics.  Until the next go-around of P90X3…

P90X3: Week 9 Recap

Week 9 contained new routines mixed with ones that haven’t been in the rotation since the first block of P90X3.  This was the first time Decelerator was introduced and it was a great whole body workout, with exercises that focused on the legs, chest, and back.  By far the hardest move was crane cracker push-ups, which started with a standard push-up, then added a knee to the elbow hold, and finally balancing in that position solely on your hands.  I don’t think I was able to hold the crane pose for longer than a second before toppling on to my head.  The good thing is Decelerator is included four times in this last block so I’ll have plenty of time to work on it.

The rest of the week saw the return of old favorites like The Challenge and Total Synergistics, both of which were in block one but not two.   Tony actually gives you a choice here if you decided to splurge on the Elite package as Complex Upper and Complex Lower can be substituted in for The Challenge and Total Synergistics.  Since I didn’t get the elite P90X3 package, I had only one option.  As far as I’m concerned, the two workouts that come with the base package were adequate replacements and still kicked my butt.

As I mentioned last week, block three is scheduled a bit different from the previous two so next week will be a whole new mix of routines such as the always tough Eccentric Upper and Eccentric Lower.  I think this is a smart design choice as it will make every week feel fresh and different as the program winds down.  I’ll check back next week with hopefully less bumps and bruises on my head!

P90X3: Week 8 Recap

I got a bit side-tracked this week due to a titanic distraction so I didn’t follow the transition schedule to a T.  I ended up using two days as “rest” and had intentions of doubling up a day to get back on track but in reality, it didn’t happen and I ended up skipping Yoga X.  All the other workouts were par for the course, although I did feel more winded during CVX than prior iterations of it.

Another change I made this week was substituting Ab Ripper X for Dynamix, which I alluded to in my previous post.  This worked out well because my Dynamix DVD is scratched and doesn’t play well to begin with.  I definitely see the benefit of this swap as my abs were burning as bad as the first time I ever did Ab Ripper X.  I think I will continue this for the remaining five weeks of the program.

Speaking of the last block of P90X3, here is how the schedule plays out: the same weekly routines are performed every other week (i.e. weeks 9 and 11 are the same, weeks 10 and 12 are the same).  Decelerator is the only brand new workout in this last part and the program ends with a “victory week” of workouts.  Here’s to a more focused start to the last third of this journey!

P90X3: Week 7 Recap

As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither is your body during the physical journey that is P90X3.  But with another week down, the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming brighter.  Week 7 went well with measured gains in reps and weights used but nothing too exciting jumped out at me.  Unlike towards the end of the previous block of workouts, I actually don’t feel like my body is completely broken down and in need of the transition week that is coming up.  The same series of routines will be repeated from the first transition week.  As another blogger mentioned, I’m beginning to think that adding in a dedicated ab/core routine will be beneficial.  Something like Ab Ripper X from the original P90X on the rest/Dynamix days might work well.

I’m actually really looking forward to the last block as every week will have a different mixture of workouts.  This will allow for less repetition and keep things fresh as I reach the finish line.  My overall weight gain really accelerated in the first two weeks of P90X3 but has since tapered off.  I didn’t have a set goal at the beginning of the program so the initial five pound or so gain was a nice surprise.  I’m hoping once I switch over to the mass schedule I will see a more steady and dramatic increase.  I know my diet will have to match the extra intensity at that point so I’ll have to add more snacks and  increase the portion size of my meals.

P90X3: Week 6 Recap

Since this past week was the second time through the same set of exercises for block 2, I felt much more in-tune and comfortable with all the workouts.  Once again, I loved both eccentric routines and increased the weight of dumbbells on some moves and also got through the entire burnout section unlike last week.  For Eccentric Lower, I substituted in calf raises and weights during the entire run of calf dog and felt I got more out of it as a result.

MMX got my heart rate up and was great cardio as I was able to keep up more with Tony and the gang on-screen.  The biggest difference I noticed were the combinations that included sprawls.  My form and speed when transitioning into and out of them were much improved.  Once again, this is what Kenpo X in the original P90X should have been.

One more week of this set of DVDs before another transition week to get me ready for the last block.  I’m actually sad to see that this will be the final week where Incinerator is part of the routine.  I guess I’ll look forward to it again if I ever get to the mass schedule.

P90X3: Week 5 Recap

Week 5 contained a collection of workouts that were a good deal more intense than any of the previous ones.  Starting with Eccentric Upper where each move focused on eccentric or lengthening of muscles for three seconds followed by one second of concentric motion (muscle shortening).  This philosophy is repeated with a variety of push-ups, pull-ups, and moves with weights to work the chest, back, biceps, and triceps.  I was already pretty burnt out by the time the burnout session at the end started but I am looking forward to signs of improvement in the next three weeks.

The next day’s workout was Triometrics, which consisted of plyometric/cardio moves that were each broken down into three segments, totaling a minute.  The first 20 seconds focused on the core move, while each subsequent 20 seconds added modifications to make it more difficult.  The nice thing about this structure is that depending on your level of fitness and comfort, you can stay with any of the phases for the entire minute.  It was a good workout to follow the upper body-centric nature of the previous day but the burnout segment (side hops) was relatively mild and could have been more intense.

Eccentric Lower was the next new workout for the week and followed the same overall structure of the upper routine by the same name.  Three seconds of muscle lengthening followed by a quick one second of muscle shortening.  In my opinion, this was easier just for the simple fact that no pull-ups were involved.  A variety of squats, lunges, kicks, and other lower body moves made the workout go by fast with very little repetition.  I didn’t think “calf dog” worked the named muscles enough and will try replacing it with calf raises with weights the next time.

Incinerator is another total upper body workout and has become my favorite routine so far.  The premise behind this DVD is to work the same area with two moves in a row to achieve failure.  Whether it was chest, back, biceps or triceps, all those muscle groups were definitely hypertrophied by the end of the 30 minutes.  With only one dedicated upper workout in the first block of P90X3 (The Challenge), I am glad the second block has two.  I prefer less cardio and more strength training so this week’s exercises were just what I wanted.

The last new workout included in week 5 was MMX, basically Kenpo X from P90X but intensified with less breaks.  I liked the fast and more complex nature of the martial arts moves in this video and felt I got more out of it in half the time (30 minutes versus an hour).  A big criticism of the Kenpo workout from X1 was that it is too easy and I think Tony took that to heart as MMX pushes you right from the beginning with more kicks and combinations.  Gone are the blocking moves and instead, your whole body gets into it with sprawls thrown into the mix.

I really enjoyed this first week of block 2 and look forward to spending the next three weeks with this set of exercises.  The increased focus on the upper body has got me excited, even if they are pretty tough so far.  I hope to see some good gains going into the last block of P90X3.

P90X3: Week 4 Recap

Week 4 was a mix of familiar workouts and new routines to transition in to the more intense block 2 of P90X3.  First up was Isometrix, which is basically a collection of tough yoga moves that are held for a grueling 45 seconds.  The poses that stood out for me were plank with arm and leg lifts which really works the core and bound dog with leg lift which requires good hamstring flexibility (an area that I do see mild improvement since starting the program).  This workout shows up only during transition weeks so I am spared from having to do it every week.  Regular X3 Yoga is enough for me!

Accelerator is true to its name with each move lasting a minute and provides a great cardio workout.  Moves alternate between cardio and plank work, which is common with a lot of the P90X3 routines.  I think this makes up for a lack of a dedicated ab workout (unless you bought the deluxe edition).

The last new workout this week was Pilates X.  I honestly had no idea what to expect and went into it with a completely blank slate.  I left with the respect that pilates is a lot harder than I could have ever imagined and once again, is a great core workout.  My lack of flexibility in my hip flexors and legs in general were once again highlighted during this DVD.

Overall, this first transition week was a good recovery period before the intensity ramps up again with the second block starting with Eccentric Upper.  I look forward to reporting back in a week, if my body isn’t so sore that I can’t type!