My Way Too Long P90X3 Block 1 Review

Four weeks ago I started the P90X3 fitness program which is the latest installment from Tony Horton and the P90X group which is part of the Beach Body collection.

Similar to its predecessors P90X3 consists of three one-month blocks.  The selling point of this program is that each workout is only 30 minutes.  I completed the P90X program last year and while I enjoyed it somedays I had trouble committing to the longer sessions (I’m looking at you NINTY MINUTE yoga workout).  So here are my thoughts after completing the first block of the classic plan.

General thoughts on the program after 4 weeks:  I LOVE that each session is only 30 minutes.  I have to work out the first thing in the morning or else I just won’t make the time for it, so for me 30 minutes is perfect.  I can get up early and knock out my workout then still have time to get ready for the day while staying out of everybody else’s way… I “share” a home with my wife and two daughters so staying out of the way in the morning is essential for self-preservation.

Equipment:  You will need a pull-up bar or doorway bands, dumbbells or bands, a yoga mat and a safe place to go to cuss Tony Horton… and by “cuss Tony Horton” of course I mean sob uncontrollably.  When I went through P90X I used the doorway bands to simulate the pull-up exercises.  This was nice  but not as challenging as an actual pull-up so for this program I sprung for a doorway pull-up bar.  I was pretty excited to try it out until I received it and realized that I could not do a pull-up.  Really, Andy?  I mean I’ve lost a good chunk of weight and added on a fair amount of muscle so why the eff could I not do a pull-up?  So after that I also sprung for a pull-up assist band that attaches to the bar for a little added help.  It’s like training wheels for your pull-up bar.

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The workouts:

  • Day 1 Total Synergistics:  This is a full body workout where each move is aimed at working multiple muscle groups.  Some of the moves are a bit complex and I found the pull-up moves that also involved moving your lower body (think knees to chest) to be quite challenging while using my pull-up assist bands.  Overall this session was pretty fun and challenging.
  • Day 2 Agility X:  This one is my least favorite so far.  It involves laying down two strips of tape a few feet apart and marking off the back, middle and front of each strip for a reference point so that you are keeping your movements somewhat uniform.  This involved a lot of lunges and balance moves mixed with some light cardio.  While the agility aspect is helpful for me I just don’t feel like I’m getting a good cardio workout with this session.
  • Day 3  X3 Yoga:  I really enjoy the way my body feels after a yoga session and they really pack a lot of different moves into the 30 minutes.
  • Day 4 The challenge:  I hope you like push-ups and pull-ups because that is what this one is all about!  I like them… for about 5 reps each, that is when I start saying bad things to Tony Horton.  This is a great upper body workout.
  • Day 5 CVX: This is cardio with resistance.  Another fun workout where the cardio moves involve holding a dumbbell… or some sort of weight.  This one works up a sweat!
  • Day 6 The Warrior: This is a full body workout that uses no equipment.  There is a fair amount of cardio and core work here.  This one makes you sweat too, I really like the fact that it involves no equipment so you can knock this one out anywhere… even my neighbor’s lawn… as long as they don’t catch me.
  • Day 7 Rest or Dynamix:  I went with Dynamix.  This is another no equipment session that focuses on improving your flexibility and overall mobility.  Not bad, there is one move called “groiners”… the name made me leery, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought.

You follow this for three weeks and then move on to the recovery week with these sessions:

  • Day 1 Isometrix:  This is basically yoga on steroids… I fall down A LOT during this one.  Lots of stretching and balancing, great for recovery week!
  • Day 2 Dynamix:  See above
  • Day 3 Accelerator:  20 fast paced cardio moves at 1 minute intervals, this gets you moving.  It caught me a little off guard, I thought we were recovering, Tony.
  • Day 4 Pilates X:  I really liked the yoga so I thought I would like this one as well… but I didn’t.  Nothing about it was terrible, I just wasn’t really into it.  Trying to sync up my heavy breathing to my movements… I was down in my basement at 4 AM sounding more like I was in a birthing class than a Pilates workout.
  • Days 5, 6 and 7 were repeats of CVX, Yoga X and Dynamix.

Now for the diet part.  I intended to follow the nutrition guide to the letter… because if swole is the goal  ya gotta follow the plan, man (yeah that just happened).  In the guide there is a short quiz to take to find your nutrition plan (my goal is to tone up and add lean muscle).  The problem I have with the suggested plan is that it is way too much food.  Here’s an example breakfast for me consisting of 3 proteins, 5 carbs, and 2 fats.  Proteins: 5 egg whites, ¾ cup of Greek yogurt, 3 TBS protein powder.  Carbs: 1 banana, 1 c kale, 1 c celery, 2 c almond milk, 1 piece of toast.  Fat: 3 tsp  of peanut butter on the toast… that was breakfast.  Then there is an AM snack, Lunch, PM snack and dinner.  Holy geez that is a lot of food, I had to bail off of it after a week because I just felt stuffed all the time.  Plus I’d gained a few pounds, which would be fine except I was also gaining body fat.  So I went back to my normal approach of just eating around 2400 calories and limiting the processed foods and sugars.  I’m usually pretty successful at this approach until someone brings donuts to work.  I’m also trying to up my protein intake but I rarely hit the 180 grams that my plan was recommending for me.

Bottom line, so far so good.  I’m enjoying the workouts and most days I feel like I’m getting a complete workout.  I miss my outdoor runs but January in Nebraska is not very conducive to that so the cardio days in this program beat the treadmill.  Oh yeah, I’m proud to say that after 1 month I am now able to do a few pull-ups without the help of the training wheels… MIC DROP.

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