Fitness: P90X Resources

Occasionally, I go a bit off-topic from my normal techie-type information. I’ve mentioned several times on here that the main purpose of this site is two-fold: #1 – to share the information that I’ve gathered with others, and #2 – as a resource for myself.

I am currently starting the P90X program. For those not familiar with it, the official webpage is located at P90X (Power 90 Extreme) is an extreme fitness routine that gets you in shape by focusing on nutrition, exercise, and supplements. (Supplements they sell and make a nice profit on, I might add.) The nutrition is an imperative part of the program. You have to fuel your body properly to push it as hard as you’re going to push it through this program. The exercise you’ll be doing is a combination of aerobic and anaerobic. You’ll be doing cardio, strength training, yoga, stretching, and plyometrics. The focus of this program is on “muscle confusion”. You don’t allow your body to reach plateaus because when you would reach a plateau, you change things up and push harder. The program includes DVDs and informational booklets that include the worksheets that you will need. You will need to purchase a little bit of equipment if you don’t have the basics in your home gym. If you are starting from nothing, you could get the program (used), a mat, bands, chin-up bar, heart-rate monitor, and yoga blocks for under $250 if you shop carefully. P90X retails at $140.

If you consider purchasing the program, I recommend getting it from Craigslist. There are tons of people out there who purchased it through Beachbody then never finish it and you can get it at a discount. Make sure you look at it before you buy it. You want to get the full books and the real disks, not bad copies. You don’t want some bad software pirate making a profit off of you, but there’s nothing wrong with buying the real deal off someone who’s not using it anymore.

The Program

Which program do I do? This is the first question you have to ask yourself. When you look at your Fitness Guide, you’ll see that when you look at your Phase Exercise list, you have three choices, Classic, Doubles, and Lean.

Classic is the original P90X program. It is designed for those that want to build muscle and lose fat as they go. This is for people who aren’t looking to lose a bunch of weight up front. Here’s what Phase I of the program looks like:

  1. Day One: Resistance + Abs
  2. Day Two: Cardio
  3. Day Three: Resistance + Abs
  4. Day Four: Stretch / Balance (Yoga)
  5. Day Five: Resistance + Abs
  6. Day Six: Cardio
  7. Day Seven: Off

Lean is an adapted program that comes with P90X. It includes more cardio than resistance. This is the place to start if you need to lose a lot of weight before starting to build your muscle mass. You will still be doing some resistance and building muscle, just not as much as in the Classic program. You will just be doing more cardio, which means burning more calories, which means losing more fat. This is also great if you need conditioning for sports. By the time you get to the end of the Lean program, you’re basically doing the Classic program. Phase I of the Lean program looks like this:

  1. Day One: Core / Cardio
  2. Day Two: Cardio
  3. Day Three: Resistance + Abs
  4. Day Four: Stretch / Balance (Yoga)
  5. Day Five: Resistance + Abs
  6. Day Six: Cardio
  7. Day Seven: Off

Doubles is the extreme version of P90X. It was designed for people who are already in great shape or who have completed the Classic P90X and are ready for more. You basically work out twice a day – cardio in the morning and resistance in the afternoon. To see how crazy it can get, here’s what the Doubles program looks like in Phase III:

  1. Day One: AM – Cardio / PM – Resistance + Abs
  2. Day Two: AM – Cardio / PM – Cardio
  3. Day Three: Resistance + Abs
  4. Day Four: AM – Cardio / PM – Stretch and Balance (Yoga)
  5. Day Five: AM – Cardio / PM – Resistance + Abs
  6. Day Six: Cardio
  7. Day Seven: Off

So here’s my breakdown:

  • If you’re not in decent shape already, start with the Lean program. You’ll burn the fat and start building muscle. When you finish that 90 days, move up to the Classic program. Then, if you’re still ready to BRING IT, move up to Doubles.
  • If you’re in decent shape and have little to no fat to lose, start with the Classic program.
  • If you’re in great shape and really need a challenge, start with the Doubles program.
  • If you know what you’re doing, you can design your own program. So have at it!

Worksheets and Saving Your Data

You can print extra worksheets, fit tests, and get Excel sheets from the Team Beachbody website:

You can save your data any way you like to keep track of your results. You can just use the worksheets and the nutritional diary. You can keep an Excel spreadsheet. My personal recommendation is to use the free tools on the [SparkPeople] website. I’ve been a member of this website for years. It has a ton of great tools. My favorites are:

  • Nutrition Tracker: You can enter the foods you eat every day and track your calories, protein grams, fat grams, and carb grams. You can also choose other things you track like cholesterol, fiber, and sodium. You can see your weekly totals on a nice chart as well. This is a great way to track your foods.
  • Fitness Tracker: You can use this tool to track your fitness goals and activities – cardio, strength training, steps per day, miles per day, etc. It’s a little involved getting this set up for P90X, but there’s a great blog with this information located at
  • Journal: I like this feature because you can track how you feel on certain days. I use it as a health journal. If I have stomach problems, I make a note. If I’m really sore, I make a note. Then I can find patterns in my diet and exercise and learn from them.
  • Recipes: I can’t stress enough how great the recipe section is. The best part is the user ratings and comments. I have found some great recipes this way. Do some searches by number of ratings and look around. I’ve also added a lot of recipes of my own and added them to my Nutrition Tracker for future use.
  • Community: There is a great community section for support and help. Join some groups. Check out the boards for help. There’s tons of information out there and lots of helpful people who’ve been where you are now.


In order to do P90X or any exercise regiment at home, you’re going to need some equipment. Let’s start with the basics.

  • TV & DVD player or computer with DVD ROM: You’re going to need a way to watch the DVDs.
  • Space: You will need a little space. You’re going to be jumping around and doing a lot of moving. Make sure you can view your TV or computer screen while standing, sitting or laying down, and that you have plenty of space around you to move.
  • Exercise Mat: You will need a Yoga Mat or Exercise Mat. Beachbody recommends the Manduka Mat for over $100, that you can get on Amazon for $80 with free Prime shipping. Just saying. I would recommend a far less expensive alternative that’s still a 1/4 inch thick mat like THIS ONE on Amazon. This one will cost you around $20 – $25 with shipping depending on the color you choose and whether you’re a Prime member.
  • Chin-Up Bar: With P90X, you’re going to be doing a LOT of stuff with the Chin-Up Bar. You really will need one. You’ll need to do some research and decide which one is best for you. The official P90X bar is $75 from Beachbody and you can get it HERE. The same bar is also $75 on Amazon, but there’s a similar one for $33. There are several types of bars you can get.
    • Doorway Hanging: This is the type that hangs on your doorframe. Be aware that not all doorframes are the same size, have the same trim, or are the same depth. Make sure the company you purchase this item from has a good return policy.
    • Door Mount: This is the type that requires brackets mounted on the inside of your doorframe. These will need to be mounted VERY securely and carefully. Also measure your doorway width before purchasing.
    • Ceiling Mount: Again, make sure these are SECURELY mounted.
    • Free Standing: These can get big and bulky and expensive.
  • Dumbbells: You will definitely need these. I recommend hitting yard sales, Craigslist, and used sporting goods stores.
  • Resistance bands are a little trickier than dumbbells for form and resistance, but are a good alternative when traveling. The P90X-recommended ones are HERE and are $46 with shipping. Again, check Amazon and your local stores for alternatives.
  • Heart Rate Monitor: This one is much more complicated. What do you need in a heart rate monitor? It needs to be accurate. It’s pointless otherwise. You need to decide how you’re going to use it. For P90X, the recommended use it to wear it while you’re working out to make sure you’re staying in your recommended heart rate zone. A pulse heart rate watch isn’t going to do that. You’ll have to stop and check your pulse all the time. You really need one with a chest strap to take continuous readings. This leads to digital vs. analog. If you’re going to work out in a gym with it later or if you have a lot of equipment that might cause interference, you should go with a digital communication between the watch and chest strap. Otherwise, analog should be fine. Next, do you want it to count calories? If so, check the reviews. There are a lot of complaints about inaccuracies among different watches. Alerts and warnings – Do you want the watch to warn you when you move outside your desired heartrate zone? Do you want to be able to set your own zone or select from some presets? How difficult is it to change the battery in the watch and the chest strap? All of these are considerations. Here are some good watches for you to consider:
  • Yoga Blocks: These are great for both beginners and advanced users. Beginners can use them so they don’t have to reach as far to the ground, and advanced users can use them to extend their reach. Pick them up online or in your local store.
  • Body Fat Tester: This is recommended by the P90X Fitness Guide. It’s used during the Fit test to determine your % body fat. You can get a little caliper online from Amazon for $6. There are also free ways online to determine that. Here is one by Dr. Sears. Additionally, there are very nice bathroom scales like this Tanita one that do a very good job of calculating your body fat % using Bioelectric Impedance Analysis.
  • Push-Up Stands: If you have weak wrists or just want to step up your push-up game, I’d recommend getting Push-Up stands. I would recommend that you go to a sporting goods store and try these out before settling on a type. Then shop for price online once you decide.


Since I know next to nothing about supplements, I will just give you a nice blog resource. All I will say is that it seems like this is the way that Beachbody makes all their money and it stinks of a pyramid scheme.

Heart Rate

Here’s a great resource to figure out your heart rate ranges:

Author: Steph

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