In recent years, few at-home fitness programs have garnered more attention than Tony Horton's P90X. The program promises to transform your body in less than one hour a day in just three months. If you're looking to get seriously ripped -- but not necessarily lose weight -- and already have a high fitness level, no at-home fitness program compares in popularity with P90X.
Strong cuing and expertise marred by uncomfortable chitchat: Tony Horton may have gotten his start as a stand-up comic, but he's developed a name for himself in the fitness market thanks to his incredibly tough program. There has, over the years, been some strong criticism of the P90X fitness program -- many have questioned the expertise behind the video. Additionally, experts from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) warn that Horton's pace of switching from one movement to the next can put participants at risk of injury. Reviewers wish there was more instruction as to how to perform the movements safely and effectively. One major criticism is Tony Horton's commentary. While the cuing is stellar, the unnecessary chatter becomes somewhat annoying several weeks into the program.
Three months of routines to transform your body: Of all of the recently introduced fitness series and programs, few have generated more buzz and media attention than P90X: Tony Horton's 90-Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout. The stand-up comic turned fitness guru developed this three-month, intense home fitness series, which incorporates interval-style cardio, martial arts-inspired workouts, stretching and yoga routines.
The 12-disc DVD set also includes several fitness and nutrition plans and guides to help users meet their individual goals. User reviews on this program skew primarily to the positive and there are several online sources that offer testimonials as to the effectiveness of the program. Still, experts and users are divided. The program is incredibly intense, and despite Horton's "It only takes one hour a day!" attitude, several reviewers say that the program is time consuming. Moreover, the series assumes a high level of fitness of all participants prior to starting the 90-day program. (Even the fitness models look fatigued and their form suffers as the workout becomes more difficult, some reviewers say.)
Instructors encourage participants to perform a pre-workout self-test to determine the appropriate intensity level. Even so, many reviewers say that the program is unsuitable for those who are trying to get back in shape and do not already have a high fitness level. Horton offers a less difficult Power 90: Tony Horton's Total Body Transformation 90 Day Boot Camp Workout DVD Series (*Est. $75), which may be better suited for some.
Moreover, while most reviewers say that the program is effective, the results come as more tone and muscle definition -- not weight loss. Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks to the P90X at-home fitness series is the materials and equipment you'll need to complete the program, which include a chin-up bar, hand weights or resistance bands, a yoga mat and more (particularly as you try to up the difficulty level of the program).
In-video promotions are pushy and irritating. The classic P90X kit comes with 12 DVDs -- Chest and Back; Plyometrics; Shoulders and Arms; Legs and Back; Kenpo X; Core Synergistics; Chest, Shoulders and Triceps; Back and Biceps; Cardio C and C Stretch; as well as a time-saving Ripper X DVD and a Yoga X program. Additionally, participants receive the 3-Phase Nutrition plan -- a must-have if you're going to see weight loss, say reviewers -- and the Fitness Guide. While the production value of the program is stellar, some reviewers note that the consistent upselling of P90X-branded supplements and protein shakes can be tiresome.
Review Credibility: Excellent The official website of the American Council on Exercise provides advice and information on many fitness trends and programs. Their expertise is unparalleled by any other publication. Here, the editors of the site take an in-depth look at Tony Horton's 90-Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout. Editors give the program a lukewarm reception, rating it 3 out of 5 stars. While the program can deliver results and the individual DVDs provide good cues and encourage participants to work at a self-selected, appropriate pace, there are some notable drawbacks. The program assumes a high base fitness level and requires much more time dedication than other programs. The upselling of branded P90X supplements and shakes is distracting. Moreover, the pace of moving from one exercise to the next can encourage injury, the editors say.
Review: P90X(R) Extreme Home Fitness Training System, Editors of ACEFitness.org, April 10, 2009
2. About.com Exercise
Review Credibility: Very Good Paige Waehner, About.com's guide to exercise, is a personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. She gives a detailed review of the P90X program. As pros, she lists that it's a complete program, simple to follow and challenging even for experienced exercisers. As cons, she mentions that it's expensive, extreme -- there are not enough rest days incorporated into the program to prevent injury and overtraining -- and repetitive. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: P90X Extreme Home Fitness, Paige Waehner, Feb. 24, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good Nearly 1,400 users provide feedback for P90X: Tony Horton's 90-Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout on Amazon.com with more than 950 users giving it 5 out of 5 stars. These users say that the program is difficult, but provides true results. Others, however, note that Tony's constant talking is a major drawback and that the program is far too difficult for those just getting back into a workout routine. They add that the program, while stressing variety, does become boring after several weeks. Additionally, many reviewers say that the program is better suited for men who like to build muscle rather than lose inches.
Review: P90X: Tony Horton's 90-Day Extreme Home Fitness Workout DVD Program, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
4. Men's Health
Review Credibility: Fair This December 2010 Men's Health magazine article is not a traditional fitness program DVD review, but it provides valuable information regarding the effectiveness of this program. The author details how several principles from the P90X program can be applied to any fitness regimen. Additionally, he says that the program delivers results because it is "built on such proven fitness principles as consistency, intensity, and variety." Unfortunately, it is unclear if anyone at Men's Health magazine has actually tested the merits of the program.
Review: The Power of P90X, Joe Kita, Dec. 18, 2010