We hear a lot of buzz about P90X3 by Beachbody, so we did an in-depth review, examining the scientific research, cost, and customer service level behind the P90X3 program. Also, we focused on many user comments posted online. Finally, we condensed this information to give you the bottom line and the information you need to decide on P90X3.
P90X3 is a total-body workout system that requires 30 minutes a day. This fitness program claims to get you ripped and help shed pounds of fat. The exercise DVDs include 6 Muscle-building Resistance, 3 Cross-Training Power, 3 Fat-Burning Cardio, 4 Core, Flexibility, and Balance.
P90X3 is the third version of the extremely-popular home workout program. According to a news article published on Bloomberg, the original P90X was released by Tony Horton in 2005, and through 2010 the original P90X had sold 4.2 million copies. It remains one of the most popular home workout programs of all-time.
Capitalizing on the runaway success of P90X, Beachbody released P90X2 in 2011. Although the program sold well, it was not nearly as popular as its predecessor. P90X2 focused on core strength, functional fitness, and scientific training principles.
Beachbody released P90X3 in December 2013. Like its immediate predecessor, P90X3 pushes the home fitness industry in a new direction. This time, it’s about shortening the length of the workouts while maximizing intensity.
P90X3 operates on the premise of “muscle confusion”, meaning that there is constant variation in the workouts and the demands placed on the body. While some exercise programs are based on principles such as Progressive Overload, in which greater and greater demands are placed on a muscle group or energy system, P90X3 is predicated on forcing the body to adapt to new challenges continuously.
We found no clinical research on muscle confusion, but we did find some on high-intensity workouts – most of which pertained to the impact on cognitive function.
European Journal of Neuroscience – There’s evidence suggesting high-intensity exercise, when performed before memory-related tasks, improved long-term memory. Improved memory is a benefit we didn’t expect.
JENB – There’s also at least one study that says the exact opposite. “These results suggest that high-intensity exercise may not improve cognition as effectively as moderate-intensity exercise.”
Journal of Sport and Health Science – But, high-intensity exercise is not for everyone. In obese individuals, “vigorous exercise can increase oxidative stress and blood neurotrophic factor levels and induce disruption of the BBB [blood-brain barrier].”
Program developer Tony Horton has described muscle confusion as “a cross-training method that switches the order of exercises and incorporates varied movements.” It is claimed that muscle confusion prevents the body from adapting to exercises over time, resulting in continual improvement and limiting plateaus.
P90X3 also uses Muscle Integration to maximize the metabolic effect. Whereas traditional strength-training uses isolation movements such as arm curls or shoulder raises, P90X3 integrates many compound movements to optimize the fat-burning impact.
P90X3, like its predecessors, is an award-winning infomercial, and the product is primarily sold through these advertisements. The product has become so popular that several online and even in-store retailers carry P90X3 equipment and programs.
The Company Behind P90X3
P90X3 was originally released in December of 2013. The company behind this fitness program, Beachbody, has been in business since 1998.
Beachbody is based out of Santa Monica, California, and the current CEO is Carl Daikeler.
The company sells many workout programs under the Beachbody umbrella, including:
21 Day Fix
Beachbody has live consultants available to take questions on their website. The Beachbody customer service number is 800-996-2819.
We at DietSpotlight appreciate that P90X3 encourages regular exercise, and a 90-day satisfaction guarantee is posted on the website, but read on…
Scroll below for one of the best products we’ve seen over the last year.
P90X3 boldly promises users exceptional body composition results within 90 days. Before-and-After pictures and testimonials are peppered throughout their infomercials.
The issue with all of the claimed benefits of P90X3 is that they are primarily reported by those with a financial stake in the company. There are no dedicated studies on the effectiveness of P90X3 or either of its predecessors. While many users have certainly had impressive results utilizing the program, it is difficult to measure P90X3’s effectiveness without knowing any diet or lifestyle information about most of the participants.
What is the Cost of P90X3?
One of the first questions would-be buyers tend to ask is, “How much is the P90X3?”
The cost of P90X3 largely depends upon which “kit” the user purchases.
The Base Kit includes 16 P90X3 workouts, the P90X3 Nutrition Guide, the P90X3 Fitness Guide, and a “free” Pro-Grade Resistance Band. The cost of the P90X3 Base Bit is three payments of $39.95 + $19.95 shipping and handling for an order total of $139.80. The cost of the Base Kit is in line with the cost of a three-month membership at most commercial gyms.
The Deluxe Kit includes three additional workouts, two additional Pro-Grade Resistance Bands, and the E&E Energy and Endurance formula. This package is available for three payments $79.90 plus $34.90 in shipping and handling for an order total of $274.60.
Lastly, the Ultimate Kit includes everything in the Deluxe Kit along with the Premium Beachbody Jump Mat, the P90X Results and Recovery Formula, the P90X Chin-Up Max plan, and the P90X Chin Up Bar. This Ultimate Kit is available for three payments of $109.85 and $39.90 in shipping and handling for a total of $369.45.
The cost of any of the P90X3 kits is something that most consumers would have to consider. “A lot of people simply can’t afford $139.80,” said our Research Editor. “This workout program is much more expensive than alternative exercise DVDs and fitness options available online and in stores.”
One customer who checked into P90X3 workouts said, “They want another 100 dollars for the other discs. Love Tony Horton and the program, but they are getting a little carried away with their prices.”
“150 dollars might not be a lot to them. But I saved a long time for this… disappointment,” said another customer.
Depending on the P90X3 kit ordered, some customers felt the price was just right. “Great price – so worth it for all that you get. Meal planning, as well as exercise videos, PLUS a set of resistance bands.”
The program utilizes (but does not include) dumbbells, which depending on weight, can cost a purchaser anywhere from $20-$80. This is a cost that needs to be factored into the total price before investing in P90X3.
Ultimately, the value of an in-home exercise program like this is in the eye of the purchaser. If the customer is diligent about using the program and following the dietary guidelines, any of the P90X3 programs could be a good investment. However, the cost of the Ultimate Kit is comparable to the cost of six-month gym membership in many areas, so the makers of P90X3 are asking for a significant financial commitment in exchange for their program and a few pieces of specialized equipment.
What Equipment is Needed for P90X3?
In addition to the workouts and the ability to do at least scaled-down versions of the movements described, a P90X3 user will need several resistance bands, one or more sets of dumbbells, a portable or stationary pull-up bar (as well as a place to put the bar), and an exercise or yoga mat.
You will need a computer, DVD player, and/or television on which to play the workouts, as well as some space to complete the workouts.
Potential buyers should be aware that the dumbbells, exercise mat, and pull-up bar are not included in the purchase price of the P90X3 Base Kit program. The details of the various P90X3 “kits” are discussed below.
Where to Buy
Where Can P90X3 Be Purchased?
P90X3 can be purchased directly from the company or via third-party online retailers such as Amazon.
What Do the P90X3 DVDs cover?
Each of the 16 DVDs in P90X3 is dedicated to one of the unique workouts. Depending on which kit or promotion the customer purchases, additional “bonus” DVDs (such as the “How to Accelerate” bonus gift DVD) can be included in the bundle.
Most of the workouts in P90X3 are generally 25-30 minutes in length with 2-3 minutes for warm-up and cooldown.
P90X3 vs Focus T25
P90X3 Workout Comparison
P90X3 vs. Focus T25
These two programs are in-home programs that can be completed with minimal equipment.
P90X3 utilizes “muscle confusion”, meaning that the body is constantly required to adapt to new stimulation. One of how P90X3 differs from the T25 program is the number of workouts. While T25 places workout intensity above all else, P90X3 uses workout variety as its main weapon.
T25 uses two blocks, an Alpha and Beta phase, while P90X3 uses three 30-day blocks. The structure of P90X3 might help some users with compliance, as they can constantly see the light at the end of the tunnel. Both programs use similar equipment (dumbbells, resistance bands, and a portable pull-up bar).
Both programs, along with Insanity, are products of Beachbody LLC.
P90X3 Workout Difficulty
Numerous customers complained about the difficulty of P90X3 workouts. For example, one user stated, “I am really disappointed that there are not more beginner modifications shown.”
Another customer said, “These workouts are very hard on the hips and, even with the modifications, are not ideal for anyone with any hip problems. I wish I knew that before ordering.”
We did manage to find quite a few people who were happy with P90X3 workouts. As one put it, “30 minutes is enough. . . sometimes. Still a great effort from Tony!”
According to our extensive research, if there is some specific part of a fitness program or dietary supplement that is especially troublesome (a painful/difficult exercise routine, bad taste, serious side effects), the probability of long-term success is slim. If P90X3 workouts are hard for a lot of people to do, this could be problematic.
What are the Workouts in P903x?
As noted above, P90X3 rapidly cycles through workouts in the interest of maintaining muscle confusion. Here is a quick breakdown of what each workout entails:
The Warrior is a military-inspired workout in which the user continuously cycles through intense body-weight calisthenics, including squats, lunges, jumping jacks, and push-up variations. It is intended to burn fat, improve conditioning, and build lean muscle.
P90X3 Total Synergistics
Total Synergistics is a 26-minute workout paired with a three-minute warm-up and three-minute cooldown. The workout incorporates some yoga movements but is generally performed at a higher intensity than the P903x Yoga workout. Total Synergistics is taxing on the muscles and requires great core strength to complete.
P90X3 Agility X
In the Agility X workout, there are 18 exercises, and each runs for 60 seconds with short breaks in between each. The workout follows a pattern of alternating a plyometric exercise with either a balance/coordination/strength exercise or an agility sequence.
The Agility X workout requires tape and a decent amount of space. The user bounds and jumps through the workout, creating a heavy oxygen demand and taxing the muscles.
Assuming the user can complete the exercises (or modified versions of them), there is significant fat-burning potential in agility and plyometric work.
A study posted by the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (JSSM) on the relationship between agility and plyometrics determined that plyometric work improves agility in athletes and vice versa.
While the workouts in the P90X3 program are varied and seem somewhat random, there is a method behind them. Improving one capacity within the body (strength, agility, plyometric power, cardiovascular conditioning) frequently improves other capacities. While the science behind muscle confusion is still up for debate, the carryover from training multiple energy systems is not in dispute.
Many fitness professionals are coming to understand the value of yoga and stretching within the context of an otherwise well-rounded exercise program. P90X3 is also on-board, providing a yoga program as an active recovery and balance/flexibility day. This is probably a smart addition to a program as intense as P90X3.
One reviewer reported that “the poses were pretty basic, so an experienced yoga enthusiast might not think it’s intense enough.” But the reviewer also stated that she “also really liked the flow of each move to the next. There was a nice balance of balance and core strength to go along with the stretching.”
While the Yoga workout in P90X3 might be a bit simplistic to some, it was written for people with minimal yoga experience. As with many of the movements in the program, the Yoga workout can be scaled up in intensity by more experienced users.
P90X3 CVX is cardio exercise plus weight training with very short rest periods between sets, otherwise known as metabolic resistance training or MetCon (metabolic conditioning).
The theory is that one will burn off more calories lifting weights at a cardiovascular pace than he or she would with traditional strength training or cardio alone.
CVX has four rounds of exercises. In each round, you’ll do the exercise grouping two times before moving to the next round. On the second set, you’re challenged to go faster and bigger with the moves. You get a short break after the second set in each round. Each exercise is performed for one minute.
Eccentric Upper + Eccentric Lower
In exercise science, the term “Eccentric” refers to the lowering component of a given movement. The antagonist muscle in a given group or pairing lengthens, while the agonist (or primary) muscle contracts.
For example, in a biceps curl, the biceps muscle contracts, which forces the triceps (the antagonist’s muscle) to loosen and lengthen. As the barbell or dumbbell is lowered from a contracted position back to the start position of the movement, the biceps muscle undergoes an eccentric movement.
Exercise movements are broken down into concentric, eccentric, and isometric portions. Eccentric exercise is perhaps the most damaging to muscles. P903x has chosen to incorporate specific training days focusing on eccentrics, and the science behind this idea is sound.
One study that can be seen in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine looked into the effect of eccentric training on glucose tolerance. The group found that “…muscle-damaging exercise effectively improves glucose tolerance independent of CK (creatine kinase) surge. This finding implicates that metabolically weaker muscle fibers are replaced by newly generated cell population after muscle-damaging eccentric exercise.”
You don’t need to fully understand the science behind eccentric training in order to reap some of the benefits. Just understand that eccentric training is backed by solid research, and moderate use of eccentric training is probably a smart inclusion in a good resistance training program.
P90X3 Workout Structure
Here is a sample block from the P903X program:
P90X3 is a 6-7 day per week program. This obviously requires a serious commitment from someone dedicated to losing weight or dropping fat.
P90X3 Workout Calendar
Here is what a week of PP90X3 might look like:
The P90X3 program consists of 16 workouts, broken down into six Resistance Workouts, three Power Workouts, three Cardio Workouts, and four Core/Flexibility workouts. Although a calendar does come with the set, there are also some alternative ones available online.
Who Can Benefit From P90X3?
Most people with a good athletic base can benefit from the P90X3 workouts. Because the workouts are scaled in intensity, a relative beginner or an experienced mixed martial artist could benefit in some ways from the P90X3 workouts.
Because these workouts are fairly intense, they are not ideal for people with pre-existing injuries or medical conditions. If you have any medical conditions, talk to your doctor before beginning P90X3 or any exercise program.
As with most fitness programs, P90X3 has strong and weak points. Here is an overview of the Pros and Cons one can expect with P90X3:
The workouts can be done in your home on your schedule. For many people, this increases convenience and effectiveness.
Intensive, condensed, and effective workouts.
Works within the confines of a busy schedule.
Sixteen workouts provide variety and prevent repetition, boredom, and plateau.
The P90X app makes tracking progress very efficient.
The P90X3 program can be easily modified based on a user’s fitness and experience levels.
Workouts require minimum equipment.
Fitness goals can be tailored very specifically to the user.
The P90X3 program works with a number of dietary approaches. The program includes a vegan diet option.
The initial cost of the P90X3 DVD set is considerable for a home fitness system.
Some people might thrive better with the support network generally found in a gym or group setting.
Commercial gyms will have access to a wide variety of equipment.
While P90X3 may be effective for fat loss, it is not an ideal program for muscle mass gain.
Did We Find Any Science Behind P90X3?
While Beachbody does boast serious slimming results and fat loss with P90X3 workouts, we at DietSpotlight didn’t find any real clinical evidence to support this as a program that is more effective than the numerous alternatives available today. At least for us, we have to see published, scientific data about the product or fitness program that reinforces weight-loss claims.
However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, physical activity of any kind is beneficial, and most individuals should attempt to do moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
What Users Are Saying
What Users Are Saying
“What can I say about Tony Horton, the man is a beast! These workouts are hard but only 30 minutes and there are enough variety and difficulty level I think anyone can get in shape using them. It ‘s so easy to follow and both I and my wife are well on our way to losing weight, feeling great and hopefully will win the weight loss pool we are in with her family!”
“Kick your own ass for 30min/day 6 days a week for 2 out of three months and lose all your baby weight like I did. Then pull it out periodically when you find your self discipline unraveling. Tony Horton is cheesy but he’s a damn good trainer.”
“Great 30 minute workouts!”
The Bottom Line on P90X3 Workouts
Well, have we already added P90X3 workouts to our shopping cart? While it’s always exciting to see a new fitness program from Beachbody, and we appreciate the longevity of this company, but we have reservations giving our recommendation for this one. After all, there are no scientific studies or weight-loss research to support it. Furthermore, difficult exercises and high prices are not suitable for a lot of customers.
If you’d like to drop more pounds of fat and slim down, then we advise you to choose a fitness program that is backed by clinical research and a proven fat-burning ingredient blend.
Among the best weight-loss apps we’ve seen this year is one called Noom. With personalized meal plans, human coaching, interactive support groups, and extensive food and exercise tracking, Noom allows its users to make healthier choices and lose weight along the way.
Plus, the makers of Noom, in quite the show of confidence, are offering Dietspotlight readers a free trial offer, a good sign.
Before starting any exercise program, including P90X3, consult your physician, especially if you are under 18, pregnant or nursing, have any health conditions or taking prescription medications of any kind.
What equipment do I need for P90X3?
P90X3’s website does not mention specific equipment you might need for the program, but they offer packages which include things like the Premium Beachbody Jump Mat, Gym-Quality P90X Chin-up Bar, Pro-Grade Resistance Band, and the P90X Chin-Up Max.
Does the P90X3 program include a food plan?
P90X3 includes a nutrition guide including customizable meal plans to help you achieve the results you want.
Does P90X3 come with a guarantee?
P90X3 comes with a 90-day 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Do you know of any special deals or discounts on P90X3?
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