Thursday, February 12, 2009

P90X Mail Bag

As I mentioned a couple of posts back I have been receiving a lot of P90X related emails. So, once a week I will pick one of the more popular questions and post it online and hopefully it will help those of you on the fence about starting P90X make a decision.

Today's Question: What do I need to buy to get started with P90X?

This is always a good question. Heck, I think I was on the BeachBodies message boards asking it before I started. I will break it down into two sections: Absolutely Need and Nice to Have!

Absolutely Need:
  • The P90X DVDs - order this from BeachBodies. Spend the money. It is worth its weight in gold!

  • The P90X Fitness Guide and Nutrition Guide - Comes with the DVDs and they are both essential in understanding and executing the program. These are as important as the DVDs and why you should suck it up and buy the package and not pirate it from limewire :-)

  • A Pull-Up Bar - The one sold by BeachBodies is nice and it is the one I use. However, if I had to do it over again I probably would have bought a cheaper one at Academy Sports or the Sports Authority. Also, I tried using the resistance bands with a door attachment for the pull-up exercise. It is an okay alternative if you are traveling but if you want the extreme results that are shown on TV then the bar is a must.

  • Before Pictures - It may sound lame to you. It may actually be lame! But knowing that you are going to have to compare those before pictures to 30,60, and 90 day ones is a real motivator - Trust me and do it.

  • A Yoga Mat - I have soft carpet and tried going without a mat for the first few days. Bad idea! Carpet burn from Ab Ripper X was brutal. Get the Mat - it is well worth it.

  • Whey Protein Powder - Especially needed during the Fat Shredding Phase 1 of the program. One of the main staples of my diet.

  • Workout Tracker - Use Either the paper version or the excel spreadsheet version. It is important to track your results each week. It helps with motivation and it also lets you know how you are progressing. As Tony says over and over again, "Write it Down!".

  • Dumbbell or Resistance Bands - My first round of P90X I used resistance bands and had excellent results. They are the way to go if you are trying to stay within a budget. However, during this round I am using Dumbbells and the results are superior. Bands work well but dumbbells are better.

  • Recovery Drink - There are literally hundreds on the market. BeachBodies recommends the P90X Recovery Drink and it is excellent tasting. I am currently using Cell Mass. You can choose whatever works for you but whatever one you choose it is an import piece of the puzzle in achieving optimal results. These workouts are extreme and your body needs to be replenished.

  • P90X Fit Test - This is a fitness test that is to be completed before you start P90X. I highly recommend you do it and if you do not pass then you may want to try a less intense workout before you do P90X. P90X is extreme and it is hard. I was not in great shape when I started but I wasn't a couch potato either. You have to Bring It to get the results but if you are not fit enough to do this you might be disappointed in P90X.

  • 90 Consecutive Days on your calendar - This may sound obvious but if you have a two week vacation coming up then wait to start until you get back. This program is setup to be done for 90 days in a row and if you take breaks your results will suffer.

Okay, I know that seems like a lot but most of it can be ordered at the P90X website.

Nice to Have:

  • Power Stands - These are handles that allow you to get deep in you push-ups and also help the impact on your wrists. When I first began I did not have the stands. After week one my wrists were very sore so I went out and got them. In hindsight, probably the best accessory I bought.

  • Yoga Blocks - Yoga is the exercise that is done the most on the P90X program. If you are like I was and a rookie to Yoga you probably have a ways to go to achieve decent flexibility - the blocks really help. I have two of them.

  • Body Fat Calibers - These are inexpensive and easy to use. I recommend buying them before day 1 and taking a measurement. Sometimes the scale stops moving, especially when changing phases, and you may get frustrated, take a BF% measurement and you will find all the motivation you need to power through a couple more days!

  • Protein Bars - I use the Pure Protein Bars for my snacks. Unless you are T-rex when it comes to meat and poultry consumption these bars really help you get the necessary protein needed. And they are quick and easy.

  • Enough Room to do all the exercises - Once again this sounds pretty obvious but some of the workouts require jumping and lunging. You can always modify but if you have a couple of options on where to make you P90X Base Camp I recommend picking the spot with the most room.

  • A Workout Partner - This should probably be in the column above and this may sound stupid but 90 days is a long time to go it alone. Find some support. Get a buddy or spouse to to do it with you, join the Beach Bodies message boards, start a blog, or visit this one. You will need support and you will have questions about the diet and the workouts. Reach out to other P90Xers because you will find that it is a lot easier to do this when you have a support group. I am a stubborn SOB and I never would have made it the full 90 days without my buddies Mike and Matt doing the program too. We were thousands of miles from each other but sharing the successes and failures each day got me through and I know it helped them also.

That is my list. If you have any others that I may have missed please add them in the comments below.



  1. This is an excellent post of what one needs to get started. I was trying to think of other things, but you definitely covered everything.

  2. The P90X DVDs - order this from BeachBodies. Spend the money. It is worth its weight in gold!

    I absolutely second that motion. If you try to get it from (ahem) an auction site, you flirt with not getting the entire package, or getting copies of DVD's and not the originals...or even worse, you may only get the DVD's and not the nutrition and fitness guides. As anyone who has them, the guides are invaluable and without them, the DVD's are almost worthless.

  3. Boomer,
    I think I covered it all! Now when I get this question again -- boom -cut and paste this link.

    It is very easy "pirate" these workouts or find them used onn ebay Unfortunately when someone does this they only get 1/2 off what they need. The nutrition guide and fitness guide are such key parts to understanding how to do the workouts and what to expect from the entire program.

    Unfortunately for me I no longer own the fitness guide. My Pug, Ernie, decided it would be fun to knock an entire Whey Protein shake over and it landed on the fitness guide. Ruined. Lucky I was already through an entire round and had read the book cover to cover a few times. Dogs suck sometimes.

  4. I am so happy I found you blog! You answered every question I had. My g/f just bought me P90X for my birthday and I am beginning on Monday. Great Blog!