By February 19, 2009

P90 Home Fitness Program review: 90/90 complete, week 22

I started the P90 Basic home fitness program somewhere around September 17th of last year. I’d done the six day P90 Fat Burner Express Hawaii edition before then, so technically I’ve done 96 P90 sessions. I should have finished seven weeks ago, but with the holidays, my own laziness, and travel for work I stretched out the program to twenty-two weeks.

Here’s my final write-up as a Beach Body P90 basic first-timer, with some bonus Sasquatch pics of yours truly.

Overall, I think the system is well worth the $70 I paid for it. I had the ability to do the workout in my own home, on my own time, and at my own pace. I did not have to compete for machines, or feel like I was at a meat market. I enjoyed stretching while my dogs danced around me for “support.” My core strength has definitely gone up, my balance has improved, and my forearms look almost as good as when I swam for fitness — except that I spent over three times the amount of time and effort.

The biggest benefit of P90 is that it is a whole-body work out that can be done in a minimal amount of time. It is an exercise program meant to be done by real humans, with real schedules. I used to dedicate my entire life to working out — meticulously monitoring my food intake, exercise schedule, sleeping patterns, and supplements — and honestly I am not interested in doing that any more. I have friends that still commit their lives to exercise, including Alexa over at Mudthirsty, but I just don’t have the desire. Maybe I’ll dedicate enough time and effort to do the P90X program later, but for now I am happy spending 45 minutes or less working out and stretching.

Anyway, I highly recommend the P90 basic. There are, however, a few caveats that I will tell you about up front:

  • It gets really monotonous. If you’ve read any of my entries about P90 thus far, you have read this a million times already. The problem is that there aren’t really four different workouts, but two workouts with an “easier” and “harder” phase. I recommend interspersing the P90 basic workouts with the Fat Burner Express (Hawaii) one. I did a week of P90 and then a week of Hawaii, but I really recommend doing a three day cycle, like this: P90, P90, Hawaii, P90, P90, Hawaii, rest.
  • The jump between the phases is pretty harsh. Going from the Phase 1/100 cardio to the Phase 2/200 cardio was particularly hard for me. Doing an extra 100 abs after a much longer and more intense workout was the brutal icing on a cake of woe. I recommend easing into the harder workouts like this: P1, P2, P1, P2, P3, P4 and then work up to P1, P2, P3, P4, P3, P4. I was only able to do a full week of the more difficult phase work (P3, P4, P3, P4, P3, P4) before succumbing to boredom over the holidays … and that started a downhill slide in performance from which I never really recovered.
  • Do your P90 workout before any other major activity. This is especially important when you are in a motivational low point. I would tell myself, “you can do P90 after playing an hour of World of Warcraft,” or “just write one more Gibberish article,” and the next thing you know it’s bedtime. Do the workout first, then chill out later.
  • If you are new (new-ish) to exercise, give the nutritional guide a try. I didn’t, because I’ve already gone through the process to determine what I should and shouldn’t eat while I am working out. However, if the P90 workout is your first foray into fitness, you should invest time to learn about how to eat right. The P90 guide seems okay, but it wouldn’t hurt to talk to a nutritionist or just read more about sport nutrition in general. I did not find it necessary to take performance supplements like creatine or glutamine like I did while swimming or lifting. However, I did take two chewable kids vitamins a day. That being said ….
  • My waist (measure around the bellybutton) result is not very impressive because I still ate my usual diet most of the time. For example, that means two triple cheeseburgers with extra BBQ sauce and lettuce. If I were more serious about this I could have cut an inch or more off of my waist, and you could see my abs better. You get out what you put in, and while I was willing to forgo fries and pizza again, I didn’t want to eat as well as I could have.
  • Going at a lesser intensity is better than not going at all. There were MANY days where I thought I was going to “phone it in” and do as little as possible. However, by the end of each workout I was going at my regular pace and intensity. Tony Horton does a good job of motivating you, especially on the Hawaii Fat Burner Express workout. So give it a go, even if your ass is dragging. If you are feeling really drained, do a Phase 1 or Phase 2 instead of a P3 or P4.
  • Don’t expect to get huge doing P90. You could see larger gains if you use heavier weight during Phase 2 or Phase 4, but I was trying to reduce fat and tone my muscles. I definitely put on some muscle, but it wasn’t like traditional weight training. Then again, I didn’t have to eat 5000 calories a day like I did when I lifted.

Here are my final stats for P90 basic:


Not bad, aside from the waist measurement. I am particularly happy about my arms, I’ve always had little chicken arms (and still do, but they are getting better).

So, what does that all look like? Here are some comparison photos, my post Fat Burner Express photos are first:

After workout #90, in flex — because it makes Starbuck giggle and roll her eyes 🙂

So what’s next? I purchased the “Power Half Hour” series from Beach Body, which features five workouts thirty minutes in duration. It’s thirty days in length, so we’ll do another round then. I would like to try to do the Phase 3/Phase 4 workouts more the next time around, so perhaps a repeat — or a blending of Beach Body workouts — is in my future.

2 Comments on "P90 Home Fitness Program review: 90/90 complete, week 22"

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  1. erin clare says:

    HELL YES!!!

    Nice biceps!!! CONGRATS ON FINISHING THE P90!! I’ve heard fit guys in my office talk about how they’ve bailed out of it.

    There are bootcamp classes using some of the manuevers too.

    You TOTALLY rock for seeing it through!! You should seriously check out signing up with CrossFit. You have one in Richmond. I’m telling you, you’d love it!


  2. Starbuck says:

    Congrats 🙂

    and thanks for the “in flex” shot 🙂

    Yes, I giggled but I didn’t roll my eyes. I shook my head and smiled.