Is P90X2 better than P90X? (Part 2)

I’m going into my 10th week of P90X2. I’m in Phase 2.

“10 weeks?” you ask. “It’s a 90-day program. Shouldn’t you be in Phase 3, home stretch?”

Well, if I were doing P90X, which is a pretty strictly scheduled 90-day program, then, yeah, I’d be about done, but P90X2 is different. You see, there is a lot of balancing in X2 — standing on one leg, hands and feet on medicine and stability balls — and I really wanted to get a better handle on that stuff before I moved on, you know, build up my core.

Consequently, I spent 9 weeks in Phase 1, which included 3 recovery weeks that were just yoga and stretching. I put in a recovery week every third week, because I could.

The program allows for that. Phases 1 and 2 are, by the book, 3 to 6 weeks of workouts, and Phase 3 is 3 to 4 weeks. Up to you. Oh, and you can toss a recovery week in wherever you like. Or not. Up to you.

While Phase 1 was mostly about building the core, Phase 2 is working toward building overall strength. Plyocide and X2 Yoga are carried over from Phase 1, along with the Recovery & Mobility and X2 Ab Ripper routines, but now we are getting into training more targeted at the major muscle groups.

The schedule for Phase 2 is:

  • Chest, Back & Balance + X2 Ab Ripper
  • Plyocide
  • Rest or X2 Recovery & Mobility
  • X2 Shoulders & Arms + X2 Ab Ripper
  • X2 Yoga
  • Base & Back + X2 Ab Ripper
  • Rest or X2 Recovery & Mobility

There are other optional DVDs that can be swapped into some of the spots, but I did not buy them.

The workouts are still applying balancing techniques for added core strength, so there is a lot of on-one-leg stuff, particularly in the Shoulders & Arms routine, and plenty of work with medicine and stability balls.

At this point, unlike when I published my first impressions, I am prepared to say that, for me, P90x2 is better than P90X. Why do I say that? Simple — I feel stronger and more athletic during this program than I have during any other program I’ve tried, including P90X.

But, wait. Couldn’t that be because I’ve been building up over the past few years, so, really, this feeling of athleticism is a result of years of hard work toward a fitter me?

Okay, you got me, could be. But you can’t stop me from finishing this piece, so here’s the rest.

The techniques employed by P90X2 are much more unorthodox than those used in P90X, at least as far as weightlifting goes. Don’t get me wrong, P90X kicks ass, but the focus is more on simple resistance training. That will get you into shape, no doubt — it worked for me — but P90X2 goes beyond that, providing strength and balance training.

Have you tried doing curls while standing on one leg in a Warrior 3 stance? How about pushups with your hands on medicine balls and your feet on a stability ball? Let me tell you — it’s tough!

Is balance that important? Yes. Especially as we age, balance is so important, because falls can be much more destructive to our aging bodies.

I feel ready to tackle life with P90X2, because it seems to provide me with practical strength and balance that I need in my day-to-day activities. P90X made me feel “in shape”, but X2 makes me feel “ready for whatever life throws at me”.

I think a lot of the feeling of wellness I get is from the great core work. I really cannot describe how good my abs and lower back feel. Sure, I spent 9 weeks — 6 of them doing the actual P90X routines — in Phase 1, the Core phase. But it was worth it.

If you have not done either X or X2, it’s really up to you which one to select. Both are tough, but X2 may prove daunting for a newbie, because of all the balancing. If you are a seasoned athlete, though, and you want a challenging program to get you into better shape, either X or X2 will do that for you, but you may be ready to just jump into X2.

As Tony Horton says during X2 Shoulders & Arms: “Before we were working parts and getting fit. Now we’re connecting parts and getting athletic.”

Remember, no matter which you choose, there’s always a 30-day money back guarantee, so try one out. Don’t like it? Send it back. But do yourself a favor and try one of those programs. They truly are life changers.

Is P90X2 better than P90X? First impressions

I started P90X2 a few weeks ago, so I am still in Phase 1. So far, so great, so let me answer some common questions about the program.

  1. Does P90X2 replace P90X?
    NO! P90X is still for sale, because it is still a great workout program. It’s the workout program that saved my life, in fact, as I struggled with weight and fitness. P90X set me on the path to good nutrition and exercise.
  2. Is P90X2 harder than P90X?
    That’s a tricky one, and I am tempted to say yes, because P90X2 involves a lot of balancing. We work out a lot with a stability ball, for example, doing one-handed chest presses with my back balanced on the ball, pelvis up, feet on the floor. That requires a lot of extra balance and muscular coordination than doing a simple press from a bench. Also, pushup-to-one-arm-balance with hands on medicine balls is quite challenging…. Okay, screw it, YES, P90X2 is harder!
  3. Should I do P90X first, then do P90X2?
    Well, I just said P90X2 is harder, so you might think it makes more sense to do P90X first, but I don’t think it really matters much. Would you do better during X2 if you did The X first? Sure. And vice versa.
  4. Is the structure of P90X2 different than P90X?
    • It is a bit different, but not really too much. With P90X2 you only need to press play 5 days a week. You can either do the “Recovery & Mobility” workout or simply rest on Days 3 and 7.
    • X2 is not as rigid as The X is, with X’s 3-weeks-on-one-week-recovery formula. X2 is divided into 3 phases — Phase 1: Core, Phase 2: Strength, and Phase 3: Performance. You can make Phases 1 and 2 anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks, and Phase 3 should last 3 to 4 weeks. There is a Recovery Week that you can “do whenever you want”. You can do it between phases, in the middle of phases, or just skip it altogether. I wouldn’t recommend that, though. Just listen to your body.
    • If you did The X, you know we worked that “Ab Ripper” workout 3 days a week. In X2, it’s only that often during Phase 2. Ab Ripper is only 1 day during Phase 1 and it’s not in Phase 3 at all.
    • The workouts are still about an hour long, and Ab Ripper is still about 15 minutes. Yoga is about an hour (not 90 minutes as it was in P90X). Remember, I am only a week in, so  we’ll have to see about the later workouts.
    • Oh, also, if you buy anything but the basic package, you will get some additional workouts on DVD that you can substitute in to ease boredom and add muscle confusion.
  5. Do you need to be in shape to do X2? How is the Fit Test different from P90X’s Fit Test?
    The Fit Test for P90X2 is the same one as for P90X. However, I started P90X a few years ago without passing the pullups part of the Fit Test, and I know others who have started it without passing much of the Fit Test at all. Those people understood that they needed to take the exercise very slowly and eat right to build up to the point where they could do the workouts properly. If you take it easy and don’t hurt yourself, couch potatoes can start one of these programs, but a program like Power 90 might be the way to start, then go for one of the more advanced ones.
  6. Is there a vegan nutrition guide for P90X2?
    Yes, there is! X2 comes with several nutrition paths, including vegan.
  7. If I’ve done P90X, do I really need to do P90X2?
    If you are happy with P90X and the results you continue to get from it, then you can stick with it. But if you are looking for a new challenge — and aren’t we all? — you should definitely give P90X2 a try.

I really like P90X2 so far. I enjoy the difficulty of balancing on balls to do moves that previously seemed pretty easy. Better than P90X? You will think this is a cop out, but it’s true: They are both great, but different.

If you would like to order P90X2, please click any of the links on this page. If you have questions, contact me at for more information. Take control of your fitness!

The Difference between P90X and P90X2 — by Tony Horton

In this short video, Tony Horton — the creator of P90X and P90X2 — explains the difference between the two programs.

If you don’t want to watch the video, the upshot is that P90X gets you into shape, and P90X2 focuses on making you more athletic. It’s the same as the difference between Shaun T’s Insanity and Insanity: The Asylum.

You can order the programs through the links above or email me at [mailme] if you have questions. Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it!

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Insanity with weekends off

I love Insanity. It’s my favorite of the 3 programs I’ve done. (The other 2 are Tony Horton’s P90X and The Asylum. I’ve also worked out a lot with the One on One DVDs, but that’s not a program, per se.)

I wanted to start 2012 with a round of Insanity, but I wanted the weekends off, so this post is about what I’ve come up with.

The original Insanity is a 9-week program. This is 10 weeks.

My Insanity-with-weekends-off program includes all the high-work days that are part of Insanity, but, to compress the schedule while taking weekends off, I leave out all but the first and last fit tests, as well as some of the low-work days.

Trust me, though, I’ll get plenty of work during this program, and so will you, if you choose to follow it.

Here you do, day by day, with weekends off, if you start on a Monday.

WEEK 1

  1. Fit Test
  2. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  3. Cardio Power & Resistance
  4. Cardio Recovery
  5. Pure Cardio
WEEK 2
  1. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  2. Cardio Power & Resistance
  3. Pure Cardio
  4. Cardio Recovery
  5. Plyo Cardio Circuit
WEEK 3
  1. Cardio Power & Resistance
  2. Pure Cardio + Cardio Abs
  3. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  4. Cardio Recovery
  5. Pure Cardio + Cardio Abs
WEEK 4
  1. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  2. Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs
  3. Cardio Power & Resistance
  4. Plyo Cardio Circuit
  5. Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs
WEEK 5 – RECOVERY WEEK
  1. Core Cardio & Balance OR Yoga
  2. Cardio Recovery OR Yoga
  3. Core Cardio & Balance OR Yoga
  4. Cardio Recovery OR Yoga
  5. Core Cardio & Balance OR Yoga
WEEK 6
  1. Max Interval Circuit
  2. Max Cardio Conditioning
  3. Max Recovery
  4. Max Interval Circuit
  5. Max Interval Plyo
WEEK 7
  1. Max Cardio Conditioning
  2. Max Interval Circuit
  3. Max Recovery
  4. Max Interval Plyo
  5. Max Cardio Conditioning + Cardio Abs
WEEK 8
  1. Max Interval Circuit
  2. Max Interval Plyo
  3. Core Cardio & Balance
  4. Max Cardio Conditioning + Cardio Abs
  5. Max Interval Circuit
WEEK 9
  1. Max Interval Plyo
  2. Max Cardio Conditioning + Cardio Abs
  3. Max Recovery
  4. Max Interval Circuit
  5. Max Interval Plyo
WEEK 10
  1. Max Cardio Conditioning + Cardio Abs
  2. Max Interval Circuit
  3. Core Cardio & Balance
  4. Max Interval Plyo
  5. Fit Test

I am just starting Week 3. I see myself substituting some Ultimate Power Yoga routines during Week 5, the Recovery Week, but we’ll see how it goes. I love me some yoga and doing Core Cardio & Balance over and over (which is what the original Insanity calls for) is pretty boring.

You may notice that the first month I put Cardio Recovery on Day 4 each week, instead of splitting the workouts in half by putting it at Day 3. That’s a personal preference, because I like to work hard, have a milder day (not that Cardio Recovery is that easy a workout, but it does take a day off from cardio), then another tough day, then 2 days off. If you want to put Cardio Recovery on Day 3, go for it.

During the later weeks, I do go 2 cardio days, recovery day, 2 cardio days, because those later cardio days are tougher than the ones during the first months.

Two weeks in, this seems pretty great. I am looking forward to finishing it up, because I am using this as a lead-in to my first time through Tony Horton’s P90X2.

What is your fitness plan for 2012? Here’s mine.

Okay, so this is all about me, but it’s my blog, right? I can’t very well write about you.

But here’s the thing: I’m no uber-muscular gym rat; I’m no triathlete. I’m just a regular guy who wants to be fit, so my hope is that you can take the things that I do in my life and apply them to yours.

My fitness quest continues into 2012 — it’s going on 5 years now — and while I have surely come a long way, I still have a long way to go. I am pretty sure, for example, that I could lose 15 pounds and feel good about it.

Those are some tough pounds, though, those last 15.

The first 45 pounds were not so hard for me to lose, pretty much diet only, and not an overly rigid one to maintain it.

The next 15 were more difficult, but I managed to lose ’em with exercise.

But these last 15, wow, tough. I’ve been trying to lose them for a year and a half now. Admittedly, I haven’t been trying that hard, because, as I said, I’m no fitness fanatic. So, the time has come to give it a real go, but not at the whole 15 (which maybe should even be 20 — I dunno).

I’m going to shoot for 10 pounds. On June 30, 2012, I would like to weigh 10 pounds less than I do right now, and, because maintaining the weight loss is key, on December 31, 2012, I would like to weigh the same as I did on June 30. Or less would be okay, too.

Ultimately, I really only want to lose fat, not muscle, and weight measures both, right?

I feel comfortable, however, using weight to quantify my goal, because I know that because I’ll be working out my entire body, the vast majority of the weight I lose will be fat. If I do put on some muscle, well, that’s all the more fat I’ll need to lose to reach the goal.

Okay, so now that I have a goal, how do I plan to reach it?

The plan will have to involve calorie restriction and exercise. Of course. There are no magic potions or formulas and liposuction is just too expensive and downright gross, not to mention that when it’s over, your body is now in an unnatural state, so I don’t like the idea of it.

HOW MANY CALORIES DO WE NEED?

There is a really nice calculator right here to let you know about how many calories you need every day to maintain your current weight.

A good rule of thumb is to subtract 500 from that if you want to lose weight.

NUTRITION

I’m going to shoot for around 2000 calories a day comprising 50% protein, 30% carbs, and 20% fat. That will mean a lot of fish and chicken breasts for the protein and a good supply of vegetables and fruit for the carbs. The fat will primarily come from meats, nuts and seeds, egg yolks, and avocados.

I will minimize

  • Any foods that were created to satisfy a sweet tooth. I banished all these foods from my diet almost two years ago and have not turned back, so this part will be easy for me.
  • Grains, such as wheat, corn, oats, and rice. I’ve gone entirely without these “foods” for 6 months, so this should be okay for me. I currently only have maybe 15-20% of the grain intake I used to, so this should not be too hard for me.
  • Fatty foods in general, and fatty dairy products specifically. I truly believe there is something about dairy fat that allows my body to store it more easily than other fats. When I go through my periods of massive brie consumption — I do love me some brie — I gain weight. This may simply be a too-many-calories thing, but suffice to say that I’ll be leaving full-fat cheeses off my shopping lists. 2% is fine. Fat-free yogurt is fine.

I will maximize

  • Lean proteins like fish, chicken breasts, and egg whites. I am glad that I have figured out good ways to prepare and eat chicken breast — which I don’t really care for — because fish is too expensive for me to eat it all the time. I’ll also throw a few turkey burgers into the mix.
  • Raw and frozen vegetables and fruit. Mostly vegetables, because the fruit carbs add up quickly. The fruits will primarily be frozen berries consumed as part of a protein smoothie or in fat-free yogurt.
  • Sugar-free protein powders. I started using protein powder supplements when I first went on a 50/30/20 diet. It’s very difficult to eat that much protein, so a supplement is a must for me.

I will also document everything I eat in a series of spreadsheets, one per day. I have found that this is the only accurate way to track my food intake. Without writing it all down, too many little food items — the kind that often add up to big calories — fall through the cracks.

I also have a small food scale that I’ll use to accurately measure portions.

Is the 50/30/20 diet necessary? Probably not. 40/40/20 or 40/30/30 would be okay, too, as long as the calories are right. But I’m shooting for 50/30/20, so if I fall a bit short on protein, I’m still within what I consider acceptable levels.

EXERCISE

I’m going to start the year with a round of good old Insanity with Shaun T. I have a lot of new yoga DVDs, too, so I will be sprinkling those in.

That will last through January and February and on into March.

At that point I will be really itching to start P90X2, so, after a week of yoga, I’ll do that program.

That should take me all the way through June. On June 30, I’ll do my weigh-in to see if I reached my goal of losing 10 pounds, and decide where to go from there.

The way I document my workouts, btw, is in my Google calendar. I set up a separate calendar for Workouts, then I just add my workouts as I complete them. This is also a must for me, because I like to know what I’ve done to get where I am, and, yeah, it’s hard to remember day-to-day, what I’ve done. Not as necessary when participating in an organized program like Insanity or P90X2, but I’ll put the workouts in there anyway to stay in the habit.

DO YOU HAVE FITNESS GOALS FOR 2012?

If you’d like to join me this year, like my Facebook page, and I’ll let you know when I blog, as well as send out little motivators every so often. Our goals don’t need to mesh, nor do our fitness plans, but perhaps within our little community, we can help each other keep going.

If you’d like to order Insanity or P90X2 or any other Beachbody product, or order it yourself through my Team Beachbody page. It costs you nothing extra, and, yeah, I do get a little kickback when you order through me. Hey, I gotta fund my fitness DVD and equipment habit somehow!