What you need to know before you start P90X – Part 2

This is Part 2. You can read Part 1 here.


When I started P90X, I started with basic necessary equipment:

  • yoga mat and blocks,
  • pullup bar,
  • heart rate monitor, and
  • adjustable dumbbells.

You need all those, and the latter two are important enough that I’ve covered them individually.

But there are a couple other pieces of equipment that I wish I’d had from the beginning. Even though they are not required, they sure help a lot.

The first is pushup stands. You can use dumbbells for this, but dedicated stands are really nice to have, especially if they are Tony Horton Power Stands. Those things are brilliant, because they won’t tip sideways on wide pushups. Plus they are very comfortable. They are expensive, so rest assured, you can use either your dumbbells or a less expensive stand. But I do love my Tony Horton Power Stands.

[ NOTE: I don’t pay as much because I am a Team Beachbody Coach. Become a Team Beachbody Coach and SAVE 25% on all Beachbody products. I only did this because, when I added up the savings and subtracted the monthly, this saves me money. ]

You may be thinking, “Why do I even need pushup stands?”

It’s a wrist thing. When you do a lot of pushups — and in P90X you will be doing a lot of pushups — your wrists are turned at that 90-degree angle that could be bothersome. It was for me.

Using pushup stands allows your wrists to stay straight throughout the move. Plus, as a bonus, you now have that 6 inches the stands put you above the ground to intensify the pushup by going lower than you could if your hands were on the floor.

The second piece of equipment that I consider essential, even though I worked out without it for a long time, is an exercise mat.

I work out in my living room, on the carpet. Of course, this wears out the carpet, but, also, that means I am sweating onto the carpet. That can’t be good.

An exercise mat provides a better grip for my bare feet — I don’t wear shoes during workouts — and also extra cushion.

Finding a 6×6 mat proved impossible on a budget. I considered turning my extra bedroom into a workout room and tiling the floor with foam rubber gym flooring, but, again, that ain’t cheap.

As it turned out, the answer was right in front of me.

I had bought a 2×6 exercise mat to use for Ab Ripper X. It is a really durable and comfortable mat, under $20 (when I bought mine), and I thought, “I wonder if I could buy two more and tape them together?” I did just that and it works great! The only thing I try to do when I work out is turn the mat so I don’t stress the seams too much, but this thing has held up for 10 months now, and it’s still in great shape. I used Gorilla Tape to connect them, because I had it around, but I imagine any decent duct tape will do.

The only real problem with the mat is that it does tend to slide around a bit, and I need to adjust it every so often, but the benefits of it far outweigh that small issue.


All right, now, I don’t mean you need to be stupid about it, but even if you are being careful, when you are pushing your body, you can expect pulled muscles and some hyperextended connective tissue. You will know when it’s serious enough to quit.

I am not a doctor, but my rule is this: If it hurts when I work out, I may need to pay more attention to it as a medical condition. If not, well, let’s work out!

I have worked through many an ache and pain that, once I started moving, doing the workout, whaddayaknow? No more pain.

If you do feel intense pain when you work out, maybe you are really hurt, so give it a rest, see a doctor.

My doctor told me, though, that working through an injury, with modifications, i.e. babying the injured area a bit, but still working it, is the way to go.

That’s how I discovered using an exercise band to modify pullups, because I pulled a back muscle. Instead of saying “screw it” and quitting the program, I modified with the band and was able to keep pushing through.

Again, don’t be stupid, but don’t give up too easily, either.


This should probably be rule #1, but that ship has sailed — I’m on #8 now. Suffice to say, this little mantra that can be heard in the P90X infomercials is important, and will help you get your workout in every day (unless you skip the 7th day each week, X Stretch, which is optional).

To be successful at anything, you have to commit to it, and the way you commit to P90X is to follow the program without fail.

Don’t think you can get that workout in because you are too busy? Find a way to work it in.

Stayed out too late last night and don’t feel like working out? Do it anyway.

Someway, somehow, get your workout in. You’ll feel better for it, especially on those days where you really need to push through it.

Make P90X part of your lifestyle.


When I first started P90X, I did not know which shoes to buy for it. I searched the online boards, got all kinds of recommendations, mostly for either Vibrams or some kind of cross-trainer. I bought some cross-trainers, but really didn’t like them too much, plus my feet got HOT!

So I tried the shoes without socks. Still sucked.

Then I thought, “Why not try without shoes?” Great decision.

It seems very natural to me to work out that way. Of course, it’s best on a mat, okay on carpet, no bueno on hard floors.

If you are struggling with which shoes to wear, try none — you might like it! (Just be careful about stubbing your toe on dumbbells. Ouch!)


When I started P90X, I went on the 50% protein – 30% carb – 20% fat diet. I’ve already discussed why this is essential to  P90X success in Part 1, so if you are going to follow that diet, you may be surprised to find that eating that much lean protein is not easy.

That’s how I got to know low-carb protein shakes.

There are plenty of them out there. I prefer the type without artificial sweeteners, so I use Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard Natural Whey. It tastes great mixed with low-carb almond milk and mixes well with fruit, too, when I want to add some to the shake.

I’ve tried others, including premixed shakes, and some of them are really good, but I settled on Optimum’s product because it’s so much cheaper to mix them myself, plus I have more flexibility with the ingredients.

Wow, that went quick, and I can see that I’ll need a Part 3.