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P90X3 – The Complete Review: Part 1 of 3

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Wait…I have to review another workout series?  So soon?  Yes, before you know it another package has shown up on my doorstep and this time it is Tony Horton’s P90X3.  As most know, I’m a huge fan of the P90X series so the second this became available I went online and demanded Beachbody take my money.

What makes P90X3 unique is that every workout is 30 minutes and that my friends, is just sweet for a guy like me who has 4 kids and pet quail ( it’s complicated ).  The basic package has 16 workouts so I don’t expect boredom to become an issue anytime soon.  As always before every review of a Beachbody product I have to remind my viewers that I am NOT a Beachbody Coach as most reviewers out there have the ulterior motive of selling you the product.  I only desire your allegiance and whatever loose change you can readily spare.

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What You Get:

This depends on how cheap you are.  I went for the BASE Kit ( $120 ) because nobody has sent me a briefcase of cash in the mail yet ( Just so you know, that really hurts ).  The option to have the DELUXE Kit ( $240 ) will net you 3 more workouts, a resistance band and some E & E workout supplement.  The ULTIMATE has all that plus a ton of extras like the chin-up bar, yoga mat, extra supplements and chin-up assist.  Purchasing Ultimate will also set you back a whopping $350 so you better be sure your kids have decent shoes first.

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Unlike P90X and P90X2, P90X3 is not a graduate program so feel free to jump in without any prior exposure with the P90X family of DVD’s.  There are 16 workouts in the P90X3 Base System.  The Deluxe package has 3 extra routines.

There are also three one month “blocks” in P90X3.   Thus, due to the sheer number of workouts in P90X3 the review will be broken down into 3 parts with a dramatic conclusion that is sure not leave a dry eye in the house.

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Naturally, this is divided into three phases because heck, P90X3 doesn’t make a lot of sense if it’s not 90 days.  Unlike P90X2 which had a Foundation, Strength and Performance Phase, X3 follows the idea of the original P90X:  Switching the workouts out with fresh ones every thirty days for the sake of muscle confusion.  There is the option to do a Classic, Lean, Mass, and Doubles schedule but for the sake of this review I’ll stick to Classic.  The workouts also appear to get more difficult as the phases move along.

Now the real trick begins: fitting a ton of workouts into a 3-Part review.

COLD START

This is a simple 12 minute warmup by means of running, twisting and some yoga.  If you like to wake up early and hit “Play” right away then doing this will make the difference between a good workout and a great workout.

TOTAL SYNERGISTICS

I made the horrible, awful mistake of doing a Body Beast: Bulk Legs workout the day before this.  Don’t do that, ok?

Total Synergistics is all balance and core and it is not often your abs are not being fully engaged as well.  It’s like getting in an AB Ripper X as a byproduct!  There are a lot one one-legged balance moves, push ups, pull ups and even a little yoga-style postures.

I look at Total Synergistics as a foundational workout that allows better performance with more focused routines.  I appreciated that things moved along quickly and I never felt bored while doing this.  Most of the moves are unique to this program and are actually rather brilliant.  However, compared to the original Core Synergistics of P90X, this one is somewhat easier but that is kind of to be expected considering the time constraints.

AGILITY X

I would describe this as speed-plyo.  Lots of jumps and co-ordination drills and there is a natural temptation to compare this to Shaun T’s Asylum Agility.  There is not much in common with Asylum at all but I might argue the results from this workout are similar as it is a no compromise butt kicker.  There is also no writing stuff down as tape on the floor will be your measurement of progress.

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Oh yes.  The tape.  Without the tape this is easy.  With the tape…justifiable homicide on your legs.  There is no way to measure your progress otherwise so get with the program and put some form of guide on the floor.  Without it I guarantee you’re doing less than you think you are.

X3 YOGA

The older I get the more I’m convinced yoga is simply not optional if you desire a well rounded fitness program.  Yoga helps maintain that youthful flexibility which has no problem abandoning you like a scorned woman.  I credit it with keeping my lower back pain in complete check.

So how does this differ from P90X and X2?  Well, to shove it all in 30 minutes means it has to get right to the point without much in the way of over-complicated moves and this makes X3 Yoga very do-able for the yoga nube.  Thankfully it is not a solid thirty of just boring vinyasa’s and downward dogs but has a good amount of balance postures and good ol’ fashioned stretches.

Amusingly, one of the final moves is “Plow” which Tony asks everyone to get into rather casually.  “Plow” for most people is more of an expedition than a simple task as it involves bringing your knees to your head while your back balances the fine line of being stretched and suffering spinal disk herniation.  So resist the urge to rush along.

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THE CHALLENGE

bobbystevensonPush ups/Pull ups, repeat.  This is Chest and Back condensed in 30 minutes of your worst nightmare.  But don’t think you’ll match your P90X pull-up and push-up numbers because you’ll be moving faster with fewer breaks so be warned…this one’s a monster.

Another bonus…Bobby Stevenson!  I would storm the gates of Beachbody in full Scottish attire if they left this guy out.  It would be like spitting in the face of tradition as Bobby has been part of the cast since the original Power 90.

The workout is comprised of one pull-up and one push up per set and each set is done 2x with a 60 second break in between.  The idea is to choose 2 numbers ( ex. 25 – 10 ) and try and maintain those same numbers throughout the workout.  Easy peazzy right?  Well let me tell you, those pull-ups get hard real freaking fast so don’t feel bad if you need to use a chair or some form of assist.

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CVX

Cardio with weights.  And for me it’s also the day after Christmas where I got an espresso maker.  My blood probably resembles that of a truck driver after a 14 hour stretch so I’ll try not to puke.  But since my love for you all transcends the attraction of a dog in heat, I return to the gym once more.

Tony has many strengths, but I’m not sure cardio routines are among them.  Not saying this is bad, because it is certainly a hard thirty minutes, but it left me feeling it could have had more punch.  I also recently did Focus T25, and Shaun T is the undisputed master of cardio/core.  But there’s also a personal taste factor here:  I enjoy my cardio to have a bit of a serious demeanour which again, Shaun T does so dang well.  Funny hijinks work with weight routines and chin ups but break the rhythm for cardio.  With cardio is just seems to irritate the crap out of me and if haven’t already guessed, the goofy antics in this one get a little thick.

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The average guy will use a 10lb weight for this, but I’d personally advise a medicine ball.  The form-factor of a dumb-bell seems to have a magnetic attraction to my nuts, and for those of you who have never suffered the underwear apocalypse then you have been spared a pain worse than a Miley Cyrus comeback.

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At the end of 30 minutes there is absolutely a feeling of a good workout, but I didn’t feel like I really got my days worth.  After a good T25 Beta or Gamma workout you’re just toast.  Here, not so much.  I’ll probably substitute in a T25 Core Cardio instead of this workout in the future.

THE WARRIOR

Designed during visits to the U.S. Armed Forces, The Warrior succeeds at cardio where CVX fell a little flat.  It is an intense total body butt kicker that has many awesome moves such as Elevator Push-Ups and Super Burpee’s which really put the boots to your heart rate while not necessarily making you feel like it’s a cardio workout.  The idea here is that this can be done with no equipment in a small space if necessary.

The format is 4 moves…1x Upper Body, 1x Interval, 1x Core, and 1x explosive lower body.  No moves are repeated and the thirty minutes goes by fast.

DYNAMIX

Range of motion, flexibility, and stabilization.   This is your recovery workout and the rules of the day are activate/elongate.  Honestly, this one is fantastic and will be one of my instant go-to DVD’s for flexibility.

This differs from Yoga as that is more isometric.  This is stretching in motion that is designed to give greater range of mobility.  There is no huffing and puffing cardio, just a gorgeous stretch.

Conclusion thus far…

Looking good!  Very impressed with what I’m seeing and I really do love the fact I can get this done in 30 minutes.  Just remember kids, skip the Food Guide and your 30 minutes will NOT give you P90X-ish results.  That is what I notice a lot of people are ignoring so I’m going to bribe Mrs. Parrot into reviewing the Food Guide for Part 2 in addition to myself going after Block 2.  See you then!

Continue to P90X3 Review PART 2

John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.

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