Tony Horton's P90X3 Base Kit - DVD Workout
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- With P90X3, you get a whole workout in just 30 minutes
- Includes 16 extreme 30-minute workouts, Fitness Guide, Nutrition Plan, Workout Calendar, "How to Accelerate" DVD, and 24/7 Online Support
- Tony Horton's breakthrough Muscle Acceleration system maximizes that all-important window of opportunity to help you get ripped in 30 minutes a day
- Studies show that the most dramatic body transformations happen in the first 30 minutes of exercise
- With P90X3, you don't get off easy, you just get finished faster
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Get ripped in 30 minutes a day, using Tony Horton's breakthrough Muscle Acceleration system. P90X3 combines a highly structured, plateau-busting schedule with an unprecedented variety of moves that keep every muscle challenged every day for 30 minutes of full-throttle intensity that leaves any other workout in the dust. It's a whole workout in half the time. What's in the Package? 16 extreme 30-minute workouts, Fitness Guide, Nutrition Plan, Workout Calendar, "How to Accelerate" DVD, and 24/7 Online Support.
From the Manufacturer
Compare P90X3 Kits
16 Extreme 30-Minute Workouts on 8 DVDs
P90X3 Nutrition Guide
P90X3 Fitness Guide
How to Accelerate DVD
3 Additional P90X3 Elite Workouts on 1 DVD
Energy & Endurance Pre-Workout Formula
3 Pro-Grade Resistance Bands*
Premium Beachbody Jump Mat*
P90X Results & Recovery Formula
P90X Chin-Up Bar
P90X Chin-Up Max*
Tony Horton's back with P90X3, his newest P90X system designed to get you ripped in just 30 minutes a day thanks to his Muscle Acceleration system. P90X3 combines a highly structured, plateau-busting schedule with an unprecedented variety of moves that keep every muscle challenged for 30 minutes of full-throttle intensity that leaves any other workout in the dust. With P90X3, it's a whole workout in half the time.
What's in the Package?
16 extreme 30-minute workouts on 8 DVDs, "How to Accelerate" DVD, Fitness Guide, Nutrition Plan, and Workout Calendar. The Base Kit comes with a total of 9 DVDs.
P90X3 consists of 16 extreme 30-minute workouts on 8 DVDs. The workouts are split into 4 groups: Resistance Workouts, Power Workouts, Cardio Workouts, and Core, Flexibility & Balance Workouts
1. Resistance Workouts
- Total Synergistics: A full-body resistance workout that triggers fast, powerful changes to your body's composition.
- The Challenge: Strengthen your entire upper body by stacking push-ups and pull-ups in ways you've probably never seen.
- Incinerator: Bring It 'til there's nothing left to bring. A full burnout session that pushes you past your limits.
- The Warrior: When you need a one-size-fits-all workout that can be done anytime, anywhere, this is your drill.
- Eccentric Upper: Time under tension is the key to creating lean-muscle growth fast. This upper-body blast will have you begging for mercy.
- Eccentric Lower: You'll be slowing down the eccentric (or negative) half of each movement to carve a ripped lower body—faster.
2. Power Workouts
- Agility X: This fusion of aerobic and anaerobic energy improves your precision, flexibility, balance, and strength.
- Triometrics: Increase your speed and power in a fraction of the time with this explosive next-generation plyo workout.
- Decelerator: Balance your ability to go up strong and come down safe with multi-angle deceleration training.
3. Cardio Workouts
- CVX: Now resistance is combined with intervals to give you that full-body burn and power up your core.
- MMX: Burn fat by taxing your strength, endurance, and flexibility with this martial arts–based cardio workout.
- Accelerator: Increase your cardiovascular and muscular efficiency, resulting in more bang for your fat-burning buck.
4. Core, Flexibility & Balance Workouts
- X3 Yoga: A flow-style practice that improves your musculoskeletal flexibility, balance, stamina, and core strength.
- Pilates X: Power your core, gain muscle elasticity, and stabilize your joints, as Pilates fundamentals meet modern science.
- Isometrix: Isometric contraction combined with instability—this workout gives you an unshakable platform to work from.
- Dynamix: Increase your range of motion, flexibility, and stabilization to help maximize the results you get from every routine.
- Fitness Guide:Your step-by-step guide to getting the most out of Tony's accelerated extreme fitness program.
- Nutrition Guide: A simplified approach to healthy eating designed to get you ripped—and help you stay that way.
- P90X3 Workout Calendar: Tony gives you each day's workout, so all you have to do is get in—and crush it.
- "How to Accelerate" DVD: This easy-to-follow P90X3 intro shows you how to achieve your best results in the fastest time.
- 24/7 Online Support:Stay motivated with exclusive 'round-the-clock access to fitness experts and peer support.
Frequently Asked Questions
What equipment do I need for P90X3?
Recommended equipment includes a chin-up bar and resistance bands/dumbbells (10-40 lbs for men, 5-25 lbs for women). Optional equipment includes a jump mat/yoga mat, P90X Chin-Up Max, and PowerStands.
What if I want a less strenuous program?
P90X3 offers modified variations of most moves, which will allow you to ease into the program at your own pace. However, even with modifications, P90X3 is an advanced fitness program. So, if you decide you aren't yet ready to tackle it, but you still want to get in great shape fast, we recommend you start with a less extreme program, such as Power 90. From there, you can work your way up to P90X3.
Do I need to complete P90X and/or P90X2 before trying P90X3?
No. P90X3 offers modifications for every exercise, meaning that almost anyone can start the program and advance as slowly (or quickly) as his or her body allows. P90X3 is a perfect starting point in the P90X lineup, prepping you for even better results with P90X and P90X2.
Top customer reviews
If you check my other reviews you'll see that I have top reviews for P90X and P90X2. I'm not a Beachbody coach. I've never purchased supplements or shakes or anything other than the original push-up stands from them. I'm just a guy who enjoys Tony's workouts and have gotten great results with them.
That being said, I wanted to give you guys a breakdown of this system as I'm sure there are a lot of questions out there. Is it like the first or second series? How much additional gear will you need? Do you need to do the first two series to do this one? Is it really 30 minutes? And on and on. . . This review is designed to answer those questions for people wondering about the series that don't want to wait 90 days to find out what's in it. Here we go. . .
First, calling it 30 minutes is a little bit disingenuous. Each DVD has the option of beginning with a "Cold Start" that is a 12 minute, extensive warm-up. You can choose to skip that and jump right into the workouts if you like, most of which have a short 2-3 minute warm-up that is of a higher intensity. The cool down doesn't begin until AFTER the 30 minutes has elapsed and can be anywhere from 3-6 minutes depending on the workout you've done. There's also no dedicated ab routine like in the previous 2 series. So if you want to put an ab routine in after your resistance days that's up to you. If you were to do the warm-up, the routine, the cool down, and the abs, you're now back up to about an hour. Now, this doesn't bother me as trying to cram all of that into 30 minutes would guarantee your workout wasn't very good. I was skeptical that they would try to do this and I'm glad they didn't. I rather it be a bit longer than shorter.
But what about the gear? You need very little. This is one place they've embraced their roots. Gone are the army of medicine balls and plyo platforms. This is original P90X style: Dumbbells, pull-up bar, yoga mat. There are some other things you can grab, but none that are necessary. For those who didn't like P90X2 because of how much gear there was, this new set will appeal to you in its spartan attitude towards equipment.
You absolutely don't have had to do any previous P90X series in order to use this. Unlike P90X2, which had a high learning curve that turned a lot of people off, this one is much simpler and straightforward. The moves are nowhere near as complex and come with plenty of modifications for people of all fitness levels. And, of course, the shorter time limit makes it more attractive to people who thought an hour and change was just too much. Even the guide book encourages people to try this first and then graduate into the other two series. I would wager to say that this is actually a better starting point than the original series for people new to this type of rigorous workouts.
So what are the workouts like? Glad you asked. Unlike the first two series, Tony pushes the pace on these videos to make it all work in the time limit. While he still has plenty of banter (which I personally enjoy), it's now mixed in while people are working out. This isn't Insanity where it's literally non-stop, but it isn't meant to be. You're definitely getting your 30 minutes worth of working. Now for those of you that loved the targeted approach of P90X (chest and back one one day, arms on another) as opposed to P90X2's more compound movements, I'm sorry to say that this system is more like 2 than 1. There are no dedicated arm workouts. There is a push/pull video called "The Challenge" that is a lot of fun, but other than that you're going to find videos dedicated to Upper Body and ones dedicated to Lower Body. Others are full body and use compound movements and isolation positions to work a lot of muscles at the same time. Again, Tony is focusing on a functional body that works together and less on isolating muscle groups. But because this isn't P90X2 where it felt like every resistance exercise was done in a balance pose, you'll be able to keep your heavier weights right off the bat. It'll be interesting to see at the end of 90 days how my strength is compared to where it is now.
Some of the cardio workouts definitely get you breathing. While I loathed Kenpo X in the first series because it felt like a throwaway and had too many static moments that allowed you to catch your breath prematurely, MMX (an MMA inspired cardio workout) is a lot of fun. By adding an army of Superman Punches and Sprawls (called Burpees in the non-combat world) the workout is a beast. I have to say that I was certainly challenged by MMX and CVX.
Maybe the greatest thing about this series: yoga is just 30 minutes. Yes, you read that right. The most loathed of all the workouts is just 30 minutes. It's paced well and plays like a highlight reel of it's 90-minute big brother. Unfortunately, it moves quickly for a yoga workout and will not give you the results of the X2 or X1 yoga vids that were longer. But what really threw me was that Tony now has a Pilates video. Never before has a workout series had something I've never tried before. This was a first for me. Never in my life have I attended or attempted Pilates. This was probably the most challenging thus far because I've no familiarity with any of the movements. Even Tony isn't great at it, so it's even more inspiring that he's pushing himself through these workouts, still attempting mastery right along with me. It was heartening to seem him struggling. This one left me sore in a some new places.
Like the previous versions, this comes with a nutrition guide that has what appear to be some solid recipes and eating plans that take into account vegan, vegetarian, and the gluten free lifestyles. The guide book has a breakdown of the four different versions of these workouts you can do: Classic (standard routine rotation), Lean (combination of workouts focusing less on muscle mass and more on weight loss), Mass (for bulking up), and Doubles (for crazy people that want to work out twice per day). The timeline is much more similar to the original series as you'll spend 3 weeks in one phase, one week in a transition/recover phase, and then repeat. There is also an Elite Phase after the 90 days ends that will use the three bonus workouts if you purchased that package.
The bonus workouts are an upper body, a lower body, and Ab Ripper X3. Honestly, I like the resistance workouts a lot and am glad I got them. Although I have no need of the resistance bands or the Energy formula they provided. So those will gather dust. Ab Ripper 3 still can't live up to the brilliance of the original. It tries to be too complex with plank moves and isometric holds that don't do the job that the X1 routine does. Sometimes you just can't beat the original.
So here's what we know: The system is much simpler and requires minimal gear like P90X. It uses less targeted training and more complex moves to work muscles and cardio at the same time like P90X2. 30 minutes is a stretch and is closer to 40 minutes. There's no dedicated ab routine. This is fantastic starting place for beginners.
If you're out of shape or are in decent shape, this should be great. But, to be honest, I'm skeptical that this program will work for existing P90X superheroes. If you've been through the original or the sequel a few times, if you can get through Plyo X at full pace or are one of those crazies (I'm one) who mixes your P90X with your Insanity/Asylum, I'm not sold that this will challenge you. While there is solid science about the 30 minute routine, I just have a hard time believing this will push you to new heights if you can already keep pace with Shaun T in the longer Insanity vids. BUT, I do think that this is a great thing to have for those days where time is at a premium. Blend these in to the previous two series to create something monstrous and beautiful.
But only time will tell and I'll update as I progress. Please feel free to ask any questions as I'm happy to help people make informed decisions when it comes to their health choices. Happy X'ing!
And for the record, can we all agree that P90X3 has one of the worst, most innuendo-laced tag lines in recent memory? I just want to know how much someone got paid to create that gem.
FINAL UPDATE: Let's cut down to it. Do I love it? No. Will I do it again? No. X3 has some real strong points in it that are worth revisiting by themselves. But as whole, the 30 minute limit just isn't enough to do what I need it to as someone who can hang with Tony's longer workouts. X3's biggest drawback is that it suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. It wants to be everything, and it wants to do it in 30 minutes. 30 minutes can work if you stay focused, but when so many of the discs want to be resistance workouts and core workouts and balance workouts it just doesn't do it.
I did X3 earlier in the year after I had been on a bit of a layoff and it was great. But coming back to it after having been doing a combo of X, X2, Insanity, and a few other things I've put together, it just doesn't challenge me enough. Let's hit the high points first.
THE CHALLENGE is a great push/pull routine with some great variations on classics that will get the work done.
CVX is a true monster. It is the beast in this set. It's virtually identical to MEDICINE BALL CORE CARDIO from Tony's 1 on 1, but they've extended the time and changed the ball to a weight (I still use my 12lb medicine ball for the entire routine and it leaves me a disgusting mess, which is perfect). Either way, it hurts.
MMX is a great piece of cardio work as well. Punches and kicks are so-so, but the addition of elbows (that really turn the core) and sprawls (advanced burpees) will leave you sucking air.
PILATES is a shining spot. Having never done it before until X3 it was incredibly difficult. Because it's all dedicated to the core 30 minutes is more than enough to get a great core workout. A great example of how staying intensely focused on something for 30 minutes can prove effective.
ISOMETRIX is incredibly difficult. Grab a pose, hold it for 45 seconds. It never gets easy. You'll feel it. They should have had the same philosophy on the yoga vid.
The UPPERS and LOWERS are fine, but they still suffer from the problem of too few sets to really get the muscles growing. It addresses chest and back well enough, but neglects the arms.
ECCENTRIC UPPER & LOWER work because they focus on doing slow negative movements, which can really tax muscles over a shorter time period. Conventional wisdom says that big muscles (back, chest, quads) should get 8-12 sets to be effective. Smaller (bis, tris, calves) only need 6-8. But doing negatives will allow you to get away with less sets because of the intensity placed on the muscle.
COMPLEX UPPER & LOWER (bonus routines): Again, these routines don't have as many sets per muscle group as you'd like, but the manner in which the sets are done will definitely put work on the muscles.
The rest just won't get it done for people in P90X shape. As much as I love Tony and his work, and that he's given me the tools to become a superhero, this just isn't his best work as a "next step" in the X repertoire. AGILITY X and TRIOMETRICS both want to be variations of PLYO X, but neither get to that level of intensity. I even did a little experiment where I did 30 minutes of PLYO X to see how it compared to its X3 counterparts and PLYO X was way better. Even just a 30 minute portion of PLYO X had me huffing and puffing.
The others just have identity crisis issues. THE WARRIOR and TOTAL SYNERGISTICS and the others just try to be too many things. You'll start getting a good sweat going with the heart rate and then it comes to a screeching halt with a core move that kills the cardio, but doesn't do enough to totally work the core, either. Too many times in the middle of a workout I found myself saying, "So what's the goal of this workout? I'm not sure what the emphasis is here."
And that's the big issue with it. Often times when a workout is finished you're kind of sweaty and kind of out of breath and you've got a decent pump, but no one thing feels like it's been worked more than another. Nothing feels exhausted or really worked. Even the next day there's no real soreness to let you know you had a great workout. There are no dedicated arm workouts and the Ab Ripper only comes with the bonus package and isn't used until week 14 (and that's only if you have the extra workouts and do the bonus weeks). Plus YOGA X3 is too short to get the benefits of Yoga. Yes, I hate that the original is 90 minutes long, but it is absolutely one of the most effective of the P90X series. The X3 version just doesn't provide enough time to really sink into the poses and let the muscles do their work. The strength of X1 is that you can hold a position for a while, sink a little deeper, and feel the progress. In X3 it's a couple of breaths here, move on. A couple of breaths there. Move on. YOGA is less about the movement than it is the holding of the positions. X3 just moves too fast. I almost wish they had done less positions so there was more time to hold and breathe.
So where does that leave us? If you're new to the X world and are looking at getting into more intense workouts and have a low to medium fitness level this is a great place to start. It'll do plenty to get you into a good place. There are some gems here like CVX and ISOMETRIX and PILATES that I'll work in to future workouts. The problem is that they've taken all the full body, complex movements from X2 (where the workouts tended to be longer than the X1 workouts) and tried to cram them into 30 minutes. The lack of arm and ab workouts, the lack of focus in general, just didn't get me the results of the other systems. I didn't feel as challenged as I was in the other series. After PLYO X I'm a sweaty, out of breath mess. After SHOULDERS AND ARMS my arms feel like noodles when I'm done. X3 just doesn't get you into that elite place that X1 and X2 will. It unfortunately feels like less time, less focus, less results. My arms and abs are weaker than they were prior to X3, and my pull-ups have suffered.
But it is still a great system that will benefit a great many people. It's just not the next step in the X series that those of us who have been with Tony for a long time are looking for. It's great in a rush or on the road, and it certainly did have its points where it pushed me. For those looking to bulk up and throw weights around, X1 all day. For those looking for athletic performance with great science like the myofascial release and PAP, X2, without prejudice. X3 is good. Better than most of what's out there. It just can't hang with its older siblings. Also, if you're looking for a workout that you can do in 30 minutes while getting a crazy resistance and cardio workout, try Keith Weber's kettlebell video (vol. 1). Subbing that in one day per week will make amazing things happen. Here's to hoping X4 takes us back into that 5 star range and pushes us even further.
INTRODUCTION AND IMPROVEMENTS OVER P90X
There's a lot to love about P90X3. I have previously completed two rounds of the original P90X and, while I liked P90X a lot, I had some issues with it. Time was one issue -- 60-90 minutes, six days a week, is tough to fit into a busy schedule. I also wished P90X had emphasized the lower body more. And the advertising pitches in the P90X workout (for recovery drink, etc.) were a little tiresome. Finally, I wasn't terribly impressed with the cardio offerings -- thought the quality was inconsistent.
I am happy to report that P90X3 has improved in ALL of those areas. P90X3 is roughly 30 minutes a day, every day, with most of the schedule options, although you are given one optional rest day per week. I say "roughly" because, although there is a workout timer that starts at 30 minutes for each of the workouts, most of the workouts have a cool-down segment that is not included as part of the 30 minutes. These can be from one to five minutes long. Still, even 35 minutes is not a lot compared to 60-90 minutes.
Still have a day or two where you can't find 30 minutes? Unfortunately for me, there are two days like this per week. What I do is double up workouts the day before. This is not an option that is discussed in the guidebook, but it works for me and is something you may want to consider. For example, I am doing "X3 Yoga" and "The Challenge" on a day when I do have a full hour to work out. If this is something you're thinking about, I'd recommend doing two different sorts of workouts. Don't pile up all your cardio on the same day, for example. (Just a suggestion.)
There's a DVD in the P90X3 base kit called "Eccentric Lower," but that's not the only time you work your lower body. "Agility X" has all sorts of jumps, "X3 Yoga" has a warrior III/half moon/twisted half moon sequence that makes my hamstrings and quads shake, "The Warrior" has a lot of squats, and so forth. So there are different types of moves for the lower body in a lot of the DVDs.
As for advertising pitches, there's a non-skippable Shakeology commercial at the beginning of each DVD. I use this time to get my water ready as I'm not big on these sorts of supplements. But I don't notice nearly as much of a push to sell things during the workouts themselves as there was in the original P90X (there's a cheesy skit at the end of at least one of the workouts, maybe more of them, where they're trying to sell you Shakeology, as well -- but you can stop the DVDs before this point).
With respect to cardio, there are a variety of cardio options in P90X3. Sometimes (like with "Agility X") you're going strong pretty much the whole time. Other times, you may find the workout more of an interval type (like with "Triometrics" or "Accelerator" or "The Warrior"). I was challenged a lot more with the cardio in P90X3 than I was in P90X (where I thought only "Plyometrics" was really tough) and that is a definite plus for me. I like both cardio AND strength training (as well as flexibility and core work), so I'm pleased to see a more even balance here. P90X3 really works on all areas of fitness (core, strength, balance, flexibility, and cardio).
WORKOUT FOCUS OPTIONS
You have four choices of schedules. For the first round, I'm doing the "classic" schedule. You also have the choice of a "lean" option that focuses more on weight loss, a "mass" option that focuses more on building muscle mass, and a "doubles" option if you happen to have extra time on your hands. Regarding the "doubles" option, you will need some extra DVDs (see below for more on this) that don't come in the base kit. There's an additional option to go past 90 days ("elite block") where you will also need the extra DVDs.
CORE/ABS + DVDS NOT IN THE BASE KIT
Please note that if you order this item, the "base kit," you will have one empty slot in your DVD case. You are not missing any DVDs; you have to order this DVD separately. It contains three extra workouts and is not supposed to be part of the base kit.
I talked about lower body work a bit. I'll mention ab work now. An "Ab Ripper X3" workout DOES exist, but is not part of the base kit. I think this is because they were really trying to stick to the 30-minute-per-workout time limit. You can buy an extended kit that has "Ab Ripper X3" and two additional strength-type DVDs (one for the upper body and one for the lower body). This extended kit is only needed for the "doubles" schedule and the "elite block."
Personally, I am not going to buy the extra DVDs. They're quite pricey right now, and I have all my original P90X DVDs if I want to work a particular area more. Plus, you do a lot of core work (without sit-ups) in the workouts that are already part of the P90X3 base kit.
STARTING OUT + P90X OR P90X2 FIRST?
I've read questions from people online, asking if they need to do P90X or P90X2 before doing P90X3. The answer BeachBody gives is "no," and I agree with that answer. (I haven't done P90X2 and have no plans to.) The P90X3 workouts are NOT easy, but neither are the P90X workouts (some modifications for exercises are suggested in P90X3, for what it's worth). I actually think P90X3 is a great starting point, especially for people who feel pressed for time. Also, while some of the moves are the same in P90X and P90X3, there are a lot of new moves in P90X3 -- you'll have to learn those, anyway, whether you've done another one of Tony Horton's exercise programs or not. (I did have to rewind the DVD a couple of times after watching the moves. Feel free to do this, yourself, to make sure you have the best possible form.)
If you're a bit out of shape, though, or new to BeachBody exercise programs, or just feeling particularly stiff, you may want to do the "Cold Start" option available on each DVD. It just includes a longer warm-up (the same moves for each routine, as far as I can tell). The regular warm-ups are quite short (adequate for me in many cases, but quite possibly not for everyone).
One thing I love about P90X3 is the variety. I liked that Pilates was included this time; I have had some experience with Pilates in the past and found that it worked the core like nothing else. I don't feel that Pilates gets as much exposure as it could, and maybe its inclusion in P90X3 will help to change that. You still have yoga, push-ups and pull-ups, squats and jumps, a martial arts-based workout, and more. You're doing a different workout every day and it's hard to get bored. (There are 16 workouts total. I'll say one or two things about each of them below. Please note that each DVD includes at least two workouts, since these are short workouts. I may occasionally say "each DVD" out of habit, though.)
P90X3 does require some equipment, but there are options.
(1) Weights. I expect most people will do P90X3 with dumbbells. The fitness guide that comes with the program recommends 5-50 pound sets for men and 5-25 pound sets for women (at least, I seem to remember reading that, although now I can't find it again!). I have 5, 8, 10, 12, and 15 pound weights right now. 15 pounds is heavy for me, personally, although I think I may be able to use 20s for some exercises by the end of the program. The important thing is to use a weight that challenges you but that still allows you to maintain good form.
(2) Pull-up bar. I don't have one of these because I don't have any suitable doorways to hang one in, and the freestanding units are awfully expensive. If you have a pull-up bar, you may want a chair or one of the pull-up assist things that BeachBody sells. You'll be shown how to use these when pull-ups are included on a DVD.
(3) Bands. If you don't have weights, or you don't have a pull-up bar, or both, you'll need bands. There are lots of different sorts of bands on the market. What you'll want is the kind that are essentially thin tubes or cylindrical strips of rubber with hard plastic handles. You'll need at least a couple of different types (i.e., some that are easier to stretch and some that are heavier duty). For pull-ups, you can drape the band over something (I use a bar in my closet) or attach an adapter to a door hinge. Then you use a pulling-down motion. It isn't quite the same as doing a pull-up, based on my P90X experience, but you do work your upper body and you can feel it. Note: If you opt for bands, you may have to watch the exercise a bit while Tony makes it over to the bands person. Just rewind the DVD after you see what you're supposed to do. Bands are absolutely a realistic option; each move that requires a dumbbell or pull-up bar is actually demonstrated extensively with bands.
(4) Push-up stands. These are optional. If you're REALLY good at push-ups, you might want the extra challenge. I suspect they're often demonstrated to try to get you to buy some extra gear from BeachBody. I have never used these.
(5) Yoga mat. If you're working on a hard surface (hardwood or concrete floor, for example), I'd recommend one of these. I work out on carpet, though, and so I don't use one (my yoga mat slides around on carpet). A yoga mat can also provide some padding for landing during moves that involve jumping.
(6) Yoga blocks. I have these already so I use them. You may be able to get by using a thick book or a piece of furniture or something else like that, if you need the extra support during yoga.
(7) Tape. During the "Agility X" workout, you'll need to put tape on the floor. This workout really won't work without the tape. I didn't go out and buy any, though, because I had an old roll of masking tape, which stuck to my carpet just fine.
(8) Pen and worksheets. There are some worksheets for tracking reps and weight in some of the workouts. You can download these for free on the web (Google "P90X3 worksheets" since I can't put a link in this review). I do use the worksheets because that way I have a record of what I did and can challenge myself to do better each time. Also there's something of a sense of accomplishment in counting up the number of push-ups you can do!
(9) Shoes. Most of the workouts require supportive shoes. Tony frequently says running shoes won't cut it. I wear some Nike cross trainers with Dr. Scholl's insoles and I do the workouts on carpet. That set-up seems to be working for me.
(10) Space. Not really equipment, but you will need an area clear of furniture to do most of the moves. I have a space maybe 7 feet by 12 feet and that is usually enough, although I have to turn parallel to the TV screen sometimes. (I am only 5'4", though. If you're taller, you might need more space.)
LOOK AND FEEL (SET, MUSIC, ETC.)
There's an introductory DVD; the last third of it is basically a Shakeology commercial. There is some useful information in the earlier parts of the DVD, though, like about how far apart to put your tape during "Agility X" and some safety information about the equipment you're going to be using. It's probably worth a quick watch for those reasons alone. (It's not a long DVD.)
There are two different sets (two halves of a large room, I think); both are gym-like in the style of P90X (one looks to me to be the same room as P90X with only minor changes to the set). I don't even remember the music; I think I tune it out. I suspect it's similar to music that has appeared in this series in the past. There are "music off" options if you'd prefer different music, though. Tony Horton is the host and it's hard for me to believe he's 55 years old. He's in great shape. But he's also a very friendly host, he's encouraging to the participants, and he seems genuinely happy to be doing what he's doing. (I did catch one Forrest Gump joke...) For those of you who remember her, Dreya is back. (She's one of the participants in several of the P90X DVDs.) The people with Tony in these DVDs are other trainers and graduates of P90X3 test groups and so forth, so they're all fit.
Mostly the audio is fine, although on occasion, the sound fades in and out a bit. This happens on most (if not all) of the DVDs and seems to coincide with Tony walking farther away from a camera before they switch to a different (closer) one. Doesn't really affect the workouts, but figured I would mention it.
I haven't said anything about the diet plan yet. It occupies the second half (well, it's sort of a reversible book) of the fitness guide. It's mostly just common sense and doesn't have a lot of complicated recipes (there are some recipes for homemade salad dressings). I think it's based on the realization that people are less likely to follow a complicated meal plan where you need 10 different ingredients for each dish. There's a real focus on the relative nutritional values of foods (broken down into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), and there are two options for measuring portions (one complicated and one much simpler but probably somewhat less accurate). It acknowledges the existence of restricted diets (vegetarian, vegan, and grain-free), which is something I don't see in a lot of "diet" books and meal plans that come with exercise programs, so I appreciate that (I'm a vegetarian). There's also a focus on whole foods (as opposed to processed stuff). It pretty much reflects the way I eat already, so I'm not going to specifically follow it, but I may look to it for advice from time to time.
Now, a brief description of each of the workouts in the set. I may add to this as I progress through P90X3.
(1) Total Synergistics. If you're using bands instead of the pull-up bar, make sure you have enough room here. Dreya demonstrates modifications with the bands, but my space is a little cramped and I'm going to have to figure something else out here so I can get the most out of the exercises. This workout has a little bit of everything but is mostly focused on compound movements that use multiple muscle groups. There are several yoga-inspired moves and a lot of core work here. I think this is more fun than "Core Synergistics" from P90X.
(2) CVX. This was a lot harder than it sounded from looking at the guidebook. Nearly every move is done with a weight, and thankfully, the participants said what weight they were going to use throughout. The woman who used a weight only used 5 pounds, so that's what I used -- and that was enough. This is an intense cardio workout with lots of plyometric-type moves. (My FitBit activity tracker said this workout included 20 "very active" minutes and I was doing the modifications half the time!
(3) Agility X. This one was tough but actually a lot of fun, which kind of surprised me. It did get more difficult towards the end, though I can't decide it's because the moves got harder or because I was starting to get tired. I was sweaty by the end and my heart was pounding (in a good, post-exercise kind of way). Definitely don't skip using the tape -- it would be hard to do this workout without it. Over time, you can put the tape strips farther apart to challenge yourself more.
(4) Triometrics. This wasn't exactly what I expected. I guess the name sounded so much like "Plyometrics" that I figured it would be all jumping around. I *would* class this as cardio work, but it also has a fair amount of lower body work (lots and lots of squats!). Each move is a minute long (or two minutes for moves that emphasize one leg); you start with a simple version, then do a bit more challenging version, then do a really challenging version. For example, maybe you squat and get your hands near the floor, then touch the floor with your fingertips, then touch the floor with your palms or fists in the last phase. Or, perhaps you incorporate a higher jump or a different arm movement. You'll probably sweat here (the last one-third to one-quarter, especially), but my initial feeling is that "Agility X" is slightly more difficult, from a cardio perspective.
(5) Pilates X. I've only done basic, introductory Pilates workouts before. This workout incorporates some familiar moves (i.e., saw, double leg lifts, the hundred, etc.) but also includes some more advanced moves and some things I haven't seen before. Expect to feel this in your (entire) core the next day, and maybe also the hamstrings, quads, and glutes. There's lots of emphasis, throughout, on proper breathing technique. I also appreciate that you work both the front abdominal muscles AND the back in this one; this is good for posture and balance, among other things. (If you haven't done -- or heard of -- Pilates before, it's a bit hard to explain. Think slow, controlled movements that work a lot of different muscles at once. You don't need a lot of reps to feel the burn. You don't get up off the floor and you need no equipment other than a mat, at least for "Pilates X.")
(6) X3 Yoga. This is vinyasa yoga with a lot of moves you will have seen before if you did P90X (plank, downward dog, half moon, triangle, warrior I, warrior II, etc.). However, there ARE some new moves towards the end. I'm not a huge fan of vinyasa (I prefer kundalini yoga, but that's probably a little too "out there" for most people), but this is a short enough workout that there's no excuse for skipping it. I did feel the workout, especially after the warrior III/half moon/twisted half moon part, but it didn't make me sweat.
(7) Incinerator. This is a straightforward upper body strength workout. The exercises come in pairs: you work one muscle group using weights and then the same muscle group using body weight. My arms were shaking just watching this one, the first time through. This might be another good candidate for "Cold Start" because you don't do many high-impact aerobic moves in the warm-up like you do in other workouts.
(8) The Challenge. This is a pretty simple workout -- pull-ups followed by push-ups, then repeat. You choose a target number for pull-ups and another for push-ups and try to hit that number for each exercise. You do four different styles of each type of exercise. If you've done P90X, you've seen about three-fourths of these moves in "Chest and Back." This workout didn't cause me to break much of a sweat, although I was breathing pretty heavily towards the end. This would be a good candidate for the "Cold Start" warmup option as I didn't feel quite as warmed up as I would've liked after the regular warmup.
(9) MMX. This has a fairly long warm-up (more than five minutes) with a lot of focus on the hip joints and thighs. This is mixed martial arts in the style of "Kenpo X" from the original P90X -- not a lot of shuffling around (I've done two rounds of Les Mills Combat and this has a different feel than that). There are a lot of (new) combinations, though, and they move multiple parts of your body, which is great. There are also a lot of "sprawls," which are basically like burpees (without push-ups). This is a much more difficult workout than "Kenpo X;" the creators have really given a lot of thought to packing as much as possible into a short period of time.
(10) The Warrior. This one only uses body weight and incorporates a little bit of everything -- core, upper body, plyometrics, and lower body. There are four groups of four exercises plus a "burnout" move (lots of the P90X3 DVDs end with "burnout" moves where you just go all out for a minute or two). This one really emphasized to me just how out of shape I was in a number of areas. But I guess that means there's room to improve! And it went so fast I didn't have too much time to think about how much I was suffering (especially considering I was still recuperating from the previous day's "CVX").
(11) Isometrix. This is a "non-flow" type of yoga (yay, no vinyasa) where you hold each pose for 45 seconds or so. This incorporates a lot of tough balance moves, say where you do chair or plank but with a leg and/or arm lifted, for example. There's no warm-up in this one (so another good candidate for "Cold Start"). This is the only workout where I paid a lot of attention to the music and it's not my favorite music. But, hey, if this is the only time I really noticed the music, out of 16 workouts, that's not so bad.
(12) Dynamix. This wasn't exactly easy, but it was much less intense than "CVX," which I did on the same day. You are moving almost the whole time, although they're not explosive moves -- they're gentle, dynamic stretches (with a few static stretches thrown in). The idea is to increase your range of motion and a lot of these moves work on muscles around the hip joint.
(13) Decelerator. While this works the entire body, you'll get a LOT of leg work in here. This is *mostly* a strength-type workout that incorporates a few plyometric moves. What is really interesting about this workout, to me, is that it focuses on balance, control, and getting the landings of the moves right. This is something I haven't seen in a workout before, but it seems quite important to me. The focus on balance and control means this will be a good core workout, too.
(14) Accelerator. You'll need perhaps a little more room in this one than in some of the others. This contains some pretty intense cardio; most of it is intervals/plyometrics (sometimes the intense parts of the intervals are long). You will sweat during this one for sure. You do see some burpee-like moves in this one, and a few of the moves are duplicates from or variations on things you see in the other workouts. It helps to have a washcloth or a couple of small towels for this one.
(15) Eccentric Upper. This one contains a lot of moves you might have seen in P90X but with a different focus. Imagine counting down slowly as you go DOWN in a push-up or pull-up, then going back up quickly. (This is the "eccentric" part.) This one might be another candidate for the "cold start" warmup, especially early in the morning. All sorts of upper body moves here in addition to the ones already mentioned: curls, presses, rows, triceps kickbacks, etc.
(16) Eccentric Lower. Similarly to "Eccentric Upper," this one is a lot of traditional lower body exercises (lunges, squats, etc.) only with a three-count in one direction. You can use a dumbbell or bands to intensify many of the moves. One thing I like about this one is that there's a little more of a focus on the inner and outer thighs (i.e., adductors and abductors, which are problem areas for a lot of women) than in "Legs and Back" from P90X. You'll also need a chair for this one.
In the end, I've been in a bit of a slump lately. I try to take on too much, exercise-wise, and then I fail after a few days. P90X3 came along at just the right time for me. It's structured, it doesn't require a lot of time, it challenges me, and for the first time in a long time, I'm actually having fun working out. While there is a *little* bit of repetition in some of the workouts (especially a few moves in the cardio and the vaulter pull-ups), the creators of this series of workouts have, overall, done an excellent job of mixing it up and keeping it interesting. Can't get better than that!
Finally, I'll post progress reports as I progress further in the program so you can hear about at least one person's real results.
Update January 8, 2014: I've lost 3.5 pounds and I'm not even finished with the first phase/block yet! Also, I've already noticed some improvement in balance (especially in Total Synergestics and X3 Yoga) and I've been able to add reps every week with The Challenge.
Update January 24, 2014: Block 2 is fun. More focus on weights (in the "classic" schedule) than with Block 1. And I actually find myself liking burpees (called "sprawls" here) for the first time ever. I never thought I would actually say that.
Update February 3, 2014: I've lost a few more pounds and am now in the "normal" BMI range for the first time in years. And, the yoga is growing on me. I actually look forward to the vinyasa part, which is something else I never thought I would say. It's quite satisfying to see all the "X" marks on my P90X3 calendar indicating completed workouts and I'm already contemplating doing a second round even though I'm only 3 weeks into Block 2.
Update March 12, 2014: Unfortunately, I haven't lost much more weight -- maybe a pound or two. (I was sick for about two and a half weeks and I sort of fell off the wagon with respect to eating although I didn't miss any workouts. But I'm over the bad eating thing now!) However, I have lost some inches because my pants are fitting better. Also, I have built some muscle. You introduce The Challenge back in Block 3 and I was able to pick up where I'd left off (from Block 1) and keep adding reps. So I'm getting stronger. Balance continues to improve, and my systolic blood pressure has even dropped 8-10 points. At this point, I have one more workout in Week 12, then I start Week 13. So I'm 7 workouts away from being done. I'm into this enough that I'm going to do a second round before I move on to anything else.
Update April 3, 2014: This workout program fit into my schedule so well that I decided to do another round. I'm sticking with the "classic" schedule and trying to make it more difficult so that I continue to see benefits. I got some push-up bars, which I've never had before. I also bought a heavy duty band to do the pull-up exercises with (I don't have a place for a pull-up bar in my living room). I'm continuing to do more reps where I can, like in The Challenge, and putting the tape farther apart in Agility X. I'm also trying to do fewer modifications although I am pretty sure I will never be able to do Crane Cracker Push-Ups, no matter how hard I try.