Whether you're a seasoned workout vet or new to fitness, you've likely heard of the wildly popular P90X workout. Inventor Tony Horton is everywhere from infomercials to QVC to gyms where he touts the benefits of using a technique he calls "muscle confusion." By doing so many different types of workouts - P90X and it's sequel P90X 2 due out in December, draw from yoga, weight lifting, martial arts, and interval training. "You increase your core, athletic ability, functional fitness, strength, and balance," Horton says.
So now that you're sold (if you're not, just watch one of his videos for ten minutes because he's hilarious) Horton has some tips on how to get the most out of your P90X 2 workout:
1. Eat right. "Eat whole foods," "Cook at home," and "Use cheese as a spice," are just a few of his tips for following the food plan that comes with the program.
2. Change your focus. "You should exercise to feel better not just to look better," Horton says.
3. Don't be afraid to work hard. "If it's easy, it's not working," is Horton's motto and the reason he says most other exercise programs don't deliver long-term results.
4. But at the same time, don't be a perfectionist. He adds that by being a perfectionist, you will quit the first time you fail at something. And having tried the infamous "corn-cob pull-up" from P90X myself, I can tell you that there is a lot of failure involved.
5. Make a plan. Whether you use the guidelines that come in the (rather large) booklet with the program or devise a schedule of your own, you need to know where you're going and each step to get there.
6. Find a buddy. Everything, including pain, is more fun with a friend. Horton says that many people quit the program around day 12 because it's new, it's hard, and it's different from what they've done in the past. Having a friend to laugh with is critical when you eat carpet the first time you try a "Sphinx push-up" (which I may or may not have done...in the presence of a witness).
7. Be accountable. Whether you're logging your food and workouts online or reporting to your mom every night (that's what grown-ups do, right?), find some way to track your progress and hold yourself accountable.
8. Lift weights. Horton gets really excited about the subject of women and weight lifting because, "Running may burn a lot of calories while you're doing it, but weight lifting helps you burn more calories all day long." And for anyone worried about bulking up, he points people to all the results pictures on his site. "Our success stories are about 50/50 when it comes to women and men. This is a program that works just as well for both."
9. Give it time. There's a reason that Horton picked 90 days. Used to training athletes, he noticed that people need about 30 days to adapt to a new program, 30 days to get in the groove, and 30 days to really push yourself and gain strength.
10. One size does not fit all. One of the faults with the original P90X workout, Horton says, is that it didn't allow for individual preferences. So with P90X 2 expect to see a variety of meal plans with options for vegans, paleo-style eaters, and flexitarians, as well as several workout "tracks" tailored to what results you're looking for.
"Is my program for everyone?" Horton asks. "No. This is a challenge. It forces you to work on your weaknesses. But if you're willing to change your exercise philosophy, then you will truly change your physique."