After hearing that “bum-ba-bum-ba-bum-bum BEACHBODY” title ditty nearly every day for the last five years, I was/am excited to try the fitness empire’s newest offering: P90X3. It will be very trying to give up my favorite workout, Insanity!, for 3 months, but I am curious to see if X3 really can provide the power plays of the original P90X in half the time. (God those P90X strength hours were boooooring. Thank goodness for Bobby Stevenson and Daniel Haas. And, of course, Pam the Blam, who I want to be president.) I decided to review X3 here to keep me motivated. In doing the newest X workout, I hope that 1) I will be able to do all kinds of creative pull-ups by the end, and many of them, and 2) I’ll restart Insanity! for the bazillionth time after finishing and do better than ever. (I’ll review that one too, when we get there.)
It's not all bad. Some of the workouts actually do provide a great workout in only 30 minutes. Some of them suck. Let's review week 1!
Day 1: Total Synergistics
Kind of mad about this workout! During this mixture of strength moves, I didn’t break a sweat – and that is not a comment about how I’m so in shape or anything like that. It’s just slow and sparse with moves (yet it felt longer than my usual actually longer workouts). I hope that it is easier to balance out what is coming tomorrow, but I can’t help feeling cheated out of a workout today.
A few things:
- Cold Start, the 12-minute warm-up to add when it’s extra cold out, or when you are extra tight, is on every DVD. It’s not a separate DVD. This would have been helpful to know before starting, because I wasted 20 minutes looking for it and searching for “I didn’t get Cold Start DVD in my X3 package!” tweets.
- The Branon Boat is my favorite move from this. It’s a difficult ab move that I can pretty much do, but not easily, and I can tell that with practice I will improve. That’s how the exercises should be.
- Crawly Push Ups were fun, but they weren’t enough to make up for the lackluster push-up presence.
Day 2: Agility X
This was a much better workout than Total Synergistics, but it’s not even as good as Plyo X from regular P90X. Again, it just felt like half of that workout, not a more intense version.
So, this workout requires that you tape up your floor so you have exact points to aim for while you jump and run. I like that in theory, but in practice it sucks. Who has floors equipped for this? My tape slipped all over.
This workout has the famous plyo push-ups that we saw in the teaser trailer, and they are amazingly fun. I took it easy and didn't go very high off the ground, because I like having the use of my wrists. How is this move harder than the power push-ups in Insanity, when you jump to your feet? It doesn't make sense. But it is. Nice move!
All the running along the tapes seemed very silly. It would have been great to do during the warm-up, but it seemed lame to be the crux of the workout. In contrast, the jumping from X to X on one leg was a solid, difficult move. Approved!
The last 5 minutes of this video is the main reason for my annoyance at Tony. For way too long, he pretends to be a guy going to the gym, needing to change out of his suit from work, and using the elliptical machine and not getting good results, etc. Basically, 5 minutes of preaching to the choir that 'this is the way to exercise'. Like, WE ALREADY BOUGHT THIS. What the hell is his point? It is actually revoltingly annoying.
It's not helped by Tony's repeated suggestions that one of the backup team members, Lauren, 'Beyonce-ify' everything. What the hell. It's really annoying. Between the Beyoncification and Tony's sales pitch, I dread doing this workout again.
Day 3: Yoga X3
Hot damn. Ok. So I know from the forums that Yoga X, the 90-minute Yoga from P90X, is one of the most polarizing issues since Anne Hathaway. So many people despise it. I adore it. I've continued doing it regularly even though I haven't done the rest of X in years (save for ARX, because it's the best). Needless to say, I had high hopes for this supposedly more intense version.
Instead of doing Yoga X3, I suggest that you do the first 40 minutes of the original Yoga X. Or really any yoga video marked intermediate or above. X3 is boring and barely made my muscles twitch. Yes, many of the positions are difficult, but you are only holding them for a few beats, not long enough to make a dent. It's maybe worth doing once to see the man in the backup team, who is one of the most impressive yogis I've ever had the privilege of watching. Man alive! Or you can use it as a rest day video, as I might. But it's not nearly strong enough to use on a full, hard workout day. So disappointing.
Day 4: CVX
Now we're talking! This cardio workout pushed me the hardest yet, finally. It contains familiar cardio moves, some easier than others, but you do the entire thing holding a weight (or a ball). I used a 5-pound weight, and I was struggling by the end. I loved it. Now this is what a 30-minute workout should look like. It’s not impossible, but you feel like you actually broke a sweat. You might need a break, but you don't feel silly taking it or like you are wasting precious time. Phew. Finally, a plus in the 'pro' column. I look forward to doing this workout again.
Day 5: The Challenge
This is one of those days when I wished I had time to do some cardio first, but I was counting on the video to provide a well-rounded workout. Although it doesn't give any cardio, it is a solid strength workout, alternating entirely between pull-ups and push-ups, pull-ups and push-ups, until you can't use your arms anymore. I quite enjoyed it, even though I still can't do unassisted pull-ups. (Remember - if I don't return it - that this is my major goal with using this system!) My upper body is super sore (in a good way...except for my neck, which is twingey), and I don't feel like I wasted my exercise time.
I recommend, as I did, doing jumping jacks or running in place between each move. Otherwise, it's too stationary. Also, the light cardio helps to loosen up your quickly dying upper body muscles.
You might be thinking, 'it doesn't seem like a good enough workout to get your approval after how harsh you are being.' And you're right. It's just decent, but you know what pushes it over the edge? BOBBY STEVENSON! My aforementioned 3rd favorite part of P90X is back! He's like 20 years older, gray, and the spitting image of Bill Nye the Science Guy, but I'm so glad my old friend is back.
Day 6: The Warrior
Yes! Now, this is the workout P90X3 promised to provide. Finally. Tony said (several times) that he brings this mix of push-up challenges and squat challenges to military bases around the world. It was a solid, difficult combination of isometric holds and explosive movements. My favorite move was the elevator push-up, when you start in plank and lower to push-up position and all ranges in between upon Tony's call of floor levels (like, Floor 1 is down as far as you can, Floor 2 is a bit higher, &c.). That is really hard to maintain! It's overall a great combo workout that I look forward to doing again. However, I’m glad I did a little warm-up on the treadmill to start, because it’s definitely more strength than cardio. If my time permits, I would do a good 10 minutes of extra warming up.
On that note, it seems that the determination to make each workout about 30 minutes resulted in very awkward cuts, rather than solid planning. The warm-ups and stretches are virtually nonexistent. To be safe, you should probably warm-up and stretch on your own, or at the very least do Cold Start (which is a semi-decent way to get blood-flowing). Obviously, this throws the whole dramatic selling point of '30 minutes!!!' out the window. In workouts like Total Synergistics and Yoga X3, the cutting resulted in very disjointed, meager plans that don't provide cohesive workouts, let alone make you sweat.
A few videos this week were great, and I hope that the remaining videos are even better. So far, I'm not sold, but I'm not giving up yet. I'll be back next week reviewing either week 2...or week 4. I haven't decided whether to skip ahead to check the different videos out before the 30-day return period is up. Eek. Not a great start Tony! I know only two things that will fix this -- much harder, more intense videos to come...or Pam the Blam!