- Exercise & Fitness
Preparing Yourself for P90X 2
Are You Ready To Bring It... Again!?
If you've found yourself on this page, your more than likely already on your way to making a true commitment to yourself, your body, and the Team Beachbody community. Perhaps you've already completed the first P90X, or at least have heard about through friends or late-night infomercials. I admit, my fiancée and I discovered the program while watching television and having a late night snack. We started the program the following week, never looked back, and completed it on our first attempt.
That was back in April of 2010, and now Team Beachbody and leading fitness guru Tony Horton are back with an all new challenge for us to take head on. I was one of the first to pre-order the program and I received it the week before this passing Christmas. I've had some time since then to become familiar with the program, and I am going to offer you the best advice I can give to prepare yourself for the home fitness workout of your life!
How is P90X2 different from P90X?
P90X2 is different than its predecessor in a handful of different ways. At the time of its release, P90X was all about being the most extreme home workout program on the market; designed to get you ripped in just 90 days. The initial idea sounds a bit gimmicky, but the results and testimonies of users, including myself, are all the proof that you need in order to know if it works. P90X focused on the science of muscle confusion, which involves changing up exercises before your muscles hit their plateau. Many people were tired of other programs working for a month or so, and then failing to see results after their first few weeks. This is because their muscles had grown use to the exercises that they were done. If your becoming bored with your workouts, chances are good that your muscles are feeling the lax as well. P90X Switched up your weight training days after the first 30 days, and then switched back after 60 days. The results exploded in the final month of training, successfully giving hard-working users a leaner, more ripped body.
So how is P90X 2 different? Looking at the schedule, one might be afraid that the program appears a bit too lenient. Upon my first trials of these workouts though, I can honestly say that each and every one is absolutely brutal. The focus of P90X2 is not only building muscle and getting lean, but building yourself a totally sport-ready athletic body. It's best to explain the program on a month-to-month schedule.
Month one of P90X2 is all about finding your balance and honing into your inner chi. The workout now introduces a ton of work involving stability balls and yoga-like moves. Called the 'Foundation Phase', the first phase will make you more aware of pressuring your core to find stability in other moves. We are introduced to several new workout moves here that honestly, many of us would have never thought to do in our lifetime. One of the most challenging moves is titled, 'Warrior Three Kickbacks'. If you are familiar with yoga or at least the yoga workout in the original P90X, you'll know that 'Warrior Threes' can be a huge challenge. You balance on one leg, while kicking your other leg back and holding your arms out straight in front of you like a table. Only this time instead of holding the pose, your going to have dumbbells in your hand. Pulling the weights back behind you in a relaxed, composed manner proves difficult at first, but this is where you build your foundation. With the help of the other workouts, you'll be mastering this move by the third week, maybe even the second. With all of the core work that is involved in this phase, you are only going to be doing the specially designed X2 Ab Ripper on Wednesdays of this phase. Trust me, that's all you'll need after jumping into X2 Core.
Month two will be what many of the guys trying the program are dying for; an entire month to focus on strength training. This is where you'll use your newly built foundation in order to lift harder, stronger, and better than ever before. You'll notice a tremendous increase in your form from previous times. Since less focus is on your core this time around, Ab Ripper is scheduled after three of your workouts in this phase. This phase introduces two new strength-building workouts; X2 Shoulders and Arms and Chest, Back and Balance. These workouts are designed to mix up the muscle confusion and provide a brutally wonderful strength workout.
The third month is where you athleticism is truly tested. You've mastered your foundation and built upon it with strength training; now it's time to show how well you can perform. The third phase, or the 'Performance Phase', completely removes X2 Ab Ripper from your schedule. In this phase, you'll be spending one day on your upper body, the next on your lower body, the next on total body, and finally you'll get a day of rest. Tony himself describes these as some of the most brutal exercises ever put on dvd.
The third phase uses a well-researched method called Post-Activation Potentiation, or P.A.P. In this phase, heavy weight training is infused with plyometric (jump) training to create an absolutely sweat-inducing monster of a workout. The idea is to activate more muscle groups by using jump training directly after strength training. This once again challenges you into thinking about each and every muscle that is used in an exercise. P.A.P, designed for athletes, is said to improve ones performance in almost every area; mainly jumping and sprinting. You will be absolutely drenched after these workouts.
P90X2 Means... A More Lenient Schedule?
That's right, the folks at Team Beachbody listened to what people had to say about their first program. In P90X, you worked out six days a week with an optional stretching day on the seventh day. With P90X2, your down to only working out five days a week. The idea is that the moves are more demanding of your body, and that by 'bringing it!', you are going to beg for that extra day of rest. This time around, stretching has been replaced by X2 Recovery + Mobility. This workout offers your body a much needed session of foam rolling, which I'll get to in a moment. Not only are you working out less, but Beacbody openly designs their program to be extended for longer periods if you need it.
Each phase in P90X consisted of three 'on' weeks of working out, and one 'light' week of recovery and brisk cardio workouts. With P90X2, your still going to get your recovery week, but at your pace and only if you need it. Phases One and Two can be done for anywhere between 3-6 weeks each before moving on to the next phase. Upon reading the fitness manual, a recovery week is recommended after each phase but is not required after the initial phase. Tony does demand that you rest before the final phase, though, as your body is going to get put through quite a bit. The last phase should not be extended past a four week period. Compare the schedules to the right by clicking to expand them.
So let's take a bit of a moment to recap here. P90X2 is an entirely different ballgame than its predecessor. While it still includes muscle confusion, P90X2 is about building a foundation first, then using that foundation to improve your strength training. Finally, with stronger balance and muscles, you will be brutally tested in the third phase using a combination of plyometric and weight training (also known as P.A.P). P90X2 mixes its schedule up way more than the initial product did, and it certainly prevents you from getting bored of the workouts. Through harder work, you are going to deserve that extra day of weekly rest.
What Equipment Am I Going To Need?
Beachbody has always been wonderful at designing programs you can do on the road or in a confined space. P90X was sometimes called a 'hotel workout', and X2 isn't much different.
Dumbbells and bands - If you don't have dumbbells, you can get fantastic results using various colored resistance bands. ProSource offers a cheap, five band set that will provide you with absolutely everything you need from a band in your workouts. With bands, different colors mean different resistance levels. Find the one that works right for you with each workout and stick with it! A lack of dumbbells is no excuse here!
Pullup Bars - I highly recommend a pullup bar for anyone doing this workout. Sure, you can do the alternate band move. But this is one exercise that if done the right way, is going to make your results explode. I did the first month of the original P90X with bands and got decent results, but my back looked amazing after investing in a pullup bar the following month. Pullups, and the different variations you will see in the program, challenge your entire body and are a staple to these workouts. For 4-way pushups, i recommend buying a pullup bar with front-jutting handles as well. Most bars can be easily swung over a modern-sized door frame without harming your frame. Others can be screwed into the sides of your door frame or hung from the ceiling if you've got the room.
Pushup Bars - These are not required, but I recommend them for stability moves; especially in the first phase. There are a couple of moves that require you to do a pushup and then go into a sidearm balance. Holding onto a bar provides a lot more of a workout and support than clawing at the carpet on your floor. Don't forget that these will help you deepen your pushups as well! Better form means better results!
Stability Ball - This is a necessity for P90X2, as a lot of the warmups and balance moves utilize this tool. You can alternatively use a couch, chair, or even your legs. However the stability ball provides much more an engaging core workout. Your going to be pushing weights up into the air laying on this thing, so make sure you've blown it up correctly and are engaging your core!
Foam Roller - While this is not required, it has opened a new door for me in terms of flexibility. Tony is a huge advocate of the foam roller, and each warmup involves a good couple of minutes with this bad-boy. The idea here isn't to roll back and forth on the thing, but rather to start at the bottom of your leg and work up your entire body. Rotate your leg back and forth until you find a spot of tightness. When you find one, you'll most definitely know it as it often sends pain surging through your entire body. Since were here to work on our weaknesses, you then put pressure on the spot, kneading it lightly and/or lifting your body into the air to apply more pressure. Once you feel that weak spot be released, move onto the next area you can find. You will feel absolutely amazing after using this thing, and you get an entire twenty minutes with it on recovery days.
Diet and Final Advice
Before you put your shoes on and hit play, take the time to read over the fitness and diet guides provided with the program. The diet program is similar to last time, but has changed in a handful of ways. You once again will decide which phase you are in to determine if you should eat at 1800, 2400, or 3000 calories a day. This guide is a bit more carb-friendly, but not much. The first phase is still about eating huge portions of protein and vegetables. During the strength and P.A.P phases, you are going to need more carbs to power up your workouts. If you are crashing during your workouts, you are either not getting enough rest or are not eating enough carbohydrates (or calories in general). Experiment with your calorie intake and never suddenly flux by more than 500 calories in a day's time.
Shakeology is a terrific and nutrient-rich shake developed by the crew at Team Beachbody. There are hundreds of testimonials on its effectiveness to help your drop weight and improve energy. Head over to the Team Beachbody Shakeology Website to take a look!
Before you begin, I also recommend reading Tony Horton's book, "Bring It!" Tony offers expert advice on various moves and shares his knowledge of diet as well. While Tony is vegan and recommends steering away from caffeine, his book in no way attempts to convert people to eat exactly like him. There are alternatives provided with each diet plan, as well as a plethora of useful information that made me rethink what I was putting into my body.
Lastly, take time to mentally prepare yourself for the workouts. Make a commitment, make a plan, and stick to it! Don't skip a single day, or you risk losing motivation all together. If you must miss, resume the following day with workout scheduled for that day. Think of your workout as something you are required to do in the day, and before you know it you'll be looking forward to each and every one of them. P90X2 helps improve your body and mind in every day life, thus making daily tasks exceptionally easier. Those with a fit body show others that they have devotion and commitment, and that's exactly what