Will You Get Better Results With P90X Or P90X3?

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Updated August 6, 2015:  One of my readers pointed out a math error I made in my pull-up calculations in the original post. This version corrects the overstatement of P90X pull-ups.  

Back in February, March and April of this year we did a round of P90X3 blended in a hybrid with Insanity Max:30.  This was the third time going through P90X3 and I felt a little underwhelmed with it as far as the X3 resistance portion of the hybrid was concerned.  In fact, halfway through the hybrid schedule I even revised the P90X3/Max:30 Hybrid to add more resistance, particularly to the first month. Following that hybrid we immediately launched into the classic P90X/Insanity hybrid that we have completed several times. After a few days I welcomed that familiar soreness back again.  It sure felt like the P90X resistance workouts were “bringing it” way more than the X3 routines, so I did what any engineer would do–I analyzed the data. And the data showed I was right.

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P90X3 (16 different workouts not counting Cold Start or Elite Upgrade workouts, all 30-33 minutes each)

P90X3 is designed as an all-around comprehensive program starting off with a “foundational” phase which focuses on core, balance, agility, and stabilization, rather than muscle growth.  In this phase many moves are done in unstable positions (on one leg for example) and with light weights.  Agility X is a nice routine in this phase that works on forcing you to move from one unstable position to another without losing posture–it’s not a classic cardio routine like so many want it to be. The second phase of X3 focuses on classic weight training, hypertrophy, and includes more traditional cardio routines like Triometrics and MMX. For the most part the resistance routines are 10 reps each.

P90X (11 different workouts not counting Ab Ripper X, 45-58 minutes each with the exception of Yoga X which is 92 minutes)

P90x, on the other hand, gets right into heavy resistance in the first week and hits all body parts with workouts like Chest & Back, Shoulders & Arms, and Legs & Back.  Most moves are done from a stable two-legged position which de-emphasizes the core. The second month rearranges the days of the week that you work various body parts but retains the heavy resistance approach.  Plyo X is the centerpiece cardio routine.  Tony describes two approaches to P90X:  1) 8-10 Rep Range for adding muscle, and 2) the 12-15 Rep Range for staying lean (this does not pertain to push-ups and pull-ups which are always maximum reps).  I’ve done both approaches and included them in the data.

Comparing P90X and P90X3 Resistance Workouts

For the purpose of this analysis I compared only the 3 resistance workouts each week from :

  • P90X3:  Total Synergistics, The Challenge, CVX, Eccentric Upper, Eccentric Lower and Incinerator.  I pulled actual data from my workout sheets from the X3/Max 30 Hybrid from February 2015 – May 2015.
  • P90X:  Chest & Back, Shoulders & Arms, Legs & Back, Chest Shoulders & Triceps, and Back & Biceps.  For the 12-15 Rep Range data as well as the push-up and pull-up numbers I pulled actual data from workout sheets from June 2015 – July 2015.  To get comparable 8-10 Rep Range data I used my workout sheets from May 2014 – September 2014.

I added up my actual numbers for 4 different variables:

  1. Number of Push-Ups: sum of all push-up types, whether on feet or knees.
  2. Number of Pull-Ups: sum of all pull-up types, whether with assist or without.
  3. Number of Weighted and Un-weighted Reps: total number of reps excluding push-ups and pull-ups; if a move used one arm or leg at a time I only counted the reps once.
  4. Total Weight Lifted: sum of (reps x weight) for all the weighted moves.  For example, if I did 10 reps with a set of 20 lb dumbbells the Total Weight would be 10 x 20 = 200. NOTE:  If the move required only one dumbbell to be held with two hands then I cut the dumbbell weight in half.
Block 1 (or Phase 1 or Month 1)

(Revised table 8/6/15)

P90X P90X3 Block 1 Summary Revised

Typical Block 1 weeks are shown in the chart.  In a typical Block 1 week the number of push-ups  and pull-ups are about the same.  With the exception of CVX there are many more weighted and un-weighted moves in a typical P90X week too.  I included CVX in this summary even thought it’s more cardio than weights.  I counted up all the CVX reps to come up with the Total Weight number.  Since I typically hold a single 10 lb dumbbell in CVX, I cut that weight in half and used 5 lbs in the Total weight calculation.  Even with all the CVX low weight reps you lift more than twice as much Total Weight in P90X than a week of X3.

Block 2 (or Phase 2 or Month 2)

(Revised table 8/6/15)

P90X P90X3 Block 2 Summary Revised

P90X3 Block 2 includes Eccentric Upper and Eccentric Lower workouts where every move is 4 counts as opposed to a normal 2 count.  To account for the additional “time under tension” I counted my reps and then multiplied by 2 to hopefully result in a meaningful comparison to the P90X Block 2 workouts.  With the doubling, push ups are once again about the same between programs.  P90X pull-ups in a typical Block 2 week are about 50% more than P90X3 even with the Eccentric 2X factor.  The weighted and un-weighted reps and total weight are comparable between the two program after applying the eccentric doubling factor.

Results Over a 13-Week Program

What does this mean over a full 13-week program?  Just what I thought:  I am getting more work out of P90X vs X3:

(Revised chart 8/6/15)

Pushup & Pullup Totals Revised

Thanks to The Challenge I get more push-ups out of P90X3 than P90X, but pull-ups are another story–about 30% more in P90X.

(Revised chart 8/6/15)

Rep Totals Revised

P90X3 appears to have many more reps than P90X, both when doing P90X in the 8-10 rep range as well as the 12-15 rep range.  But over half of the counted reps come from doing CVX 5 times in the schedule.  Another 1170 reps are the result of doubling the Eccentric Upper and Lower rep counts to account for the 4-count moves.  What you are left with is less than 3000 actual reps of weightlifting over the 13 week P90X3 schedule which is less than half what you get in a 13-week P90X schedule. No wonder I am sore again!

Total Weight

No surprise with Total Weight Lifted over 13 weeks. Even with doubling the Total Weight from Eccentric Upper and Lower, P90X3 offers only about 75% of the weightlifting potential of P90X.

What Program Should You Do?

P90X3 is a fantastic beginner-intermediate program for someone who is just starting out on their fitness journey.  There is plenty of work to keep you growing for many months, and the benefits from the other 10 workouts that I didn’t discuss are tremendous.  This program obviously is great for anyone who has limited time if the alternative is doing nothing.  If you are looking to improve your all-around fitness, coordination and balance then P90X3 is for you.

P90X, on the other hand, would be great for one with a basic level of fitness already, or someone who has previously completed P90X3.  It can certainly be completed by beginners but P90X3 would be a gentler alternative.  If you are looking to grow more muscle then you will get better results with P90X than X3.

As far as fat loss, either program will work fine as long as you account for the reduced calorie burn in P90X3 by eating less.  If you are not inclined to balance your daily calorie intake with actual exercise calories burned (meaning you are going to eat the same thing no matter which program you do), then you would lose more weight on P90X simply because you will burn more calories.  Said another way, if you burn less but eat less you will lose the same as if you burned more and ate more.  Click here to see my up-to-date HRM and Calorie Burn Database from my What’s the Hardest Beachbody Workout post.

How do you feel?  If you have done both programs and have an opinion please feel free to share it in a comment below.



I am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach who found success using Beachbody's fitness programs and nutriton guides. I'm here to see that you have the same success I have had using Beachbody programs.

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73 comments on “Will You Get Better Results With P90X Or P90X3?
  1. Tim Seneca says:

    Interesting read John. This has me considering trying P90X again after I’m done with X3. Though I plan on doing doing the X3/max 30 hybrid…..

    • John T says:

      With the extra beating that you will get from the Max 30 workouts you might be glad the alternating days are only 30 minutes Tim 🙂 But if you really want to amp it up you could try swapping in the P90X resistance workouts on days 1, 3 and 5.

      • Tim Seneca says:

        Do you know the P90X equivalents to X3? I wish that Beachbody went with names like “Back & Biceps X3” instead of Warrior or Incinerator. Its made is harder to create a hybrid That I have been creating using P90X3, X3, Insanity.

        • John T says:

          If you are trying to create a hybrid Tim you should do all the workouts first to see how they fit together. The descriptions can all be found in the program guides too. There is not a hard and fast mapping between the two programs since they are designed very differently–the closest thing to Back & Biceps is Incinerator. The only “equivalents” that come to mind are The Challenge = Chest & Back, Triometrics = Plyo X, MMX = Kenpo X, X3 Yoga = Yoga X and Total Synergistics is roughly analogous to Core Syn.

          • Tim Seneca says:

            Yeah, some were dead giveaways:). I am on my last few days of P90X3 Classic. I thought about jumping into the P90X/Insanity Hybrid but I have the Deluxe/Elite version of X3 which includes Complex Upper/Lower and AB Ripper X3. I think I will do the Elite Block and then move on. Have you done Complex Upper/Lower?

          • John T says:

            Yes, I enjoyed Complex Lower more than Complex Upper–they are the same style of workout as the P90X2 P.A.P. workouts, Post Activation Potentiation.

          • Tim Seneca says:

            I did Complex Upper last night. It was tough, but I felt extremely pumped after. What were you not so fond of with Upper?

          • John T says:

            Can’t say I recall off the top of my head but when I did it in my Beachbody Bracket last summer it didn’t fare well against the alternatives.

      • Tim Seneca says:

        What about Complex upper don’t you like? Not challenging enough?

  2. Josh says:

    Is it possible to skip through the talking and move along faster with P90X cutting it down to 30-45 minutes, and would I still see good results?
    Since I like Martial Arts I would replace P90X PLYO day with X3 MMX and do Kenpo X as per schedule.
    The rest of P90X would be followed as per the plan.
    Any input or suggestions apprecaiated.

    • John T says:

      Hi Josh, great question. You can absolutely skip through the talking and move faster through P90X without losing anything as long as you do all the reps–that’s how many of us veterans do it now not only to save on time but to skip Tony’s jokes for the 30th time 🙂 Plus that’s the only way to do it if you are working from the P90X app or in a gym without video. We do the workouts directly from the workout sheets and you can get done in just a little more than the 32 minute P90X3 routines. Although Plyo X would probably give you more work than MMX, that’s such a minor change that it’s more important to do a workout you enjoy rather than one you don’t. Hope that helps.

  3. Enes says:

    Hello there. Firstable thanks for info. I’m planning to do p90x3, but i’m not sure to do which schedule to do. I’m planning to do doubles but, as you know there is a 2 program in 1 day. So, lets say, at 2. day i did the agility x on morning, and should i do dynamix after just fnish agility x or can i do at evening?
    I mean morning= agaility x +dynamix?
    Or morning=agility x evening=dynamix

    Also i read some pages and its says to double schedule ” if you want ridiculous body then do it.” Or, ”if you want a scary body then do it.” Something like that. What are you think for double schedule and can i do like i wrote? 1 program morning, 1 program evening.
    Or can you suggest something diffrent? I mean morning is 30 minutes program and evening 30 minutes program. But i don’t want 1 program 1 hour like P90X

    Sorry for my english. 🙂

    • John T says:

      Hi Enes, thanks for the question. If this is your first time doing P90X3 then you should follow Tony’s instructions on page 18 of the Fitness Guide and complete a full round of P90X3 Classic first, that way you will know what you are starting if you decide to follow up with a doubles schedule later. Doubles is for people who understand what their body can tolerate and who are in total control of how many calories they need to lose or maintain weight. It is not for accelerated weight loss. What are your goals right now? If you are just starting off and trying to lose weight then you would be better off doing Classic and getting the nutrition under control first. If you decide to follow with Doubles, then it does not matter which workout you do first, and it does not matter if you split them up one in the morning and one in the evening, or do them both back to back.

      • Enes says:

        Thank you so much for quick reply and your help.

        My goals are,
        1) lose to 10-15 lbs. I’m 176 lbs and i want something like 160-165
        2) My body fat is %20 and i want to do %11-12
        3) Core area is really faty. Thats my biggest problem. Firstable, getting there the normal shape. Pack are my is second goal.
        4) My arms looks like weak aganist to my age people. Not the sportsman, normal people. I wanna get there more shape and stronger. I mean if i do p90x3 it will be better, i know but i can do something ekstra.

        So i guess i will go classic first. But can i do something extra for my arms and shoulders? It could be like “Insanity Upper Body Weight Training” And i’m not talking about everyday of course.:) Like 1 times a in 5 day. Is this will be allright? 🙂

        • John T says:

          My recommendation is to stick to the schedule as designed and not add any extra workouts, you will get the right amount of arms and shoulders work especially in month 2. You have to build up and strengthen the core area as a foundation before you really spend extra time on the extremities like your arms. It will likely take you 6 months or more to achieve all the goals you have for yourself so there is plenty of time to concentrate on the “glamour muscles” later 🙂 Once you are through a round of X3 Classic and you have lost the 10-15 pounds first and strengthened your core, you may want to consider a program like Body Beast–that will hammer your arms!

          • Enes says:

            Okay than, i’ll go classic version without extra workouts. Thanks for help again. Really appreciatived. 🙂

  4. Joe says:

    I finished p90x recently. Lost about 10 pounds, but 3 inches off my waist so far. I am also starting to train for a few running events (never ran in my life before this) . I’m 37 and trying to lose the extra weight and love handles. I’ve shrunk in fat and gained arm size, upper abs are starting to show as well. I’m doing the calorie deficient diet (1500 wiit hour adding in what I’ve burned). I started p90x3 today and my knees made more noises then I ever expected. Cracking bad on the rocking chair exercise. I was thinking do p90x3 to lose the last bit of weight and go from there but it didnt feel as bad as p90x and just hurt my joints morr. I have a 5 and 3 year old and work full time so p90x was just too long. Would you suggest just doing the workoutsof p90x and skip the videos to cut time down or try p90x3 and see where it goes. I’m 5’7 and 158 pounds now, to lose that extra mid section I figure I need to be in the 15p range. Thoughts?

    • John T says:

      Hi Joe–thanks for the question. I’m about like you at 5’8″ and 157-160. You may or may not like the answer but it really won’t matter. I just got great results from Hammer and Chisel but it was all from following a nutrition plan 98% right. Pick the workouts you enjoy and have time for, but follow a plan like the X3 Nutrition Guide religiously and you should lose the excess fat you are trying to lose. Use the caloric need calculator on the TBB website to double check your calories needs based on which program you end up doing. Hope that helps.

  5. Bob says:

    Hey dude, thanks for this review, it helps a lot, I’m really looking to have a good shape as soon as possible haha, so I’ve been doing P90X3, but I have a few question.

    Which one is better to have a good shape? I mean, I don’t want to be a Hulk, but I want to have some muscle and look somehow Athletic.

    And… Between P90x3 doubles and P90X which one grows better?

    • John T says:

      Hi Bob, thanks for the question. I think as I say in this post that P90X will give you more work and will provide better results in terms of muscle growth because every phase focuses on hypertrophy or muscle growth. X3 doubles doesn’t really add much extra resistance work to the schedule, it primarily adds cardio. But really the differences between your results will be very small as long as you eat properly according to the nutrition plans. That is really what will be responsible for you results 🙂

      Does this help?

      • Bob says:

        Oh, I see, yes it was =)

        But what about the Shape of the body? It’s the same for both p90x and p90x3?

        • John T says:

          I’m not sure what you mean by “body shape”, but you would have the same shape at the end of either program. There is nothing unique to either program that would affect your shape.

          • Bob says:

            Man, thanks a lot you’re being really helpful! =)

            One last question… When using things like dumbbells, how often or when should I use more weight? Because I’ve been doing 3 weeks now, but I’m still using the same weight. Should I add extra weight by now?

          • John T says:

            Here is a tip: if you have to ask, then it’s time to go up in weights 🙂 In your first 3 weeks you should be increasing weight regularly as your muscles start firing more of the available fibers and your strength increases. The rule of thumb is if you can keep going after you finish the prescribed number of reps, then use a heavier weight next time and drop down in reps. Then repeat. Either way you should strive to go up in either weights or reps somewhere in every single workout–if your workout sheet is identical in two successive weeks then you are not progressing. Read my post about using workout sheets and hopefully this will help: http://johntfitness.com/how-to-enhance-your-progress-using-workout-sheets/

          • Bob says:

            Thank you very much for you help John! Really Helpful! I knew I was doing something wrong haha, thanks again!

  6. John says:

    Excellent site and thanks in advance for your time.
    I plan to compete in an amateur MMA event and would like to use P90X as my preparation program.
    Essentially I would do the doubles program for 90 days, but instead of the P90X cardio I would do my sparring and mat work.
    P90X in the morning and the MMA session 3 evenings per week.
    Do you think this would work or will it create over training?
    The 3 MMA practices will be 30 minutes each.

    • John T says:

      Hi John. Unfortunately I can’t tell if this would be overtraining in your case since I don’t know much about your condition or the intensity of the workouts, only you will be able to tell if it’s too much. But basically “doubles” is best for people who are at or near their target weight, in good shape, and in complete control of their nutrition so that you know how to adjust your calorie intake to fuel both workouts. If that describes you then give it a try, but if you start feeling sluggish or your body doesn’t recover from the workouts then I suggest you dial back to one workout a day. Let me know how it goes as I’m always curious when people do doubles. One workout a day is more than enough for me 🙂

  7. Jerry says:

    Can I do just the P90X strength workouts and yoga, but do my own cardio?
    If it works, I’ll go with that.
    On P90X cardio days I would do sprints.
    Also, is P90X3 a good program for athletes?
    Since it’s only 30 minutes doing a second sport specific workout of 30 minutes should be doeable.

    • John T says:

      Hi Jerry–yes subbing in your own cardio for Plyo and Kenpo is fine–that’s what I basically do in my hybrids. I just encourage you to do HIIT cardio, so sprints are perfect.

      X3 is a great program for athletes since it is great functional fitness. But depending on what you are into P90X2 is a more athletic program, but with hourlong workouts. What do you do?

  8. Tasa says:

    Hi john,
    It is Tasa…I have another question. I completed p90x3 a Month ago. I did see some resu,ts, but they kind of underwhelmed me. I am not sure where to go from here. I have been doing a little bit of 21 day extreme, a little bit of Max 30 and I want to commit to a program. Still trying to leSn out and lose the stubborn inches. I gained strength with p90x3, but didn’t really see the changes in composition I was looking for. Debating between p90x, p90x3 doubles, or maybe insanity, which I have done in the pAst.

    • John T says:

      Change in composition only means one thing–more muscle. I wouldn’t over complicate things, go back to basics and do a full round of P90X Classic and make sure you are lifting heavy (8-10 reps and not 12-15). Your last 3 reps should always be difficult. Insanity, Max 30 and 21 DFX will not add muscle like P90X. Follow the 21 DFX container plan and even consider going up a plan to promote muscle growth. Hope that helps.

      • Thanks so much for your info. My only concern is the time involved with p90x… Yoga is 90 minutes…not sure of my year old and three year old will give me 90 minutes. I can get away with an hour, but not much more. I am not looking to bulk up either, but to increase muscle tone and lose inches..possibly the last few pounds that absolutely are sticking to me like glue should I be lifting heavy in the 8-10 range and not the 12-15?

        • John T says:

          Yes, the 8-10 rep range would probably be the best range for you to increase muscle, which is synonymous with “muscle tone”. As a female it is physiologically impossible for you to bulk up like a male or a professional female body builder, and P90X is not a bulking type of workout nor will you be eating to bulk up. Besides, many of the moves are maximum reps or pre-counted reps. My experience with women specifically is that when shooting for the “12-15” rep range they take a weight that is too light and can actually do 15-20 reps but they stop at 12-15 before muscle failure. This improves the endurance of the existing muscle but generally does not grow new muscle, which means no “toning”. The last 3 reps should be hard hard hard to where it is almost impossible to do another rep. Once you can do 10-15 reps with a given weight it’s time to go up in weight and drop the reps, even if it drops you in the 4-6 rep range. For many moves I will even start with a heavier weight and switch to a lighter weight halfway through just to force progression.

          • Teresa says:

            This is very helpful…I definitely am not using the right weights in any of my workouts. I dontbthink I ever feel like I can barely finish. Time to buy heavier weights. I appreciate your time and insight. I am going to try p90x using those tips.

  9. Deborah says:

    Thanks for all the great information. I have them both and was getting ready to start P90X3 but after reading this I am thinking to build muscle it would be best to do P90X. I only weigh about 113 fully clothed but I am just skinny fat. Everyone says oh you are so litle and tiny but I want to be firm and have definition!! I dont even want to get in a bathing suit this year but with 5 little kids I am not going to have a choice!! HA HA. So you would suggest P90X 8 to 10 rep range for building muscle? Right now I only have 12 pounds as my highest weight and wondering if I need to go to 15 for some videos. Legs absoltely kills me. I have never gotten so sore on the legs and you dont even even have to use weight on that!! I am really really wanting to tone but butt!! Gravity has taken over and it is falling down my leg!! HELP. What do you think is the best formula for this!! Thanks so so much for any feed back. I really have everythign thing I need with gym memberships and videos, I just get overwhelmed with that I should do. I also lost the calendar or what videos to do when with P90X3 adn was wondering where I could get a print out of that. I hope I hear back from you soon. Thanks

    • John T says:

      Hi Deborah, thanks for the questions. No need to be overwhelmed with any of these programs, all you have to do is follow the directions, follow the schedule, follow the nutrition plans, drink your Shakeology, and over time it just works 🙂 It sounds like you are just beginning with resistance training, so if you have a choice between P90X and X3 I strongly suggest you start with a round of P90X3 Classic first as it is better for beginners. X3 starts off with a foundational phase that P90X does not have. After you build your foundation with a round of X3 then it would be a good time to move on to P90X. Yes you will need heavier than 12 pound weights for some moves to get the most out of either program, and you should plan to do pullups with an assist device or pulldowns with a band and the door attachment device. Don’t worry about focusing on your butt this early, you will hit it enough throughout the program 🙂 The P90X3 schedule is in the P90X3 Fitness Guidebook assuming you still have the book.

  10. Matt says:

    Hey, thanks for all the great comments. Very helpful to read. My question is regarding the pull-ups. Obviously they are a big part of any P90X workout, but I don’t have the right door frames to use a pull-up bar (old apartment building). How much “worse” is it to use the bands? I try to use the black ones, which I think are the hardest, but have trouble replicating the angle of a real pull-up, and worried about the ease compared to a real pull-up. Thoughts?

    • John T says:

      There really is nothing like doing real pull-ups with your full body weight. I think I read somewhere that every male should strive to be able to do a minimum of 5 unassisted pullups to demonstrate a good fitness level (females a minimum of 2). I have 2 different bars and I will send you pictures of mine to give you some idea what’s possible. Depending on what you can do in your apartment and how much you want to invest there are a lot of examples of permanent installations into wall studs and ceiling joists, or you can invest in a free-standing floor unit. But if all you have is the bands, then “all you can do is all you can do.” Make sure you are pulling from a top door hinge using the hinge attachment loop, and angle your back so that you are pulling in line with your spine.

  11. Steven Nagle says:

    Good article John. I’m 51 and need to “get going again” I used to be fit but work,kids and my own put off till tomorrow has finally caught up with me. I have p90x and p90x3. I’ll commit to x3 then start x.

    • John T says:

      Hi Steve, thanks for the comment. Once you get into it and string 7 days together you’ll feel great and want to keep going. Let me know how it’s going in a few weeks.

  12. Jacob says:

    Coach John,
    I am doing P90X and following the program as per the schedule.
    Can I do a 2nd workout(doubles)consisting of boxing for 15 minutes 3 days weekly?
    Basically just to maintain boxing technique.
    I fear overtraining and don’t want to detract from P90X.
    Another option would be to use boxing as my warmup before each P90X workout.
    Thanks for your advice.

    • John T says:

      Hi Jacob–that should be fine, not much risk of over training there. You might have to adjust your calories up a little to compensate. If you need help figuring out your calorie needs let me know. Send me a private email with your age, height, weight and target weight and I’ll tell you what I think. Thanks!

  13. Jerry says:

    Excellent informative site.
    Time constraints are leading me to X3.
    However, I want to gain so what is your opinion of the X3 Mass schedule?
    Is it effective enough for muscle gains?
    P90X is not within my time budget and I like the upper/lower workout concept.
    Any help or suggestions welcome.
    Thanks Coach!

    • John T says:

      Hi Jerry–

      Thanks for asking. Yes the Mass schedule can be very effective for gaining but only if you eat appropriately. Make sure you read what Tony has to say on page 18 of the Fitness Guide because eating at a calorie surplus is the only way to gain (plus it’s the Body Beast formula). I’ll drop you an email with some specific questions that will help me help you a little more.


  14. Hey John,

    When I was turning 50 I set a goal of losing 50 pounds by the time I turned 50 (started at 275) I hit my goal in 9 months. Unfortunatley I said I deserved a break and now 5 years later I’m starting over. I gained most of it back within a year and have been at this higher weight for about 4 years. My first goal is to lose the weight again, but I would really like to get down to 210, and then stay there. The P90X took a long time so I was getting ready to start P90X3. Which program will help me lose the weight faster? After I lose weight I would like to tone up more. Would like to hear your opinion.



    • John T says:

      Congrats on losing the 50 pounds the first time, I guess you’ve since found out that remaining fit and managing weight is not a short term activity–what you start you have to keep up pretty much forever. The answer to your question may surprise you: it doesn’t matter which program you choose as long as you eat according to a rational nutrition plan, and adjust your calorie consumption to be at the proper deficit to your calorie burn. In other words you may burn 200 less calories a day doing P90X3, but as long as you eat those same 200 calories less than if you were eating for P90X3 the outcome would be the same. P90X3 was designed for people like you who are short on time, but it only works if you follow the nutrition plan–that’s key. If you don’t pay attention to your portions and calorie balance then you will burn more calories on P90X, but you will have a hard time getting to where you want to be IMO. BTW the P90X nutrition plan is way out of date and aims high for calories, so I don’t recommend following it anyway. Does this make sense to you?

  15. Jerry says:

    Hey Coach!
    How can I use P90X to build some bulk?
    I have dumbbells and 200 total pounds plus bodylastics resistance bands.
    What I would also like to do is use a heavy bag for the kenpox workout.
    I’ve looked at X3, Body Beast and other non Beach Body 90 day programs but it still seems like P90X is king.
    Thanks for helping coach.

    • John T says:

      Hi Jerry (or Josh)–good to hear from you again. Yes if you have the right body type you can add bulk with any of those 3 programs, and from what you told me back in November you are probably the right body type. All it takes is lifting heavy, and eating a calorie surplus which means eating a lot. Read what Tony has to say on page 18 of the X3 fitness guide, and read the Body Beast nutrition guide and follow it, especially the part about adding calories over your basal metabolic rate.

  16. John says:

    Any suggestions on how to make x3 more effective to build muscle?
    Or, would 3 days of weights and 2 cardio give equal or better results as x3?

    • John T says:

      Hi John–thanks for asking. X3 is a pretty good all around functional fitness program for those short on time, and muscle growth is only one of several objectives of the program. If you want to adapt X3 for more muscle growth however everything you need to know is written on page 18 in the X3 Fitness Guide. Follow the Mass Schedule which puts an emphasis on the hypertrophy routines, and plan to eat a lot more than you may be used to. There are better programs, however, if building muscle is your primary goal. If you would like my thoughts on what’s best for you then either reply here or send me a private note with the Contact me link at the top of the page, and tell me your age, height, weight, desired weight and any other Beachbody programs you have experience with. That will tell me a little more about your specific situation–John

  17. Brittany says:

    If I do the hybrid P90x/Insanity program, what nutrition program should I follow? I read you saying the P90x diet program is outdated, what do I need to do to adjust that? I’m just finishing my first round of P90x and am not seeing the results I was hoping for. I did it about 8 years ago and loved the results then. I’ve followed the diet like I did 8 years ago but haven’t got the same results. I want to do another round but want to change it up a little. I was going to do P90x3 but after reading your opinion on it I’m leaning towards the hybrid. I just don’t know what to do diet wise.

    • John T says:

      Hi Brittany–Thanks for asking since the nutrition plan you follow is more important than which schedule you choose to follow when it comes to weight management. The best thing is to start following the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan with the color coded containers–they have become the universally accepted nutrition plan for Beachbody programs since 2014 and they are used with all the new programs. They will get you to a more reasonable 40% carb 30% protein and 30% fat ratio, but what’s more important is they will get you to the right number of calories depending on what your individual goal is. That’s why they are shipped free to everyone who gets the annual Beachbody On Demand Challenge Pack subscription. Do you have BOD and the containers? If not then the next best thing is to use the P90X3 plan since it is newer–the food list is more current than the P90X food list, and the P90X plan aims way high in terms of calories for most people. The P90X plan was written in the fat-phobic era and we now know that low fat foods are not necessarily healthy foods.

      • Mike says:


        First off thank you. You are awesome for posting all this and fielding questions. Very appreciated.

        Second, question on the above about the 21-day fix diet. Looking that over it seems like a quick-fix diet. Is that supposed to be a long term sustainable diet? The P90X3 diet seems more reasonable and long-term. Please advise.

        Thanks so much.


        • John T says:

          Hi Mike–Glad you liked the post, make sure you stop by my hybrid schedules page–I’m sure you would enjoy some of the combinations I’ve put together. As far as the 21 DF nutrition plan, yes it definitely is a long term permanent thing. In fact if you look at that and the X3 plan closely enough you’ll see that they are basically the same thing, with the same allowed foods, and the exact same 30% protein 40% carb 30% fat ratio. The 21 DF containers just take the place of Tony’s palm, hand and thumb. What really happened is not enough people would comprehend and follow the nutrition plans until the 21 DF container system came out in 2014 (after X3), and since it is so easy and successful that is now the basic nutrition plan that comes with every new program. In fact all Beachbody On Demand Shakeology customers get the container plan for free to use while following any Beachbody program including P90X3. My wife Susan and I basically eat like that every day, and when we need to dial our nutrition back in we will actually pull the containers back out and use them religiously to “reset”. One thing you can do however is use the X3 guide to determine your calorie level, and then switch to the 21 DF plan at that calorie level. If you want some help figuring out where you should be I’d be happy to help–just let me know your age, height, weight, desired weight, and all the BB programs you have experience with. Thanks!

  18. Joe says:

    Will P90X be too intense for an in shape 70 year old?
    I’ve done a daily workout consisting of walking, pushups, crunches, body weight squats and light stretching.
    Worked up to sets of 30-40 pushups and sets of 50 bw squats.
    Need to mix things up so I might try p90x.
    Thanks for lending your opinion.

    • John T says:

      Hi Joe–Glad you are thinking about mixing things up, as Tony says in P90X it’s all about “muscle confusion” or switching up your workouts regularly. P90X is a pretty advanced set of workouts, IMO based on the exercise you are doing now it might be too much right off the bat. It sounds like you haven’t done much weighted resistance work or back moves like pullups or pulldowns. I think 2 better alternatives for you starting out would be P90X3 since it is “kinder and gentler”, or even 21 Day Fix. Both are excellent beginner programs, have modifiers for moves you may not be able to do, and both would then prepare you to tackle P90X in the future. What do you think?


  19. Joe says:

    I went with your suggestion of doing P90X3.
    Is there a substitute you can suggest over Triometrics?
    I simply don’t feel that I get much from it and second it drags on so I’m not enjoying it.
    Thank u.

    • John T says:

      Haha that workout is a real sleeper 🙂 The first few times I did it I felt the same way, as it starts slow but finishes with a bang. It’s in a cardio slot, so if you want to stick with X3 then any of these would be good subs if they are not already scheduled in the week: Accelerator, Warrior, MMX, Decelerator, or Agility X. If you want to go outside 30 minutes then there is nothing like the “mother of all P90X workouts”, Plyo X. What do you think you will try?

  20. Joe says:

    I’ll rotate through all 😆
    2 weeks of one then try another.
    Wish I could do P90X cause it seems better than X3 but I’m getting old 😭
    and just want to look 50 again lol!
    Think I can build a physique close to yours from p90x3?

    • John T says:

      Look like 50 again? Maybe, maybe not, that’s up to you–and it comes down to eating right and lifting heavy more than anything else. The only difference between P90X and X3 is longer workouts and more reps–if you have the time you should consider that after you finish X3.

  21. Joe says:

    Sound good!
    Let me go through X3.
    I am going out as I email to pick up a set of dumbbells with 130lbs total weight.
    That should be plenty.
    I will add abs in the AM for 10 minutes though.
    Thanks for your time!

    • John T says:

      Joe–I’ve sent you 2 emails with some followup questions. Is the Verizon.net email address you entered here still active? Please take a look and reply when you get a chance


  22. Dina says:

    Hi John. I have completed P90X several years ago and like many others, time was an issue. I am now starting my 5th round of p90x and I love it. There are some days where I can workout a little longer. My question is, is there certain p90x workouts I can change out with P90x3, for those days I have extra time and want to change it up a bit? Thanks

    • Dina says:

      sorry- I meant I was on my 5th round of P90x3 now

      • John T says:

        Hi Dina! Since you already have some familiarity with P90X from 5 years ago then you know that the workouts are structured a little differently than in P90X3. Fortunately the names in P90X are rather descriptive so you can easily tell what body parts you will be working. Most X3 routines are either upper body, lower body or total body so there are very few direct drop ins. The ones that come to mind are Chest and Back is analogous to X3 The Challenge, Plyo X can be subbed for Triometrics, and Kenpo X can be used in place of MMX. For the rest just take your pick based on body parts.

        But frankly after 4 rounds of X3 your body probably needs to switch to something different. Rarely should we do more than two complete rounds of anything back to back because your body adapts and stops changing. Why don’t you try and tackle the regular P90X Classic schedule, and then if you must sub in some familiar X3 routines? There are also several great new programs that can be used as follow ons to X3 as well.

        • Dina says:

          Wow. That makes sense. I am now running 4-6 miles 3-5 times a week as well. Maybe I can do p90x and just do running on some of my aerobic days if I feel I’m running low on time. Does that sound ok? Thank you so much.

          • John T says:

            Oops! You didn’t mention that the first time. I don’t typically advise anyone doing double workouts unless they are very in tune with their body’s needs, both nutritional and recovery. Double workouts often backfire if people are trying to lose weight because folks tend to under-fuel and not get enough rest time. I don’t know if that’s you or not. If you like running or are training for a race then yes do running on days alternating with resistance training. I sent you a personal email with a followup question, feel free to reply with more info on your specific personal situation 🙂

  23. Joe says:

    Is it possible to do the challenge 3 days alternated with yogax on 2 for a good physique and to maintain flexibility?
    Once the chins, pullups and pushups get easy I will add weight and resistance.
    My HS gym coach only ran and did pullups 200 in sets of 20 every other day and pushups 400 every other day and was built like a mack truck.
    About 5″10 195 solid.
    Thanks for your thoughts on this.

    • John T says:

      Hi Joe–

      Good to hear from you again! How did you like the P90X3/Combat hybrid schedule–did it give you the results you were looking for? I don’t know about doing The Challenge 3 days a week and Yoga 2 days, it seems like you would end up like one of those memes about skipping Leg Day and end up with chicken legs 🙂 It’s more important IMO to have balanced training where you are working every body part each week, including biceps, triceps, legs, and all the joint stabilizer muscles. That also lets the chest and back muscles recover rather than hammering them with The Challenge every other day. I would take functional fitness over muscle imbalance physique any day. What do you think?

      • Joe says:

        I got excellent results with your X3 Combat Hybrid.
        Your comment about muscle imbalance got me thinking,so I guess it’s another X3 combat hybrid for me.
        Are there any other substitutes for incinerator and challenge in the hybrid or should I just stick with the same set up?
        Happy Holidays!

        • John T says:

          There are a number of routines in other programs like P90X, Body Beast, or even hammer & Chisel that you could use to substitute, but if you wanted to do that then you would be better off just transitioning to one of those programs instead of repeating the last schedule you did. If you don’t have those programs I’ll send info on different ways you can get access to them pretty inexpensively.

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