Does P90X Really Bring It?

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Research & Studies


Does P90X Really Bring It?

November 1, 2011, 12:00AM

You’ve seen the commercials; you’ve heard the talk—P90X is one of the trendiest way to burn calories in the privacy of your own home. One of the reasons the 12 DVD set is such a success is because of the wide variety of workouts. In its entirety, this 90-day program contains six weekly workouts. ACE wanted to find out exactly how much energy is being expended and the level of intensity during these workouts.

For this study, ACE enlisted a research team from the University of Wisconsin, LaCrosse. Led by John Porcari, Ph.D., and Joel Woldt, M.S., the researchers recruited 16 healthy subjects, ages 19 to 26, all of whom exercised regularly and had experience either with P90X or similar circuit-style weight-training and aerobic workouts.

Prior to the actual study, subjects practiced four of the workout videos and also participated in baseline testing to measure their maximum heart rate and VO2 max (the volume of oxygen coming into the body when exercising). For this study, they looked at four of the 12 DVDs which best represented P90X as a whole—Legs & Back, Plyometrics, Cardio X, and Chest, Shoulders & Triceps.

Once the study was underway, the subjects performed each of the workouts to the best of their abilities, with 48 hours of rest in between each workout.  During the warm-up, conditioning phase and cool-down, researchers kept tabs on subjects’ heart rates (HR) by taking recordings at one-minute intervals throughout the workout. At the end of each workout, ratings of perceived exertion were recorded, as a subjective way to assess how hard they were working.

Porcari and his team reported that the average heart rate for all four workouts was 67 percent to 83 percent of HRmax for the male subjects; 65 percent to 88 percent of HRmax for the females. Meanwhile, the calculated VO2max values were between 45 percent and 70 percent of VO2max for males and between 45 percent and 80 percent for the female subjects.

Male subjects burned between 441 and 699 calories per workout. The females expended between 302 and 544 calories per workout. The Plyometrics workout proved to be the biggest calorie burner, while the Chest, Shoulders & Triceps routine burned the fewest number of calories.

Researchers noted that given these results, the P90X workouts that were tested (and most likely all of the P90X workouts) meet or exceed established fitness industry standards for losing weight and improving cardiorespiratory fitness. The variety in these workouts will not only keep the body primed for new exercises each session but will also keep people from getting bored with the sameroutine. While keeping up with this 90-day routine can be a challenge, remember that nutrition tends to be the biggest part of a healthy lifestyle. To get the best results, properly fueling your body is imperative.


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