P90X Mission Essentials
If I had to go back in time and repeat my first round of P90X, knowing what I know now, there is a short list of items I feel I couldn’t do without. Every one of these items, in my opinion, were critical to maximizing my results with the P90X program. I used each of them several times per week, if not every day. I hope this list helps you weed through all of the available equipment and supplements to determine what best meets your needs … and your budget! (Please don’t feel like I’m giving you a sale pitch. These are all items I feel really work and are worth the $$ to me, but my budget may be different than yours)
1) Pullup Bar with multiple hand positions: The workouts involve a variety of pullups, and having a good, seven position pullup bar will help you maximize this portion of your workout. Plus, you’ll be using it a lot so you’ll want a sturdy one that will last. I bought the P90X Chin-up Bar from Beachbody due to its stronger materials and durability, although it was a little more expensive than the knockoff brands (I paid $59). I’m glad I did, because it holds up to my abuse just fine. I also have a free standing pullup bar system that I use because the room that I workout in now has rounded door arches and the P90X bar doesn’t fit on there. I got the free standing system at Academy Sports store, but it is considerably more expensive than the P90X pullup bar. You might also consider the new Chin-up Max is you need assistance with pull-ups at first. These straps are a great way to really help improve your pull-up performance. These weren’t available when I started, but many people have fallen in love with this tool because it helps make pull-up less daunting and more effective if you can’t do many unassisted pull-ups.
2) Dumbbells: I know the exercises can be done with bands, but free weights will definitely maximize your results. I have a set of hex dumbbells ranging from 2lbs to 45lbs. I bought those well before P90X (although I never used them, LOL!). There are also adjustable dumbbells such as LifeSmart adjustable dumbbells, which are much cheaper than the Bowflex model ($175 for the pair), and they supposedly work great. They adjust from 5-55 lbs, and are very durable. They can be bought at Academy Sports.
3) PowerStands: These are more expensive ($39) than the cheap plastic pushup bars you get at the store, but they are a solid composite material, very stable, and very durable. They won’t tip over shake when you are pushing hard for those last reps. They also put your wrists in the correct position to prevent joint problems. I love my Tony Horton PowerStands. They take my pushups to the next level, and they will last forever!
4) Yoga Mat: Get one of these for Ab Ripper X. If you try to do a bunch of situps with your tailbone directly on the floor, you’ll regret it! I picked mine up at Academy Sports. Target has a good selection also.
5) Shakeology: This is by far my favorite Beachbody supplement (in fact, it’s the only one on my “Must Have” list). I gave it a trial run just to see what the hype was about (they offer a 30 day guarantee so you have nothing to lose). Well, after the first month on Shakeology, I signed up for home direct and have been using it EVERY day since. There seem to be 2 types of people when it comes to Shakeology – those who haven’t tried it and are skeptical about the price, and those who have tried it and now rave about it. It does cost twice the amount of regular whey protein, but it’s got hundreds of nutrients and supplements in it, so comparing it to plain protein powder isn’t a fair comparison. You’ll have to decide if it’s in your budget or not, but to me it’s worth the money.
6) Whey Protein Powder: You will need to consume a lot of protein to fuel your muscles. A good quality protein powder is critical to giving you what your body needs, unless you like eating 20 cans of tuna per day! Haha. Beachbody sells Whey protein powder, but I now use NOW Whey Isolate (unflavored) because it is pure whey isolate, with no additives or fillers. If you buy it in bulk, it is very affordable and certainly the best quality protein powder you can buy.
7) Calorie Tracking System: I use www.myfitnesspal.com. Tap & Track is another great option that I intend to try. It’s an iPhone app that tells you exactly where you are at on your daily nutrition. Following the nutrition guide is critical to getting great results, and tracking your calories, protein, carbs, and fat will help you do that. In a study, people who “tried to eat healthy” actually consumed 50% more calories than people who actually tracked their calories. Put in the effort to do this!!! Please!!
8) Workout Sheets: These are easy and free, but you’ve got to keep track of your weight and reps on everything. How else will you monitor your progress and know how to push yourself to the max? You can find my favorite sheet at the following link: P90X Schedule and Workout Sheets
9) Creatine: This supplement helps volumize the muscles with water so that they can draw more nutrients in to aid with recovery and muscle building. I get mine from GNC. It is important to cycle creatine, 2 months on and 1 month off. If you are unsure about using creatine, google it and read multiple reviews.
10) Glutamine: This supplement is also naturally occurring in our bodies, and during intense exercise our glutamine stores are depleted, so replacing glutamine is important to giving our muscles what they need to repair themselves. I get mine at GNC.
11) Pre-workout Supplement: I like the intensity and energy of a pre-workout supplement. I used C4 Extreme during phase 2 of P90X and1 M.R. for phase 3 and Asylum. They both have creatine in them, so they need to be cycled 2 months on, 1 month off. Beachbody released their own pre-workout supplement in January called “Energy and Endurance” and I am now using that exclusively. I really love this stuff because it gives a great boost of energy that lasts a long time, with no crash. The best part is that it doesn’t contain creatine or any of those controversial chemicals like 1, 3 dimethylamylamine (DMAA), which I like to avoid and it doesn’t need to be cycled. I do add creatine to the E&E pre-workout, but cycle it 2 months on, 1 month off.