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P90X! P90X! Everywhere I turn, everyone is talking way too much about P90X! Which can only mean one thing: There’s something wrong with it.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit of a contrarian. If something is being mentioned as a “miracle cure” or “quick fix,” I immediately discount it as a fraud. There never are any quick fixes or miracle diet tonics. The problem with any of these plans is embedded in their DNA; they’re short cuts. You think the people ordering these diet plans from their coach at 3 in the morning (when the infomercials for them air) want to actually put in lots of hard work at the gym? The only tried and true method of taking off that weight and actually keeping it off? Of course not! Which is why these workout methods become popular in the first place.
P90X, on the other hand, has seemingly evaded all of this criticism. So many people have had success with it that it has kept on gaining and gaining steam for being a valid workout method in order to tone your body in a short amount of time. Which puts myself, as a previously-admitted contrarian, in a bit of a bind. Does this mean that P90X is completely effective and has no flaws? Does this mean that, for once, popular wisdom is actually correct, which will force me to completely change my line of thinking.
Luckily, I don’t have to answer either of these questions since Trevor Thieme over at Men’s Health has put together an essay detailing exactly what is wrong with P90X. Let’s go to the quotes!
If you watch late night television, you’ve seen the infomercials: Fitness trainer Tony Horton and a handful of attractive models explain that by constantly introducing new exercises and workouts—which run the gambit from traditional strength sessions to Kenpo karate classes—you’ll achieve a constant state of “muscular confusion.” The less your muscles adapt, Horton explains, the faster they’ll grow.
The idea of “muscular confusion” isn’t new. And unfortunately for Horton and the folks at Beachbody—who also introduced the world to Hip Hop Abs and the Turbo Jam workout—it’s not based on science. “It’s a marketing term invented by Joe Weider [the creator of the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest] back in the 1980s,” says Bill Hartman, C.S.C.S, a strength coach in Indianapolis. “And it’s kind of counterproductive.”
Here’s why: If muscles don’t adapt, they don’t grow. “The whole goal of weightlifting to is to get an adaptation to occur,” says Hartman, “and that requires multiple exposures to the same stimulus.”
The article goes on from there, detailing how the method of P90X focuses more on the body losing weight rather than building muscle. Which, obviously, is fine if that’s your goal. If you are using P90X to lose weight, then please, have at it. But plenty of my friends have been trying to use P90X in order to build muscle mass, and it’s just not a logical way to go about this.
So, the main thing to keep in mind is this: If you’re looking to quickly lose weight for a brief period of time, go ahead and use P90X. If you want to build muscle mass or keep the weight off for a significant period of time, P90X might not be the best way to go. I certainly hope this post wasn’t needlessly confusing to anyone.