Trying the Whole P90X Thing Again With P90X2: Phase One

P90X move
Kelsey does the one-arm chest press on a stability ball—a signature move of P90X2.

FBG intern and on-again-off-again exerciser Kelsey is trying P90X2, the second version of the super-popular P90X system by Tony Horton. Find out how it’s going below, and follow along with her progress in the coming months here!

After far too long of not working out enough, my hubby and some of our friends decided to do P90X2. I was up for it, as we had attempted and—well, in my case—failed miserably at the original P90X. If I remember correctly, I don’t think anyone actually finished the whole thing. My excuse for not finishing P90X was that I was planning my wedding, and meetings and other things got in the way. Frankly, at the time, I just wasn’t into it and it was summertime—so it was more appealing to go outside than work out inside. But this time with P90X2? Well, it was going to be different.

I’m determined to finish this time because it’s winter and I can’t fathom running outside. We also don’t have our gym membership anymore, so what better excuse to get off the couch and do something, right? I should clue you in that our P90x2 group generally consists of two guys—my husband and one of our friends and then me, the only girl—so it’s a bit of a unique dynamic.

Most of you have probably heard of the P90X or P90X2 programs, but may probably haven’t tried them, so I’ll give you the quick low-down on how they work (we’ll do a full review of both programs here in a few months). Each workout system lasts 90 days and uses weights to tone and strengthen, yoga to stretch those muscles, plyometrics to keep the heart rate up, and other various types of exercise to get you in shape. The program is designed to have a person work out for five to six days a week through three phases. There are even worksheets for some of the workouts for you to keep track of your progress, so I’ll try to let you know how I improve by the end of each phase of P90X2. There is also a meal system included, and while I don’t follow it, some people do to get the maximum results.

Each phase in P90X2 is supposed to last three to six weeks, depending on how you feel you have “mastered” the moves. This version also allows two days of rest, so you are only working out five days a week, which I find a little easier to manage than the six-days-a-week workout of the original P90X.

As of now, I’m into week two in the first phase of P90X2, and I can definitely feel muscles that haven’t shown themselves since I did P90X. I’m not used to working out with weights or holding up my body with my arms (not really something I can do well as of now). It’s easier for the guys to hold themselves up, and I do my best to modify the moves. Although, most of the first phase so far is better than P90X—less repetition and time goes by a little faster.

There seems to be a lot more core work in P90X2 than P90X—at least in the first phase. And the yoga is much better than the 90-minute P90X version. I was dreading the yoga since the last one was so boring and drawn out, but the P90X2 version is about an hour and has a lot more variety and stretching. I can only do so many downward dogs before I get a headache, you know? Yoga just isn’t my thing, but I’m attempting.

Tony Horton—love him or annoyed by him—is just about the same as he was in P90X, cracking “jokes.” The P90X2 workouts also bring back different people, who range from MMA fighters to moms to actual people who have benefited from the workout program. I think the goal is to make the program feel attainable, but sometimes you just feel lame because they are in so much better shape than you. But at least Horton lets one of them do modified versions of some moves, so we weaklings (for now at least!) can feel like we are still accomplishing the workout. And the modified version is not always done by the girl—way cool.

After a little more than a week into it, I do feel better. Like I’m working out. Shocking—I know. I can tell I’m using my muscles differently than normal, and it feels good. I’m getting that good sore feeling. I’m glad I decided to get my arse off the couch and do something. I know that working out makes you feel good, and I just have to harness that motivation and do it because my body always feels better when I’m working out.

So, it’s on to the rest of the phase and more painful, yet gratifying workouts. I’ll let you know how I fare in a couple weeks. Here’s to progress! Have you tried P90X or P90X2? What was your experience like? The results? —Kelsey


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  1. Go get it girl! P90X2 will change your body in the best ways. I don’t think I would have attempted it had I not done P90X first (5 rounds). Even still, it’s pretty challenging because it’s different. I would recommend you give the first phase at least 4 weeks. Find the P90X2 Facebook pages or hit the Beachbody message boards for support and answers to your questions. Stick with it!

  2. I’m on day 4 of phase 1 of P90x. So far I absolutely love it! Definitely modifying some since having c-sec #2 only 16 months ago. But so far it’s engaging, and I’m enjoying it. Hoping I can stick with the 6 days a week thing the whole 90 days!

  3. I would LOVE to do one of the P90X programs but I don’t think I am up to that level of intensity yet from watching some preview videos. Does anyone know of a “pre-P90X” type work out? I don’t really need any aerobic type videos because I can do that fine on my own. I have worked with a personal trainer for 5 months at the end of 2011 and lost 80 lbs in a little over a year but have a good 40 lbs to go before I am at a comfortable weight (not ideal weight, but pretty decent for a 54 year young person!!).

    Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  4. Chris S. – they have P90 which is a great place to start if P90X is too much of a workout. The workouts are shorter and less intense

  5. That’s exciting, I know my uncle did P90x and he got into amazing shape, although he was never “out” of shape really he’s a regular cyclist and mountain climber but he still leaned out and looked great.

    I know I’m definitely not up to the level to try it, but maybe in the future.

  6. I tried P90X a few years ago. I only completed about 2 weeks before falling off the bandwagon. My main problem was trying to find somewhere suitable to do the pull-ups. Does P90X2 still have pull-ups? It would be helpful for my needs if they just took them out so I don’t have to go run over to a doorway that’s no where near my TV and in my current apartment there’s *no where* to do pull-ups.

    That being said, I did lose about a pound every day I was doing the program! I’m healing from a back injury right now but I’d like to work my way back to P90X or perhaps starting with 10 minute trainer (I must admit…I love me some Tony Horton).

  7. Chris – Power 90 or even 10 minute trainer are good starting places. Also, with P90x there is a modifier in the program, so you don’t have to go all out right away. I’d be happy to answer any questions you have in the future regarding the program.

  8. I got P90X2 for Christmas and it’s great! I just pick a DVD to do each day and mix them in with my other DVDs, P90X and running. Even though it’s weird that there is no Cardio workout, I’m still working hard! I modify LOTS of it, but I’d rather do that than be working out to a DVD that’s too easy. Hope you like it as much as I do.

  9. Katie – there are alternatives to pull ups for the program. I use the bands and found it much easier to do

  10. Could I start with P90X2 or should I start with P90X? I’ve never tried either but have heard great things about it. Any suggestions would be great 🙂

  11. p90x ab workouts review

    The strength workouts are great. The ab workout is outstanding, however you will eventually want to add some variation with some of Tony Horton’s other ab workouts (like 1 on 1). For people who are not in good shape, or who have only been doing cardio (which was my case) the workouts can be difficult to get through for a few weeks, and some moves will require modification for some time.

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  12. This program is something I plan to do eventually. I need to find a way to store a stability ball. That is my biggest issue for it. The extra equipment needed. I am doing a P90X/Insanity Hybrid right now and like it. I hated the yoga in P90x so I get what you are saying about doing downward dogs 50 times. It gets old fast.

  13. I just got my P90X2 in the mail yesterday! So I am excited to start it the beginning of September. I had my second baby July 16th, so have been really looking forward to getting that weight off and my body toned back up. I heard of P90X after my first child and youtube a bunch of videos and read reviews – sounded good so I bought and tried it…and..was..totally awesome! Very hard work, haha. Honestly, some days I just didn’t want to do it – but stuck with it and loved the results. I’m hoping to do the same this time around! I gained a lot more weight this pregnancy (boo hiss!) I’ve done the Insanity workout as well and loved it too! Now that is intense, way more than P90X I think – but if you want results you have to work hard – no fluff about it. 🙂 Good luck with it girl, you can finish it! I’m way pumped and excited to see what you think of it, because I am way excited for my experience too! I’ve actually taken a picture a week since 34 weeks pregnant, and will take pic till the end of the program to see what it does for me. haha – good motivator, because man the pictures right now are quite scary (a week after a baby does NOT look pretty, lol)