P90X: Getting Started

So, you’ve decided that P90X is the workout and diet plan for you to achieve lasting fitness and health for the rest of your life. Excellent! You won’t regret making the commitment. Now that you’ve ordered the DVDs, you need to get ready for their arrival. You ordered the DVDs, right?

P90X EquipmentP90X Equipment Needed

You will need some equipment. Don’t worry, though; it’s not much and you may already have some things. Let’s start with the most important first.

Weights or Bands

You’ll need either dumbbells (free weights) or resistance bands. There are a ton of options for each, but there are some basic guidelines you should remember when choosing.

You can get simple free weights at many department stores as well as sport good stores. I recommend getting single piece weights. You can buy them in sets, but if you get the interchangeable plate design dumbbells, it may end up slowing you down. However, there are newer options now that let you adjust the weight of each dumbbell. These are very cool, but usually, cost more at this time. If you get the single piece dumbbells, make sure they are coated for a good grip (or use gloves). Look for polychloroprene (i.e. Neoprene), or any kind of rubber/vinyl, coating. Here are links to some affordable dumbbells of each type:

Resistance bands are very versatile tools for strength training also. Each band is rated at a certain resistance, but you can vary the amount of resistance depending on the distance from the handles you pull. This actually allows for a much broader range of resistance. One option that I appreciate are bands that can be interchanged with a set of detachable handles. There are several types of bands that you can purchase. I, personally, own the full set of bands by the creators of P90X. Once I figured out how to easily swap the higher resistance bands among the handles, I really grew to like these bands.

Pull/Chin-Up Bar

A good pull-up bar or chin-up bar is something that you will absolutely need for this program. Depending on the type of person you are, you will learn to love or hate pull-ups. That said, you want to get a bar that makes the whole process much easier on you. You can get one that stands free like a tower on your floor. These are usually adjustable in height. A cheaper alternative is a bar that installs in a doorway. Some of these require a sturdy doorway with trim that you set the bar onto. Others need brackets screwed into the studs of your doorway with the bar resting into the brackets (these usually telescope to the appropriate length). Below are links to a couple of each type.

Fitness Floor Mat

Another essential for your workout plan is a floor mat. You will be on the floor for an hour and thirty minutes of extreme yoga. You will be sweating through plyometrics (jump training) for about an hour. You will be stretching all your muscle groups for another hour. Thankfully, these exercises are on different days. However, you will need a floor mat that is thick enough for these activities.

Heart Rate Monitor

Several workouts in this plan are cardio-based: Plyometrics, Cardio X, and Kenpo X. In order to get the most out of these workouts, you should monitor your heart rate. It is important to keep your heart rate within an ideal range for burning fat. A good monitor will prompt you for your physical attributes and calculate the rest for you. After a proper setup, you can equip the monitor and it will beep when you are out of your range. This allows you to adjust your activity to get back into range.

Other Equipment

Some other equipment that you may get could improve your experience.

Most importantly, a way to monitor your fat loss is very nice to chart your progress. You can get a standard caliper or an electronic monitor. Some are built into weight scales, others are hand-held.

If you have wrist issues or want to get more range of motion out of your push-ups, you can purchase a pair of push-up stands. I have a bad wrist, and a set of push-up stands are great.

Lastly, yoga blocks are absolutely great for so many people. For me (and most guys), yoga blocks will help to perform the most advanced stretches which would otherwise not be possible. For the more flexible people out there, yoga blocks will help you stretch beyond normal means.


P90X Supplements

I suppose it is possible to experience this workout plan without supplements. However, I really do not see how this would work. In order to meet your dietary needs, I sincerely recommend that you invest in supplements. You can get all of these items at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, and other similar shops or online with Amazon and many others.


The foods we have available to us today are usually very short on the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Then, if you take on any workout plan, let alone an extreme plan, you will really need the vitamins. Get a multi-vitamin for men or women. For the P90X program, consider getting a multi-vitamin that targets sports activities or athletes.


The first phase of P90X expects you to really put down the protein and lay off the carbs. It is really, really hard to eat enough protein via food. You’ll want to consider a protein powder supplement. I keep it simple. I consume a GNC whey protein that is chocolate-flavored. It actually tastes great mixed with just water (this has come a long way in the past 10 years). 1 scoop of this stuff is equivalent to 1 protein on the P90X diet plan. Be aware that whey protein contains eggs, so if you are a strict vegetarian, look for an alternative to whey. You can mix a protein drink as a snack in the middle of the day and get a full protein count toward your daily goal.

For protein bars, there are the P90X Protein Bars; however, I prefer the Atkins Peanut Butter Granola Bars.

Recovery Drinks

After an extreme workout, you need to recover; and fast. There is an important 1-hour window, right after your workout, when you have the opportunity to help your muscles recover from the stress and strain beyond natural means. Consuming a recovery drink after such workouts, you will experience less soreness and will actually repair your muscle tears so much faster.

P90X has a recovery drink that I understand is great. However, my wife and I decided to find out the ingredients and find an alternative. The key to a recovery drink is the 4:1 ratio. That’s 4 parts carbohydrates to 1 part protein. If you want an alternative that is fairly affordable, I recommend Accelerade. You can find it at GNC and Vitamin Shoppe at a decent price. I believe GNC only has 2 of the flavors, while Vitamin Shoppe has all 6 or 7 flavors. You should take 2 scoops of Accelerade, but you may want to divide that up into 2 drinks unless you like it strong. This stuff tastes great and we always look forward to it after a workout.

Note: Accelerade (and most recovery drinks) use whey, which contains dairy. So, if you are strictly vegan, know this fact and read the labels to find something suitable for you.


It may seem overwhelming at first to get started on a high-intensity workout. However, once you make a list of the things you need, it is not that bad at all. If you have to purchase everything listed here to get the most of your P90X workout plan, you can expect to spend the following amounts:

  • $150-$225 start-up costs for equipment
  • $35-$65 monthly costs for supplements

You will not regret committing yourself to this workout plan. P90X definitely guides you to real results of fitness. I mean long-lasting fitness. My wife and I love the results we are getting. I expect to finish the program, take a small break, then start it all over again. Yeah, it’s that good!

Good luck!