My 10 "Must Haves" for the P90X®
Despite being successful during my initial run through the P90X® program, there were many things I learned "on the go," or, through trial and error, that greatly benefited my success. I understand that people can be limited by their budget and financial situations, so you'll have to decide for yourselves what you can and are willing to pay for. If I could go back again to Day 1, here are the things I would definitely have at my disposal from the very beginning:
1) Shakeology® – Shakeology is the staple of my diet and it Beachbody's "flagship" supplement. Period. Initially I became a Beachbody Coach solely for the 25% discount I would receive on this product. The biggest benefit I notice with Shakeology® is that it really helps regulate and cleanse my digestive system. Beachbody® offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee, so you really have nothing to lose when deciding to try out this incredible product. Use the Home Direct (HD) feature and Beachbody even waives the shipping costs and you can cancel the HD feature at any time! My "Gorilla" recipe, well, makes me feel like a gorilla! There seem to be two 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 wouldn't do without it. Shakeology® does cost about twice the price of regular protein powders, but it contains 70+ nutrients, minerals, vitamins and amino acids, which cannot be said for any other product, anywhere. Try it once - it's use through your 90-day program (and beyond) will greatly benefit your health and enhance your results!
2) A Quality Recovery Drink – A quality recovery drink, when consumed within about (40) minutes of completing your exercise, will really maximize your results and your recovery. A quality recovery drink delivers protein, but also delivers "simple" carbohydrates to your muscles, for glycogen replenishment and insulin delivery to depleted muscles. Recovery drinks help flush lactic acid out of your msucles, so to speak, which greatly reduces ensuing muscle soreness. Creatine will help hydrate and "volumize" muscles as well. I've used Dark Matter by MHP or Aftershock by Myogenix as recovery drinks in the past. I currently use the P90X® Results and Recovery formula, mixed with (1) scoop of Cytosport's vanilla Whey Isolate, as my recovery drink. It's really a great-tasting (think Orange Creamsicle) and powerful recovery drink!
3) The COMPLETE P90X® program – You're probably thinking "what the...?" Too often people contact me and say "hey, what workouts am I supposed to be doing on this day?" or "what diet am I supposed to follow?" It seems many people have copies of the P90X® DVDs, but not the rest of the important material that also comes with the program. I can't overstate enough how important it is to read and understand the P90X® Manual, as well as the P90X® Nutrition Guide!
4) A pull-up bar with multiple hand positions - The P90X® workouts involve a variety of pull-ups, from varied hand positions, etc. You'll be using the bar A LOT, so you'll want a sturdy one that will last. I do use the Beachbody® P90X® model for its durability, although there are lesser, cheaper models available at sporting goods stores. To date, after 2+ rounds of the P90X®, mine has held up just fine, with no damage to the doorway or door frame that I generally use it in.
5) Adjustable Dumbbells OR Exercise Bands – Personally, I use the Bowflex® Select Tech 552 adjustable dumbbells and I think they're money. They are pricey, but worth every penny in my opinion. Many people try to start off with a couple of dumbbells, say 15's and 20's, and then gradually add higher weights as they progress. Trust me, by the end you'll end up with more weights than you know what to do with, because you'll keep getting stronger. Save yourself a lot of trouble, and storage space, and get an adjustable set as soon as your budget allows. If you cannot afford the Bowflex® models, there are also Weider® PowerBlock models as well as LifeSmart® models available. Exercise bands get a bad reputation in some circles, but they are perfectly adequate. There are many different levels of resistance, coded by the band's color, that offer terrific workouts. Bands offer "constant" resistance throughout the ENTIRE motion of an exercise, and therefore work your muscles in different ways than free weights. I used the bands whenever I was on the road.
6) Push-up Bars – Push-up Bars do two things for you: 1) they take a great deal of stress and pressure off of your wrists, allowing you to concentrate more on the pectoral muscles you're targeting, and 2) they allow a much deeper range of motion than just doing push-ups without them. Push-up Bars are also used in other exercises, such as Pike Presses.
7) Yoga Mat – I would strongly advise getting a better, rather than a cheaper model, if at all possible. You'll spend A LOT of time on this mat during Yoga X and X Stretch and will want it to be as "grippy" but "cushy" as possible. Plus, you'll definitely want to do Ab Ripper X off of a more forgiving surface like this, as opposed to just straight off of the floor.
8) Whey Protein Powder – During my first Round of P90X® I averaged about 1.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight. You need to consume protein to fuel your muscles and remain anabolic, period. I could not have achieved my nutritional goals without protein supplements. Beachbody sells whey protein powder, but I use Cytosport's Whey Isolate.
9) Fitday (or another similar nutrition/diet tracking system) – It's my very firm belief that peoples' results are at least 60% diet / nutrition, with the remaining 40% being the workouts themselves. I used Fitday (www.fitday.com – it's FREE) to track everything I ate. It's a great program and really helped me to hold myself accountable in regards to my diet. As you input the things you eat throughout the day, Fitday will display a pie chart that shows you exactly where you're at in terms of your ratios. Good stuff. Other programs are there as well (some people love the Livestrong program) – use one!
10) An impact-reducing pair of shoes – I started the P90X® at 37 years old, 220.5 pounds and 31.5% body fat. Needless to say, during extreme workouts like Plyometrics, the joints in my knees and ankles were taking a pounding. I used the Reebok® Zig Tech model shoes and I think they really helped a lot to reduce joint pain. I also took a joint supplement called Super Cissus – would definitely recommend!