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Bridal Fitness on Paper - P90X2 Balance and Power Monday, May 7, 2012 ~ 10:38 a.m.

If you've been following this Bridal Fitness on Paper series for a while, then I'm sure you've heard me talk about the P90X fitness program in the past. Generally, I'm a pretty big fan. I first started P90X about a year before my wedding in February 2011, and I definitely credit it toward helping me lose the 20 pounds that I lost before my wedding day. It made me feel stronger, more powerful, and more in control of my body, and I have yet to come across a workout program that is better than P90X. If you're interested in learning more about my experience with the original P90X program, be sure to check out my reviews on the Kenpo X and Core Synergistics cardio workouts, and the Chest, Shoulders and Triceps resistance training routine. I'll continue to review the individual workouts in the P90X program in the future, too!

Today, I dig into a workout in the new P90X2 home fitness program called Balance and Power. Whereas it was easy to categorize the workouts in the original P90X program as either cardio or strengthening focused, the workouts in the P90X2 routine are a bit more ambiguous. They all tend to focus on resistance training, in my opinion, with a little bit of cardio jumping, squatting and such mixed in. Balance and Power is like this, as well. As a woman trying to drop that last five points or maintain, I tend to gravitate toward the cardio-heavy workouts, and for that reason, you'll probably sense my disappointment with the P90X2 workouts when you read my first review below. While I recognize the fact that strength training is an essential part of anyone's workout, whether you're trying to maintain, or drop 10, 20 or 100 pounds, us women know that we can't get by just lifting weights. It just doesn't burn the calories that we need to burn in order to actually lose weight.

Anyway, today's review focuses on Balance and Power, although there are several more workouts within the new P90X2 fitness program including the familiar Yoga workout (which I actually prefer to the original yoga included in the P90X DVDs, but that's for another day), Ab Ripper and several other cardio and resistance training workouts. I completed the Balance and Power workout for the first time just yesterday, although I have done some other workouts in the P90X2 program already. Since it was Sunday, my husband was around to take some photos of me while working out in front of the TV in our living room. It's nothing fancy, but he tried his best to get some good shots of me using my iPhone. Here are a couple of shots of my favorite exercises in the Balance and Power workout - the Over-Under Boat and the Lunge Kneel Knee Raise.

P90X2 Balance and Power workout review
P90X2 Balance and Power workout review

Bridal Fitness Review - P90X2 Balance and Power

Overall: Two and a half diamond ring rating for bridal fitness exercise reviews
2.5 out of 5 diamonds
Overall, I prefer the original P90X workouts to P90X2, and the P90X Balance and Power workout is no exception.

The P90X2 Balance and Power workout is a mixture of both resistance training and cardio, blending plyo (or jumping) moves, squats, planks and other moves using the medicine ball to challenge your balancing ability. Clocking in at a little over 60 minutes, including approximately 12 minutes of warm-up and 8 minutes of cool down, and a 5 minute "Bonus Round," Balance and Power is an equitable time commitment to the other P90X and P90X2 workouts.

There are a few reasons that I prefer the original P90X to its successor, but one of the main reasons is because the focus of the P90X2 workouts, including Balance and Power, seems to be more about strengthening than burning those calories with cardio. I'm assuming this was done on purpose. Maybe the creators imagined P90X2 being for people who had successfully completed P90X and want to move onto the next level in their fitness regime. However, as someone who has completed the P90X program, isn't a body builder and was just eager to add a little more P90X2 variety to my fitness routine, I was slightly disappointed. I would have rather them kept with the original formula - half of the workouts, cardio, half resistance training, rather than the new P90X2 formula, which seems to be more like 75 percent resistance and 25 percent cardio.

Cost & Equipment: One diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
1 out of 5 diamonds
The entire P90X2 workout program requires way too much equipment.

When I first started working out to the P90X2 videos, I was shocked at how much equipment it required compared to the original P90X series. In the first series, it seems as if the goal is to keep the amount of equipment required at a minimum, but in P90X2, it seems to be more about how much stuff they can convince you to go out and purchase! Just for Balance and Power, I supposedly needed a stability ball (or a towel and a chair), a foam roller (or towel), weights or bands, a medicine ball, powerstands and a mat...and that list is actually shorter than the list of stuff required for some of the other P90X2 workouts. Of course, all of the items you need are available on the P90X2 website.

This workout program seems to be designed so that you'll end up spending at least a few hundred bucks on the DVDs (3 monthly payments of $39.95, plus $19.95 shipping & handling), and all of the necessary equipment, which tends to range between $20 to $60 per item if purchased individually. Of course, if you just want to buy everything all together, there are larger fitness packages available! You can go for the "Deluxe" package, which includes an additional two DVDs, a foam roller, stability ball, and 2 medicine balls, all for just three payments of $79.90, plus $34.90 shipping! Or, if you're looking at the Deluxe package, you may as well look at the Ultimate package, which includes everything in the Deluxe, but a "Rumble Roller" instead of a regular old foam roller, and the set of Powerstands. The Ultimate package will cost you three monthly payments of $109.85 with a $34.90 shipping and handling fee.

Do you feel like I'm selling you right now? I swear that I'm not getting paid or compensated in any way for this review! I just wanted to prove my point. I don't like how the P90X2 program tries to sell you so much stuff! The P90X program encouraged you to purchase a few items, sure, but in general, they designed that workout so that you could get away with as little equipment as possible. The focus was on getting a good workout, whether you could afford the pull-up bar and handweights or not. The P90X2 program seems dead-set on making you purchase and use as much equipment as possible.

To be fair, I have been able to complete some of the P90X2 workouts without having all of the necessary equipment. I don't use a pull-up bar, medicine ball, foam roller, etc., and I make do with what I have, but I often feel like I'm missing out because I don't have everything on the equipment list. Sadly, I think this was their goal.

Time Commitment: Three diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3 out of 5 diamonds
At an hour long, P90X2 Power and Balance is a somewhat long workout, which I don't really mind. However, I think they could make better use of my time.

As a fan of the original P90X, I have never really minded spending an hour working out in front of the TV. Would I rather it only be 30 minutes? Sure! But I'm willing to set aside the time in my day if it means that I get a great workout. As I mentioned previously though, I am not convinced that the P90X2 Power and Balance workout makes an especially good use of my time. I like being out of breath! I hear "Balance and Power," and I think running, jumping, etc., but this workout was more about push ups, lifting weights and planks. I'm all for focusing on strengthening, but I really missed the added cardio element to all of the P90X2 workouts. The one hour length was okay, but I thought the workout could have been better designed to burn those calories!

Level of Difficulty: Three and a half diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3.5 out of 5 diamonds
P90X2 Balance and Power will certainly be challenging for anyone, but I'm not so sure that it will inspire the results that most brides are looking for.

When I was doing the Balance and Power workout, I found myself unable to do a few of the exercises as described, and was forced to do the easier versions that they (sometimes) demonstrated. Most of the exercises I wasn't able to do were strengthening ones using the medicine ball, where I simply wasn't strong enough to do the exericise the way that it was described. This is fine; I understand that I'm not going to be able to do everything perfectly right away. At the same time though, I am reviewing this workout specifically for brides. I have to say that I have a hard time imaginging any woman, unless you happen to be a huge (nearly professional) fitness buff, being able to complete this workout program as instructed. The exercises often seemed too difficult for any non-fitness professional to do correctly, in succession, as instructed.

Additionally, I felt as though I had to be especially careful not to injur myself while doing this workout. There were a few times when I would get nervous trying to do some of the exercises in the video, whereas I hardly ever felt that way when completing the original P90X fitness routine. Because I had to be so cautious, and because I so often couldn't complete the exercises in this video as shown, I found myself stopping a lot, and having to figure out how to make the exercise more doable for me. All of this stopping and struggling to figure things out only let my heart rate drop, and only made me feel like I was wasting time. I spent more time trying to figure out how to do the crazy push-ups than I did actually doing the push-ups, if that makes sense.

Effectiveness: Three diamond ring rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
3 out of 5 diamonds
While I do believe that the P90X2 workout can be an effective tool for many, I don't think it is the right, most effective way for brides to get in shape.

I feel like I should mention that after doing the Power and Balance workout yesterday afternoon, I did wake up a little bit sore today. This is a good thing! Any time that you change up your regular workout routine, it can only be beneficial to you, in my opinion. Your body and your muscles get challenged in new ways. For me, the most challenging exercises in the Power and Balance routine were the ones using the medicine ball. I don't use mine very often (I actually had to get mine out of the closet and blow it back up just yesterday!), which could also have something to do with it. Some of the exercises in the video using the ball included Mountain Climbers and different variations of the plank, none of which I could really do the way that I was supposed to. While I can't speak for every bride out there, I find it hard to believe that any woman like me could pull them off. Because these exercises were just too challenging for me to do correctly, I know that they weren't effective. Unless you happen to run marathans already, and want a way to take your workouts to the next, next, next level, P90X2 Balance and Power probably isn't for you.

On the other hand, my favorite exercises were the few that required weights, jumping and squatting, including the "Over-Under Boat," which challenged the arms and abs, the "Warrior Row Press," which worked my core, balance, arms, legs and glutes, and the "Lunge Kneel Knee Raise," which also did a great job working my legs and shoulders. I felt like these exercises were certainly challenging, but I could still do them. I could do the full number of reps required, and I could do them correctly. For that reason, these exercises felt like they were the most effective ones for me, personally.

Enjoyability: Two diamond rings rating for bridal bootcamp exercise reviews
2 out of 5 diamonds
Considering I had to stop a lot, and I couldn't do a lot of the exercises without potentially hurting myself, I can't say that I really enjoyed the P90X2 Balance and Power routine.

The P90X2 Balance and Power routine is just okay. Like I said, I really am a fan of P90X, but I've been somewhat disappointed with the newer workout program. It requires too much equipment, and it seems to be tailored to professional athletes, not to people like me who just want to work out to stay (or get) in shape and maintain. The exercises are often too challenging, and I'm left standing there trying to figure out how to make the routine work for me instead of actually moving and getting a good workout.

If you're curious about a specific workout and you'd like for me to review it, please do leave a comment below or feel free to send me an email at Sarah - at - apaperproposal - dot - com.

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