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My “Must Have” List

Coach Barry’s “Must Have” list for P90X

If I had to go back in time and repeat my first round of P90X, knowing what I know now, there is a short list of items I feel I couldn’t do without.  Every one of these items, in my opinion, were critical to maximizing my results with the P90X program.  I used each of them several times per week, if not every day.  I hope this list helps you weed through all of the available equipment and supplements to determine what best meets your needs … and your budget!  (Please don’t feel like I’m giving you a sale pitch.  These are all items I feel really work and are worth the money to me, but my budget may be different than yours)

1)  Pullup Bar with multiple hand positions  = The workouts involve a variety of pull-ups, and having a good, seven position pull-up bar will help you maximize this portion of your workout.  Plus, you’ll be using it a lot so you’ll want a sturdy one that will last.  I like the one from Beachbody due to its stronger materials and durability, although it was a little more expensive than the knockoff brands ($59, $44 if you are a coach).  As my family got in on it for round two I installed a metal pull-up bar in our workshop/gym.  However for working out in the living room the pull-up bar is a must.  For those of you that feel the pull-ups are just too much even with the chair (like my wife) we got a set of resistance bands (I also use them when I travel).  They are great for building up the muscles needed in pull-ups so you can move on to the real thing and are also a good change of pace as well as a must for those of us that travel.

2) Adjustable Dumbbells  = I know the exercises can be done with bands, but free weights will definitely maximize your results.  I got the Bowflex SelectTech 1090s (they adjust from 10-90 lbs) which are the top of the line in adjustable dumbbells.  I waited for 5 months (using the old hand weights I had from my other attempts to get in shape for round 1 but needed more weights with my whole family getting involved for round 2) for them to go on a 40% off free shipping sale for me to be able to afford them, but they were worth the wait.  I also looked at the LifeSmart adjustable dumbbells, which are much cheaper than the comparable Bowflex 552 model ($175 for the pair), and others have said that they have worked great.  They adjust from 5-55 lbs, and are very durable. 

3)  PowerStands = These are more expensive ($39, $29 if you are a coach) than the cheap plastic push-up bars you get at the store, but they are solid steel, very stable, and very durable.  They won’t tip over shake when you are pushing hard for those last reps.  They also put your wrists in the correct position to prevent joint problems.  I love my PowerStands.  They take my pushups to the next level, and they will last forever!

4)  Yoga Mat = Get one of these for Ab Ripper X.  If you try to do a bunch of sit-ups with your tailbone directly on the floor, you’ll regret it!  You can pick one up at Target.

5)  Shakeology  = This is by far my favorite Beachbody supplement.  I gave it a trial run just to see what the hype was about (they offer a 30 day guarantee so you have nothing to lose).  Well, after the first month on Shakeology, I signed up for home direct and have been using it EVERY day since.  There seem to be 2 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 rave about it.  It does cost twice the amount of regular whey protein, but it’s got hundreds of nutrients and supplements in it, so comparing it to plain protein powder isn’t a fair comparison.  You’ll have to decide if it’s in your budget or not, but to me it’s worth the money.  To learn more, click here.

6)  Whey Protein Powder = You will need to consume a lot of protein to fuel your muscles.  A good quality protein powder is critical to giving you what your body needs, unless you like eating 20 cans of tuna per day!  Beachbody sells Whey protein powder, but I primarily use EAS 100% Whey Protein because it is a little more affordable and I get it at Sam’s Club.

7)  Track Your Calories = I use the Food Calories & Nutrition Calculator at ( click here ) it works for me as it helps me with foods I don’t have all the stats for.  My son likes Tap & Track.  It’s a .99 cent iPhone app that tells him exactly where he is at on his nutrition.  Following the nutrition guide is critical to getting great results, and tracking your calories, protein, carbs, and fat will help you do that.  In a study, people who “tried to eat healthy” actually consumed 50% more calories than people who actually tracked their calories.  Put in the effort to do this!!!  Please!!

8)  Workout Sheets  = These are easy and free, but you’ve got to keep track of your weight and reps on everything.  How else will you monitor your progress and know how to push yourself to the max?  One of the most important aspects for me was that I am a competitive person and if I wrote down that I did 8 diamond push-ups last time then I would do everything in my power to do 9 or more the next time.

9)  Creatine  = This supplement helps volumize the muscles with water so that they can draw more nutrients in to aid with recovery and muscle building.  I get mine from GNC.  It is important to cycle creatine, 2 months on and 1 month off.  If you are unsure about using creatine, google it and read multiple reviews.

10)  Multivitamin Multipak  = This group of supplements has the vitamins and minerals you need, an energy enhancer to rev up the metabolism, L-Glutamine that is an important amino acid in our bodies that is depleted during exercise and a N.O. maximizer.  I use Mega Men Sport from GNC.

11)  Amp Maxertion N.O. (or similar pre-workout) = I like the intensity and energy of a pre-workout supplement.  I am currently using Amp Maxertion N.O. as the other popular N.O.’s I tried had a little too much caffeine in it for me. You should find out what works for you as a pre-workout supplement is great for getting the most out of your workout.  Try Jack3d (heard it tastes horrible, but works) or Amp N.O. if you want the extra kick of caffeine.

12)  Results and Recovery Drink = After my workout I often found myself feeling tired or burned out as I had pushed myself hard.  Once I started drinking the recovery drink after my workout (should be consumed within one hour after workout for maximum effect) I could not believe how much better I felt. I was re-energized and I also noticed that I was not as sore the next day either.  I mix in my creatine with the recovery drink (I add 5g, about a tablespoon) and drink it while I cool down.