Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
5 Mar

P90X and CrossFit

Nearly every day I get emails from readers about P90X and CrossFit. Most are favorable, some not so much, but mostly, people just want to know if these fitness programs fit within the context of the Primal Blueprint Fitness methodology. In this article I’ll explore what’s great about P90X and CrossFit, and then I’ll voice my nit-picky criticisms and explain how I think both can be improved upon.

It’s often said that any movement is better than no movement, that simply getting up and being active is better than sitting on the couch and stewing with guilt and self-reproach. For the most part, I agree with this assessment. It’s imperative that everyone be active, even if it’s just taking nightly walks or using the treadmill at the gym. But “just any old movement” isn’t ideal. Ideally, we should be performing movements that support, enable, and enhance quality of life. Our exercises should make us stronger, faster, and more capable of accomplishing just about any physical feat the world throws at us. They should be enjoyable (pleasure-giving), brief (without sacrificing effectiveness), sustainable (lifelong), immediately accessible (to young, old, and untrained), and infinitely scalable (from beginners to elites). A fitness program, then, should meet these benchmarks.

Do P90x and CrossFit qualify as good fitness programs?

Absolutely, yes; they’re better than 95% of the other stuff out there. They both include high-intensity interval training, full body resistance work, endurance development, and mobility. They’re very clearly laid out for trainees who need structure to make progress. Buy the DVDs and you get the full P90X package; log onto CrossFit every day and you get access to the daily workouts free of charge. Tony Horton (of P90X) is one of my best friends, and I’m the guy who showed him the beauty of interval workouts. I also designed the P90X recovery drink, which, I’m told, is more addictive than crack (too sweet for me). The PB eating plan works perfectly with CrossFit, which is probably why we have so many supporters from that camp. All in all, there is definite kinship between the PB and the other two programs. There are many mutually shared interests, directions, and focuses. There’s a lot of crossover. Both programs get people up and moving – and amidst our culture of sedentarism and sloth, I can’t get upset with that.

P90X promises a beach-ready body: defined upper body, ripped abdominals, reduced body fat. For many people, it delivers on each. If you’re interested in building muscular endurance (not necessarily raw strength), or if you’re a former athlete with a good amount of muscle underneath a couple years’ worth of flab, P90X might be right for you. If you want an ass-kicking workout that leaves you panting and heaving and sore all over the next day, P90X will provide it. You’ll certainly be able to do more push-ups and pull-ups by the end of it.

CrossFit promises to forge hybrid gymnasts, powerlifters, and runners – all around athletes who can perform Olympic lifts, complex gymnastic moves, then get up and run a 10k (and make a respectable finish). CrossFit generally doesn’t produce elite, specified athletes, but it produces guys and girls who are stronger, faster, and more powerful than almost everyone else. Some people think that’s a criticism of CrossFit, while I think it’s one of its strengths.

As I noted above, I get a ton of reader emails about both CrossFit and P90X; in the Primal world, they’re probably the two most popular programs out there. Some people are pleased with their results. They get stronger, fitter, healthier, and better-looking by following them. But others aren’t so happy. These other readers talk about being burnt out, overworked, overtrained, or even injured. As much as I admire both programs and their creators, I think both could be improved upon.

Now, is it the program, or is it the user? Who do we blame?

As usual, there’s a little from column A, a little from column B. Assigning the totality of blame to either CrossFit/P90X or the trainee is silly. Acknowledging both the limitations of the programs and of the users is the far better option. CrossFit isn’t a perfect fit for every possible trainee, nor is P90X guaranteed to work for absolutely everyone who tries it – and that’s totally fine. But it also means that neither CrossFit nor P90X are ideal paths to fitness. In my book, remember, a fitness program should be lifelong and accessible to everyone. (Note that accessible doesn’t mean one size fits all.)

It’s commonplace for online discussions of fitness to descend into screaming matches laced with profanity and hyperbole, buttressed by rigid ideological stances that refuse to budge. This won’t be that.

You’ve heard why I like CrossFit and P90X – and I do like them, believe me – but this is where we diverge:

Sustainability

A program you can’t keep doing is hardly a program worth doing. Fitness should be a lifelong endeavor. It’s not just for the young bucks with limber limbs and supple, indestructible ligaments. It’s for the oldsters, the washed up athletes, the wide-eyed beginners, the moms, the dads. As it’s actually practiced, I think P90X is probably too much to do as a lifelong program. It isn’t even advertised as such, to Tony’s credit; it’s billed as a crash program designed to get you lean in 90 days (which it does well). To anyone currently doing P90X – do you expect to be repeating the cycles into your twilight years? Over an hour a day, six days a week? I just don’t think I’d have the stomach for that for very long.

Overtraining

I harp on the overtraining issue all the time. Next to inadequate or nonexistent training, overtraining is the biggest issue plaguing most trainees. If you don’t give your body enough downtime to recuperate, you’ll find it very difficult to get stronger/faster/quicker/more powerful. You may see some improvement over doing nothing at all, but you could just as easily undo any progress. Both CrossFit and P90X prescribe near daily high intensity training. Certain individuals relish the workload and even thrive on it. Some people can bounce back from a day’s workout and be ready to demolish their body all over again the next day. I think the 3 on, 1 off CrossFit schedule and the 6-days-a-week P90X schedule have their place in a training regimen, but they can easily lead to overtraining – especially if you go 100%. Intensity is important in training, but I worry that six days a week of over an hour of daily high intensity training will venture into diminishing returns territory for many trainees.

Injury avoidance

I hate injuries. I hate downtime. I work out in order to fuel the fun stuff – the Ultimate Frisbee, the hikes, the paddleboarding. As such, if my fitness efforts result in an injury that prevents me from playing, those fitness efforts are counterproductive. I love CrossFit, but people do get injured. Either they don’t have their forms locked in, or they’re going too hard for too long, but injuries do occur. CrossFitters will plainly admit that there is an inherent danger to going all out, day in and day out, and that’s actually part of the appeal. But at my age, I’m not interested in pushing my limits. Judging from plenty of reader emails, there are other people that feel the same way. If you’re a relative newbie and decide to do CrossFit, don’t just launch into the complex Olympic lifts, especially at high reps. I’ve seen overeager beginners do this, and they often mess themselves up.

The Need for Glycogen Replacement

Because my business background is in supplement design, I was brought on the P90X team (7+ years ago) to create a recovery drink that fit their demographic and the recovery requirements to allow someone to go hard nearly every day for 90 days. Simply put, if you’re doing P90X as prescribed, your body is going to need to replenish depleted glycogen. I am no longer associated with the company that markets P90X (although my likeness is shown on all the in-home products talking about replenishing glycogen) and, of course, my own ideas about how much we ought to be working out are different from P90X. If you work according to the PB, you don’t need to replenish glycogen with post-workout feedings of sugar. And you shouldn’t.

So, what makes my upcoming Primal Blueprint Fitness program better?

I suppose the honest answer is that we’ll have to wait and see. I announced my plans to launch Primal Blueprint Fitness later this year just this Wednesday. It won’t be until the program is in the hands of users and they’ve had a chance to incorporate it into their lifestyle that we’ll be able to make a fair assessment. That said, PBF is being designed to be a comprehensive, full-body fitness program that focuses on brevity without skimping on intensity. Primal Blueprint Fitness is CrossFit for the rest of us; it’s P90X without the massive time commitment. It’s about getting the best results with the least amount of input. See, I’m interested in helping as many people as I can, so I’ve designed it with everyone in mind. I’m sick of watching people hobble around with canes or old injuries. I want to see seniors bounding up stairs. I want to see people get six packs without actively trying to. More than anything, I want people to get stronger, fitter, and healthier. The athletes can scale things up and increase weights or reps, while the less advanced can just use bodyweight, but everyone will be doing the same movements that our bodies are designed to perform. Best of all, you’ll be able to follow this program for life, under any circumstance fortune throws at you. You get injured? There are workarounds. Growing older? You can simply scale things down. Out of town and away from equipment? Use your bodyweight. Beginners can instantly jump in. You get plenty of rest, coupled with plenty of intensity, for the best results with no overtraining. You get plenty of instruction on the more complex movements, to avoid injury. And, of course, it’s designed specifically with the PB eating plan in mind.

While you await the release of PBF follow the Primal Blueprint Fitness principles, use the specific workouts listed here on MDA as a guide, and if you’re looking to make your P90X and CrossFit workouts more Primal break things up with more rest, more play, and more low-level aerobic activity.

I greatly admire CrossFit and P90X, and they’ve produced some excellent athletes. If you’re a CrossFitter or P90Xer and it’s working for you, keep at it! I just think that a lot of people could benefit from a slightly different approach – a fitness program geared toward sustainability, functionality, and overall health. Fitness based on Primal movements, on the precise activities that comprised Grok’s day-to-day existence, distilled down to maximize effectiveness and minimize time commitment. Stay tuned!

Let me know what you think. What are your experiences with P90X and CrossFit? Are you ready to give Primal Blueprint Fitness a try? Thanks for reading and Grok on!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I think if you find a Crossfit Affiliate with knowledgeable experienced trainers, you more likely to avoid injury and overtraining. Trainers that have taken more courses than just CF Level 1 and who are skilled at O-lifts. When you’ve got trainers who are skilled in their craft, they will be tough on form, making it less likely to injure yourself or lift something too heavy. Depending on their programming they should be able to give you a good reco on # of training days to avoid overtraining.

    cosmopolitan primal girl wrote on March 6th, 2010
  2. Hey Mark, love the blog.

    What do you think of brazilian jiu jitsu as a work-out? It’s functional, has high-intensity moments (sparring) interspersed within much lower intensity moments (learning new moves). The core gets worked a lot as you have to bump people off you with your hips, etc.. Finally it improves one’s flexibility, particularly in the aforementioned hips.

    It just seems to me that hunter gatherers and our ancestors would have spent a lot of time play-fighting, the way wild animals and young children do before it’s socialized out of them.

    Interested in hearing your thoughts.

    Dave

    Dave wrote on March 6th, 2010
    • I forgot to mention, it’s addictive, and on days I feel I’m too tired to go, I get motivated by the idea of improving my skills. Finally, it can easily be practiced into old age.

      Dave

      Dave wrote on March 6th, 2010
  3. Excellent post! I’ve been waiting for Mark to elaborate and get his take on such programs for a long time. I can attest, being a Crossfit devotee for a few years as well as obtaining my level certification in 2007, that Crossfit (for me) was simply too much and not sustainable for the long haul. That fact became even more apparent after going primal (moving and eating), and realizing that I simply don’t need to workout that much, that hard or that often. After following an “ancestral” way of moving and eating for approximately a year, I can say wholeheartedly that I feel 100% better in all aspects of my health and well-being. I feel that my body has taken on “its” natural shape and size (the optimal amount of muscle and body fat) and find that I now perform various tasks and general daily living activities and chores with great ease as opposed to feeling chronically sore, beat up and generally overtrained as I was with other programs over the years. It has taken me a while to get used to but, I find that the less volume I do and the more infrequent and random my workouts are, the stronger and faster I become. Kinda scary! Good stuff Mark!

    Steven wrote on March 6th, 2010
  4. I am a P90X grad and I’m confused with people saying it’s not sustainable and too time constricting? One thing Tony repeats is to modify, modify, modify. I’ve done it for over a year and have taken out workouts replaced them with others. Instead of Plyo/Kenpo I do sprints. Instead of 90 minutes of Yoga I only do 45. Add the rest day and I have 4 easier days of workouts. Simple.

    Jose wrote on March 6th, 2010
  5. This post is very timely for me as I am in the process of looking for a safe and effective routine. The community aspect of Crossfit does apeal to me but I’m already paying for a gym membership and can’t see paying for two.

    warren wrote on March 7th, 2010
  6. Great post, Mark. I am a 42 y/o Crossfitter, just having started at an affiliate in October. The changes in my abilities have been huge, the workouts addictive. Being 42 I’ve been injured a couple of times, but the injuries have healed really fast. I don’t do the 3 on 1 off schedule, in fact I randomize. Some weeks I’ll go in 2 days, some weeks 4-5 depending on how much “Grrraaww!!” I’ve got in me that week.

    I think you just have to do what works best for you and not let your ego get the best of you and know your limits. Also know that your limits change, going both ways.

    My attitude, since starting PB and Crossfit, has gone from “Oh crap, I’m in my 40’s, I can’t do this stuff anymore” to “I’m in my 40’s and I’m gonna see just what I can do.”

    Joe B1 wrote on March 7th, 2010
  7. I am not a coach, just clearing up some mis-info

    Crossfit is mostly 5 days per week, with the occasional(1x month) 6 day week.

    Crossfit workouts are typically no longer than 20 minutes. If someone is doing a Crossfit workout longer than that, they likely did not scale the workout to their ability properly. Crossfit is meant to be short and intense, with the exception of murph.. & a 10K.

    Injuries happen everyday, anywhere in life. Why not be prepared for them? With the proper form and a coach, you can do pretty much anything. People typically get injuried because they are not capable of performing the movement, but they ignore that.

    I am not young at 34, but for the first time just learned how to do walking handstands from Crossfit(its fun btw). I can do 25 unbroken pullups. I can run a 20 minute 5K. I can do a ton of pushups, I can lift weight. I feel good. If I end up at a ski resort I can snowboard all day and feel good. I can jump into any athletic/play endeavor and not worry about my back or sore neck.

    I would recommend Crossfit for anyone of any age. When you look at Crossfit.com it looks crazy at first, but when you apply the programming methodology properly to someones level, you can give anyone a fantastic, short exercise experience.

    Chris wrote on March 7th, 2010
  8. Mark~

    Fantastic post filled alot of good info. It sounds like things are about to get very interesting regarding your new baby..Primal Fitness. I am very curious!

    Barbara wrote on March 7th, 2010
  9. “See, I’m interested in helping as many people as I can, so I’ve designed it with everyone in mind. I’m sick of watching people hobble around with canes or old injuries. I want to see seniors bounding up stairs. I want to see people get six packs without actively trying to. More than anything, I want people to get stronger, fitter, and healthier. The athletes can scale things up and increase weights or reps, while the less advanced can just use bodyweight, but everyone will be doing the same movements that our bodies are designed to perform. Best of all, you’ll be able to follow this program for life, under any circumstance fortune throws at you. You get injured? There are workarounds. Growing older? You can simply scale things down.”
    – Sounds like crossfit to me…

    Chris wrote on March 7th, 2010
    • Exactly

      Craig wrote on March 8th, 2010
      • agreed!

        meg wrote on March 9th, 2010
  10. Thank you, thank you for doing this post Mark. It is extremelty helpful considering a friend of mine gave me P90X just a week ago.
    I popped it in for curiosities sake & my immediate reaction was “Whoa! There is no way i could stick to this for a longer than the 90 days w/o some serious modification.” To intense & not enough recovery time for me.
    I do have a trainer that I work with 3 times a week for very intense 30 min workouts, the rest of the week is spend doing primal workouts. This is something I can definitley stick to for the rest of my life, as I enjoy it immensely.
    I’m 29 years old & it’s been about 7 wks since I’ve started to get back into gear again, so I am somewhat out of shape. I am determined to be in the best shape of my life & try competitions later, but mostley I want to be healthy.
    Yes I would love to see immediate results like P90X offers, but I know I will crash & burn before too long with that kind of program. It’s just not fun. Primal living is the life for me. :)

    Candice wrote on March 8th, 2010
  11. I really enjoyed my P90X rounds, but as many people said, I couldn’t sustain that level of time/effort. While this post was explicitly P90X and Cross Fit, I’d like to suggest a different BeachBody program that I’ve found integrates well into BP… ChaLean Extreme. Just like P90X, it’s got weight workout DVDs; but they are more progressive (9 different weight workouts to chose from at 3 levels of difficulty) and a great deal shorter per workout (avg is 37-43 minutes). There’s some cardio & interval training DVDs you can mix in if you want, or your own cardio; and have had really good strenght results without any of the overuse injuries I kept racking up trying to keep up with Tony.

    Shaya wrote on March 8th, 2010
  12. I’ve done several rounds of P90X, loving it each time. Over the last year, I’ve paid more attention to what I eat and in that time have had tremendous results.
    In school, I was the fat whale who couldn’t do pull-ups. Now I can pop out 20.
    I’d like to do Crossfit for the variety, but the closest gym is 50 miles away..oh, that’s another reason I love the X, I don’t have to go to the gym.

    bluedad wrote on March 8th, 2010
  13. I’ve done both P90X and Crossfit but my favorite type of exercise is called Burst Training. It’s where you do intervals in between 20-60 seconds and then recover. I typically do 30 second bursts then rest for 30 seconds. I go at around 90-100% my maximum effort. Medical research has proven this is the best way to burn body fat and balance hormones. You can also check out a great article about Burst training at:

    http://www.draxe.com/health-articles/2009/10/13/maximize-your-exercise-routine.html

    Dr. Josh Axe wrote on March 8th, 2010
  14. mark thank you for your efforts. they are commendable and welcome, again thank you.

    Al wrote on March 8th, 2010
  15. “I hate injuries. I hate downtime.”

    I think all of us active folk would second that! Injuries really bug me but I think 90% of the time, it is your body putting its foot down.

    I hold my hands up – I’m guilty of overtraining on many occasions, and it is taking me a long time to learn. I think it comes back to a fear that if you don’t workout, you will lose your progress, muscle, or gain fat. In fact, injuries will do this to you sooner so it is definitely best to rest and rebuild. I know you have to be disciplined. (Where some people struggle to pull themselves of the sofa to get active, many of us are the opposite – perhaps too active for our own good!)

    My current marathon training is bugging me because my body isn’t used to endurance work and it is taking its toll. I like to challenge of long runs but I’ll go back to HIIT when the London Marathon is done! I’m on a 3 day rest to try to let my knees and joints heal. Let’s hope it works! Marathons just aren’t good for my body. Are they good for anyone’s in fact? (Did Grok have to cover that mileage in a day!? – rarely I expect).

    For anybody else who dislikes injury, I have pulled together some of my thoughts and tips in an article: http://www.lmdfitness.com/training/overcoming-injury-stop-exercising/

    Look forward to reading PBF – it sounds ideal!

    Luke M-Davies wrote on March 9th, 2010
    • Luke, is London your marathon? Will check out your blog.

      Good luck to you! If it is your first part of the preparation for a marathon requires a bit of physical fatigue and more importantly mental fatigue that will occur during the race.

      I’m preparing for my 18th to 20th marathons this year. My training has changed a ton due to two things 1) incorporation of cross training – first P90x and now CrossFit/ CrossFit Endurance and 2) scaling back on how many times I run each week (from 6-7 to 3-4). My legs are much fresher and over the course of the last year are approaching PR’s from my late 20’s (ran in the mid 1990s).

      Once I qualify for Boston I’ll graduate and conclude the marathon burst. I do thoroughly enjoy triathlons as well

      Now whether GROK ran or had to run far – still a bit of mystery and speculation. Born to Run is a good book from the sheer joy of running perspective. Also Younger Next Year is nice one to add (of course in addition to Sisson’s!) in terms of longer term benefits of sustainable exercise

      Dave

      Dave Kohrell wrote on March 10th, 2010
      • Hi Dave,

        Thanks for the response and encouragement! Please do read my articles and comment away! I’ll certainly check out the books you mention.

        London is my first marathon (I’m 23, so plenty of time) but it could be my last. I am not a huge endurance fan as I am fairly dissuaded by Mark’s personal experience with it, as well as the other negatives such as it being time consuming and wearing on the body. That said, I really want to complete a marathon, so I am going for it! I would love to go sub 3hrs but sub 3.30 may be more realistic. I would like to go for triathlons but would need to work on the bike side of things! I’m trying to train as primal as possible (including nutrition) but it is a difficult balance to achieve. Quick sugary food is sometimes the only way :/

        As for future endurance events for me, I really enjoy the liberated feeling the distance gives you so I would like to continue but without injury. As you say, I think it is possible to do it with bare minimum training providing you sort out your base fitness. Good to hear you have succeeded with P90x.

        Keep in touch,

        Luke

        Luke M-Davies wrote on March 10th, 2010
  16. I just want to echo the comments that say that crossfit is completely scalable. I have had lifelong heart rate problems – to the point that I actually passed out several times in college from standing up too long. But I’ve been doing crossfit for about 9 months now. I’m slower than most. Sometimes I walk the runs, or take a couple of minutes to rest in the middle of a workout. But the coaches at my affiliate are really great – encouraging, but not pushy – and going to crossfit has been better for my over all health and fitness than any of the medications my doctors ever put me on. I can do hikes I never thought I’d be capable of. And while I’ll probably never out do the 3 on, 1 off recommended schedule, going 2 to 3 times a week is just about perfect for me. That said, I have pushed myself too hard once or twice and paid the price – but if you pay attention to your body, I think crossfit can work for just about anyone.

    meg wrote on March 9th, 2010
  17. i did the mainsite crossfit WODs for a solid year and just got burned out. people talk about it being scalable and it is but the point of CF is to push yourself either against the clock or to rise above a prior PR in weight lifted. i’d love to see a survey that tracks how long people stick with CF. i bet it’s not much more than a year if that.

    i look forward to mark’s program.

    Justin wrote on March 9th, 2010
  18. Have done P90X or a hybrid of it for the last two years. I would not trade my experience with it for anything, but am ready for something new. I just turned 45 and am trying to take a more primal approach to my workouts. I lean towards overtraining (not P90X fault… mine).
    I CAN NOT WAIT for PBFitness to come out!!!!!!

    Clint White wrote on March 9th, 2010
  19. Nice post Mark, I have always seen P90X and CrossFit as compliments to a well rounded training regimen, rather than the training itself. They are great for slimming down, adding some power or endurance, etc, but like you I feel like they simply can’t be sustained indefinably and are very hard on people predisposed to exercise burnout. Still I would never discourage anyone (baring some preexisting condition) from training in one of these programs, there should just be some realistic expectations peppered behind the frenzy often associated with these programs.

    IPBrian wrote on March 10th, 2010
  20. I’ve never tried P90X but did attend a Crossfit Trial Day. I think Mark hit it right on the head for what one can expect from it. Personally, armed with many years of (I’m 55) wisdom, I think it is too much for the average person. Once you pass 40, I believe you should limit the intense days to twice a week — remember, you’ll need your body at 75-80 years of age also, don’t wear it out before it’s time. Spend less time working out and more time doing (playing) something fun. When you work out twice a week, your body is ready, willing, & able plus you’re just plain more geeked to attack those weights. If I do feel compelled to work out another day, I do core work such as planks & bridges, etc. Looking forward to the PBFitness program!

    jay wrote on March 10th, 2010
  21. Wow, Mark, this topic generates a lot of buzz!
    I’m 57 and have followed Crossfit for 1.5 years now and quickly learned to scale using the BrandX Scaled Workouts: http://www.crossfitbrandx.com/index.php/forums/viewforum/16/. They led me to Paleo and your site (thank you, Robb Wolff), the importance of nutrition/exercise/sleep/recovery. I heal slower at 57 than I did at 20, but I do more pullups now. I’ve learned there is actually a lot of skill involved in running (POSE), cleaning, jerking, leaping, stretching. And I have regrets … that I didn’t start this sooner, share it with my son/daughter/wife/co-workers sooner. Paleo life is exciting and sure makes me sleep soundly :-)

    michaelchasetx wrote on March 10th, 2010
  22. Hey! Definitely looking forward to the PBF. I’m tired of wearing my tail off and not knowing when enough is enough It will be nice to tie in the PB w/ PBF. I love the structure PB gives me and now I’ll have the PBF to bring me into the workout structure i need. thanks

    Dave Gay wrote on March 10th, 2010
  23. Mark, thanks for your usual thoughtful treatment of topic. I was actually just wondering what your take on these systems would be and lo and behold you touched on it just this week.

    We have a Crossfit garage gym with a few friends coming over to work out with my husband and I. My husband has also done the P90X when he borrowed it from a friend. When I started doing Crossfit a year ago three to five times a week at a local affiliate, I was already getting burnt out and feeling overtrained within months. Coming away sore and worn down every time interfered with the other sports that I love (triathlon, karate, volleyball). It’s no fun if you’re always too sore to participate at any decent level in anything else.

    Now with our gym at home I try to keep a balance of 2 – 3 Crossfit workouts a week, sometimes at max intensity and sometimes not according to whatever else I’ve got going on. I find that it’s a very useful part of my overall fitness plan, but it could never be the entire plan.

    And overall, I’d just like to say that I find your website a constant stream of food for thought, well-researched, topical, and interesting. Your approach makes total sense for overall health and vitality.

    I just gave a shout-out to your site on my blog: http://ironmom.blogspot.com/2010/03/apple-day-keeps-fitness-boredom-at-bay.html as I think you’re worth a read for anyone interested in total body health, fitness, and nutrition. Keep it up!

    Robin wrote on March 10th, 2010
  24. I’ve tried Crossfit two different times. Both times, I lost weight and leaned out, but could only sustain the program a month and a half before injury and severe burnout occurred.

    The first injury I incurred was a mid-back strain from doing max thrusters. The second injury was both ulnar nerve elbow problems from a ridiculous amount of pullups. As an aside, I don’t see how Grok would have done any pullups at all much less hundreds a week. I’m sure ole Grok did have to pull himself up to things from time to time, but I’ll bet he was also using his legs.

    I’m 44 years old. I now do a Grok-like system of doing whatever I feel like I need on a given day. Most of the days I do workout, however, center around squatting movements.

    John

    johnG wrote on March 11th, 2010
  25. I joined a crossfit affiliate last Oct. as an overwieght out of shape 44 year old man with back pain. I was going twice a week to start and just moved up to 3 times a week. I then read PB over Christmas and started eating primal/paleo in Jan 10′.The results I’ve achieved i thought were unattainable in such a short time.

    I started at 215lbs,now at 187lbs, no back pain, i’ve never felt better. I owe it all to the 2 coaches, their positive attitudes, their focus on range of motion and proper form before the weights increase has helped me .

    After seeing what crossfit and the PB has done for me I am intrested in seeing the PBF program.
    Thanks for the great site Mark!!

    Ivar wrote on March 12th, 2010
  26. I started a CrossFit approach to exercise 30 months ago, but didn’t actually start at a gym until August of 2009. Prior to joining the gym, I combined my CrossFit program with Barry Sear’s Zone Diet and went from 223 lbs to 196 lbs. I got stronger, faster, etc. What I later realized I was doing with my workout though was more along the line of a Gym Jones version of CrossFit’ism. There is a difference.

    Prior to joining the CrossFit gym I did a 90 day Classic routine of P90X and found it to be challenging. I improved my strength and weight. I liked not having to do the precarious and dangerous-when-untaught-and-unsupervised Olympic-style weight lifting. After starting the CF gym around late August 2009, I enjoyed the change. However, what I noticed is that the exercises are not necessarily the issue. If the gym doesn’t have trainers who are experienced and understand progression, scaling, alternate exercises to obtain similar or same results, etc, then a trainee could be in trouble. I found my experience to be such. The workouts are WAY TOO MUCH. Aside from this, the subculture of machoism (male AND female) revolving around CrossFit is hard to be around. The competitions I find ridiculous, and the system of workouts for time puts most in the position of using TERRIBLE FORM, especially when under fatigue. This is what’s dangerous. CrossFit is like throwing a 5 year old in the deep end of a pool. He’ll either sink, or swim;like it or hate it.

    Sonny wrote on March 14th, 2010
  27. Great post, great comments, managing to avoid some of the cult-like tone that Crossfit sometimes attracts.

    What is missing here is GROK! He wasn’t doing Crossfit intensity 5.5 days/week. And he didn’t live past 40!

    Crossfit is amazing and it principles have changed my life for the better, but Mark there are a lot of us waiting for the Primal Fitness fix.

    thank you

    Paul B wrote on March 15th, 2010
    • Who ever said Grok didn’t live past 40?! I thought if he (or she) made it past 39 he was good to go until 60 or 70…

      The *average* life span was pretty low back in hunter-gatherer days. But if you could avoid infant mortality, accidents, and dying in childbirth, many people did make it to a much higher age than that.

      DianeC wrote on March 15th, 2010
  28. I have some thoughts on this that I would be glad to get some feedback on :-)

    I went to my first Crossfit training couple af days ago and it got me thinking. I’m in a changing mode right now – have been eating PB style for a week or so and so far enjoying and curious to see and feel changes. That’s all good.

    For my training I want the most effective (guess I’m not alone here). I am quite new to “lifting heavy things” but I’d really like to pursue that. I have been reading about gaining strength /muscle mass and I always end up at Starting Strength when I read advice from people that seems to know what they are talking about.

    For me it seems a little weird to mix burst like cardio with strength exercise as in Crossfit. I mean if it’s the only workout you do I guess it couldn’t be better but if you want to increase strength as much as possible it seems more logic to me to do a program like Starting Strength for muscle, sprints for your weekly burst needs and then all the fun stuff on the side.

    My point is – why do heavy lifting while you are pacing yourself? If you really work heavy it seems you are better of taking some breaks inbetween your near max output?

    Don’t get me wrong – I think Crossfit is great. But if you are doing sprints a couple of times a week AND you have other stuff where you get creative (I do tango and Contact Improvisation myself) it seems the need for “functional strengthening” is not that important if your main focus is to build muscle and train the big muscle groups as intense as possible (without overtraining). And Starting Strength for example seems like a great way to do that.

    Anyway I would love to hear some thoughts on that :-)

    Nick wrote on March 22nd, 2010
  29. So Mark that was you in the DVDs! There’s a guy at the end of each DVD that promotes their P90X bars, knew it looked like you. :D Well I can honestly say I love P90X. I’ve had it for a few years and contrary to what this article says, I can do it for quite some time. I’ve experimented and I do try different things, but none the less I like the structure P90X gives me. That and being able to workout in the comfort of my home without having to “build” a workout is great. I wanted to try crossfit, but it’s expensive and the hours aren’t what I’m looking for. I’m a morning workout kind of guy. I do feel worn out from P90X though, and I believe it’s because it’s done so often. I’m going to go back to 3 days a week, with some long slow cardio in between and some rest days as well. :D

    Jonathan wrote on March 23rd, 2010
  30. Mark I just saw you as the consultant for their vitamin formula on the intro DVD. Do you still think it’s worth using?

    I’m not so jived about using the recovery drink. I’ll see if I can whip up my own, or water it down with some chia gel.

    Looking forward BPF!

    Sam wrote on March 25th, 2010
  31. Mark,

    Thank you for a balanced review of the two systems. You raise some great points.

    I am a CrossFit affiliate. I think the biggest issue facing the CrossFit community is implementation of the system rather than the system itself. The internet has perpetuated the idea that CF is for high-end athletes only when in truth the system can be scaled for (just about) everyone and can even be utilised to treat and prevent injury. In future, I hope to see better coaching within the CF community and improvements in the areas that you highlighted.

    I look forward to seeing what your PBF system encompasses as your thoughts are generally inline with my own.

    Again, thank you for a great resource.

    Sincerely, Adam Stanecki.

    Adam Stanecki wrote on March 29th, 2010
  32. I agree. I was one of the ones injured by crossfit. I then moved on to sealfit and from there found Rob Shaul at Mountain Athlete. While I do agree with the crossfit concept, I also believe you can’t be stupid. Like you, I believe p90x is not sustainable. I do however believe Greg Glassman is a genius. His method of training is highly effective. I don’t think you can limit yourself to one method. As Rob Shaul says at Mountain Athlete you have to have “standardized and periodized training” He believes “strength is king” and I agree with him. I would suggest if you are a tactical athlete to give Military Athlete a try. Those are just my two cents. Great site.

    Carl Dyer wrote on April 2nd, 2010
  33. I like the idea that you encourage getting fit by having FUN! what a concept! I play inline hockey and kickball and its a blast and great exercise! not to mention hiking and water activities by the beach.. this works for me because I usually hate gyms and the egos there.. i just like to get outside!

    Ryan wrote on April 4th, 2010
  34. I started Crossfit 4 years ago when I was 50. I thought the principles were great but I didn’t want to keep up with the 3 on 1 off regimen. I ended up designing my own workout based on the functional/constantly varied/high intensity principles of CrossFit. I work out 3 to 5 days a week and I’m in the best shape I’ve been in 20 years. The principles work (your Primal exercise principles sound quite similar) but you need to adjust them for your own personal situation. Especially if you’re older – you can’t work out like a 20 or 30 year old. You have to allow yourself more time for recovery and more time to work up to a really intense workout.

    Stillfit wrote on April 24th, 2010
  35. Does anyone know which one of these programs is better for putting on some muscle mass? From what I’ve been reading, a lot of people get on the P90x train in order to lose weight, but I’m not really interested in that, as I’ve already lost the extra flab just by eating primal. Is crossfit more in line with primal principles than p90x?

    Danielht wrote on June 2nd, 2010
  36. Agree re P90x – extremely hard to sustain over long periods – I like to do the lifting, plyo, and yoga videos and take like every other day “off” for a bike ride or a hill climb…

    Denis wrote on June 17th, 2010
  37. For my training I want the most effective (guess I’m not alone here)

    p90x wrote on August 1st, 2010
  38. great stuff on here…I’m really enjoying the positivity this site has. I have done, and loved, P90X, but agree it is tough. I’ve modified it like so many on here and have included everything from snowboarding to rock climbing for my off days (off being either either yoga, plyo..though I enjoy the plyo, or kenpo). I’m going incorporate the heavier weight, 5 rep sets and abbreviate the workouts and slow down the movements…sort of PB meets P90X meets Super Slow and see what happens.

    I still have too much sugar and carb in my diet, but it’s going to be nearly impossible for me to convince my wife to get rid of it. She knows it’s evil, but probably won’t budge on it. We’re in pretty good shape, so I suppose it isn’t the worst to cheat a little.

    Daniel wrote on August 12th, 2010
  39. Great write up. It’s a bit surprising there aren’t more balanced articles on this topic out there. I actually did a quick comparison of the two based on their popularity in Google: http://www.functhat.com/2010/08/crossfit-vs-p90x-according-to-google/

    Keep up the good work!

    Phil wrote on August 17th, 2010
  40. That’s because most people are afraid to do CrossFit!!

    Craig wrote on August 18th, 2010

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