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The Mental Side of P90X

In the order of importance with the P90X program, you have: (1) Commitment to the diet. As I tell all the people that I coach over and over again, the diet makes up 80% of your results. If you can’t commit to the diet, forget about getting ripped. (2) Commitment to the workouts. The P90X system requires you to workout 6 days a week, and the workouts aren’t easy either. There is no going around it, you have to complete the workouts to build muscle and burn fat. (3) Mental toughness. This is what seperates the people who get great results from the people who get absoutely stunning results, and is what I’m going to focus on in this post.

Everything about P90X is mental, whether it’s with the diet or workouts, but mental toughness is one thing that most people don’t have or quite understand. Why have I been so successful with P90X and the P90X coaching business? The word “can’t” isn’t in my vocabulary. Let’s start with the diet. When I first started the program, do you think I wanted to completely change the way I ate, eliminating ALL junk food? Heck no, but I did. I knew that I had to in order to get amazing results! There were countless times during my first round (and something I still face to this day) that people have either made fun of the way I ate or tempted me to eat something that wasn’t good for me, but instead of giving in, I stayed mentally strong and committed. The problem is that most people are weak and can’t commit to the diet. This is why the majority of the people fail to get great results. If you want to succeed with P90X, stay mentally strong with the diet.

The workouts are very tough, and there will be many times that you just don’t feel like working out, but if you’re out looking for extreme results, it takes extreme dedication. You have to be mentally strong to be able to complete every single workout for the entire 90 days. I can’t tell you how many times that I got home late from work, completely exhausted, but still managed to fit in the workout. Did I want to workout? No. I even remember a few times that I wasn’t able to work out until about midnight or later. Along with completing all the workouts, there is another side of mental toughness that is involved during the workouts, and that’s the ability to push yourself. Most people don’t understand how to push themselves, and stop the exercise way before they should. There is this little voice in the head that says “I can’t,” but in reality you can. This is something that I have learned from my parents growing up, and something I stress to everyone that I coach. Never quit or give up too early. Nothing comes easy, and the workouts definitely aren’t easy, but if you put in hard work and dedication, pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, you will notice greater and faster results than if you just did everything “average.” Never settle for less than your best!

If you struggle staying mentally strong, then talk to me about it, and I can help you out. I will be very straight forward with you, but will tell you exactly what you need to hear. Mental toughness is one of the most important parts of the P90X program, and if you can stay mentally strong, watch out, because you are going to see someone ripped looking back at you in the mirror after 90 days!


  1. Sitting here reading this at 9:47pm after a long day just gave me the motivation to do plyo iam on week 10 and in the home stretch so thanks for this post!

  2. I’m glad it helped!

  3. Hey man, i like the article, my question is about a year ago i went on this p90x for the first 30 days and saw some results but at the time i was doin nutrosystem. i really want to go back i was wondering if when i do if i should just stick to the p90x diet. what do you think.

  4. Josh, congrats on getting some of your pics on the new p90x infomercial. I saw it last night for the first time & noticed you were on there a few times. Your website has a lot of great info. I wanted to know if you did the 5×5 program at all during your mass phase. I’m doing it now & getting pretty good results. Wondering if you had any tips if you had done it before. Keep up the great work on your site. Thanks

  5. I recommend following the P90X diet.

  6. Thanks man! I’m not familiar with the 5×5 program. What is it?

  7. It’s basically picking a compound exercise such as squats, deadlifts or bench press & lifting the heaviest weight possible with proper form for 5 sets & 5 reps. Once you complete the 5×5, you up the weight every workout until you cannot complete it. From there you stay at the same weight until you reach all 5×5. I’ve noticed my strength has gone up every workout. I assume you just did a round of the x but with much heavier weights between 5 & 8 reps? Anyhow, I really appreciate all the great info you have on your site, it’s really helped with questions that I had.

  8. willis /

    just got my p90x today thaanks for that extra boost to get this thing started.

  9. Thanks for the info man, and I will have to try that out soon. I have been lifting heavy along with P90X, but haven’t done a workout like that before.

  10. No problem! Let me know if you have other questions. Also, click on the link to make me your coach if you haven’t done so already:

  11. Did you do bench presses and lat pull downs with heavier weights in addition to all the push-ups and pull-ups or did you replace for example the delcine push up with a barbell and decline bench? Thanks.

  12. During the first round I did nothing but the P90X workouts, adding in no extra exercises. However, during the past 6 months I have been adding in some heavy resistance training along with P90X to gain some mass. Make sure to check out my post called “Gain Mass With P90X.”

  13. Hey i’m 13 and was wondering if i should try p90x and if so could you give me some information on the shredding fat and gaining muscle part. Like what to eat,how much,and when i should eat.Oh and by the way great job with the website.

  14. Hey bud. 13 is borderline for starting this program, and you will probably need to ask your doctor before starting just to make sure it’s OK. Anyways, you can find information on the diet in the “Q&A” section on this site. You can also purchase the program from here as well if your doc clears you. Let me know if you have other questions.

  15. Petros /

    Hey. I recently started P90x. Im 15 and i play basketball and trying to improve my vertical leap. I am shaky to listen to the nutrition guide because it doesn’t factor in that i am growing so i need more food.
    Even though i don’t follow it i eat healthy. Will I get results.

    Oh and is the legs and back supposed to be this light
    my quads are extremely strong for my age but my calves so i really can’t load up on the calf squats
    can you give me any advice

  16. There is no need for you to follow the Nutrition Guide exactly, but it is important that you start to eat healthy. Because you’re so young, you are going to need to eat a ton of food, but again, make sure it’s healthy food. Also, if Legs & Back is too easy, increase the weights that you’re using.

  17. Great advise Josh. Just finished p90.

    I’m staring p90x as soon as my chin up bar gets in. It’s sure to test my mental toughness, and like you .. I ain’t scared.

  18. Awesome man! Get ready to BRING IT! Also, am I your coach?

  19. Sara /

    Hey there!! I just wanted to say that I used to struggle with mental strength but thanks to you I have been growing every day!

  20. Jay /

    I have just completed p90x and while I am much stronger and have seen some good results, I didn’t lose nearly as much fat as I would have if I followed a strict diet. The quick results I saw in the first month or so made me think that I could get by without following a diet. But I have learned now that I was definitely wrong. This is something i will change for round 2 and take more seriously. I’m hoping that from finishing the program, my metabolism should be pretty high, and as soon as i start to stick to a serious diet, I’ll start to shred. I definitely cheated myself by not following the diet plan.

  21. Josh /

    @Jay. Yeah, the diet is the most important part of the program!

  22. Vanessa /

    Great article Josh. I just started P90 X this week on day three of working out… but we’ll say Day 1 of the actual diet. Learning how to be more disciplined.. so tough. However reading your article that its 80% diet is painting a clear picture of the extra level of dedication I need. I will complete p90x, come hell or high water.

  23. @Vanessa. Awesome! Let me know if you need help or have any questions!

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