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Adding Additional Cardio to P90X

“When should I start adding in an additional cardio workout along with the P90X workouts?” This is a common question that I get, and figured it would be great to address through a blog entry so all of you can have repeated access to it.

As you all know, when I first started the program, I was pretty out of shape, and could barely make it through Plyometrics, Kenpo, or Cardio X without taking a few breaks. Those cardio workouts are very tough, and were more than enough for me, someone just starting out! For the first 2 months, I stuck to ONLY those cardio workouts and lost 20 pounds! I didn’t start running until about day 70, and that was added twice a week along with the resistance workouts. NEVER during the first round of the X did I add an additional cardio on cardio days.

There is a problem I am seeing. Many of you want to add in running to your workouts immediately when starting the X. Why is this a bad idea? (1) More than likely you are not in the kind of shape to do that yet, (2) This significantly increases your chances of overtraining, and (3) This also increases the chances of you getting burnt out! You have to remember that your body is not ready for that amount of immediate stress, and will respond in a negative way, called overtraining. I have personally overtrained twice so far, and is something I don’t want any of you to experience. I was completely exhausted, had no motivation, couldn’t sleep, and had an increased resting heart rate. I literally had to have 3-4 days of complete rest to recuperate.

As you all know, doing an extra cardio is now a daily habit for me. I am 6 months into the program though, and in very good shape, and I can do these extra workouts without feeling exhausted or worn down afterwards. My body allows me to do this!

So here is my advice. Start out following the X to a tee, and then after about a month or so, make the decision as to whether or not you want to add an additional cardio. If you do decide to, start out adding just 1-2 extra cardio workouts a week, only on resistance days. If you decide to add running, slowly increase the amount of time, distance, and how fast you run as you progress through the program. I believe you all should wait till after day 60 to add an additional cardio workout every day. By this time, you should be in good enough physical condition to do this without wearing yourself down.

If you have any other questions about adding additional cardio workouts to the X, email me and I will get back to you as soon as possible. My email address is

Coach Josh


  1. I just found your website and it really is awesome, it has seriously motivates me when I get home from work. I’ve been on the program for about a week now, to include eating right, and I am seriously sore (to be expected) to the point where I have trouble sleeping and I’m waking up in the middle of the night with muscle twitches. My question is as follows.

    I’m in the Army and every morning we have physical training (PT), 5 days a week, without exception. Most of it is running (at least 3 times a week), a variety of other exercises, sometimes push-ups/pull-ups but nothing that prepared me for P90X. There is really no way for me to integrate P90X in the mornings so I’m working out twice a day. My fear is overtraining and burning out. Do you have any recommendations to keep from allowing that to happen?

    Thank You!

  2. I’m glad you find my site helpful! The first few weeks are going to be very rough on your body, and the soreness you’re experiencing is very common. In order for you not to overtrain, it’s going to be very important that you take in the proper pre and post workout nutrition and supplements, and you can find what I take in the “Q&A” section on this site. Recovery is very important when you’re working out that much.

  3. francis /

    i am in national guard and i am in avery delayed round 2 of the p90x program. i followed the program to the letter last time and i had decent results. my diet was off due to feild training and traveling alot between states, but now i am a homebody. my question is this…
    i have been adding kenpo cardio+ before my resistance workouts, and on the rest day, and i plan on every other plyo day. am i going to effect my natural progress through the program negatively with this? also, i am using a lower caloric intake then the nutrition guide recomended trying to get my body to burn the fat reserves i have already before juicing up the carbs and calories to fuel further burn. i feel great and i should expect to see some real results around block three of the program, but if the extra cardio will counter what i am doing then i would like to know as soon as possible.
    thanks and awesome site,
    U.S. ARMY PA National Guard

  4. @Francis. No, Kenpo Cardio Plus is more intense than Plyometrics, so you can replace it with it. However, you want to make sure you add in 200-300 more cals on the days that you do 2 workouts.

    Have you made me your coach yet? If not, click on the link to do so and I’ll be here to help you through the program:

  5. Jess /


    Currently, I’m finishing week 10 of P90x. In the past week I felt like I needed to do more cardio, and I’ve added the pure cardio workout from insanity (it’s about a half hour of cardio, extremely intense, but feels so good!) for the past 5 days.

    I’m trying to decide if I should do the cardio only on the weight training and yoga days, or every day (except the rest day). Right now I have that feeling when I first started p90x, not exhausted, but the feeling you get when you’re pushing your body. However, I don’t want to over train! My instinct is to just do it 4 days a week…but I’m the type of person that will push myself, just to see what I can do.

    Generally, I do p90x at 5am or 6am and added the pure cardio around 8 pm. I also increased my caloric intake by about 300 calories, and eat a lot of complex carbs, lean proteins, and all the other good stuff.

    In just 5 days, I’ve noticed my midsection getting more toned, which is what I wanted. It seemed there was some body fat I could not get rid of, and I wasn’t seeing much results in the past few weeks in that area. (I’m a female btw.)

    Also, great site. Very informative 🙂


  6. Josh /

    @Jess. If you can add in Pure Cardio every day along with P90X and feel fine, meaning you’re not totally exhausted, then go for it. However, be careful because adding in just 300 calories might not be enough, and you could possibly overtrain. Pure Cardio is an intense workout, and you can burn anywhere from 600-900 calories doing it. Just listen to your body! Also, am I your coach?

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