P90X for iPhone: The best bootcamp you can fit in your pocket

Last year, for the inaugural Mobile Nations Fitness Month, I took a look at P90X for iPhone, what was then the absolute best bootcamp-style fitness app available for iOS. A year and several updates later, and it's Fitness Month, and I'm curious to see how well P90X has stood the test of time. Is P90X still the best way to kick your backside that you can carry in your back pocket? Let's find out!

Fitness in general is a weird industry. Whether it's a gym membership, piece of exercise equipment, or training program, their profit margins count on us being willing to hand over money up front so we can feel better about getting in shape, regardless if we ever follow through and actually get into shape. There's no magic button, but dropping large amounts of money makes us feel like we pressed one.

So, when I stopped using the P90X app after a week or so, I wasn't surprised. I got busy. I had work to do. My excuses were solid! I didn't stop exercising, mind you, but my lack of self disciple meant I kept doing my grappling classes, and stopped doing things that didn't have set schedules and other people to help motivate me while I was doing it. I have used it a few times since, however, when I couldn't get out and really needed to burn off some excess energy or stress.

And that's where it hit for me. If you're the kind of person who is self-motivated, who travels a lot and can't attend regular, local classes, or who otherwise wants to exercise at home or in hotels, but needs the structure of a program to keep things fresh and progressive, then P90X is a good solution that's gotten incrementally better.

So what has P90X accomplished over the last year?

  • They've added social sharing via Twitter and Facebook, which can be a good way to add a peer element to your exercise, and the pressure that comes with it. Ego can play a huge roll in incentive and if you're trying to beat your friends, it can easily give you that extra push.
  • You can now export P90X data to email, so if you already have a tracking system in place, you can keep all your activity together and get a better, bigger overall picture.
  • P90X now allows you to change your auto-scheduled workouts to another workout of your choice. This is awesome because, if there happens to be a workout that you don't like, or just doesn't mesh with your mood, switching is a way better alternative to skipping.
  • You can now edit program and workout times. Not to cheat or falsely impress your friends, of course, but if any errors legitimately show up.
  • P90X now lets you sync X2 workouts to SuperGym.
  • You can keep your iPhone display lit during workouts, which will cost you batter time, but save you on frustration if, like me, you find yourself constantly checking the screen anyway.

They've fixed bugs and enhanced performance along the way as well. The interface now fills the iPhone 5 and iPod touch 5 screen, and remains clean, if a little cumbersome at times -- upselling is the lifesblood of the fitness industry -- and the videos remain clear, if a little Spartan.

Thanks mainly to the overall quality of content available in the original app, and in small part to the steady stream of updates, P90X has remained the best of the bootcamp-style fitness apps for iPhone.

I'm going to try and get a couple days of P90X in each week throughout Fitness Month -- hopefully AirPlay Mirrored to my Apple TV! -- and report back. If you're using it, or if you try it, let me know how it works for you.

Also, don't forget to enter all our Fitness Month contests while you're at it! Lots of great prizes up for grabs!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.