It is all in how you prepare it.

There are two popular programs that get a lot of people drawing comparisons between them and my programs. The P90X and Crossfit programs do share some similarities in the exercises and tools used but the reality is that they couldn’t be more different in the results they produce.

Because both of these programs emphasize bodyweight exercises, basic compound lifts and Crossfit even uses kettle bells so they do indeed look similar on the surface. But the problem is that you are looking at the ingredients list, not at how those ingredients are prepared to produce the end result.

I was talking with a friend the other day about this subject and he gave me the best analogy I’ve ever heard to distinguish what I do from those other two programs. Imagine that both of us went to the store and bought a nice Rib Eye steak. The cut is the same, it came from the same cow, everything that could be the same is when it comes to those two steaks.

Now let’s say we get home and start to prepare the steaks to cook up. You take yours and tenderize it just right, let it marinate for a few hours, take a great steak rub and put it on and sit there patiently while it cooks.

I take mine, though, and throw it against the wall a few times, throw some salt and pepper on it and don’t really watch it too close while it is cooking. When we sit down to eat who do you think is going to be happier with the end result?

Even though we had the exact same ingredient (the steak) the end result was very different. It all came down to how the steak was prepared and cooked. The same thing applies to the P90X and Crossfit programs.

Sure, they do use a lot of the same raw ingredients but the preparation of those ingredients is totally different. We can argue about how good or bad a bunch of random exercises thrown together with a bunch of random set and rep schemes really is but you can not argue that programs like that are not nearly as effective for the specific purpose of helping you ride better as a program prepared for that specific purpose.

Even the creators of those programs will admit that they are general fitness programs and are not meant for people that have specific sports and goals – unless they just want to get your money and then will tell you whatever you want  to hear. If you want to improve your overall endurance on your bike, improve your technical skills and your overall fun on the trail then just doing a bunch of random stuff in the gym will not get you the same results as quickly as you would from a more specific program.

Remember that how you prepare your dinner and workout program is just as important as the raw ingredients.

-James Wilson-

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  1. John (aka Wish I Were Riding) says:

    Interesting analogy James. I think you should edit it though so your “steak” is the one that sounds better. 😉

    Reply • February 1 at 9:06 am
  2. nick says:

    I completely agree with you on this matter. I however did recently purchase a general program like you mentioned. It has been at least 5 years since I have done a workout program, but with recently getting onto a DH specific team so I’m looking to start training again. Would you suggest completing the current program I have, and then start one of your programs. Or should I just get one you would recommend that would be more sport specific. As a side note I could care less about the money, because I really just want the results as fast (with in proper reason) as I can to help out with this year’s season.

    Reply • February 1 at 10:09 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Obviously I’m a bit biased but I think you’d be better served getting a program geared towards the demands of riding. To be honest I’d stack my programs up against most “general fitness” programs and bet they would be better for just about any goal, I’ve found most programs on the market to lack in a lot of areas.

      Reply • February 1 at 11:06 am
  3. Scott says:

    I agree with John, if you’re going to toot your own horn, make it LOUD and CLEAR! 😉
    But seriously, I do agree that your program can and willl give folks the desired results they are looking for better and faster than a “generic” all around exercise program could. I can attest that just using what you’ve posted on this website has given me HUGE results. I just might buy one of your programs someday soon!

    Reply • February 1 at 2:09 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Maybe I should have put myself as the better “cook”, hopefully everyone can see around that oversight. Glad you’ve found the info useful so far, just think how effective it will be when it is all put together into a full blown program!

      Reply • February 1 at 3:02 pm
  4. Ash says:

    Hey James,

    Question that’d slightly off topic. I’ve been doing the body weight training program for about 3 months, probably not as religiously as I should have but doing 2-3 times a week workouts. I’m doing all the max reps on the exercises and despite being very sore for a few months I’m recovering well and don’t find the workouts too intense anymore. Time to move to kettlebells?

    Reply • February 1 at 3:24 pm
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Sounds like it, bodyweight is great but eventually you need to start adding some load and KBs are a great next step. Check out my KB Program, it is a great way to learn KB lifting in an MTB specific program.

      Reply • February 1 at 5:33 pm
  5. Ian says:

    I’ve tried P90x, and the way I describe it to anyone who asks is that it is a fitness program based on controlled flailing. There are a lot of strange moves, and while they may build muscle, they do very little for the function of your body. If your goal from working out is to have a body with muscles that look good when you’re not doing anything with them, go ahead and use one of those programs (The company that sells P90x is Beachbody, that should tell you something). If you want a program that not only increases strength, but also increases functionality and resistance to injury, use a program like James’. Tony Horton has no regard for stability vs. mobility of joints, he simply wants to work each muscle however he can, even if it decreases your body’s ability to move properly. Also, consistently training to and past failure is a great way to injure yourself, but that’s one of the principles P90x is built on. James knows better than that.

    Reply • February 1 at 3:51 pm
  6. Judd says:

    My wife is a runner and has done P90X before and it did nothing for her running. She is superwoman to so most of the time she didn’t even sweat through the program. Right now she hits the gym 3 days a week and 2 days a week joins me in your kettlebell conditioning program (which I am loving by the way). She is only on week 3 of phase 1 and has already seen gains in her 5k. I know its not geared towards running but there is so much leg specific work and good mobiltiy excersises that its made a big impact on her running times. You just don’t get that in a general workout like P90X. Programs like that will only make you as James says “false fit”.

    Reply • February 3 at 2:02 am

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