Speaking from experience, the P90X program from Beach Body is phenomenal. I got terrific results. And I am not alone. According to Beachbody, millions of people have benefited from Tony Horton’s inspiring program. But how does this program do so well, so fast, for so many people? The answer may have something to do with Nitric Oxide. (What did you expect? This is a blog about nitric oxide, afterall. ;-)) This is by no means a commercial for P90X. However, after the research I have done, I am convinced that following the P90X program, as it is designed, is one of the most powerful ways to naturally boost nitric oxide levels in your body, even without additional nutritional supplements.
The P90X Phenomenon
You don’t even have to watch late-night TV anymore to catch the ubiquitous Tony Horton and his infomercials for P90x. They are everywhere, on every channel. If the before and after photos, or testimonial videos haven’t convinced you how amazing the program is, then my experience won’t either. But let me just say it works. It works very well. Of course, you only get out of the program what you put into it. And if you put the effort into the program like you are encouraged to, the results will be astounding. And one of the reasons that P90x may produce such awesome results might indeed have something to do with the fact that the program, as designed, can cause your body to generate a boost in nitric oxide production, and all of the benefits that flow from it.
Exercise and Nitric Oxide
Numerous studies have shown that exercise does increase the body’s natural production of nitric oxide. As the blood pumps, it generates sheer stress on the endothelial cells in the blood vessels, which prompts them to produce nitric oxide from arginine, which in turn signals the blood vessels to expand to allow the heart to pump more blood to your muscles. The vasodilation that the blood vessels undergo not only increases the ease with which the oxygen rich blood can be pumped throughout your body, but it also increases the efficiency with which your body can rid itself of waste products like carbon dioxide and lactic acid. These benefits lead to many other benefits like decreased blood pressure, increased mental ability, improved sexual function (erections in males), as well as increased muscle mass, strength and endurance.
The fact that exercise can increase nitric oxide levels has been used by some to suggest that you do not need to supplement your nitric oxide production. As you can tell by this blog, I think that supplementation with the right nutritional products CAN benefit many people looking to get the benefits of increased NO levels in the blood. Nonetheless, exercise alone can increase your nitric oxide production.
What type of exercise generates the most powerful endogenous nitric oxide response?
My first experience with P90X left me exhausted. I thought I was in pretty good shape, but I had never done the combination of exercises the way that Horton shows on the DVDs. Tony says to “modify” the exercises, based on your ability, but to really push yourself. After a few weeks, I could keep up with Tony and with his video encouragement, was able to keep pushing myself and the results blew me away.
And now I finally am starting to realize why I and millions of other people have had the experiences you have seen on late night TV infomercials. It turns out that P90X is designed nearly perfectly to generate the maximum nitric oxide response, both during and after the workouts! I can’t say it was planned that way, but if it was, give Horton a raise because it is sheer genius.
The simplest way I can think of to characterize the P90x program is this: high intensity cardio-resistance interval training. You push yourself hard and build up that lactic acid through a series of super-sets (multiple related exercises withe little rest between sets). I found my cardio levels just as high as when I run intervals, but I definitely felt muscular growth from the 8-10 reps per set of weights or bands. You can find out more about P90X at the Beach Body website.
Science Says What?
Here is what the science has said about exercise effects on nitric oxide and why P90X may be such a powerful way to generate it:
This study found that “long-term physical exercise improves endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation through an increase in the release of nitric oxide” in people with normal blood pressure and high blood pressure. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/100/11/1194.short
This study found that there was an observed increase in nitric oxide production and improved exercise capacity in patients, who were engaged in an interval exercise programme and clearly there is an advantage of interval compared to steady state training method for cardiovascular rehabilitation. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19476115
In this study, scientists found that aerobic interval training (AIT) was 35% more effective than continuous moderate exercise (Aerobic) at relaxing the aorta because of the intensity based effects of nitric oxide synthase expression. In other words, high intensity exercise activates more eNOS and generates more nitric oxide. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2642601/
And in this terrific study from 2004, shows that not only does physical training lead to an increase in NO activity and improves endothelial function, but that the increase in NO bioactivity can last for weeks and if exercise is maintained, the body can actually change its structure by building more blood vessels! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1665322/
Other studies have shown that the increased levels of nitric oxide from weight training can persist for up to 48 hours after the bout of exercise! Resistance training then, can give you the benefits of increased nitric oxide long after you set the weights down for the day. All that extra nitric oxide being produced by high intensity interval training and other intense workout programs can increase muscle response, fat burning, recovery, repair, and tissue regeneration. If you are over aged 30, you can benefit your nitric oxide levels further by additional nutritional supplementation.
P90x is exactly the kind of exercise program that these studies have indicated will increase your nitric oxide levels: high intensity cardio-resistance interval training.
Don’t believe me?
Give it a try and see for yourself! Go to P90X.com.