It’s safe to say that Athlean-X and P90X are some of the biggest names in at-home fitness. And there’s no doubt that both can help you bulk up, burn fat, or get absolutely shredded.
But let’s make one thing clear.
These two workout programs are completely different, each with their own pros and cons that make them special in their own way.
Now, you may have read the title and thought, “Wait, what’s SX12?”
SX12 is another contender in the online workout space with the same big promise to help you improve your body composition, and that’s why we’re throwing it in the ring too!
So in the battle of SX12 vs Athlean-X vs P90X….which program is better?
Well, we’re about to find out!
Table of Contents
- What is Superhero X12 (SX12)?
- 3 Benefits of Superhero X12
- 3 Reasons Against Superhero X12
- What is Athlean-X?
- 3 Benefits of Athlean-X
- 3 Reasons Against Athlean-X
- What is P90X?
- 3 Benefits of P90X
- 3 Reasons Against P90X
- Superhero X12 vs Athlean-X vs P90X Conclusion
What is Superhero X12 (SX12)?
Superhero X12 is a digital fitness program created by publisher and online trainer, Keith Lai. Lai is the founder of Fit Mole where he shares no-nonsense diet and training advice and sometimes drops an f-bomb or two to make his point.
Some of the principles taught in SX12 include:
- Reverse pyramid training (RPT)
- Intermittent fasting
- Flexible dieting
- Barbell training
- Dumbbell training
- Progressive overload
While I couldn’t find an official YouTube video on SX12, here’s a quick vid of the creator doing weighted chin-ups with 140 pounds.
As one of SX12’s main selling points is that beginners only need to train 3 days per week to see great results, spending 60 minutes or less at a time.
That’s why Fit Mole’s Nova Series of workouts typically feature 2 rotating workout days performed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, allowing for adequate recovery to continue making progress.
When it comes to nutrition, instead of being overly restrictive like many other programs, SX12 believes that flexibility helps adherence and any plan you can follow over the long term is going to produce better results.
That’s why Superhero X12 promotes different eating and nutrition protocols to fit your lifestyle, and includes example meal plans to make the transition simple.
On top of the core modules, small bonuses like the calorie calculator, meal plans, 2 day workout routine, and the private Facebook Group make this program a steal.
3 Benefits of Superhero X12
1. Gym and Bodyweight Workouts
When you just can’t get to a gym, it’s nice to know you still have options.
The workout module in SX12 revolves around a typical gym setup with barbells and dumbbells, but there’s also a “dumbbells only” routine that can be done with a modest home gym.
Additionally, you can get the Bodyweight 100 guide if you’re willing to spend a few bucks more.
2. Direct Access to the Creator
Some workout programs provide customer support, but rarely do you get access to the creator themselves.
When you sign-up for Superhero X12, you get access to the active, private Facebook group where Keith Lai is ready and willing to answer any burning questions you have about the program whether that’s nutrition, training, or equipment.
Plus, each guide includes Lai’s personal email address if you ever need to drop him a line.
3. Flexible Dieting & Training
Let’s face it – most fitness programs work. Yes, some of them are heaping piles of garbage, but for the most part, if you can stick to a program long enough, you’ll actually see results.
This is why it’s refreshing to see SX12 embrace this idea by designing both the nutrition and training modules for longevity instead of going “hardcore beast mode” and then seeing people burn out and quit.
With different ways to diet and different ways to train, you should be able to build a plan that’s not just sustainable, but enjoyable too!
3 Reasons Against Superhero X12
1. Potential Information Overload
As we looked through the material inside SX12, we kept thinking “Man, this is a LOT.”
With the multiple workout routines, tons of bonus materials, and a hefty nutrition guide, it’s easy to assume you might experience some information overload.
This program probably could have used some pruning and only covered actionable details, but the additional Quick Start Guide helps to ease the pain.
2. Would Make a Nice Course
Referencing the first point, one thing that could make the sheer volume of information more manageable is presenting the concepts as a course instead of a series of guides.
We’ve gone through fitness courses before that walk you through complex subjects with numbered lessons and the benefits are definitely there.
This isn’t a “must have” since the program material is still relatively easy to navigate and consume.
3. No Specialization Workouts
SX12 does its job in providing a number of workout variations to appease whatever hectic schedule you got going on including routines that differ by:
- 2 vs 3 vs 4 days a week
- Beginners vs intermediates
- Push and pull vs full body focus
But it’s a little disappointing to not see any routines that focus on a specific muscle group.
What if you want to pump your biceps or thicken your chest? In all honesty, beginners are typically small all over, so focus routines aren’t necessary, but it would be nice to have options.
What is Athlean-X?
Athlean X is a fitness company created by a physical therapist and personal trainer Jeff Cavaliere. Each Athlean-X program helps to bring the principles of biomechanics back to the gym for:
- Muscle growth
- A shredded ripped, or muscular look
- Fat loss
- Injury prevention
- Targeting each muscle uniquely
- Greater athleticism (in terms of performance and appearance)
There’s an Athlean-X program for just about any fitness goals you may have, whether you’re looking to smash through a plateau, build a six-pack, or stick purely to bodyweight exercises.
That goes for all skill levels, beginners to advanced.
Athlean-X programs will often have you in the gym—or in your garage gym—four to five days a week for 15 to 40 minutes at a time, sometimes requiring access to barbells or other gear.
It’s also worth noting that Athlean-X is entirely digital.
Each workout program comes with access to an online module. There, you can watch how-to exercise videos, record your progress from week to week, and follow along with the diet plan.
You can get more details in this Athlean-X review.
3 Benefits of Athlean-X
1. Uniquely Target Muscles
The biomechanics infusion in Athlean-X programs is the most significant benefit.
For example, you’re never just hitting your abs, but rather doing specific exercises that target the individual ab muscles—like the obliques, transverse abdominis, and rectus abdominis.
This can catapult your physique and brute strength across the board.
2. Dozens of Programs to Choose From
There’s no sense in doing a pure fat-burning program if you intend to bulk up.
Athlean-X has literally dozens of programs that you can choose from (from Max Shred to Monster Maker), all categorized by fitness level and goals (muscle building, fat burning, or a combination of the two).
Get the workout program that fits your needs!
3. Progress Tracking
Sometimes it takes a while to see your physical gains.
That’s why low morale is widespread during those first few weeks.
Many of the Athlean-X programs come with challenges and the ability to share your score on the leaderboard along with fellow users, which can be motivating if you like to compete.
3 Reasons Against Athlean-X
1. No Refund Policy
Athlean-X programs aren’t exactly cheap.
You might order a program, only to realize that you don’t have the right gear, time to commit each week, or the skill level to thrive.
So buying the program can be risky in the financial sense.
2. Equipment Access Not Guaranteed
The typical Athlean-X workout is fast-paced, and equipment variety is a clear bonus.
Yet, quickly hopping from the squat rack to the dumbbells (or any other major equipment changes) can be impossible if the gym is crowded or the gear you need is taken.
Unless you have the equipment at home, following the workouts to a T can be hard.
3. Running the Module in the Gym Can Be Complicated
We can’t deny that the Athlean-X online module has a lot to offer.
You can keep track of your meal plans, cheat days, workout performance, and how-to videos in one easy-to-use platform.
Yet, this program may not run smoothly on a smartphone or tablet in the gym.
What is P90X?
P90X is one of the most well-known at-home fitness programs by Tony Horton, dating back to the days of fitness DVDs. Now “BeachBody,” the P90X workouts series provides benefits like:
- A claim to lose nine pounds in 14 day
- Insane muscle growth and mass
- Fat loss
- Greater athleticism (overall)
- Muscle confusion for plateau prevention
- Quick results
- A healthy meal plan
P90X has since expanded into several different workout programs to reach a more significant number of goals. Today’s plans include the traditional P90X as well as P90X2 and its third installment, P90X3.
Though extreme, P90X does offer exercise modifications for beginners.
P90X bodyweight workouts are known for being intense, exhausting, and sweaty. Over 90 days, you’ll cycle through 12 workouts, six days a week, for up to 90 minutes at a time.
Note: If you’re looking for shorter, more intense workouts, check out our review of Horton’s Hard Corps program instead since each session lasts about 22 minutes long.
Accessing these workouts is as straightforward as possible.
Via the P90X website or app, you can stream the workouts anywhere in the house through your favorite streaming device. You just need your smartphone, smart TV, or tablet on hand.
3 Benefits of P90X
1. 14-Day Free Trial
Not all workout programs will work for you.
Worst of all, many workout programs cost a good sum of money, leaving you out a chunk of change when you realize it’s not within your wishes.
The 14-day trial gives you the chance to try P90X to see if it fits your goals and abilities.
2. Stands the Test of Time
Trends come and go in the world of fitness.
But fortunately, that’s not the case with P90X, as this program has been around for 15 years now (it was first released in 2005).
No program would be around for nearly two decades if it were a total flub.
3. Wider Streaming Capabilities
What’s an online workout program without access to the program?
The fact that P90X is available to stream on your smartphone, tablet, or smart TV allows you to workout wherever you want, whenever you want.
Follow along at the park, in your living room, or even in the gym.
3 Reasons Against P90X
1. Nearly All Bodyweight Exercises
There’s nothing wrong with bodyweight exercises.
The possible problem you may have with P90X is that many workouts either don’t use dumbbells or other weights, or they do so sparingly.
So if you like to lift and you like to lift heavy, this might be off-putting.
2. Might Be Over-Hyped
Losing an average of 0.64 pounds per day isn’t generally seen as “safe.”
So it is a bit misleading for P90X to claim that new users can lose up to nine pounds during the first two weeks, a result that’s likely rare and can be dangerous.
P90X is also based on “muscle confusion,” a hotly-debated topic that’s still not entirely proven.
3. “Extreme” is Right
To be frank, P90X workouts are absolutely brutal.
Some workouts extend toward the 90-minute mark and are nearly entirely aerobic exercises, so this might be out of the realm of possibility if you’re not already fit.
It may be too extreme for the average person to stick to past the free trial.
Superhero X12 vs Athlean-X vs P90X Conclusion
Though all three programs can yield serious fitness and health results, Superhero X12 is a better option for most people.
- 3 workouts per week is more realistic than the 5+ days with Athlean-X or P90X.
- SX12 includes resistance training, not just bodyweight exercises.
- You can choose the program that matches your fitness and physique goals best.
- You’re taught everything you need to track progress and see results.
- SX12 has flexible diet principles that can be easily followed for a long time.
So there you have it! It looks like it’s time to check out Superhero X12 by Fit Mole and take your gains to the next level.
Build a Superhero Body Without Training Like One
Getting in shape isn't easy. But this program gives you a real-life approach to building a leaner, more muscular body without obsessing over fitness 24/7.