What Measurements to Take With the P90X?

By Sasha Maggio

P90X is a 90-day home fitness program created by celebrity personal trainer Tony Horton in collaboration with Beachbody LLC. P90X is one of the highest-grossing home fitness programs of all time. Made popular by it's completeness, the program contains a 90-day calendar for three different weightloss or fitness goals, a 90-day nutrition plan which changes every month to accommodate changes in the workouts, online support from the Team Beachbody community and a 90-day money back satisfaction guarantee. Those who wish to submit before and after photos and measurements may enter Beachbody's Success Stories contests with various cash prizes as well.

Standard Body Measurements for P90X

Using a tape measure, like the type used in sewing, specific body measurements are taken before starting P90X, or any Beachbody program. The "measurement tracker" may be downloaded and printed from the Team Beachbody site, or simply use the guidebook that accompanied the P90X program. Avoid pulling the tape measure too tightly or leaving it too loose when taking measurements.

Chest measurements are taken around the back just at or below the bottom of the scapula (shoulder blade) running the tape measure under the arms and over the top of the breast or chest; for women this is similar to the first measurement to establish bra size (32, 34, 36, 38).

Waist measurements are taken at the natural waist which is typically about naval-level at the narrowest portion of the abdomen; keep the tape measure straight around the torso for this measurement.

Hips are measured at the hip bone and around the back above the buttocks. Women may wish to take two hip measurements, one at the hip bone and the other beneath the buttocks but around the widest part of the lower body.

Upper arm measurements are taken with the tape measure wrapped around the bicep, approximately the middle of the upper-arm area. Flexing can help show progress for both muscle growth and fat loss from this area.

Thigh measurements are taken around the middle of the thigh or slightly higher than mid-thigh if there is significant fat storage in the thighs. Keep the tape measure smooth and evenly wrapped around the thigh.

Optional Additional Measurements

Many who embark on a 90-day P90X journey have the goal of losing weight, while some are already in shape and looking for increasing muscle mass or other conditioning. Guys looking to increase muscle mass may wish to add additional measurements like the neck, taken between the base and middle of the neck usually at the widest point.

Calf muscles may be measured around the widest portion of the calf, with the calf flexed by putting weight on that leg and raising the body weight up on the ball of the foot.

Weight Tracking

Weightloss is a pleasant result of P90X but tracking weight progress requires some consistency. Always take weight measurements on the same day at the same time and wearing the same clothes or nude. For best results, consume a large amount of water for two days prior to weight measurements, such as increasing from the regular 64 ounces per day to 100 or 120 ounces per day for two days. This will help flush out any extra weight stored in the body from water retention. Weigh yourself in the morning, wearing the lightest amount of clothing possible such as undergarments or nude before getting in the shower; your hair will hold a lot of water after a shower so this is especially important for people with long hair.

Weigh yourself once a week or once a month throughout the program, recording the date and time with the weight measurement.


P90X, like all Beachbody programs, encourages the use of photos to track progress. Sometimes the numbers on the scale are deceptive; by building muscle with the P90X program your weight may stay the same even though body fat has significantly decreased. The P90X guidebook explains which photos to take on Day 1, Day 30, Day 60 and Day 90 of the program to track progress. Each photo set should contain about a dozen pictures from different angles. Typically, the photos are from the front with arms at the side, from the front with arms flexed, from the back with arms at the side and from the back with arms flexed. Then take side photos from the right with arms at side, from the left with arms at the side, from the right with arms flexed and torso turned to face the camera and then repeat on the left with arms flexed and torso turned to face the camera. Other photo shots are suggested through the Team Beachbody message boards from other P90X users, but ideally the photos taken should be full-body shots in clothing that allows the progress to be seen clearly and sufficient lighting to produce clear images. Save the photos to enter in the Success Story contests!

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