I actually really love infomercials. From the early infomercial days of Tom Vu, Carlton Sheets, and Tony Robbins, I have always loved infomercials. It's really fascinating to me that marketers create a half hour long commercial with the expectation that people will sit through the entire thing, and some of them will even pick up the phone to order what they are hawking. It's even more fascinating that people actually do.
So, now I'm one of them. A few weeks ago, I ordered the P90X workout program. I'll give my review later. First, I'm going to ramble a bit. This is the first thing that I have ever bought from an infomercial, despite hours of watching the early personalities of the craft. Of course, infomercials of the 80s and 90s were a bit of a different animal. Back then, you only caught infomercials at 2am, when you couldn't sleep. The airtime was cheap, and the marketers must have figured that the sad folks who were watching TV at 2am were prime targets for "get rich quick" schemes, "lose your gut in 7 minutes a day," or the coolest cooking device that lets you "set it and forget it."
Don't get me wrong, the products haven't changed. Sure, they're more modern and there's more of them. But at the end of the day, they help you get rich, lose weight, cook, or feel better about yourself. No, the real difference between infomercials of yesteryear and today is the internet.
In 1986, you called the 1-800 number, gave them your credit card number, or ordered COD, and agreed to pay your five easy payments of $19.99. All you had base your decision on was whatever the silver tongued salesman said on the infomercial, and the paid actors providing testimonials.
Now that we are all constantly wired to the internet, it would completely dumbfound me if anyone were to buy something off of the TV without first checking reviews on the internet. Shoot, I'll read online reviews before I change toilet paper brands (Don't worry Kirkland, I'll never leave you).
Before I spent the low price of three monthly payments of $39.95 (plus $19.95 S&H) to begin the workout that promised to transform my body in 90 days for the , I spent nearly as many scanning the internet for reviews. Man, there's a lot out there!
I guess this is the part where my review begins. Actually, my review is as much on the experience of buying something from an infomercial as it is the P90X program. I would imagine that the internet has not only changed the way that people buy infomercial products, but the products themselves. They still promise to do the same thing (get rich, lose weight...), but the great irony is that it is information, or the availability of it, itself that has been the great equalizer. The very thing that the early infomercial promised to deliver, information, is today what keeps them honest.
Sure, there's still plenty of junk that gets hawked on late night TV. But my experience with the P90X workout program was overall positive. The DVDs came neatly packaged with a detailed workout and diet program. I made a decision that I wasn't going to follow the diet program to any detail, but certainly used it as a guide to improve my eating habits. The workout program, however, I kept with daily. And let me tell you, this is not an easy one to keep up with. First of all, the workouts are intense. This isn't sweatin' with the oldies. Also, they're not short. Each workout is an hour or longer. Setting aside this much time every day to workout is a challenge.
And I got results. I got through the first three weeks of the program, and saw a significant difference in the way my clothes fit, the results on my bathroom scale, and even saw some muscle development. Unfortunately, it may have been a bit too much too suddenly. I tweaked my back at the end of my third week. I'm pretty sure I pinched a nerve. Whatever it was specifically, I was in pretty bad shape for a good week or so.
When I start back on the workouts, I'm going to take it a bit slower. Instead of completing the P90X, I'll probably do something more like the P120X. I'll add an extra couple of days of rest and cardio in each week. I'm still really confident, based on my early experience, that this will make a tremendous difference in my physical condition.
So, the promises in the commercial may have been a bit ambitious