P90X vs Insanity Workout Routine, which one is better? Recently, there has been a lot of talk about two popular extreme home workout DVDs: P90X and Insanity. I have done both P90X and Insanity so I would like to share some of my thoughts about the two workout routines. Hopefully by the end of this post you can figure out what routine works best for you. And if you decide to attempt one of these extreme workouts after reading this post, more power to you. Just make sure you are mentally ready for what’s coming in the next 60 to 90 days.
Quick Side-by-Side Comparison
|Instructor||Tony Horton||Shaun T|
|Slogan||“Do your best and forget the rest!”||“DIG DEEPER!”|
|Program Length||90 days||60 days|
|Number of Workouts||12 DVDs||10 DVDs|
|Average Workout Duration||75 minutes||45 minutes|
|Style||Intense Muscle Confusion||Max Interval Training|
6 days intense
1 day rest/stretch
P90X workout schedule (PDF)
P90X workout worksheet (Excel)
3 days intense
1 day recovery workout
2 days intense
1 day rest
Insanity workout schedule (JPG)
Insanity workout worksheet (Excel)
|Minimum Equipment Requirement||None|
|Additional Recommended Equipment|
|Price||$269.70 (with all equipments)|
$119.85 (without any equipments)
My Impressions of P90X
What I like about it:
P90X is a truly complete full body workout.
In general the program alternates between strength training days and non-strength training days. Each strength training day focuses on a particular muscle group of your body (e.g. chest/back, shoulders/biceps/triceps, legs/back, etc.). Each non-strength-training day is more synergistic training where your whole body is working (plyometrics, yoga, core synergistics, kenpo).
The program really takes care of your body.
Each workout session starts with 10 minutes of warm-up/stretching and ends with about 5 minutes of cool-down/stretching. Each week, you get one day to rest or stretch (there’s a DVD for stretching so don’t get lazy!).
Focuses on burning fat by building muscle.
Most exercise routines are based on principles of circuit training. I personally think this is a more permanent solution to weight loss.
Variety helps with boredom.
You have 6 very different fitness workout routines each week. After the three weeks, you switch to a different set of weekly exercises. After four weeks, you switch again to a different set. It’s hard to get bored with P90X.
Tony Horton is encouraging and charismatic.
I enjoy working out with Tony and his slogan “do your best and forget the rest.” I always feel proud of myself after each workout.
Program lasts for 90 days.
It IS longer than Insanity to complete, but I see it as you get more for your money.
What I’m not too fond of:
Workouts are a lot longer than most people are used to.
They advertise 60 minutes per day, but in reality it’s more like 75 minutes per day. Each workout is about 60 minutes and Ab Ripper X is an extra 15 minutes.
P90X is harder to stick to while traveling.
You will need to do pull-ups in some workouts, so if you are caught traveling during those days, you will probably have to postpone that workout.
Some things are a bit outdated.
I’d like to see some dynamic stretching or foam rolling added into the program. I question the efficiency of some workouts (e.g. kenpo) or moves (e.g. the block & elbow series). Sometimes I wonder if I would do better if I switch out kenpo for cardio or another workout.
My Impressions of Insanity
What I like about it:
The most intense cardio workout you will ever go through.
I’ve never been pushed so hard while working out before and I thought I was in shape from P90X. My heart rate is at 80% – 90% my maximum heart rate through the whole workout. Wearing a heart rate monitor is highly recommended during these workouts.
Each workout lasts only 45 minutes.
This makes Insanity easy to stick to. It’s a lot easier to find a 45 minute chunk in my day than a 75 minute chunk.
No required equipment.
Again, this makes Insanity easier to stick to than P90X. I have a copy of Insanity on my iPod for when I travel. All I bring is just a pair of sneakers to train while I’m out of town.
Focuses on losing weight through max interval training.
My body temperature remains high even after 2 hours of working out (used as a gauge for my body’s metabolic rate).
Increased speed and agility.
A lot of exercises are based on plyometrics and the main focus is to do as many repetitions as possible within a given amount of time. This helps you improve your speed and agility.
Program only lasts for 60 days.
The program is good for those who cannot commit to 90 days of straight working out.
What I’m not too fond of:
Insanity is not really a full body workout.
There is little focus on strength training or muscle building. There is little focus on upper-body and abs. Most of my core muscles get sore (lower abs, hip flexors, lower back, etc.), but my abdominal and upper-body muscles are never sore. A lot of moves do not utilize your muscles’ full range of mobility. This could make your muscles stronger/weaker at different ranges of motion.
The program doesn’t really take care of your body.
There is little focus on stretching and the warm-up is not really a warm-up (it’s too intense).
Shaun T yells at me too much and I was never good enough for him.
He often says, “It’s okay to take a rest, but PUSH! PUSH! PUSH! DIG DEEPER!” He says certain things like, “never compromise form” but doesn’t really enforce it.
Time to Choose
I’ve tried many home workout DVDs in the past and none of them worked nearly as well as P90X and Insanity. Either of these programs will give you great results. Deciding which one is right for you is easy. You have to decide what you want to work on and what your level of commitment is. If you want to build muscles, have a lot of time to dedicate to it, and are not planning on going anywhere for an extended period of time (for the next 90 days) then you should try P90X. If you are a road warrior or travel bug, or you don’t have enough time in your day, then you should try Insanity instead.