Insanity vs. P90X – How do I choose?

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If you have seen both the ads on those late night infomercials then you might be stuck with a big decision; how can you choose between two quality exercise programs? The debate over Insanity vs P90X is an interesting one because there are some big differences in the programs.

Let’s review the programs and then you can try and make the best decision for you.

The Insanity Programinsanity vs. P90X

Shaun T will be screaming at you to “Dig Deeper!” as you power through his 60 day course that features maximum interval training. Because of the intensity of this type of workout, each session is about 45 minutes, but you workout 6 days a week.

The program uses 10 DVDs and doesn’t require any additional equipment, however they recommend a yoga mat ($10-$30) and a heart rate monitor to ensure you stay in the proper zone. The basic program cost is about $120. Basically this is like doing a high intensity cardio program in a gym class.

Overall max interval training has had some mixed results. Some medical professionals and trainers have noted that it can be hard to maintain this level of intensity and might even be detrimental to push so hard so often.

When comparing P90X vs Insanity, the Insanity program certainly gets the edge in regards to building up cardio and endurance as that is the primary focus of it. Utilizing bodyweight for exercises will help with muscle tone and the cardio works with fat burning to help you get ripped.

The P90X Program

Tony Horton’s program is price the same, at $120, but since it is just not body weight exercises it needs dumbbells, resistance bands and a pull up bar to be effective. Plus they recommend a yoga mat, yoga blocks, push up bars and a heart rate monitor. That is a lot of extra cost on top of the basic price. Horton also recommends his protein powder and recovery drink.

The P90X program is more of a balanced workout program that last 75 minutes. It utilizes muscle confusion and mixes cardio with weights. You work out 6 days a week as well. Plus there is a detailed diet program. Basically this is a more standard program that you can do at home that would mimic doing cardio and weights in a gym. The muscle confusion is the key to this program which is what helps you keep growing and advancing.

When comparing Insanity vs P90X, P90X gets the edge for adding muscle size. You will burn fat and can trim up doing cardio and eating right, but the focus is to work the muscles more than just cardio.

The Bottom Line

So how should you rate these two programs? To me it looks like there are three deciding factors in comparing P90X versus Insanity; cost, your fitness level and your goal.

Obviously the box cost is equal for both programs, but the P90X program will cost an additional $50-$200 in equipment (depending on what you get and where you can find it). So that is one factor in comparing Insanity vs P90X.

Next there is your fitness level to consider. P90X is great for anyone. It provides instruction and the basic framework that a beginner can really learn from plus has enough to keep the intermediate or advanced fitness enthusiast engaged. Insanity, on the other hand, is not for beginners. The program is very hard and if you aren’t already in moderate shape then you just won’t be able to do it. This is not a program for someone very overweight looking to slim down.

Finally, what are your goals? Do you want to shape up overall? Or are you looking to take an okay looking body and get ripped to shreds without adding more muscle? This is another big difference between the two programs. Insanity will take what you have, maybe add a tiny bit of muscle size, certainly muscle tone and will then help shred fat. Overall you will probably look more muscular because of the fat loss. P90X will help with muscle size and shape along with some fat loss, but not to the same degree.

Now considering those three factors, you should be able to make the best choice to fit your own needs.

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