How Crazy Can You Get? P90X vs. The Insanity Workout

Unless you have been living in a cave, you have seen commercials for both the Insanity Workout and the P90X Workout.  Their claims are very similar as are their approaches.  In both cases, the workouts take you to the edge of your capabilities.  They both promise magnificent results if the program is completed (and enthusiasts post countless before-and-after photos as proof).  But what are the differences, and which one should you choose?

The P90X “Extreme Home Fitness” DVD set is comprised of 12 DVDs that feature workouts for every muscle group in your body. Created by Tony Horton, this package sells for about $140 including shipping and handling.  Tony’s “secret sauce” is something that he calls muscle confusion, which is a technique for varying the workouts so that muscle groups don’t have a chance to optimize for a given exercise.  He also includes printed materials for tracking progress, a dietary plan and online support.  The workouts deliver a high-level cardio beat down and focused stress on muscle groups.  The workout calendar tells you which exercises (and muscle groups) will be featured each day.  On day seven of each week you get to skip the workout and recover.

The Insanity Workout is delivered as a set of 10 DVDs.  Again, each area of the body gets a specific workout on its designated day, with plenty of cardio thrown in.  The package costs about $130 including shipping and handling and includes a dietary plan, a progress tracker and online support. Like the P90X regimen, you work out for six out of every seven days, but this program throws in a recovery week after the first month.  Then you are back to the Insanity. This workout was created by Shaun Thompson, who worked as a dancer and choreographer before developing Hip Hop Abs and then this program.

How are these workouts different? There are so many similarities but a few differences.  Most people who successfully complete the P90X program credit it for developing a lot of muscle bulk, where Insanity graduates talk about lean muscle development.  Both programs build endurance, but your silhouette will be different between the two, based on the muscle bulk that the P90X workout creates. 

The P90X workouts depend on some exercise equipment, which you may or may not already own.  The Insanity workouts are designed to be equipment free.  Depending on your circumstances, that may be a consideration.  Whenever shopping for exercise gear, consider buying used equipment from people who started out with great intentions but lost their enthusiasm before the equipment lost its shine.

A small difference between the two programs is their guarantee.  The P90X program promises results in 90 days and offers a 90-day money back guarantee.  The Insanity program promises results in 60 days but only offers a 30-day money back guarantee.  Seems a bit odd, but those are the facts.

The final choice is yours.  Both programs have devoted followers, inspiring web sites and plenty of hype.  What really matters is your determination to stick with the program though completion.  Neither one will do much for you while it’s sitting on the shelf. 

It is widely recognized that exercise is more fun with a workout buddy.  If you don’t have a friend that willing to go through this with you, go to and find yourself a local workout buddy.

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