First up a review of the Insanity versus P90X trainers, Shaun T and Tony H
Shaun T really impressed me. I expected more of a salesman type trainer, but he came across as very genuine in his routines and I felt he really explained each exercise movement and made it easy to learn and follow along with. He’s very informative throughout, focuses on “soft-landings”, has a great warm-up session and even the team following along with him has to take breaks to keep up. That’s a huge ego boost for those of us who don’t have a body like Tanya.
Tony H was quite a different character than Shaun T. He’s a solid trainer, a little corny, but while he’ll mention the name of a specific exercise, he won’t always walk you through each of the steps. In addition you usually need to start right along with him, so at times you end up having to watch him and his participants do one or two routines then rewind or pause and start the exercise yourself.
Overall both physically look very fit though I don’t recall Tony H ever taking off his shirt during the sessions like Shaun T did. I’m sure Tony H has a well-defined stomach.
Insanity versus P90X calorie counts and nutrition:
Both Insanity and P90X have nutrition guides to go with their work out plan.
Insanity’s calorie count seemed very accurate, it had specific height weight and age taken into account along with life style factors and corresponding charts to give an estimate guideline of activity and then some goals around how to adjust your intake around increasing or decreasing weight. It’s very straight forward.
P90X’s calorie methods were a bit different and seemed overly generalized where it focused more on your weight and then users have to estimate their RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) with no real guidance on how to do that. It definitely makes the assumption that the user knows about this stuff, which I found annoying since as a trainer, don’t you assume that people come to you because they don’t know what they’re doing?
Using the examples above, along with assuming a workout schedule incorporating their program courses, and with no weight gain or loss goal; I estimated that I need 3,091.29 calories per day with Insanity versus 2,760 with P90X. However, P90X went a step further and suggested choosing one of their nutrition plans of 1,800, 2,400 or 3,000 calories per day which for me would mean I need to lower or raise my calorie intake.
Based on my current diet, a typical day for me is around 2,690 total consumed calories during the work week, and over 3,000 on weekends.
Insanity equipment versus P90X equipment needed
Nothing is needed but yourself for Insanity. You’ll focus on moving and lifting your own body weight. It was also easy enough to do the exercise routines in my living room, though my ceilings are low so for some of the jumping I did have to hold back a bit. Definitely bring a towel as 10 minutes in you’ll be sweating and by the end you’ll be soaked.
P90X requires, at minimum, curling weights and a pull-up bar, though it’s recommended to have a yoga block, resistance bands, pushup bars and a mat. If you don’t have a home gym you can improvise, such as cans of soup for curls, but in the end you may find yourself skipping parts of courses if you can’t find what you need.
Planning my workouts with Insanity and P90X
I should mention that both P90X and Insanity have various suggested and custom calendars for users to follow along with. Because my goal was to explore the new exercises I simply went through each video in sequential order rather than participate in the standard 90 day program. In addition, each program offered by Beachbody.com suggests at least 1 day of rest. During my time reviewing these programs I took no days off, though there were days that I only did a short 16 minute ab routine as I limited myself to only one course per day.
With Insanity every workout has a warm up, stretch, then the workout, then a cool down stretch. The warmup is probably one of the best warmup routines you can do and really focuses on loosening up all of your body, regardless of what your focus for the day is. Though honestly, Insanity routines work everything.
P90X was a bit lackluster in it’s warm up, though it followed the same idea of warm up then work out with minimal stretching. I found this a bit odd considering that the motions and routines in P90X put much more strain on your joints and muscles. However, P90X’s Stretch-X and Yoga-X are amazing, and I can’t speak more highly of the Yoga-X 1.5 hour routine. It’s worth doing, though I do suggest taking Tony’s advice and stay in child’s pose for the more advanced moves if you haven’t done Yoga before.
A note here that much of the P90X routines felt very intense on my joints and I think it could be a challenge for anyone with issues in this area, where as with Insanity I never once felt like was doing something that could impact my joint performance.
It’s worth mentioning that Insanity courses, not including the short ab workouts, are typically from 33 to 54 minutes long. So most routines can fit easily within a 45 min window and focus on the entire body.
P90X courses, not including the short ab workouts, are usually always 50 to 57 minutes, with exception of Yoga-X at 1 hour and 31 minutes. However, with P90X you’ll focus on things like Chest and Shoulders and Triceps, Shoulders and Arms, or Legs and Back on specific days. There are also some Kenpo workout routines for those martial arts fans.
As for physical activity time, my typical week of doing Insanity along with my own personal gym and outdoor time on the weekends brought me to an average of 4.5 hours per week of exercise. This was drastically lower than my time with P90X, due to their longer routine times, where my average was near 7 hours per week.
How I felt after going through all of Insanity and P90X
While I enjoyed both programs, I personally found Insanity worked me a lot more in regards to cardio and conditioning, where P90X felt more like just a day at the gym trying to improve my reps and bulk. Granted that is what the focus is of each of these programs is respectively.
Insanity is all about total body fitness with high intensity interval training to give you a mix of cardio and conditioning to slim down or tone up. P90X is what my wife calls a prison workout, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth, while there are burpees included, the real focus is on strength training with some Kenpo cardio tossed in. It really amazes me that Yoga-X is included in that though.
Favorite courses I’ll work into my weekly routine
Insanity’s Max Cardio Conditioning and Max Interval Sports Training are the two routines I liked the most and that I felt I could work into my weekly routine. Both offer the cardio and total body workout I am after.
P90X’s Yoga-X and Core Synergistics are fantastic. I can’t speak highly enough about Yoga-X and I want it to be my Sunday “rest” routine. Core Synergistics was a pretty solid total body workout, though I am tempted to swap in one of the Kenpo courses every now and again.
Too long didn’t read, final recommendations
If your goal is to lose weight or get some definition before the summer, then Insanity for overall fitness is what I recommend. If you want to gain muscle or feel the need to punch and kick the air during a workout then P90X is probably for you.