Battle of the Workout Tapes

By: Michelle Reich, CW8 Email
By: Michelle Reich, CW8 Email

So we all have been lying in bed at night and see these infomercials for P90X and Insanity workout programs. People who have completed these workout programs are strutting around in front of a camera, gushing about how great the program is and how much it has changed their lives. Then they show the creators (either Shaun T or Tony Horton), who go on to explain why their program works better then other programs, what concept it relies on, and just how quick and easy those extra pounds will just melt off. Most people who watch these infomercials roll their eyes and eat another Twinkie, but there are some of us out there that actually get excited and completely motivated to try them (Yes, of course, I am one of these people). Now, the people that they show on the infomercial have the most drastic changes in their bodies, but lets face it, thats why they are on tv. If you are considering trying either Insanity or P90X, here are some things to consider before you make an over $100 investment in them.

After completing both Insanity and P90X (Insanity just recently, P90X last summer), I have indeed seen changes in my body, but nothing like shown on TV. With both programs, I lost around 5 pounds (I didn't have much to lose to begin with), but the main change I saw was an overall tightness in my body. I didn't build muscle as much as I toned everything that I already had. Both programs had me sweating on a daily basis, and both included a nutrition guidebook (which I followed to varying extents), as well as a daily calender to tell me which workouts to do each day. They were both made by the same company, and both the instructors, Shaun T for Insanity and Tony Horton for P90X, were extremely motivational in their own ways. The main difference between these programs are the length and type of workouts being performed.


P90X is a three month long program, that has you basically doing the same 12 workouts in a different rotation. It incorporates cardio, weight lifting, kickboxing, plyometric, and yoga workouts that last anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. All of these workouts, except for the one plyometric workout, focus on low impact and high intensity movement. The plus side is that people with bad joint and low bone mass can perform these workouts with a decreased risk of injury, the down side is that you have to go and buy weights and a pull-up bar in addition to the $120 program. It also is about 3 days a week of weight lifting, which if you don't enjoy, gets very frustrating. After the 2nd month, I found it to be extremely repetitive. I was able to almost quote Tony as I did the workout, and had to literally grit my teeth to make it through the last month, not from the intensity, but from the boredom. Now I'm not bashing P90X, but I would definitely recommend it to people with joint issues, people who enjoy lifting weights, or people with large amount of weight they need to lose. It starts off at a slow pace, allows for multiple weight lifting days, and doesn't require everyday to be jam-packed with cardio. My mom, who jogged a lot in her youth, did it at the same time as me and she absolutely loved it! She has bad knees and was able to complete the workouts without further injuring her knees.


I recently finished the Insanity program, and let me tell you, it was INSANE! Everyday was a cardio workout. The first month is basically 6 different dvds that are rotated weekly, each workout ranging from a half hour to 45 minutes. All of these dvds have a majority of cardio and plyometric movements with pushups and other resistance exercises mixed in. The second month is considered the MAX month, and is the same type of workouts as the first month, but the intensity and length are increased. The second month's dvds range from 47 minutes to 59 minutes of non-stop, cardio and plyometric activity. Insanity is great because you don't have to buy any other equipment; you just use your body. I am naturally a runner and a basketball player, so P90X got boring having to lift weights for 3 days a week. Insanity was an intense cardio workout everyday, and I was dripping with sweat. The only downside to this was that even my knees began to hurt after the 2 months of high impact workouts. I would definitely recommend this work out to someone who is already active, and who has good joints that can handle the high intensity and high impact workouts.

My advice

With any good workout program, be sure to keep well hydrated and stretch both before and after your workouts. Both of these workouts mention a Results and Recovery drink, which I would invest in. The first day doing these workouts, on both programs, I did not have this formula, and I was sore to the point of not being able to walk. I got the Results and Recovery formula, and it literally made my soreness 98 times better. I still felt a little sore, but it was not at the point of being dangerous or not being able to move at all. You can purchase this formula at any nutritional store, which usually have a generic brand that is less expensive than the brand online.

If you do decide to invest in one of these programs, be sure to get one that fits your own workout pace, and good luck!

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