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Beachbody Insanity Vs. P90X: Which One Is Better?

P90X pull ups can be challenging, but the results are rewarding.

P90X pull ups can be challenging, but the results are rewarding.

My Critique of Insanity

I tried the Insanity workout program for then weeks then I stopped. I decided to move back to P90X. I stopped using Insanity because the Insanity workouts were very hard on my knees. In P90X, trainer Tony Horton says that it is about getting results not about getting hurt. I took his advice when my knees started getting sore from all of the jumping involved in the Insanity workouts. I can handle the little bit of jumping that P90X requires during the Plyometrics work out, but the daily jumping in Insanity was too much for my knees.

I looked around on the internet and I am not alone with this opinion. A lot of people have complained about knee pain while doing the Insanity workout. I did break my kneecap when I was a kid, so that might have something to do with it. But, In my opinion, the knee pain is not caused by my past injury. It is caused by the serious jarring exercises that Insanity incorporates into its workouts. Toward the end of my three weeks, Jumping Jacks were getting painful on my knees. Since I moved onto P90X, I’ve done Jumping Jacks with no pain at all. It isn’t the jumping jacks that causes the pain. It is the constant jumping throughout the Insanity workouts that creates a condition where any small amount of jumping was causing me knee discomfort.

Another reason that I quit doing Insanity was the lack of results. My weight fluctuates from day to day, so it is hard for me to nail down my exact results after 3 weeks. It could be a pound or two lost or it could be no loss at all. As with any workout plan, I know that results are not immediate. I use the philosophy that working out is good for me, and if I do what I have to do the results will come with time. I know that sitting on my butt isn’t going to change anything, so working out is only going to improve my current conditioning.

With that in mind, I needed to see something to encourage me to work through the knee pain and continue with Insanity instead of P90X. I wasn’t seeing any results from Insanity. I looked on the internet and a lot of people go through 3 or 4 weeks on Insanity with no weight loss. The common claim by the trainers is that people are not eating enough to keep their bodies from going into starvation mode. I used the same eating habits through Insanity that worked for me in P90X, and the results were not the same. The Insanity workouts are intense, but my results were insignificant. That is why I think that P90X is better than Insanity.

Beachbody Insanity vs. P90X

We have seen the Beachbody Insanity and P90X work out infomercials on late night TV, but how many of us know which program is a better fit for our personal fitness needs. We are going to face off Beachbody Insanity vs. P90X to see which program is right for you.

Insanity is considered by many to be an alternative or follow up to the popular P90X workout program by Beachbody. There is a significant difference between P90X and Insanity. Insanity is a cardio intense workout plan that utilizes interval training to get you the "best workout of your life" where P90X is a program that incorporates cardio but focuses more on strength training using dumbbells, pull ups and your own body weight to provide the resistance needed to build muscle and burn calories .

The Insanity workouts are shorter than the P90X workouts. Insanity workouts typically last only 45 minutes. Insanity workouts start with a warm up that is a cardio session for the first 10 minutes or so. That is followed by a stretch/yoga session for about 10 minutes. Then the main workout follows. The Insanity main workout lasts about 20 minutes. Twenty minutes may not sound like much, but trainer Shaun T will have you sweating before it is finished. Insanity workouts are six days a week with one day off to recover, just like P90X.

Keep on working out with P90X or Insanity if you want to get a ripped lean body.

Keep on working out with P90X or Insanity if you want to get a ripped lean body.

Insanity Will Improve Athletic Performance

Just because Insanity was not better than P90X for me, does not mean that Insanity isn't right for you. I am not a Beachbody coach. I am just a guy looking to pass along some honest information on this product. If you are a basketball player, tennis player, football player, soccer player, etc with good young knees, then Insanity could improve your performance more than P90X. Insanity incorporates a lot of moves that work on your lateral movement, jumping ability, cardiovascular endurance, quick twitch muscle development and sprinting. It even mixes in a small amount of strength training. If your main goal is to get quicker, and jump higher, then Insanity is going to do a better job for you than P90X.

What Is P90X?

A quick description of the P90X workout consists of the following:

  • 6 days a week of workouts
  • 3 of those days are strength training
  • 2 days are cardio training
  • 1 day of yoga.

There is plenty of variation throughout the 90 days of workouts to keep it interesting and effective. Each workout is about 1 hour, but the strength workouts are followed by a tough 15 minute abdominal workout called Ab Ripper X. Yoga day is the longest workout and it lasts about an hour and a half. Insanity is a much shorter workout than P90X. It could be a better option for someone that wants a high intensity workout, but doesn't have a lot of free time.

Another disclosure is that I do not use any of the recommended supplements while I'm working out. The use of supplements and meal replacement shakes could give you significantly better results than I was able to achieve without supplementing my routine. I was able to drop anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds a month during the P90X program.while building up both my muscle mass and overall body strength. If you have a huge lack of energy maybe supplements will help. If you are looking for a lot of muscle gain, then supplements will help. If you are looking to get fit, lose some weight, and gain some muscle definition then you do not need anything other than a healthy diet. It is recommended that you consult a physician before starting any workout program.

Here Are the Results

P90X results on day 90.

P90X results on day 90.

Who Should Use P90X?

If you are someone that is looking to lose a few pounds and doesn’t really care about your 40 yard dash time or your vertical leap, then I wouldn't recommend Insanity to you. P90X is better than Insanity in my opinion when it comes to maintaining or losing weight while building muscle. P90X is not only easier on your joints, but it also incorporates more of a full body workout than Insanity. Even though I didn’t complete the Insanity work out, I think that I gave it enough of a trial to give an honest critique. The strength training days of P90X give me more to look forward to throughout my workout. The strength training also ads a sense of accomplishment to the P90X workout. It is nice to see muscle development and an increase in strength as you work through the P90X program. P90X gives you that with it's strength days, while Insanity left me wanting more. Insanity is more monotonous than P90X because the cardio never stops and a lot of the workouts are very similar. Insanity seemed like Run, Jump, Stretch and the workout is done to me.

I may try to incorporate a few Insanity work outs into my P90X workouts as many people like to do. They call it a hybrid work out where you do the P90X strength training days with Insanity replacing P90X on cardio days. Three days a week of jumping might be more tolerable on my knees than the 5-6 days of jumping required while doing the Insanity program. It may not be necessary though, because P90X has it's own cardio workouts that seem to get the job done.

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Comparing P90X vs. Insanity

Please do not copy or replicate my chart without first obtaining permission

Please do not copy or replicate my chart without first obtaining permission

Everything that you will possibly need for P90X.  I completed it with less.

Everything that you will possibly need for P90X. I completed it with less.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Kim on July 19, 2018:

You didn't give insanity a good chance by only doing it for 21 days. It's a 60 day program, and the majority of people who complete it drop substantial amounts of weight in the second month. I would highly recommend only doing insanity if you are relatively fit to begin with. You especially want fairly substantial core strength and joint stability. The use of proper shoes and a mat can help a lot as well. I agree that P90X is a better, more well-rounded program for someone looking to improve their overall fitness. Insanity is a good option for someone looking to cut weight or dramatically improve their cardiovascular endurance. I have heard good things about the hybrid program, but I've heard even better things about P90X2, especially for someone starting at a lower or average level of fitness. Hopefully your opinion doesnt discourage someone who may benefit from using insanity. I didn't like that the insanity program seemed to lack a proper cool-down, but aside from that found it to be a really great cardio workout.

Dave Smith (author) from Michigan on June 26, 2014:

I would go for something a little less strenuous.

Silvia on June 16, 2014:

Can a 50 year old woman in fair good shape take on something is strenuous. I'm not sure if I can handle this just want to lose 10 pounds.

anonymous on March 03, 2014:

In my personal experience Insanity is definitely better for cardio training. Ive played soccer for 13 years (town leagues and high school) and Insanity just fits me better. Don't get me wrong, I've done P90x and its a good workout and good for building strength, but its just not for those who want their mile time to go down or their leg muscles to be strengthened or toned.

Both workouts are good and just depend on what your personal goals are.

Dave Smith (author) from Michigan on January 19, 2014:

Maybe I will check it out. It sounds like a nice change up.

Andrew on January 17, 2014:

Hey dude, not sure if you've gotten p90x3 yet or tried it, but it is amazing. The most obvious part that makes it great is every workout is 30 minutes (excluding cool down) so it is a real time saver. One of the big advantages for insanity compared to p90x was the time difference, and now that issue is solved in x3. And also there is no ab ripper so I don't have to worry about doing an additional workout three days a week - which was a huge hassle on days when I worked a 12 hour shift.

One thing I noticed in p90x was that (other than recovery weeks) it was same exact routine for the entire program. Ie, plyo every Tuesday, yoga every Thursday, kenpo every Saturday, etc etc. And even the recovery weeks were also the same routines, just different order (except core). By day 75-80 I got quite bored and skipped quite a few days. Well, that was also right at Christmas time so I'm sure that had something to do with it too. I decided to finish off my last recovery week and then start insanity just for some change, and for the added cardio.

A major difference in x3 is that the 3 phases are all completely different. There are 16 videos compared to 12 (10 really, since ab ripper doesn't really count and cardio x is rarely used) so there is a lot more variety.

I'm hoping to finish insanity but if I have the same problem as you I won't mind quitting early and starting x3. Although I'm 2 weeks in and I'm already getting a little bored of insanity, the workouts are all so similar. But I will try to stick it out until at least phase 2 when the workouts all change.

Dave Smith (author) from Michigan on January 01, 2014:

Thanks for the input Fred

Fred on December 16, 2013:

I have completed Insanity and P90X and even moded them into a 2-day workout - usually making sure the workouts don't cause me the burnout. i.e I do a really intense Insanity workout with a milder P90X workout and vice versa.

I think your preference is just preference. I was traveling a lot recently and when I want to LOSE REAL WEIGHT, I go with Insanity. The problem is most don't push the threshold of pain so they don't push as hard as they can and don't get the results. P90X seems easy now after Insanity and I don't feel like I'm getting a serious workout. However the p90x results are just as good. I got seriously good at pullups and loved that. P90X makes me feel more bulky and Insanity makes me feel leaner though. Though p90X does push for lean muscle mass, I think it also pushes the muscles out more by building them to give the illusion of major weight loss. Finally I lost 25 lbs in 60 days with Insanity and maybe 15 lbs (I think more like 10) at the most with P90X. I'm a fan of both workouts though.

zenmoon333 on November 12, 2013:

hello, im looking to switch up my fitness routine and also figure out which is better for me for taking off an extra 20 pounds. Ive done insanity for a year or more with a few months break in between where I got out of shape and put on like thirty pounds... I love insanity and it put me in the best shape of my life, now ive been doing it for two months every single day and most days I do two discs, a max workout and then add core cardio and balance cuz im obsessed with losing the weight fast and ive mastered insanity to a point that I do 2 or 3 hours lol.... so I feel like I've hit a plateau and just don't know if I should keep doing insanity and push myself more, or try p90x to further my fitness, id def end up doing the doubles, I have lots of time to workout till next fall , im extremely dedicated and luv being pushed to the next level. need to lose more weight and then keep a general routine to keep it off..... plz help !! .