P90X vs. Insanity — Which is right for me?

The two most popular Beachbody workouts are P90X and Insanity.  I completed p90x a little over a year ago (and am down to the short rows of P90X2) and completed half of Insanity.  (But plan to surmount the whole thing beginning in about a week). I am excited about both products and have talked about them with friends, family,  coworkers, people on the street who ask me for change 🙂 in short, everyone.  The number one question I am always asked is “WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN P90X AND INSANITY?” And for those individuals who are concerned about their health, the second is usually “WHICH IS RIGHT FOR ME?”

The answer to the first is easier than the second because the second depends on the fitness goals and the current health situation of the person asking. So let’s answer the easier question first.


P90X is a muscle-building, fat blasting workout that includes cardio workouts, but its concentration is getting stronger and leaner. P90X is based on the theory of Muscle Confusion. P90X changes the workout every 30 days so your muscles do not get used to the workout.  Therefore, muscles are having to continually adapt.  Muscles GROW as they adapt. (And ladies, please don’t worry about becoming “too muscular” — see Coach Crystal (she has done P90X multiple times).

Insanity is a cardio intense program that uses your body weight for resistance. Insanity’s scientific advance is Max Interval Training.  Max Interval Training is training very intensely with short recovery breaks to catch your breath and allow your heartbeat to slow down a little, before cranking the intensity back up to max levels.


P90X lasts 90 days (6 days per week).  The average workout is about 60 minutes (Yoga is longer at about 90).

Insanity is shorter in both days and time.  It is a 60 day program (also six days per week) and the workouts last around 40 minutes.


P90X requires a pull-up bar and either resistance bands or dumbbells.

Insanity has no minimum equipment (though a heart rate monitor will let you know if you are dead… hahaha!!)


P90Xhas Tony Horton.  He is a superfit guy.  He is also quite corny.  He loves his jokes and they make me smile even as I groan. Some of his catchphrases include:  “Just Bring it!”, “Keep Pushing Play”, “Do your best, and forget the rest” and my favorite… “Don’t smash your face!!”

Insanity has Shaun T.  Shaun T is superfit as well.  He is a motivator and his workouts are enjoyable, though his program has less chance for jokes due to its intensity.  Some of Shaun’ catchphrases include “Dig deeper!”, “We good, ya’ll?” , “Shaun T is starting to sweat!”and my favorite “That sh*t is bananas!!” (It really is!! haha.)

Now the second question “Should I choose P90X or Insanity?”…

I tried to do Insanity straight from the couch and couldn’t complete it.  I could with P90X.  I think those who are just getting back into fitness should start with P90X.  You can modify enough to do the workout  and work yourself back into shape. 

If you are getting in shape and want to drop fat fast, I think Insanity is the way to go.  While you can certainly drop a lot of weight in P90X (and you will), Insanity forces weight loss with the intensity required. (Now if you finish either off with a whole pizza, it’s not going to matter.  Abs are made in the kitchen.) (By the way, both workouts come with nutrition plan which you should follow, too. That is more a “do as I say and not as I do” suggestion. 😉 ).

If you are looking to get stronger, P90X would be my suggestion, though you will also get stronger going through Insanity.

I think both of these programs are excellent and would highly recommend them.  You can watch videos of both workouts here. Tell me what your fitness goals are and I will give you my opinion as to which one may be right for you! (Opinions are like elbows, everybody has one.  haha, but I have at least tried these workouts! 😉 )

What are your thoughts on P90X and Insanity?


31 comments on “P90X vs. Insanity — Which is right for me?

  1. Leesah Em says:

    I have been wanting to try both of these as a “cross training” workout to compliment my running, but I have no where to do them that I can be all drippy with sweat and not ruin carpet…except my kitchen…which is small and working out in it just seems weird. lol.

    • I have sweated on a lot of carpet and have not ruined any yet… unless Canadians sweat dye, your carpet should be fine. lol. 😉

      But yeah, working out in a kitchen does seem a little weird… though you would be close to water!

  2. Leesah Em says:

    and post workout treats…er…healthy snacks. 😉

  3. Stealing Shade says:

    Excellent overview! I’m currently in my second month of P90X and already thinking about what I’ll do when that’s been completed. Hearing about, but not knowing about, Insanity makes me wonder if maybe this should be it. Thanks do the thoughts I ponder!

  4. Stealing Shade says:

    Reblogged this on Shut the Health Up and commented:
    I may have found my next workout sequence!

  5. terry4505 says:

    I agree with everything you said here. I too have never completed Insanity. I instead perfer to mix it in as a substitute for Kenpo and Plyo X when doing P90X. I did 2, 3 month rounds of P90X/Insanity Hybrids and loved it.

    I know I am in good enough shape to do it, I just don’t have the motivation. Following X2 in April, I am going to Hybrid X2 and Insanity: The Asylum.

  6. thebestme4me says:

    Good breakdown of both! I’ve not done either…yet! I’ve been totally happy with Chalean Extreme and Turbo Fire, plus some of my own cardio/interval stuff thrown in. Starting with Les Mills Pump next week.

  7. couchaddict says:

    Thanks for the reviews… I’ve been doing a lot of research on P90X, specifically P90X Lean. I’ve heard mixed reviews but really want a cardio/fat burning program to start on. I have about 40 lbs to lose, though – should I try something else before I start P90X?

    • I weighed 235 when I started P90X for the first time. I lost a little over 20 lbs on P90X. I gained some back but have lost down to about 207 on P90X2. I am still about 10 lbs away from where I want to be. So I needed to lose about 40 lbs too. I was able to modify P90X and made great improvements from when I began to the end of the program.

      I have every confidence that if you modify the workouts, you can do p90x. However, I am not sure you will be able to lose all 40 lbs in 90 days even if you completely followed the nutrition plan (I admittedly did not…) If you are really concerned, Tony Horton originally started with Power 90 in the late nineties. It is not as extreme if you wanted the predecessor of P90X.

  8. Insanity. Tony Horton is SO IRRITATING. UGH. BLEH.

  9. david says:

    I respect your commitment… And drive not sure I could fit all the stuff you fit in. I have avoided programmes like these cos I know I would be destined to fail after a week 😦

    • Thanks, but I did fail to complete Insanity. The good thing about these programs is they are for a determined amount of time. Knowing that the end is only 90 or 60 days away makes it easier. This will mark the first time that I have not slacked between the programs.

  10. spinmethin says:

    I think we should work together to create the next fitness craze in which you do a workout so good you CAN follow it with a whole pizza and not get fat. Feeling like I deserved major snacks after workouts was how I gained 25 lbs after I first joined the gym. I wish I could eat pizza every dayyyyyyy!

    • Hahaha!! I read an article on that very thing… I wish I remember where. The gist was that people not only feel like they “deserve” a treat after working out but that the body is actually hungrier after a tough workout. Being aware of my body trying to sabotage my weight loss goal has helped. —

      As for a whole pizza…. if you had time to exercise about 15 hours a day, I bet we could make that work!! 😉

      • spinmethin says:

        As long as that 15 hours of exercise only consisted of bicep curling slices of pizza into my mouth, then yes I totally could. ha!

  11. Denise says:

    That is so true…abs are made in the kitchen. And you don’t really get it until you see the results from changing your diet. Once you see the abs popping it’s just that much more motivation to keep eating clean! But it’s also hard because when you’re working out that hard you always want to eat everything in sight!

  12. mzsura says:

    Great post comparing the 2. I’ve only completed p90x and really enjoyed the program. I am thinking of maybe starting insanity just for something new and different…not sure though.

  13. eaf2 says:

    Both of them seem too intense for me straight from the couch. 30 day shred is kicking my butt. lol I thought PX90 looked harder than Insanity just from seeing the infomercials. I have always wanted to try PX90 though. Probably will…one day.

  14. I love P90x. Have tried pretty much any DVD series I could after giving birth to my 3rd. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I had a solid workout I could work into. Anyone at any fitness level can adjust this to suit their need and push themselves to reach the next level. I was coming off the couch, post-partum, having sat for months nursing a colic baby. I’m still working to my goal – but Tony gave me the launch pad I craved. I look forward to hearing his cheesy commentary…and didn’t think Pam the Blam was that annoying LOL!

    • I got the two free One on One DVDs when i ordered P90X2 through my Beachbody Coach (Crystal). Its just Tony and a camera guy. Oh my, talk about cheesy. But having only substituted it into my rotation twice, I still find it hilarious!!! haha.

  15. […] I am going to keep doing INSANITY, watching my calories through MyFitnessPal.com, and drinking my Shakeology. I hope that by the time […]

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