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REVIEW: INSANITY vs. P90X Showdown



There are many sites that compare the overall differences between the two, but few if any that take a one on one workout comparison approach.  This is understandable as Insanity is a heavily focused on plyometrics, while P90X tries to have a little bit of everything.   I have managed to complete both systems without dying in the process so I am ready to give my conclusions.

That will be my angle as Tony and Shaun load their pistols, take twenty paces and shoot!

Max Cardio Recovery/Core Cardio and Balance vs. Yoga X

I’m going to have a professional hit on me for saying this, but Max Cardio Recovery  and Core Cardio and Balance squeak out on top when it comes to a day off routine that stretches you and gets you ready for the next day.  The main advantage is the length of time, as 1.5 hours for Yoga X just makes the routine too hard to fit into a weekly schedule.  That having been said, don’t feel like you can just ignore Yoga X as to do so is at your peril!  The good news is that much of Cardio Recovery has yoga style moves in it as well as balance and core so in a way you get the best of both worlds with Insanity.

WINNER:  Insanity Max Cardio Recovery/Core Cardio Balance

Insanity Upper Body Strength vs P90X Chest+Back, Back+Biceps, Legs+Back, Shoulders+Arms

For sheer options, P90X takes the easy win here.  But make no mistake, Insanity Upper Body is an intense circuit training workout that is simply to good to ever ignore.  Yet one strength workout option compared to the vast abundance of P90X is just no contest.  In terms of similar workouts, only Upper Body+ from the P90X+ expansion pack compares.   Both routines attack similar muscle groups and will leave you feeling trashed.  The Insanity version adds a lot of cardio, but that sometimes is not what you want when doing your strength training.  Tony on the other hand attacks the upper body using the pull-up bar in the process.  Hard to beat that.

WINNER: P90X by a landslide

Max Interval Plyo vs Plyo X

When I first did Plyo X I thought it impossible to ask a human body to do more, but that sadistic Shaun T must have heard me.  In terms of overall intensity, Max Plyo whoops Plyo X like the Ultimate Warrior beating down a senior citizen.  That having been said, it’s hard to say how much of that your body can take without your knees going all to jello.  If you’re fit, Plyo X will get you fitter.  Max Interval Plyo is meant only for those who have graduated from P90X, so for that reason I have to give this contest a tie.  A definite coin toss on this one!

WINNER: P90X in terms of versatility, Insanity in terms of intensity.

Max Cardio vs.  Cardio X

No contest.  Insanity Max Cardio simply annihilates Cardio X.  Cardio X is great in the sense that it combines yoga, kenpo, and cardio.  But Shaun T accomplishes much the same physical goals with extreme intensity.  Cardio X will leave you feeling like you had a good workout, but Insanity Max Cardio will take you to your limits.

WINNER: Insanity Max Cardio by a landslide

Tony Horton vs Shaun T

I hate to even bring this up, but the fact is people want to know who the better instructor is.  That’s a personal call only you can make.   Shaun is motivating, doesn’t spend a lot of time talking and is there to get you moving.  Shaun is young and energetic while Tony is seasoned, experienced, and very energetic despite being 45 at the time of P90X.  Tony makes you feel like your in the gym talking with the kids.  For me, some days I’m in the mood for chatter and some days I just want to get down to business.  For a time I wasn’t sure I could warm up to another instructor like I did with Tony, but Shaun’s now part of the family!  For me anyway, I give Tony the edge because he’s still rocking at 51, and that motivates the hell out of me!

WINNER: Like choosing which kid you like better!  Depending on your day, each one brings something different to the table.

So which system is better? Well, it looks like Tony and Shaun T have fired their bullets and both have bounced of the steel hides of the other.  “Better” is not a fair statement, as each has overwhelming advantages over the other.  P90X is a total body system that focuses more on muscle development.  Insanity is cardio conditioning of the likes never seen before.   P90X also has many more strength options, while Insanity has more of an abundance of core crushing workouts.

Undeniably, the real winner here is YOU should you decide to incorporate BOTH of these systems into your regimen.  And NO, I am NOT a “Beachbody Coach”!


John Paul Parrot ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.


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