Popular Home-Based Workouts Such As P90X and Insanity: Worth the Money and Hype?

Getting fit with an intense home-based workout

If you haven’t heard about intense home-based workouts such as P90X, Insanity, Rushfit, Crossfit and the like, you may have been living under a rock. Between the hyped up infomercials, the frenzied testimonials of people who have changed their entire bodies by following the program regimens, or even family and friends who swear by the workouts, it seems like these programs are hard to avoid. Of course, as with any fitness regimen, there are the questions that surround these products. Do they work? Are they worth the price? Will my body really look like the people in the infomercial? Here is a look at the more popular programs and whether one might be right for you.

The most well known of these intense workout regimens is probably P90X. This is a 90 day fitness program using fitness equipment such as resistance bands and pull-up bars. It is based on a technique called “muscle confusion.” This term refers to the idea that constantly changing a workout routine is beneficial to your body because it allows your muscles to always work in new and different ways. The P90X program, led by creator Tony Horton, comes as a bundled set of DVD’s that are to be followed in sequence and work on specific body parts or exercises. For example, one routine focuses on the chest and back, while another works the abs. Some yoga, stretching, core work and a high intensity cardiovascular workout called “kenpo X” are also important to the program.

The Insanity workout is similar in many ways to P90X, and is in fact offered by the same company, Beachbody. Insanity is also a set of DVD’s for participants to use at home, with the help of an onscreen fitness trainer, Shaun T. This is a 60 day workout regimen that includes lots of cardio and the use of “plyometrics,” or power-building jump drills. With Insanity, participants are not required to invest in additional equipment like they are with P90X. Some critics point out that the science of exercise is not well understood by the developer of this program, and this lack of understanding could lead to fatigue, muscle soreness and injury for participants.

Other programs that are similar in design to the more well known P90X and Insanity workouts are Crossfit and Rushfit. Rushfit is a DVD program led by MMA fighter Georges St. Pierre and trainer Erik Owings, with a focus on muscle endurance and fight conditioning. Participants are encouraged to train barefoot, as fighters do. Crossfit is a program used to train police, military units, martial artists, and professional athletes. It is largely found online with a “Workout of the Day” which draws on a combination of many different exercises pulled from combat, gymnastics, powerlifting, sprinting and other activities designed to build strength, endurance and muscle conditioning, although people are encouraged to make use of a Crossfit fitness trainer for better results.

While much of the draw of these programs is based on personal goals and preferences, the outcome of each is really based on the level of commitment you are willing to put in. In fact, some people have taken a hybrid approach, where they take the best parts of several of the workouts and combine them. While the Insanity workout may need to be looked at more carefully based on its lack of science-based exercise knowledge, the other programs are able to deliver on their promises as long as you are able to keep up and stick with them!

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