Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tony Horton vs Shaun T

I'm halfway through Insanity so it's about time I actually wrote down this post that has been in my head since Day 1 of Insanity. When I first started Insanity, I felt like I was cheating on Tony Horton (P90X instructor). I had spent 90 days with him. How could I now jump ship? But it really wasn't jumping ship, I needed something different so that I could keep exercising and not just go back to my sedentary life. I was at the point where I was saying Tony's corny jokes before he said them.

The first day of Insanity was the Fit Test and I honestly felt like I was going to die. I was gasping for air throughout. Cardio is not my thing and Insanity is INTENSIVE cardio. P90X has cardio but not this much. I must note that I did not do the Plyometrics workout in P90X as I was doing the Lean Routine. Plyometrics includes a lot of the jumping around that Insanity has. I quickly learned to pace myself in Insanity and now the workouts are a lot easier to get through.

So what's the difference between P90X and Insanity?

  • P90X's premise is muscle confusion and it works every muscle in your body over the course of the week with a variety of exercises. At the end of my first week, parts of my body that I did not know could hurt were hurting. Insanity is interval training. Other interval training videos that I have seen have you work hard for a short amount of time (e.g. 30 seconds) and then rest for a longer period (e.g. 1 minute). Insanity does the opposite - you work hard for 3 minutes and then rest for 30 seconds. I can't say I am a fan of this. I am getting better at it but sometimes 30 seconds is simply not enough time to recover and from what I have read, you should have recovered before you move on. How do you know that you've recovered? I am not sure. Shaun T never really explains. In fact, he doesn't mention "recovery" until probably day 3 or so.
  • P90X gives you a full body workout. Insanity does not. Your legs will be exercised as there is a lot of jumping and running in Insanity. But honestly, my legs felt like they got a better workout when I did the P90X's Legs & Back video. Your arms will also get a good workout in Insanity as most of the videos include lots of push-ups. Shaun T loves push-ups and he does many different types. I am not a fan but I try to do them since I would just be standing around through a lot of some of the videos. I am still not good at them though. There is also a video dedicated to abs and I must say it is pretty good. The first time I did it, I definitely felt the burn. I am still skeptical that people really develop a lot of muscles from Insanity but maybe I will see how in the second month. I think you will develop more endurance.
  • I find that Tony Horton is a better instructor than Shaun T. Sometimes Shaun T is just a little too busy doing the moves himself to instruct. He isn't a bad instructor. I am just so used to Tony Horton who provides a lot of details. There are some videos that Shaun T does better in that others. One could argue that some of his moves don't require detailed instructions but it would make me feel better. Shaun T will scream, "Don't compromise form!" and I usually want to scream back, "But I don't fully understand what is good form! I want Tony!"
  • If you choose to do Insanity,.expect to sweat A LOT. You are either running, jumping, doing pushups then jumping or bending down then jumping. You are soaking wet after the warmup. Yes, you will sweat in P90X but not that much.
  • Now let's talk about that warmup. I think Insanity's warmups are too intense to be warmups. I learned after the first video to go a lot slower so I wouldn't feel like collapsing at the end. You will hear Shaun T screaming "Push! Push!" or "Go faster!" but tell him to shut up and go at your own pace. You don't want to injure yourself or burnout before you finish the warmup. I am currently having a weird leg pain that I am worried it may be an injury. I am monitoring it and taking it easy. And speaking of pace, there is nobody in Insanity to follow to modify exercises but don't worry if you can't do as much as they are doing. In fact, if you look into the crowd, there is always someone collapsing. All P90X videos that I have done have a wonderful warmup that I love and there are people modifying the exercises so that you can work your way up. I guess the modification in Insanity would be to do fewer reps. 
  • I don't think there is enough stretching in Insanity. I almost miss Yoga X. Sometimes you just need to stretch and really take care of your body. I don't think Shaun T got the memo. Admittedly, I have not done his "recovery week". Maybe there is more stretching in recovery week. I think I will have to insert some yoga into some of my Insanity days. I liked the flexibility that I was developing with P90X. I don't want to lose that.
  • P90X is looooooooooooooong. I think this is the main complaint. You have to dedicate an hour each day or an hour and a half on Yoga days to P90X. If you are not highly motivated, it can be a chore to get through. I know that I struggled some days. But you know what? The X in P90X stands for extreme. This is not supposed to be a simple workout. Insanity, so far, has been shorter - about 40 minutes or so. I am told that the videos are longer in the second month. I guess I will find out next week. I am not sure how I will handle jumping around for an hour. However, I did the Plyometrics Circuit video today and almost felt like I didn't exercise at all. I guess I can handle a longer video.P90X is a 90 day workot while Insanity is 60 days. People talk about the fact that Insanity is shorter in that sense. Honestly, it isn't that big of a deal. If you want to just keep exercising on a regular basis, it shouldn't matter if you're on a 30, 60 or 90 day program. What would matter is if 90 days is too long to be doing the same things. For me, it was. But  I don't get that exercise high and get bored very easily.
  • P90X requires equipment - weights or resistance bands (I used bands) - while Insanity does not. That's a pro for most persons. You need a yoga mat and a heart rate monitor for both. I am ashamed to say that I do not have a heart rate monitor. You probably should NEVER do Insanity without a heart rate monitor. Yeah, you will see that some persons (including Shaun T) are not wearing one but you really, really should. That would be how you check recovery actually.
That's all I can think of for now. Maybe at the end of next week, I will write another rambling post about my Insanity experience. It's 3 am and I should go to bed. 


  1. Thanks for this post. i have done P90X and was debating trying Insa.ity so the comparisons are very helpful!!

  2. You're welcome! I started month 2 yesterday and it is indeed longer - 1 hour videos. I didn't finish the first video because I had errands to run. Hopefully, I'll do better tonight.

  3. i have been doing insanity for 8 weeks now.

    From what u compared between the two, to me it seems like P90X is good for someone who's never worked otu ever in his life. Now, if you did sports while in school or college, like trakc or football, then insanity's exercises arent that confusing.

    in fact, most of his excercises are sports' excercises.

    Also, there is ALL the yoga that you need in the recovery week.

    thats why ure getting none of it

    1. Thanks for your comment. No, P90X is not for someone who has never exercised. S/he could do it but it would be a lot more difficult.
      I did Insanity's recovery week and still hated it. Insanity is just not for me.

  4. I have done P90X 3 times and it is NOT for someone who has never worked out before. everyone who I have known who tried it that has never worked out before got injured. it is an EXTREME work out. I have been athletic and work out hardcore since I was 13 (now 37) I prefer it over all my programs I own because I love the STYLE of work out it is what I am accustomed to and have mad respect for Tony H mr. ready, set, BRING it himself!

    I do appreciate this post it helps show the differences between the two. I too have done both workouts however you are not comparing apples to apples. these are 2 different types of work outs, one is strength training, muscle confusion, and continual repetitions based on the results you are after. the other is strictly resistance with your OWN body weight. as month 2 starts with INSANITY the workouts are also just about an hour long just like P90X - its 30 days less than P90X but they are making up for it by making the work outs longer.

    P90X also has 3 DIFFERENT calendars you can follow again based on the results you are looking for. If you are looking to just lean out and also lose weight - there is the lean version which requires certain dvds within P90X that make up the "lean" routines. There is the classic version and then Doubles where you are doing the workout 2 times a day (closer to the 2nd month)all dvds make up P90X but a different rotation is required depending on which calendar you choose to follow.

    I have always been a loyal Tony H fan however Shaun T is just as amazing with a different style and different kind of work out. I own his programs also. They are both amazing programs and you're not at a loss by doing either of them however P90X is INTENSE (different intensity than INSANITY) if you are looking to a lower key version of P90X or something to prep you for P90X you can look into POWER90 also another great routine a little less intensity, but the first version of the P90's. there is now a P90X2 that I am currently training for (it requires a lot of core and balance so getting stronger in that area before I begin that ) if you are a fan of the INSANITY program and have completed it and looking for something more along those lines, there is INSANITY ASYLUM volumes 1 & 2 that I also own.

    Great programs but very intense - they are only 30 day calendars for those but because Shaun T is cramming intensity in such a short time you know he is pushing you twice as hard.

    hope this helps. it is about preference and what YOU are comfortable with they are equally great but DIFFERENT both provide amazing results as long as you stick to it! - :-)

  5. I have completed P90X once. I have finished Insanity 3 times. I think P90x is great for muscle building however, I really got bored of Tony's jokes. :) Sorry Tony, I love you...but hearing the same joke for 3 months from ANYONE gets old. That's what I liked about Sean T. He doesn't joke. But he does tell me I can do it. That its ok to take that break. Both are very inspiration.

    As far as the workouts. I'm a Mesomorph so my body needs cardio. I feel better from Insanity workouts that push me to the extreme. Now. My only criticism is that yes, every time I did Insanity, I leaned out but really never gained too much muscle.

    Now I am doing a combo of SPX by Sebastian Lagree and I follow it with Insanity. Yes. It is a deadly combo but since SPX is ZERO impact coupled with muscle building exercises, I feel they round each other out nicely. I actually enjoy Insanity's workouts more than mind wanders if I'm not constantly engaged.

    I think both are great exercises. I feel more in shape while doing Insanity. ;)

    1. Yes, we all have different needs. For me, the very cardio-centric Insanity and now Focus T25 just were not working for me. I actually prefer Focus T25 to Insanity but I have not completed a round so I hesitate to really say more about it. I felt a lot more in shape with P90X.

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