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Crossfit vs P90X vs Insanity - What's the Best Exercise Program for YOU?

Updated on August 20, 2012

Over the past decades Americans have become fat. In order to combat the overwhelming obesity and rising health concerns, as well as to make a few bucks, many different exercise programs have been developed over the years. One after another claiming that they will make you stronger, faster, healthier and most importantly, skinnier. The final question being, Which one do I choose? Now if you haven't heard of Crossfit, Insanity or P90X than you are most likely one of the fatties in need of some assistance, so pay attention. The following will give a quick comparison of the pros and cons of each, solely based on one man's opinion, a man that has participated in all three programs.

Crossfit - crossfit is a program based off of a workout of the day or WOD. You can also choose to join a number of their affiliate gyms across the nation where they certify instructors. Workouts are normally around 20-30 minutes. They focus on a functional fitness approach during intense and demanding workouts. They combine movements such as sprinting, rowing, jumping rope, climbing rope, and carrying odd objects. They use barbells, dumbbells, gymnastics equipment, pull-up bars, kettlebells, medicine balls and a lot bodyweight exercises.

Pros -

-Crossfit's WOD are very spontaneous and random, it makes it hard to become bored doing the same exercises over and over.

-Many crossfitters will also agree with me in saying that crossfit gyms provide a very real and exciting community full of individuals motivated to completing an intense workout.

-The workout of the day is easily located online and through many mobile apps.

-Overall the crossfit workout will achieve the company's stated goal of improving fitness.

Cons -

- Online portion of the WOD can be conducted by anyone with no supervision or instruction

-Workouts done with uncertified trainers often lack good form and technique resulting in serious injury over time.

-Joining an affiliate gym can often be costly ranging from $20 to $hundreds of dollars per month.

-Does require a number of pieces of equipment to complete all workouts.

-Crossfit's randomization of workouts does not capitalize on a more logical sequence that would maximize results.

-Only an exercise program, no diet or nutrition materials included.

P90X - P90X is a 90-day DVD video exercise program and nutrition guide. You receive 12 DVDs with workouts ranging from strength training and cardio to yoga and martial arts. All you have to do is follow the calendar and the scheduled workouts. The nutrition guide starts at higher protein diet that moves with the program into what they call an "athletes" diet which consists of more carbohydrates.

Pros -

-P90X is promoted as being a 90 day challenge and is a great way to revitalize a person who has been slacking when it comes to exercise.

-Has a wide range of exercise with potential for use even after the program is completed.

-Easy to use instructions and DVDs make it simple.

-Only a one time buy not requiring any monthly memberships that can be done in the privacy of your own home.

-Developed by experience exercise instructor Tony Horton using "muscle confusion" to achieve continual improvement without plateaus.

-Nutrition Plan is essential, exercise without a proper diet can be detrimental to achieving results.


-P90X is scalable based on fitness level but can be difficult when starting at fitness level 0.

-The program does require equipment, basic home gym equipment will usually work.

-After completing the challenge, some members may quit and lose the improvements gained


Insanity is a 60-day, 10 DVD video workout and nutrition program very similar to P90X. It was created by Shaun T, also created Hip-Hop Abs, and emphasizes it's focus on max interval training. That means you will have 2-3 minutes of intense and INSANE exercises and then 30 second intervals to recover before the next. The insanity program also includes a calendar of scheduled workouts that include cardio, plyometric, endurance training and core exercises. It also includes an online resource center for additional help.


-Intense and INSANE workouts that will help you get fit and lose weight.

- Easy to use instructions and DVDs make it simple.

-Can be done in the comfort of your own basement or garage.

-Nutrition Plan is essential, exercise without a proper diet can be detrimental to achieving results.

-Only a one time buy not requiring any monthly memberships that can be done in the privacy of your own home.

-No equipment needed besides a computer or DVD player.

-Basic instructions given by Shaun T, an experienced fitness profession.


-The focus is mainly on body weight exercises and cardio, this video will help you lose weight and get fit, but you will not gain huge amounts of muscle and bulk up. You will be fit, toned and lean.

-Unless you have decent fitness baseline, this program will be a gut-wrenching experience, which is probably what you are looking for fatty.

-Hard to do as group, so you must be self-motivated to put in the time and effort.

Those are the basic overviews of each program, but now to the main issue at hand. Which program should you choose? The answer is simple, it is situationallly dependent. There perfect exercise program is the one that you will actually do and will achieve your fitness goals. That being said, I would say that a combination of programs would be best. Crossfit will give you spontaneity and functional fitness, however unless you want to pay to be or use a certified trainer it can be harmful. P90X will help get you the ripped body that everyone wants to see in the mirror. While Insanity is by far the best for a mind blowing weight loss program. Making sure to maintain a healthy diet by following the beach body nutritional guide. All three programs lack a serious muscle building workout. Be sure to include some weight training if you are looking to build muscle as well. Here is quick weekly workout guide I came up with to illustrate my point.

Monday-Weights (Chest/Triceps) Insanity Plyometric Cardio

Tuesday- Insanity Cardio Power and Resistance

Wednesday- Weights (Back/Biceps) Crossfit WOD

Thursday- Insanity Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs

Friday-Weights (Legs/Shoulders) Insanity Cardio or Max Recovery

Weekend- Crossfit WOD

Stretch and follow the nutritional guide daily!

More or less weight training could be included depending on preference. Also any P90X video could be used instead of an INSANITY video. I've been trying my combination workouts for several weeks and it is definitely a killer. I always end dripping in sweat and never worried if I got a full workout in. I would also suggest throwing in some milestone events to mix things up and keep you motivated. Any normal 5k , 10k or triathlon would do, but I prefer events with a little more excitement. I personally recommend races like the Warrior Dash, Living History Farms Off Road Race and Spartan Race. Get a group of friends together and knock out one of those events to really get your exercise fix.

This is by no means all inclusive and contains opinions based on personal experience. You should look for yourself for more details and find out other peoples experiences.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Maybe if you did research you would realize that there are so more many good things about CrossFIt that you don't even think about. A lot of the stuff you said that is bad about CrossFit is completley false

    • Torrs13 profile image

      Tori Canonge 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      I've done a few Crossfit workouts in my day but I can't afford to fork over $100+ a month to join a Crossfit gym. I've been sticking to Fitness Blender lately to meet my needs and have seen good results.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      5 years ago from Nottingham UK

      A lot of gyms are starting to offer crossfit style classes which save the hassle of joining a specific crossfit gym, I've been doing 1-2 sessions a week alongside my other training and love the endurance focus crossfit gives me for my cycling. I like the fact they don't concentrate on the nutrition but recommend you follow a paleo diet too.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      A nice roundup of some of the fitness alternatives. Let me add to your Crossfit section by saying that Crossfit is also scaleable, which allows anyone of any fitness level to work with everyone else. It's not an exercise program that should be done on your own, because some of the moves require some training to be done properly. You do need some equipment but any gym will have more than the required barbells, pullup bars, kettlebells, exercise balls and boxes, and if the Crossfit gym that you signed up with doesn't, you should look for another one. They do also recommend an eating program called Paleo diet when doing Crossfit. Bottom line is I lost 30 pounds within the first four months of the program and manage to keep it off four 2.5 years. I've stuck with it far longer than any other program because of the variety and unpredictability. Voting this Up and Useful.


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