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P90X, Insanity, Zumba, and Brazil Butt Lift: a collective review

Updated on September 24, 2012

Here is my review of four of the most popular fitness programs on the market today. I've researched and even tried these regimens for myself. From cardio to resistance, plyometrics to stretching, these programs can help you reach your fitness goals; but choosing the wrong one could be a big mistake.


Tony Horton’s P90X program is a very solid, perhaps the best all-around workout program on the market today. However, it’s not for everyone. Read on to hear both sides.

P90X lasts 90 days, requires 5 to 6 days a week, and the duration of each workout is right about 1 hour. The best thing about P90X is how it incorporates so many different exercise techniques into one program. This makes for quite a varied routine from day to day, and throws the body a curveball (so to speak) nearly every workout. The concept of “muscle confusion” is not a new one, but it has always worked and always will. One of the best things you can do is plan your workouts ahead of time, and Tony Horton has done this masterfully. The 6 primary movements are squat, lunge, dead lift, push, pull, and twist. 5 of these are present in P90X, with the dead lift being left out. This is not really a flaw, seeing as how most people should avoid the dead lift anyway, especially in their own living room without a trainer actually present. These 5 resistance moves are utilized beautifully, are quite varied and allow for participation of most levels of fitness. Stretching is emphasized as well, a concept that is often overlooked. The yoga section provides even more variation to improve flexibility. Plyometrics are introduced, and for exercisers without serious joint issues, this will provide an excellent cardio workout, along with resistance of course. The emphasis on resistance training will put muscle on your frame, while keeping your metabolism elevated to help burn fat. Who is P90X for? If you are free of any major joint or bone problems, are not tremendously overweight, and of course, have been cleared by a doctor for rigorous physical exercise, then P90X is probably your ticket to a ripped, sexy new body. However, those that have joint problems or are seriously overweight should probably avoid P90X, as it could represent a high risk for injury.


Shaun T’s Insanity is not an easy program, but it will get you lean if followed closely. Insanity does incorporate resistance training, but the focus is mostly on the cardiovascular aspect. This is an excellent program for people that wish to get in, stay in, or simply improve their cardiovascular conditioning. This Shaun T inspired regimen lasts 60 days, requires about 5 to 6 days per week and the duration of each workout is 45 minutes. Insanity lacks some of the moves (like the pull seen in pull-ups) that P90X exemplifies. However, Insanity focuses on plyometrics (namely the jump-squat) a bit more, which evens out the resistance training a little (although lacks the degree of variation seen in P90X). Insanity does incorporate a row-like motion, but without resistance, this is merely a cardio-move. Sporting less resistance, Insanity will probably not build as much muscle as P90X. On the other hand, Insanity is one of the best get-lean guides out there. I have noticed more strain on the knee joints while doing Insanity, making P90X the better option for older exercisers or those with a history of knee problems. Once again, always get approved for rigorous exercise by a physician before starting a program like Insanity.


Zumba has had a lot of success getting people to lose weight for one reason: it makes exercise fun. Zumba is something you can enjoy while you’re getting a workout. Make no mistake, it’s not nearly as “hard-core” as some of the other fitness programs out there, but people keep coming back for more Zumba. I think another reason that Zumba has caught on so rapidly is that it’s easy to do with a friend, and if there’s one thing that makes exercise fun and addictive, it’s doing it with someone else. Zumba is perfect for someone that needs to lose a good deal of weight because the intensity is high enough to burn fat and lose weight, with proper dieting of course. However, once a person loses that initial 30 to 40 pounds (and this does depend on the individual), a more intense program would probably be more beneficial because dropping the remaining weight that they need to lose (once again, it depends on the individual) will probably be more difficult than that first 30 to 40 pounds. All things considered, Zumba is an excellent way to get in better shape and lose weight, although the lack of resistance training will not get you ripped unless you already have some muscle.

Brazil Butt Lift

The Brazil Butt Lift by Leandro Carvalho has gotten a lot of attention from female enthusiasts who want to shape their hindquarters, lose weight, and get in better shape overall. I don’t necessarily agree with some of the logic that this program is based on, but it does get good results for one major reason, it works the major muscle groups in the lower body. The Brazil Butt Lift claims to tighten, lift, and shape the butt by working the three muscles in the hindquarters: the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus. The only problem with this is that it relies upon a method called spot reduction: in this case, trying to burn fat off the butt by working the “butt muscles”. Spot reduction simply doesn’t work. When you do a resistance exercise, you’re isolating muscle tissue, not fat tissue. However, the Brazil Butt Lift incorporates numerous compound movements of the lower body that work the major lower body muscle groups, such as the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. These exercises don’t burn fat off of just the lower body though, they burn fat off of the entire frame due to their ability to raise metabolic rate significantly. Leandro includes various cardio routines and an abdominal routine in his program, so the variety is adequate. I think the success you will see from the Brazil Butt Lift is largely dependent on how intense you work the program. This regimen, due to its focus on the lower body muscle groups has the potential to change your body, although it lacks the upper body exercises to provide ultimate variety and metabolic influxes.


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