A Review of Three In-Home Workout Programs…now you know!

Posted: July 12, 2013 in Fitness
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

We’ve all been up later in the night hours and run into a variety of infomercials for workout plans with wild before and after pictures. They promise to change your life and make you attain all of your fitness goals within some specified number of days. I want to help people make informed choices when ordering these programs, as many of them cost a decent chunk of cash. In my travels, I’ve done many of these. I’ll be giving each trainer a short review and then talking about the pros and cons.

P90X – This 90 day system is perhaps the most successful workout dvd set in modern history, earning $420 million dollars in its tenure to this point. That is an astounding number, and main trainer Tony Horton has become a recognizable figure in the fitness industry since its release. As a trainer, I found him to be positive and encouraging. He does a vast majority of the exercises with the group, and explains each exercise in an acceptable level of detail. People sometimes complain that he makes untimely jokes or patronizes the others on his set. While I’ve heard this from P90X grads, it never jumped out at me.

Pros – This program, when followed correctly, will get you in outstanding shape. The main focus is on body weight exercises with some light weights or bands sprinkled into the workouts.  The workouts last about an hour each, and are planned immaculately. The layout of the program is clear and direct. I also appreciate that you change things up after about each month and do a recovery week. This periodization is key for making gains and preventing general adaptation syndrome. I left this program after my 90 days in far better physical condition than I began with. I was a bit stronger, and had tons more muscular endurance.

Cons – This is not for beginners although they tell you it could be. I cannot imagine a non-athlete attempting to adhere to this plan for 90 days. The workouts are rather demanding, especially when you first begin the program. I’m a martial artist and I found the Kenpo X workout to be rather awful. It was a weird amalgam of moves, and Tony looked a bit lost during all of it. I found myself skipping it to do something else most of the time.

I would give this one a go if you have a foot in the athletic world and want some new challenges.

Insanity – This was another huge seller, and its advertising is even more aggressive than the aforementioned program. It’s hard to find flaws with Shaun T. as a trainer. He is professional, motivating, and does nearly every minute of every DVD with the huge crew he has around him. He tells you why certain moves are in the workouts, and stresses the importance of warm-ups and stretching. This program runs for 60 days.

Pros – Insanity got my cardio level to new highs, shattering my old notions of how long I could sustain myself during intense physical exercise. I like the fact that there were people on the videos who took breaks, which let me know that a minute of rest was not the end of the world in such a physically demanding set of workouts. The focus on plyometrics also helped my explosive power and I got to work both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. This program really ramps up after the first 30 days, and you truly see what you’re made of.

Cons – This is another one that would be tough for a beginner. These workouts are intense, and I know a few people (myself included) who sustained some type of injury doing them. I also know people who complained of foot pain from the persistent impact with the ground. It’s also fairly expensive for a program that only runs for the equivalent of two months. I would not have minded a bit more upper body work either.

If you need cardio or are looking to slim down a bit, this might be the one for you. If you want to sculpt a physique and lift heavy objects, you should pass.

MetamorphosisTracy Anderson comes across as a polished version of a hippie girl. It’s a weird contrast that she manages to make work for her. She is professional and succinct in what she is doing, but can have a tendency to remain too quiet at times. I am going to disclose that this review is based on feedback from a few people I had contacted who own this program, not my own experience.

Pros- The striking part of these DVD’s is how they tailor themselves to your goals. You basically pick what kind of workout setup you want because of this. Instead of the one-size-fits-all approach that was presented in the first two programs, this one attempts to personalize a bit more. It’s tough to find other programs that offer this type of thing.

Cons- Ok, so I got to view a few of these, and I was a little shocked. The movement patterns are bizarre and don’t follow any type of traditional muscular training approach. To a layman, it would appear as if she is basically flailing her arms around for an hour and then stopping. I would guess that she is trying to work small muscle groups. I could see how a start-up exerciser could hang with these DVD’s but I also don’t really know what they would gain either.

This was a little too out there for me. There are better programs or classes that would help you see improvements faster.

There you have it everyone! Stay fit and be well!

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