Beachbody On Demand is home to dozens of streamable training programs for just about every fitness goal, experience level, and time commitment imaginable.
But none of its 40+ programs create a decade-long buzz quite like these three:
- Tony Horton’s P90X
- Shaun T’s Insanity
- Sagi Kalev’s Body Beast
Each of these best-selling Beachbody programs sculpts a more aesthetic physique through near-daily high-intensity training. Yet, between these three options, which is better?
Let’s find out!
Table of Contents
The Background on P90X
This record-setting full-body program offers a unique yet science-backed approach to getting in shape in 90 days. Revealed in our full review, most users end P90X with a slimmer, leaner, and more athletic build.
P90X workouts tend to be lengthy (45–60 minutes) and require plenty of equipment. However, this advanced routine never loses its excitement, offering 12 unique workouts, like:
- Yoga & Stretching
- Split Workouts (Chest & Back, Shoulders & Arms, Legs & Back, etc.)
- Cardio Training
- Kenpo & Plyometrics
- Ab Ripper X
Check out the details of P90X below!
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5 Benefits of P90X
- The included materials leave no stone unturned. P90X has some of the most detailed program materials on the entire Beachbody program. The 126-page Nutritional Plan and 109-page Fitness Guide explain how to follow the program to maximize results.
- P90X offers three program options. The program offers three “plans of attack,” depending on your goals: Classic (the original plan), Doubles (to maximize weight loss and endurance), and Lean (the more cardio-focused path).
- The success stories speak for themselves. P90X workouts can burn 378–631 calories each and drive your heart rate into the ideal fat-burning zone (60–80%). Between the calories burned and the P90X diet, many lose 20+ pounds in 90 days.
- Each workout brings excitement to the gym. Tony Horton worked overtime to include as much variety as possible in this 90-day program. There’s no shortage in variety between classic resistance training splits, yoga, Kenpo, cardio, and plyometric workouts.
- Recording your progress is easy. Horton includes worksheets to log your progress during the next 90 days. By the end of the program, you’ll see visible results as well as improvements to your strength (weight increases) and endurance (rep boosts).
3 Reasons Against P90X
- It’s not compatible with a busy schedule or low budget. Most workouts last a full hour (Yoga X is even longer at 92 minutes). But in addition to a huge time commitment, P90X also requires more equipment than Body Beast and Insanity combined.
- It’s far from beginner-friendly. Most challenging P90X exercises come with a modifier. But if you can’t pass the official P90X Fit Test (i.e., three pull-ups, one-minute squat hold), then this program is much too advanced for your current fitness level.
- The program itself is a tad outdated. P90X hasn’t changed a bit since it first launched in 2005. Unfortunately, it would never win an Emmy, and the old-school studio and headset microphones make P90X feel more like your parents’ old workout DVDs.
The First Contender: Insanity
Insanity is Shaun T’s hit 2009 Beachbody program designed for advanced athletes ready to shed 20+ pounds and achieve a year’s worth of results in just two months.
This 60-day equipment-free cardio program can shred nearly 1,000 calories per hour by spiking your heart rate to 80% of your max — which falls into the maximum fat-burning zone.
Shaun T’s calisthenic workouts drag on for nearly 40 straight minutes. But while the schedule includes six workouts per week (including a shortened recovery workout), there is variety:
Here’s a closer look at the Insanity program!
5 Benefits of Insanity
- It doesn’t require any equipment whatsoever. Insanity is a true equipment-free workout; all you need is the resistance of your own bodyweight. However, an exercise mat may add a touch of comfort to floor exercises, like push-ups and planks.
- Interval training can be phenomenal for aesthetics. Shaun T’s program is the opposite of traditional interval training — long intervals and short rest periods. Targeting that 80% max heart rate goal can maximize fat-burning for a more aesthetic build.
- Many participants shed 20 pounds in two months. The program’s success stories are truly impressive. While most drop 10–20 pounds in two months, repeating Insanity has helped others build ripped physiques and drop 50, 70, even 100+ pounds.
- The 40/40/20 meal plan is ideal for gains. Insanity’s 40/40/20, the five-meal-a-day nutritional plan is rich in protein, helps satisfy cravings, and keeps your metabolism high. This alone can maximize lean mass while shredding body fat to uncover definition.
- Insanity can produce full-body results. With a combination of cardio, jump training, and calisthenics, it’s not weight loss or muscle mass. Insanity jumps on the body recomposition bandwagon and achieves both goals at once.
3 Reasons Against Insanity
- It’s among Beachbody’s least noob-friendly plans. Insanity is one of the worst Beachbody programs for beginners, as it alternates between three minutes of training and 30 seconds of rest. If you can’t pass the Fit Test, you’re not ready for this program.
- Insanity requires a considerable time commitment. Most of this program’s workouts last between 40 and 60 minutes, a bit longer than the other two programs. So Insanity isn’t ideal if you have a busy schedule or smaller chunks of spare time.
- It can be downright dangerous if you have pre-existing conditions. Insanity is so intense on the heart, lungs, and body that it could be dangerous to the unfit or unhealthy. Check with your doctor before trying Insanity, and wear a heart rate monitor!
Breaking Down Body Beast
Body Beast is a Sagi Kalev program launched by Beachbody in 2012. This 90-day program is a weightlifting-centric routine, a bro split designed with hypertrophy principles in mind.
This program flows through three phases: Build (strength), Bulk (mass), and Beast (fat loss). This gradual progression allows users to build mass, lose weight, and carve out definition.
With nothing more than dumbbells and a weight bench, Kalev will guide you through six weekly resistance training workouts to sculpt a leaner, more ripped you. Body Beast workouts include:
- Cardio & Abs
- Total Body & Abs
If you want to go deeper, check out our full detailed review of Body Beast.
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5 Benefits of Body Beast
- It aligns with science-backed hypertrophy research. Body Beast follows nearly every guideline for mass-building, including 8–12 reps per set and 3–4 sets per exercise. Its <60 seconds of rest between sets can also maximize the release of growth hormone.
- Choose a plan that matches your physique goals. Sagi Kalev created two unique Body Beast calendars, each lasting 12 weeks: Huge Beast (to build more lean mass) and Lean Beast (to shred more fat and get “ripped”).
- Workout lengths are more reasonable. The Beast Up and Build: Back/Bis workouts are a bit longer than the others, at 50+ minutes. However, most Body Beast workouts guarantee a satisfying pump in just 35–40 minutes.
- Body Beast is Beachbody’s version of a “bro split.” Most Beachbody programs are cardio-heavy or limit the use of weightlifting gear. Yet, this Sagi Kalev program is a classic 4–5-day split with an occasional full-body, ab, or cardio workout tossed in.
- It’s somewhat beginner-friendly. Body Beast features plenty of compound movements and emphasizes progressive overload. So if you have some training experience, Body Beast can switch the focus to aesthetics with unilateral and isolated exercises.
3 Reasons Against Body Beast
- Sagi Kalev’s stage presence is tiring. The biggest complaint about Body Beast is that Sagi Kalev is no Tony Horton or Shaun T. Most users wind up muting their computers or tuning out Kalev’s non-stop chatter with the included Spotify playlist instead.
- The hype behind “Dynamic Set Training” is just that — hype. The various set types (i.e., giant sets, force sets, circuit) keep the workouts from feeling repetitive. But aside from saving time and adding excitement, this approach doesn’t influence gains much.
- The program materials can feel a little confusing. With so many materials uploaded to the platform, Body Beast isn’t exactly self-explanatory. You’ll need to read the lengthy Fitness Guide and Eating Plan to understand how to use the other included documents.
P90X vs Insanity vs Body Beast Conclusion
Insanity is better than P90X and Body Beast if you’re an advanced athlete, want to build an aesthetic physique (shred fat & build muscle), and maximize your results in 60 days.
However, the right program for you depends on quite a few factors. For example, your experience level, how much free time you have, what equipment you have access to, etc.
Here are our recommendations.
Choose Tony Horton’s P90X if you …
- Appreciate workout variety (i.e., yoga, cardio, weightlifting).
- Want to lose weight, build muscle, and become a better all-around athlete in 90 days.
- Hope to completely revitalize your training and diet.
Shaun T’s Insanity is a better option if you …
- Consider yourself an advanced trainee with a leaner physique in mind.
- Want to lose weight efficiently, at a rate of about 20 pounds in 60 days.
- Have about an hour of free time a day to train hard.
Or, select Sagi Kalev’s Body Beast if you …
- Value a more muscular physique over any other fitness goals.
- Are short on time and have access to basic training equipment.
- Have some resistance training experience and feel ready for a bro split.
Are you planning to try all three of these programs at some point?
The best order to follow is Body Beast (to build foundational strength and size), P90X (to continue enhancing mass while losing fat), and Insanity (to guarantee a completely ripped look).