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     The Official eNewsletter of TODAY! Fitness

vol. 2011 issue 7




WOW... there has certainly been a lot of discussion lately about these two products!  Every month I see more reviews, Facebook posts, and blog/forum questions regarding how P90X compares to INSANITY or vice-versa.  I've provided my input regarding P90X in a previous article, but I haven't really said much about INSANITY yet.

Both P90X and INSANITY are DVD sets that are sold by Beach Body, a company that offers other weight reduction DVD programs such as "Hip Hop Abs", "Turbo Jam", and more.   They are marketed to people as programs that will help you loose weight and get cut in 90 and 60 days respectively.

Although I cannot claim to have completed either of the full 60-90 day programs for P90X or INSANITY... I did purchase both sets and have gone through each of the DVDs in order to understand them better, as well as to pick and choose what I wanted to use.  I still use some of the DVDs for my cardio workouts in the bad weather and winter months and have learned to incorporate the upper body warm-up from the P90X DVDs prior to my weight training days... very important to get those warm-ups in as I get older J

So what's the difference?  Which product should you get?  There are a few questions that you need to answer before I can provide the response to these questions.  Fitness level is a very important question that you need to understand about yourself.  There's no point in attempting a program that you're not ready for, and the last thing you need is a reason to bail!  The other question has to do with what type of program you are looking for and what you expect to get out of it.

To break it down in simple terms... P90X (Tony Horton's follow up program to Power 90) is a very comprehensive program that includes a little bit of everything (cardio, resistance training, stretching, yoga, etc...), requires some basic equipment (chin-up bar, dumbbells, yoga mat, pushup bars), and provides for various levels of fitness so that most people can start the program without already being fit.  INSANITY (Shaun T - creator of Hip Hop Abs) on the other hand is extremely cardio intensive, requires absolutely no equipment (aside from a water bottle and towel), and is geared towards people that already have a decent base level of fitness.  INSANITY is by far the most challenging workout that I have EVER done on DVD!

So what do I mean about "most challenging"?  Think of it this way... for those of us that have wrestled, played football, or any other sport that requires significant conditioning... think about those end of practice conditioning sessions that you always hated.  INSANITY is pretty much like that... but tougher!  Non-stop, high intensity, full body movements, that will make you beg for mercy!  The thing that I like about the DVDs is the simplicity of the exercises... I don't mean simple.. just that no equipment is required.  The routine takes place on a basketball court with a couple dozen people following Shawn T through the routines.  You realize the reality of the exercise intensity as you frequently see members of the workout crew stopping, gasping for air, and taking breaks during the program... Yeah, it's that tough!

I picked up INSANITY (MSRP $120 + s/h) for about $60 on eBay and have not been disappointed.  Although it can sometimes be humbling to your opinion of your own fitness level, it certainly gives you something to aspire to!  Both P90X and INSANITY include a nutrition program to help you to eat right while participating in the fitness programs.  Whether you decide to tackle the entire 60 day program (following the included calendar that tells you exactly what DVD to do on what day) or just pick your favorites to incorporate to your existing routine, I think you will feel both challenged and motivated to keep it up... if you are like me and looking for a good butt kicking!

Here are the DVD titles that are included in the INSANITY box set along with the description and times:

  • Dig Deeper & Fit Test - To start, Shaun will put your body to the test and see what you're made of. (30 minutes)
  • Plyometric Cardio Circuit - Burn fat with intervals of intense lower-body plyo and sweat-inducing cardio. (40 minutes)
  • Cardio Power & Resistance - Build lean muscle and upper-body definition with strength-training and power moves. (40 minutes)
  • Cardio Recovery & Max Recovery - Shaun goes easier on you once a week so you're ready for the next round. (80 minutes)
  • Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs - Skip the intervals - this nonstop cardio workout is all extreme. (40 minutes)
  • Cardio Abs - Do explosive intervals of cardio and core moves for rock-hard abs. (20 minutes)
  • Core Cardio & Balance - Take a break after month 1 and gear up for month 2 with this workout. (40 minutes)
  • Max Interval Circuit - The interval circuit that's more intense than anything you've ever done before. (60 minutes)
  • Max Interval Plyo - Push your legs 'til they beg for mercy with power and plyo, all at your MAX. (55 minutes)
  • Max Cardio Conditioning & Cardio Abs - Get pushed to your limit with this extreme cardio workout. (50 minutes)




Bodyweight Exercise of the Month!



Here's another great push-up exercise that gives you a killer ab burn as well.  This one makes use of some furniture sliders to provide you the smooth mobility of your legs while crunching your abs.  By following up the standard push-up immediately with the pike up, I can guarantee that you are going to feel this one relatively quickly!


Target:  chest, shoulders, triceps, abs (pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps brachii, rectus abdominus)

Count:  4 count

Description:  Start in a standard push-up position (high plank) with your feet on a pair of furniture sliders (a 4-pack of super-sliders will run you about $10).  Do a push-up, and immediately pull your feet towards your hand, attempting to keep your knees straight.  Slide your feet back out to the high plank position and repeat for desired repetitions.

Belly Fat - Where Are My Abs?

"How do I get rid of this?" has got to be the most frequently asked question to any personal trainer!  Typically the "this" is referring to that layer of fat around the midsection, although it really can be directed at any accumulation of unwanted fat.

There is no such thing as "spot reducing" or targeting an area where you want to lose fat.  Fat does not turn to muscle... you burn fat and build muscle.  Where you lose fat is determined by patterns established by your anatomy and typically occurs systematically throughout your entire body.

A pound of fat contains 3,500 calories.  A Big Mac contains 570 calories.  Doing 20 crunches burns about 9 calories.  In other words, a few minutes of abdominal exercise isn't going to make much of a dent in a lifetime's worth of accumulated fat.  You need to understand that exercises you do to build midsection muscles won't have much effect on the fat that surrounds them.   

In addition to a standard abdominal routine, one that is performed 2-3 times per week, the most effective means of displaying your six pack is to eat healthy with a good nutrition program and combine regular cardiovascular workouts (aerobic) along with your resistance training (anaerobic) for the most efficient calorie burn.  Once you get rid of that layer of insulation, you'll find that your abs are indeed under there... somewhere.

Throughout history, whether it be artwork or media, a sculpted midsection has been the idealized epitome of strength and attractiveness.  Muscles in general and abs in particular are undoubtedly a status symbol.  Everybody wants to be like the guys and gals in the media ads with the washboard abs.  Unfortunately, there are a few things that people don't take into consideration:  those "ab models" that you see on tv and in magazines are genetically gifted, it's their job to be in perfect shape, you only see them on their very best days (nobody stays shredded all year round), they often use unhealthy fat-burning drugs to speed up metabolism and melt off the last bits of fat around their midsection, photographers play tricks with lighting and touch ups, and you typically see them when they are holding their breath and flexing.  Although this is not meant not discourage you from your abdominal goals, it can help you to understand and ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable.

I posted another good article on "The Pooch Belly" in the July 2009 newsletter if you are interested J

It's Go Time!

So here we are in July of 2011 and Independence day is a few days away.  Just what is independence anyway?  Webster defines independence as "freedom from the influence or control of others". 

We all have good influences and bad influences in our lives.  Sometimes when we really need to make changes in our lifestyle, we have to make tough decisions regarding the influences that we allow around us.  Hey, I'm not saying that you need to cut all ties with your buddy that makes you eat and drink too much... but controlling the places you go and frequency might be in your best interest if the results of the get-together have significant damage on your personal goals!  The same goes for certain places or even stuff that you watch on TV... you know what your kryptonite is... do something about it!

Seek out good influences and use them to your advantage!  Workout with a buddy... go to lunch with someone that favors salads over that Wendy's Triple... avoid the "bad" aisles at the supermarket.  Surrounding yourself with good stuff can really help guide you on your path.  Happy Independence Day Everybody!!! 

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Exceed Your Potential!

Pete Mazzeo, CPT


"Things do not happen. Things are made to happen."
 - John F. Kennedy

youtube of the month --> INSANITY
INSANITY™ is the most challenging cardio program ever put on DVD.  Promotional video by BeachbodyVideo. | Personal Training | News | Tips & Tools | Fitness Stuff




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