One of the most common questions I get asked is, “Zach, what are the best home workout programs, what do they do, how effective are they, and who are they good for?”  This is a great question as time is one of the primary obstacles keeping us from exercising on a consistent basis.

Having the ability to walk into any room in our home, in our underwear if we so choose, and jump right into our workout saves an average of 20 minutes or more of gym preparation and commute time every workout.  And given how busy we all are, 20 plus minutes really is a lot of time saved.

However, let me also address the word, “best.”  Everyone has different goals and time to work with.  As a result, there are different “best” home workout plans for different people.  To determine which home workout plan is best for you, clearly outline your health and fitness goals and determine how many days and how much time per day you can realistically dedicate to a home workout program.  Once you’ve done that, you’re good to go.

Let’s jump right into the three home workout programs that are by far the most popular and widely recognized as the best of the best.

Tony Horton’s P-90X

In the world of health and fitness, P90X was a home workout game changer and since it’s introduction it has gone on to become one of the most popular and highest selling home workout programs ever developed.

Who is P90X good for?  P90X is really for individuals who have decided to dedicate themselves too seriously transforming their body.  The workouts are intense, include advanced resistance training movements, and most critically, if followed correctly, require you to exercise 6-7 times a day for an hour to an hour and a half per workout!

Is P90X Effective:  If followed fully, P90X is the most effective home workout program for building total body strength, definition, cardiovascular conditioning, and internal health.   Why?  Because unlike the vast majority of other home workout programs, P90X not only incorporates cardiovascular exercises, but also incorporates resistance training exercises too, and provides the necessary equipment to perform these exercises. Without total body resistance training exercises, you simply cannot sculpt your body to the fullest degree nor lose the final five to ten pounds of “stubborn” fat that is the hardest and most difficult to address.

Shaun T’s Insanity

Released a few years after P90X, and building off of P90X’s success, Insanity quickly became one of the most popular home workout programs in history.

Who is Insanity good for?  Insanity is good for those who want an intense cardio workout, who like a lot of variety in their cardio workouts, and for people who would generally enjoy high intensity group fitness classes.

Are the workouts effective:  Yes and no.  Insanity’s workouts are designed around the principle of high intensity interval training, which is excellent for losing weight (up to a certain point, after which you need in incorporate resistance training) and building stamina and cardiovascular health.  However, due to the fact that Insanity does not incorporate weights or resistance bands, their workouts are highly limited in their ability to define and strengthen the body, especially the upper body.

A self developed home workout program.

The third most popular home workout program, and the one most often overlooked, is the one designed by the exerciser themselves.  People have been buying weights, treadmills, and elliptical machines for their garages and living rooms forever, and for good reason.

Who are self designed home workout programs good for?  Basically anyone.  As your able to choose your own exercises, your own equipment, and exercise for exactly as long and as hard as you want, you have complete control over your workouts.  That said, self designed home workout programs are most often utilized by people who have limited amounts of time to exercise and who want to exercise but do not feel comfortable with or enjoy the general vibe of a gym.

Are self designed home workout plans effective?  If designed and implemented correctly, absolutely.  For instance, if your goal is to lose fifteen pounds, but you only have 20 minutes a day to exercise, including going to and from the gym, a self designed home workout plan is perfect for you.  Here you could develop a short high intensity cardio circuit that you could perform for 20 minutes two to three times a week.  Then you could order two dumbbell handles and a few different weighted plates from Amazon and develop a total body weight routine that you could go through for 20 minutes two to three times a week.  And now you’re covered.  You’ve gotten your cardio component in and your resistance component in and both in just 20 minutes a day without ever leaving your home.

To our health