Which Fitness Program is the Best for Weight Loss?

May 25, 2011 By: afeldman 418 Comments

Every time I pick up a fitness newsletter, a new program is being thrown into the spotlight and getting saluted as the new “best thing in fitness.”   When there are so many new programs around, it can be hard to commit to one fitness program for weight loss.  While there is nothing wrong with jumping into a new program, it is important to give yourself enough time to see results.  The problem is that most people jump from one routine to another in hopes of finding a magic solution to weight loss.  That is the very reason that fitness trends are profitable.  When a new workout does not bring results, people move on to the next big thing.  In this article, I will go over four different exercise programs that are currently huge in popularity, with listed pros and cons of each with a bottom line to consider.

CrossFit

What is it?

Cross Fit Weight Loss Fitness

Cross Fit is a workout program that combines movements in a circuit format.

CrossFit is a workout program that bases itself off of ten domains: cardiovascular endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, agility, balance, coordination, and accuracy.  It combines movements from sprinting, Olympic lifting and gymnastics into a circuit format.  The CrossFit workout of the day is always different, but will usually combine 3-6 movements which have participants repeat the series a certain number of times.  Different people participating in the workout may compete to get the workout done in the fastest time.

Pros:

Participating in CrossFit is definitely a high energy, high intensity workout.  It burns a large amount of calories, which results in great progress.  Many regulars also love the big draw to CrossFit- the group dynamic.  Participants are surrounded by fellow fitness enthusiasts doing the same workout.

Cons:

There are a few criticisms to CrossFit that are definitely valid.  The first criticism is the lack of specificity.  When you go into a CrossFit facility, it is one workout for everyone.  It does not take into account individual differences in size, shape or fitness level as effectively as other programs do.  Another common criticism is related to the workout structure.  There are many high impact contraindicated movements that are combined into one circuit and for multiple days in a row.  Also looked down upon is the fact that movements geared for quick bursts of strength and power are thrown into an endurance circuit.  Many people think that this is dangerous and a lot of people that have left CrossFit have given reasons such as severe joint pain or complete burnout.

The Bottom Line:

If you want to try CrossFit, make sure you go to one of their specialized facilities and receive in depth instruction.  CrossFit movements require much instruction and put a lot of stress on joints and muscles.  Listen to your joints.  If they are progressively feeling worse, that is not a good sign.  If you plan on participating in the CrossFit program, make sure that your body is getting the rest it needs, especially when first starting.

P90X

What is it?

P90x Fitness Program for Weight Loss

P90x is a workout DVD program which has made itself famous for the concept of "muscle confusion."

P90x is a workout DVD series that has made itself famous from the concept of “muscle confusion.”  This concept is a continuous changing of the workout to confuse your body into progress.  While muscle confusion is a legitimate concept, P90x did not create it.  Giving your body a different stimulus from workout to workout is a concept that has been around for years.  The P90x program spreads muscle confusion over different workout DVDs that include strength training, cardio and stretching.  There is also a nutrition program attached.  The claim is that if you follow the program for 90 days, your body will go from “flabby to lean.”

The Pros:

Many people that use P90x have experienced significant weight loss and have increased their strength and endurance greatly.  It is also a cost effective program, when compared to regular personal training and gym dues, that can be done with a minimal amount of equipment.  It is also easily adaptable to different skill levels.

The Cons:

While P90x gurus may claim that P90x is the revolution of fitness, it is not reinventing the wheel.  It uses moves, concepts and principles that have been done time and time before.  The problem is that some of the exercises are hard to master without feedback from a trainer.  The motivation that comes from working out with others is also gone since it is just you in front of a TV with a ball and dumbbells.  While it may be a good tool, it does not substitute for exercising with a trainer or instructor.  People that are not happy with P90x are usually those that have lost motivation due to the television format of the workout.

The Bottom Line:

If you can motivate yourself to work out without going to a gym and still reach intensities necessary to make progress, then this program can be helpful to you.  However, if you find it difficult to make it through a session at the gym due to lack of motivation, it will be that much worse when you are trying it at home with no one to answer to but a DVD player.

Insanity

What is it?

Insanity Fitness Program for Weight Loss

Insanity is a workout DVD program that promises to whip you into shape in just 60 days.

Insanity is another workout DVD set that was introduced following the popularity of the P90x program.  The concept behind insanity is that it can get you into shape within 60 days instead of 90.  The DVD set also comes with a wider variety of workouts.

Pros:

With the wide variety included in this package, it is harder to grow bored with the workouts and varying movements.  As with P90X, you are also given the convenience of working out in your home with minimal equipment.  While the DVD set itself may be on the expensive side, it will even out when you factor in money saved on personal training and memberships.

Cons:

Exercising with this program will not speed up any benefits that you would see from doing P90x.  It is also just a DVD set.  It takes a lot of internal motivation and will power to follow the intensity featured on these DVDs.  A good point to remember is that if these two DVD programs were successful for everyone, they would not need to dominate late night marketing campaigns on television.

The Bottom Line:

It takes much will power and self discipline to follow a DVD workout program.  While it may save you money and a trip to the gym, it may not move you any closer to your goals.  Without someone there to push you, it can be difficult to get through a hard workout.

Wii Fit

What is it?

Wii Fit for Weight Loss

Wii Fit is an active video game that promotes fun and fitness.

The Wii Fit is an interactive videogame where participants stand on a platform to perform exercise movements that come from yoga, strength training and calisthenics.  The game also comes with logs that allow you to record things like dietary information and extra activities.

Pros:

Video games are fun, and when combined with fitness activities, can make a fitness routine easier to commit to.  When your brain is distracted with trying to get a high score, it is easy to get yourself to burn higher calories without realizing it.  This includes games like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero as well.

Cons:

With the fast pacing of games in general, it is very easy to do an exercise incorrectly, especially once fatigue sets in.  Focusing on a game may throw proper form out the window.  Since you are not in a gym, it is very difficult to be aware of it when your exercises become sloppy.  Also, even though you are burning more calories than you would by just sitting around, the levels are not nearly as high as they would be during a normal exercise session.  The strength training programs and yoga programs are also no substitute for the actual classes.

The bottom line:

I feel that the Wii Fit is a great way to add in extra exercise during the day at low intensities.  It is a great substitute for regular video games, but it is not a substitute for proper exercise.  I would not recommend substituting it for a nice jog or volleyball game outside either.  If something comes up and for some reason you could not get a normal workout in, this is better than doing nothing.

Keep this in mind

When it is all said and done, any of these programs have the potential to get an individual into the best shape possible.  If a program promotes muscular strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance, it is a well rounded program.  Mass marketed fitness programs are one way to get there, but not the only way.  Rate of success isn’t as dependent on the choice of program as it is to the individual that is participating and how hard they are working.  At Shane Diet Resorts weight loss program for adults, we give you a program that is specifically tailored to you, not a one size fits all routine.  Check out our website for more fitness resources.

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