Thursday, January 20, 2011

P90X vs. CrossFit: Which Flavor Should You Choose?

Slate just published an article by Annie Lowry entitled "Work Out So Hard You Vomit: The Rise of P90X, CrossFit, and the 'Extreme' Exercise Routine."

In it, Lowrey tries to compare and contrast P90X and CrossFit, but ends up focusing most of her attention on marginal, cosmetic features -- things like the "crazy" fans who guzzle the Kool-Aid of their respective programs and "love posting homemade videos of their...insane feats of strength." Lowrey states that of the two, "P90X is the slick, camera-ready pro athlete, while CrossFit is the sweatshirt-clad, hometown college favorite" -- but this speaks only to the fact that the P90X videos are slickly-produced and "expensive-looking," whereas CrossFit is relatively "frills-free" and, according to Lowrey, "quite popular among prison inmates"(WTF?). She also touches on the ways in which Beachbody and CrossFit HQ market their products and grow their bottom lines.

But in the end, none of this provides any insight into the goals or programming of either program.

The problem, I think, is that Lowrey's limited exposure to P90X and CrossFit severely hampers her ability to assess them with any depth. She clearly hasn't done much homework about the programs, and even writes that she's done just one P90X workout and one CrossFit workout. (And whether Lowrey actually did a CrossFit WOD is an open question. She writes of having to swing a pair of "large Italian-style tomato cans" around and needing to "find a bale of hay to lift" -- and while these exercises sound...intriguing, I've never before heard of these moves in any CrossFit setting.) So in the end, her article just skims the surface (and poorly, too), and offers little about the substantive features of P90X and CrossFit.

So what are the similarities and differences between the two programs?

I have my own take on this subject. But until I can find the time to properly dig into this topic, chew on these other perspectives about the two programs:
And if you've tried either or both fitness programs, feel free to weigh in. I'm sure there are folks who want to hear from some those who have *actual* experience with P90X and/or Crossfit.