I compared two different workout DVDs of about roughly the same duration of time — Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones and Insanity: Plyometric Cardio Circuit — to a 48 minute run that incorporates a steep trail (of which I actually had to hike up instead of run).
While the run is pure cardio, the DVDs do incorporate some strength training moves (push-ups and squats for Insanity; super sets with 3lbs weights for Jillian) along with some interval training, so the fitness benefits are a bit different. Let’s have a look, shall we:
Insanity is a bit more of a calorie burn, as your heart rate is elevated for more of a sustained period before coming back down again, but not by much. Jillian Michaels NMTZ DVD is tough, but not as tough as Insanity. You do, however, do weight resistance training non-stop for about 45 minutes — I find my muscles are much more sore after a JM DVD than any of the Insanity DVDs. And for comparison, a 48 minute run:
Even though I DID hike up a big hill, my heart rate was pretty high the whole time, averaging at about 167 bmp. I should also mention the average calorie burn is based on a 5’6, 125 lb female.
Bottom line: For calorie burn, running wins. If you want to tone up, do the DVDs – THEN go for a run 😉