When it comes to choosing a workout routine, there seem to be endless options out there for everyone from beginners to novice workout fanatics. One of the most popular exercise regimens on the market today is the Insanity Workout Program featured by BeachBody.
The INSANITY® workout might just be the hardest fitness program ever put on DVD. Your personal trainer Shaun T will push you past your limits with 10 INSANITY workout discs packed with plyometric drills on top of nonstop intervals of strength, power, resistance, and ab and core training moves.
The Insanity Workout, designed by renowned fitness trainer Shawn T, is a 60 day workout regimen considered to be one of the most intense and extreme on the market today. It is a program that revolves around maximum intensity interval training segments. The various workouts included in the Insanity Video Series take you from bouts of high intensity exercises to lower intensity rest periods and/or slower paced exercises to vary your heart rate. The idea behind maximum intensity interval training is that it is a more efficient form of cardiovascular activity that helps burn fat and builds lean muscle more effectively. The Insanity Program’s interval training also assists in building endurance through a wide variety of core strengthening exercises.
Insanity is fast paced and promises to be challenging even to the most fit, athletic individuals who dare try it. Each day you begin your Insanity workout routine, you can plan on sweating profusely for the duration of the video and you will probably feel soreness in muscles you did not even know you had. Shaun T, the creator of Insanity and instructor on each of the videos, suggests consulting with your physician prior to commencing the program and encourages all participants to work at their own pace. By the end of the 60 day program, Insanity is a fitness regime that can give you the six pack abs you have longed for and the mean, lean body to match.
So, now that you have had a slight introduction into the Insanity Series, let’s delve into what the series is comprised of. The Insanity Workout Program is not solely a set of workout DVDs. It includes the Dig Deeper Introductory DVD, 10 workouts, an Elite Nutrition Guide and a Wall Calendar with corresponding Fit Test Tracker to track your progress along the way.
You will not need any additional equipment to do the Insanity program since it uses the body’s own resistance. Simply put on your workout attire, make sure that you are wearing a supportive pair of workout shoes and pop the DVD into your DVD player. The plan itself involves exercising six days per week for 30 to 60 minutes at a time. As previously mentioned, each workout involves high intensity segments of approximately three minutes each. There are also shorter, 30 second periods of rest or slow paced exercises in between for recovery.
Dig Deeper DVD & Fit Test
To kick off the Insanity program, Shaun T brings you the Dig Deeper DVD and Fit Test to test your body and see what level you are beginning the program at. It is 30 minutes long and you will do this Fit Test repeatedly throughout the 60 day program to track results and see how your fitness level is improving.
Plyometric Cardio Circuit
The Plyometric Cardio Circuit is designed to burn fat with intervals of high intensity cardiovascular exercise combined with lower body plyometric exercises. It is 42 minutes long and it promises to make you sweat. You will begin using this in the first month of the Insanity series and intermittently use it throughout as well.
Cardio Power & Resistance
This workout puts more emphasis on the upper body. It is used during the first month on the program as well and will help with muscle building and definition. It includes a variety of core activities, strength training, resistance and power building moves.
Cardio & Max Recovery
Once a week, you will do the Cardio Recovery workout DVD. It is a chance to take a slight break from the maximum high intensity workouts that are typical with Insanity. The Cardio Recovery is 33 minutes long and helps you recover from the strenuous workouts you completed the other five days of the week. It is used throughout the 60 day Insanity program once per week and is intended to provide a day of slight rest to keep you motivated.
Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs
This 55 minute workout routine is hardcore to say the least. It is extreme, nonstop cardio that will most definitely test your limits. You will do the Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs during month one and two of the Insanity series and, by the end, you should see marked improvement from the first time you completed the workout. If you are following the workout calendar that comes with the Insanity Program, the first time you will see this workout will be in your second week so hopefully you are ready for the intensity.
Core Cardio & Balance
Once you have reached the Core Cardio Balance workout in the program, you have entered the Recovery Week portion and you are mid way through Insanity. By now you should have completed at least 30 days with Insanity and you should be seeing some definite results. The Core Cardio Balance workout allows you to take a mini break from the high intensity workouts typical of Insanity and eases you into the second half of the program. It is 37 minutes long and will help improve balance and core strength.
Max Interval Circuit & Fit Test
This is the longest DVD in the Insanity series at 86 minutes long. It is one of the most challenging in the series and will definitely push you to your limits. It is comprised of maximum intensity cardio circuits with shorter, 30 second rest periods in between. Even the rest periods are challenging for some since you are still moving during this time but at a much slower pace.
Max Interval Plyo
The Max Interval Plyo workout is 55 minutes of grueling leg work with a hint of upper body exercises blended in. It promises to be one of the toughest lower body workouts you have ever encountered and will leave every muscle in your lower extremities begging for more. This workout is done in the second month of the Insanity series and, by the time you get to it, you should have a good idea of what the program expects from you.
Max Cardio Conditioning & Cardio Abs
This workout is similar to the Pure Cardio because it focuses mostly on high intensity cardio exercises, just as the name states. It is 65 minutes of extreme cardio with no breaks or pauses anywhere in between. This seems to be one of the most challenging workouts in the series when it comes to endurance because of the length combined with the lack of breaks and/or recovery time.
The Max Recovery portion of Insanity is one that is usually welcome by all. It is designed to give you a rest and help you build back your strength for the next round. The Max Recovery workout is 47 minutes long and is comprised of intense, slower paced moves combined with stretching.
If you are like most people and avoid reading directions before you build a new piece of furniture or begin using your latest gadget, then the Fitness Guide is exactly what you need. It is a brief, step by step guide that gives you the minimal information you will need to begin the program immediately.
Free Online Support
Beachbody has an incredible online support system that will provide you with all of the answers you will need when completing the Insanity Workout program. If you have a question, you log onto the online forum and you should expect an answer quickly. This is one aspect of the Beachbody suite that many of its competitors cannot compare to. There are literally thousands of independent Beachbody coaches all over the world eager to help you reach your fitness goals and online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your questions about the program.
The Workout Calendar is essentially your instructional booklet on completing the Insanity Workout correctly. It explains how to do the DVDs and gives you a weekly workout schedule for the entire 60 day workout period. The calendar also allows you to track your progress along the way and monitor improvements you have made along the way.
In addition to guiding you through your Insanity journey, the calendar also provides you with tips and tricks to help conquer each of the Insanity workouts. If you do not use the calendar while doing Insanity, you may do the DVDs out of the recommended order and cause unnecessary fatigue instead. For example, if you do not follow the order, you may unknowingly do workouts that work the lower body consecutively for several days. This will cause you to overload parts of your body and may discourage you from continuing with the program.
Due to the difficulty of the Insanity Workout Program, it is imperative that you provide your body with adequate nutrients and healthy food choices throughout the 60 day period. The Elite Nutritional plan is designed to help guide you and help fuel your body in order for it to endure the various intense workouts it will encounter along the way. After completing the Insanity Program, Shaun T’s goal is that you use the guide to help you eat better and eat a healthier diet for a lifetime.
The Elite Nutrition Plan provides you with tools to help you understand what you should be eating while doing the Insanity program and how much to eat as well. The plan includes a variety of breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options for you to choose from. It will also show you how to combine foods to help your metabolism work at its peak, burning calories more effectively throughout the day. It is designed for both men and women and it is not intended as a “diet” per say. It is a plan to help fuel you for the intense workouts you will need to overcome to complete the 60 day Insanity program.
The plan itself asks that you consume 5 meals per day, all approximately the same size and number of calories. Eating several times per day at specified intervals gives you the stamina necessary to carry you through the day and also keeps your metabolism burning calories all day long. Since each individual has different caloric intake needs, the program includes ways to modify the plan according to your individual situation. You can add “Food Blocks” to each of your meals to up your caloric intake or add them in between meals as snacks.
The meals are all balanced and are comprised of equal parts protein and carbohydrates with a maximum of 20% fat. Although there has recently been a low carb craze, the program advises against this and suggests that you balance your carbs and protein in order to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
During the first month on the Insanity Elite Nutrition Plan, you will choose five meals per day consisting of about 300 calories each. As you enter the second month on the plan and your body is burning calories more effectively, you may increase your caloric intake to help keep your body fuel for the more strenuous workouts ahead.
This is a loaded question and one that truly depends on where you are when you begin Insanity. If you are already in decent shape and are just looking to tone up and lean out, then this program will definitely get you there. If you have a lot of weight to lose and need a workout that will allow you to crank it up so you lose weight at a faster pace, this program will get you there as well. Although this workout is one of the toughest on the market, it is one that will get you to a fitness level you never envisioned was possible. It will give you a feeling of confidence and achievement after you complete it and see the progress you made from day 1to day 60.
One great feature of the Insanity program is the tracking that is stressed throughout by creator and instructor Shaun T. On the first day, he encourages all participants to take body measurements so that you are well aware of where you started. You will then take measurements intermittently throughout the 60 day period four more times until you have concluded the program. By taking measurements and tracking your progress throughout, you will be able to see if Insanity is indeed working for you and helping you achieve your fitness goals.
One misconception is that the Insanity Program is so extremely difficult that it is intended only for novice athletes. That is certainly not the case. Anyone can do the Insanity workouts at their own pace since the purpose is to do as many reps as you can. Shaun T stresses this from day one and reminds you repeatedly in each DVD that you should be working at whatever your maximum capacity may be. The perk in all of this is that you can do the program repeatedly, two or more times consecutively, and each time you will achieve better results. You will build your endurance each time you complete it and, each time, you will reach a higher number of reps and higher maximum capacity.
With any workout program, there will be pros and cons to consider. Insanity is widely popular and seems to have more pros than cons. Below are a few to consider when deciding whether to begin Insanity and start your insane cardio journey.
- The Insanity workouts will help you take your cardio fitness to a level you never expected, challenging your body each day in a different way.
- The workouts are different each day and help avoid boredom with the program.
- The exercises are easy to do and Shaun T explains each one in detail.
- You can do the program regardless of your fitness level since you do it at your own pace and do as many reps as you can complete.
- Anyone can do the program since all you need is a DVD player. There is no additional equipment needed so you can do it while traveling or if you are a stay at home parent without child care.
- The plan includes a nutritional guide to help you learn how to exercise efficiently and eat right as well.
- Since you do not need additional equipment, you do not need to purchase weights or join a gym to get the exercise you need.
- The high intensity of the workouts can be discouraging for beginners and/or individuals with ailments. The program is not intended for individuals that are obese or suffer from heart disease.
- Since it is an at home workout program that does not include guidance from a personal trainer, it can be easy to get distracted, occupied with other activities or work and stop the program before completing it.
- If you are hoping to gain size and muscle mass, this program is not for you. It does not involve any sort of weight training other than resistance training with your own body weight so you will lean out and most likely lose instead of gain weight.
Overall, this seems to be one of the more comprehensive workout programs I’ve reviewed and most definitely one of the most challenging when it comes to cardiovascular fitness. Some of the before and after photos are incredible and show a remarkable difference from day 1 to day 60 on the program. If you are a beginner, this program will help you build up your endurance and help you achieve fitness levels you never dreamed were possible. By completing the program several times, you should be able to see improvements in your ability to complete the moves and exercises in each of the 10 workout DVDs.
What you will need to do when deciding to embark on the Insanity journey is commit to doing the workouts as specified in the calendar each day. If you take a week off, you will have a difficult time starting up again. It may help to recruit a workout buddy to do the workout with you and help keep you accountable. If you have a Facebook or other social media account, share your progress and your workout journey with friends to help keep you motivated and get a little extra encouragement. Do you still need more input deciding whether to buy the Insanity workout program or not? Read the reviews below by real people that have taken on the Insanity challenge themselves.