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Insanity Workout Program Review

Posted Sep 15 2012 1:07pm


Have you ever started a conversation with “So I just completed the Insanity workout program”? I did that last week with a dude. His response? “Well, you don’t need to work out for the rest of your life then.” This has been the kind of attention the Insanity program has gotten: that it’s incredibly difficult, almost impossible, and requires a lot of effort and dedication. Well, all these things are true. I mean, what did you expect? It is called ‘Insanity’ so you’d have to be insane to do it.

The Insanity program was created by fitness instructor Shaun T. and the Beach Body crew. If you have every tried any other exercise videos by Beach Body, you’d know that they push the limit with their workouts.

The slogan for the workout program is “Dig Deeper”. The premise is that you can push yourself farther and farther doing interval and plyometric training to achieve the best shape of your life in 60 days. To do this, you would have to garner up strength and endurance you never knew you had every single day.
The program comes with a nutrition guide, a calendar, and support from the Beach Body team on their website. It is a 60 day program, with 6 days a week of intense work and 1 day a week of rest. Before you start the program, you are required to take a “Fit Test”, which you take about every 2 weeks on the program to gauge your fitness level. The Fit Test consists of doing as many repetitions as possible of particular exercises within a span of time. As you get fitter, obviously, the more you should be able to do.

There are 14 videos in the series, and a calendar is provided to tell you what video to do on what day. The first month is made up of total body cardio conditioning workouts that go from 30 to 40 minutes each. And then you get a rest week where you focus on balance and your core before you get back into the 2nd month. Month 2 is intense. You get high intensity workouts. The workouts get longer consisting of about 45 to 60 minutes each. So there is a bit of shock going from month 1 to month 2, especially with that rest week in between.
Let me add a disclaimer here to state that I couldn’t actually take the week off between month 1 and 2 as I was training for a few races and so still had to run consistently, and I also did not consider the Insanity workout as my full workout program for those 60 days. I did all the videos every day, but I also supplemented with other workouts as well. Yea, I know, I’m crazy. 

If you start the program and have a hard time even though you thought you were pretty fit, that is absolutely normal. The intensity of just the warm-ups can be a bit challenging until you get used to it. It usually starts with 3 rounds of a warm-up circuit, consisting of sprints, jumping jacks, butt kicks, high knee runs, and a bunch of other exercises involving jumping, power, and fast movements. Then you stretch for about 4 minutes before you really get into the workout. Each workout consists of circuits with about a 30 second water break in between circuits. Some videos don’t have designated water breaks, but you are instructed to take breaks when you feel you need to. After it all, there is another few minutes of stretching, and then you’re done.

Pros of the Workout Program
  1. Unlike the P90x and some other intense workout programs, there is no equipment necessary! So you can do it at home, take it on trips, etc.
  2. The videos are long so it can be considered your whole workout.
  3. All the folks in the video are fit! So it pushes you to do as much as they are doing.
  4. Shaun T’s attitude just makes me want to exercise! As he keeps yelling “Ah! You can do it!”, you actually start believing you can.
  5. Unlike many workout programs where you kind of wing it, you have a structured calendar that tells you exactly what to do when. 
  6. It comes with a great nutrition program to help you get where you need to be (Note: I did not follow the nutrition program)
  7. It involves a lot of powerful movements, and you know I love my power workouts.
  8. The Fit Test allows you to see your progress periodically so you’re sort of competing with yourself.

  Cons of the Workout Program
  1. I wake up in the morning now after I’ve just had a dream where someone was yelling “Dig Deeper” at me in Shaun T’s voice. It’s pretty bad.
  2. Well, it does cost almost $120, which is pretty steep. 
  3. There is no substitution so it’s either you can do something or you can’t. Some trainers like Jackie Warner give you substitute positions if you are not yet strong enough to do the regular version.
  4. The exercises are very similar across the videos. For example, the warm-ups are the same for most videos in month 1, and then most videos in month 2. You can lose your excitement if every video is similar.
  5. It would help if they gave an estimate of how many calories it burns for a particular body weight and gender. I know some folks say it’s not about the calories, but if part of the point is to get a great body, knowing how much you are burning is important. But I guess you can measure your own heart rate and figure the calories out.
  6. Because it does involve a lot of jumping and quick movements, it can be very hard on the joints. So it is not a workout you should be on forever because it is very high impact.
  7. This workout is not for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of dedication, which is what makes me like it. But I see how this can make others easily fall off of it if they hadn’t prepared themselves for the craziness before starting.

The Insanity workout is not for everyone, and so you should know your body and take the Fit Test to determine if it is for you. I know folks always seem to want results pronto, but my advice is that you should have already been doing some sort of exercise before you start this program. Don’t just jump into it without any prior experience because you could hurt yourself and you could lose focus.
  But if you do have some exercise experience, you should definitely try it out and push your body. And let me know how you do! I finished it, but I still incorporate a video here and a video there into my daily workout routine.

Cheers Eights & Weights!
PS. My favorite person on the DVDs is Tanya. She is awesome! You know what I mean if you've done the program.


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