Beachbody Insanity Max:30 Review

insanitymax30As many of you know, my brother and I have written reviews of quite a few Beachbody products, including Shaun T.’s Insanity, Asylum Volume One, and Asylum Volume Two.

When I found out that Beachbody had a new Insanity product, Insanity Max:30, I wanted to try it out. It definitely sounded like it was ideal for my fitness goals and busy schedule.

(If you find this information helpful… Will you please consider clicking HERE to order Insanity Max:30 from Amazon?)

I have to admit, I love Shaun T.’s workouts. They mix intensity, aerobic training,  and muscle development, and they vary enough to keep me interested. Plus, Shaun has a cool personality, that both encourages you and kicks your ass.

Max:30 continues this trend, with the express purpose of shortening the Insanity workouts down to a very intense 30-minute period. It has the same benefits of Insanity, i.e. it has a lot of variations, intervals, and utilizes your body instead of relying on free weights or bands (like the Asylum program does). The major difference is this contains new moves (although a few from the original Insanity show up), and there are far fewer breaks .

This is a great idea, because there are many days doing a full Insanity won’t fit into my schedule, and a 30 minute, no-fluff workout is just what I need. On other days, particularly the summer months, I feel like running, and am just too tired to do a full Insanity or Asylum along with the running. A half-hour version of Insanity is perfect for these situations. And, the ab program is only ten minutes allowing for an even shorter option!

Before I get into each workout, I want to briefly discuss what I don’t like about this product. The main thing I don’t like is that I am never a huge fan of diet materials that come with these products, especially when they are big, full-color, and glossy, and thus raise the price of the whole package, when I just want the workout.

I follow a low(er) carb, low(er) calorie program that works wonders for me. I basically have this aspect of my life in control. Their advice isn’t bad, but it seems to focus a little too much on getting rid of fat rather than carbs. I know that is standard advice, but research is rapidly shifting in the direction of lower carb/higher fat diets being better, which is what I have found.

Another drawback is actually the same as this product’s strength. The thirty minute length, while great in many contexts, means it can’t fill the need for a longer workout. This is partially addressed by the ten minute ab workout. On heavier days, I combine this with some running (such as run a few miles after or before), another workout, or even something from Asylum or P90x.

Below I review each individual disc. If you are interested in knowing how many calories you burn in these workouts, definitely check out our Insanity Max:30 Calories Burned page.

Bottom line on this product: Great, intense program for people who need to fit a workout into thirty minutes.

Month One

Cardio Challenge

This is thirty minutes of challenging aerobic sequences. Remember, unlike the regular Insanity program, there aren’t very long breaks. This is very intense cardio with a lot of differing moves, both on and off the floor (I hope you like being in the plank).

Sweat Intervals

This title definitely lives up to its name…you will sweat! It is intense. Again, it’s a great mixture of standing and plank/push up workouts. You will get your heart pumping and your core strengthening.

Man doing a bicep curl, sepia toneTabata Power

This is based on the concept of doing work for 20 seconds, then resting for 10 seconds (a 3:2 ratio of work to rest, which I recall reading a while back is a great ratio for the most intense calorie burn). Trust me in that the rest isn’t very restful! Each change is signaled by a bell with a countdown noise letting you know a few seconds before the change is coming. The rapid pace makes it go quickly (or as quickly as an intense workout like this can go).

Tabata Strength

This is very similar to “Tabata Power,” and that review basically applies here. The “rest” for most of the program is actually jogging, but between some of the upper body and core exercises, it is going into “child’s pose.” Either way, you don’t get much of a rest. This session focuses will work virtually every part of your body and leave you sore, especially the parts with “V” push-ups. I could barely move after this one.

Friday Fight: Round 1

This is an intense, non-stop workout with only two short breaks. It is basic intense interval training with core work. This workout, like its month 2 sequel, is the toughest and most intense of all the workouts.

Month 2

Max Out Cardio

This workout has some very intense cardio, but truthfully it isn’t much greater than the Cardio Challenge workout from month one. It is still good of course with an assortment of challenging moves. However, I was expecting a little more from the second month.

Max Out Sweat

Like the similar workout from month one, yea, this will make you sweat like crazy. The workout is intense plyometric exercises, which take you all over the place, from the floor, up, and back again, with a lot of jumping. The various cycles of moves end with “power moves” which are even more intense than the previous workouts. Even in the winter, in my cold basement, I still broke a sweat. That is amazing! Shaun T. said at the end of this workout that it is the most intense one he has ever led, and I believe it.

Max Out Power

This is a more intense version of the Tabata workouts. Instead of the “30 seconds on-10 seconds off,” this workout extends the “on” time to 45 seconds, increasing the intensity decently over the first Tabata workouts. The bell and countdown information from the earlier workouts apply for this one.

Max Out Strength

This one is pretty intense, continuing the “45 second on-10 seconds off” pattern. It starts with some leg exercises, which while not seeming intense, really are. In the summer, I run roughly 20-25 miles a week. I am a veteran of Insanity, Asylum, and Asylum 2, and this still made me so weak in the legs I was cramping. Then, the workout moves to upper body work, with crazy sets of push-ups and core exercises that left me struggling to stay in the game. You get a few 30 second water breaks, and a little bit of break for 10 seconds here and there, but sometimes the “break” is jogging! Wow.

Friday Fight: Round 2

Billed as “the hardest workout ever,” this is one crazy thirty minute period of exercise. It is a great way to finish the program. You only get two thirty second breaks. These are some insane and complicated moves too. I think they worked almost every muscle in my body!


Ab Attack

This is an intense, concentrated abdominal workout with no breaks. It lasts 10 minutes. It will get your abs very sore. I have been doing the regular Insanity and Asylum ab programs and this workout still wore me out. It is awesome.


This is a low impact mix of stretching and “pulsing.” It isn’t super intense, but it is enough to make you burn.

Did you find this helpful? Will you please consider clicking HERE to order Insanity Max:30 from Amazon?

Insanity Max:30 Calories Burned

insanitymax30I am a big fan of the Beachbody Insanity series of workouts. One of  the more popular pages on this site is our Insanity: Calories Burned page, in which I estimate the calories the Insanity (and the Insanity Asylum) workouts burn. Since Insanity Max:30 was just released, I wanted to list an estimate of the calories this program burns as well. Please check out my review of Insanity Max:30 if you want to know more about that.

(If you find this information helpful… Will you please consider clicking HERE to order Insanity Max:30 from Amazon?)


First, I calculated the total minutes of actual exertion during each workout. I excluded any stretches, time Shaun T spends talking, and breaks. Then, I divided those minutes into moderate vs. intense activity. I can say that with this workout, all of this is kept to a minimum. It truly is about an intense, to the point workout.

I did this based on each exercise (for example, moving push-ups are intense while some of the warm-ups are moderate). I assigned 11 calories per minute to the moderate exercises and 15 per minute to the intense. The very nature of Insanity Max:30 means that there are very few breaks and periods of low intensity.

The numbers below are my estimates based on a 150 pound person (average, but also me) confirmed by my heart rate monitor.

Remember, each person has a different metabolism and the more you weight, the more you will burn. However, these numbers should give you a rough idea of the number of Insanity Max:30 calories burned.

Also, studies show that after cardiovascular exercise, you continue to burn calories because the exercise provides a temporary metabolic boost. This is not reflected in these numbers, but it’s still good to know that your overall numbers throughout the entire day may be much higher! This is especially true during the follow up stretches and cool down.

Below are the calories burned for Insanity Max:30. Note: the Tabata workouts are 20 seconds of intense cardio, 10 seconds of less intense cardio.

Insanity Max:30 Calories Burned

Cardio Challenge

Workout Time: 27 minutes
Calories Burned: 405

Tabata Power

Workout Time: 27 minutes
Calories Burned: 393

Sweat Intervals

Workout Time: 27 minutes
Calories Burned: 405

Tabata Strength

Workout Time: 27 minutes
Calories Burned: 393

Friday Fight (Round 1)

Workout Time: 29  minutes
Calories Burned: 435

Max Out Cardio

Workout Time: 28 minutes
Calories Burned: 420

Max Out Power

Workout Time: 28 minutes
Calories Burned: 420

Max Out Sweat

Workout Time:  28 minutes
Calories Burned: 420

Max Out Strength

Workout Time: 28 minutes
Calories Burned: 420

Friday Fight (Round 2)

Workout Time:  29 minutes
Calories Burned: 435

So, as you can see with Insanity Max 30 you can get a great workout and burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.

Did you find this helpful? Will you please consider clicking HERE to order Insanity Max:30 from Amazon?

The Most Lazy And Ineffective Advice You Have Been Told Since Childhood

man giving thumbs up

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/

No matter where you look, from elementary classrooms to Twitter replies, everyone is telling everyone else, “Just be yourself!” On the surface, this sounds very affirming and loving. However, it is really a lazy effort put forth by whoever is saying it AND it is bad advice also. Let me explain.

“Just be yourself!” said your first grade teacher, even if that meant your nose-picking, smelly ways led to having zero friends show up at your birthday party.

“Just be yourself” said your mom, even though you really wanted to make the basketball team, and your lack of skills (and lack of time spent practicing) caused you to fall flat on your face.

“Just be yourself!” said your high school teacher, even though you dressed like a slob, had no confidence, had no conversation skills, and you desperately wanted a date throughout high school, and couldn’t get one.

In all of these examples, “just be yourself” is horrible advice, and I will explain why.

It is Lazy Advice

“Just be yourself” is a lazy, thoughtless, and a downright dismissive response to people who have a real need (lack of friends, inability to achieve a goal, and lack of social skills necessary to attract a romantic partner). Let’s look at it from a standpoint of “how would I respond to being told this?”

You have a need. You really want a new car. In fact, you really need a new car, since the one you have is broken down. You go to a friend who is a mechanic. His response is, “Let’s not worry about your broken transmission (which I could actually help you with); just be yourself.”

But, you may protest…”David, nobody would ever say that about fixing a car! If he responded like that, he would be blowing you off!”


So, why, in the case of someone who needs personality or appearance help, do we blow them off? In each cases I listed above, rather than helping you achieve your life goals (such as making friends in first grade, getting a spot on the basketball team, and getting a date), the people in your life dismissed your concerns.

It is Just Plain Bad Advice

Imagine if you just stayed yourself. Pick any point in your life. What about your awkward self in 6th grade? What about your pre-college, less educated self? What about “yourself” yesterday, when you were mad all day?

Would you be working that great job now if you stayed “yourself” before you went to college? Would you have completed a marathon if you remained your awkward past self? Would you be happy today if you stayed your angry yesterday “self?”

What if throughout most of your life you haven’t been happy or fulfilled, at least in a particular area? “Yourself,” at least at that moment, or throughout many moments in your life, hasn’t been what you want from life.

Instead of “be yourself,” our philosophy is to, yes, accept and be comfortable with who you are at that moment, while striving to better yourself to become your best selfBeing your best self means finding your goals and desires in life, and making choices and life changes to reach those goals.

That is why we run this site, and why we wrote our six books. We believe that every guy wants to be happy, admired, and have the ability to make friends and get dates (the number is up to him…maybe he just wants one great friend, or to be surrounded by them).

So…as 2014 winds down and we think about the new year, think less about being “yourself” and more about becoming your best self.

The Major Weight Loss And Muscle Gain Supplement Nobody Knows About

bicepcurl2Have you eaten any beets lately? I didn’t think so. I can’t stand beets, but research shows that a chemical named after them, betaine (pronounced beet’-uh-een) could be an effective way to gain muscle mass while losing fat. Betaine is also known as trimethylglycine (TMG). While I am not going to get too into the science of methyl donation, just know that as a “methyl donor”, betaine may have a variety of benefits, including improving brain function.

I have taken Betaine for quite a while as a part of my digestive supplements. Betaine Hydrochloride (HCL) is betaine bound to HCL. The hypothesis is that the HCL in the formula improves digestion in the stomach by making it more acidic. Why betaine bound to HCL was chosen over other options, I am not sure, but either way, I am happy I have been getting my fair share of betaine over the years without knowing it. Betaine HCL is 76% betaine, so if you see an amount on a bottle (such as 600 mg betaine HCL), just multiply that amount by .76 to get the actual betaine content (600 mg of betaine HCL contains 456 mg betaine).

To order from Amazon: Betaine HCL or without the HCL: TMG/Betaine Annhydrous

So, back to the benefits for weight loss and muscle gain…

A number of studies have concluded that betaine supplementation boosts strength and power (see, for example: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, July 2010) .

However, the most exciting research was performed recently at the College of Springfield in Massachusetts.

Researchers had a group of males weight-train for six weeks.One group took 1.25 grams of betaine twice a day, and the control group (also weight training) supplemented with a placebo. The researchers reported in a 2013 issue of the same journal I referenced above that the subjects taking betaine increased muscle mass by four pounds and arm size by ten percent (!), while decreasing body fat by seven percent. The placebo group experienced no increase in muscle mass/arm size and no body fat loss.

So, while the research is preliminary, supplementing with betaine/TMG may help you see quicker muscle gains and faster weight loss. Either way, other studies show a variety of benefits for TMG, so giving this inexpensive supplement might be worth a try. If you don’t want to take supplements, Quinoa and Spinach are particularly high in this nutrient.

How Women Can Help Their Guy Friends

This is my latest for Michael Fiore’s Digital Romance, Inc. Although I don’t think a guy should have to rely on women for help in getting dates, concerned ladies can certainly help out their more timid guy friends. This article explains how women can help their guy friends get into relationships.

Check it out!

Four Surprising Benefits Of Gratitude

thank you post it note

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

When your parents told you to write that thank you note to your grandma they were on to something (besides making you feel guilty). Gratitude actually confers some surprising and incredible benefits. Here are a few of them.

Gratitude Makes You Happier

Gratitude has been shown in many studies to increase our happiness levels. OK, this benefit might not be that surprising. Someone who focuses on negative feelings will get more negative feelings. Those who try to be thankful for what they have will focus more on the positive elements of life. This increased happiness is the foundation for all of the other benefits of gratitude.

Gratitude Makes You Sexier

Those who have negative personality traits such as rudeness are judged as less attractive for romantic interaction. And, people with positive personality traits are rated as more attractive, even when physical appearance is considered. And, what is one key to being positive? Gratitude for what you have in your life is a huge factor in a positive personality. Those ungrateful people who complain all the time? They just aren’t as attractive.

Gratitude Makes You More Popular

Gratitude positively impacts our mental states, making us happier, more social, more trusting and more receptive to interaction with others. In addition, expressing gratitude in relationships has been shown to make the other person happier and improve communication. So, being personally grateful and expressing it to others can make you more popular.

Gratitude Makes You Healthier

In one study, some individuals were asked to focus on the negative things in their week while another group focused instead on gratitude. The researchers found that the grateful people reported not only being happier but also exercising more and making fewer doctor’s visits. Negativity keeps us unwell while being grateful and positive makes us healthier (even physically).

So, with American Thanksgiving coming this week, it might be wise to take some time to think about what we can be grateful for. All of us have many things we could list. Be grateful and experience the surprising benefits.