A few years ago, I wanted to take my fitness to the next level. Sure, I was pretty fit and thin. I could dominate on the elliptical and run a few miles. But, something was missing. My body wasn’t where I wanted it. I wanted an elite level.
I had read about Beachbody’s Insanity, and was intrigued. I needed to answer the question: does Insanity work? You bet! This review explains why.
On my first day I did the fit test. Since I was already in good shape, I had decent results. So, I figured I’d just jump right it and master the actual program.
During the first workout, my “good shape” was quickly shown to be a complete fraud! I finished, but was exhausted!
The next day my entire body was sore. I mean “bend down to grab a pencil and wince in pain” sore. I’d been a fitness buff for over fifteen years, but had never been that sore in my entire life.
By the end of the sixty days my body was transformed. I was leaner and fitter and my muscle tone increased greatly, especially in the core and abs. I’d also lost those pesky seven pounds.
I started doing challenges like the Tough Mudder and Warrior Dash, training with only running and Insanity. I aced those mud runs!
Whenever anyone asks me Does Insanity Work? I’m always ready to tell them “absolutely!”
The Insanity package comes with ten DVDs with ten actual workouts (see individual reviews below). The exercises can best be described as intense cardio in the form of interval training (a few minutes of intense activity with a brief break).
The Insanity workouts focus on the core, but strengthen almost every muscle group. You also get a nutrition guide, a short fitness plan to get started, and a workout calendar.
Plyometric Cardio Circuit
This is a great forty minute interval workout with a warmup, stretching, and two rounds of intense jumping style exercises. With workouts like power squats and ski abs, Plyometric Cardio Circuit is a challenge. Get ready to jump higher and strengthen your legs. Oh, and be sore. Very sore.
Cardio Power and Resistance
With an upper body and core focus, this forty minute workout will leave you sweating like crazy. When you hit the floor for moving push-ups and globe jumps, you’ll realize that Insanity lives up to its name.
This is an “off day” workout that is focused on stretching and isometric exercises. It’s not a cakewalk, but is “easy” compared to the rest of the Insanity DVDs. You can thank Shaun T for this much deserved “break.”
Instead of intervals, this program (after warmup) jumps right into fifteen minutes of straight workouts. It’s the same exercises (like push-ups, switch kicks, etc.) but without any breaks. You will be up and down and sweating (and maybe yelling).
I like Cardio Abs because it’s an intense abdominal workout without a single sit-up! Still, it’s fifteen minutes of crazy ab work, both standing up and sitting down. Your abs will be shaking by the time it’s all over.
Core Cardio and Balance
This is done after you’ve reached the thirty day mark. You’re given a “recovery week” to prepare for an even bigger challenge. It’s a mix of cardio and isometric work. While it’s not the easiest, it’s a welcome relief compared to what is coming.
Max Interval Circuit
This is the start of the long, intense second round Insanity workouts. And, they’re tough. Instead of two sets of interval exercises, now there are three. And, the length of each set has increased from two to three minutes. It’s similar in style to the previous workouts, but in Max Interval Circuit, the exercises are more varied and tougher.
Max Interval Plyo
Like the first plyo, it’s a tough mix of cardio plyometric exercises that will leave your legs burning. This time it approaches sixty minutes of hell (fun?). Make it through this and you’ll be really sore (with a better body).
Like Pure Cardio, Max Conditioning is an intense cardio workout with fewer rest breaks. If you can make it through this without stopping and pausing the DVD, then you’ve come a long way. By now your body should look better and your core should be strong enough to attempt the exercises.
This is similar to recovery, except it’s longer and more complete. After the intensity that precedes it, Max recovery days will seem like a piece of cake.
In summary, if you want to take your workout to a new level, try Insanity. Keep in mind, you can always mix and match while you do it. I continued running and hiking. I also did some bicep work since since the program is weak on that muscle group.
While you should always consult with a doctor, Shaun T advises starting out by doing the most that you can. In other words, if you’re out of shape, you can start with just a couple of each move as you improve your endurance. Just do it.
What are you waiting for? Get the best body of your life! Although I’ve “graduated,” I still swear by the program.
Insanity has two sequels now. We review both of them:
Insanity Asylum Review (Volume 1)
Does Insanity work? The final answer is: “hell yes!”