I’ve Done It: Insanity

What Is It – Insanity Program by Shaun T

The Claim – 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. No equipment or weights needed. Just the will to get the hardest body you’ve ever had. The result: burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour and get the most insane body in 60 days.

The secret to these mind-blowing INSANITY workout results: MAX Interval Training. Shaun T took traditional interval training and flipped it on its head—you perform long bursts of maximum-intensity exercises with short periods of rest. Each INSANITY workout keeps you constantly challenged as you alternate between aerobic and anaerobic intervals performed at your MAX.

The Skinny Shape magazine dubs it as one of extreme fitness challenges. It is a 9-week long program filled with hard-core cardio and body weight exercises. The program is broken down into 3 parts: Month 1, Recovery Week, and Month 2. Generally speaking, you work out 6 days and take one day off in a week. In 10 DVDs, Insanity provides a variety of programs so you don’t do the same workout consecutively. Month 1 exercises last for about 40 minutes, while Month 2 exercises last between 50 to 60 minutes.

The Review – I first heard about Insanity from a friend who is a seasoned exerciser. She highly recommended this, with a caution – it’s tough. I was into the second month of exercising after 8 years of no-workout. From those two months, I have lost some weight and built some endurance from kickboxing-inspired workout. I had been lifting some weights, and I hesitated a lot about not doing strength training for nine weeks.

On February 26, I took the plunge and started Day 1 of Insanity. The Fit Test (Day 1 exercise) humbled me right away. My arms and back were not strong; I couldn’t do any ‘Push-Up Jacks’ required in the Fit Test; I was out of breath half way through it. Week 1 is the hardest week of all – my body was not used to the intensity, and I had to keep stopping.

Eventually, I managed to keep up with the pace and took fewer breaks than I did in the beginning.  The 10-minute warm up felt like a hard work out; it is not unusual that the warm up alone pushed my heart rate into the 93% of maximum. Just when I thought I could manage Month 1 routines, Month 2 kicked in, and my, my… Month 2 brings ‘having my butt kicked’ expression to a whole new level.

Because life happened, I couldn’t stick precisely to the routines – meaning, sometimes I had to take more than one-day rest each week. I completed the 9-week programs in about 10 weeks.

The VerdictI would recommend Insanity program yesterday, today and tomorrow. While I didn’t lose a significant amount of weight (I didn’t have that much to lose when I started Insanity), I gained a much improved stamina, endurance, and core strength. Just to illustrate on the core strength improvement – I started with being able to do zero push-up jacks (on the first Fit Test), to 17 push-up jacks (5th Fit Test on Day 63). I also started with only able to do modified push-ups with my knees on the floor. Around half way through the program, I could lift and lower myself in a full-form push-up.

My Resting Heart Rate (RMR) plunged into about 54 beats per minute (from about mid 60’s). Average people has 60-100 RMR, the lower the better. World-class cyclist Lance Armstrong, known for his abnormally strong and efficient heart, has a RMR in the 20’s BPM. But the most important part – completing Insanity also shaped my mind. That just because it looks hard, doesn’t mean I can’t do it. It boosted my confidence like no other workout.

As for the 1,000 calories burned each workout, I think that really depends on your body weight and the intensity you are going. A woman my size probably burns about 400-500 calories per hour. According to the readings on my heart rate monitor, I averaged about 460 calories per hour.

If you love a challenge, then this, without a doubt, is worth a try. Search “Insanity Workout” on YouTube to see trailers of the routines.

Where to Buywww.beachbody.com

How Much – $129.85 for 10 DVDs, a fitness guide, a nutrition plan and a wall calendar.

Word of Caution – This program is not made for those with weak knees. I actually developed a mild form of plantar fascia – a tinging sensation on the palm of my feet. When this occurs, I usually take my intensity down a notch until the tinging disappears. The program recommends you use a pair of cross-training shoes, as they provide better support rather than running shoes. But I did use running shoes and extra-thick socks to provide better cushion. To end, motivation and determination are also part of the requirement. When you can’t make that commitment, I don’t see how you can make your mind to stick to a program this intense.


* images via BeachBody.com, davidkernlyons.com