Beachbody Insanity: Let’s See How Insane It Really Is!

The Insanity program. Credit: Beachbody.com

Those of you who know me know I truly enjoy a hard workout, like one that can make even the fittest of Fit Bottomed Girls and Fit Bottomed Dudes sweat. I like being pushed hard and seeing just how much I can get out of my body. Some people think I’m a little nuts. Those people probably won’t be surprised to learn that I freaking loved Insanity. I first did the program almost two years ago (which is when I first reviewed it for That’s Fit—if you want the details on each individual workout in the program, check that out), and since then, it’s regularly rotated into my fitness routine.

For those of you who are not yet familiar with Insanity, here’s the scoop. Insanity bills itself as “the hardest workout program ever put on DVD.” It’s a 60-day program that consists of 10 DVDs (six workouts you rotate through according to the Insanity calendar for the first month, one DVD that’s used for recovery during week five, and four that are rotated throughout the second month).

Each workout is based on the idea of MAX Interval Training, which basically means you do longer periods of super-intense exercise with short rest intervals. By switching up the intervals in this way, Insanity claims you can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour. These intervals keep your body and mind occupied with moves that are easy to learn but tough to master, especially when you’re nearing the end of an interval and facing total muscle failure. Because, believe me, you will experience total muscle failure.

The workouts are all similar insofar as to say that, if you like one of them, you’ll like them all, but they differ enough to keep each day fresh. The first day is the Fit Test, which takes you through eight exercises for a minute each, and then has you write down your score. Insanity trainer Shaun T leads and, as he does with all the videos, participates in the majority of the exercises but takes breaks to show form (and catch his breath). The man and woman he uses as examples offer up their scores from their first time and what they score on the video (after 60 days on the program), so you can get a feel for where you stand. I was pretty middle ground—sometimes higher than their starting score, sometimes lower.

Now, the Fit Test had me struggling, but compared to the other workouts, it was a breeze. Each workout had its own special way to torture my muscles, so that even though I was sore enough after, say Plyometric Cardio Circuit to warrant concerned glances from strangers as I tried to walk up the stairs, I was still able to give the next day’s workout, Cardio Power & Resistance, my full effort. However, my full effort still wasn’t quite enough to finish every move, every time. There were several times when my body gave up before my mind was ready to quit, and even if my life had depended on it, I could not have possibly done another rep. Nope, not even one.

The Insanity program is $144.80 on the official Web site (including shipping and handling), which, I know is a lot of money to spend. But that’s a small price to pay for results, right? Plus, it comes with a nutrition guide, quick-and-easy fitness guide, calendar and access to online support tools. If you ask me, it’s entirely worth it. Shoot, it’s worth every penny and then some.

I have a couple of notes for you before I give out my official rating. First, I want to point out that this is a seriously athletic workout—I found myself transported back to being 15 years old and attending the varsity volleyball and basketball open gyms, hoping I could work hard enough to keep up with the juniors and seniors. It’s sporty without the sports, so if you consider yourself an athlete and want to be pushed in the same way a coach would push you during tryouts, you’ll enjoy it.

That being said, it is hard. There are no real modifications because Shaun T doesn’t want to give you any excuses for not giving absolutely everything you have. (I know this for a fact—he told me.) So, if you’re not in pretty good shape to start with and aren’t familiar with how to modify athletic moves like this, I would strongly recommend asking a trainer or fit and experienced friend to help you modify the moves to avoid injury.

One other thing I’d like to say is that this was the first workout my husband and I ever did together consistently (kind of like FBG Jenn and her hubby!), and we both had a blast. In fact, maybe it’s about time for us to start another round …

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★★★
Long-Term Likeability:★★★★★
Music: ★★★★1/2
Fun Factor: ★★★★1/2
Meets Expectations: ★★★★★

Overall: ★★★★1/2

Fit Bottom Line: I loved it. LOVED. I loved how hard this program pushed me, I loved Shaun T, and I loved that each video was just different enough to keep me fully focused, but not so different that I had to struggle to figure out new moves with each one. And the best part is that, even after finishing Insanity, I’ve continued doing the workouts here and there, and use a lot of the moves when I put together my own impromptu workouts at the gym or when I’m on the road. I’m going to go ahead and say it: This is my favorite at-home workout program. EVER.

Have you done Insanity? Agree with my review of the Beachbody program? —Kristen



Comments

  1. Kristin says

    I could not agree more with your description and review of Insanity (including that it was the first, and only, workout my husband and I have done together)! I’m actually thinking about starting it again next week, but I’m trying to figure out how to incorporate running into the schedule as well – any suggestions?

  2. Markus says

    Totally agree… I have just started insanity after doing a fair bit of Jillian Michaels’ various workouts (and yes, I’m a dude :-P) and totally LOVE it. It’s harder than Jillian’s workouts (allthough you can certainly be pushed by Jillian, too), but the style, pace and sheer INSANITY of these workouts is simply awesome. Can’t wait to finish the entire program and check out the results.

  3. FBG Kristen says

    @Kristin — you could either add it on top, if you have the time, or use it in place of a regular Insanity workout and just add Cardio Abs. My recommendation is that you listen to your body, though — if you’re doing an easy or short run, totally feel free to add it on. But, if you’re doing a long run and really asking a lot of your body, swap out your days. Your muscles need to recover in order to keep getting stronger!

  4. Jenni says

    I am reaching the end of month 1 right now. I really love it. I have to take an extra rest day here and there because I play roller derby and it leaves me with jello legs all day. I was too easily knocked around on my skates at a few scrimmages, scary!! I just keep plugging away!!

  5. Stephanie Foster says

    I loved this review! It gave me the final push I needed to finally buy Insanity.

  6. Chandra says

    Did Insanity for like 8months straight as it had been hard finding time to hit the gym with a newborn then, but I never grew tired of it! Best thing, it continued to challenge my body. I’m now doing Asylum and occasionally mixing it with insanity-asylum combo…and it’s a killer! I’m in love all over again!

  7. Eric B. | Insanity Review says

    Good review. I am currently in the middle of Insanity as well. I like that you said that the fit test was hard, but not as hard as the workout. Though I agree, the fit test is actually only as hard as you make it. The idea is to make it hard. By that I mean, you try your hardest to complete as many repetitions as possible in the minute that is given. The actual workouts are difficult, but in the two times that I have completed the fit test so far, my heart rate has spiked much higher than it has in the workouts. I think this is because I push like a mad man in the fit test, know that I only have to do the move for a minute before I get a minute break. In the workouts, I pace myself more. I have been blogging about my daily experience with Insanity so far. You should check it out.

  8. Tina says

    I LOVED Insanity. It totally pushes you. I moved on to other Beachbody workouts (I’m a Beachbody coach) but I have a new customer who just started Insanity and she wants to be in on of my online challenge groups, so I think the next one will be Insanity again. Shawn T is very motivating!

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