Hello and welcome to my Insanity workout review blog! This site originally began as a home for my journal while I was completing the Insanity workout. However, it quickly became a place to dump any-and-all information I had on the workout itself. And now I have finally completed something that I have been wanting to do for a long time: a full Insanity review. Continue reading below for my unbiased opinion of this workout or use the navigation above and to the side to find answers to any specific questions you may have.
My Insanity Workout Review #
Where should I begin? When the Insanity workout landed on my radar I had been overweight for some time, and had grown to be a little afraid of the world of fitness. I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t want to hurt (or embarrass) myself trying to get in shape.
Like many, I saw Shaun T’s infomercial for Insanity. I immediately loved the idea of an in-home, 60 day, total body transformation system. Suddenly I started to notice that Insanity was everywhere! Shaun T had succeeded in catching my attention. I immediately got on my computer and started looking for Insanity workout reviews and results. I wasn’t able to find many reviews that were thorough or seemed unbiased, but I did find a lot of results pictures. Most of these were so dramatic that they just piqued my interest even more. So I decided it was time to get a copy of Insanity and get started. And to top it off, I promised myself that I would write up the end-all, be-all, most thorough, unbiased review out there in order to help out future curious searchers.
And so after two months of grueling work with Shaun T, I had enough information to put together the following review. In addition, I kept a sort of “journal” along the way which can be found here for further insight into my mindset, diet and daily progress.
What is Insanity? #
For those of you that have only recently heard about Insanity for the first time, I wanted to start with the simple question, “what is the Insanity workout?” After all, how can we have an Insanity workout review if we don’t even have a solid baseline of what Insanity is?
At it’s most basic level, Insanity is a DVD based home workout that spans two months (or more accurately, 63 days). It is the product of choreographer and fitness trainer, Shaun T as well as fitness giant, Beachbody, LLC. According to Shaun it is designed to get you in the best shape of your life, and according to Beachbody it is the hardest workout ever put on DVD!
If we look a little closer, Insanity is a high intensity interval training (HIIT) routine put on DVD. HIIT is an improved form of interval training which alternates between short, intense exercises and slightly less intense recovery periods. Shaun T. takes this concept to the next level with what he calls Max Interval Training. With Insanity’s Max Interval Training you will find yourself performing, on average, 3 minutes of high intensity activity followed by about 30 seconds of downtime for recovery. This cycle is repeated over and over again over the course of about 45 minutes.
Basically, Insanity is designed to get your heart pounding and keep it going for an extended period of time. In the process you will be burning fat like never before while strengthening up your major muscle groups to get that cut, athletic look.
About The Insanity Workouts #
As I mentioned earlier, Insanity is a home workout program that requires nothing but the clothes on your back and the shoes on your feet. What this means is that you don’t need any equipment because all exercises are performed with your body supplying the weight for resistance.
You will be performing a lot of squats, push-ups, and most notably, jumps. There are exercises that are obviously designed with cardio in mind, and also some designed for strength. The thing is, even the strength exercises are designed in a way that will get your heart pounding. They are all compound exercises meaning that you will be working multiple major muscles at the same time.
For the most part, you will perform all of these exercises from an upright position, although there is quite a bit of plank work which will have you down on your hands and feet (which is why I would highly recommend purchasing a yoga mat). This is one of Shaun T’s big selling points because you don’t have to do any crunches or sit-ups. But don’t let that fool you – the ab work you do in place of these more common exercises will have your abs burning just as much if not more than standard crunches.
And lastly, Insanity is loaded with stretches and yoga poses, with a lot of focus on opening up your hips and groin. This is not only a great addition to the program, but also a necessity. By constantly stretching and becoming more flexible, you are preventing potential future injuries. So remember: it is important that you always complete your stretches!
There are just too many individual workouts for me to cram a thorough description of each onto this Insanity workout review page, so if you would like further info about a specific workout, check out my Insanity Workouts page.
Insanity Workout Calendar #
If you are curious about how exactly this workout is scheduled, you don’t need to look any further. Long before I even began writing my Insanity workout review I created an in-depth page covering the Insanity workout calendar (including a printable copy). However, I understand that not everyone needs that much detail, so I have listed the key points below:
- The Insanity workout is divided into three sections: month one, recovery week and month two.
- The whole program takes a total of nine weeks or 63 days.
- During this time, you will follow a general schedule of six workout days and one rest day each week.
- One of six days will be devoted to a recovery workout (mostly stretching and balance work).
- You will take a fitness test roughly every second week (total of five tests).
- The average workout length in month one is around 45 minutes.
- In recovery week, you are repeating the same workout each day and it is 37 minutes long.
- The average workout length in month two jumps up to around an hour but can go as long as 80 minutes on some days.
Is Insanity Right For You? #
If you are looking to get in shape, you might be wondering why you would choose Insanity over any other option. For me, it was a simple choice: I was (and to an extent I still am) inexperienced when it comes to personal fitness. My first inclination was to join a gym and hire a personal trainer. But when I went to check out local gyms, I found out I was going to be paying upwards of $500 on just the membership! I didn’t even want to find out about a trainer after that.
Insanity was the simple and inexpensive solution I was looking for. You can complete this entire workout without a gym or any equipment. On top of that, you get the next best thing to a personal trainer: Shaun T in your face telling you what to do, why you are doing it and how to do it with proper form.
That said, this workout definitely is not for everyone which is why I wanted to write this Insanity workout review. The following list describes what I feel are the minimum requirements for someone who wants to complete the Insanity workout:
- You must have 45 minutes to 1.5 hours daily to do your workout.
- You cannot have any heart or other serious health condition (unless approved by your physician).
- You likewise cannot have joint problems, particularly in your knees, as you will be jumping around A LOT with this workout.
- You should be comfortable performing about 30 minutes of non-stop cardiovascular exercise before you start Insanity.
And here are a couple of additional points to consider:
- If you are looking to bulk up considerably, Insanity is not the way to do it. This program is more about endurance and weight loss.
- If you are already extremely overweight, know that there is a lot of jumping involved which will put a lot of stress on your bones and joints. I am confident it can still be done, but you should be aware of this beforehand.
- And lastly, if you aren’t willing to commit to a healthy diet and sufficient sleep, I wouldn’t waste my time with this workout as you will just end up wearing yourself down and dreading every workout.
What To Expect From Insanity #
The stated goal of Insanity is to get you in the best shape of your life. Shaun T frequently says he wants you to look good and feel great, and for me that has definitely proven to be true. From my experience I would say that you can expect five significant results from Insanity, each listed below:
Expect to burn a lot of fat:
Shaun T’s Max Interval Training is designed to get your heart really pumping and because of this, the fat practically melting from your body. Beachbody claim that you can burn as many as 1,000 calories in one Insanity workout. In following a variety of people’s fitness journals on My Fitness Pal I have seen measured calorie burn anywhere from 400 calories up to about 1,000. In short, you will be working hard and sweating like a dog. Learn to embrace it.
Expect to define your muscles:
If you are looking to bulk up, Insanity is not the answer. Instead, you should be coming to Insanity more for muscle definition. This is more of an extreme cardio workout interspersed with some body-weight strength training. While this will definitely lead to some muscle growth, the primary focus is strength and endurance.
Expect to get a ‘cut’ athletic build:
You will be defining all of the muscles in your body while simultaneously cutting your body fat % to virtually nothing. Because of this your body will tend toward a very athletic look (think basketball player). But don’t expect it to be easy. As the saying goes, nothing worth having comes easy, and this is no exception: expect to work hard if you truly want to feel great.
Expect to build significant strength in your abs, chest, triceps, quads and glutes:
The majority of the strength training in Insanity is based around push-ups and squats, along with a lot of core work. This will lead to your chest, triceps, legs and abs becoming stronger than ever before.
Expect to build up some serious cardio strength and endurance:
When I did the fit test for the first time, my heart was pounding and I could hardly breathe. But as time passed, I began to get stronger and stronger. Don’t get me wrong – every Insanity workout will be a challenge, shooting your heart rate through the roof, but as your cardio strength improves, you will begin to welcome it.
How Quickly Will You See Results? #
While I understand that this is the question you are probably most curious about, it is incredibly difficult for me to answer. Everyone is different and is likely to see different results at different times. That said, I had already noticed a huge increase in strength and endurance after only one week. It is almost unbelievable how quickly this happens. However, the more aesthetic results didn’t start showing until the end of my second week.
Having spoken with a handful of other individuals that have completed Insanity and read a handful of Insanity workout review journals online, the general consensus is that you will already be seeing results after only a week. This is the start of your muscles toning up. If you were already lean, you will be able to see this right away. If you have some weight to lose, that will come shortly after. And finally, after you complete month one and witness the awesome results for yourself, it’s really time to get excited. Month two is about to start and that is when the real magic happens!
The thing is, everyone seems to want to find a shortcut to weight loss and getting that six pack. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as shortcuts in the world of health and fitness – only compromises. You might find some ‘magic’ pill that melts the fat away, but you have to ask what it is doing to your overall health in the meantime. On top of that, if you are eating poorly and not exercising, you risk ending up skinny-fat, and nobody wants that!
The good news is that Insanity is probably about as close to a shortcut as you can get. I hate to put it that way because the reality is you will be working your ass off, but it is a relatively short period of time. You will be amazed at all of the changes you can achieve in only two months. Still, you are going to need patience and persistence.
A Note About Body Measurements #
At this point I wanted to make a brief side-note: this wouldn’t be much of an Insanity workout review if I didn’t touch on the importance of taking a variety of body measurements. Once again, you use a tool like My Fitness Pal to keep track of your measurements. Muscle is more dense than fat, so it is entirely possible to lose an inch around your waist at the beginning and not see any change on the scale. And if you are anything like me, this can quickly lead to a loss of motivation and drive. So measure, measure, measure! As your muscles become more toned and you continue to shred fat, you will see and feel your results everywhere. But keep on measuring.
Fitting Insanity Into Your Lifestyle #
An important thing to remember when trying to complete the Insanity program is that you will probably have to adapt your lifestyle to fit it. That is to say a couple of things:
You need to eat right!
This doesn’t necessarily mean following the included nutrition guide to the tee, but I would suggest using it as a guideline for the way you eat. You are going to need a lot of energy to complete this program, and that means both getting a significant number of calories as well as the proper makeup of those calories.
You also need to get sufficient sleep.
If your lifestyle keeps you up at all hours of the day (for example you have a young child, or maybe you just graduated and are constantly out partying) chances are you will not make it through Insanity. I would recommend waiting a little bit until your schedule has normalized before getting started. That is not to say you need to quit having fun to get in shape, but your body needs sleep for your muscles to recover. And if you aren’t recovering properly, you will have a hellish time trying to keep up.
The great news is that after two months you will have built up an immense amount of strength, endurance, flexibility and balance. And if that weren’t enough, I saw some serious improvements to my posture as well. Trust me when I say, it is worth it.
Should You Follow The Insanity Diet Plan #
The Insanity workout includes its own, very thorough nutrition guide. But the question that seems to come up often is “Do I need to follow the Insanity nutrition guide?” The best answer I can give you to this question is “not necessarily…”
The thing is, in addition to completing the actual workout, you need to eat well in order to see the best results. For a huge majority of people I would suggest that the nutrition guide provides the best way to do so. The reason: its simplicity. The guide is more-or-less laid out as a recipe book, where each meal is built to a certain nutritional specification. That is, each meal already has the ideal balance of calories from protein, carbs and fat. In addition, each meal represents a set total number of calories. So all you need to do is calculate your nutritional requirements and how many meals to eat based on that calculation. In this way, you avoid having to directly count calories while still having a simple method to keep track. It is easy, and to top it off, there are some really delicious recipes in the guide!
But, it is understandable that some people might prefer to create their own meal plan. And that is just fine. My recommendation for these people would be to use a tool like the previously mentioned My Fitness Pal to set your different macro nutrient goals (Insanity recommends 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fat) and keep careful track of all the food you eat.
The bottom line is this: if you are eating well along with your daily workouts, you will see great all-around results. If you are not paying close attention to diet, you will still very likely notice some serious fitness gains but it may not translate to as significant of weight-loss.
One last note on diet: I personally noticed that on lazy days where I ate more junk food, my workouts were more of a struggle. On the other end of that, on days where I ate too few calories I would wind up feeling wiped out and low on energy. Diet is important!
What Is Included With Insanity #
The following items are included with the basic Insanity workout package:
10 workout DVDs
The Elite Nutrition Plan
Insanity Workout Calendar
Free Online Support Tools
If you decide to go with the deluxe package, it also includes:
3 Additional Workouts
Body Fat Calipers
A Professional Grade Jump Mat
Where To Buy Insanity #
After searching across the internet I have determined that there are really only two reputable sources that I would buy the Insanity workout from: The official Beachbody store and Amazon.com. Each has their own merits, but my opinion is as follows:
My immediate recommendation is to go straight to the official Beachbody store. The total price once you include shipping is exactly the same from Beachbody as it is from Amazon. But Beachbody provides two main benefits that I can see: The first is that they allow you to pay for it in three payments rather than all up front, and the second is that they offer you a 60-day money-back guarantee! I have the same recommendation if you are interested in buying the deluxe upgrade.
However, if you don’t mind buying a used copy it is worth checking Amazon first. I have noticed that every so often a seller will pop up on Amazon offering it used for a pretty decent rate (at the time of this writing there are no used copies available, but I have seen it go as low as $70). The main downside of this is that since it is coming from a third party seller, you lose out on some of the little benefits like the 60-day-money-back guarantee being able to send in for an Insanity t-shirt after you complete the workout. Only you can decide if this is an acceptable option for you.
As far as price is concerned, unless you are buying used it is the same price everywhere! At the time of this writing, Beachbody is selling the basic package for $119.85 plus 24.95 shipping for a total price of $144.80 (or three payments of $39.95 + shipping).
At the same time, it is listed on Amazon for $144.80 with free shipping.
The same goes for the deluxe upgrade. If you purchase from Beachbody directly, you first have to buy the basic package at a total price of $144.80 and then buy the upgrade at $134.80. This bring the cost of your entire order to $279.60.
Guess what it is currently listed on Amazon for? $279.60.
Insanity Workout Reviews From Around The Web #
I thought it might be beneficial to include some Insanity workout reviews from around the web here so that mine isn’t the only voice that you hear. In particular, here are the Amazon.com ‘most helpful favorable review’ and ‘most helpful critical review’ as of the time of publishing:
Rrrrrripppp….yes, that was the sound of my abs flexing – 5 star review
Summary: 40 year old looking to get his younger body back. Lost 22 pounds with the Insanity workout and more than doubled his fit test results. It is a long read, but a good one.
I want to love this… BUT – 3 star review
Summary: This person has a history of knee problems and discovered that it was impossible to complete the workout with bad knees. Praises the workout otherwise but warns that you will be wasting your money if you have knee/joint problems.
In addition, you can find nearly 3,000 customer reviews on Amazon here.
And lastly, Beachbody have collected about 2,500 additional customer reviews which can be found here.
My Insanity Workout Results #
This wouldn’t be much of an Insanity workout review if I didn’t include my own personal Insanity workout results, now would it?!
My intention coming into this was to lose a few pounds. I weighed 189 pounds and had a goal in mind of about 180 pounds. Nine pounds is a pretty modest weight loss goal for a period of two months, but I think in the back of my mind I was hoping to see the type of extreme results you see plastered all over the Insanity advertisements.
However, I didn’t stick to my workouts 100% and often found myself straying from my diet. So how did it all turn out?
After my 60 days was up, I weighed in at 179 pounds for a total loss of 10 pounds! I met my goal plus a little extra. And to top it off, I managed to cut an inch from around my chest, 3.25 inches from around my waist and 1.75 inches from around my hips. Incredible!
Here are some before and after pictures for your viewing pleasure:
If you would like some more in-depth coverage of all my fit test results and body measurements, check my results page.
It’s Your Move #
Well this turned out to be significantly longer Insanity workout review than I had originally planned… Hopefully the information I have provided above is enough to help you decide whether or not to buy the Insanity workout, where to buy it from and what to expect from it. But just in case, I will leave you with some links to further reading below. And as always, feel free to contact me with any questions that you have.
Further Reading #
Tips And Tricks #
Final Notes #
Never skip the warmups and stretches! You run the risk of injuring yourself.
Don’t drink too much water while working out, just little bits.
Don’t eat too close to working out – a full stomach means too much energy going to digestion.
Don’t forget to eat right.
And lastly, make sure you are sleeping well.