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Fitness Review: Insanity Program

By Michael Esco, PhD, HFS, CSCS*D
WebMD Expert Review

Just what are you getting yourself into if you sign up for a workout program that calls itself "Insanity"? Here's what I think you should know, based on my review of the Insanity program.

Insanity is a 60-day home-based workout video program designed by the company Beach Body, which also produces other popular workout DVDs such as P90X, Hip Hop Abs, Power 90, and Slim in 6.

muscleman doing situp

Sold online and by infomercial, the program costs $120 and includes 10 workout DVDs, a nutrition plan, and a workout calendar to track your process.

Insanity: How It Works

Insanity is possibly the most difficult, cardiovascular-based DVD workout program on the market today, due to the strenuous pace of each workout. It is a total body, circuit training workout that uses only your body weight as resistance. The plan involves a rigorous schedule of six days of exercise per week and each workout will take approximately 30 to 60 minutes to complete. All that is required to perform each INSANITY workout is a TV, DVD player, a good pair of tennis shoes, and sheer willpower.

The system is based on the concept of “Max Interval Training.” Traditional interval training requires you to exercise at a highly intense pace for a short period with longer periods of rest in between. Max Interval Training, on the other hand, reverses that concept by having you working as hard as you can for 3-minute intervals, separated by short 30-second periods of rest.

During the intense intervals, you will move from one exercise to another with little or no rest between. The creator, Shaun T., who does not give his full name on the Insanity infomercials, tells you “to dig deep and go as hard as you possibly can go”. Because of the difficulty of each workout, you’ll need all the encouragement possible.

Insanity Program

During the 60 days of the Insanity program, you will change your workout schedule on a weekly basis.

The first month involves alternating five intense workouts: The Fit Test; Plyometric Cardio Circuit; Cardio Power and Resistance; Cardio Recovery; and Pure Cardio.

Before beginning the second month, a recovery week is performed that consists of a daily core cardio and balance routine that is not as intense as the other workouts in the program. This week is designed to help you recover from the first month's workouts and prepare your body for the more extreme second month of Insanity.

The second month increases the intensity of the routines by introducing four new workouts: Max Interval Circuit; Max Interval Plyo; Max Cardio Conditioning; and Max Recovery. It is extremely hard to keep up with the pace of each of these workouts. Each is highly intense and longer than the workouts of the first month.

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