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What The Insanity Workout Is… And Isn’t

Insanity is advertised as the most intense program ever put to DVD and has gained close to the same devoted following as P90X. Of course, that’s for good reason– Insanity is tough and laser-focused on 60 days of fat-torching by way of cardiovascular mayhem thanks to High Intensity Interval Training, plyometrics and sports drills. Still, there’s a few things Insanity is designed for… and things it’s not.

First, there’s no doubt if you follow the program you’ll get results. But your decision to use Insanity as your training program over say, P90X (check out the comparison here) should depend on the results goals you’re looking for. Here’s a quick breakdown for a little more detail:

What Insanity IS

Intense and Challenging: This almost goes without saying. Insanity starts each workout  with a “warm-up” that’s just as intense as many of the moves that follow in the “workout” portion of any of the 10 workouts in the program. Where most of the moves focus on leg work, your heart rate is is going to become very familiar with clocking up close to 80% max for duration. To keep that level of intensity, determination and continuity through 40-60 minutes is both a mental and physical challenge– fit or not.

Cardio-based: Insanity is almost completely cardio based. There’s references to resistance (the Cardio Power & Resistance DVD) and an available “Deluxe Upgrade” workout that incorporates upper body weights that uses weights but weight/body weight resistance is minimal and intended more for strength building and toning than adding muscle mass. There aren’t any slow moves here– Insanity is fast-paced, blood-pumping stuff your heart and lungs and body will ultimately love. The fact Insanity uses cardio makes it an extremely “do-anywhere” program as the core series requires no weights or equipment at all.

Endurance Conditioning: In addition to (and in partner with) ramping up your cardiovascular capacity, Insanity builds endurance. Where you may not think you can make it past the 10-minute mark, after a few weeks you’ll be holding strong in the workouts as you see your ability to “hang” with Shaun T. go longer and longer. In my case, Insanity training actually increased my running endurance with virtually no “road work”.

A Full-On Fat Blaster: Insanity is designed to turn your body into a fat-zapping microwave… and totally succeeds in doing it. My leanest was when I incorporated an Insanity/P90X hybrid and shredded the heck out of my midsection. I’d already had good results, but Insanity refined them and popped veins in places I’d never seen.

What Insanity ISN’T

A Muscle Builder: As Insanity is cardio-based (and cardio can be catabolic– IE, muscle reducing to varying degrees), it’s not the program to use if you’re looking to gain mass or build muscle. Now don’t get me wrong– through fat-shredding and using your muscles you’ll certainly gain more strength and definition as the fat melts away but if increasing muscle mass is your goal, you’re better off with P90X or a P90X/Insanity hybrid.

For Beginners: Insanity works. My Lady-Friend swears by it and it changed her body in ways she wasn’t able to achieve through running. In short, it turned her into and INTENSE fitness gal who now has to go “extreme” in her workouts or risk falling asleep. That said, she didn’t start Insanity from “level 0” and did have some fitness behind her. I don’t say this to discourage anyone but this is an INTENSE program and of all the injuries I see, 90% of them come from people doing Insanity. I’m not laying blame on the program– I’m laying blame on poor form and going “past your skill level”. It’s important to have a fitness base OR follow this program deliberately and with very close attention to form– in fact, every workout opens with a disclaimer that tells you so. Watch the videos before you jump into them. Doing both will allow you to turn that “beginner” into “veteran”.

 Easy: Duh. And it shouldn’t be. Good news is, you can set your own pace AND you’re rewarded for completing your journey. Finish Insanity and get a free T-Shirt when you send in your results (get the instruction “How To” form here). Not too shabby.

So, now that you know what Insanity is (and isn’t)… ready to take the challenge and give it a shot? If so gimme a “YES!” by clicking the button below to get started:

Questions? Let me know or sign up for free, one on one Insanity coaching, support and motivation right here.

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