Will I lose muscle Mass With Insanity?
You’ve been working hard at your fitness thanks to programs like P90X or Body Beast. You’ve added some muscle. You want to try Insanity for a little conditioning and to lose that last bit of body fat.
But wait… Insanity is a cardio based program. And cardio is the sworn enemy to hypertrophy (aka- muscle growth), right? All that hard-earned muscle… melted away in sweaty bouts of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)!!
Well, not really.
While there is a chance you could lose a minimal bit of mass, it’s nothing like the nightmares you’re having about withering away to a Marathon Runner’ wiry physique. In fact, while insanity never focuses on gaining mass, Insanity is primed to help retain mass based in its training philosophy.
Insanity HIIT Training “Protects” Mass
Here’s a pretty simple example: think Olympic of Track and Field athletes. Distance runners (steady state cardio masters) are built much differently than their short-distance team mates. Sprinters are muscular and cut– this is in part due to their HIIT style training, (the technique Insanity uses): short bursts of intensity, rest, short bursts, rest.
In fact, Insanity helps train muscles to become more efficient, thus improving your performance and ability to work as you return to a hypertrophy style program that involves lifting. As Steve Edwards notes:
For most of us, and eight week cycle that leaves hypertrophy out of the equation will be fine as we’ll improve our base fitness, increase our workload capacity for further rounds of hypertrophy.
Check out the results this muscular guy (Doug Fitzgerald) achieved:
Do you see a reduction in mass? Negligible, if any. Do you see an increase in “rippage”? Exactly. In virtually every case that involves Insanity and mass, the muscle mass noticeably remained in large part and fat was sent packing.
Of course, there’s science behind Insanity’s HIIT training abut the short answer is HIIT style training focuses on tapping immediate energy reserves- carbohydrates and fat. And where the workouts aren’t long enough to really deplete both, your muscle mass is, in large part, left out of it while becoming the beneficiary of increased training ability. It’s a win-win.
Of course, you should always keep in mind that everyone is different- especially if they go to a severe calorie deficit- muscle might be a victim at that point. Also keep in mind that though you may not lose mass (though you may get “smaller” due to fat loss), you may lose some repetition strength. But as mentioned, your focus on muscle efficiency will pay off as you go back to your weight training and quickly surpass previous personal bests in lifting and doing more.
The Insanity Hybrid Option
If you still want to maintain strength and focus on fat loss, there’s always the hybrid option- lifting 3-4 times a week and adding 2-3 Insanity workouts to the mix- improving cardio, continuing to work on your gains, etc. My best results were when I followed this track, so do know that it is an option. You can check out the hybrid calendars here.
So. Will you lose mass with Insanity? In my experience and having coached others through the program… not enough of it to worry about.
Read more about the Insanity Workout program.