Five Weeks of INSANITY

The last five weeks have been insane at times, although the real insanity is yet to come within these next four weeks.  INSANITY is a sixty-day, intense, max interval, cardio, total-body conditioning program created by former track star Shaun T for Beachbody®.  Today I finished week five.  The first four weeks help improve your cardio and stamina while the fifth week is somewhat of a recovery week, which concentrates on exercises for stomach (core) strength and balance.

The real insane part begins in week 6, tomorrow for me.  Just when you are getting used to the first month, Shaun T. changes the workout for month two and ups the difficulty.

At the beginning, I must say that I didn’t know how I would do compared to the people doing INSANITY on the DVD, but it was definitely going to be a challenge.  The workouts I saw before buying the set of DVDs reminded me of my Shaolin martial arts training: fast-paced with lots of variety of exercises.

INSANITY comes in different versions.  I bought the DELUXE version with three extra DVDs because I wanted the Upper Body Weight Training (which requires weights).  You can buy this set used on, for example, at a much cheaper price.

Deluxe Version:

Ten Insanity Workout DVDs

  • Dig Deeper & Fit Test: To start, Shaun T will put your body to the test and see what you’re made of (30 minutes)
  • Plyometric Cardio Circuit: Burn fat with intervals of intense lower-body plyometrics and sweat-inducing cardio (40 minutes)
  • Cardio Power & Resistance: Build lean muscle and upper-body definition with strength-training and Insanity workout power moves (40 minutes)
  • Cardio Recovery & Max Recovery: Shaun goes easier on you once a week so you’ll be ready for the next round (80 minutes)
  • Pure Cardio & Abs: Nonstop, extreme cardio workout (40 minutes)
  • Cardio Abs: Do explosive intervals of cardio moves for rock-hard abs (20 minutes)
  • Core Cardio & Balance: This workout lets you take a break after month 1 and gears you up for month 2 (40 minutes)
  • Max Interval Circuit: With MAX Interval Training, this circuit is more intense than anything you’ve ever done (60 minutes)
  • Max Interval Plyo: Push your legs ’til they beg for mercy with power and plyometrics, all at your MAX (55 minutes)
  • Max Cardio Conditioning & Abs: Get pushed to your limit with this extreme cardio workout (55 minutes)

Four Bonus Gifts

  • Elite Nutrition Plan: A food plan specifically designed to fuel your body for these intense workouts
  • Fitness Guide: It’s short and to the point, with just the information you need
  • Insanity Calendar: Track your progress through month 1 and month 2, set workout goals, and stay motivated the whole time. Plus, the Fit Test Tracker tracks your results as you transform your body
  • FREE Online Support Tools: Stay inspired with round-the-clock access to fitness experts and peer support

Advanced Workouts and Tools

  • MAX Interval Sports Training: Nonstop workout designed for elite athletes (55 minutes)
  • Insane Abs: That six-pack was just the beginning (33 minutes)
  • Upper Body Weight Training: Works your entire body–chest, back, arms, and shoulders (48 minutes)
  • Pro-Grade Jump Mat: Protect your ankles, knees, and back
  • FREE body fat tester: Keep track of your progress

The first month wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination, and I had been in not too bad of shape because I had been walking and running before starting this program.  (I would not recommend that you start this program if you have not been exercising at all.  Also, talk to your physician before starting any exercise program.)  The accompanying literature for this program suggests buying a heart rate monitor, which I did and highly recommend.  (I bought a Polar, which comes with a chest strap and watch-like device.)  This is a taxing program for anyone, even athletes.  Shaun T. says quite a few times that he’s really tired, and he does take breaks, as do the people in the DVDs, and tells everyone else to do so to if your form suffers.  Shake it out and come back right away, though.

Week 1:

The first day was the Fit Test, about 30 minutes, although be aware that the actual test isn’t that long.  (This test is taken every two weeks to check your improvement.)  On all the DVDs, including this test, you will warm up first and cool down with static stretching after the workouts.  (I always watch the DVD that is coming up to know exactly what I am supposed to do.)  After the warm up on this DVD, there are eight different tests.  After watching it beforehand, I thought I’d have the most trouble with the Push-up Jacks and didn’t think I could do one.  I did surprise myself and did better than expected, as they weren’t as difficult as I thought.

The second day used a second DVD, Plyometric Cardio Circuit, which is done once or twice a week during the first month, according to the schedule.  Wow, I thought that was tough to get through!  Lots of jumping and floor work.  I believe there are, for example, Level I Drills on there, which are totally exhausting to me.  Starting with you arms up in the air, go down to the floor in push-up position, do four push ups, and then do eight leg sprints while still in push-up position.  Then, jump up with your hands in the air and start this again.  (I got through them today for the first time, keeping up with the people on the DVD, albeit on a different DVD.  Most of the various exercises took me a few days to keep up all the way through, but these Level I Drills have been one of the most difficult and tiring of all the exercises.  The Level 2 Drills are even harder: 8 push-ups and 8 leg sprints then jump up and start again.)

The third day with the third DVD, Cardio Power & Resistance, seemed downright easy compared to the second, although there really was nothing easy about it, except less jumping.  I did get through it, though, feeling a little less shredded than the day before.  Interestingly, though, the next week I had to do both Plyometric Cardio Circuit and Cardio Power & Resistance, albeit in a different order, and this one didn’t seem easier than the Plyo DVD.

Ahhh, the fourth day of the first week was Cardio Recovery.  While it wasn’t intense cardio-wise, it is still intense in the yoga moves and others.  I can work up a really good sweat these non-cardio moves.  I do enjoy the change of pace once per week.  This day was more like the eye before the storm because the fifth day was Pure Cardio.  This is a non-stop, grueling, thirty-eight minute workout, whereas the other workouts, while about 45 minutes each, have breaks.  Do take quick breaks when needed.

Day six of the first week was back to Plyometric Cardio Circuit, which didn’t seem quite as bad the second time through, although I still couldn’t get through many of the exercises without stopping.

Ahhh, day seven is a rest day; however, I also added Upper Body Weight Training to the schedule three days per week, typically Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday, so I still was doing something on Sundays.  This weight-training DVD is not only weight training but has interspersed cardio to keep your heart rate high.  It does require free weights.

Weeks 2 to 4:

These weeks use the same disks as week one; however the Fit Test is only taken again at the beginning of the third week.  Each day, the workout changes from the previous week, except for the Cardio Recovery, which is always on the fourth day.  One additional aspect to the Pure Cardio days, starting in week 2 is that an additional 20-minute workout called Cardio Abs is added.  I really love the Cardio Abs, even though I have yet to get through all the workouts without stopping.

Week 5:

The variety of DVDs for the fifth week is replaced by one DVD, Core Cardio and Balance.  This is a recovery week, so to speak, as it is less intense with more breaks.  However, there really is nothing easy about this either, as it’s intended to build core strength and balance.  Be prepared to work some different muscles that will be necessary for the DVDs in the second month.

The Second Month:

I watched all the DVDs for the second month and hope I don’t die from the insanity.  Shaun T. puts many of the old exercises together in combos to up the difficulty and adds some other insane-looking ones.  I tried a few of them out to make sure I had them right.  This week six, I’m sure, will be like starting out in week one where I couldn’t finish many of the exercises, but that’s the point.  You need to push yourself to do your best to improve.


So far, I love this program because it’s fast-paced with variety and a 60-day challenge to improve.  I prefer this over something open-ended because I want a goal to improve by a certain date.  This program, though, is not for everyone for various reasons, but mainly if you have joint problems, you definitely don’t want to do this, as this is high-impact cardio.

Wish me luck for the second month.  I thought month one was intense, but it looks fairly easy after viewing month two workouts.


  1. It makes me tired just reading about this! Wow.

  2. I’m enjoying this second month, albeit the workouts are more difficult.