Insanity Workout

Insanity Workout

by WLR's Site Manager Laurence Beeken

Insanity is the current hottest trend in cardio fitness workouts for weight loss.  Designed to get you fitter and leaner than you have ever been, it is certainly not a workout for the faint hearted or indifferent.

Over 60 days, personal trainer and fitness expert Shaun T takes you through a gruelling weight loss plan with a series of cardio, interval training and circuit workouts.  With added stretching and warm up/cool down routines, Insanity promises to get you into the best shape of your life.

Our Insanity workout review will give you an insight into exactly what you are getting yourself into!

What is Insanity?

Insanity is a series of total body workout DVDs, based on a cardio body conditioning program.  Created by the Beachbody fitness company, charismatic trainer Shaun T is the front man for the workouts.

Basically you follow the Insanity workout plan for 60 days, drink the recovery drinks and eat the food recommended in the nutritional program and you’ll lose weight and get fitter.

Many people are using insanity as a 60 day weight loss challenge to help them lose weight fast and get their perfect beachbody.

How Does Insanity Work?

Normally, an exercise routine will take you through a series of moderate intensity moves, interspersed with bursts of high intensity moves.  Insanity works in the opposite way, taking you through a series of high intensity moves interspersed with very short periods of rest.

It’s basically a normal workout but at a higher and prolonged period of maximum intensity effort.  Each exercise at maximum activity lasts 3-5 minutes followed by 30 seconds of rest

Fortunately, you’ve got no need for any additional or specialist equipment

How Many Calories Will Insanity Burn?

Insanity claims to burn up to 1000 calories per workout, although most people have recorded anything from 200 to 600.  To get a more accurate picture of the calories you are burning with Insanity, invest in a Heart Rate Monitor.

The calories you will burn doing Insanity are going to depend on a number of factors including your sex, age and the intensity that you are working out.

How Do I Start the Insanity Workout?

  • Firstly you order the DVDs – and at £99 it’s not cheap – although if you weigh it up against a gym membership, it’s a no brainer!
  • Check with your doctor before starting – and having done the workouts, I can see why!  It’s not your average fitness DVD and if you’re unfit, very overweight, or have mobility or other medical conditions, it’s not a good idea to plough straight in.
  • Take a couple of before pictures (be brave, get those selfies going) so that you can see what is going on – you’ll find that as you progress, your body will actually show you the results. 
  • Take your weight and measurements for comparison.
  • Take the fit test on the first DVD – this is the best part because as you improve, you’ll get so much motivation from your own improvements week on week.
  • Clear your lounge, turn on the TV, insert the DVD and off you go!

Can Anyone Workout with Insanity?

Because of its intensity, the DVDs do recommend that you see your doctor before starting.  It is a series of high impact moves and high intensity training so if you’ve got any pre-existing conditions you’re going to struggle.

Having tried the routines, I can see that if you’re unfit then this workout is going to be too gruelling, and an existing level of fitness (or youthful resilience) is needed.  The Insanity workout DVDs themselves will steer you to one of their other workout programs (at extra cost) if you’re not already fairly fit and active.

However, that said, Insanity also shows you that you can work at your own pace and still get results; in my first workout even the warm up was enough for me and I spent the next 30 minutes or so at a much slower pace with extra rests – and still enjoyed it!

What Does the Insanity Workout Consist of?

The Insanity workout is a set of 10 DVDs plus;

  • an Insanity diet plan (Insanity Elite Nutrition Plan)
  • an Insanity Workout Schedule
  • an Insanity Fit Test Workout
  • an Insanity Quick Start Guide

You will be expected to workout 6 days a week for 35-70 minutes per day, for two months. There are recovery weeks scheduled in where the exercises are less demanding – although when I say less demanding, I mean they are more on a level of a ‘normal’ hard workout – there’s no such thing as rest with Insanity.

Month 2 is at a much higher intensity level than month 1.

What Are the Insanity Workouts?

There are 10 insanity workouts (plus the fit test):

Month 1

  • Dig Deeper and Fit Test – an introduction and brief Insanity workout review plus guidance on how to take the fit test (40 minutes)
  • Plyometric Cardio Circuit – an explosive cardio workout (40 minutes)
  • Pure Cardio – a cardio workout (40 minutes)
  • Cardio Power and Resistance – a cardio workout (40 minutes)
  • Cardio Recovery – a slightly lower intensity workout (35 minutes)
  • Cardio Abs – a cardio workout with a greater emphasis on core & abs (40 minutes)
  • Core Cardio and Balance – a cardio workout with a greater emphasis on balance (40 minutes)

Month 2

  • Max Interval Circuit – a higher intensity cardio/circuit training(60 minutes)
  • Max Cardio Conditioning – higher intensity cardio (55 minutes)
  • Max Interval Plyometrics – a higher intensity cardio/explosive muscle workout (55 minutes)
  • Max Recovery - a slightly lower intensity workout (50 minutes)

Plyometrics are explosive exercises based around having muscles exert maximum force in as short a time as possible, with the goal of increasing both speed and power.

What is an Insanity Workout?

Each workout begins with a warmup of jumps, kicks, jogging and variations on jumping jacks followed by stretching.  It’s a challenging warm up and a workout in its owns right.

After the warm up, you’ll launch straight into the Insanity workout.

Because it’s a DVD, you can pause the workout if it gets too much for you or if you need extra breaks, but remember to factor in the extra time.  My first 40 minute workout took an hour! 

Shaun T stresses a number of times through the workout DVD that if you’re having trouble keeping up, take a rest and work at your own pace – even a little movement is better than nothing, and you’ll still see results.

The workout ends with a cool down and stretching routine.

What Are the Good Things About Insanity?

  • Intense! The workouts are claimed to burn 1000 calories and I can see why – the warmup alone left me sweating and out of breath!
  • Easy to follow – the exercises are well explained.
  • Private.  You work out in your own home, no need to feel embarrassed or pressurised.
  • Engaging.  Shaun T is a great front man for the Insanity DVDs and keeps you motivated. The participants all look like they’re enjoying it and even though it’s an American system, there’s not too much annoying ‘whooping’.
  • No equipment.  Just the Insanity workout DVDs (although I recommend you get yourself an exercise mat and a drinks bottle).
  • Free Nutrition Guide.  Invaluable for helping you plan what to eat. Combine it with WLR’s food diary and see exactly where those calories are!
  • Insanity Schedule. Makes it easy to keep to the Insanity routine and track your results.
  • Community.  There’s a great online community of inspiring success stories and pictures to keep you motivated.  Even here at WLR, you’ll find members eager to discuss their Insanity success on the boards.

What Are the Bad Things About Insanity?

  • It’s difficult!  Believe me, if you’re in any way unfit or suffer from mobility or circulatory problems, this is not the workout for you.
  • Needs dedication.  For maximum results you’ll need to set aside the time, and to start with some of the workouts may take you much longer than the 40-60 minutes recommended.  Remember, it’s 6 days a week for 2 months.
  • You need space – you’re meant to be able to work out in your living room.  I found I spent more time bumping into furniture and smacking my hands on the ceiling when jumping – but at 6’4” I suppose I’m at a disadvantage.
  • Expense – Insanity is not free! Apart from the initial outlay, you can opt to buy the recommended food and shakes and recovery drinks – after all at the end of the day, this is a marketing tool.


The Insanity workout is probably one of the better workout DVDs currently on the market, and as a confirmed  ‘Gym Rat’ I loved it - it taxed me and I can see the results will be good – if I can stick at it.

 If you get bored easily then I can see you’ll not get the maximum from the workouts – as they are circuit based they’re pretty repetitive.

Like any workout program, you’ll get out what you put in – even minimal effort and cutting calories will get you results.

Would I recommend it – actually yes, if you want to shake up your exercise routine - although I can’t stress enough that if you are in any doubt about your health (including your BMI) get checked by your doctor and take this review with you so that your doctor can understand what you are getting into! 

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