REVIEW: INSANITY with Shaun T

By Jean Paul Fender

 

Beachbody has released their latest workout package “Insanity” designed to transform you into a physical specimen so ripped you are destined to be abducted and dissected by aliens.

So, what is Insanity all about?  It’s 60 Days of your worst physical nightmare.

Let me describe the first week of Insanity…from the perspective of a P90X grad.  Imagine covering yourself in butter, running in a giant hamster wheel with a Bengali Tiger in hot pursuit, and suddenly the afterburner from a F-15 sets you on fire.

Honestly, I was ill after the first day.  This is not kid stuff.

Insanity calls itself “Max Interval Training”.  That’s probably code for saying it was developed using illegal human testing in Quantanamo Bay.  It is CARDIO to the max.  The cardio is combined with plyometrics, pushups and squats.

One thing P90X-ers will notice is that there is no standing around time.  No playful chatter.  It seems Shaun T hates all of humanity and wants us to die drowning in our own sweat.  This workout series is his evil means of accomplishing that task.

So, since starting the program, have I noticed a difference?  Yes. My midsection is beginning to look more defined, and I have to say I’m excited to see what the final result will be!  My ultimate goal is to walk up to strangers in supermarket, lift my shirt and ask if they’d like their cheese grated on my abs.  Sure, I may get escorted out of the store, but that’s the price of glory.

The 4th week is a Cardio/Balance rest week, only to wrap it up with a “Phase 2″ set that looks positively sinister.  For those eager enough to get the Deluxe Version, there is also a Sports Cardio and an Upper Body Weight Training DVD.

So is it worth it?  Hell yes. But be warned…if you’re just starting to get in shape then proceed with caution.  However, if you’re in reasonable shape and wanting to prepare for a marathon, climbing Mount Everest, or to outrun a cheetah, then this is it.

The main thing I was worried about was Shaun T himself.  Good news…he is NOT the ghetto goofball from Hip Hop Abs.  Sorry, but a white kid from the suburbs with two left feet just can’t “git giggety wit it, yeeeeahhhh!” without feeling like a perfect ass.  Fortunately he’s developed a more mature demeanor and knows what he’s talking about.  The music is canned, but catchy.  I felt like I was in an action movie sequence and stayed pumped.  The people in the video are also giving it their all and occasionally a few will drop like flies from exhaustion.  Somehow I find that comforting!

Also…get a heart rate monitor.  No, really.  Get one.  You will exceed your safe zone with relative ease otherwise.  Because this is not just intense, it’s insane.

Update:

Drumroll…the results!  I am very, very happy with this program, as my AB definition is seeing impressive results that I was not getting from P90X.

A few times I had to back off as my knee was rejecting my body from too much plyometrics.  This workout can be hard on the joints, so don’t neglect your body’s signals to ease up.

Also, this is also not a “stand-alone” system like P90X.  After the 60 days are up, I’d recommend laying off for a bit and going back to some weight training or lower impact cardio, which is what I did.

And finally, the workouts do get a bit repetitive.  There can be little distinction from one DVD to the next, regardless of whether it is a Power, Plyo or Cardio themed workout.  They are all crazy intense, but not anywhere near the variety of P90X.  You’re also told to push, check heart rate, push, check heart rate, push…and not much else.  But that’s also a matter of personal taste as to whether you prefer casual banter or just getting down to business during a workout.

Nonetheless, this is a superior cardio conditioning program and fun to use.  Yet I must revise my original 5 feather down to a 4.8 just to be fair.  Overall physical intensity however, is probably a 7!

4.8 Feathers out of 5

Disclaimer: I am NOT a Beachbody coach, reseller or in any way connected with the company.  These views are mine and mine alone.

  

2009 – 2014, Dysfunctional Parrot. All rights reserved. No reproduction of written material is permitted.

Jean Paul Fender

Jean Paul Fender

Supreme Overlord at DysfunctionalParrot.com
Jean Paul Fender ( aka. The Dysfunctional Parrot ) is a disgruntled Systems Analyst who wanders the Canadian wastelands saving small villages with the power of Kung Fu.  His chair is also a little too close to the twenty year old microwave.  As you can well imagine, this has had certain side effects.
Jean Paul Fender
Jean Paul Fender
Jean Paul is the author of the comedy apocalyptic novel, LOOPBACK.
 
 
  • Jimmy

    hey could u do a review of the insanity deluxe edition its got an ab workout a sport specific workout and a weighted work out im really interested in the weighted and sports ones

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    I actually have the deluxe edition, but have not made it to the advanced phase yet. I will actually start Phase 2 in one week. The deluxe workouts would be an optional Phase 3 ( expanding it from 60 to 90 days ).

    From what I can see of the Deluxe Edition, there is a Sports Cardio Training, and an Upper Body Weight workout. The weight workout is filmed in a fitness club with 2 other cast members, so it is a little different than the other DVD's.

    I would say that the weight workout is similar to the Upper Body+ in P90X+. It seems to just be good old fashioned weight lifting.

    I'll be sure to post more details about it in the weeks ahead…should I survive that long!

  • Jimmy

    o cool cant wait

  • Jimmy

    i got the insanity deluxe like u and i c it says to replace core cardio and balance with sports training and to replace cardio abs with insane abs but i dont see where it says anything about a third month or what to do with the weighted workout and im not gonna lie i didnt buy the program i got it from my friend and downloaded the documents offline

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    The third month was just something I was going to do as jumping in with the advanced routines seemed a bit aggressive.

    However, I suppose I could substitute on days I'm feeling extra energy from the rays of our yellow sun! That looks like it was the intention of the program in the first place from what I read.

    I just started Phase 2 today and dayyyy-mmmmmmnnnnn…

  • http://pledgetostayfit.com Rob

    This is one of the best reviews of insanity I have read, I love your comparisons! "…imagine covering yourself in butter, running in a giant hamster wheel with a Bengali Tiger in hot pursuit, and suddenly the afterburner from a F-15 sets you on fire…."

  • sci

    I guess the difference between p90 and insanity is one builds muscle more than the other?? Hmmm.. I think I will go with Shaun T Insanity
    Thanks.

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    I would say P90X is better for overall muscle development by far. Insanity is more cardio conditioning, but still works your core very well. The cardio component of P90x cannot compete with Insanity, but the weight training of Insanity cannot compete with P90x. All in all, they're both very good at what they do and would recommend anyone to do them both and mix it up!

  • diyosa

    Your review had me laughing. i'm doing p90x now and am fairly sure insanity would kill me. dead.

    thanks for sharing.

  • Wendy

    Hehehe…out run a cheetah? That's awesome. I did the fit test yesterday and I'm within the fit range. I can't wait to start plyometric cardio circuit.

  • anna

    Ah! I just ordered the package today…I have been seeing the comercials for a while now and I finally gave in. I am nervous but I have been working out with my friend for a good time and I believe we are ready!!
    Thanks for the reviews even though I think we are gonna die!!!

  • DysfunctionalParrot

    anna: Having a friend keep you accountable will help significantly. Be sure that when you start, ease into it if you want to go the long haul! Good luck!

  • idolworshipper65

    I've done the fitness test and two days of Day 1, as the first day I did it, I had to stop early for work reasons. God, I hate it when life gets in the way of trying to reclaim my body. At any rate, I too find it comforting when some of Shaun T's team collapse or dont give it their all, ie knees not coming to the hips etc during some high kick session. The workout is KICKING MY ASS and will no doubt continue to do so. But I feel very virtuous afterwards. I'm not sure my lower back can take all the squat thrust kind of activity, though, and I do think it is important to listen to your body. I also know myself well enough to realize that I will get bored if I do it every day, so I'll probably mix it up with running and swimming, which look easy now compared to this.

    Love your review, btw.

  • Rachelle

    his is the best review I have ever read! You wrote exactly what I was thinking the enitre time about INSANITY and Shaun T.

    I am on my 22nd Day of INSANITY and love it. I have never done anything like this before, yes worked out a bit in a gym, doing cardio, and pilates DVDS but nothing this intense. The fit test was intense, but when it was over, (day 1) i was craving for more. Its like that everyday, I look at the clock widning down the time…and push hard as i can, but when its over, I feel great, and almost want to do it again! Its nuts…

    I have noticed my core tighter, my legs tighter and my overall cardio levels higher at this point. I cant wait for the end…and I will "rinse and repeat" I am sure of it…and after the 60 days I am thinking of possing in P90x and doing a bit of Insanity at the same time…haha. lets see if this kills me first!! woooo

  • BevTheGreat

    I started my INSANITY (it's no joke, it really is kind of insane)workout yesterday. I'm doing it with my family and since I'm the one in better shape, I was helping my family do it first. None of them got past the 4th exercise. All of them ended up being sick. It is an amazing workout. I was literally sweating so much that my mom told me I should go wash up before I flooded the carpet. Cant wait for today's workout!

  • Dysfunctional Parrot

    I just finished Insane Abs, and I'm still loving it!

    Bev: Good luck! When I first started I wanted to die, but it does get better, and you absolutely will notice changes!

  • Eli

    I use to do Hip Hop Abs until my friend who's in the Army got his ass kicked by this work out so I decided to try it too. My legs are so sore from Day 1 but I still got up and I just finished day 2. Altho I think I almost died about 3 times, the after feeling is amazing..probably cause I'm high on adrenaline and endorphins but still, feeling more in shape already. Can't wait to see how I look after 60 days. =)

  • Andrew

    I'm 11 weeks into p90x and still loving it, seeing incredible results, and probably happier than I've ever been. Since both are beachbody, I figured Insanity was the next step for me, but now I think I'm going to take a week off after p90x, and then do either p90x doubles, or the classic with a focus on lean muscles rather than bulk.

    Also, the Insanity infomercial turned me off and this review basically made up my mind for me. While it's obviously a more intense cardio workout, the entire positive attitude that p90x employs seems lacking. The infomercial came off as a bit elitist "We don't want you if you're this, if you're that, if you can't do that … Look at this loser we kicked out … etc"

    With p90x, I get to enjoy my workouts, learn a wide variety of techniques, and build up muscle while dropping about a half pound of body fat a day.

    Can I win a race against an insanity grad? Probably not. But my upper body wins, my flexibility wins, and I'm a lot wiser than I was when I started.

  • http://www.healthyhotthousewife.blogspot.com Therese

    Bahahaha I love this review! I finished the first month of Insanity only to get tendonitis in my right foot lack of proper arch support in my running shoes. I took one week off, got the proper orthodics for my shoes, and restarted. I just finished the 2nd Fit Test.

    These workouts ARE crazy but that's why I love them! They remind me of the sports conditioning I have done my whole life. Shawn T could totally be a tool, but thankfully he's not. Although if I have to look at Tonya making those creepy O faces anymore I might puke :)

  • jeff pontes

    Im in day 40 of Insanity and I love reading the comments. For those who are reluctant to try it, do it because it will work. I lost 30 lbs of fat feel great. I smoked for 25 years and I quit right before I started insanity. It was hard, I did puke, I did pass out but I didnt quit. Im getting ready to do my max cardio conditioning right now. Oh, btw dont forget nutrition and suppliments, they are essential!

    chao

  • Mike

    Just starting week 5 (core cardio and balance/recovery week). I'm already seeing huge improvements. I'm not shredding weight like some others have reported. I've dumped about ten pounds in the past four weeks. But I did lose 3-inches in my waist and I gained 2-inches in my legs. I'm not a little guy. I've been a muscle-head/power-lifter for years. I weigh 265-lbs. I'm looking forward to getting back to the iron, but I was neglecting my cardio big-time. I'm hoping the cardio work will translate to improvements with the weights. I've been using Ferruggia and DoggCrapp for my weightlifting. I'll alternate one day cardio – one day weights – etc. once I finish my way through Insanity.

  • ag82

    HI Everyone, I am a recent Insanity Grad and I Laughed sooo hard after reading this review, I think milk came out of my nose !!!!! It's true, Insnaity is EVIL, pure EVIL. And I LOVE IT !!!! For those of you whose just going to start, you are going to find out quickly what "Dig Deeper" means. It's definitely NOT an Apples to Apples comparison between P90X and Insanity. P90X is a more complete system as oppose to Insanity where it's more Cardio/Plyo/Intensity cranked beyond max. I guess that's why it's only a 63 day program – How long can you keep burning white hot? I'm just glad I got the deluxe version and was able to insert an Upperbody Workout Routine 3X a week for the last 3 weeks. I would have not made it through Month 2 otherwise. The Upperbody Workout is nothing to sneeze at either. It will make you work if you lift the correct weights. Yes… Month 2 is beyond Evil/Sinister. I didn;t even attempt to do "Insane Abs". The name alone scared the bejeezus out of me.

    Just starting Phase 1 of P90X and I already feel that Insanity helped me tremendously in the cardio side. Comparing Plyo Cardio Circuit to Plyo X is like comparing the Indy 500 to Driving Miss Daisy. Kenpo X barely got my HR beyond 140, Cardio X bored the hell out of me. Now, given that, I am struggling with the pull ups part of P90X. I can barely do more than 5 at a time. and OMFG!!!! Divebombers???!!!?? REALLY???? But like anything else, I hope to get stronger as I stick with the Program. I love Ab Ripper X!!!! I prefer it over Cardio Abs. And Yoga X/X Stretch is Fantastic !!!!

    While I plan to keep true to P90X workout plan for Phase 1, I think I'll switch out a couple of Cardio/Plyo workout from Insanity in Phase 2 and 3. Hopefully my knees have recovered enough by then.

    Now comparing Shaun T to Tony Horton is like comparing two crazy uncles. One is down to earth, one is a goofball. And both can kick the living sh*t out of me.

    Cheers !!!!

  • Jennifer

    LOL…this blog is hilarious and all the comments are great too! You all seem like an awesome bunch. I'm very motivated right now (in month one of P90X) and I plan on coming back to this website often to help me stay motivated. I have Insanity too and plan on starting that once I'm through P90X. Keep pushing play!

  • http://dysfunctionalparrot.com Tyler Thames

    First of all let me say that I take major offense to the reviewer for describing this smart young businessman as a "ghetto goofball." You are so off-base with that comment. I find Shaun T to be very motivating and encouraging. Be careful how you use comments like "ghetto" to describe african-americans. The same could be said about the "white trash" people we have to deal with on a daily basis out here in the world. You're a retard! Oh, and by the way, I just ordered Shaun's hip hop abs. I look forward to working out with him, NERD!

    • Dysfunctional Parrot

      Wow. Touchy…! Hey, enjoy Hip Hop Abs for hopefully more than the five minutes I did! Personally, I love Shaun T and find Insanity to be about as good as it gets, but HHA is just awkward!

      It's also hilarious how you insulted mentally handicapped people to make your "point". Freaking classic!

      Now go save the whales or something before I reduce you and your silly ideologies to sub-atomic ash. Honestly, the nerve of some people.

  • Dean C

    Hey Tyler, back off the meds. I think your doctor is over-prescribing!

  • Laserbeak

    Tyler: I think it is fairly evident from the post that the writer has no dislike towards Shaun T even in the slightest like you are implying. Read the f–king review. He just doesn't like Hip Hop Abs. So? I like Tony Horton but don't like the original Power 90. Is it a crime not to be a fanboy?

  • Simeon

    I tried out the fit test yesterday and I couldn't complete it.I felt light headed and had to stop. So I rested on the sofa( a good 20-30 mins) but the floor was literally flooded with sweat. This workout is TRIULY INSANE. I'll probably continue but take it a little easier.

  • MiaNaja

    This is the most honest review site I have read. I am day 3 of Insanity and love it, although I am a bellydancer and hate health clubs and sports like workouts. I am so glad I didn't read this first before starting because I have p90x, but did this first. So I will use P90X after Hip Hop abs in the fall. I figure I will do this, alternate with something dance which I love and then go back to the Ugh fitness program. I can't do everything, but I actually like how it just keeps moving. Quick and dirty. Get it over with. But I am SOOOOO sore!! Does it ever go away? Getting excited!!![img]undefined[/img][img]dysfunctinalparrot.com[/img][img]undefined[/img]

  • Hazel

    I just did the plyometric cardio circuit this morning. I wished for death afterwards. Its really draining but it makes you feel so good if you can make it through the whole thing without stopping halfway. I had to stop on the last ten minutes because I just couldnt do another suicide drill. But, I am absolutely psyched to wake up tomorrow and do another one.

  • Klarita

    Brilliant review of an insane workout!

    I almost died laughing reading this article, followed by a near heart attack when I've first started Shaun's work out.

    It is addictive suffering and once you start seeing the results there is no going back.

    The exercises really get the most out of you and it might be a little discouraging at the beginning because you will not get it 100% right away, but each time there is a progress and each time you feel better.

    I believe in daily work out routine, it keeps you fit and energised and there are those lovely happy chemicals our body produces after any kind of physical activity… now after doing suicide jumps you feel pain and swim in your sweat, but once that goes away there is a natural "high" that will make you keep coming for more.

    Good luck to all of you insane people out there! I am already looking forward to tomorrow's drill.

  • Phillyboy

    Works great! 14 days of insanity and im already seeing results. Shaun T. Is insane

  • ebyo

    Ahhh haa haaaa can I grate cheese on your abs?! Your awsome!!!

  • Rebecca Lacey

    I did the Insanity Deluxe Edition and loved it the results it gave me, always love a challenge!
    http://www.rebeccacoco.blogspot.com
    Rebecca x

  • Chrissy Namon

    A ghetto goofball??? ReALLY?

    • http://dysfunctionalparrot.com Dysfunctional Parrot

      Please, read the entire article and see the context. Also, your caps lock key is stuck.

      • Vivek

        haha love this comment! love your sense of humor! :-)

  • Damon Allen

    I love your reviews, your reviews definitely help me decide what to get or what to pass on. I have been working a program and wanted to let you know about it. Weider: Ruthless. if Supreme90 is to P90X, Ruthless is to Insanity. i picked it up at Wal-Mart for $30, and i have liked it so far. just thought you might find it interesting. plus, I haven’t found many other people who know about this program.

  • mommy23kids

    I’m about to finish insanity in about two weeks. Would you recommend that I start P90X3 or t25? I want to spend more time with my family so time is an issue right now. I have been debating what to do. Especially now with what you mentioned on the impact on the joints. Thank you.

    • http://dysfunctionalparrot.com Dysfunctional Parrot

      Both P90X3 and T25 are MUCH less impact on the joints than Insanity.

      Your next choice will depend on your tastes, Do you like strength first and cardio second? Go X3. Want great cardio and still good strength? T25 is the one.

      I have them both and mix them up by using X3 strength routines and T25 for practically everything else. I find that works best for me.

      • mommy23kids

        Thanks so much. I was thinking of going with T25 then started having second thoughts because of impact and perhaps variety. I’m going to go with T25 then later on down the road purchase P90X3.

        By the way I appreciate that you clarify that you are not a beachbody coach. That makes the review a lot more realistic. Thanks again.

  • Monte Kravat

    jut have one thing to say- after doing both programs– I really do not like Mr. Horton- he is way to cutsie and condescending in his own way to the people he works with or to us the video watcher. I have to turn the volume off because I cannot stand how much he is into himself– Oh I can do more wight than him or more reps– and I am over 50- look at me— really not a good teacher- whereas Shaun T- at least seems very interested in our progress over his— he pushes you so that you can get better and feel better about yourself and you do not feel like you are competing with him. That is very important in a motivator.

  • Pete

    Hi! I’m 26 and actually looking to gain weight. I have both Insanity and P90X. Haven’t started either yet as I’ve designed a no equipment program from Mens Health and combining intense core Yoga at a studio. That being said I am seeing results but not being pushed. Will doing both help gain weight or should I do P90X first as it works on building more muscle? I’m about 5’10 130lbs. Would love your insight.

 
 
 
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