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It was no surprise that Shaun T would make a follow up to Focus T25, a program that hit nailed the balance between time and exercise.  So now he’s back again.  Only this time Shaun doesn’t want you fit.  He wants you dead.

So that means I’m back, fresh off a PiYO review which was, to be honest, much easier than anticipated.  Now the Internet’s top anti-coach returns for Insanity Max:30.  So allow the DP to guide you through the minefield of Beachbody Coach clones, and give you the straight goods.


10 DVD’s for a total of 12 workouts, food guide, Quick meal guide and program booklet.  The quality of printed materials is incredible.




The point is to Max-Out: that means record the time you have to stop and rest.  That doesn’t mean quit, you just keep track of how long you can sustain the punishment from the starting point.  In short, the mission is to kill you.

Cardio Challenge

Cardio Challenge is simply moving your backside for a solid thirty, and feels like a compressed Asylum workout.  It’s mostly leg work, but don’t worry about the upper body…that beat-down comes tomorrow.  It’s refreshing to see many of the cast “maxing out” with me very early.


It will become quickly obvious that Max 30 is not a beginner program. Whereas in Focus T25 you start slower with a nice ( but still challenging ) Alpha series, here it begins with a smash in the face by a 2 x 4.  Also obvious from the start is the quality of production.  The set is easy to look at, although personally I would remove about 3 or 4 cast members for extra space.  And of course, I must mention the music.

Music can make or break a workout program, and I’m fully convinced Shaun T knows that better than anyone given the attention he gives it.  What disappointed me about PiYO was how utterly dull and unmotivating the soundtrack was.  Not so here.  The music is fantastic and gives an urgency to finish the reps because, I don’t know…aliens will assassinate Nick Fury or something.


Tababta Power

Oh sweet…this is only month one?

I like the format here: 20 seconds going hard then a 10 second rest before going again. This is power intervals that will have you jumping, doing plyo-push-ups, and speed dips. You will max out quick so don’t beat yourself up about it.

shoetipSweat Intervals

Shaun T is howling his evil laugh as you enter his domain once more.  This takes Cardio Challenge to a new level, if such a thing is even possible,

I’m not sure if “Intervals” would be a proper description as you only get maybe three 30 sec breaks.  What is going to get pummelled is your thighs and calves due to the constant plyometrics. Like much of Shaun T’s workouts, this is high impact training.  Based on that I have to warn you all…get good shoes or your feet are gonna hurt.

Tabata Strength

Remember Tabata Power where you got a merciful ten second rest? Well Princess, forget about it because Shaun T takes much joy in your suffering.  There are no sweet, sweet time outs here.  Welcome to Hell.


While not a cardio-based workout, your heart-rate will naturally hit the roof anyway.  The muscles being attacked are the chest, triceps and of course…legs.  Biceps and shoulders don’t see much action, but I’ll address that more in Part 2.

Friday Fight Round One

Oh joy.  Oh happy day.  I was worried this was going to be another one of those MMA style workouts that train you for combat as well as a cake baking class.  No, this one is the battle between your body and your mind…who will win?


I’m not sure if this is harder than any of the other Month One workouts, but what makes it crazy is that you’ve been killing yourself all week, and then ending it with another smash in the legs.  Thankfully Pulse is around the corner.

This is the kitchen sink and the cardio is intense.  Plyo, push-ups, squats, burpees, abs…just scream if you have to folks.  My wife ran down the stairs thinking I was having a life and death battle with an escaped Bengal Tiger.  And water breaks?  You get one crummy sip after the warm-up and then one at the half-way point.  Better have good nutrition before going into this one, kids.


Yes, it’s recovery, but it’s not really a rest.  You still have squats and planks going on and there is a strong core engagement throughout.  To be honest, I would have really liked some decent stretching but that might have less to do with the program and more to do with me being over 40.

AB Attack 10

Remember that training scene from Kickboxer where Van Damme gets coconuts dropped on his abs from a tree?


This is like that ( the coconuts I mean ). Only instead of palm tree droppings landing on the midsection, it feels more like an engine block. I guess there’s a reason Shaun T’s abs are registered under the Geneva Convention.

As gut wrenching as this is, it might be better if it allowed a couple rest spots.  That way you would get more of a workout instead of using precious time “maxing out”.  Still, never let it be said this was easy.

Conclusions thus far

I can summarize this quickly…ow.  Think of Insanity: Max 30 as a compressed/upgraded Insanity package with less rest between sets. That alone should give you an idea of the intensity of this beast.  So to those who want to start their new lifestyle of fitness, I suggest walking away slowly and picking up Focus T25 instead.

There is one thing that drives me nuts with many programs that Max 30 does not do…smiling cast members. If you’re smiling, you’re not working hard enough ( see Hip Hop Abs ). Given the sweating faces and gnashing teeth, I’d say these boys and girls are bringing their A-game.  I truly appreciate that.  However, I do laugh at how some of the old 80’s fitness fashion seems to be coming around again ( headbands and wristbands…those were the days! )  That aside, many in the cast are obviously in their prime and excellent specimens of health.  But for the rest of us mere humans there is always a modifier, which don’t kid yourself, you will be doing from time to time!  The DVD gives the option to watch in regular or split screen mode with the modifier in constant view.  Excellent idea, and just goes to show the attention to detail put into Insanity: Max 30.

Still, I’m only through the month one schedule.  Month two has 6 more workouts and these turn up the intensity to the next level.  Can the Dysfunctional Parrot make it through this cruel punishment to emerge with a victorious review? Continue to PART 2…

PART 2: Food Guide Reports from Mrs. Parrot, PROS and CONS of Max 30 and the final 6 workouts.

John Paul Parrot ( 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.


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