Insanity Workout Review – Does it Really Work?

It is safe to say that the Insanity Workout is one of the most well-known training plans in the world. Insanity is quite rare for a fitness program because it is aimed at people who are already fit, rather than new trainees.

It has a reputation for being extreme. People who are just starting out may find Insanity to be too difficult for their current fitness capabilities and should consider different programs. 

In this article, we will take an in-depth look at this famous training program and help you to decide whether it is the program for you.

What is Insanity?

Insanity is a workout program designed by BeachBody on Demand. The company was founded in Santa Monica, California in 1998. As of 2015, over 10 million people have purchased the Insanity Workout DVDs. 

Pros

  • All exercises are demonstrated allowing you to see exactly how they should be performed
  • There is a specific goal and timeline set out
  • The intensity of the program makes it easy to stay motivated
  • You do not need to purchase any equipment
  • Workouts can be performed in the comfort of your home

Cons

  • Can lead to injury
  • Not great for building muscle
  • Nutrition advice is very basic
  • No community to keep you company
  • Quite expensive compared to many workout DVDs
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Things to Consider Before Purchasing the Insanity Workout

There are several considerations that you should make before purchasing the Insanity Workout. 

Fitness

As we mentioned at the start, this training program is very intense. It is designed to boost the fitness of people who are already in decent shape.

If you have not exercised in 12 months, then this is not the program for you!

Location

Another consideration should be location. To perform the Insanity Workout, you need access to a TV and a DVD player. This means that if you are looking for a workout program that you can do outside, then Insanity is not for you.

That being said, most people have access to a TV, and it can now also be viewed on your phone or tablet. 

Goals

What is it that you want out of training? If your goal is to build muscle, then the Insanity Workout is not necessarily the right choice. It focuses on bodyweight exercises, and uses high reps. For beginners, bodyweight exercises can help to build muscle, but for more experienced lifters, you are unlikely to see any change in size.

If you are looking to burn fat and improve your cardiovascular fitness, then this is definitely the right program for you though. 

What to Consider Before Purchasing

  • What is your current level of fitness?
  • Do you have the space in your house to perform this workout?
  • What is it you want to achieve?

Once you have answered these questions, you can decide whether this program is the right choice for you.

Features and Benefits of the Insanity Workout

The Theory

The Insanity Workout is a bodyweight training program that focuses on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is an extremely popular form of interval training, you exercise at an extreme intensity for a short period of time (anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds) and then rest for a similarly short time.

The idea is that the short, sharp training will allow you to burn more calories both during the workout and for a significant period after the workout has finished.

The program is designed to last 60 days. You are expected to train six days per week for between 30 and 60 minutes. That is roughly 50 workouts within 8.5 weeks. 

This is an unusually high volume of exercise for a training program. You will really need to focus on your rest and recovery between sessions. 

The DVDs

Insanity comes with a large collection of DVDs, with each session being different from the last. The exercise sessions on each DVDs are pretty creative, the workouts are challenging, and for the most part there is a good focus on technique and troubleshooting.

One of the downsides is that no DVD can properly analyse your form as you train, meaning that you could be performing the exercises with bad form and nobody would be there to tell you. This is a common problem for this type of exercise program though, and not something that Insanity can be expected to solve!

That being said, the popular theory that Insanity causes more than its fair share of injuries is not helped by the way the program is designed. It’s a very high intensity workout program which is often followed by people who are not particularly fit. It would be nice to see an introductory version of Insanity (possible title: “Sanity”?).

Posters and Charts

There are also a few posters and charts that can help you to track your progress as you go along. There is the Insanity Fit test which you can use to identify how fit you are at the start, and then compare it at the end.

These charts and posters are neither good nor bad, they will most likely be thrown away by most customers! 

The Elite Nutrition Book

The Insanity Workout also comes with an Elite Nutrition book. This book follows the standard “eat clean” advice, which is effective but not particularly imaginative.

We are not saying that the nutrition advice is bad, just that it is not particularly inspired or creative. Every cardio machine or workout seems to offer the exact same diet advice. Compare this to proper nutrition books and it does not compare favourably.

But the whole point of the Insanity Workout is to be effective and get you results in 60 days. Will the nutrition advice help you get there? Yes. So, we will give it a pass.

What are customers saying?

Insanity has one of the largest collections of testimonials that we have ever seen!

There is Shane who lost 52 lbs in 18 months

“I noticed tremendous boosts in my physical ability and stamina as I worked through the program. Most importantly, I lost a lot of weight and gained muscle mass.

The physical changes were significant. When I began, I weighed 210 pounds at only 5 feet 8 inches in height.

But as the weeks and months went by, I was loving my new body.”

There are hundreds more just like that, but of course Beach Body On Demand are hardly going to publish any bad reviews. 

We checked Amazon to see what some reviewers had to say about the product.

Insanity seems to be averaging around 4.5/5 stars on Amazon, but there are not actually that many reviews to base this off. 

Most of the bad reviews are concerning damaged or missing DVDs. While this is an issue, it is something that can be sorted out quite easily and does not reflect on the program itself. 

Another issue that seems to have occurred a few times on Amazon is fake products being sold instead of the real thing. 

Again, this is more of a seller issue for Amazon than a problem with the actual program, but as 80% of the bad reviews were discussing this (still a small fraction) we thought it prudent to address it.

There are many good reviews too, ones that actually focus on the program itself rather than any seller issues. 

Alternatives to Insanity Workout

In some ways, there are a lot of alternatives to Insanity. The DVD workout industry is massive and has been for a long time. But in terms of workouts that are similar to Insanity? We can only think of two.

1. P90X Workout

Insanity is a workout sold by Beach Body on Demand with Shaun T as the figurehead. P90x is often talked about as a competitor, but it is actually owned by the same company. 

Both programs are similar, focusing on high intensity interval training, and with an overall target of weight loss. However, there are a few key differences. 

  • Insanity is designed for 8 weeks, P90x is designed for 12 weeks
  • Insanity is a bodyweight workout while P90x uses fitness equipment
  • Insanity is fully focused on fat burning while P90x can be used for building mass or fat loss

It is difficult to say which is better, it depends on what your goals are. Insanity does not require equipment, so that is certainly a plus. But there are many benefits to training with equipment so that’s a plus for P90x.

You can always do both!

2. CrossFit

There are many differences between Insanity and CrossFit, so it may seem surprising that we have included it as an alternative. 

CrossFit and Insanity may be different, but they share the same culture and mentality. Hardcore workouts with an emphasis on HIIT, bodyweight training, and (as many detractors will point out) more emphasis on volume than exercise quality.

Of course, the biggest difference between Insanity and CrossFit is the fact that one is performed on your own at home, while the other is performed as part of a group in a CrossFit gym. There are other differences too:

  • Insanity is bodyweight while CrossFit requires kettlebells, barbells, and other equipment
  • CrossFit requires a lot more technical knowledge to perform
  • Insanity does not have a coach analysing your form
  • Insanity is performed individually while CrossFit places a lot of emphasis on community

Both Insanity and CrossFit share the same mentality and will attract remarkably similar types of trainee. If you try one and enjoy it, you will enjoy the other. 

Conclusion

Insanity is one of the most popular training programs out there, and there are many reasons for that. It appeals to people who want to shake up their training. Completing it is seen as a badge of honour, and the program can be performed in the comfort of your own home.

The only words of caution we have is that Insanity is not designed for people who are new to exercising. Also, make sure that you are purchasing your copy from a reputable company. There have been many pirated copies being sold. 

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