Insanity Workout Review

Review of: Insanity Workout
Shaun T

Reviewed by:
On June 5, 2014
Last modified:December 3, 2015


Insanity will get you to the highest level of fitness you can ever achieve. This program is the real deal, if you can complete it, you'll be ripped for sure.

Feeling good about your level of fitness? You may be thinking, “I’ve been doing pretty good at the gym lately, so I’m in pretty great shape.”

Well, if you’re ready for a real challenge, it’s time to buy the Insanity Workout DVD program. Prepare to take your fitness to a whole new level in just 60 days!

What is the Insanity Workout?

The Insanity Workout is a program released by BeachBody LLC, one of the most famous workout video production companies. BeachBody is known for its P90X and Power 90 programs created by Tony Horton, and the Insanity Workout is designed for those who have completed both programs.

Insanity is a program that delivers “ultra high intensity interval training”. Essentially, participants in the workout videos work out at high intensity for 3 to 4 minutes, take a 30 second rest, and do it all over again. The workouts last for 30 to 60 minutes, and they are guaranteed to make you sweat buckets!

The Mind Behind the Insanity Workout: Shaun T

Shaun T

Shaun T

According to Shaun T.’s Wikipedia page (yes, he’s that famous!):

He grew up playing American football and baseball and running track. He received his BS in Sports Science from Rowan University.

He began his career as a fitness specialist and personal trainer at multi-national pharmaceutical company Wyeth, has worked for fitness chains like Equinox Fitness, has taught aerobics since the age of 21, and worked as a professional dancer for Mariah Carey.

You can see that his entire life has revolved around fitness, so it should come as no surprise that he was approached by BeachBody LLC to be the presenter of the Insanity Workout.

A Look at the Insanity Workout

One very important note for anyone considering trying the program: INSANITY IS NOT A WORKOUT FOR BEGINNERS!

The workout is designed with top athletes and fitness experts in mind, and it’s not a program for just anyone to do. If your goal is to do the Insanity Workout program and you are new to the world of fitness and exercise, you’ll find it’s just TOO HARD to do.

It’s recommended that newbies start with the Power 90 program first. Upon completion of Power 90, they should move on to the P90X program and complete that. Only once they have completed the P90X and are very confident in their fitness should they attempt to do the Insanity Workout. It’s just that tough!

If you’ve been hitting the gym for a few years and are confident in your fitness, the Insanity Workout may be the one for you.

workout calendar

The Workout Calendar & Routines

When you receive the Insanity program, the first thing to look at is the Workout Calendar, a one-page PDF file that tells you exactly how the program is structured.

Essentially, it’s divided into 2-week cycles, with a Recovery Week between the first and second months.

Here’s how you are to work out:

Month 1:

Day 1: Fit Test

Day 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

Day 3: Cardio Power and Resistance

Day 4: Cardio Recovery

Day 5: Pure Cardio

Day 6: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

Day 7: Rest

Day 8: Cardio Power and Resistance

Day 9: Pure Cardio

Day 10: Plyometric Cardio Circuit

Day 11: Cardio Recovery

Day 12: Cardio Power and Resistance

Day 13: Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs

Day 14: Rest

Repeat this cycle twice, and you’ve come to the end of the first month.

Recovery Week

During this 7-day “recovery” period, don’t expect to take a break. The name is misleading, as you will still be doing a pretty tough workout: The Core Cardio and Balance video.

Month 2

This month is all about getting the insane results you want, so prepare for some extremely high intensity workouts!

Day 1: Fit Test & Max Interval Circuit

Day 2: Max Interval Plyo

Day 3: Max Cardio Conditioning

Day 4: Max Recovery

Day 5: Max Interval Circuit

Day 6: Max Interval Plyo

Day 7: Rest

Day 8: Max Cardio Conditioning

Day 9: Max Interval Circuit

Day 10: Max Interval Plyo

Day 11: Max Recovery

Day 12: Max Cardio Conditioning and Cardio Abs

Day 13: Core Cardio and Balance

Day 14: Rest

Repeat this 14-day cycle again, and you will have come to the end of the second month and the 60-day program.


The Workouts

Let’s take a look at the workouts used in the Insanity program. Prepare for high-intensity training the like of which you will find nowhere outside of a CrossFit gym, perhaps.

Dig Deeper

This is a pre-workout video designed to help you understand a bit more about the program. It gives you tips to help you survive the high intensity workouts, and gives pointers and instructions on how to do the exercises properly. It’s a 4-minute video welcoming you to the workout program, and giving you a taste of the suffering you will be put through!

Fit Test

This one is meant to test your fitness level, to help you understand just how intense this program is going to be. The exercises are grueling, and they’re all centered around doing high intensity cardio/bodyweight training workouts.

You do horrible exercises such as:

  • Push-up Jacks — A wicked combination of pushups and jumping jacks.
  • Burpees — Satan’s own high intensity cardio/bodyweight exercise.
  • Switch Kicks — Martial arts-style jump kicks that set your heart pumping by the end of the 60 seconds.

Truly, this is a workout that will punish you, and it’s the easiest one of the lot!

Plyometric Cardio Circuit

This video is filled with plyometric cardio exercises. Plyometric exercises use multiple muscles in the same movement, targeting both the upper and lower body at the same time. Add heavy cardio workouts, and you’re in for a treat!

Exercises in this video include:

  • High Knees — High intensity exercise running in place bringing the knees to your chest.
  • Power Squats — Fast-paced squats mixed with jumping jacks.
  • In-Out-Abs — Burpees combined with plank holds.

The workouts are going to push your body like nothing else, and you’ll feel like a million bucks when you’re done!

Cardio Power and Resistance

This video focuses on improving your body’s ability to send oxygen to your muscles as you push your cardiovascular system to its limits of endurance. It focuses on building muscles as well as increasing cardio abilities.

Some of the exercises in this video include:

  • Butt Kicks — A great warm-up of running in place and kicking your butt with your heels.
  • Twist Position — A Yoga poses that stretches while working the thighs and core.
  • Belt Kicks — Front kicks combined with squats.

Prepare for heavy breathing and high intensity training!

Cardio Recovery

Just because the word “recovery” is in this workout, that doesn’t mean you actually get to take a break. The workout isn’t the same high intensity training you’ve been suffering through for the last few days, but it’s slow, muscle-burning workouts that are no less difficult.

This workout includes exercises like:

  • Slow squats — Squatting far more slowly than you would in a regular workout–added muscle burn.
  • Static Lunges — Also done far too slowly.
  • Mule kicks — A martial arts exercise to strengthen the glutes and quad.

It may not be high energy, but it’s no less draining for your muscles!

Pure Cardio

Prepare your lungs and heart for serious suffering! This workout is all about pushing your cardio system to its limits, and you’ll rarely stop moving as you do the myriad exercises. It’s about speed, moving quickly, and NEVER RESTING!

The punishing workouts in this video include:

  • High speed jumping jacks — Regular jumping jacks, but at twice the speed.
  • Heisman — A classic Power 90 and P90X movement for cardio/leg strength.
  • Stance Jacks — Toe-touching mixed with jumping jacks and low squats

You will not recover from this workout for at least an hour!

Cardio Abs

This video is a combination of an abs workout and a regular Insanity HIIT cardio workout. The focus of every exercise is your core, but you’re jumping, running, leaping, and moving every single second of the high intensity video.

Some of the torture you will endure will include:

  • Tuck jumps — High jumps where you bring your knees to your chest while in the air.
  • A-Frame Ab Twists — A modified version of Russian Twists, but the arms stay over the head.
  • Single leg raises — Lifting your legs one at a time to shred your abs.

This is an INTENSE workout that will leave your abs quivering and complaining!

Core Cardio and Balance

If you need to give your core some extra attention, this is the video you will do. Every one of the exercises targets not just your abs, but also your back and oblique muscles. You’ll find your body shakes and sweats through the entire 45 minute-training video, and you’ll feel like an exhausted champion when you’re done.

You’ll do exercises like:

  • Football shuffles — A classic football workout involving quick shuffling from side to side.
  • Moving ski hops — Side to side hops with your feet together–amazing for core!
  • Moving plank walks — Moving from side to side, but in the plank position.

Prepare for agony!

The Max Videos

The videos listed above were the ones done in the first month of training, but the ones you’ll do in Month 2 all have the word “Max” before their names. If you think you were pushed hard in Month 1, you ain’t seen nothing yet, son!

  • Max Interval Circuit targets your entire body, working out your muscles in a circuit to enable you to go from one movement to another without tiring too quickly.
  • Max Interval Plyo doubles down on the plyometric movements, working both upper and lower body with each exercise.
  • Max Cardio Conditioning pushes your heart and lungs even harder, ensuring that you have far more cardio power than before.
  • Max Recovery may seem easier, but it’s the same slow, incredibly difficult workout–just with tougher exercises!
  • Insane Abs makes you wish you were doing Cardio Abs again. Prepare for abdominal agony!
  • Max Interval Sports Training is for athletes trying to improve their conditioning for a specific sport.

All of these videos are far more hardcore, and you’re going to be so glad when Month 2 is done. However, you’ll also be supremely fit at the end of the 60-day program.

What We Think of the Insanity Workout

If you are serious about getting amazingly fit, Insanity is a workout program that you can aspire to one day hope to think about completing. It’s incredibly tough, and you’ll find that it’s a workout program that only the most in-shape people should try.

That being said, it’s totally awesome!

We’re Not Too Fond Of:

  • The music. It’s loud, it’s blaring, and it’s kind of annoying after a while. But that’s the way of things after doing any workout video over and over.
  • The difficulty. The fact that it’s so hard means that not just anyone can do it. Even the P90X program is a bit too hard for your average newbie, but Insanity is designed for only the fittest. It’s like CrossFit, but even harder and with longer workouts. You’re basically jumping around and sweating buckets for 45 minutes of sheer agony.

We Love:

  • The difficulty. Conflicting answers, right? The fact that it’s so difficult means you’re going to have to push yourself as hard as you possibly can just to keep up with the workout. You will be kicking your own butt to work out to the max, and you’ll love every single minute of the workout no matter how much you hate it. It’s a program GUARANTEED to get you in shape if you do it right.
  • The energy. No namby-pamby wussy program here, but it’s only for those high-energy folks who are ready to compete with themselves. The fact that you’re working alongside the dozen or so people in the video–each of which are pushing themselves as hard as you are–makes it a great workout for those who need the energy of others to keep up the pace.
  • The completeness. You can’t deny just how complete the workouts are. You work out every muscle in your body, and some you didn’t even know you had! You’ll find your core is much harder and stronger than it was before, as every one of the workouts does some serious core shredding. But, come the end of the program, you will be much stronger and fitter thanks to the complete workout.
  • The simplicity. All you have to do is follow the trainer’s instructions, and you’ll get through the workout–if only barely alive. It’s a no-brainer program, and all you have to do is show up and be ready to push yourself to your limits and beyond.


The only reason I can’t give it 5 stars is because it’s not a program that just anyone can do. It’s designed with only the fitness elite in mind, so it’s not your Average Joe workout. However, everything else about it is excellent, so it deserves a very high rating in my books!

Final Verdict: 4 stars

About the Author Helen Sanders

Chief editor here at Health Ambition, I'm a proud mother of two passionate about nutrition and ways to live healthier with more energy!

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