Beachbody Insanity – Does the Program Live Up to the Name?


Insanity® is part of the exercise offerings from Beachbody®, creator and marketer of several popular in-home fitness and weight loss programs. Their titles include P90X®, Turbo Jam®, Hip Hop Abs®, Yoga Booty Ballet®, ChaLEAN Extreme® and several others. offers a 30-day money back guarantee on Insanity for a base price of $120. The additional shipping fee of $25 is non-refundable. There are secondary outlets that offer the product (new and used) at a lower rate, but the buyer may lose the money-back feature. There have also been some complaints with disc quality and content from the secondary market, possibly from unauthorized reproduction; buyers should research the seller and their guarantees before choosing a route that could save a few dollars.

While some infomercial-based merchandise lacks quality, Insanity is an excellent product. The DVDs are superior multi-media productions, featuring motivating, high-energy music. There is also a simple function to turn the music off.


fitness2xtreme-images-star-rankings-stars-insanityReviews of the program on are overwhelmingly favorable. Of the 631 responses, 85% gave it a four- or five-star review. Including three stars, 92% of purchasers were pleased with the product and supplier.

The negative results were primarily written by individuals that had difficulties with the exercises.

They warn that users with joint issues, particularly knees and shoulders, will struggle with the program. Most of them would still recommend Insanity to individuals in decent physical health without joint concerns.

It may seem like an odd name for an exercise program, but Insanity certainly delivers on the title’s promise. The workouts are insanely challenging. For most individuals they are enjoyable, which also seems a bit insane. Most important, the results are insanely good.

Core Principles

A major key to Insanity is the personal trainer, Shaun T.

Participants rave about his motivational skills, saying he is “awesome” and in insane shape…pun likely intended. He provides instruction on proper form and techniques while keeping viewers engaged in the exercise program.

Insanity is different from the other Beachbody’s offerings. It is a high-energy workout that focuses on plyometric drills commonly used by competitive athletes.

Plyometrics, or “plyos”, is a form of training that relies on fast, powerful movements. Plyometric movements are considered explosive, with muscle groups being loaded and contracted rapidly. This builds strength and elasticity of the muscles, generally with the purpose of improving one’s performance relative to jumping, running, kicking, hitting or throwing. It produces leaner muscles and aids in fat-burning, yielding an overall improved physique.


The program is divided into two 30-day segments. The first 30-days offer six different workouts, mostly in the 30- to 35-minute range. This period helps build cardiovascular health and certainly burns off the fat.

The duration of workouts increases over the second month. Building on improved cardio endurance from month one, the last four sessions range from 45 minutes to about an hour long. Users are continually moving and the fat loss and improved muscle definition become evident. The “highlights” feature a 40-minute “pure cardio” session and some intense abdominal work.

Insanity claims to flip traditional interval training on its head. Instead of allowing breaks for muscles to recover between weight-bearing exercises, Insanity utilizes long bursts of maximum-intensity exercise with short periods of rest. Muscle groups are torn down during the process, but then get stronger as they are re-built. This process creates a higher metabolism, extending fat consumption and minimizing the need to maintain a pulse in the “fat burning zone.”

One big advantage of Insanity is that plyometrics eliminate the need for bulky equipment. Participants focus on strengthening their core, arms and legs with intense, explosive movements, not with weights. While a yoga mat and a heart rate monitor are recommended, the program comes with everything required…so long as the user has the will and motivation to use it.

Insanity features a lot of jumping, leaping, kicking, etc. No, it’s not the ballet, but it is important for potential users to consider…particularly those with knee concerns. Some users find the suggested accommodations allowed them to complete the training without issue, while others were not able to perform some of the exercises.

Beginners may also struggle with Insanity. While the program does assume a basic level of fitness, Shaun T stresses form over speed. He also includes modifications for most exercises, allowing most users to adjust the pace to fit their current state of health. Some participants will become quite familiar with the pause button on their DVD remote, but with patience and dedication, most individuals can make it through the routines.

“I tried Turbo Jam and found it hard to adjust to my level. Insanity is so different and I’m so happy to not have dance moves. This is just PURE exercise. I haven’t used the music because I can keep at my own pace better that way.” –Sunny, Boise ID

Getting It Done

Workouts on 10 different DVDs comprise the Insanity program. Users generally do one per day, six days per week, creating a modest investment of their time:

1: Dig Deeper & Fit Test – Shaun T puts users through fitness testing to establish their base-point in the Fit Test. This routine also provides the basics of Insanity’s program so participants walk in with eyes-open. The Fit Test will be revisited every few weeks, allowing users to measure and chart their progress. (30 minutes)

2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit – Most users will find the fitness test to be challenging, but the first exercise disc really gets the blood pumping. This is primarily an intense lower-body plyometric routine, but it also provides an excellent cardiovascular workout to help burn the fat. The interval training will definitely make you sweat. (42 minutes)

3: Cardio Power & Resistance – Disc three introduces strength training and power moves. The goal is building body-defining lean muscle and upper-body definition via strength-training and power moves. There are frequent water breaks, allowing users to catch their breath and replenish the fluids escaping through sweat glands. (40 minutes)

4: Cardio Recovery – Once a week Shaun T decreases the Insanity, allowing muscles to recover from the prior week’s punishment. This is still a cardio workout, but lacks the intensity of the prior workouts. It allows muscles to calm down just in time to start another week. (33 minutes)

5: Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs – The titles say it all. Pure Cardio is a non-stop 40-minute workout that ignores the interval concept. Cardio Abs will hit the end of week-two, mixing cardio with intense core training to fire up the abdomen. This workout brings the meaning of explosive, both in the workout and the upcoming results. (60 minutes)

6: Core Cardio Balance – This workout is the bridge from month one to month two. After a seven minute warm up, Shaun T “kicks” it up…but not as much as what is coming in month-two. Consider this a needed break to prep for the fun that lies ahead. (37 minutes)

7: Max Interval Circuit & Fit Test – For most users, this interval fitness circuit will be the most intense training yet. Keep the remote handy and know where the “pause” button is located, as users are encouraged to keep proper form during the 60-minute cardio buster. Again, this is very intense and most participants will burn out without a few breaks. (86 minutes)

8: Max Interval Plyo – This disc comes in the second month is all about the legs. They will be pushed to anyone’s limits with plyometric and power moves. Fortunately the results from the first 30 days+ are showing, giving that added motivation to keep pressing. (55 minutes)

9: Max Cardio Conditioning & Cardio Abs – Max Cardio Conditioning is, oddly, all about the cardio. All the work leading up to this 50-minute workout is needed, as participants will be pushed to limits they didn’t realize they had. This time there are no planned breaks for water or for rest. Cardio Abs is another solid core workout that also gets the heart pounding. (65 minutes)

10: Max Recovery – Things back off a bit, helping users build strength with intense movement and stretching. This will also prep users to start the program again, but at a much higher base-point. (47 minutes)

In addition to the workout discs, Insanity comes with four additional tools:

  • Nutrition Plan: The highly-specialized diet isn’t required, but is highly recommended to help users properly fuel their bodies for their workouts. It provides 50 different recipes, broken down between months one and two. It will be a departure from the norm for most, as it encourages five meals a day to maximize fat burning.
  • The Fitness Guide is a short informational tool that summarizes the exercise program.
  • The Workout Calendar is also separated into the two different months. It allows participants to set goals, track progress and log workouts.
  • Online Support Tools are useful for motivation and staying on track. It includes peer support along with 24-hour access to fitness experts.
    • Alternatives

      fitness2xtreme-images-beachbody-comparison-insanity-vs-p90xThere are other intense exercise options on the market, P90X being one of the more popular competitors.

      It is a more varied program, focusing on muscle-confusion by changing exercises and muscle groups from day to day. It also uses resistance training in addition to isometrics. While Insanity’s primary goal is improving cardiovascular health and burning fat, P90X is focused on building muscle.

      One of the key questions asked about Insanity is if it is worth the money, time and effort. The answer is simple, yet complex…IT DEPENDS! One’s goals and expectations need to be considered, as Insanity isn’t for everyone. If the objective is to achieve a lean, “ripped” look, Insanity is a great tool…so long as the user is willing to put in the work. However, if the goal is to build muscle and bulk, a workout like P90X would be more appropriate.

      The key to any successful exercise program is consistency. If the program is too hard for the individual, failure is inevitable. Moderate exercise and a balanced diet might be enough for those that aren’t concerned about creating a rock-hard look. Individuals that are more passive may also find this program to be too strenuous. However, users in poor shape or with some health concerns can still benefit from the program:

      “I just finished my first month of insanity and I am seeing results already! I’ve gained muscle in my arms, and for a women, not too bad. I was extremely overweight, 230 lbs, and I’m still doing. Anyone can do it as long as you have the will to DIG DEEPER!” –DigDeeper, New Jersey

      Taking Action Today, NOT tomorrow

      As mentioned earlier, the rigors of Insanity could be too much for individuals with joint concerns, and one should always consult with their physician prior to beginning a new exercise regimen. This is where the money-back guarantee is important, allowing the buyer protection in the investment.

      The overall value is definitely there. A two-month membership in a gym or fitness center can cost as much as the price of the 60-day program, particularly when gas and time for the commute is equated. Given there is no additional equipment to purchase, and that Insanity can be continually repeated, the value is definitely there.

      Insanity definitely lives up to its self-proclaimed title. Shaun T makes it flexible enough so most individuals can complete the workouts, yet hard enough so that even he and those working out in the videos need occasional breaks. Most important, he supplies the motivation users need to stick with the program.

      Can You Do The Insanity Workout If You’re Out Of Shape?

Speak Your Mind