program review: Insanity

program review: Insanity

Throughout my everyday life as a personal trainer, I am often asked about the latest trends in the fitness industry. I must say that the most frequent question I have been receiving of late is “What do you think about the Insanity program?”

For general background, Insanity is a series of ten DVDs that can be performed in the comfort of your home. The workouts consist of plyometrics (explosive, jumping movements), resistance training, core strengthening, and abdominal training. It is a two month program.

Insanity, workout, fitness, high-intensity

this member of the Marine Corps is in the middle of an Insanity workout. you will sweat buckets. photo credit: Lance Cpl. Reece E. Lodder

In my humble opinion, there are many benefits to Insanity:

  • No equipment required! In similar programs, such as P90X, resistance bands/free weights/pull-up bars are necessary. With Insanity all you need is your own body.
  • Minimal boredom. The rotating series of DVDs keeps workouts fresh over the two month period. I’m not going to lie though, most of the workouts revolve around very similar jumping exercises, so you may be repeating moves quite often.
  • Improved agility. The extensive amount of plyometrics and strength intervals will undoubtedly help develop your balance and agility.
  • Bone-density building, thanks to explosive plyometrics.

Gotta play devil’s advocate here and list some of the downfalls to this program:

  • You must be somewhat conditioned to successfully complete these workouts. It would be dangerous to throw a sedentary person with very little exercise experience into this program, as it is a high-intensity regimen. If you are absolutely certain you want to do Insanity, I would suggest building up a solid fitness base before even opening the DVDs.
  • Form is key! Performing these advanced moves with bad form could result in a serious injury.
  • Discipline is required. You must be self-motivated to work out in your home each day. I admit that for myself, working out at home can be quite distracting with emails, Facebook, and Twitter!
  • If you are looking to gain muscle size or “get big” as many guys so eloquently describe, this isn’t the program for you. Insanity is cardiovascular-based with some body-weight exercises, but there is no heavy lifting.

In summary, I believe that Insanity is a good program to start if you are relatively conditioned and looking to lose weight, break out of a plateau, gain cardiovascular strength, or become a more agile athlete. If you think this program is for you, give it a try—and make sure to move any furniture or sharp objects out of the way!

If any of you out there have completed the Insanity program, I’d love to hear your opinions and see before and after photos!

photo credit: Lance Cpl. Reece E. Lodder | Wikimedia Commons