INSANITY! (Part 1: The Gospel According to the Guy Who Brought You Hip Hop Abs)


Hey Gang. Beachbody (the guys who brought you P90X and Tony Horton) have put out a new 60-day work out series called Insanity, starring the young, urban and slightly lispy Shaun T. It’s advertised as possibly the hardest workout series ever put out onto DVD, but those are their words, not ours. Over the next 60 days, I’ll tell you how it goes.

Since there are twelve workouts, I’m going to do this in twelve or thirteen parts, but I’m going to try to make them super short. I will also attempt to use a lot more esoteric work-out lingo, like “Max Interval Training,” which you can picture being said out loud in a deep baritone voice while I type slowly with only my index fingers.

INTRODUCTION: The Gospel According to the Guy Who Brought You Hip Hop Abs

Insanity comes in a giant, intimidating coffee-table book, which gives it a powerful prowess that lasts until you turn the pages and realize there are only five of them, and what you are holding could easily be mistaken for a giant children’s picture book. The main design scheme of all the materials is based on large puddles of unrecognizable liquids on gym mats, which presumably foreshadows the variety of unrecognizable bodily fluids that will be coming out of you during the workouts. In all the puddles are blood-orange pictures of people jumping with very intense looks on their faces.

Everything points to Insanity being something aimed at the modern “young crowd” of people in their late 20s and 30s who expect their workout to be more “extreme” than any ever done before. Just by looking at the packaging material alone, Tony Horton’s P90X workouts somehow don’t seem so extreme. I think we’re only a few Beachbody workouts away from having our DVD collections show up in steel, riveted cases wrapped in barbed wire. However, don’t think I’m knocking this workout program as not living up to its “extreme” name. On that front, Beachbody has always delivered, and I don’t see them stopping now.

In it are twelve DVDs, most of which have names like “Plyometric Cardio Circuit,” “Max Interval Circuit” and “Cardio Power and Resistance” which all start to blur together when you look at your workout schedule. There’s also a big wall calendar for you to “X” off your workouts, which is nice, and a DVD fit test, which you are supposed to take several times during the 2 months to measure your progress. I wish P90X had both of these, and I hope it gets enough positive feedback that they become a staple in future workout DVD series. There’s also a (surprise) nutrition guide, who’s main goal is only to remind people that (1) you won’t look good no matter how many push-ups you do if you live off of bacon and french fries, and (2) working out this hard requires way more protein and vitamins than you would ever imagine yourself ingesting. From a quick glance, it already looks a lot simpler than the P90X nutrition guide, which required lab experience at NASA to execute properly.

Beachbody makes sure none of its exercise programs clash, and each one has a unique take: Insanity’s is that it has no weights involved, and it’s mainly cardio-based. This means it’s made for producing lean-muscles, not big muscles, and a very healthy heart and lungs. Since I’ve been doing a lot of P90X to build mass (what, you don’t see it?) I’m going to try to add some simple wight lifting after my workouts. Just so you know, when I discuss results.

Otherwise, I’m off to test my sanity.

10 responses to “INSANITY! (Part 1: The Gospel According to the Guy Who Brought You Hip Hop Abs)”

  1. It was too much for me and I only made it about three weeks. But I do like the workouts individually and I still throw them into my workout rotation for cardio days. But doing them every day kicked my ass in a bad way.

  2. The first time I tried this workout was after P90x Doubles, which added (unwanted) mass. I thought the extra cardio sans weights would be a nice change. Of course the first couple warm-ups kick your ass (I’ve heard of some friends getting sick even?!) but overall it was a good month of Insanity workouts. I too wussed out with travels picking up, but more importantly the workouts lacked the precision I’d come to love about P90x.

    I feel like the people behind Mr. Shaun T might pull a hammy or roll an ankle with their wild movements and little direction from Shaun. So I am going to try again, keeping precision and awareness of what muscles I’m using as my own personal goal. As for the ” large puddles of unrecognizable liquids,” well I’m afraid they’re quite accurate depictions =)

    (Bring it!)

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