Review: Insanity DVD Workout Program – Part 1 (Days 1-16)


How insane are you?

I’m always looking for ways to push my physical limits in order to achieve maximum fitness levels, and tackling the Insanity workout program has been on my bucket list for awhile now. It is touted as “the hardest workout ever put on DVD”, and also one of the most effective in achieving results of weight loss and accelerated fitness (along with P90X). The intensity of the workouts and its no nonsense approach have always been particularly appealing to me, and I wanted something that was going to promise results with a lot of hard work.

I don’t mind sweating for the prize at the end of the rainbow, and, in fact, I thrive off seeing results after you know you’ve worked your hardest. So this seems to be a great program for me and for anyone else who is willing to push themselves to their limits and beyond in order to achieve success, no matter how painful or inconvenient the process will be. This is just another challenge for me in the big picture that is known as “life”, and one of the most arduous daily physical demands I have ever faced.

The Insanity program is a 60 day prescription that involves knocking out daily workouts from Monday to Saturday with a day of rest every Sunday. That might sound really grueling, but every Thursday is also somewhat of a “rest” day (aka “Cardio Recovery”), where the workout follows a routine akin to a yoga session, so it splits the high intensity workout week into a psychologically manageable half. The sessions are led by trainer “Shaun T”, a super motivational guy whose never ending barks of enthusiasm are being etched into my mind everyday of this ongoing adventure. When I turn on the DVD and hear him yell at me to “dig deeper!”, I am reminded that this is what the program is truly all about – to do your own personal best and go beyond, whatever that means to you.

For each day of the first month, you follow a different workout DVD, specified from: the Fit Test, the Plyometric Cardio Circuit, Cardio Power & Resistance, Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs, and, as I said, Cardio Recovery. (the 2nd month follows a whole new set of workouts, but I’ll cover that when I get there) Each cardio workout in its entirety ranges from 38-41 minutes, with the exception of doing Pure Cardio (38 mins) and Cardio Abs (16 mins) in the same day, which starts occurring in the 2nd week. And each day’s 40-ish minute cardio workout starts off with an 8-10 minute cardio warm-up, followed by about 7 minutes of stretching, followed by 15-20-ish minutes of hardcore intense activity, followed by a 3-7 minute cool down stretch. When you see it broken down into these 4 segments, the workout seems much more attainable, rather than thinking about it as one big challenge.

These sessions are designed to get you into your best shape in all aspects of fitness, from cardiovascular health, to flexibility, to core strength and muscular development of the limbs, and I like this ‘all-round’ approach to the program, which focuses on what is called “maximum interval training”, as opposed to just regular interval training where you are doing intense exercises for shorter periods of time. Maximum interval training works you out at an intense level for a longer duration of time with only brief 30 second breaks between intervals.

What I also like about the program is that each day’s workout is short (only about 40 minutes), and you can do it in the convenience of your own home. I use floor space in my living room that measures about 1.5 metres squared, and this is all the space you need to carry out a myriad of different circuit exercises that involve all kinds of quick jumping, kicking and bending movements (many sports drills), plus many calisthenic exercises such as push-ups in various forms. You’re really getting an amazing workout here that doesn’t only make your body pour with sweat to burn calories, but is also working on your fitness levels overall! Just into the first week of the program, I could already see that there is no way that a person can do Insanity without improving his/her fitness levels, and this was proven with my Fit Test results from Days 1 and 15.

I don’t consider myself to be a super fit person (which is why I am doing this program), but I would consider myself to be “moderately” fit, since I incorporate a lot of exercise into my lifestyle already and have for many years. Being “moderately” fit, I may not be doing every exercise (or most exercises) in its perfect form or as fast as the fellow classmates on the DVD do (who are all outrageously fit, by the way), but I am still working my hardest and my heart rate is up where it should be, and there is sweat constantly dripping from every part of my body, and that is really all it takes to do what you need to do to achieve results on this program.

The first week of the program was really hard on my body – total soreness after the 1st and 2nd days, and by the time I got to my last workout of the week, my calves were so incredibly sore and tight, I could barely walk for a few days! This was the conditioning I needed, however, to prepare my body to get used to this daily event, which I actually mostly look forward to conquering every day. And into the second week, the complete muscle soreness was gone and my body is now acclimating to the new levels of activity it is taking on.

Weight loss is probably a main reason why most people do this program. If you look online for peoples’ results, you’ll see that weight losses of 30lbs or more on this 2 month program seem to be the norm. So I thought that maybe this program could provide the key to unlock my own process of doing something for effective weight loss. I thought that because I had never done an all-round fitness program such as this one, which works on improving your core fitness (and thus speeding up your metabolism), as opposed to just burning calories from a workout, that maybe I would experience some amazing weight loss results as well. However, on Day 16 here, this has not yet proven to be the case. I have basically stayed within the same 2lb range as what I started off as 16 days ago, and as of yesterday, my weight is exactly 0.6lbs less than Day 1 of the program, which really is no change at all.

But…. the real results lie in the comparison of my Fit Test that is done every 2 weeks on the program. The Fit Test comprises of doing 8 different exercises as fast as you can for 1 minute each, and then counting how many repetitions you accomplished. Here are the results from my first 2 Fit Tests, which speak for themselves!

Day 1 Day 15
Switch Kicks 134 137
Power Jacks 50 49
Power Knees 71 83
Power Jumps 32 40
Globe Jumps 28 35
Suicide Jumps 13 16
Push Up Jacks 27 30
Low Plank Oblique 33 50

While power jacks are not my forté because they put stress on my damaged knees, you can see here that a moderate amount of improvement in all the other exercises, in only the first 2 weeks, has taken place! I compared these results to that of another person who wrote a review online, and hers were similar as well. I am really looking forward to my next Fit Test in 2 more weeks! I thrive on seeing measurable results like these.

One thing to note is that while you only need about one hour in your day for each day’s workout (and that includes time for getting motivated, putting on your workout gear, and putting the dvd into the tv), this may prove a little bit difficult if you have certain days of the week where you just don’t really have time at all, which is what my Fridays are like for me – they’re a day that I normally take off from exercise. But because I totally want to do this program by the book and not skip a single workout (that’s 6 days a week for 60 days straight!), this just means getting up earlier in the day to quickly squeeze in that Insanity session. And yes, scheduling in the workouts may take some creativity and discipline, but it is totally worth it, and you know that after your 40 minutes are over and you feel so much more invigorated in life than you had 40 minutes before!

I’m sure I’ll have more to add in my next report about the program, coming up in a few weeks! If you have any questions about the program, let me know, and I’ll address them next time.

Check out a short video about the program here, so you can watch the moves in action. As one of the participants in this segment says, “This ain’t for everybody, but if you’re a masochist, bring it!”

Click here for Review: Insanity DVD Workout Program – Part 2 (Days 17-60).

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