Insanity – Should You Give it a Try?

people in insanity classPerhaps you’ve heard of the popular cardio-based, total-body conditioning program created by Shawn T. – it’s called “INSANITY” and it’s based on the principles of what he calls MAX training.

Most people who give Insanity a try feel it pushes them to new training heights, which can mean more calories burned, faster results and a more efficient metabolism. But is it for you?

What is this Insanity?

At its foundation, Insanity is a high intensity interval training (HIIT) routine which alternates between short, intense exercises and slightly less intense recovery periods. Creator Shaun T. has amplified this concept with “MAX” Interval Training, based cycles of 3 minutes of high intensity activity followed by about 30 seconds of recovery, repeated again and again.

Insanity is designed to elevate your heart rate and keep it going while you also strengthen your major muscle groups with a core set of compound body weight exercises like squats and lunges. This helps you burn fat as you tackle other exercise combinations ranging from push-ups on the floor, to jumps in the air, and ab work in-between.

And as if that weren’t enough, you’ll also encounter stretching/flexibility work, plank work on your hands and feet, and even yoga poses during your Insanity workouts.

What to Expect

Fat and Calorie Burning: Promoters of Insanity workouts have said you might burn as many as 400 – 1000 calories in a workout. Your own burn will vary according to your body size and fitness level, but there’s one indicator that you’re working really hard—you can expect to sweat. A lot.

Muscle Definition Work: Insanity workouts are not really for bulking up. Regular participation can definitely lead to some muscle growth, the primary focus is strength and endurance. With Insanity, you’re going for that strong athletic look—think NBA player.

Strength Building: Exercises like push-ups and squats (expect to do a lot of them), along with a lot of core work, will build strength in your chest, triceps, legs and abs. There is also some power work in the form of plyometrics (jumping)—that’s for strength,

Endurance Building: There’s no denying, Insanity is a cardio extravaganza. With regular workouts, you can expect to strengthen your cardiovascular system and increase your muscle endurance, too.

Is Insanity for You?

If you’re looking for a tough, all-around workout that will address a wide range of fitness and conditioning goals, this group fitness class is an excellent choice! Just a few considerations you should be aware of, in case you need to work around them:

  • If you’re a beginner, you might find this class a bit too intense. It will be helpful if you can get through about 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise before you start Insanity.
  • Let your instructor know if you’re new to the class, and be sure to pay attention to your body, so you can take it down a notch if needed. You’ll start to feel improved capabilities with regular attendance, but as always, your form will matter especially at this pace of exercise.
  • This class may not be the best choice for people with serious heart or health conditions. It’s very hard work, so if you’re at all health-compromised, let us recommend an alternative workout to help you get the results you’re seeking.
  • This class may not be the best choice for serious joint health issues, such as arthritis or previous injuries, due to the plyometrics especially. You might find this class to be extra tough on your knees. If so, let us recommend an alternative workout to help you get the results you’re seeking.

Interested? Check out your gym’s group fitness schedule to see when the next Insanity class is available!

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