Finally, Part 2 of my review! (It’s been a very busy last month and so I’ve had to keep putting this aside to do in the past weeks)
I started the 60 day Insanity program on August 5th and completed it on October 5th, doing my final Fit Test on October 7th, and the results are in!
In Part 1 of my review, I covered only the first 2 weeks of the program, which was a good introduction on what to expect from carrying out the grueling 6 day-a-week fitness regime that was to continue on for another month-and-a-half more. I have to say that it took a lot of discipline to get the workouts in every day, with almost no fail (I only skipped 2 days, due to a bad head cold, but mostly made up for it later on in the week), and I commend anyone else who has a busy life who has made the time and effort to complete what is known to be the most difficult DVD workout program out there. But having discipline is essentially the single key to completing this program. And as I said before, there is pretty much no way you cannot be successful at this program as long as you complete it.
Here’s a look at the calendar (which comes with the DVDs) that I dutifully followed every day for 2 months:
The insane Insanity regime.
So after completing Month 1, I was “treated” to the “Recovery Week”, which entailed following the same 37 minute “Core Cardio and Balance” DVD every day. You would think you would really get a break from during the workouts on this week, but I would say that it was only marginally easier than the preceding month, and I find that the “Core Cardio and Balance” workout is still a fantastically challenging session that will still leaving you sweating. (and I actually continue to use this particular workout now when I want a short, but effective exercise session)
The purpose of this week of “recovery” was to give the body somewhat of a rest from what had been a month of extremely hard work. It could be described as the calm before the outrageous storm that was to come in Month 2!
In Month 2, you move on to the 2nd half of DVDs included in the set, which make the workouts from Month 1 seem simple, premature and benign. This is to say that the program in Month 2 is 100% more hardcore!! Whereas Month 1’s workouts averaged at about 40 minutes long (that is, 40 minutes of torture), the different workouts in Month 2 average from 48-59 minutes each. So, minus the warm up and cool down components, instead of doing 20 minutes of intense non-stop exercises, you’re doing about 40 minutes instead – which means 20 more minutes of jumping, punching, push upping, and, especially, dripping more sweat than you had ever imagined was possible. But, it IS possible, and the elongated workouts suddenly become the norm and you wonder why you even did the Month 1 workouts before, which now seem silly and ineffective in retrospect.
The extended Month 2 workouts throughout the week are simply a longer and harder version of Month 1’s workouts. After all, by now your bi-weekly Fit Tests have proven that your level of fitness has been progressing, so it’s time to step it up and challenge yourself even more, to the max! (hence the preceding “Max” in the title of each of Month 2’s DVDs) Month 2’s workouts also include a variety of new exercises, most building upon ones that you’ve already grown accustomed to carrying out for the prior 5 weeks, so the bridging is a natural transition, and the new moves also mix up the sessions to maintain your interest. Even the music played during the sessions changes up a bit as well! And, notably for Month 2, at the end of your 48 or 55 or 59 minute hard core session, you feel that much more accomplished, having completed a workout so strenuous and taxing that you have your doubts in your abilities while you are doing it – but as long as you keep pushing, keep motivated, and just keep going, you know that you’ll eventually reach the end of the session to allow yourself that grandiose moment of self-praise at the end when Shaun T. proclaims “You did it!” (and while your DVD workout companions are aptly passed out flat on the floor).
Yes, these workouts in Month 2 are extremely strenuous and taxing on the body, so much so that I found myself to be injured for the whole last 3 weeks of the 2nd month, with a pulled shin muscle, a sprained ankle, and what felt like a dislocated shoulder (from all the vigorous punching movements involved). And the problem was that due to the stringent Monday to Saturday schedule of the program, with only Sundays off for rest, there weren’t enough days to recover the body from my injuries. This meant that for those last three weeks of the program, I was in constant pain, and continuously injured, and had to modify my movements as well, since I could barely jump at all when the exercises called for it.
The lack of recovery time in Insanity is a criticism I heard from a co-worker of mine as well who is familiar with the program, and this is an issue that should be taken note of when carrying it out. I chose to continue pushing myself every day, definitely toning down the intensity of some of my movements (the jumping), because I had to, but still working to my utmost maximum intensity so that I could reap the benefits (make progress) in the program as much as possible before it ended. I was determined to finish it, and I did!
Here are my results from each of the 5 scheduled Fit Tests that I did throughout. While the amount of progress in the latter tests sometimes wavered and even declined a bit (remember, my injuries), note the overall progress of results from the Day 1 test as compared to the final Day 60 test!
|Push Up Jacks
|Low Plank Oblique
The Fit Test exercises.
The results don’t lie, and clearly indicate the increase of my overall fitness level from Day 1 to Day 60. So from this perspective, I have to say that I am rightfully impressed with the impact of the program. Shaun T. has designed a program that is guaranteed to greatly step up your fitness levels, as long as you abide by it and just try your hardest. You need not be as fit and ripped as your fellow workout classmates on the DVD (or even fit or ripped at all) to get results. From doing this 60 day program, I can say that I am now fitter than I ever have been in my life, and that’s been a lifetime of ongoing exercise since I was 13 years old. As a naturally “unfit” person, I now feel empowered to carry out intensive body moves that I had not delved into much before. They are now the norm for my fitness routine as, one month later, I am still doing the Insanity workouts as part of my regular workout program – just for fun! (and for its effectiveness, too!)
However, I should address the issue of weight loss, since it seems that most people lose a great amount of weight on this program. I, however, did not. (surprise, surprise) As I had mentioned in Part 1 of this review, in the first 2 weeks, I merely maintained my weight throughout the program (but at least wasn’t gaining), and this continued throughout the rest of the program until I entered my 5th week and suddenly had no appetite (not related to doing Insanity, I’m sure), and so entered an involuntary 2 week fast, which mostly continued for a 3rd week as well, after my appetite had returned. It was only during this time that I began to lose weight, and dropped 9lbs and then gained back 1 in that first week of fasting, for a net weight loss of 8lbs, which I kept off after the program ended. I am certain this weight wouldn’t have come off if I had been eating during this time, so I definitely do not credit the exercise program for loss of pounds!
Whereas I didn’t notice much (or any) weight loss from doing the program, I did experience some marginal changes in my girth measurements of various body parts, which I took at the beginning and at the end of completing the program. These were my results:
Waist: loss of 1.25″
Hips: loss of 1″
Right thigh: no change
Left thigh: loss of 0.6″
Chest: loss of 1.25″
Right bicep: loss of 1/8″
Left bicep: loss of 1.12″
Right shoulder: gain of 1/4″
Left shoulder: gain of 1″
Neck: loss of 1/8″
Also, shortly after I finished the program, I went out for my first run in over 2 months, and it felt great! But of note is that when I checked my working heart rate, I noticed that it had gone down by 12 to 18 beats per minute, and this decrease in bpm (and thus increase in cardiovascular fitness) has maintained itself since then, I’ve noticed. This change is significant for me, since my bpm had been consistently at 180 for the last few years, and 192 all my life before that. Wow, is all I can say!
One more thing that I want to note in this review is that while my Fit Test results largely improved from the first day to the last (meaning that I could do a lot more repetitions of the different exercises in the last part of the program compared to the first day), and while I become noticeably stronger and faster, I never did notice that the laborious exercises ever became easier – and I don’t think that they are supposed to! You can see the über-fit classmates struggling hard on the DVD, having to take frequent breaks, and even Shaun T. can’t do the full repetitions of many of his own exercises! So the challenge continues, and this is why I continue to follow the DVD workouts in my now “post-Insanity” regime. I’ve completed the 60 day program and am better for it, but there is always more that I can achieve, and I will still keep doing these workouts for awhile longer yet, until my next new challenge is to come. (I am aiming for P90X!)