Insanity Workout Classes Review
Insane to Attend?
Some people think I am insane for even THINKING of attending an Insanity fitness class, after all, I am
retired, in my 60s and a granny, and Insanity seems to be aimed at fitness buffs, at least when you see the people training on the video! But I had heard of the Insanity DVD and was very curious about it, but was reluctant to buy it because (a), it might be too strenuous for me (b) I know that home workouts don't really suit me and (c) it is expensive and I wasn't prepared to pay out money for something I might not like. So when I heard that a local fitness instructor I knew was going to be offering Insanity classes weekly in our local centre, I jumped at the chance to go. I did wonder whether he would be prepared to accept me but he had no problem and told me he was insured - LOL. The classes started 6 weeks ago and I have attended each one.
So What is Insanity?
First of all, Insanity is a fitness workout that provides bursts of high intensity interval training with short rests in between. It is most definitely an intense program but you can work at your own pace and there are alternative exercises for anyone that can't manage any particular exercise. It is entirely based on body weight, there are NO pieces of equipment needed at all. Everything is based on your own body. The Insanity class I am attending is very close to the exercises you see on the DVD and by the end of each class I was sweating and probably pretty red in the face (the term "beetroot" may have been mentioned).
It is a full body workout heavily biased towards plyometric jumping drills and interval training with intense cardio. The plyometrics are why you need to be careful of your knees but so far, I have not had any problems. The kind of exercises I have been doing include "jumping the log", which means hopping from side to side (as if hopping over a log), landing first on your left foot, then your right, while lifting the other leg high (as if jumping over a log). Another one is squatting and boxing in front of you, as fast as you can (and if you don't think that is hard work - try it). There are also explosive vertical jumps from the squatting position and alternate arm planks - where you get into the full arm raise plank position then raise one arm out to the side for five seconds (or more), then the other arm. Think about doing those four exercises for 30 seconds each, standing for a rest for 10 seconds, then repeating the same exercises faster or more intensively, having another 10 second rest and doing them again, even faster. That is just one group of exercises. You get a 30 second rest and then start a different group of exercises.
Insanity gets your heart pumping and increases your metabolic rate so you can burn fat. The class I attend has three or four groups of exercises before the final stretches. It last about 45 minutes in all and is probably both the longest and shortest 45 minutes I know of! It passes in a flash but some of the exercises seem to last for ages.
Can Anyone Do Insanity?
Insanity is not for everyone. While I am an older person, I am still pretty active and have no joint or back problems. The exercises involve a lot of movement, including squats and jumping, so if you have any knee problems, you may need to consider carefully whether this class is for you. It can be quite hard on the knee joints and I take some of the exercises a bit more carefully than I might have a few years ago (or maybe if I weighed less!). It should also not be the first class you take up if you have been a couch potato or inactive for a long time. There is a LOT of cardio involved which will definitely rack up your endurance levels but again, if you have not been active for a while, you may be best to check with your medical adviser before starting. Having said that, the instructor in my class encourages everyone to take the class at their own level and says that he EXPECTS to see EVERYONE fail at some point, because that is the whole point of the class.
Do you attend an exercise class?
Here is a video of ShaunT, the inventor of "Insanity" together with a class of people taking an Insanity workout. You will note that they are working pretty hard but don't forget, I am a lot older than any of them and I work at my own pace - which you should also do. I have also heard that the people in the video worked out on the Insanity workout for several weeks before they started filming, so remember, they were already pretty fit.
Give us an Example of an Insanity Class
As I suggested at the start, some people thought I must be insane to even think of taking this class but being committed is definitely needed for taking this class. I attended my instructor's previous fitness classes and not having seen him for a while before he started up this class, I can definitely see a difference in him, he is leaner and fitter and he can do the program the whole way through, jumping higher than anyone else, as well as instructing over the music - which requires good breath!
Insanity is not some fitness miracle, it needs commitment and determination from you to attend classes (or do the workout at home) and you will get the results from the effort you put into it on a regular basis, same as anything in life. But if you work at it, you will definitely see results because it uses a different method of training, called max interval training - I think that's what he called it. You do a set of four exercises as a group and then repeat that group twice more, going harder each time - "digging deep" to get the most from each set of exercises. Then you get the short rest (and it is very short) and then you do a different set of four exercises, with three repetitions, getting harder each time. Some of the exercises are pure cardio, some are core strengthening exercises but they ALL work you hard. The instructor keeps reminding us that it is OK to take a break. I know I have to stop sometimes and some of the exercises I find a lot harder these days than when I was younger. I just have to accept that. But once you have had a short rest, you can just join back in with the rest of the exercise.
What do I not like about Insanity?
To be honest, I find the jumping jack exercises difficult, but that's because my bladder doesn't like them, not because I can't do them. I do the alternates for these, which don't give me as much of a workout but have less possibility of embarrassment! Funnily enough, some of the other jumping exercises do not give me the same problem because with those, you land with feet together. The other exercise I find difficult is the "burpee", which is where you stretch out in a plank exercise, then jump your feet towards your body, then back out again. Sometimes, it includes standing up between each foot jump. I either don't have sufficient flexibility or I am too overweight to bend much in the middle. I just do the best I can on these. I might find this exercise easier if I rested my hands on a bench.
How Tired Do You Get?
I work out as hard as I can. That does not mean I work as hard as everyone else - that would be crazy, considering I am giving some of them 30 or even 40 years - but as hard as I can, taking into account the fact that I do not want to wreck a knee, so I try to be aware of what I am doing and also follow the instructor's instructions about landing on both feet, not on tiptoe, etc, to avoid pulling the calf muscles. The following day, I am tired but it's an overall body tired, not any specific aches and pains anywhere. The same goes for another class participant, some years younger than me. But oddly enough, the younger ones complain of aching muscles the next day even though I don't see them working so much harder than me. But even aching muscles tell you that you have worked hard - some pain, lots of gain?
Do I HAVE to go to Classes?
You can get the Insanity Workouts on DVD, with a 60-day total body conditioning program by Shaun T the inventor of Insanity. The Insanity DVD also offers nutritional advice, if you want to get that "ripped" look. I may possibly buy this, now I know how enjoyable the program is, but my preferred method of getting exercise is at classes, so I will continue to attend the Insanity workout classes offered locally.