Insanity: The Ultimate Cardio Workout and Fitness DVD Programme.
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The Insanity Workout is a difficult workout, but the results are phenomenal. Complete set includes a nutrition guide, calendar to track your progress, and 10 intense DVDs. No exercise equipment is necessary, all you need is a little space and a big heart. You will receive: • Elite Nutrition Manual • Fitness Guide • Fit Test Tracker • Workout Calendar • 10 Insanity Workout DVDs: • 1: Dig Deeper & Fit Test: To start, Shaun T will put your body to the test and see what you're made of. • 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit: Burn fat with intervals of intense lower-body plyo and sweat-inducing cardio. • 3: Cardio Power & Resistance: Build lean muscle and upper-body definition with strength-training and insanity workout power moves. • 4: Cardio Recovery: Shaun T goes easier on you once a week so you're ready for the next Insanity Workout round. • 5: Pure Cardio & Abs: Skip the intervals-this nonstop cardio workout is all extreme. • 6: Cardio Abs: Do explosive intervals of cardio and core moves for rock-hard abs. • 7: Core Cardio & Balance: Take a break after month 1 of the Insanity workout and gear up for month 2 with this workout. • 8: Max Interval Circuit: The interval circuit that's more intense than anything you've ever done before. • 9: Max Interval Plyo: Push your legs 'til they beg for mercy with power and plyo, all at your MAX. • 10: Max Cardio Conditioning & Abs: Get pushed to your limit with this extreme cardio workout.
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Where to start? I knew instantly that I was going to get INSANITY the very first time I saw the infomercial - it's like it called to me! I had been doing Taebo and S.W.A.T. for a number of years, and more recently 30 Day Shred, so INSANITY was naturally next level.
Although I have been unable to complete all repetitions in the circuits, I'm not too bothered as the "superfits" on the DVDs also struggle - even Shaun T himself!
These workouts are not impossible (though it seems that way while you're doing them), they're just extremely challenging and if you can dig deeper and persevere, you will overcome and get amazing results. I can already see more AB definition and my glutes and arms are firmer.
The actual workouts are only approximately 15-20 minutes but they feel (much) longer due to the intensity of the circuits.
The leg lifts in the Cardio Abs are a killer, as is Cardio Recovery - do not be fooled into thinking otherwise! Shaun T says he's not trying to hurt me but it certainly feels that way sometimes.
The Elite Nutrition Guide is easily followed (YOU WILL NEED TO EAT TO GET THROUGH THESE WORKOUTS!!) as most foods are what I regularly eat, though not necessarily in the same combinations ie. Peanut butter and fruit jam on wholemeal bread with cottage cheese.
I'm mentally preparing for month 2 which I know will be difficult, however as with month 1, I will do my best and try to get better as I go along. INSANITY is very hard work and I'm loving my energy levels and the way my body is visibly changing.
BRING ON MONTH 2!!!
I've now completed insanity and am very pleased with results! I've posted my before & after photos and have sent off for my T shirt. I'm having the rest of this month off and will restart the madness next month.
I've completed another round of Insanity today and I look and feel fantastic! My results this time round are even more impressive as I've learnt to pace myself during the workouts, which enable me to get many more reps in. The satisfaction I get from ticking off the daily boxes is immense and I smugly wear my INSANITY t shirt (almost) everywhere.
I have been asked a few times if I go to the gym, and when I say "yes - my living room, 6 days a week", then follows: "6 days a week!! Are you training for a marathon??" No, I am not training for a marathon. This is my new WAY OF LIFE and I love it! I've adapted to the Elite Nutrition meal plans even when I'm not on Insanity as the meals are simple, nutritious and keeps me fuller for longer.
The workouts are still challenging and I still struggle with the double leg lifts in Cardio Abs and the side push up balances in Max Recovery.
If the full cost of Insanity is too much on the pocket in one go, [...] offers payment in instalments.
During the festivities, I'll be taking it easy with Pilates, yoga & Zumba, trying not to overindulge and will rev it up again come January 9th.
So if you think you're fit and/or looking for a new challenge, give Insanity a go. I. Dare. You.
We thought it might be useful to give a few hints and tips to anyone thinking about buying this. We will try to update this as we go through the next 8 weeks.
Before you start:
Go and see your doctor! Insanity advises this and, as a GP, I can reiterate this. This workout is high demand and potentially dangerous (or fatal) if your body is not up to it. Tell your GP that you are planning to do this and get him/her to check your blood pressure and listen to your heart and chest as a minimum. If you don't think you are up to it or your doctor advises against it then don't do it - there are plenty of less intense workout DVDs out there.
Buy some recovery formula. There are numerous brands available. Try to avoid the formulas that are purely carbohydrate as this is all sugars. Get one like Maxifuel Recovermax 750 g Orange Muscle Repair Drink Powder. This is what we are taking and it makes a huge difference as it is a mix of carbohydrate and protein allowing you to replace glycogen you have burned through the exercise and gives you protein to help the muscles recover. We tried without this the first couple days and regretted it. Your muscles are going to be sore but less so if you take this!
Get a heart rate monitor like this (Beurer Heart Rate Monitor) and calculate your maximum predicted heart rate. A wrist monitor will suffice as you will be checking your heart rate during rest periods. As a rough guide your maximum predicted heart rate is 220 minus your age in years (180 for a 40 year old). You should aim to not allow your heart rate to rise above 85% of this calculated figure (153 for a 40 year old). If your heart rate is above this during rest periods you should slow down or rest until your rate recovers.
If you want the Insanity t-shirt at the end you need to fill in a form with your percentage of body fat at the start and end as well as several other measurements. There are plenty of ways to estimate your body fat online - just do a google search for "body fat estimation". A better way of doing it is to buy a set of Body Fat Tester Calipers With Manual & Body Fat Charts - we got some for less than £2 delivered. You can then calculate your body fat using several online calculators - the most accurate is probably the "Jackson Pollock 7-site" method. You can download free software for fat calculation by doing a Google search for "free skinfold fat calculator software"
Change your diet. We can't follow the Insanity nutrition guide - it is just too proscriptive and we don't have the time to do it. We have changed our diet to eat more healthily and now have had our "five-a-day" by 8am! You do need to eat something before exercising each day otherwise you will struggle to do the workout. We have found that eating five times per day is manageable and we are usually starving by the time the next meal arrives.
Impressions so far:
This is great! Getting a good workout and we are seeing signs of improvement after only the first week. We feel more alive and ready to face a hard day's work after the exercise. Shaun T is a great motivator and encourages you to keep going but to take a rest when you need it - I need to do so frequently but this is already becoming less often. You need to check your heart rates at every rest period - our heart rates have been as high as 90% of predicted maximum heart rates. Common sense should prevail here - take a longer rest period to allow your rate to recover but don't pause the DVD. Overdoing it may kill you!
On a slight downside, the DVDs come in a book of cardboard sleeves. I think these are going to be easily damaged by taking them in and out of the sleeves. I would suggest you invest in a better holder for them (we had one already so have done this) or make a backup copy and use the backup instead.
******Update - Fit Test Week 3******
We have just done the fit test on day 1 of week 3. WOW, what a difference. Definitely INSANE:
Switch kicks: Me - from 53 to 63, Mrs G - from 58 to 59
Power jack: Me - from 30 to 46, Mrs G - from 36 to 48
Power knees: Me - from 60 to 84, Mrs G - from 75 to 90
Power jumps: Me - from 21 to 30, Mrs G - from 23 to 30
Globe jumps: Me - from 4 to 9, Mrs G - from 7 to 10
Suicide jumps: Me - from 6 to 10, Mrs G - from 10 to 12
Push-up jacks: Me - from 14 to 20, Mrs G - from 0 to 7
Low plank obliques: Me - from 50 to 66, Mrs G - from 50 to 64
Mrs G did start from a higher level of fitness than me as she had been doing regular Zumba on the Wii for the 12 months prior to starting Insanity. I hadn't done any real exercise in 20 years.
Our weights are relatively unchanged but our body fat has reduced (me by 8% and Mrs G by 4%) so we are losing fat and gaining lean body mass.
Our diet has evolved slightly. Eating a small bowl of cereal with milk and half a banana half an hour before exercising. Taking recovery formula immediately after exercise. A bowl of fruit mid-morning. Bagel or wrap with some meat/other protein at lunch with another banana. Bowl of fruit mid-afternoon. Evening meal is really whatever we feel like just a smaller portion. Have both reduced out tea and coffee intake and are drinking green tea or peppermint tea as replacements. I have stopped adding sugar to my hot drinks and now use a zero calorie sweetener when I have normal tea or coffee but none in the green tea.
Our thoughts to date: This really seems to work. It is hard work but rewarding. It doesn't get any easier as you go because you are just push yourself harder as you get fitter. We are learning to pace ourselves a little better so our heart rates are making us take fewer prolonged rest periods - we do need to take some unplanned rest time during the high intensity parts but it is getting better.
We are now totally addicted. The "rest day" feels like a bit of a let down although we are following the supplied workout calendar to the letter at the moment.
Next update beginning of week 6 - the next Fit Test - hopefully some more big gains by then.
******Update - Fit Test Week 6******
We did the fit test on day 1 of week 6 yesterday followed by "Max Interval Circuit". Made some more gains in the fit test:
Switch kicks: Me - 72, Mrs G - 63
Power jack: Me - 54, Mrs G - 54
Power knees: Me - 98, Mrs G - 105
Power jumps: Me - 34, Mrs G - 33
Globe jumps: Me - 11, Mrs G - 11
Suicide jumps: Me - 10, Mrs G - 14
Push-up jacks: Me - 24, Mrs G - 13
Low plank obliques: Me - 74, Mrs G - 82
Total body fat reduction since starting: Me - 20%, Mrs G - 12%
Definitely getting better here. Almost everything had shown some improvement. Starting to notice definition in all of our muscle groups especially lower abdomen.
Month 2 gets off with a bang having to do the Fit Test and the Max Interval Circuit in the same day. If you thought month 1 was hard you are in for a bit shock. This is much harder and more intense. Even the "machines" exercising with Shaun T struggle on the video and all their choreography seems to go out the window. We did Max Interval Plyo this morning and although it wasn't as tough as yesterday it was still extremely hard to keep going.
Some more advice; we have been using ordinary (cheap) trainers up `til now and are starting to regret it. Your feet, ankles, knees and hips take quite a battering with the high impact parts of the workouts. We were both starting to struggle with ankle, calf and knee pain. We have been to a "proper" sports shop today to get some new trainers. It really is worthwhile going to a decent shop with knowledgeable staff who can advise on suitable footwear. Hopefully this will reduce the risk of us having a significant injury. I ended up buying Brooks Men's Adrenaline Gts 13 M Trainer and Mrs G with Brooks Women's Vapor 10 W Trainer. We had tried on some Asics and Saucony trainers but they just didn't seem to give the same support in the places we need it.
We are now total Insanity addicts even though we need to get up even earlier in the morning. The workouts in month 2 are about an hour long rather than the 45 minutes in month 1 so you have to be a little more committed to keep going.
******Update - Finished and Started Again******
We did the final fit test three weeks ago. We have since had two weeks off to do some landscaping in the garden and started Insanity again at week one this week. Our final fit test results are as follows
Switch kicks: Me - 76, Mrs G - 65
Power jack: Me - 60, Mrs G - 59
Power knees: Me - 110, Mrs G - 120
Power jumps: Me - 60, Mrs G - 40
Globe jumps: Me - 14, Mrs G - 14
Suicide jumps: Me - 13, Mrs G - 16
Push-up jacks: Me - 32, Mrs G - 20
Low plank obliques: Me - 94, Mrs G - 92
Total body fat reduction since starting: Me - 45%, Mrs G - 26%
Wow - huge improvements in everything. My trouser waist has gone from 36" to 32" now. Mrs G has gone from size 14-16 to size 12. We both feel great and are glad we have done this.
Re-starting week 1 has shown us the improvements we have made. We can now both keep up with "the machines" on the video for the whole workout. We even make it through "Pure Cardio" without a break. We can't believe how much better we are doing after only 9 weeks.
Don't think for a moment that it is any easier second time round. We are still working just as hard as we did the first time round, we are just achieving more. If anything, we are sweating an awful lot more than we did first time.
Our new trainers were definitely worth the investment. No more sore knees or ankles at all and the shoes are extremely comfortable.
Unfortunately my heart rate monitor stopped working at week 8 and had to be returned as faulty. I decided to buy Hama HRM-111 Heart Rate Monitor - Black instead. This allows me to monitor my heart rate throughout the workout and gives a real time reading of my heart rate. It also connects to my laptop so I can see a graph of my heart rate after I have exercised - it keeps my "techie" self happy!
We still remain completely addicted to Insanity. We have, however, decided to add in some free weights workouts too with the aim of doing Insanity in the mornings and the weights in the evenings. Perhaps we really are insane after all!
Please note that I am giving my personal opinion here and anything I write should not be construed as medical advice.
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