Hey there. It’s time for another Testing The Trainers and this time I’m reviewing INSANITY, an in-home DVD workout program with bloodlines similar to P90X that’s got quite a following. Actually, Team Beach Body produces both systems; a company that seems to be pumping (pun intended) out workout DVD’s like mad. But can Insanity live up to its big brother’s name, and produce results similar to Tony Horton’s system?

My goal with these posts is to review the fitness program marketplace and give you the thumbs up (or down) on ones that I believe have merit as part of your fitness program. This way, YOU can create your own program. That’s exactly how I develop my own workouts and so should you. No one program is perfect, but by having knowledge on particular systems, you can decide how and what you want to do.




Insanity is led by Shaun T, whose resume is impressive. He’s a choreographer that’s worked with A list celebrities, appeared on various TV shows, and while studying dance and theater also received a BS in Sports Science. Plus he’s created various infomercial workouts, ranging from a dancing abs workout, to kids’ and preteen programs. He’s a busy guy! And INSANITY has him traveling the talk show circuit, making appearances on Ellen, CNN, and the now defunct Tyra Banks show. But you all know how I feel about celebrity endorsements – so is the program itself up to scratch?

The Program

Truthfully, I hated Shaun T’s Hip Hop Abs program and the promises it made. I still remember watching the infomercial and getting pissed when he’d tell people that dancing would give them a six-pack.

BUT, I have to say that INSANITY is thankfully nothing like its Saturday Night Fever fitness predecessor. Like P90X it, comes with various DVD’s, each targeting a specific part of the body or type of movement. Plyometrics, cardio, abs, and a fit test DVD are just a few of the 10 supplied videos.  And again being a Beach Body product, it comes with a nutrition guide and 24/7 support. It’s a fairly complete package that when applied, can help improve your fitness. So far so good right?

Well, again I hate to keep comparing it to P90X, but some of the movements are risky for the average person. Although I must say that Shaun T reiterates over and over again the importance of form, listening to your body and being aware of pain and offering up some other important tips that you don’t always hear from a DVD system. So that’s very refreshing. I’m not saying that you will be injured, but without Shaun T, myself, or another competent trainer showing you and correcting your form on various movements, the risk of injury grows. Especially if you are a new trainee – all it takes is one wrong move.

Case in point – I watched several You Tube “success story” videos of people who taped themselves using the program… and was horrified! Their knee placement was all wrong, they hunched their lower back, they had bad form on jumps, lunges and even pushups.

Now they did get it done, and as Shaun T says, they “Dug Deep” – just with bad form. Did they make progress? Sure. Did they look and feel better? You bet. But I’d still like for them to do it the right way. So that aspect concerns me. As you know, I’m a stickler for exercise form, as it directly relates to function.

My biggest issue with this program is that it doesn’t contain any true strength training outside of using your own body weight. That’s not to say that there isn’t a benefit from using INSANITY, or that it’s not hard and challenging. But to truly reap the benefits of strength training (added lean muscle mass, osteoporosis prevention, higher metabolic rate) external resistance has to be used. It’s a scientifically proven fact, that body weight training, no matter how hard it is, will not produce the same results as using dumbbells, resistance bands and other forms of added resistance. It just can’t.


So here’s my thoughts – I like Shaun T and his program. He’s very charismatic which is of extreme importance when trying to motivate people to exercise. They have to believe the trainer actually has passion for their system and clearly he does. INSANITY is tough; really tough – I’m not arguing that point at all. And while it may be a bit gimmicky with claims of “flipping high intensity on it’s head”, or making it sound like he’s created a revolutionary way of training, it’s really just a kick ass, take no prisoners workout.

Why? Because it follows a simple premise that I’ve spoken about for years – Bust Your Ass! Period. Leave it all on the gym floor and work hard. You’re working out to become fit, and a better, healthier version of yourself. What you put in, is what you get out and INSANITY demands that you go “all in”.

I would like to see people who purchase this program run through it with a qualified personal trainer, just to make sure their form is on par. And because I’m a huge believer in the importance of true weight training, I’d suggest users also incorporate some straight weight training. All in all, I like INSANITY, it’s a great program, it looks fun, motivating, challenging and it will get results. How could it not? I believe the claims of burning up to 1000 calories an hour are true. Plus, I just like the name!

When it comes to Shaun T’s INSANITY

The Angry Trainer says RECOMMENDED!