Let’s get one thing straighter than an arrow: “Insanity” is not a misnomer when discussing the Insanity Workout.
Shaun T’s Insanity Workout is part of Extreme Fitness Results (which includes P90X and Brazil Butt Lift, two highly hyped high-end fitness experiences). The idea of extreme exercise has been rising in popularity in the last few years – Extreme Bootcamp and spin class come to mind – and basically, all extreme fitness comes down to one basic concept: shock the system.
The idea is that to constantly keep the body in a state of adrenaline-pumping activity. By changing movements without warning, by bouncing between high and low intensity, and by rarely having the same routine, the thought is that you’ll burn more calories and raise your metabolism. It is very much the same technique employed by the armed forces in their training, which only gets more and more crazy the more advanced those forces are (which reminds me, has anyone else seen Surviving the Cut? I know I never watch TV, but I managed to catch that, and it was everything great about reality television).
When I first watched Insanity (without doing any of the moves…I know, I geek out on analyzing fitness DVDs), I was reminded of watching local access high school sports; Insanity is filmed in what may well be a public secondary school gym with a banner hanging on the wall that just barely covers the scrawl of the institution’s name. Film location aside, the class who was following Shaun T filled the spectrum of professional product-video workoutaholics and occasional gym-bots, which I take to be a good sign – and I’m far more interested in who can and does a workout than where it’s being held. Besides, I got to imagine what high school might have been like had I been in athletic-shape at the time while I watched…oh, the woes of not being asked to prom! Okay, end reminiscent quasi-rant.
You really do have to dig deep to make it through the Insanity Workout. It’s a crazy/not-beautiful experience in which you work out hard for about eight minutes, go through almost eight minutes of stretching, and then work out like you’ll be chased by wild boars and bears and lions at the same time unless you move your body until you want to vomit (note to first-timers: do not eat granola and yogurt before attempting Insanity).
Several moves are American football inspired (up-downs, modifications on jumping jacks…); several are ballet inspired (diamond jumps are basically a hellish version of pas de chat). And to further endurance training, there are multiple track-and-field type exercises that include high knees, really high knees, and high knees with with your arms out to the sides. On and on this goes. Don’t be skeptical: this is hard.
There are ten DVDs in all, including lower level cardio, maximum cardio, and all about abs (to name one third); in theory, after completely all ten, I should have built myself a hotter, more cut body. We’ll see, although I do not doubt the power on Insanity.
And we’ll see if I can stand to an indoor solo workout at peak intensity again; I struggle when I cannot be outside, or at least with other people.
Now I’m curious as to what the kinesiology community is saying about this shock the system inspired fitness. Time to place a phone call to Dr. Dad.