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.
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 You 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.
What do you think about Insanity?
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on February 06, 2020:
It certainly is a tremendous workout, I used to return from it looking like a boiled beetroot but it felt good. I attended circuit training more recently but that class has also stopped. There just do not seem tobe enough people locally interested in exercise classes, yet I love them. I may have to join the gym again but that is a train ride away and takes more time.
Nikki Khan from London on February 06, 2020:
Tremendous workout, Meg. I haven't tried it yet, but would love to. I normally do some light ones for an hour or so daily. But this seems to have fast results. Would try it from now.
Thanks for sharing such an instructive hub.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on November 30, 2016:
Thank you very much. The advice these days is NOT to stretch before doing a workout but to warm up, maybe by doing the exercise easily or walking (as you are doing). Stretching first can injure muscles or joints that are not warm. Stretching is for AFTER exercise.
Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on November 29, 2016:
I enjoyed this hub very much and especially liked the insanity workout video. Just out of curiosity, how much stretching do you do before starting your workout. I would think that it would be easy to pull a hamstring muscle. The only cardio I do now is 40 minutes on the treadmill every day. I start out at 4kph and then work up to 6-7 kph for 10-15 minutes. I am sharing this hub with HP followers and on Facebook.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on October 05, 2016:
Thanks for visiting. I definitely need flexibility training. I would love to see your hub when finished
Louise Barraco from Ontario on October 05, 2016:
This hub is great I think I might try an insanity workout for my new fitness blog Called the fit flex life I will send you a fan mail once it's up and running. Thanks for the info
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on August 25, 2016:
Yes, I must add some hubs. Thanks for visiting.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 25, 2016:
I look forward to seeing some new work from you soon.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on August 20, 2016:
Wow, that's amazing, that MS evidence has disappeared from your brain. Good luck with getting rid of it from your spine.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 20, 2016:
I probably need to give exercise another shot even though I hate it. After more than a dozen years with MS (diagnosed using the MRI and spinal tap) I was told by my neurologist thiUns week that I no longer have evidence of it in my brain. Now I need to make it disappear from my spinal column. Exercise is probably the key.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on August 17, 2016:
Thank you. Unfortunately, he has stopped running those classes now. I am looking for something else at present. I have tried the strong woman workout with my daughter, recently and it is interesting but not as attractive to me as a circuits type class but it certainly increases strength! Have you also tried hip flexor stretches? I had a sore hip years ago. Now the doctor said it was NOT arthritis but had no idea what it was! Someone suggested hip flexor stretches and they were just what I needed. The tendons round the hip can shorten, just like any other and hip flexor stretches lengthen them. I do them whenever my hip gets sore and the pain goes away.
Audrey Howitt from California on August 16, 2016:
First of all, congrats on being so active! That is fabulous! I couldn't do this kind of workout--at least not until I get a new hip--I am living off of yoga and squats to help strengthen the quads and glutes before surgery--it may be a whole new world after though--so who knows, maybe I will join you!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on June 19, 2016:
Yoga is a very good workout, it seems to be a favourite with a great many people. I should maybe give it a better try.
Nadine May from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa on June 10, 2016:
The very word 'insanity' would put me off, but I do attend a yoga class twice a week and that keeps me in a good shape. Jumping is not for me with my lower back injury from childhood that now in my older years is often troubling me when its wet and cold. Yoga makes a great difference for me.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on December 02, 2015:
@billybuc, maybe I should do that too!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 02, 2015:
If you don't mind, I think I'll sit out any workout class with the word "insanity" attached to it. :)
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on October 08, 2015:
Thank you for visiting. I am curious now. Why is the hub curious?
sujaya venkatesh on October 08, 2015:
a curious hub
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on June 30, 2015:
Thank you very much. The classes were enjoyable.
Essie from Southern California on June 29, 2015:
The name caught my eye! My daughters both use INSANITY and I've heard them talk about how crazy they are. I thought about trying, but I end up using a little less taxing workouts, though still effective...but I enjoyed this Hub and checked out the video, for sure! Looks pretty amazing. Maybe I'll go for it one day.
Good for you, and for your endurance!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on February 28, 2015:
Thank you very much.
FlourishAnyway from USA on February 27, 2015:
Amazing and three cheers for you. I love the fact that you are defying anyone's stereotypes about age and just going for it.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on February 24, 2015:
I have tried yoga but have found it too slow for me, though I very much enjoy pilates.
Audrey Howitt from California on February 23, 2015:
I like jazzercise and dance, but the insanity workout does work--if you are insane enough to do it! PS--I love, love yoga!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on February 08, 2015:
Thank you so much Suzanne. He does give alternatives and if I find anything too strenuous, I do the alternative exercise, and I'm not the only one!
Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on February 07, 2015:
Hi DreamerMeg, love your writing style and this made me laugh! I can just picture your beetroot face and the "insane" exercises, which might be quite useful for plumpy people like me. I went to a yoga class once and it was sooooo slow and not relaxing at all and bits of me hurt too much while it didn't actually seem to do anything (my body is into the cardio, not stretches). This sounds like a much more proactive class, but like you said, you'd have to have good knee joints. Voted useful!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on February 06, 2015:
Thank you very much. It's good fun!
ezzly on February 06, 2015:
Thanks for this informative article ! My brother in law and nephew are always talking about this ( think they do the DVDs) aren't you awesome doing it in your 60 s have to say I'm impressed. Wish I had your stamina.
Sanjay Sharma from Mandi (HP) India on February 04, 2015:
Thanks for sharing the information. Voted Up.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 25, 2014:
Walk is about all I can do but I use to really be into things like this; they are worth the effort. I still have muscle from a regular good workout. Good luck!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on October 21, 2014:
Dil Vil from India on October 21, 2014:
Not Insanity at all... Well, i just love workout. Everyday cardio is must :) :)
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on October 20, 2014:
Thanks but doing something you enjoy is easy, well, sort of!
Kelly A Burnett from United States on October 20, 2014:
You rock! Just trying this exercise program. And I agree with you completely about the burpee. But seriously, kudos to you to not only move but to push yourself! Congrats!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on October 08, 2014:
It's definitely a challenge but also good fun.
Marvin Parke from Jamaica on October 08, 2014:
Your bit on the extreme side but it always good to pursue a challenge
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on October 05, 2014:
I find it difficult to exercise at home. I prefer classes.
Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on October 05, 2014:
It IS insanity! I ordered one CD, but it was hard, and I hate exercise, so I couldn't stick with it. Good for you going to the classes!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on September 12, 2014:
I take it easier than I would have a few years ago but so far, there has been no problem and I hope it stays that way.
myraggededge on September 12, 2014:
My knees are protesting at the very thought! I'll have to stick to walking the dogs.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on July 23, 2014:
It definitely is challenging, but I will be going back for the next set of classes starting in August. :)
NCBIer on July 23, 2014:
You survived and lived to write about it! I did the Insanity workout series and I barely made it through. The only thing I didn't appreciate was the emphasis of cardio conditioning over strength training. Or maybe it seemed that way because it was so challenging to me personally. An inspiring hub, thank you!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on July 15, 2014:
Yes, it is great exercise and you can go at your own pace. There are also alternatives for most of the exercises. I fell off a treadmill once too and it is very embarrassing. I was too hot and was trying to take my t shirt off without stopping the machine. Of course, once the t shirt was over my head, I forgot to walk and just slid over the edge! There is new research just published, suggesting that intense exercise is very good for older women and helps keep dementia at bay. Thanks for visiting.
Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on July 15, 2014:
This sounds like a great exercise program that really gets your heart going, which is important in exercise. I could probably do this too, especially if you can go at your own speed or pace. It sounds like fun and with no exercise equipment to contend with, it shouldn't be intimidating. I once fell off a treadmill and haven't been on once since. Talk about being embarrassed. LOL! Good for your that you are doing this!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on July 12, 2014:
Hi Marie, Thanks for visiting. Activity can take many forms and gardening is a great form of movement and so is walking. I like swimming but have never had the desire to walk on water ......)
Marie Flint from Jacksonville, FL USA on July 12, 2014:
I had to check on you, Meg, because I saw a hub on the HP feed about an ancient temple in Ireland and didn't see a comment from you.
Good to see you are still active here. VERY active, from the looks of this hub!
My daughter has the Insanity DVD, but it does more dust collecting than playing. Personally, I'm not too crazy about the intense jumping-type exercises. I prefer slow stretches, deep breathing, walking, and the exercise I get in my garden (and I do get exercise--I just carried a rather large ceramic pot out to the mailbox to decorate the wall there. It looks great, by the way.)
I love the way figure skaters' bodies look, and there's something about the speed on ice that entices me (weird, because I've broken my wrists in the past due to falling on ice). I have asked myself, though, if I wanted to seriously begin figure skating at age 62 (probably not).
Your hub here is inspirational, however. (Yes, ripped bodies do look fit, but then I have this secret desire to be able to walk on water, the liquid . . . .)
Thank you for the inspirational sharing. Voted useful.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on July 11, 2014:
LOL. I can relate to that too!
Nell Rose from England on July 11, 2014:
I am good at the cross hands skipping! I used to do that for ages, trouble is, the cross hands is good, its just getting over the darn rope that causes the trouble now! LOL!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on July 10, 2014:
Skipping is an excellent exercise. I used to go to fitness classes run by a retired boxer and he worked us up to doing 3 minute rounds with a 1 minute rest in between. His skipping was really fancy with cross hands and all sorts of moves that I didn't dare try in case I tripped!
Nell Rose from England on July 10, 2014:
Hi, lol! well the word insanity and me go together! I do have a skipping rope that I tried using recently, lots of jumps, but now it sits in the cupboard! lol! sounds fascinating!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on July 09, 2014:
It's definitely "Insanity" to try it at my age and it's also extremely challenging - but hey, it's better to wear out than to rust out in my opinion. Well, that's my excuse anyway! Thanks for visiting.
Frank Atanacio from Shelton on July 09, 2014:
Dreamermeg, I never heard of this Insanity, but if it challenges you I'm in your corner.. great hub, different.. but worth the read voted awesome :)
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on July 07, 2014:
Thank you very much. The classes have stopped for July but start again in August.
Eiddwen from Wales on July 07, 2014:
Brilliant hub and voted up for sure. Enjoy your day.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on June 26, 2014:
Workouts of any kind are useful.
Dianna Mendez on June 26, 2014:
You have my admiration for taking on this insanity class. I do workout but probably am past the age of participation in these type of programs.
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on June 16, 2014:
Yes, the ads ARE exhausting - they nearly put me off! But I know the trainer taking this locally and I was prepared to give up the idea if I felt it was too hard - but it wasn't! :)
Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on June 16, 2014:
I've seen some ad's for insanity work-out, I feel exhausted just watching. :) Well done you! :)
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on June 16, 2014:
LOL - thanks very much. But I enjoy the exercise and trying to keep active.
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 16, 2014:
More power to you, Meg! I wouldn't be able to do that in a million years. I have to spring load myself up off the floor when I'm in a squatting position (which I try to avoid these days). I admire you for getting out there and going for it!
DreamerMeg (author) from Northern Ireland on June 15, 2014:
I'll be in great shape at the end but not just at the moment! Definitely the knees have to be in good shape to take on this program. Walking is one of the best exercises in the whole world, I think. Thanks for commenting.
Faith Reaper from southern USA on June 15, 2014:
Interesting hub! I have never heard of Insanity and I admire you for taking this on. I am pretty pitiful right now, but am trying to work on just walking daily, as I do not want to risk too much of an aggressive exercise program to throw out my knee LOL.
Thanks for sharing your experience and you are in great shape to do such rigorous exercise program!