I did it. I completed Shaun T’s Insanity program. It was, well, it was insane. And amazing.
Insanity is a 60-day, total body conditioning program. It consists of 10 different workout DVDs jam-packed with cardio drills, plyometrics, and moves that make your abs burn, your legs shake, and your shoulders go, “ow!” (in a good way, of course). Shaun T (the trainer) combines long bursts of maximum-intensity interval training with short rest periods in between, so you’re really working as hard as you possibly can. Basically, you move and jump around like a crazy person for 3 minutes straight, rest for 30 seconds, and then do it again – for an hour. It’s totally nuts, hence the name, but it really is an amazing and fun workout. Better yet, Insanity doesn’t require any equipment!
I started doing Insanity because the weather turned me away from running and I didn’t want to pay for an expensive gym, but what really got me hooked was Shaun T’s style of training. A lot of trainers can be intimidating. They yell at you through the screen and make you feel like you’re not good enough if you can’t keep up with Mr. 8-Pack Abs. Shaun T, on the other hand, is a positive motivator and doesn’t make you feel like your worthless if you have to take a break. He constantly mentions that form and safety are the most important. If you are starting to lose your form, take break and then get back into it. Look how happy he is! Don’t you want to workout with that?
Most workout videos feature the trainer and two or three other super-buff people showcasing the moves. One of these chiseled beings performs the advanced options of the moves. The other has to do the easy versions. I always feel bad for the person that has to do the easy version. It’s like drawing the short straw. When the trainers introduce the “helpers”, it always sounds like, “If you’re awesome and ready for a great workout, follow Tina Toned over here. If not, you can follow Suzy.” Wah wah. Poor Suzy.
Insanity is different. Not only are the videos filmed in a gym vs a high-end studio, but Shaun T is also accompanied by a bunch of guys and gals of all different body types – not just one or two fitness models. These people are so much more relatable. Yes, there are one or two Greek Gods in the mix, but for the most part, these are just normal people who are in great shape. Everyone is doing the same workout (no easy version and hard version), and everyone goes at their own pace. Sometimes, someone will stop for a second and just jog in place. Sometimes, someone will walk off camera to grab water. They are people working hard but they aren’t perfect, just like me.
It makes me feel like I’m in the class with them. I don’t feel bad if I have to stop to catch my breath for a second. I don’t feel bad for sweating like a maniac. And I don’t feel bad about letting out a huge sigh of relief when it’s all over – because these people, all good enough to be working out alongside Shaun T, are stopping to catch their breath, sweating like maniacs, and collapsing at the end just like I am.
The workouts are incredibly challenging, but I feel great after them. Each video includes a good warm up and stretches, so I never felt feeling too sore to do the next day’s workout.
After finishing the 60 days, I feel so much stronger. I can work out harder for longer, and I can do moves that I never thought I’d be able to do. I am definitely going to incorporate a video or two into my workout routine even now that I’ve completed the 60 days. I may even do the whole program again in a few months.
I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a great, effective at-home workout. It’s a challenge, but that’s what working out is all about – trying new things and pushing yourself mentally and physically to new limits – or as the wise Shaun T would say, “Digging Deeper.”