Insanity: My Review, The Beginning

Some of you have been asking me what this Insanity program is all about, so I thought I'd dedicate a post to it. If you click on this link, you can read the program's home page description, and mine is below.

This is a lonnng post, good luck. This is everything I could think of that you'd want to know about Insanity. If you have any questions, please email me or comment below and I'll try to answer the best I can. By no means am I an expert, just a participant who's willing to share her feedback :)

If you'd rather just hear about TBF's ER trip and how he's doing, jump down to the Hazards section.


Insanity is an intense exercise program similar to P90x where participants eat a lean and low-caloric diet (sans alcohol) and push their limits with max interval training sessions. Shaun T, the instructor, leads you and a group of
victims super duper in shape participants behind him in long bursts of maximum intensity workouts followed by short periods of rest. Rinse, then repeat. ;)

The Insanity program package comes with

10 workout discs filled with all the exercise sessions. Some are recovery, some are maximum cardio, there are some abs-focused sessions, you get the idea.

60 day workout calendar that shows which exercise sessions to perform every day. It's different almost every day, so this calendar guide is very handy. Plus it's so nice to cross off a day/exercise session and know what you're getting into the next day. It was well thought out because the recovery sessions seem to be on the best days. Having different sessions every day keeps it spicy for me, for now. I never seem to do well with the same exercise program day after day.

Elite nutrition plan with 50 recipes broken down into the following meals: 1 (breakfast), 2 (snack), 3 (lunch), 4 (snack) and 5 (dinner). I've found that these meals can be eaten for whichever meal you choose, not just the meal time the guide recommends, as they're all around 300 calories.

A fit test card that goes along with a fit test session which is 8 different exercises. Participants perform this fit test every two weeks and record their performance which hopefully shows improvement every time. I'm already hoping and ready to kick my old rep-counts to the curb.

-Note - no weights are needed. You may want a yoga-mat for the recovery session, but I was okay roughing it without one.

Here's a video of what a participant goes through during Insanity

As you can see, it's really effing difficult, to put it lightly. In a couple of the sessions, I'm not the only one gasping for air and wiping sweat off of me after 15 minutes, some of the super in-shape people in the tape are dropping like flies as well. Note, Shaun T is a gentle giant and I'm pretty sure I'd love him as a trainer, even if he is a little cocky during some of the sessions, kid you not.


Why the hell am I doing this in the first place?

TBF and I were at a wedding in DC over Memorial Day weekend and a super-adorable, in-awesome-shape gal and her nutritionist (I think?) husband were raving about how the program is perfect for weight loss and toning with quick results that also last in the long run.

They were so convincing that we could have started doing trust falls by the end of the convo and I would have been cool with it.

Why someone doesn't have an image posted of Mean Girl's trust fall scene is beyond me, so this will do.

So, what does TBF do when we get back to sweet home Chicago? He buys Insanity and I'm thinking I'll just watch or tag along on some of the exercises. Meh, I don't know what came over me but I decided to dive right in and support him. You'rewelcomemadear.

Okay, so why are you still doing it? It works. Not only have I seen plenty of before and after's...

..but personally, I've seen a difference in my body as well. I've lost a little weight, maybe 3 pounds, and my body feels more lean and tone and it's only Sunday, day 7. No, I didn't take a before picture for a couple of different reasons: I didn't want to jinx this with getting overzealous with a picture, I don't have much weight to lose as it's more of a toning goal for me and lastly I really didn't want a picture of myself in a swimming suit...

How else have I seen a difference?

I'm not banging on the snooze button every morning to sleep-in longer. I wake up in the morning refreshed and energized. Now don't go all Cheri Oteri on my Insanity bootay,
simmadunnah!, but I really have to admit, as dumb as it may sound, I love the feeling of waking up refreshed like I'm gellin' like a felon (okay I'll knock it off). You get the idea.

Although I feel sore at times, I have energy to go my behind up and clean or do any other kind of chore, whereas in the past I may have said meh, it'll get done eventually.

Awesome? Awesome.

: This could be answered a couple of different ways...

How the hell do I get myself to keep going?

The sore feeling in the morning for the first week was a bit of a wake-up call that maybe I wasn't in as good of shape as I thought I was. Also, I've seen results already, and it's only day 7.

How have I seen results so quickly?

I've been following the meal plan and workouts really well. Keep in mind that before Insanity, I was used to enjoying a glass of wine almost every night and eating whatever TBF or I thought was healthy in the evening, plus probably too much cheese (don't judge me). So, because the plan is set up so that participants eat five lean 300ish calorie meals every 2-3 hours a day, no one should be starving. If participants are starving, they can add 100 to 200 "calorie blocks" which make the meal a bit more sufficient.

Apparently going into month 2, participants get to eat more because our metabolisms are burning so quickly and we need more fuel.


When do I
go insane and/or yell back at Shaun T for 35-40 minutes participate in a session?

I try to perform the exercises as soon as I get home from work. I'm afraid that if I don't, I won't do the session and/or I'll get hungry for my next 5th meal. I have my 4th meal around 4 pm at work, so by the time I get home from work, around 5:30ish, I'm digested and ready to go INSANE.

When do I eat my meals?

Before, I'd eat my meals at 9:30ish, 12ish, 3ish and 7ish. Although this is decent, it is not a steady eating schedule.
Now, I eat around the following times, 7 am, 10am, 1 pm, 4 pm and 7 pm. Jump down for a description of what I was comfortable eating for the past week.
Recipes/Meals: Before, like I said, I would eat oatmeal at work around 9:30ish after my coffee, grab lunch around 12ish which was usually a salad, eat a banana or nutrigrain bar at 3-4ish, go to the gym and be starving when I get home and eat around 7ish.

Now, my work week meals looked something like this:

cup of GoLean with half a banana and a splash of skim milk at 7ish every morning (meal #1, 250ish cals). I'll enjoy a breakfast sammy which is 1 or 2 slices of turkey bacon, 1 piece of toasted whole wheat bread, lettuce and tomato around 10ish am (meal #2, 250ish cals). At 1 pm I grab my salad which is mixed greens, half an apple chopped up, some cucumber, lean chicken cooked with thyme (because we know how icky plain ol' chicken is) and a lime squeezed over it for dressing (meal #3, 250ish cals). At 4 pm, I have half an apple with about one spoonful of peanut butter and pecans on top (my own recipe, meal #4, 250ish cals). Lastly, for dinner around 7 pm, my favorite meal lately has been a 4 oz lean turkey burger with 2 tbsp salsa on a whole what English muffin and steamed green beans on the side (meal #5, 300 calories).

I know what you're thinking, a breakfast sami (aka BLT) at 10 in the morning? No thanks! I know, sounds weird and I think it is, too, but honestly ever since starting Insanity, I'm jonesing for something a little more carb-friendly than a piece of fruit by 10 am and that half sandwich keeps me satisfied and not too full until 1 pm.

What's awesome about this? Sounds like a lot of prep for each work day.

I won't lie, it is annoying to prep every night before a workday, but it only takes about 15 minutes. As a tip, in order to save some time, you can cook your chicken or meat while you're cooking your dinner. However, it's awesome to have the healthy meals present and ready when you need them. It makes this program much easier. This means no Qdoba or CVS trip to get some nutri grain bars before you pass out of hunger.

Also, this has saved us both money. We aren't going out to eat and we have been buying all groceries at Trader Joes on the Sunday before the work-week. Our grocery bill divided by 2 people has been around $55 a person. I consider this very cheap, especially since all of the food is used by the end of the week (if you measure it out correctly) and you aren't going out to eat which has saved us both so much money.

Overall, the meal plan is great (for now) because I'm never starving because I eat every 3ish hours which helps keep my metabolism running and blood sugar high.


Your living room or an open area where you can freely exercise. I'd recommend a hardwood floor so you can clean up your sweat easily (eeewwww, I know).


Okay, listen up and read this entire bit. TBF went to the ER on Saturday evening, day 6. Yes, I do think this partly because of Insanity. Like I said, you MUST drink plenty of water so with the combination of him not being in almost top shape from the beginning, pushing himself very hard on a "Polyometric Cardio Circuit," which I think is the toughest session, sweating far too much in the kitchen post-workout, not drinking enough water, possibly having a wee bit too much cheese (he's lactose-intolerant) after not having had much the entire week, he became very dehydrated. Looking back I should have taken him to the hospital in the beginning and been less hesitant. You know the feeling, should we go? Should we not go? God I don't want to go if we don't have to...yeah about an hour or so later we ended up going. It wasn't until I read what could have happened that I decided we needed to go, immediately. He's fine now :) Phew!

(Psst, side note, we were in the ER from 1 am - 5:30 am. I know,
I really did stall the ER trip an hour or so too long and should have taken him immediately. Anyway, it happens to be Pride weekend in Chicago and the hospital we went to is the closest one to the celebration, you can imagine how many men were stumbling in, wheeled in or passed out on a stretcher. There were some females too, in their sassy, black platform pumps hanging out beneath the sheet, at least I think it was a female...)

Okay, focus!


My goals: I'm trying to be realistic here. I'd like to be able to do some of the exercises. For example there is a "plank jump" where participants are in a push-up position and jump their feed in to a crouched position, then back out. I find this very difficult and it bothers me that my technique sucks for it (even if I am 20 minutes into a balls-to-the-wall workout.

TBF's goals
: One of TBF's goals, besides drinking more water and taking it slow for awhile, is to get some of the yoga poses down while improving flexibility and of course lose some more el-bee's. He's not flexible at all and I see him struggle mentally and physically when the yoga poses come because he can hardly do them and he wants to participate as well as he can. He's already seen results from this (woohoo go TBF!). He's learning portion size, less cheese is more cheese (ugh, so hard for me, too) and that STRETCHING is so very important.

Final notes:

The first couple days are ROUGH. I was getting up as often as I could and walking around my office so my legs wouldn't cramp up. Yes, I was that sore, it was laughable. Shaun works muscles you didn't know existed. However, by day 4 or 5, I wasn't thinking about that glass of vino (exposed!) I couldn't have or about how sore I was, but more about how cool it was that I was seeing results and enjoying waking up with energy. I sure hope I continue this process and although TBF will be taking off a couple extra days for recovery, I hope he slowly gets back into it because of how often he was raving about how he felt (when he wasn't in the ER of course).

So, if you do Insanity, start on a week where you don't have a lot of plans. It's difficult and practically impossible to have a social life in the evenings when you can't drink and/or don't have the energy to go out after a session. Also, drink PLENTY of water. Get a massive water bottle, it'll be your bff. I'm always always always thirsty.

Did this help? I hope so. Nice work if you finished the entire thing. Please don't hesitate to reach out if I can explain anything better for you!!

recovery day Sunday everyone :)


Tommy said...

Whoa. Good for both of you. I'm surprised that the diet part is not all vegetables. I'm a picky eater and like almost everything you mentioned.

TBF...take it easy, stunnah. The ER is a different kind of insanity. But I'm glad you two are well.

Natasha said...

This sounds pretty interesting! I finished your whole post, and now I'm considering getting these videos. I've been mainly only running before work for my workout, but know that I want something to tone more than anything and lose some weight. I wonder if it would be something my husband would like as well, I'll have to look into. Keep up the good work!! I want to hear how it goes, and if you totally get ripped you guys have to put up pics!!

AEOT said...

Wowzers, Freck. This is hardcore! Quite impressed with the dedication so far!! Cheese wouldn't be my downfall- ice cream would :)

I do need to get myself whipped back into shape so I can lose these last 7 lbs from pregnancy. I've just started "really" working out, and am hoping that it helps!! I've had friends say that they haven't lost all their weight until they are done breastfeeding. Ugggg- that's supposed to be a year!!

EmilyB said...

AWESOME!!!! Makes me want to do it....I wish the gym I go to had more bootcamp-type classes. I haven't ever tried a dvd at home....but I have seen the commercial for INSANITY, and it's so crazy it piqued my interest :) Keep it up -- and let us know how it continues to go!! I could definitely use someone yelling at me to fit in a few more intense strength moves like that! Hope there aren't anymore ER visits for the two of you though!!

Fashion Therapist said...

OMG we have the Insanity work out videos at home and they're intense. I started them, but then we joined a boxing gym that offered just as powerful boxing and training classes, but glad to hear they're working well for you. I'm sure you're seeing great results, even from just a few days.

Shaina said...

Wow ... this is intense! Um, and insane! You are totally kicking ass. I can't wait to hear more about this journey!