What is Insanity Max 30?
Beachbody’s Insanity Max 30 is the newest Insanity workout program from Shaun T, who also created Focus T25, Insanity: The Asylum and Insanity which I have done and written about in the past. I’ve also done Insanity Max 30 five times since it hit the market in late 2014 so I can confirm their tagline “The craziest 30 minutes of your day for the Best Results of your life” is pretty damn accurate.
Each time in the past I’ve done the program by myself, however, this time my girlfriend Carey wanted to try it.
If you’re not familiar, learn more about Insanity Max 30.
I’m pretty average when it comes to working out. I tend to stay within my limits/comfort zone, but I also know that you get what you put in. That’s why I don’t overly beat myself up for my physical flaws when I haven’t truly prioritized doing the work it would take to get rid of them. It’s a sort of no man’s land for making progress.
However, if there’s anything I’ve learned about your thirties, it’s that nearly everything gets better and better—and your physique and strength and ability shouldn’t be any different. When I wanted to push myself a little harder, though, running a little faster/making more trips to the gym seemed like more of the same, and it wasn’t cutting the mustard.
When Chad first suggested I try Insanity Max 30, he warned me that it was going to be rough. He’s a beast, and even he finds it consistently challenging. There are modifications, and you’re allowed (encouraged) to “max out” and take a break before jumping back in, so even if you’re like me and haven’t built up to this level by doing any other Insanity, you can get through it. But I was still intimidated as hell, and put it off for awhile. Mostly because I hate the feeling like you’re going to throw up when doing intense workouts, and I was pretty sure this was one of those workouts.
I’m no stranger to workouts that are so hard you feel like you’re going to barf: I worked out with a psychotic trainer for a year+ and puked multiple times, I rowed crew with intense two-a-day anaerobic sprints and burpees, I’ve had some trail runs that made me a little green, and I’ve been through Tracy Anderson’s Meta 90-day program twice. Knowing that feeling has kept me from pushing myself into that level since, and it’s definitely held me back. Don’t fear the nausea! It means you’re pushing yourself to the next level.
Speaking of levels. I’ve yelled, burned, sweat, cramped, and seen improvements over the years, only to lose interest or not see results relative to the time and reps it felt like I was putting in. In the same breath: I was only doing things that I knew I was capable of. I chose activities or videos that I was pretty sure I’d be able to get all the way through, ran as far as I knew I could comfortably run without dying, and generally played it safe.
Despite regular workouts I assumed were pretty tough, I could still have rough runs or see photos and be annoyingly disappointed with or frustrated in myself—sort of like knowing you could have gotten A’s all those years but you had a solid card of B’s and high C’s. Once you’re ready to put that work in, it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what to try first, and what will actually work. That’s why I’m so thrilled with these workouts.
I’ve come to realize in an incredibly short amount of time that if you’re not way, way, way outside your fitness comfort zone, you’re not going to move the needle. Period.
Here’s what I love about these videos so much.
First, I love Shaun T. His energy, engaging personality, motivation, and realness is so refreshing. (Sorry, Tracy. I felt like I was invading your personal space just by doing your videos.) You do 5 a week (1x cardio challenge, 2x Tabata, which changes in week 3, 1x sweat intervals, and 1x Friday Night Fight) but they’re so fast-paced and varied, it never gets monotonous-EVER.
Second, just getting through one of these at whatever level you can manage feels so crazy good, if you’re anything like me (I’m unreasonably competitive, but mostly with myself), you’ll be chomping at the bit for the next round to see how much better you can do. Will you feel like barfing? Unless you’re Chad, chances are, yes. But—and this is important for me, someone with a general phobia of nausea—it passes.
Third, I love that these have staying power. I’m pretty sure I could be in the best shape of my life and still struggle with them. If I had a kid, or a mentee, or whatever, I’d use these videos as a confidence building tool. Not to change their bodies, but so they could say: I basically just did one of the hardest workouts someone can do, and I got through it. It’s pretty cool.
Fourth: Remove all barriers and excuses to getting a workout in. You can do them at home, don’t need any equipment, and you can do them with someone else, which is actually the most fun! You motivate each other to keep pushing, or going faster. I don’t have a super big space for working out, but we can easily do them together—and that’s definitely with some moving around.
Fifth: They’re only 30 minutes, but every minute counts. I get better workouts in 30 manageable minutes than I could an hour and a half at the gym, or on a 6 mile run, which is super time consuming. It removes the time barrier to working out, and that you do it at home takes even less time. It really makes it so you can’t make any excuses not to do it (except maybe having to wash your hair, which you will). I quit my gym because I realized I’m getting so much more out of working out than I did on my own with equipment.
Even better: It works. And fast. I’ve noticed a leanness and I’m wearing smaller jeans than I’ve worn my entire life. I feel stronger and 100% more confident than I ever did in my twenties. Mix Ab Attack (10 min) in every other day for even more results—I’ve never had abs like this in my life.
I think the big lesson here *for me* is dispelling the idea that girls and women can just do woman-centric workouts and get the results they want. There are plenty of girls on this video and it’s by no means targeted at guys, but I’ve definitely bought into the idea over the years that a pink box meant that was what I should be doing, and what would give me the results, but it never cut it for me. I’ve done barre and pilates and while those are great toning workouts, for me this is the level I need to be going at to make the changes I wanted to see. You have to get really sweaty, throw yourself around a little, do sloppy pushups until they’re less sloppy, and generally get a little bit scared if you want to get scary good results.
After doing these, I get bored in medium-intensity classes. I’m totally addicted! I still get butterflies before we fire the video up, but that’s because I know it’s going to hurt. But dude—it’s beyond worth it.
If this sounds up your alley and want to try something new you won’t regret it.
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