Q: “What do you think of Insanity?”

A: “I’ve actually never tried it. It sounds miserable.”

This has been a reoccurring conversation I have had with my friends, readers and viewers over the past 3 years. I have been courted to become a Beach body coach many times. Once I sat in on a phone call and realized how much I hated their pyramid type sales approach. If I liked something, like the Tone It Up Diet Plan and JCore DVD’s, I want to be able to recommend it and share it. I don’t want to have to convince my readers to want to sell it too. For that reason, I had not tried an Insanity workout (which is part of beach body) until Saturday.

I was invited by Powerade Zero, to an Insanity work out led by Shaun T himself. Despite my reluctance to get up at 8 AM on a Saturday for a workout I was prepared to hate, I went. I felt I owed it to my readers to try it.

I set up shop in the front row because that is my style when it comes to group exercise. I find I’m less likely do wimp out if I’m in the front, plus the teachers remember you more if you’re always front and center. Even thought we didn’t use them, spots were marked off with light blue mats and bottles of Powerade Zero. I like the taste the calorie free sports beverage but don’t typically drink them. I’d rather have a Vitamin Water Zero or other stevia sweetened drink.

After a challenging warm up from a local Bootcamp instructor, out came Shaun like it was a rap concert. The other people in the gym were hootin’ and hollerin’. It was funny to me since I had to Google what he looked like the night before.

We started with a cardio sequence that to stretch out. It was tough for a warm up but not exceedingly hard. The room had little circulation and it was steamy. I was sweating right away and wished I was outside running along my beloved Charles River.

So here is how the rest of workout went down:

We did 3 cardio sequences. Each consisted of 4 moves that were performed for 30 seconds. We rested for 30 seconds in between sets. We did each sequence 3 times through. After Cardio #1, we did some ab work. The moves were hard but not impossible. To be honest, I would have rather done planks than the V-sit sequence we did. We did another 3 sets of a different cardio sequence and then moved on to a push-up challenge that consisted of 60 push-ups. Yeah… I totally dropped down to my knees half way through, and then just held my plank. We finished with another cardio sequence and then cooled down.

Afterwards, we were all able to ask Shaun whatever questions we wanted. He shared that he used to be a professional dancer, gained 50 lbs in college and enjoys plyometric moves the best. I asked him if he worked out to DVD’s, and he kind of dodged the question saying he does the same things in his videos as he does in the gym. He did say he brings his laptop sometimes to the gyms and sets it up in the group exercise studio and does his DVD’s although really it sounded like he does the moves in the gym sans videos. I wanted to ask him if he was a Beach Body coach but kept back my snide rhetorical question since there seemed to be a of hands raised. He also admitted he lifts weight to keep the size of his arms up despite never using them in most videos.

It was a good workout. I was bored by the third set of each cardio sequence and had to use my own modifications for a few of the moves. I was very sweaty but it was a combination of the room and activity. I did not LOVE or HATE the workout but I will not be buying or trying Insanity again anytime soon. I like being outside and I like being around people when I workout. I know I create videos to help all of you, but I rarely do follow along with me routines because I believe sharing what works for me is important. This is why I randomly show you my favorite moves that I do in the gym hoping you do them too when you go!

Bottom line is that no matter what activity it is, intense calorie scorching intervals or low impact yoga, if you don’t love it, you won’t do it regularly. I love to run and I love group exercises classes. Some people love Insanity, and that’s great. It’s a good workout. I just personally didn’t find it enjoyable. I DID enjoy the class atmosphere. It was like being at a concert but working out. Since it was not recorded, the music was awesome. On YouTube, my biggest challenge when I make videos is attaching good music. Shaun played whatever he wanted (I think).

In conclusion, regardless of my feelings towards Insanity or Powerade Zero, this was a cool event and I hope companies and fitness enthusiasts realize how cool and inspiring this really was so that there are more of them with various fitness personalities. Instead of book tour, it’s like DVD tour! Good

My Insane Saturday with Shaun T

About The Author


  • Danielle

    I love how honest you are in your review! I really appreciate and respect it! I actually got the chance to run along the Charles River for the first time this Saturday and now I understand why you love it so much! It was absolutely beautiful there! I will definitely be back soon!

  • Katrina @ 'Sota is Sexy

    I’ve got to admit, I’m not a huge Insanity fan either. I *really* tried to like it, but it just wasn’t my thing. I totally agree with you that if you don’t “love” your workout routine, you won’t stick to it, plain and simple. It’s all about finding that “soul mate” workout!

    Have you tried Turbo Fire? It’s another one of the Beachbody workouts, but I think it’s super fun. I find the cardio to be way more challenging than Insanity, but it’s a lot more fun because you’re hopping around to good music ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kristy Doyle

    I agree with you about the Beachbody Pyramid Scheme — it’s annoying! However, the Insanity and P90X workouts are amazing. After losing about 50 lbs by mostly diet alone, Insanity got me in the fitness game. I have photos of me from before Insanity and after — I weighed exactly the same in both pictures, but I’m a different person in the after photos! I gained so much muscle and lost so much fat doing the 60 day program, it was unbelievable.

    I wish BeachBody didn’t market the way they did, because every workout I try is amazing, and their newsletters are always packed with great info.

  • Katie

    Thanks for the review; I feel like Insanity and P90X and other programs like these are fads. Of course they’ll produce results as long as you stick with them since they are a form of HIIT but the programs only provide you for so long!

  • Jessica

    I tried Insanity and really wanted to like it because it produced such good results but after the first month I was tired of it, especially when I went back to my regular exercise routine for a week and tried to do month two of insanity. It’s just not my thing.

  • Jenny Knight

    You are awesome. Thank you for being such an honest and fresh voice! I’ve been in the same boat as you were (prior to Saturday) and haven’t ‘gotten’ the beach body thing--or cared to. Keep being Sarah! And thank you so much for sharing what you enjoy and what works for you. Your running interval patterns are my absolute favorite thing and I use them at least 3x per week. Lately the one from last year: 1m sprint, 4m pace, 3m jog. So, so much fun!!!

  • hakirby

    I enjoy the circuits you do post -- even the one with the filming I wasn’t fond of. Insanity as a workout looks great and seems like fair enough value for money, but while there’s so much free workouts on YT and nutrition stuff on websites, why pay in these cash strapped times? ANytime I do fancy buying a dvd, there’s always ebay and charity shops and whatever’s cheap on Amazon this week.

  • Gen

    I really like some of the beachbody stuff…like TurboFire but I completely agree with you about their marketing strategies. I hadn’t tried Insanity yet….I’ve seen infomercials and it looked like stuff I could do on my own w/o a dvd.

  • Eva @ Committed2Nutrition

    I really appreciate this post. I am a Zumbaยฎ instructor so I am biased here (however, I should mention that before I taught zumba, I heavily believed in interval training and doing as much as you could in 20 minutes.. that is how I stayed in shape..and now go figure I teach an hour long work out class, ha).. but a co-worker of mine asked me to try Insanity with her. I was nervous because although I have endurance from teaching hours upon hours of zumba each week, every work out is just so different. When we started, kind of like what you said, Sarah, it wasn’t that difficult, but I was sweating. I also felt like he wanted you to go so fast, that I couldn’t do the moves properly, and that bugged me. I won’t be doing this again.. but I was glad I tried it. Thank you for posting about this!

  • Constance

    Was this at the Boston College Plex? I went to school there- so I find it funny you mention how how it is in there because the Plex is notorious for its lack of ventilation!

  • Max

    to each they’re own like you said if you like it that’s what will keep you coming back for more. as far as the beachbody “Scheme coach” well put it this way every single company in existence is a pyramid. there is a CEO, President, vice President, managers workers ect ect. Now that is not to say there isn’t bad companies too that are in fact a pyramid scheme but no beachbody certainly is not one of those. Now with that said There are coaches out there who treat it that way but like everything else there is a exception to that rule. there are coaches out there who actually you know give a crap about people and recommend for the sole purpose to help others out by recommending things that has worked for them and yes many others (NOT EVERYONE) We are all learning no matter who we are so it’s all a giant learning experience for everything we do in life. so coaches may not know everything and some may be only trying to sell sell sell but there are many who are not that way. my coach is not. But in the end of the day everything comes down to money right? nothing functions without it in this world sadly so if they are able to make a living t hat way so be it. if you are able to make money off you tube so be it. i hate it when people point fingers. let’s like what we like and not listen to every single persons opinion and not follow our own personal experiences…. course i know there will be people moaning about what i write here but who cares? this is only my two cents just like you got your own opinion too. I just hope i shed a bit of light to those who constantly call beachbodies marketing a scheme. it’s just annoying. Now i am done. doubt this will be left here but if it is cool if not oh well. bye

  • Wani

    I tried the Insanity program after having it recommended to me by a friend. It was definitely tough, especially for someone who doesn’t have a solid foundation of HIIT workouts (at that time). I was thinking of giving up, but I owed it to myself to really try it out, since it worked for my friend. I did it for about 2 -- 3 months (on and off, because I like a mix of workouts, so I kind of modified the “recommended” Insanity workout schedule). I didn’t lose any weight, gained plenty of muscle. But that’s about it. And yes, the repetitiveness of the workouts does really bore you after awhile. For those who rave about it, good for them. But after those few months, I ditched the program and sourced for alternative workouts using mostly body weight. And guess what? I stuck to it for 6 months now, and have lost about 6kilos. Best shape of my life thus far. So yeah, thanks for the honest review and keep doing what you do, Sarah. ๐Ÿ™‚ I believe to be consistent in your workouts, you really do have to “enjoy going through the pain”, somewhat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Sarah

      Thanks Wani for sharing your experience. I love how helpful my readers are. I’ve never tried the program because to be honest, I like working out -- outside of my home -- I create these videos for people to do at the gym or at home who don’t have gym memberships but for me, working at home, the last thing I want to do is workout at home as well. Thanks again for sharing ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Ruth

    It’s so refreshing to hear an honest opinion… Thank you! One thing I will say is that I don’t particularly like V-sits and I do a lot of planks… BUT…. I think it’s very important to switch things up and Planks are the core exercise dujour… thanks again… I love both you and Shaun T… keep up the great work you do! ๐Ÿ™‚

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