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Confessions of a Former Personal Trainer: 8 Reasons I Don’t Like Insanity

The Problem With "INSANITY"

I have a confession to make. Workout programs like Insanity (and P90X) drive me nuts.

Now, before all you Insanity lovers get upset, let me explain myself. I love to exercise. I love running, biking, HIIT workouts, lifting weights, swimming, aerobics class etc. etc. etc. I have even done an Insanity workout and enjoyed it. So why then, am I writing a blog post about why I dislike programs like Insanity?

Because I think they’re overrated. Yes, I said it… Insanity is overrated.

Some Good Within the Bad

Before I get into the negatives I’d like to point out that there are, in fact, some good things about this program. Programs like Insanity are often first noticed on some type of infomercial. You’ll typically see a man or woman in extremely good shape, with very little workout clothing on, sweating profusely while smiling. Who wouldn’t want to look like that and be that happy while working out? Perhaps this infomercial inspires you to get off the couch and start exercising.

If that’s the case, then great!  I support any type of program or activity that inspires or motivates a person to become more active. If, because of an Insanity infomercial, you are suddenly inspired to change your life and become healthier then please, by all means, ignore the rest of this blog post.

8 Reasons I Don’t Like Insanity

  1. The Bandwagon. When I worked in corporate fitness it seemed liked every day someone new was jumping on, what I call, the Insanity Bandwagon. They’d start off all gung-ho, never missing a day and then a week or two in would quit and not be anywhere near the fitness center. Not exactly what I’d call a successful workout plan.
  2. It’s not for beginners. Don’t get me wrong, a difficult program like Insanity can be a good choice for those who are already in decent shape. But it is NOT for beginners. There is no way a beginner should be doing half of the exercises that the program calls for. Some of them? Yes. All of them? Absolutely not.
  3. Overuse injuries. Let’s do all sorts of jumping, high impact plyometric movements every day and see how our joints feel. Sound good? Not! This goes back to problem #2 that Insanity is not appropriate for beginners. While I understand that Insanity incorporates rest days and lower impact days, all of the jumping and high impact activities will inevitably leave a person with sore knees and other overuse injuries.
  4. No one ever finishes it. Okay this one might not be true for everyone. Some people do follow the program exactly and never miss a day. If you’re that disciplined then good for you. But most people find that they end up feeling worn down, have sore knees, and only end up completing about half of the program – which completely defeats the purpose.
  5. Variety is the spice of life. Another common reason people quit exercising is that they get bored. They feel like they do the same thing over and over and as a result they quit exercising. Insanity offers some variety but essentially, you are still standing in front of your TV day after day. You’re listening to the same people each day tell you how to workout and doing relatively similar movements.
  6. It’s overrated. That’s right. I think Insanity is one of the most overrated fitness trends ever invented. Phew. Feels good to get that off of my chest. Is it a good workout? Absolutely. But there’s more to the workout life than just Insanity. It’s important to have a healthy balance of cardio exercise, weight training and flexibility exercises. Insanity is not the ‘end all’ when it comes to exercise.
  7. It’s too expensive. Insanity costs over $150! What a ripoff! You could easily do jump squats, sprints, push-ups and all of the exercises for free at a local track. Plus you’d actually get to be outside instead of being stuck in front of a TV screen.
  8. It’s often done incorrectly.  Insanity is meant to be done with a full effort. If you’re trying it and can’t complete the exercises with the maximum intensity then you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. It completely defeats the purpose of doing the workout program. This goes back to why I said it’s not meant for beginners. A beginner will not be able to complete the exercises at their intended intensity. You’re better off getting in somewhat decent shape before beginning a program like this.

So there you have it. Eight reasons why I can’t stand Insanity. I fully believe in the importance of exercise and healthy living but feel that there are better options available.

Do you agree? Feel free to share your love/hate story with Insanity below!

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