After you follow a certain program long enough and are caught in this repetitive cycle of doing it over and over, ideas start to emerge on the surface and you figure out new ways on how to increase its efficiency, re-calibrate it in one way or another, experiment with success.
And when I take a retrospective look back on my journey with the Insanity workout, and fitness in general, the above-written perfectly applies.
When you take into consideration the fact that I’ve written the longest and most comprehensive Insanity workout review on the net, and how, despite this fact, there are over four hundredth questions in the comment section, two things become increasingly apparent.
One, the Insanity workout, no matter how revolutionary it is, and no matter how perfect they tried to create it, has one flaw – it is a written-in-stone type of program.
That being said, you can hardly expect that Shaun T found the way to accommodating all of your expectations. While some people want to drop massive numbers in size, other would still want to build big bulky muscles. So, when one asks himself whether this program works (a question I’ve received more times that I can imagine) he should really be asking himself whether this program will work for him. Oh, and by the way, yes, it does work.
What I’ve found though, is that you can customize this workout far more than you might think as to reach your goals. Whether we are talking nutrition, paying close attention on form, changing the schedule or combining Insanity with something else, these all converge towards the same end- you can personalize this program quite easily and sometimes even the smallest of changes can influence your results greatly. In this post I reveal couple of ways to do that.
Adding mass with the Insanity workout
And this is an issue that has not been unheard of. Some people, while wanting to lose fat tissue, are still concerned on whether or not they will gain or lose muscle mass.
And as far as muscle mass goes, there are couple of things to bear in mind. One, and this is rather important, many people simply fail to pay attention to what Shaun T says during the workout s- now this is taken from many words that provide context, but the idea is simple – power, correct form, pushing hard…
Now how does this help, you ask?
Well, pushing hard means stressing the muscle and thus providing more of a stimuli for it to grow. Sure, you need protein and rest, but without this in the equation, you get nothing.
Correct form, on the other hand, makes sure that the muscle is stressed from all the right angles. And this is rather important too, for muscle grow is accelerated if you provide stress to the muscle from various angles.
But according to me, what is even more important, is power, intensity, dynamic movements. Being a fitness coach for almost half a year, I noticed that many people are not that objective.
They will swear that they are doing the form right, applying all the intensity in the world. However, many times that’s not the case.
So why is this so important, and how to make sure you are doing it right?
The importance lies in the fact that more dynamic movements a) stress the muscle more, and b) target the fast twitch muscle tissue (responsible for muscle growth).
And as far as how, it is rather simple – just make sure that you apply full range of motion (meaning that you extent or contract as far as you can), while trying to have total control. This will add both dynamic and speed, as well as power.
The second thing you should pay attention to is diet. Here, just try to consume more protein than usual on the expense on carbs. Keep the fats ratio fairly even as you did before, since you will need it for muscle growth.
Losing more weight with the Insanity workout
Second verse same as the first – you will want to focus on speed while not sacrificing form. There is not much need of power and dynamic movements here, as long as you push yourself hard in the speed vertical.
Diet wise, go for less carbs, but do not increase the protein consumption that much. In other words – aim for calorie deficit. Nothing much, just hundredth or two calories shorter than what you would usually eat.
Another thing that worked really great for me is adding weights into the equation. Doing the Insanity workout with ankle weights? You think that’s crazy, right? Well, in all seriousness, it is. Quite crazy actually. But this will deplete your energy and stress your muscles so much, like you wouldn’t believe. The result? By adding two pounds on both arms and legs (eight pounds in total) you almost double the results in weight loss.
Contrary to what you might think about this adding more muscle mass, it really doesn’t. Maybe little more than usual, sure, but that’s about it.
If you add the more dynamic movements into the equation, then we are talking some serious muscle growth.
Also, for more weight loss, I will advise you to get most of your carbs from sources like fruit and especially vegetables. Oh, and on a similar note, try including brocolli and especially cabbage into your diet. These containI3C, a compound that dramatically improves the loss of fat tissue.
The rest of the nutrition guide?
While it is good to follow it, it is really not necessary. Even Shaun T himself said it couple of times – the intent of the nutrition guide is to give you a blueprint for healthy diet, so that you know how to make healthy diet choices, by having your preferences in mind.
What about the Insanity workout schedule?
And this is a question that I really get a lot, which in turn emphasizes my point on how this workout is not that perfect by not being personalized. But even Shaun T himself says that nothing here is written in stone. If you are, say playing football two times per week, some change in the schedule is rather important.
Same goes if you plan to add more weight or lose more muscle…
Doing the second month workouts with ankle weights would be thus very unwise, since they last longer, have more repetitions…
Lifting weights the same days that you do Insanity would require more than just the one day of rest per week. And this is only me saying stuff from the top of my head that do nothing but emphasize a point we already know – this program, it’s schedule, the nutrition plan… they are not written in stone.
If you have any questions about how to customize this program for your own goals, feel free to ask in the comments bellow.
Can you mix workouts, combine this program with something else?
Sure you can. Many people ask me if they can continue with their running while being on this program. So here is what I’ve learned from my own experience as well as from working with other people.
Running and Insanity usually don’t mix. And the reasons are few – first, Insanity causes a lot of stress to the joints and ankles, so doing a repetitive movement where you increase that amount of stress is probably not wise. Besides, the majority of the exercises in Insanity are structured so that they provide for a good cardio workout. Doing more cardio on top of that is again not that very wise.
When it comes to lifting weights, if we both agree that the goal is to add some muscle mass, then doing one of the Insanity workout videos the same day is not that much of a winning combination. Stressing the muscles with added resistance, and then continuing on with an Insanity session will just wear you down. Maybe if you do a short session of weight lifting before the workout and then continue with Insanity, or do the weights one day and the program another.
Yoga in the mornings perfectly complements the Insanity program, and I in fact encourage it. Nothing fancy, but couple of poses held for a short amount of time.
As far as combining one workout with another or doing a certain workout more than one time per week, I have tried couple of variations.
The Insane abs video is perfect for generating an anabolic effect, and while still preserving the cardio aspect focuses quite more on muscle and strength building. You can do this one two times per week.
The plyo workouts provide for the same effect. And the recovery one (max recovery) while robbing you off of cardio, is superior a strength and muscle boosting workout when compared to the others. You can also do this more than once per week. In fact, if you want more muscle on the expense of losing weight, I strongly encourage it.
The Insanity workout is not for everybody. Even Beachbody themselves say this over and over. It is hard, it requires a lot of will power and a lot of determination. And this sentence doesn’t do justice in explaining how much you will have to push yourself. But it’s worth it. Every second of it, and as there are many people here who already went through with the program, it becomes addictive and fun.
If you are in doubt on whether or not you will be able to handle the demand from this workout, or have less time, or maybe are off season and all you want to do is keep the good results, I recommend reading this Focus T25 workout review.
Or if you’re looking for something easier, check out the new Beachbody dance workout by reading our Cize review.
As you can see, there are many variations with the Insanity workout, and if you start to customize you will see that nothing is written in stone. You can do workouts from the first month longer than what the schedule says, use the warm up part in your gym sessions, make Insanity last not two but three or four months by skipping some days in the week.
There are many variations, and while you preserve the max interval concept – derived from the track and field methodology of training – each one of them will be efficient. Enjoy this program guys.