This Horror Story Will Make You Think Twice About the Insanity Workout

You can scour the internet for hours reading glowing testimonials about the Insanity workout. However, like so many other fitness regimens, Insanity isn’t for everyone. In fact, many people have tried the high-intensity workout and walked away with terrible horror stories.

Considering whether or not to take on this extreme workout plan? You should probably read up before investing in the Insanity workout.

But first, the bare bones of the program

A man works out at a gym in fitness gear.

The Insanity workout has been extremely popular and successful. | iStock.com

Shaun T’s Insanity, which is part of the Beachbody empire, consists of 10 different programs centering around high-intensity interval workouts. The workouts are widely appealing because they come in DVD form, taking the need for a gym membership or exercise equipment out of the picture.

It also doesn’t hurt that Insanity promises to get you into ridiculously good shape in a short amount of time. (And who isn’t interested in getting in shape as quickly as possible?)

Why it isn’t for everyone

A man sits on a mat while working out at home.

Transforming your living room into a gym isn’t always ideal. | iStock.com

Like many at-home workouts, Insanity isn’t for most people. The intense nature makes it a bad workout choice for beginners and seniors. Anyone that doesn’t already have stamina built up will likely tire of the plan quickly — if they can make it through an hour-long session at all. In fact, WebMD points out that even individuals in good shape may have difficulty keeping up when they first start the program.

Plus, it’s a time suck

Muscular woman doing stretching workout on exercise mat.

This workout requires a lot of dedication. | Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/Getty Images

Sure, Insanity claims to get you into crazy good shape in 60 days, but that comes at a price. Their grueling workout schedule requires you to do a workout session six days a week with little rest. Then, it requires you to take a week off in between the first and second month of training to “recover” and follow a lower-intensity regimen. So even if you do follow the Insanity program to a T, it will take you more than two months to complete it.

Then there’s the instructor issue …

Woman in sportswear doing stretching while sitting on the floor.

When it comes to Insanity, you’re on your own. | G-stockstudio/iStock/Getty Images

Insanity has the same problem that almost all other at-home workouts have — there isn’t an instructor present. When it comes to doing any new exercise plan, especially an intense one, it pays to have an expert nearby to make sure you perform everything properly. If you are pushing yourself as hard as the Insanity plan instructs, and don’t have anyone to help you with your form, you are more likely to get hurt.

… and the injury issue

A woman does a workout in blue fitness gear on a white background.

The intense workout can cause injuries. | Ostill/iStock/Getty Images

As Livestrong.com points out, shoulder injuries are common when it comes to the Insanity workout. Improper form, mixed with pushing oneself for six days straight, can result in rotator cuff tears and muscle soreness. Other injuries, shared by Insanity participants on an online message board, included hip problems, ankle injuries, and knee pain.

A real horror story

A man grabs his knee while nursing an injury.

Hard abs, lean muscles, and …. knee injuries? | iStock.com

There are plenty of injury stories out there regarding the Insanity workout. One individual chronicled his experience on Reddit, detailing that the pressure the workout put on his beginner-level joints wrecked his knees and resulted in nine months of physical therapy. That’s right — a couple of weeks of working out turned into nearly a year of recovery because the regimen is so intense.

Still want to try it?

A man works out on a blue mat.

Some brave souls are still up for the challenge. | iStock.com

So let’s say that the fear of injury and the time commitment aren’t enough to scare you away. If that is our choice, there are a few things to keep in mind. If you are a beginner, you should consider starting with a lower-intensity workout first, to help get yourself prepared for the grueling Insanity regimen. You might even want to consider consulting a personal trainer, or have someone at your local gym give you some pointers.

Making sure that you are performing all of your exercises with the proper form and to the best of your ability is the best way to prevent a workout horror story from happening to you.

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