Insanity program: Lose weight and build muscle (Guide 2022) 😅

NOTE: Before you read this article (very interesting by the way), I would like to point out that unfortunately this program can no longer be purchased directly. It is only found on the site Team Beachbody in the form of an overpriced subscription đŸ€Ź.

I hate you, you readers! Well, sometimes
 It's true, I do everything I can to give you good advice. And suddenly, you force me to question myself by telling me about your experiences.

This is what happened to me a few weeks ago with the Insanity program.

I was quietly checking my emails while drinking my coffee when I read that of a reader whom I will call Sandrine (that's good, that's her first name 😀 ). She tells me that she is very happy to have returned to sport by following my advice and that she is following the Insanity MAX 30 method 5 to 6 times a week.

I said to myself: "But she's crazy, this program is for people who want to die!" It should already be noted that “Insanity” translates into French as “Madness”. And it's not for nothing.

Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know...

Reflection on the Insanity program

It's true that I bought Shaun T's first program 2 years ago. And I kept a rather bad memory of it. Oh, I know it's a super effective slimming program. But what does it hurt at my age! I remind you that I was born in 1967

So I advised Sandrine to do it a little less often (for example 3 times a week), and to reserve the other days for a basic weight training program to gain volume without breaking the bank. Which in my opinion is more balanced, because the Insanity MAX 30 program draws a lot from the reserves and that Sandrine is also over 40 years old.

But it got me thinking. Why ?

Because I've been back in France for 7 weeks, and I've already gained belly due to frequent family meals. And as Oldelaf says “It hurts”. You know, a family meal there, followed by a meal with friends, passing by a restaurant in between. In short, death that kills life.

And of course, sport is no longer enough to eliminate this dirty rhythm. So I said to myself, "Stéphane, you're no longer young, but that's no reason. Like Sandrine, you're going to try the Insanity MAX 30 method.

Thank you !

That'll teach me to have regained 3 kg...

Why the Insanity method is the sports program to lose weight

It's arguably the best weight loss program quickly, but also to give back to his heart and his body the breath of his 20 years.

Insanity MAX 30 program to lose weight and build muscle at the same time
Unfortunately no longer available on DVD

It is prodigiously horrible! You spit out everything in your stomach, lungs and muscles. And Shaun tells you (even if it's in English) “Come on, just a little more effort, you're almost there! »


While the minute left before the 30-second pose seems light years away, you're drooling so much. But this initial difficulty is precisely what will condition the effectiveness of this program.

High-intensity training, commonly known as HIIT, has long been proven. They are most effective for lose weight and build muscle at the same time.

How Insanity makes you lose weight?

Shaun T will only give you not even the opportunity to breathe 10 seconds every 30 seconds. No, it will generously give you 30 seconds every 5 minutes. While you, you would already be ready to collapse on the sofa. Dead, exploded, pulverized!

We no longer speak of high intensity training, but rather of very high intensity training. You will almost always be beyond 80 % of your heart capacity. This heart rate is called the anaerobic zone. This means that you will no longer be able to speak during your session.

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What to remember, if you want lose fat, is that you burn the most calories when your heart rate is between 80 and 90 % of your maximum rate.

So that's why Insanity MAX 30 is so effective in slimming your figure. I don't believe there is a faster method today.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not engage in this program if you are not used to exercising VERY regularly or if you have a medical history. If you have any doubts, please consult your doctor first.

It's not just cardio

Yes, this crazy method does not work only your heart rate and your breath.

This is also one of its great strengths: your muscles will be exercised very hard during your session. First, your thighs, hamstrings and calves will almost always be used.

Insanity Max Out weight loss program

It is also the same for your abdominal strap, and this is a major advantage of this method. You know how important these muscles are to have the flat belly.

The different sessions spread over the day do not forget the pectorals, triceps, shoulders and back. In my opinion, the only weak point of the Insanity sessions, whether in the Ultimate Cardio Workout or MAX 30 version, is the lack of solicitation of the biceps.

Also, the exercises intended for the shoulders are relatively uncomfortable, especially if yours are a little fragile (in my case). But, it is quite logical, because all the bodyweight exercises without equipment are not the most suitable for these muscles.

I'm pretty sure Shaun T does biceps workouts aside from getting strong biceps. Besides, I will give you a tip a little later on this subject.

That being said, if your primary quest is fat loss, don't change the program. It is perfect for you.

But now let’s answer an important question


Why the Insanity Workout program builds muscle

Why this question ?

Quite simply because this method is based above all on very intense cardio. In general, HIIT training promotes calorie burning and therefore weight loss.

But if you do a lot of cardio, you also usually lose muscle size. This explains why marathon runners or cyclists in the Tour de France are rarely bulky. They can be strong and tough, but not bulky. However, Shaun T's method also promotes muscle gain.

How is it possible ?

This is because muscles have the ability to grow in different ways. The best known is to lift heavier and heavier loads to force the muscle to grow.

But you should know that your muscles do not make a difference between weight and speed.

Let me explain

The faster you ask your muscles to lift a load, the more it will need for strength. And as you will find in the Insanity program, the movements are generally fast. Sometimes very fast. You will therefore force your muscles to grow in size.

Of course, you will inevitably reach a limit point in this volume gain. Unless you continue your training with weighted vests and bracelets to increase your body weight.

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What is Insanity MAX 30 made of?

Shaun T asks you to do 5 to 6 sessions of 30 minutes per week. Here's what his schedule looks like:

exercise schedule insanity max:30
The Insanity MAX 30 2-Month Calendar

PULSE: The 20-minute session on Saturday (optional) corresponds more to recovery. I recommend it if you can integrate it into your program (and if you are still alive 😉 ).

The program first consists of 10 videos of 25 minutes (5 per month):





Each video ends with 2 minutes of COOL DOWN. Always do these movements scrupulously before finishing your session for the day. Be rigorous!

You will benefit from 3 additional videos:

  • PULSE: 20 minutes of physical recovery on Saturday.
  • AB ATTACK 10: a crazy session for 10 minutes for your abs.
  • CARDIO CHALLENGE: a 30-minute session to push yourself to the maximum of your abilities.
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Meet your torturer

Shaun Thompson (the sadist in the red T-shirt with a microphone) is a world renowned health and fitness specialist.

Insanity program to lose weight fast
Don't be fooled by his Mr. Clean face. He is a mad !

He is a champion of motivation, and his method is recognized as the most difficult ever to appear on DVD. I think I know why 😀

He speaks to you throughout the duration of the videos. Even if you don't understand English, that's an extra motivating factor.


If your sports coach Shaun T tells you to do something, it's a bit like in the game Jacques said (Jean-Guy says for my Canadian friends): you have to do it. Otherwise, you will have a pledge...

Only he says it in English. Here is a small glossary

Here's a little help understanding Shaun T's language:

  • "WATER BREAK" doesn't mean you have to run to the bathroom. Either way, you won't have time. Just go have a drink of water.
  • “DON'T STOP”, “KEEP GOING”, “MOVE” or “COME ON” and other similar expressions, it means that even if you are dying, you must continue. Up to you

  • “PUSH” means “PUSH”.
  • “COOL DOWN” tells you that you are going to do a few gentle movements to relax your muscles and regain a slower heart rate. Don't neglect those 2 minutes for recovery after your killer workouts.

My opinion on the sports program to lose weight Insanity MAX 30


  • You'll do amazing work for your core, energy, legs, core, pecs and triceps.
  • This program has proven itself to millions of users since 2009
  • You will feel like you are undergoing a real makeover if you pass the course of the first week
  • The rhythm given by Shaun T in the videos is motivating. It will help you surpass yourself
  • Take a good look at the athletes around Shaun T. They often show you easier variations of the current exercise
  • Anyone can find a perfect line by hanging on
  • Once past the first week or weeks, you become completely addicted. You will be looking forward to your session (yes, yes..)


  • Only in English, this may put some people off. But the videos are easy to follow
  • Can only be purchased on Amazon USA for quite some time (shipping cost of 10€)
  • Like all bodyweight exercises, there are too few movements for the biceps. And exercises for the shoulders are not easy to perform. That's not the way to become muscle sir, if that's your goal.
  • Certain muscles and joints are stressed a little too quickly. For example, Shaun takes you straight to push-ups for the triceps without really warming them up.
  • These hyper intense cardio sports sessions are not necessarily compatible with certain back problems or joint problems
  • Program now sold for an astronomical price as a subscription on the Beachbody website

Regardless of the downsides, I'm really thrilled with this cardio and strength training program. The results are almost immediate.

However, I must warn you that your results will not necessarily be fantastic if you do not adopt a balanced diet at the same time as this intensive cardio program.

How to develop your biceps, back and shoulders at the same time

The question is important if you want to develop your biceps, shoulders and lats while following the Insanity program. As I said above, this is the only weak point of the Insanity method if you also want to work these muscles.

Here is my recipe...

On Wednesday, I replace the program for this session with 30 minutes of Back/Biceps/Shoulders.

For this, I mainly use exercises with elastic bands strength training. For each exercise, you'll need to choose a resistance that's high enough that your final movements are borderline failure.


The exercises for the back and the shoulders follow one another without a break in the order indicated. This means that I do one set of each series, then I start again in the same order at least 3 times (or even 4 times for the first 2 exercises).

For the biceps, I move on to the next exercise only after completing the 3 sets of the previous one. To stay in the spirit of Shaun T, I do Jumping Jacks between sets of biceps:

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SESSION FOR THE BACK (10 minutes max):

NOTE: All photos are from the Bodylastics site where I purchased my first band kits.

1. Wide grip pull-ups

insanity program and pull-ups wide grip

4 series

Number of repetitions: 20 / 20 / 20 / 20

2. One arm standing row

Rowing in a squat position to strengthen the back

4 sets per arm

Number of repetitions: 12 / 12 / 12 / 12

3. Side extensions

side extensions for the back after insanity

4 series

Number of repetitions: 15 / 15 / 15 / 15

BICEPS SESSION (10 minutes max):

1. Concentrated One-Arm Curls

one arm preacher curl

3 sets per arm

Number of repetitions: 16 / 14 / 12

2. One Arm Side Bicep Curls

Bodylastics Biceps Curl

3 sets per arm

Number of repetitions: 12 / 10 / 10

3. Preacher curls

preacher's curl to complete Insanity program

3 series 

Number of repetitions: 16 / 14 / 12


1. Shoulder press

shoulder raises with elastic bands

4 series 

Number of repetitions: 14 / 12 / 10 / 10

2. Front raises

Insanity program and frontal elevations to strengthen the shoulders

4 series 

Number of repetitions: 16 / 14 / 12 / 12

3. Lateral Raises

side raises for insanity program

3 series 

Number of repetitions: 12 / 12 / 12

4. Shrugs (or shrugs)

kyphosis and lumbar hyperlordosis

3 series 

Number of repetitions: 20 / 20/ 20

In reality, I add another 3 exercises to my session for the shoulders (external/internal rotations and reverse fly). But it's not bad if you do these 4.

Finding a good rubber band kit in France

If you are not equipped, I recommend one of the 2 elastic band kits from the European brand SmartWorkout. Not only are they attractively priced, but you get free access to 3 workout programs and videos. In addition, you get 20 % discount with my links. Here's what's included in the Elite Pack:

  • 7 natural latex 100 % tubes, which can provide up to 120 kg of resistance;
  • 1 bar with integrated fasteners for attaching rubber bands;
  • 2 non-slip silicone handles for a better grip;
  • 2 neoprene padded ankle straps;
  • 1 thick easy to install door anchor;
  • 4 unbreakable stainless steel carabiners;
  • 1 compact bag to carry the kit anywhere;
  • 3 free weight training programs included (Express, SmartGains, Strong & Beautiful);
  • 1 user guide.
SW Elite Elastic Kit - EN

You can also purchase the SmartWorkout Pro package which includes exactly the same items except for the bar (click on the link to learn more).

Conclusion on the benefits of the Insanity program

If you want to get into sport, but you don't have the condition, go your way
 for now. Start with a more accessible program  or use the videos that show the easier versions, at least during the first days or the first month of insanity.

As soon as you're in better physical condition, train alongside Shaun T. Love him or hate him, but give him a try ASAP! Your waistline will thank you...

I hope you won't have the idea, like Sandrine, of finding an even more difficult program. You would end up having my skin


What is the Insanity program?

This is a set of videos of coach Shaun T, world famous for his intense sessions with maximum repetitions. The robustness of the program is based on an intense effort for a large caloric expenditure in record time.

What equipment for your Insanity sessions?

In fact, you don't really need any equipment since the exercises are done with your body weight. However, I recommend a large ground sheet and a pair of fitness shoes. Also don't forget a good liter of water for the 30 minutes.

When is the best time to do Insanity?

In terms of sport and efficiency, we are all different. Most people's circadian rhythm and testosterone production are often at their peak between 5 and 7 p.m. But above all, you must take into account your program and your habits. The important thing is regularity. I just advise against training after 7:30 p.m., especially if you're not an easy sleeper.

What is the best Beachbody program?

The inexhaustible coach of insanity regularly offers a new series of exercises. It is difficult to say if one is better than the other since all are based on the same principle of intensity. You may find different sets of push-ups or a different squat position, but in the end, you will have used almost every muscle in your body. It will almost always be the death of your upper body or your legs.

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Related words: fifth week max interval plyo max interval circuit little video running session little bonus de la muerte active recovery seconds active rest short series second day best friend good shape dear shaun t session title push push push 

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Last updated on 2022-03-03 / Affiliate links / Some images are sourced from the Amazon Product Advertising API

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