UPDATED May 6, 2016. I’ve now completed Max:30 , so it’s time to update this review. Read below for my thoughts on the meal plan, following the modifier, and much more. New info will be in this funky red color.
Today (December 2, 2014), Beachbody released Insanity Max 30, led by celebrity trainer Shaun T. Are YOU up for this insane fitness program?
I’ll admit I’ve never attempted the original Insanity. I am, however, intimately familiar with Shaun T from his “soft and cuddly” workouts, like Hip Hop Abs and Rockin’ Body. Shaun T is fun, energetic, encouraging and goofy! Those dance-oriented workouts get your cardio on while making you move, groove and even laugh at the same time.
Then I dabbled in T25. Was this the same Shaun T? He was so SERIOUS. Encouraging, yes, but I wouldn’t exactly call him “fun.” Certainly not “goofy.” T25 was a big enough stretch for this mom with a bad knee, so I have NEVER, I repeat NEVER been tempted to try Insanity.
But now? There is soooo much Beachbody buzz about Insanity Max 30 – do I dare give it a shot? More importantly, are YOU up for this Beachbody challenge?? So let’s dig into this review. Be forewarned that these are my REAL, HONEST thoughts about the program. If you want a cut-and-paste description, complete with Beachbody marketing lingo, then visit Team Beachbody.
What is Insanity Max 30?
Insanity Max 30 is a new 60 day DVD workout program. It is extreme and it’s designed to eliminate the most common excuse: “I don’t have time to workout.” Each workout is just 30 minutes. That 30 minutes will only FEEL like an eternity.
Here’s the premise – you go HARD – INTENSE – yes, INSANE – for as long as you can – then you MAX OUT – and then you rest. (No napping allowed – we’re talking mere seconds.)
“I’m inviting you to MAX OUT,” says Shaun T, “and then you take that break and get right back into it. It’s workouts like this that I smile about because I know if you push to the max you’ll get the body you always wanted.”
Maybe the first day you can only keep up with Shaun T and the crew for 5 minutes. Yay for you. Maybe the next time you go 5 minutes 30 seconds or even 6 minutes. Maybe you’ll just complete one more rep than the day before. The goal is to progress every day and every week and then, just maybe, at the end of the 60 day program you can keep up with Shaun T for (gasp) the entire workout.
Shaun T developed 150 new strength and cardio moves for this program. I’ve seen video clips of the workouts and, while absolutely TERRIFYING to me, I was encouraged to see the workout crew taking breaks. They aren’t going hard the entire time. They push it to limit for what seems to be an insanely long time and then they MAX OUT. They are human – just like you, and just like me.
Now that I’ve DONE the workouts, the moves are not quite so terrifying. Honestly each workout is so fast paced that you don’t have time to quake in fear anticipating burpee lunges or plyo triceps push-ups.
But make no mistake, you WILL max out. The warm up is high impact and you are jumping, jogging and moving FAST from the get go. Intensity or “insanity” is nothing to fear, but make no mistake – you will be working HARD.
Shaun T boasts, “I don’t care if you scream, yell, hate me – whatever you gotta do, just know that I’m here for you.” So, it’s not about “getting through” all 30 minutes. It’s about going as hard as possible, as long as possible until you are MAXED OUT.
One of the things I love about Insanity Max:30 is that Shaun T is not only explaining the movements and cueing proper form, but he is encouraging and motivating the entire time. Not in an annoying, aerobic-cheerleader fashion, but he is like a coach speaking to you from the sidelines, urging you to go just a little longer or a little harder. And trust me, when you’re in the heat of the workout you need someone pushing you.
“That was the hardest workout I’ve ever taught,” warns Shaun T. Gulp.
Insanity Max 30 is otherwise known as HIIT.
You probably know this concept by another name: it is high intensity interval training at its finest.
You will do a series of cardio or strength moves and push as hard as humanly possible. Then you get a tiny break until you push hard again.
The big benefit to HIIT is that you torch calories in the workout itself, and your body continues to burn calories even after you’re done.
Who is this workout for?
The program is for people who have a decent fitness base, at least in my humble opinion. It’s cardio intense, so you will burn tons of calories. This is the type of program to help you tone up (without getting HUUUUUGE muscles) and shred fat. If you’re in pretty good shape and are trying to get rid of that last 5-15 pounds, this program will likely be a good match.
If you’re tough and want a challenge, Insanity Max 30 is for you.
Can you modify Insanity Max 30?
In this workout you will be running, jumping and doing crazy plyometric moves. Unless you are a superhero, you will be modifying at least some of the workout. There is a low impact modifier in every DVD. “She’s modifying and that’s fine, but I want you to constantly progress and constantly push,” urges Shaun T.
May I say I LOVE what Beachbody has done with the modifier in Max:30? There is an option on each disc to watch the “modifier track.” What that means is the entire workout is shown in a split screen – with Shaun T and the high impact group on one side, and the modifier on the other. You are able to watch the modifier from start to finish. Can we all say together, “about time?!”
People have to modify workouts for a variety of reasons and there is NO SHAME in modifying. You need to listen to your own body. In the past you were lucky to see a modifier on the screen – sometimes. But it always seems that the modifier was not on camera when there was a tricky move so you had to figure it out on your own. Not so with Max:30. You can watch the modifier the entire time and keep pace with him or her. I hope this is a new trend with Beachbody because it is incredibly valuable.
I am going to amend my original opinion (below). Insanity Max:30 might not be my first choice for a beginner or someone just getting back into exercise, but, having worked with it myself, I think it is not totally out of question for a newbie. Yes, you’d have to modify. And you would be pushing hard. But, with the “max out” concept (taking breaks when you personally need them) and having the modifier on screen at all times, I think may be a doable first program for some.
If you are very obese or if you are older and haven’t worked out in years, I’d steer clear. But if you have the desire to try, then I say go for it.
Here’s my own personal opinion: If you are a total beginner I would not recommend this as your first program. I don’t care that there is a modifier – here’s my theory….
This is an extreme workout program.
Even people in good shape will struggle with this workout. It’s intense and that is the goal. If you are just starting out I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be able to complete the first workout. I won’t be able to complete the first workout and I’ve been working out 6 days a week for 7 years!
Beginners should build up their fitness base.
I will ALWAYS recommend that a beginner start with a fitness program that will allow them to experience success immediately. So programs like PiYo, the 21 Day Fix, Turbo Jam and yes, even Shaun T’s Rockin’ Body and Hip Hop Abs. These programs are low impact (or easily modified) and are a good place to start. With these programs, very soon you will master the moves and gain confidence, not to mention you will gain cardiovascular fitness (you gasp for air LESS!) and start to gently build muscle.
I would be afraid a beginner would be overwhelmed, flustered and quite frankly, discouraged trying an extreme fitness program like Insanity Max 30 for their first program. I know I would not have survived if it was MY first program. (This may be a little extreme. I think this is a better first choice for a beginner than Insanity or P90X. It might not be my first choice for a newbie, but I wouldn’t rule it out.)
Can I do Insanity Max 30 if I’m overweight?
If you are overweight AND fit, yes, be my guest. Being overweight does not equal beginner fitness status. I know a lot of heavy marathon runners. But, if you are overweight and just getting into exercise for the first time, or getting back to fitness, I’d recommend a different program. See “Can Beginners do Insanity Max 30?” above.
How long are the workouts?
30 minutes. Anyone can squeeze in a 30 minute workout. No excuses necessary. Shortest answer you will ever see from me 🙂
Sorry, I couldn’t resist adding more…I come from a history of distance running. A 30 minute run when you’re marathon training is just a warm up. I have to confess I am skeptical of 30 minute workouts. Is it possible to really cram benefit into just 30 minutes?
With Max:30 I think the answer is YES. Honestly, even modifying 85% of the moves, the workouts kick my ass. At the same time, knowing I only have to suffer for 30 minutes is somehow comforting.
The Max:30 calendar has workouts Monday through Friday with the weekend off. That level of intensity, five days in a row, is just too much for me. I changed the schedule for myself to include PiYo as cross-training. Check out my Insanity Max:30 PiYo Hybrid Calendar.
Is there a meal plan? Will I lose weight doing Insanity Max 30?
All of the Beachbody workouts come with a comprehensive meal plan and this is no exception. Happily, the Insanity Max:30 meal plan, “Nutrition to the MAX,” looks familiar. It is essentially the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan.
What does that mean? It is a portion control system that has you eating from a wide range of healthy foods. You can use the 21 Day Fix color-coded containers to measure your portions, or you can use a scale or measuring cups.
The nutrition plan book includes complete instructions, including how to calculate your calorie range, the list of foods, recipes, sample meal plans, and a food tracker. This meal plan is also identical to the brand new Portion Fix system, except that the base kit will NOT come with the containers. The Deluxe kit DOES include the containers.
Little secret: All Beachbody plans are very similar (i.e. compatible with the 21 Day Fix), so here’s what you can expect:
- A formula to calculate your calorie needs (based on your weight and activity level).
- Plans for various calorie levels, starting at about 1200 calories up to 2000 and even higher. You’ll determine which category you fall in by the equation above, which will be in your nutrition plan book. (I always get stuck with the lowest level – unfair.)
- Almost ALL Beachbody meal plans have a similar formula, so I am guessing it will be the same for Insanity Max 30. The lowest calorie level generally has food types and amounts like this:
- 2 serving grains/starches
- 2 servings fruit
- 4 servings protein (including Shakeology)
- 4 servings veggies
- 3 servings healthy fats
- Obviously higher calorie ranges would have more servings of protein, grains/starches, fruit and fats, etc.
- You work off of a list of “acceptable” foods
- “Treat” days are often added in
- Sometimes the MEANS to get to those servings differs, but the end goal is ALWAYS the same. For instance, the 21 Day Fix uses cute little colorful containers to measure your servings. The PiYo meal plan works off essentially the same food list, but you either weigh or measure your portions. The P90 program is almost identical, but you work of a list of recipes. The end result is the same, but the means to get there differs.
Do I have to follow the meal plan to get results?
No, you don’t have to follow the Insanity Max 30 Meal Plan to get results, but if weight loss is your goal then you do need to follow SOME type of meal plan. Exercise alone will not do it – sorry.
There are all kinds of studies out there showing that the amount of weight lost with exercise alone is modest. It’s an old (annoying) quote that “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet,” but unfortunately it is true. And sadly I have tried. That’s why I could run half marathons every other weekend and still be skinny fat. Or just fat.
Nutrition is critical. Find some plan that floats your boat and FOLLOW it. I like the PiYo Meal Plan because it’s simple. (Click HERE for a super detailed explanation of the PiYo Meal Plan and you can follow along without ever purchasing PiYo.)
I am as weak as they come when it comes to dieting. If you can’t seem to stay on the wagon for more than a week, consider joining one of my accountability groups and get some support with fun, similarly motivated people. I have new groups starting each month and we’d love to have you. One of the reasons I stay focused is because running the accountability groups helps me too!
What’s included in the package and how much does it cost?
The Insanity Max 30: Challenge Pack has everything you need to succeed: fitness program, Insanity Max 30 meal plan, one month supply of Shakeology, 30 day Beachbody Club membership which gives you a special meal planner, live chats with celebrity trainers, recipes and more. In December the Challenge pack is only $180. The regular retail price (which is still a savings versus buying the components individually) is $205.
Insanity Max:30 Base Kit. You’ll get all the DVD’s plus the nutrition plan and retails for $119.85.
Insanity Max:30 Deluxe Kit includes the base kit items PLUS 3 additional workouts, a Core Comfort Mat, 7 portion-control food containers, a deluxe Shakeology shaker cup and body fat calipers. Cost is $239.70.
Do I need equipment?
Nope. “It’s about using your body to get results,” claims Shaun T. “No weights and no equipment.”
How to purchase?
Just go to my Beachbody store, click SHOP and type INSANITY MAX into the search bar. You’ll see all the options. Remember, there is a Challenge Pack option which is the best deal – it’s like buying a 30 day supply of Shakeology and getting your workout at a huge discount.
Or, you can purchase the DVD’s alone. Either way, if you purchase Insanity Max 30 from my store you will be my amazing client, I will be your personal coach, and I invite you to join one of my challenge groups to help hold you accountable as you begin your INSANE journey. And you can inspire me as well, with your obvious dedication to fitness and ability to handle and EXTREME workout!
Insanity Max 30 is an extreme fitness program that might be for you IF you are in decent shape and are up for a REAL challenge. You will be pushed to the MAX physically.
By the end of the 60 days you will most likely be in AMAZING shape — if you survive. If you’re looking to ramp up your cardiovascular fitness level, give it a try.
If you’re looking to lose the last 5-15 pounds, this might be your program. If you are pressed for time but want an intense 30 minute workout, then Insanity Max 30 is the one for you. Are you up for THIS Beachbody challenge?? I am!!