Insanity has cult status in the US and a growing following in the UK. It’s a 60-day program of 10 workout DVDs that you do in a prescribed order, six days a week. Why it’s described as“one step from impossible” becomes clear from the first warm-up. It’s an interval-based program – think explosive suicide jumps, switch kicks, high knees and push-ups, all at super-fast pace. What makes it so challenging is that the “hard”bit of the interval lasts for three minutes, not the usual 60 seconds, followed by a mere 15-second recovery. It’s not cheap but compared to personal training, it’s small change, and gets similar results.You start and finish with a fitness test to mark your progress and there’s no doubt you’ll get lean and toned – if you can hack it.
Hotel-room friendly? Yes, but perhaps not for the people in the room below. Equipment needed Trainers, and a towel for mopping up sweat.
Irritation/boredom factor This DVD gets top marks for creating a truly motivating vibe. Unlike most presenters, Shaun T does the workout while he instructs, so he sweats and gets out of breath. He leads a basketball court full of six-packed hipsters, and they go red in the face and get out of breath too.
Time From 40 minutes (Cardio Power and Resistance) to 86 minutes (Max Interval Circuit and Fit Test), with likely the world’s most challenging warm-up, and cool-down.
Diet plan included? Yes. Comes with 70-page Elite Nutrition booklet, a workout calendar and access to an online forum.
Best for Intermediate and advanced exercisers. If you’re prone to injuries, particularly knee problems, it’s probably not for you.