Sunday, December 14, 2014

Insanity Max:30 Review: Overview

Thursday this week, I was very excited to welcome Beachbody and Shaun T's newest workout, Insanity Max:30. Insanity Max:30 is a sixty day program, in the ultra-intense-cardio style of the Insanity workout series, which includes the original Insanity workout, Insanity: The Asylum Volume 1 and Insanity: The Asylum Volume 2. I have done all three programs, and written extensive reviews of both Asylum programs on this blog. I can say without a doubt that they are my favorite workout programs and that Shaun T, the instructor, is my favorite fitness personality.

Insanity Max:30 is most similar to the original Insanity workout in that no equipment is required. (The Asylum workouts use the agility ladder, resistance loops, weights, and a jump rope.) Unlike the original Insanity workouts, which range in length from 40 minutes to around an hour, all the Max:30 workouts are thirty minutes. The goal is to go hard and do as much as you can before you "max out;" their fancy way of saying take a break. Over the course of the sixty days you track how far you can go in the workout before taking a breather and by improving that time and going longer you see improvements in your fitness. 

When I took Max:30 out of the box I got to see everything the program came with. I received the standard program, which costs $120, and includes the following:

  • Month 1 and 2 workout DVDs
  • Bonus live Sweat DVD (from ordering through my Beachbody coach)
  • Workout calendar
  • Max Out guide
  • Nutrition guide
  • No Time to Cook guide

The workouts are broken into two months, each with four weeks. 

You do five thirty minute workouts a week and then have two days in a row off. Weeks one and two of month one are the same. In weeks three and four, there is one workout that gets added in (Tabata Power is removed and replaced with Tabata Strength). All four weeks of month two contain the same workout schedule. (In addition, Beachbody offers a second two month Max:30 schedule that adds in two workouts that you can get if you get the bonus program.)

Of course what everyone is interested in are the ten workouts (plus two bonus workouts included in the standard set). The workout feature 150 new moves and are based on the principles of HIIT training (high intensity interval training) and max-intensity cardio. This is balanced with tabata-style strength workouts where you do 20 seconds on and 10 second off in month one and 45 seconds on and 15 seconds off in month two.

Month One Workouts
(Note: Descriptions taken from Beachbody Max Out guide.)

In Month One, Shaun alternates killer cardio workouts and Tabata-style strength workouts, all in preparation for your Friday challenge, called Friday Fight.
  • Cardio Challenge: This workout serves as your Fit Test and your introduction to the program. 30 minutes of the hardest cardio sequences you've ever tried... Welcome to Insanity Max:30
  • Tabata Power: Your strength training starts here with a traditional Tabata-style "20 seconds on, 10 seconds off" workout structure. This plyometric-focused workout will leave your muscles begging for mercy.
  • Sweat Intervals: Just in case you didn't think Cardio Challenge was hard enough, you'll have Sweat Intervals to tackle as well. 30 minutes of screaming, sweating, calorie-scorching madness.
  • Tabata Strength: You won't see this until halfway through Month One because Shaun T takes it up a notch (or two) in this NO REST, Tabata-style workout. You heard right... 20 minutes, no rest, and we haven't even gotten to Month Two yet. 
  • Friday Fight: Round 1: You've been preparing all week and now it's time for Friday Fight. This workout will be a battle between your mind telling you to push to a new Max and your body saying, "OMG, are you serious?" And this is just Round 1.
  • + Ab Attack: 10: This 10-minute routine will feel like an attack on your abs but you'll love the results. Check out the Ab Maximizer Workout Calendar to see how you can get six-pack abs from this one crazy workout. (Note: You will find Ab Attack: 10 on all your cardio workouts.)

Month Two Workouts

You'll feel like you're right back at Day 1 when Shaun takes you to the max Month Two-style. The intervals all get longer, but the rest stays the same.
  • Max Out Cardio: This may be the craziest cardio workout you ever tried. Just wait till you get to the first Power Move. What minute are you Maxing Out at now?
  • Max Out Power: The intervals are longer in this "45 seconds one, 15 seconds off"Tabata-style plyometrics power madness.
  • Max Out Sweat: The more minutes you make it through, the more you SWEAT the the more calories you burn. You'll know why we say, "twice the sweat in half the time" from this workout. 
  • Max Out Strength: Max strength and max fat burn are what you'll get from this "45 seconds on, 15 seconds off" Tabata routine. Your arms, shoulders, chest, and core will be toast after this upper-body-focused strength workout.
  • Fright Fight: Round 2: The new "hardest workout ever." Every move is a minute in this final fight between your body and your mind. Who's going to win?
  • + Pulse: Aka Shaun's version of a recovery workout, a low-impact combo of stretching and small "pulsing" movements, so you still feel the burn as your body rejuvenates for the week ahead. (Note: You will find Pulse on both Friday Fight DVDs.)
In general, having sampled the first two workouts in the program, I would say this is most geared to graduates of other Shaun T programs, especially the original Insanity, as well as Focus T25 people looking to move to the next level (not to imply T25 isn't hard because it totally is; especially gamma). This is not a beginner program and is high impact -- you want your joints to be in good shape. You should be able to do jumping jacks and push-ups pretty well if you are thinking of doing Max:30. If you are new to exercising, I would not recommend it. However, if you are of at a moderately good fitness level, but can't do Insanity, Max:30 might be fine. There is a modifier throughout the program. You can even set the DVD to always keep the modifier on the screen. The modified moves are significantly easier and tend to be low impact. 

The focus of this workout program definitely seems to be cardio -- I will be able to confirm more when I have done more of the workouts. So far, I have done Cardio Challenge and Tabata Power (individuals reviews to follow with detailed move lists soon). I can say that this is no joke. Cardio Challenge is definitely just as hard as Insanity in terms of jumping and getting your heart-rate up. I consider myself very fit, and I can say that fact that I made it to 18:18 before maxing out is something I am very proud of on the first go around. If Cardio Challenge is any indication of what's to come, the moves seem a bit more challenging than in Insanity, by which I mean there is a bit more complexity to some of the motions. Everything is just as high intensity. Overall, the program might not be much harder than Insanity (both of them being very challenging); however the fact that we are breaking less frequently and not taking the long break for stretching (as with Insanity) definitely ups the challenge factor. 

I could not be more excited to get started with this program. For someone who loves high intensity cardio exercise like I do, getting Max:30 is a no-brainer. Shaun T always brings it, and this workout program looks to be no exception.

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