REVIEW – Insanity: Max 30 – Day 1 – Cardio Challenge

I first completed this program (all 56 days) in 2016. The challenge and grind of this program reminded me a lot of my first “Insanity” experience. I decided that I wanted to go through each workout again to see what the fitness metrics looked like (calorie burn and heart rate chart). And, I wanted to share my experience over the next 12 posts in the hopes of educating people that are considering this program. See program details at the bottom of the post.

Day 1: Cardio Challenge (approx 30 minutes)

Approx calories burned (Garmin Vivosport): 236 C

Max HR (Garmin Vivosport): 146 bpm

AVG HR (Garmin Vivosport): 114 bpm

This workout has 6 blocks total. By that, I mean the time bar has little grey lines that signify a change from one block to the next. Those grey lines are your water breaks. Your goal is to get to the water break w/o stopping. I guess your ultimate stretch goal is to get through an entire session by taking only the programmed water breaks. That would mean your max out time is 30. I wonder if anyone has done that???

That first block is the warm up. But, in typical Shaun T fashion, the warm up gets your heart rate GOING. I’m happy to report that there is a modifier in the program. She isn’t called out in a separate window, she is to the right of Shaun when they show the large panoramic view of the class. Having a modifier is a very nice add to these programs.

insanity max 30 modifier

When people max out, he makes them write their time on the chalkboard. Our first visible causality was just before 8 minutes.

The first series of squat kicks to pike/spider to 10 & 2 jumps does get your legs burning. I remember my first time in 2016 – I didn’t get out of that round w/o maxing out. I checked through my notes, and saw that my second session had me bust through that (NICE). This time around, I made it through. Nice to know my fitness hasn’t regressed.

Round 2 was a challenge, but I got through it w/o maxing out. It consisted of medicine ball twist to plank jack + in/out abs to 4 jab + 4 high knee. Round 3 finally got me. The plyo power knees were fine. BUT, when we did scissor stance jacks, that is when my legs were finally cooked. Call it the 16 minute mark for my max out. I wrote it down, slugged some water, and got back in to complete a couple reps of shoulder tap in/out. It kind of made me feel better when Shaun maxed out in this round about a minute later.

I’m not going to lie – it sucked that after maxing out, I still had two more rounds to get through.

Round 4 has slap back jacks, suicide burpees, and plank speed taps. Oh, and if I didn’t mention it before, you do all three exercises 3 times each per round. Round 5 is chair to squat, football runs, and 2 jabs + 2 tuck jumps.

There is a cooldown at the end, but its not part of the 30 minutes. Please – don’t be foolish – do the cooldown. It’s only a couple extra minutes. You need to bring your heart rate down.

Overall, not a bad start to the program. Certainly not enough here to scare you away!

Program Details:

What is it?

Insanity Max 30 is a 2 month program with 5 programed exercise sessions, 1 recovery/stretch session, and 1 rest day programmed each week. The program is divided in half – the first month is “easier” than the second month. Each workout is approximately 30 minutes, and your goal is to go as long as you can in the session without taking an unprogrammed break. The moment your form breaks down and you need to stop, you are said to have “maxed out.” You write down that time, and try to beat it during your next session. Once you write down the time, take as much time as you need to collect your thoughts, and then get back into it. Don’t just end the workout when you “max out.” If your “max out” time gets longer and longer each session, you know you are making gains with your VO2 max, lactic threshold, and overall muscle strength/endurance.


Do I need any equipment?

No – this is strictly bodyweight. You’ll want some exercise mats though. Doing this on concrete might be unforgiving on your joints.


Is there a nutrition plan?

Yes. Beachbody does a nice job putting together a nutrition plan for you. This nutrition plan seems to build off the popularity of the food/portion control containers that first appeared in 21 Day Fix. If you are new to nutrition and have no idea what you are doing, you’ll be okay following the plan. If you already follow a Paleo or Primal or Keto type nutrition lifestyle – keep doing that – it’s better.


Have you ever done Insanity Max 30? If so, please let us know about your experience in the comments below. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” and share. Thank you.


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