Insanity Reviews: Pure Cardio

insanity-pure-cardio-smAs promised, here is another Insanity Review. I have previously reviewed Plyo Cardio Circuit, and Pure Cardio (like Plyo Cardio) is a monster. I just completed this workout this morning, so the workout is fresh on my mind. My Insanity Review will be based on my personal thoughts, and break down the workout for you to see. I promise you this, you can not fully appreciate this program, unless you try it. I can tell you about it, it is hard…. but until you try it for yourself, you can never fully appreciate the hard work. When starting the Insanity Workout: Pure Cardio workout dvd, the disclaimer states plainly…its an intense program, that you should take breaks, get your doctors approval, and that its an advanced program. There might be some other items in there too, but I admit, I paid little attention. What’s a workout without a little pain and suffering. :)

So the overall workout length is 38 minutes, 16 seconds. I know there might be some die hard P90X fans out there saying, “WHAT, only 38 minutes?” I can relate, we’re used to longer workouts pushing 60 minutes. However, after 38 minutes of Insanity, you’re thankful for the cool down and stretch.

The Insanity Pure Cardio workout begins with a warm up (cough cough), if you call that a warm up. It’s just over 10 minutes, but if you started the warm up, and someone walked into the room, they would swear you were right in the middle of the cardio portion. Don’t think you’re going to take a nice walk, or a little jog, maybe throw your arms around a little. By the time you finish the warm up, you’re already sweating like crazy, or at least I was. So the warm up is 3 rounds of about 3 minutes and 30 seconds each. There is no break between the rounds. Each round is slightly faster than the last, and the last round is “as fast as you can go” pace. I know, Insane. The warm up is very similar to the one in Plyo Cardio. Each round you move from a Jog, Jumping jacks, Heisman (jumping side to side), 123 Heisman (moving side to side with 3 fast small steps), Butt Kicks, High Knees (running in place, with high knees), and Mummy Kicks. When that’s over, you get your first water break, a whole 20 seconds, of which each second is precious and dear. Then the stretch. Which leads me to another thought. In what other workout program or cardio dvd have you actually worked so hard during the warm up, that you NEEDED a water break after it was over? This fitness program is being stated to be the hardest fitness program on dvd. And I think they mean it!

The stretch is more like a “Power” stretch. A lot of times when you stretch, you use your hands on the floor as you stretch your legs. Spread your feet apart, rest your hands on the floor. Runner stretch, hands on the floor, etc. With Insanity, you stretch your legs and lower body, while your hands are straight out or up. Which means your legs are working, and your upper body is not taking any of the weight. So Power stretch seems to work for me. However, I really like the stretch, it’s thorough, and does what its supposed to do, gets you ready for the workout. The stretch lasts about 5 minutes and 50 seconds. Nice. Then guess what. A water break. I felt like I needed it. If nothing else, I needed to get myself prepped for the rest of the workout, and if the warm up is an indication, I know its going to be intense.

So 21 minutes are left on the clock. Now if I hadn’t already seen what Shaun T can do to a man or woman in that span of time, I might of thought, NO PROBLEM, PIECE OF CAKE. Don’t be fooled. The main part of the workout is 15 minutes. 15 moves, 1 minute each.

Sounds easy. The hard part is, you’ve seen your last water break until all 15 moves are completed. The moves are not easy either, they require plenty of effort, and once completed, you’re completely exhausted. Even Shaun T rolls out on the floor! The 15 moves are:

  • Suicide (side to side touching the floor)
  • Switch kicks (exhausting)
  • Wide football sprints
  • Stance Jacks
  • Pedal (two lunges, then sprint, followed by 2 more lunges, etc)
  • Hooks and Jump rope (8 hook punches, several high jumps, 8 punches etc)
  • Power jacks (like jumping jacks, but you go deep in a wide lunge)
  • Level 2 drills (these get me every time. 8 push ups followed by 8 run lunges, repeat)
  • Frog Jumps
  • Power Knees (switch every 30 seconds)
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Ski Down (jump side to side as if skiing)
  • Scissor Runs
  • Suicide Jumps (squat down, jump back to a push up, stand up again)
  • Push up jacks (push ups with wide feet)

Some of those may be hard to imagine, and are a little difficult to explain. But my hope is not that you can get through the workout on what I write, but get an idea of the workout itself.

Throughout the 15 drills, many of the cast members are taking breaks. I took breaks. It’s tough, mentally challenging, physically challenging. Shaun T would walk around the room, and often tell a cast member to take a break. It’s ok. But my personal goal is to complete each workout from start to finish and take breaks at the designated break times. Like I said, at the end, everyone is exhausted. Many are on their knees, and some just roll out on the floor. I got the biggest kick from the little text prompts that says “Never stop moving”. Shaun T is lying on the floor, and then you see “Never stop moving”. It’s comical. :)

You finish with a 1 minute water break, then you take about 4 minutes or so to cool down and stretch.

From reading this Insanity Review, you might think… Sounds too tough for me. It may be. It’s an advanced program. As said by Beachbody. Insanity is to cardio training, like P90X is to resistance training. But if you have done P90X or Chalean Extreme, I think Insanity is within your reach, and can push you into another level of fitness. As always, I’m here to help you, answer your questions, etc, just drop me a line. Feel free to comment and post your thoughts. Until the next Insanity Review…

Take the Insanity Challenge!


Related posts


  1. Ieshia said:

    Hello there. I thought about your response, and I’ve decided that I will start out with Power 90 like you suggested. Then I will build up to Insanity. I have been known to start an exercise routine out strong, and then I fall off the bandwagon a week later because it was too much. I think “slowly but surly” is the method I should approach this with. Thank you for your suggestion Robert!

  2. Rian said:

    Hi Robert,
    I live in Jakarta, Indonesia. I was introduced to Insanity program by a friend at the dojo where I train martial arts. The program is hard, but I think it is very good. I really want to have a beach body I am glad I have the privilege to be introduced to such program. However I have a couple of questions to ask you. First, I cannot do the workout as scheduled in the given calendar. Would this become a problem in terms of results? Second, here in Jakarta, our diet is consisted of mainly rice and stir fried vegetables or noodles. Getting the right diet as laid out in the meal plan is possible, but it will come at a cost. Do you think the workout would become a waste if not accompanied by the right diet?

    I am looking forward to hear from you again. Thanks.

  3. Robert Harden said:

    Rian, I would do the best you can do with what you have readily available. If you can not follow the schedule, just do what you can to stay as close as you can. Same for the nutrition. I would try to stay as close as possible, but don’t get too stressed out if you can not stay perfect to the nutrition schedule. While I’m sure the type of food is important, the biggest thing I would shoot for is your number of calories. Figure out what your calories should be and try to stay in that range as much as possible. Then see what your results are at the end of 60 days. Your results will determine how much cost you want to put in to make the 2nd round even better. Good luck!

  4. Lance said:

    Hey Robert I just finished my day 5 right now and its true for these past few days i could hardly move my body and I have no idea what’s really pushing me thru but I love the workout, I honestly would say that my muscles would cry out of pain and stop to let them breath for a couple of seconds then do it again but what really gets me is that on Sunday would you recommend me to rest? Cause I really want to do sonething, i cant stop thinking what kind of results I’ll get

  5. Robert Harden said:

    Lance, Sometimes all we want to do is Go Go Go, but in all reality, skipping a rest day will actually slow your results. Let your body RECOVER. If you do anything, do a stretch workout. Don’t worry it’s only for one day. ;)

  6. Lance said:

    So you would reccomend me doing the recovery workout right? Thanks a lot Robert and I wanna get the shirt soon but I didn’t get to measure my self :\ is there anyway? I take pictures everyday before all day and after most of the time. Would it be possible?

  7. Lance said:

    So you would reccomend me doing the recovery workout right? Thanks a lot Robert and I wanna get the shirt soon but I didn’t get to measure my self, is there anyway? I take pictures everyday before all day and after most of the time. Would it be possible?

  8. Robert Harden said:

    Yes, definitely do the recovery. To get the shirt, you need to have a photo prior to starting Insanity, and then your after picture.

  9. eElly Crome said:

    hi!! i got awezome results from insanity i would like to get my tshirt but i dont live in the usa at the moment is there any chanse i could get my tshirt abroad, please please, !!!! can someone tell me????

  10. Lance said:

    Thank a lot Robert you’ll be hearing from me next week :)

  11. Carmen said:

    I don’t know if you are still monitoring this. I am thinking of buying this set but not sure I am up to it. I’m a 47 year old in OK shape. Not fabulously fit but I am not a total slug either. Workout is usually on an eliptical trainer each day for 30 mins or so. Dont’ want to waste my money if it is just going to be too much for me. Any comments?

  12. Robert Harden said:

    Carmen, I believe that anyone can do anything (including Insanity) if they have their mind set. However, doing a intense cardio program is not the only way to get in great shape. I started with a program called Power 90 and did very well starting out. A good diet, and Power 90 set the proper ground work for my fitness lifestyle. After that I tackled P90X and then Insanity. Take a look at P90, I guarantee you’ll get great results if you follow the program and nutrition. Keep me posted!

  13. Carmen said:

    OK thanks. My main concern is that my knees are a bit shot and it looks pretty high impacts so it isn’t so much my determination as much as physical limitations. Thanks for the info. I may well just give P90 a try first. Got 2 months before my daughter’s wedding so it should put me well on my way! Thanks again. C

  14. Robert Harden said:

    Carmen, I understand. Insanity is high impact. Jump on P90, and get a good solid nutrition strategy and you’ll do great!

  15. Nancy said:

    I was wondering, does this program suit anyone at any weight who wants to get fit (for example, over 250 lbs), or is it really more geared for people who just want to drop a few pounds/inches?

  16. Krysti said:

    This is a great workout. Just to note: I am about 60 pounds overweight, and while I sweat, I am able to do everyone of the workouts. (The level 2 drills kick my butt and I am not able to go at the pace they go, but I still do it). I have lost 15 pounds in the month that I have been doing Insanity. If I can do it, anyone can. It takes commitment, focus, and a whole lot of sweat!

  17. Robert Harden said:

    Nancy, This depends on several factors. As a general rule, I refer people that are just starting out to a program like Power 90, Its not necessarily how hard a program is that gets the results of weight loss, its nutrition and workouts. I lost 30 lbs using Power 90 in a 90 day period. But I have also known people to start with Insanity, and have great results too. Insanity is a very challenging program, and can be done by anyone with the right precautions, taking breaks, and determination. However, P90 is a great starter program, designed for those starting out. Good luck. We offer bonus DVDs in our store for Insanity, so be sure to check out our page there if you decide to go that route. Good luck! Keep us posted!

  18. Brent said:

    Just finished Insanity last week. I thought I was in good shape, but this made me 1000x better. Went from 188 lbs to 176 lbs and lost all that unnecessary fat….and I’m ripped and the 6 pack starting to show up.

    Bottom line, give 100% and it works. Can’t take breaks for more than 5-10 seconds. Push, push, finish and you WILL get results. But it also may take 2, 3, or 4 rounds to get to where you want to be. Don’t make excuses, stay on schedule, eat healthy, and give it your all. Your life will change.

  19. Victor said:

    The part of “never stop moving” did pushed me. But then there is one work out (I think it is the max interval) where Shaun tells one of the cast members “Take a break! Sometimes a break can kick you” which is very much true. Now it is also important that in another work out Shaun yells at this other dude “Don’t take your a break! Push yourself” which is the whole point of “digging deeper”.
    My point here is that while your muscles BURN at several occasions, it is better to just jog it off for a bit, and then push the drill harder. This will get you better results than just stopping completely and telling yourself… this stuff is bananas.

  20. Robert Harden said:


    Thanks for your comments. I’m certain they’ll help our readers. Most people quit to soon, they have more within themselves, but they don’t dig deep. Great comments, thanks!

  21. Nicole said:

    Hello! I recently started INSANITY and I love it. I am very excited to see my results after the 60 days. However, I cant help but wonder what I should do once I have completed INSANITY. I am the type of person who loves to challenge myself so I do not think that I will be interested in constantly repeating the program every two months. Do you have any suggestions for me? Thank you!!

  22. Robert Harden said:

    Nicole. In a word. ASYLUM.

    Asylum is the next workout program by Shaun T. It will give you another program just as intense as Insanity, plus it also has a workout calendar that shows you how to combine the two programs. So its like 3 programs in one. Insanity (which you have already), Asylum, and Insanity and Asylum mixed. :)

  23. Daniel said:

    Robert, I was wondering if i could participate in one additional exercise on the six insanity days. The additional workouts would include 30 min of jogging and some weightlifting as well. Do you think i will do more harm than good if i do another workout later in the day after my insanity workout? So basically i’m asking: Is one insanity workout a day enough or can/should i do more to speed up my result process?

  24. Robert Harden said:

    Daniel, I think you can get great results “as is”. If I added anything in, it would be some weight training. Insanity has a deluxe workout package, that has an Insanity Upper Body Workout. You can add that in 2-3 times a week, either as a double day routine, cardio in the morning and upper body weight training in the evening, or simply take out a cardio and do upper body. Only you can determine what is best for you, you just want to make sure you don’t over train, or eat too little for the extra workouts and halt your results due to not enough food. Here’s the Deluxe program with weight training. And if you already have Insanity, and just need the weight training, get this one:

  25. JMKPA said:

    I started Insanity while on vacation and away from my trainer. So far so good. I have to stop and rest throughout the routines, but I’m not giving up! Can I continue to do weight work with my trainer 2-3 times a week when I return home? I recently lost 30 pounds and I am eager to drop that last 10 and get my body fat % down. Love your reviews!

  26. Dammy said:


    I live in Suriname (South America)
    I am at day 18 of the INSANITY workout and I am enjoying every workout more and more.

    I was wondering about the Pure Cardio & Cardio abs workouts of day 13, 17, 22 and 26. Up till now I have gone through the first part of the dvd all the way to the cool down and than switched to the abs part. I am not sure if this is the right approach though. Should I wait to do the cooldown of the cardio part untill after the abs? Or am I doing this right?

  27. Robert Harden said:

    Dammy, I think you can do it either way. I would skip the cool down, do the abs, and then cool down. But in the end, whatever works best for you.

  28. Dammy said:

    Thanks Robbert, I’ve decided to try out waiting with the cooldown until after the abs.

  29. Stefni said:


    My friend and I are on the first week. We can usually do 2 of the three reps without losing form. So we usually do something that requires less “watch your form” policies. So till I get that endurance – I want to build it. Will it harm me to also do 45-60 minutes on a treadmill of cardio….some fast walking with 1-2 minute running intervals as to not kill myself? I have been doing insanity in the morning then cardio after work. Will I still have some sort of response to this or not? We just know when we lose form we could get injured or we may just not be working the right areas. Thank you for all your help.


  30. Robert Harden said:

    I think this is fine. Just make sure you are doing your best with Insanity first, and then just don’t over train. You’re doing fine!

  31. Jack Olero said:

    Only thing i hate about insanity is they dont have the proper instruction of what the safe and proper form of the exercise are. Insanity workout is a challenge. Pure Cardio comes up after weeks of training.( at least on your 2nd week) you dont have to do it on their pace in the first few weeks but its good if you can cope up to the pace in the future weeks… best advice before doing your day video: do a short stretch before doing the warm up especially the hips, knees and ankles…. first stretch is for your cold muscles and the stretch in the video is when you muscle is all warmed up…safety over form over speed. that is the training formula for developing your balance and that should be your fundamental. if you do the training properly, you will develop your balance, strengthen your core and then tone your muscles…. doing the reps safely and with the correct form over and over again for weeks tones your… its called “Insanity” for a reason… its designed for the work out junkies… you might not build your muscles on the first month but you will develop the energy and balance to cope with the program… all I am saying is this is not for the weak minded people. you should be able to challenge your self everyday. if you dont get ripped in 60+ days, it sure gives you core strength, energy, balance and the motivation to go for the 2nd round or start P90X. keep sweating peeps….

  32. Jack Olero said:

    I started doing Insanity workout with a weight of 285… with a diet change (added fruit, less carbs and protein and lots of water) and the will to lose weight, i am now between 235-240 in 5weeks… hoping to be 215-210 after i finish the program… dedication to work out and a healthy diet is all you need…. if you want a slimmer/ripped body… you have to earn it…

  33. mika said:

    hi there!!you are otally right..insanity is totally INSANE..i have tried to do the whole workout of day 1 since november but tell you what…
    at last i start doing the full workout programme on 5/2/ 1 was tough but i keep on seraching on the internet about insanity and the word ‘insanity is not for a lazy people’ caught my eye.then i thought that maybe i cant finish the workout before bcoz i always say to myself ‘dont push too much ,i’m anemia i cant do just how i do’ since then i keep myself burning up with the spirit to continue the insanity programme and on day 3 i finally can do the 40mins workout ^^ .i love insanity since then :P today i’m in week 2 day 9..hope i still can pushing myself off the limit more!! :D *sorry for writing to long :)