Insanity Reviews: Cardio Recovery

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insanity-cardio-recovery-smWelcome Back to another Insanity Review. Today I’m reviewing the Insanity Cardio Recovery workout.  This workout is scheduled once a week, it’s about 33 minutes long, and has NO Cardio!  Now Insanity, is cardio INTENSE, so a break from that Insanity is a welcome relief.  Not to mention, your allowing your body and muscles a chance to recover from all the INTENSE cardio, it’s a GOOD thing.  I enjoy this workout, and even though there is no cardio, it’s still a sweatin good time.  :)

At the start of the DVD you get about a 3 minute warm up, staring with some good DEEP breaths, and some familiar warm up stretches.  Most of the warm up and stretches you have seen on the other DVDs and should be something you are familiar with.  You move on to some plank work, but nothing too stressful, or demanding.  I really enjoyed this stretch and plank work, you get some good stretches in, and some nice roll ups, stretching the back and stretching your neck.  Be sure to keep your back straight and your butt down while in plank.  After your plank work, you stretch for a few seconds in downward dog, and then on to stretching out your hamstrings.

With about 24 minutes left in the workout you start doing some deep muscle work, starting with 16 slow wide leg squats.  The moves are nice and slow, and nice and deep.  At the last squat, you stop and hold.  While you hold this squat, you make some short “pulses”.  (Small, quick squats, without raising up completely).  By the end of this sequence, your legs will feel nice and toasty!  But you’re not done.  Next you’ll move into a lunge on the left side, with the left leg forward.  You start with some deep lunges, and at your last lunge, you stop and hold at the bottom.  Nice burn in this hold position.  I have to admit, when I first did Cardio Recovery, I let my leg rest, and came out of the lunge.  You may have to too, or maybe not, it’s okay if you do.  We are all working on improving our fitness, no matter how long or how brief we have been working out.  After you hold the position, you do some pulses. You’ll repeat this same sequence on your right leg.  In between your right and left leg, you do some more center wide position squats.

With about 15 minutes on the clock, you will start some Plie Yoga Stretches.  Basically a wide center squat, but turn your feet outwards.  Extend your arms straight out, and and lean to your left side, until your left hand rests on the floor, the right hand is straight up.  Repeat on the right side.

The next exercise is called “Quad Strengtheners”.  We have all seen the workout videos, where you are on the floor, with your hands and knees on the mat.  You then extend one leg straight back, and you raise your leg up and down.  Basically the same concept, but just a bit harder.  Shaun T has you extend one leg back, but you also lift the other knee off the mat as well.  Just and inch or two, but it really works your whole body and core, not just your legs.  After you do each side, you will then use the same concept to work your obliques, by moving your knee to your shoulder, alternating on each side.

For about the last 8 minutes you do some yoga stretches, and final cool down stretches.

This workout is still going to be a workout, its just not the cardio intense workout like the other DVDs.  You need to recover from your workouts, so please be sure to keep this workout in your rotation.  I know I am always thinking, “go go go”, and try to skip these workouts.  Sometimes we need to slow down and recover.  When we skip these recovery workouts, we risk over training.  Then your entire progress comes to a screeching halt, and we certainly don’t want to do that.  Workout hard, and recover….. then you can workout hard again!  I hope you enjoyed this Insanity Review.  Please contact me anytime or subscribe to my blog.  See you next time!  :)

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  1. Mark Dykes

    Love the cardio recovery days!

  2. Martin

    Great reviews. As this is my first time through the program, these in-depth reviews are truly beneficial for helping me get my mind right for what’s to come! Thanks so much!

  3. Robert Harden

    You’re welcome Martin! Good luck and keep us posted!

  4. Mark Dykes

    Just finished another cardio recovery. Guess what? I can stretch longer and deeper than ever, especially with the plies. My body feels great, and my wife keeps telling others how great I look. And, Martin, congrats on finding this site, as Robert has really helped me prep for each workout with the reviews.

  5. Robert Harden

    Excellent Mark! Keep up the great work!

  6. Jack Peters

    Tomorrow, I’ll have finished week 3. I did a little better this week: fewer breaks and able to keep up more. I’m really spent at the end of every workout, but I’ve gotten through them okay, and I’ve surprised myself so far since I’m 53 and only in okay shape at best before starting. I’ll weigh myself again on Sunday to see how much progress this week. I’m scared for month two (given how I feel as if I’ve got nothing really left at the end of each workout now). I expect to finish the workout, but what then? I’m not really very interested in trying another workout, so if I start this one over again should I start at the beginning again? Thanks for the detailed reviews. They help a lot.

  7. Robert Harden

    Jack, I’m glad you stopped by and updated us on your status. You’re doing great, hang in there! When you get finished, if you decide that you want to do Insanity again, just start over. There are some other options too, as you get closer, touch base again, and we can discuss some options. Keep us posted!

  8. Jack Peters

    Finished Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs this morning. About how much time should I allow between the two workouts? I only allowed around a minute but am thinking that that may not be enough. By the way, I weighed myself yesterday and seem to be down about 8 pounds in the three weeks, so I’m making progress.

  9. Robert Harden

    Jack, the time delay is entirely up to you. In my opinion, if you do the cardio abs, immediately after the Insanity workout, you could almost skip the cardio abs warm-up portion. If you’re not warmed up after Pure Cardio, you never will be. :) Sometimes, if I am pressed for time, I will do Pure Cardio in the a.m., then after work, come back and do the Cardio Abs. If I do that, I do the warm-up too. Hope this helps. Congrats on the 8 lbs!! Come back and keep us posted.

  10. Jack Peters

    I’m into recovery week and have dropped about 12 pounds so far. I’m worried about month 2, though. Month one was tough. I also saw both the fit test and the first advanced workout for Monday beginning month 2. Any suggestions on time between the two?

  11. Robert Harden

    I’ve known several people do them back to back. (Between me and you), lol. I did my fit test on the rest day, and then did the first Max workout the following day.

  12. Jack Peters

    I noticed that on the schedule for month 2 that on the days where they have core cardio and balance that you have the option of doing max interval sports training. What are the advantages (or disadvantages) of doing the sports training workout rather than the core cardio and balance?

  13. Robert Harden

    The only difference is the intensity, if you have the DVD (it’s in the deluxe version) then I’d add it when you’re ready to take it up a level. Keep me posted on how you’re doing!

  14. Jack Peters

    I’m into the 3rd week of month two and am keeping up fairly (much to my surprise). I’ve dropped about 17 lbs. so far and expect to finish at somewhere between 20 and 25 lbs. I did substitute the Sports Interval DVD for the Core Cardio & Balance, and it was definitely more difficult. I’ll probably do it again the next time the opportunity for substitution comes around. I tried the Insane Abs instead of the Cardio Abs and didn’t come close to keeping up, so I may go back to the Cardio Abs (tomorrow), either that or I’ll try to do the C-sit moves without shoes. Anyway, I’ve stuck with the routine throughout, except for skipping the Fit Test yesterday. I intended to do it after the regular workout as a second workout (which would skew the results I know) because I had a terrible time keeping up with the Max Interval Circuit the first time around when I tried to do the Fit Test first. In the end, I ran out of time and didn’t do the Fit Test. I figured I’d do it today after the Max Interval Plyo–but I was pretty wasted after the workout (in which I kept up fairly well). I’ve been doing pretty well on the nutrition plan–not following it religiously but eating healthy when not eating one of the meals in the plan and keeping the calories down to around 1500 or so. Anyway, Insanity is really hard, but it certainly seems to be working for me.

  15. Robert Harden

    Jack, it sounds like you are getting some AWESOME results. Way to stick with it, and it sounds like you are keeping a great attitude, adjusting when you have trouble with a harder DVD, and hanging in there. Keep an eye on your calories, I bet if you look in the nutrition guide, 1500 may be a tad low. Keep us posted. 17 lbs! Nice!

  16. Jack Peters

    I finished the 60-day Insanity workout. It was tough, but I didn’t miss a workout and got better as time went on. I was even able to keep up sometimes, though not always. In the end, I lost 21 lbs. I think I still have about 10 lbs. that I could lose, so I’m thinking about going through the Insanity routine one more time, after giving myself a week or so off to recover some more. Thanks for the help. I might try P90X at some time in the future.

  17. Robert Harden

    Awesome! Let me know what you decide to do next and you can always contact me for assistance if you need or require down the road!

  18. Sid Osment

    I am on day 5 of first month of insanity. these workouts are tough but doable. I have a hard time keeping up without my own breaks but am making it through. I have noticed a 4 pound weight gain on the scale in just the first 5 days.. is this normal the first week due to muscle weighing more and the muscle retaining fluid? just curious i have noticed i am not as hungry and am eating less and crave fruit.

  19. Sid Osment

    Thanks so much for the info.. Was also curious if during the first month i could switch up the workouts at all without hurting results.. such as if i had something going on after work where i didnt have much time and substituted the cardio recovery workout on that day for the pure cardio and did the pure cardio on the day i was suppose to do cardio recovery? thanks so much Sid

  20. Robert Harden

    Sid, Ideally, you can go as scheduled. But if it was a time issue, I would switch and try to make it up later. :)

  21. jaime

    Hello, are u allowed to do more than one disc at a time?? Sometimes I feel that I should double them together. Just asking so I can get better faster results

  22. Robert Harden

    I don’t recommend this. I recommend giving it 100% on your first workout, then following your nutrition carefully. Have you determined your calories for weight loss, and are you following them closely? If so, you’ll see great results. Nutrition is hard, but its also 80% of the program results!

  23. Steve

    Hello, great review.
    I am 27, 5 7″ 140 lbs. I did 2 half rounds of p90x and really liked it. But then I realized that I have too much body fat, 22-24% and I should be doing a program like Insanity. But i have read at places that if you do insanity you are bound to lose some muscle. While I am not very muscular but I still do have some muscles. So I want to do a Hybrid of P90x and Insanity and I have looked at the Hybrid schedule which pretty much just replaces the 2 cardio workiuts in P90x with two from Insanity.
    I want to lose more weight hence I want to do more insanity.
    Is it advisable if I replace the easier workouts like Cardio recovery with P90x workouts like “Chest & Back”, “Shoulders and Arms” ?
    So I lose fat with insanity and gain muscle with P90x?
    please help :)

  24. Robert Harden

    Steve, A good solid workout program is important, but even more important is your nutrition. If you want to shed weight, create a calorie deficit, and eat a clean diet. It’s a sacrifice to cut back on the food items you crave, but the end result is fat loss. I would do the P90X/Insanity hybrid, and leave it as is. Then focus on a good clean diet. A general rule of thumb is 500 calorie deficit. I recently heard a very good quote about diet and exercise. “You can’t out exercise a bad diet.” I’m not saying you are on a bad diet, but examine your diet first, make those changes, and I bet you will start to see results! Let me know how your doing.

  25. Steve

    thanks for the great response. I do have a pretty good diet (i think)

    8:00 am – 1 protein shake in water
    9:00 am – 1 protein shake in milk, 1 bowl of oatmeal
    11:00 am – yogurt and salad (no meat, salt or dressing)
    1pm i tbsp peanut butter
    3pm: green tea
    5 pm: dinner: vegetables and 2-3 slices of whole wheat bread

    after workout

    9pm: 1 protein shake in water
    11pm: Casein in water

    Of course, I cheat sometimes and eat some candy or a couple of cookies when i am craving for sugar too much.

    I want to do a lot of cardio, like in Insanity and shed the fat around my belly in a hurry. But at the same time I want to include some resistance too so i don’t lose muscle.

  26. Robert Harden


    While I’m not a nutritionist, or expert, I have spent quite a bit of time studying nutrition and diet. I took your food plan and put it in to I’m showing about 1500 calories. In my mind that’s just not enough food. Cutting too much food, will not cause you to lose weight, but actually go into starvation mode, where your body actually holds on to fat. Personally, I hate dropping below 2000, especially on P90X and Insanity. Also, while protein shakes are extremely handy, and easy, try to cut back to about 2 per day. Get some real food in there, like chicken, egg whites, and white fish. Say no to sweets. :)

  27. Will Mullock

    I’m on day 25 of INSANITY and have only done this workout in week 1 ( i switched it for Max interval sports training the other times). After reading your review i figured that i should probably do it. Would you recommend that i add in either cardio abs or insane abs if feel as if i can do more?

  28. Robert Harden

    Will, If you want to throw it in, I would. In the end its about how you feel and what you feel you can do. I followed the schedule pretty much as written, but if you want more, do more. Just make sure you don’t over train. Let me know how you’re doing!

  29. Quenen Rios

    Well hello,

    Can anyone tell me is it really necessary to do the recovery. Well its not that I don’t want to workout. It’s Just that I recently graduated from Turbo Fire another Beachbody program, and I miss it Miss it sooo much instead of doing the cardio recovery can i just do a Turbo class! I Miss it soo much!

  30. Sabrina

    I have a couple of questions…i’m on my first week with Insanity. (go me!) when i started monday, i swear i felt like i couldn’t do any of it. i either couldn’t keep up or while doing some of the stuff i would stop half way through. is it normal to not being able to keep up? or like today doing the Cardio Recovery, some of the stretches i couldn’t hold cause either my knee would give out or i just couldn’t hold the pose. I know its something really stupid to ask but i guess my main thing is when will it be easier to push through or hold the stretches?

  31. Robert Harden

    Sabrina, Don’t give up, Insanity is HARD for everybody. It will get better, but I’m not sure that Insanity will ever be easy. :) I had to take breaks too, everybody does. It’ll be okay, just keep hitting play.

  32. Justin patterson

    I am in my first week of insanity and love It. I’m a big built guy standing at 6’3 235 and I am doing this workout to lose bodyfat and get a better core an cardio before I do p90x. An I don’t want to loose touch weight because my frame wouldn’t look right weighing 215. And I also want to get ripped. Any tips?

  33. Robert Harden

    Justin, Insanity will cover ALL bases on the workout front. The best way to lose the lbs you want, is to use the Elite Nutrition guide to determine your calories, then subtract an extra 300 calories per day. Once you get to your goal weight, add back in a couple hundred calories per day to stop the weight loss. You’re doing great, come back and let me know how you’re doing!

  34. Lance

    Hey Robert its been awhile and I’ve been at it for days! It just seems like i have trouble keeping up due to school and afterschool activities eg. Cross country and wrestling what might your advice be in it? I’ve skipped a day or two cause I’m really tired when I get home

  35. Robert Harden

    Lance, if you’re cross training, wrestling, and trying to do Insanity, you have to be careful to not over train. That only causes negative results, and possible injury. So you’re doing the right thing, take a break and recover. On days where you are trying to do more than just Insanity, you may want to consider more food, food is fuel. Don’t overdo it. Keep me posted.

  36. Lance

    Thanks a lot Robert, so do you recommend me to do the Insanity Workout where i dont have races? Cause I run 3 miles every Tuesday and Saturday and sometimes my coach would make me run 6 miles, the thing is that for my wrestling season which is in winter I tend to get alot of bruises and I know its hard as it is, do you recommend me to keep at the Insanity?

  37. Robert Harden

    Just fill in the gaps with Insanity, you’ll do fine. :)

  38. Lance

    Okay Robert :) thanks for the help I’ll fill you in but I decided to restart again, this time I’ll do insanity in the morning and fuel my body more than what I do. Thanks a lot

  39. Lance

    Hey Robert what do you say about me working out right when I wake up? Is it a good idea? Or should I just eat first then workout?

  40. Robert Harden

    This depends on the individual. Some people can wake up, work out, and then eat. Others like to wake up, eat something small, then workout. I think it all comes down to personal preference. I can wake, workout, then eat just fine. Others feel they lose intensity (called bonking) towards the end. Everyone will be different. Try it out a few times and see how you feel. It can take some getting used to though. :)

  41. Lance

    Thanks alot, I’ll tell you in a week, had my first race today and I kind of have a problem keeping up with the food I eat a breakfast, then lunch sometimes I would get a peanut butter and jelly for the midafternoon by night I would eat dinner and a before bed food is that advisable?

  42. Robert Harden

    If anything I like protein before bed personally, I try to stay away from carbs. Usually a whey or casein shake.

  43. Lance

    Okay thanks a lot Robert, I’ll get back when I have a question or in a week :)

  44. Meagan

    I just started Insanity on Sunday, I am insanely sore and I CAN NOT wait for today’s Cardio Recovery!

  45. Robert Harden

    Meagan, Insanity and the next workout Insanity Asylum, can make you extremely sore from time to time. When I was doing Asylum, I put together this article to help others with soreness.

  46. Lance

    Been awhile Robert. Been really busy in wrestling and school during the winter season. I got injured at my ankle and whenever its cold in NY its pretty hard. Been injured for almost 2 mo but I feel better :) however I restarted Insanity again yesterday and my ankle hurts a bit. Plus today my lower back hurts. Is it normal for my lower back muscle to be sore? And is it advisable to do insanity when I feel some pain in the ankle from certain exercises eg. Suicide jumps?

  47. Sommer

    Hey Robert,
    I am new to Insanity, but have always worked out on a regular bases, running, elliptical, weights, etc.. Anyways, I am on the second week and have noticed, that I to have gained a couple of pounds and am not seeing that many results. Is this normal?? I am about 5’5 and about 129, muscular frame! Does it take a person that has an normal body fat percentage to see results? Also, is doing the insanity workout 5 days a week going to be okay..cause sometimes its impossible to do them on the weekend, due to kids, family…etc, and if I miss a couple of days, do I just pick up where I left off?

  48. Robert Harden


    If your goal is to lose weight, and you’re not. Then you have to assume that you’re either eating too many calories per day, or the food you’re eating is not the proper food. If you’re diet is clean, take a look at your calories again. Use the elite nutrition guide to determine your calories, then you might take away another 300-400 calories per day. Now I don’t know where you’re at, so it’s hard for me to tell exactly. But start with another calculation. I’m happy to help my customers, if you sign up for a free account, you can email me directly.

    Sometimes, life is just the way it is, and you’ll have to modify. If you can only do five per week, then that’s the best you can do. It’ll be okay. :)

  49. Chad

    I’m on day 11 of insanity and have only lost about 3lbs. I’m 39, 5 ft 9 inches and 236lbs. I’m taking in about 1800 calories before the workouts. Do I need to be taking in more calories? What do I need to do I feel for all this work I should see a little more than this. Help please.

  50. Amanda

    Thx for the review. This is the next workout on my schedule and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

  51. Amanda

    Thanks so much for this article. This is my next workout and I wasn’t sure what to expect!

  52. Robert Harden

    Happy to help Amanda! Stick with it, you’re going to do fine! Since you’re working out hard, be sure to keep your nutrition on track too, so you get the results you deserve. :)

  53. Robert Harden

    You’re welcome Amanda!

  54. Angela

    Thanks for the great summary. This is my first time doing Insanity. I’m doing this workout tonight.

  55. Mike D

    This is my first time doing Insanity, and this is my 4th day, so Cardio Recovery is today’s workout. Its been hard these first few days, but I like the pain, and the challenge.

  56. Shannon C

    Thanks for the reviews, I’m into the 3rd week, but I always reference back to your blog so I know what to expect for the night. The recovery workout is hard for me and I can’t seem to hold through the squats and stuff before the pulses – I don’t know how they do it!! But I’m determined to get through the 60 days! Thanks again!

  57. Robert Harden

    Shannon, Don’t give up! You’ll get there. Patience and persistence. Let me know how you are doing!

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