Insanity Reviews: Core Cardio & Balance

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insanity-core-cardio-balance-smCongratulations are in order! If you are reading this Insanity Review, then you have made it to the halfway point of this program. If you are still “on the fence” about Insanity. Go get it! Core Cardio & Balance is the Recovery Week workout, and will be completed a total of six times if you follow the schedule. But don’t be misled, just because its a Recovery Week program, does not mean it’s easy. The purpose of this recovery week is to give your muscles a chance to recover, but you’re still working out. Now this DVD is not as difficult or challenging as the previous workouts, but it still causing you to break a sweat, and burn some calories! I will admit, it’s a refreshing change to lower down a gear. But I’m afraid it’s short lived, next week, the Max workouts are on the lineup, and I have a feeling we will all be wishing for Recovery Week again!! But we made it this far, we’ll make it all the way! Here we go…

Insanity Review: Core Cardio & Balance

This workout is a total of 37 minutes in length. You start out with your warm up, which takes around 7 minutes or so. Even the warm up is scaled down a notch. You have a total of 6 exercises, about 1 minute each. Then you move on to the stretch. The 6 warm up exercises are:

  • Switch Heel Kicks (Kind of like a slow/medium jump rope motion).
  • Mummy Kicks
  • Football Shuffles (Side to side).
  • Over the Log (Run in Place, then jump “over the log” Run in Place, repeat).
  • 8 High Knees/8 Power Jacks
  • 8 Fast Feet/8 Hooks

Following the warm up is the stretch. The stretch is just a good solid stretch, not as intense as the stretches in the first few DVDs, but a a good stretch nonetheless. The stretch lasts about 5 minutes, which is followed by a 30 second water break. When you return from the water break, you notice that you have about 25 minutes left on the clock.

Now we get into the main workout. I actually like this workout quite a bit. It’s not so INSANE that you couldn’t work it in to any other program. It could be on a slower day, or on a doubles day for extra cardio, etc. It definitely has merit. Of course all the videos will become a part of my fitness arsenal once I’m finished with the 60 days. I can easily see these DVDs as cardio substitutes to other programs like P90X, Chalean Extreme, or Tony Horton’s new One on One.

These next 10 moves are all about 1 minute in length. Shaun T always gives a brief description about each move, so you get about a 10-15 second break in between each. I want you to get an idea of the workout, this is not necessarily to get you through the workout. :)

  • Moving Ski Hops (Jumping 4 hops to the left, and then 4 back to the right, repeat).
  • Hit the Floor (Pick up speed about halfway through).
  • Level 1 Drills (4 push ups, 8 run in place, repeat).
  • Heisman (Pick up speed about halfway through).
  • 8 Switch Kicks/8 Hop Squats
  • High Jumps (Standing stationary, jumping as high as you can each jump).
  • Moving Plank Walk (in a push up stance, walking to the left, maintaining plank, then back again, repeat).
  • 8 Elbows/4 Suicide Drills
  • 4 & 4 Hops (on one leg, one knee up, hop 4 times, jump over, and repeat on the other leg).
  • 8 Jabs/Jumps & Turn/8 Jabs

This next exercise is going to burn a little. It’s called Hip Flexor Burners. It’s a 3 part exercise. The first move has you raising your knee, parallel with your waist, then back down to the ground. Repeating for 30 seconds. The next move has you doing the same thing, but it’s called “pulses” and your foot never touches the ground. And then the last move is a kick added to the end. Each section is 30 seconds. Once you complete one leg, you switch to the other. Feel the burn. :) I like to place one hand on my abs, to feel the contraction. Squeeze the abs as you do the exercise and get some ab work in too!

Now you get a 30 second water break. Almost done….

Oblique Knee Lifts. Arm Up, raise your knee (out and to the side) and bring your elbow down at the same time. 30 seconds each side.

Shoulder Burners in Plie. Deep squat, with your knees wide, toes pointing outward. Arms are straight out. Move your arms in an up and down motion for 30 seconds. (Picture flapping your arms like a bird, but your arms are straight out.)  Next, your straight arms go from the sides to the front, back to the sides.  This is followed by your arms going straight up over head.  Almost done, and don’t forget to stay in your deep squat.  Now you begin backwards circles, and then forwards.  DONE.  About 3 minutes total.

Welcome to the cool down and stretch which lasts about 2 minutes.

I have now finished my recovery week.  My 3rd Fit Test has been completed (results are posted on my Fit Test Review), and tomorrow, I start the 2nd half of the program.  I have a feeling I’ll be crazy sore next week!

Thanks for reading another one of my Insanity Reviews.  I hope you will come back again, for some updates, or feel free to subscribe to the blog.  I look forward to your emails, and as always, feel free to contact me or comment below.  See ya next time.

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  1. Peter Galderisi

    Is the Insanity Program possible for a 58 year old male, about 10-15 pounds overweight, and in moderate, but not great shape?

  2. Robert Harden

    Peter, Although I would like to be able to give you a definite answer, I really can not. I don’t know your medical history, and overall health. It’s a very challenging program, one of which I’m sure there are others your age that have completed. I would say, you need your doctor’s approval first, then take as many breaks as required, and a heart rate monitor is great for everyone, so you can make sure you are in a safe heart rate zone. As Beachbody states on the medical advisory, if you experience any discomfort, stop immediately. If you do decide to take on Insanity, I would love to stay in touch with you to see how you are doing. Let me know!

  3. Scott


    I’m 39 and doing Insanity (currently in week 5). Like you, I was in ok shape and “about 15 lbs” overweight when I started… I’ve lost about 12 lbs so far and look like I could easily lose another 10 (apparently my initial guess was off and I was closer to 25 lbs overweight!).

    Anyway, the program is *extremely* intense so it’s definitely not for everyone. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have done it myself, but somehow I managed to get through it (so far at least).

    If you have any knee or back issues, it’s probably not a good idea — you’re jumping a lot and doing a lot of squats. But if you think your joints can handle it, then it’s worth trying. Just wear a HR monitor and take breaks when you need to. Good luck!

  4. jeff

    peter, i’m 50 in pretty good shape. this is a tough program, but very doable. i’ve had 3 miniscus operations on my knees and an acl repair. at about week 3 my left knee hurt very bad and was about to try an easier program but pushed through and seems all the muscles around my knees have gotten stronger and they have never felt better! i have completed the program 3 times this year mixing in some weights and running. start the program out doing what shaun t says” it’s not about what we’re doing but what you can do yourself”. you can tell when you’ve pushed to hard, so take a quick break and then get back into it. you will get stronger and stronger and be able to do more. have plenty of water available!!!! if your healthy, try it and good luck!!

  5. Robert Harden

    Thanks Jeff for posting your thoughts and opinions about Insanity, and congrats on finishing 3 times! Way to dig deep, and push harder. :)

  6. Robert Harden

    I am now on my 2nd round of Insanity, halfway through the 2nd round. One week of Cardio Core & Balance and on to the MAX workouts. Anyone else have some Insanity comments to share?

  7. debs

    I’m 37, female and just started my 6 days of recovery week. I was in okay shape and 30lbs overweight when I started. I haven’t weighed myself yet, but I have lost 6 inches total over my major body areas.
    My body is harder, my cardio has gone way up, I’m physically stronger.
    My first 4 weeks were around xmas time and I was a little disorganized so I’ve had to do the last 2 weeks of month 1 over again as I wasn’t on track due to dinner parties and the likes. I can’t wait for month 2, its gonna kick my ass, but oh how great I’m gonna look after its done.

  8. Robert Harden


    I am so glad that you decided to comment. I hope that you will come back again after Shaun T whips your butt in the MAX workouts. :) I think other readers will appreciate your comments too, as they contemplate whether they can do Insanity. With the right mindset, anything is possible! Good luck with the MAX! Dig Deeper!

  9. LeAmber


    I love your reviews, they are very thorough and informative.
    I am wondering if you could help me out with some questions.
    I am getting a bit discouraged.
    I am female, 33 yrs old, 5’6, and 160 pounds (which I’ve gained over the last 3 years) I tried dieting and exercising in the past and nothing helped. I finally decided to get INSANITY. WOW, it is hard. It’s still tough for me, I can’t even get through the whole warm up without stopping. I usually don what I can, then stop the DVD and rest for a few seconds then start it again. Last night I did PLYO which I feel is the hardest. I do 30 seconds of each and rest for ten seconds (which is usually at the start of the next routine) then repeat that through the whole warm up and exercise. I think that’s kinda an improvement. I did double my reps on my 2 FIT TEST, but I didn’t do a whole lot to begin with.
    I don’t feel like I’ve been getting stronger, or my cardio vascular energy is any better. I haven’t lost any inches or any pounds. I’ve completely changed my eating habits and stick to 1200-1500 cals a day, no more than 1800 though…I eat five healthy 300 meals a day, and I’ve been drinking 64 oz of H20 everyday (except on the weekends, since I’m usually out and about). I am just wondering if this is normal to not see any difference at all at this point. I am going to keep it up and keep pushing myself everyday, but I just want to see something improve.
    Thanks so much,

  10. Robert Harden


    Thanks for stopping by our site. Yes, Insanity is super hard. But if you are working out hard (as hard as you can), and eating clean foods, and drinking plenty of water, then I highly recommend just staying consistent. Something very important…. double check your nutrition guide, and make sure you figure up your total daily calories. It will tell you how to figure up your calories, if you goal is to lose weight. So figure that up again, and make sure you are eating enough food. I know people want to lose weight, and sometimes think less is better, but with Insanity, you want to make sure you are getting enough. If you are under eating, your body will go into a “starvation mode” which will cause you to actually hold on to excess body fat instead of burn it off. Double check it, and let me know. I’m happy to help!

  11. LeAmber


    Thank you for getting back to me, much appreciated
    So, when I did the whole equation to figure how many calories I should be consuming, it gave me around 1800, which I don’t go over. I’m obsessed with couting calories. My concern is that maybe I’m not burning a lot of calories when I’m working out. I know 3500 cals = 1pd. I want to lose 2 pounds a week, so I’d need to burn additional 7000 a week. I can’t afford a calories counter, and I’ve read other peoples comments online, and come people say they burn 400-1000, that’s a big difference. I feel like if I eat that much and I’m not burning that much, even tho I’m working my butt off…that’ll I’ll gain weight and lose.
    Sorry to ask so many questions.
    Thanks for your help.

  12. LeAmber


    Sorry, my first post was a mess. (scatter brained at work)

    Thank you for getting back to me, much appreciated.
    I did the equation to figure how many calories I should be consuming, and it gave me around 1800, (seems like a lot to me) which I don’t go over. I’m obsessed with counting calories. My concern is that maybe I’m not burning enough calories when I’m working out. I know 3500 cals = 1pd. I want to lose 2 pounds a week, so I’d need to burn an additional 7000 cals a week. I can’t afford a calorie counter, and I’ve read other reviews online, and people say they burn 400-1000 cals while doing insanity, that’s a big difference. I feel like if I eat that much and I’m not burning that much, even tho I’m working my butt off…that’ll I’ll gain weight.
    Sorry to ask so many questions.
    Thanks for your help.

  13. Robert Harden


    Did you make sure to check your options for the goal of losing weight? If you came up with 1800 calories, then I would just stay consistent with what you’re doing. Create a solid baseline for hard workouts (Insanity) and 1800 calories. If you don’t see any weight loss, look harder at your nutrition. If you are eating clean calories, then you might consider dropping a 100 or so off per day. But I woudl do as the guide book states FIRST in number of calories. And be consistent enough to allow it to work. I use a heart rate monitor and love it, addicted to it. I like knowing how hard I work, and how many calories I burn. If you are working out as hard as possible, you’re burning calories!

  14. LeAmber

    Thank you Robert, I will continue to do my best and follow the plan.
    I appreciate your help! ;)

  15. Tony

    i’m 39 years old, male
    I weigh 240 and I’m 6 feet tall
    considering buying the Insanity workout and wanted to get some input.
    do you think this would be a good purchase?
    I know I’m out of shape and I won’t be able to complete each routine but I would like to give it a go and go at my own pace. I know each week will get better but I want a program where I will see results!! time to lose the belly.

  16. Robert Harden


    A lot of times, I refer people just starting out to another program. I like Power 90 quite a bit for starting out. Basic, good, and it works. I dropped 30 lbs personally with Power 90. But yet, other people start with Insanity, and with dedication and persistence, get through it. It sounds like you want to tackle the program. And if you have the commitment, you can do it. As you said, go at your own pace, take breaks, and watch your heart rate. if you experience trouble, you of course need to stop immediately. When you make your decision, just remember, harder does not necessarily mean better. Nutrition is the KEY. The workouts are secondary. Important, but nutrition is what makes the big difference.

  17. Nappytdy

    Thanks for your reviews. They have prepped me along the way. I am about to start my recovery week tomorrow and I am excited. Insanity was not and is not easy, but doable and I don’t want easy. I want something that will keep my interest and that it does. I don’t think I lost a whole lot of pounds, but inches are peeling off. Thanks again.

  18. Janys Martinez

    Hi i really love insanity workout,i workout every single day excepts sunday but when i missed a day i used the fast & furios and its amazing thanks for those great workout experience just can you tell me how many cal in each one please for both months i really want to track my cal thanks again

  19. Robert Harden

    Janys, Glad you are enjoying the workouts. The calories burned will vary per person. If you want accurate calories burned, you should invest in a heart rate monitor.

  20. Javier

    I’m 32 and I’m on the third week of insanity and I have also got others to do the workout. It’s a tough program and I could have been further along but somedays I was busy and than couldn’t do it at home so I just went to the gym but insanity is better the just weight lifting can’t wait to get done so I can get insanity asylum

  21. Amber

    Hey Robert,
    I am seriously considering coughing up the money from this program. My only concern is that I had a baby 10 months ago and my body is still out of wack. I am also still nursing 2ce a day. I have heard that it takes up to a year for pregnancy hormones to leave the body and therefor allow you to loose the “baby weight”, and that also nursing can keep some of that weight on in order to feed the baby. I miss my old ballet dancer body and want to jump into something so bad. But I am wondering if I should hold out for a bit?

  22. Robert Harden

    Amber, I’m afraid I would not be able to give you an answer on nursing, working out with Insanity, etc. But my PERSONAL opinion, is that you should start exercising and working out. Whether it’s Insanity or another program. There are several new moms getting their old figures back, it just depends on how badly you want it back. Go for it. Talk to your doctor to make sure you are getting the right amount of calories for nursing purposes etc, but I see no reason to wait on exercise and proper nutrition. Of course your doctor is the final say. Don’t wait, go after it! Free bonus DVD with Insanity here.

  23. Dan

    Hello Rob et al,

    I’m 28 and just did my first day of recovery week. I wasn’t overweight when I began, but was definitely out of shape. The schedule of insanity has really energized me about fitness again, and the results come in remarkably fast.

    Eating right has been difficult, and is probably hampering my results, but overall I’ve gained about 6-8 pounds in the first month, which is typical for me when I work out. I’m tighter in my core, and my quads and calves are bigger and stronger than they’ve ever been. I’ve had knee issues in the past, but I think INSANITY has actually made them feel better. I’m nervous about this next month, but can’t wait to have the accomplishment under my belt. I look forward to mixing these videos into other workouts in the future. Great series!

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