Insanity Reviews: Max Cardio Conditioning

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insanity-max-cardio-conditioning-smI write this Insanity Review as a graduate of the Insanity program.  That’s right!  I finished my 60 day program!  This has been a journey.  It is the most challenging cardio program I have endured and put myself through.  I must say, having completed the program, I REALLY have a sense of accomplishment.  I still plan on writing a couple more Insanity Reviews, the next will likely be my final thoughts and overall review of the program.  Looking back I noticed I had not yet reviewed Max Recovery.  I may go back and pick up that one up as well.  So I will save the rest of my thoughts regarding the entire program for another review, and keep this one focused.  Max Cardio Conditioning, is a favorite of mine.  I think of all the MAX workouts, this is the one I like best.  I can’t put my finger on the “why” exactly.  I like to refer to Max Cardio Conditioning as the Pure Cardio workout on steroids.  :)

Insanity Review: Max Cardio Conditioning

The entire workout is 48 minutes. Once the main workout begins, it’s a non-stop workout until the end.  Of course, you may take your own personal breaks as needed.  Of course, with every workout, the goal is to keep pace with Shaun T, and take breaks as he gives them.  So even now, with completing the program, I could still continue the program and continue to work towards that goal!

The warm up lasts approximately 9 minutes. The warm up consists of 3 rounds. The first two rounds are just under 4 minutes each, and the last round is approximately 1 and a half minutes. The last round has a slight variation in the exercises, and the last round is as fast as you can go.  The first two rounds consist of the following exercises:

  • Jog
  • Jumping Jacks – Arms Up
  • Jump Rope S-S
  • High Knees – Arms Out
  • Switch Kicks
  • Hit the Floor
  • S-S Floor Hops

The last round of the warm up is is approximately 1 and a half minutes and slightly different than the first two rounds.  The last round exercises are:

  • Sprint
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Heisman
  • 123 Heisman
  • High Knees

At the end of the warm up you get a 30 second water break. The water break is followed by a good stretch, which lasts just under 5 minutes. This is followed by another 30 second water break, and then the workout starts.

The main part of the workout is approximately 29 minutes.  Remember, there are no scheduled breaks until the last move of the main workout.  Each move lasts approximately 1 minute.  The exercises are:

  • High Low Jab with Squat
  • Football Runs
  • 8 Ball Shots with Squat
  • Right and Left Kicks
  • Diamond Jumps
  • In-Out Push Up Jacks (4 in-outs/4 push-up jacks)
  • Suicide Jumps
  • High Knee/Low/Floor Sprints (8 high knees/8 sprints/8 floor sprints)
  • Ski Abs
  • Kick Step Back (1st Recovery Exercise)
  • Squat Twists (2nd Recovery Exercise)
  • Over the River Hops (Last Recovery Exercise)
  • Attack
  • Power Knees
  • Ski Down Hooks
  • Belt Kicks
  • Forward Back Suicides
  • Push Up Abs
  • Plank Punches
  • 8 Jump Ropes/8 Hop Squats
  • Squat Speed Bag

Finally……The cool down and stretch.  You have definitely earned this!  The cool down and stretch lasts about 4 minutes, and at the conclusion of that, you are done!

You may have noticed above that I have listed 3 exercises as Recovery Exercises.  These exercises are designed to allow you to recover slightly, and then move forward again with intensity.  You don’t stop or take a water break, but the moves are at a slightly slower pace.

Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this review.  As I stated in my last review, I WANT to hear from YOU. Email me at Tell me your thoughts, your reviews, how you feel. Click that email link, and tell me you’re doing Insanity. Or tell me your thinking of Insanity, or just bought Insanity. Tell me if you have graduated!  If you have, you may be interested in my next workout plan, which is a hybrid workout including Insanity and Tony Horton’s One on One workouts.  I also have a modified Insanity and P90X hybrid.  I look forward to hearing from you, until then…. DIG DEEPER.

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  1. Marcus

    I was reviewing what you have here, and I’m curious to know if there is any particular pieces of equipment one needs to begin the Insanity program. From everything I’ve seen in the advertisements and on the official website, I don’t see anything in particular that says you do, but I don’t see anything that says you don’t either.

  2. Robert Harden

    No equipment is needed to complete Insanity. I completed the program in a 8×8 square area.

  3. Tank

    i’ve just started the insanity workout this week and wowsers. i’m 39 and it’s kicking my butt, but it feels so good when i progress thru the dvd’s. i’ve completed the first five dvds.

    so far i can tell that my cardio is getting better cuz i’m able to make it thru the warmup without having to take a slight breather. the cardio recovery is interesting and really works. the next day my legs felt great until i had to start my next dvd, haha.

    anyway, so far so great, i love the workouts.

  4. abby

    Can you tell me about strength increase? I’m hesitant to start a program of strictly cardio. I want to be increasing muscle mass to some degree although I am not concerned about building mass. Thanks

  5. Robert Harden

    I think you may see a slight increase in muscle mass, but this program is more likely to tone and tighten. I think a person can maintain their muscle, but I wouldn’t expect an increase. P90X, however, is a great program for adding muscle.

  6. ryan

    I was wonder, in what order to do you progress through the DVDs? Can’t find a list anywhere online, do you just pick a DVD for that day and that is it? Trying to decide if this is for me. I would like to take a look at the workout progress sheet too if anyone knows of where I can see one. Thanks

  7. Justine

    I just started the Insanity program today, and I’m worried! I’m 40 years old, sit at a computer all day in my office, and have done pilates in the past (not lately!) I’m 5’7″ and 120 lbs. I’m not overweight at all, but I definitely need to tone up! I couldn’t even keep up with the fit test this morning and ended up dropping down and doing pilates for a couple of the tests. I DID resume after about 5 minutes, but felt sick to my stomach. My husband wants to continue, and I really do too, but I’m afraid it’s too much for me since I haven’t exercised in so long. Is it okay to just keep at it, and do what I did this morning? I keep thinking “anything is better than nothing”, but will the program be effective if I have to modify it to work for me?

  8. Robert Harden

    Justine, Insanity is the absolute hardest program I’ve gone through. I had to take extra breaks in the beginning. And still took them when I needed to throughout the program. I would not recommend this program for people just starting out. HOWEVER, I have had customers start this program as a beginner and prove me wrong. With that said. You could continue, take breaks, realize that you won’t be able to keep up with the crew on the DVD just yet,and keep pushing play, and you will improve over time. The important thing is, don’t overdue it. Take breaks. I might even suggest a heart rate monitor so you can take a break when you reach a high heart rate. It’s possible, just be cautious. You could also make Insanity a long term goal, and start with a more basic program such as Power 90. This is made for people just starting out, or getting back into shape. You could tackle either. Keep us posted, as I’m sure you are not alone. Good luck, and congrats on taking the steps to get back into fitness!

  9. Justine

    Thanks for the help, Robert. I am so PROUD to say that I just finished week 2 of insanity! After the first (and second, and third) day, I was really unsure. BUT, I stayed with it and on day four, I felt like I was able to keep up. I’ve actually even been doing the insane abs on day seven (my rest day) just to keep moving. I feel GREAT! Tomorrow is another fit test, and I’m sure I’ll do well. Actually, if I make it through the test it will be an improvement from last week. It’s amazing how the challenge has motivated me. I know that working out with my husband has been key for me. We get up at 5:30, stretch for 15 minutes, and begin the workout. The kids are asleep, so it has actually given me some much needed “me” time. I feel super, and would again like to thank you for your reply. I’ll keep you posted. The only thing I’m confused about is that in the first week, I went from 120 lbs. to 124 lbs. I’m now back down to 121. I thought I would LOSE weight?

  10. Robert Harden

    Justine, you are VERY welcome. I’m glad I can help anytime. Always one of the benefits from being a customer, always a place to go with questions, support etc. Congrats on week 2. Here is a great article that might shed some light on your temporary weight gain. Also take measurements, alot of time you may be adding some muscle and losing weight, and it counter balances actual fat loss. Take measurements too along with weight. Here’s the article.

  11. Justine

    Thank you Robert, that article is invaluable! I also wonder if that is why my ankles have been killing me! I’ve never had a problem before, but this article may be the answer I was looking for. I even tried working out barefoot (not a good idea) and thought about buying a new pair of shoes. Hmmmm, maybe DOMS? I printed the article to keep my husband motivated (he also gained weight!) God bless!

  12. Joe

    Hey Rob. This is Joe Im a graduate of insanity and I loved it… It was hard and good but now what? I havent tried p90x yet but I like the cardio in insanity I dont think Tony Horton does enough of that…. maybe I should start over and just do insanity again…. lol Im pretty fit …and after this work out but I want more…. Can u give me a direction where to go?

  13. Robert Harden

    Hey Joe,

    It’s only my opinion, but I would jump in with P90X, or some One on One workouts. I have even heard of some people doing ChaLEAN Extreme workouts. Use the weights or resistance workouts of each program to get some weight training in, and then use Insanity for the cardio portion. We can set you up with a hybrid workout plan once you decide what you want to do. Let me know. Now that you are a graduate, have you thought about being a coach? Just a thought, if interested, go to: then click Coach for more info. If it sounds interesting, contact me for more info. Congrats for finishing one crazy insane program!

  14. Lo


    You can do both P90X and Insanity together. I finished my 1st round of Insanity and decided to do both. I’m following the calendar and so what I do is, I do insanity in the morning and p90x in the evening. If I can do it, trust me…you can too.

  15. Robert Harden

    Lo, Thanks for the suggestion, I think thats a great idea if time allows!

  16. Lacey

    I did both. Insanity and P90X. They were a great combo together. Between Tony and Shawn it was great motivation. I am in the best shape of my life. I am even ready to give birth to my first Child in a few weeks. After he is born back to both these truly fabulous workout systems. I am even going to try the new Turbo Fire. I love Chalene. Turbo Jam was just fun to do. I saw great results with her also. I am excited to get back to my working out. I am high risk pregnant, so I was unable to workout. Although my Doctor says wow you have great stomach muscles and probably could of worked out thru your whole pregnancy. But I didn’t just to be careful. So reading the reviews and up on these programs again makes me truly excited about getting back into my Hoss workouts again! Bottom Line, Insanity is a great program!

  17. Lacey

    Also one other note. I highly recommend women working out and getting into superb shape before they get pregnant. It has made a difference my doc says. She says cause of the shape I am in, that is why its been easier to carry a child, also for child birth, and bouncing back is going to be a breeze. I also haven’t racked on all the pounds or got stretch marks. I loveeee these workouts. Can’t wait until I can do them again!

  18. Robert Harden

    Lacey, I don’t think it can get any better with P90X and Insanity, and now since I added Turbo Fire, I really have a mix of workouts to keep me in top condition. Congrats on your baby, and come back to let us know how you are doing!

  19. LBJ

    I am currently in the recovery week following the first month of insanity. After I finish this program, I wanted to start P90x but I’m worried about if I’ll be able to keep up with the resistance training aspect of it being that I haven’t done resistance training in quite some time. I was considering starting some resistance training on my own for a few months to build myself up and then do P90x. Should I do that or just jump right into p90x.

  20. Robert Harden

    I would jump right in to P90X. If you took on Insanity, you can take the X too. :) If you want to, do the first week using just half of the weight workout. Get a feel for it, and see how you feel. Then jump up to the full length the 2nd week. You want to push yourself, but you want to be smart as well. Don’t cause injury by trying to do too much too soon. I think you will be fine. We give free coach support for our customers, so if you want to take us up on that, just make the purchase from our store. Good luck!! Let us know how your last month of Insanity goes.

  21. John

    Wife and I started this program together and are in our 5th (recovery) week. Her cardio/abs were better than mine when we started and I was better on the strength exercises. I have seen vast improvements and trimming down like never before. My wife started without being able to do a single push-up (started doing push up moves on knees) she can now complete the push-up jacks in proper form. Looking forward to the the next four weeks, then repeat :-)

  22. Robert Harden

    John, CONGRATS to you and your wife. I’m excited to see such positive results. The next 4 weeks will push you, stay with it, and then come back and tell us more great news!

  23. Jessica

    Hi, I ordered insanity two days ago & am waiting to get it in..I have recently went from 128 to 150 & on my 5’9 frame it’s not that bad but I am looking to get in better shape and look better.I have read Manu articles saying it helps their condition of staying in shape better but does it really help you look better also?

  24. Robert Harden

    Jessica, When you get Insanity, read the nutrition guide carefully. Figure out how many calories you get per day, and follow the guide. YOu will find that the meal plan has some GOOD food. If you can stick to this guide, you will look fantastic. Be consistent and persistent each day, and over the 60 days you will look great. For the best results, sign up for a free Team Beachbody account, and I can coach you along the way!

  25. Robert Harden

    1 Year LATER…. I pushed play on this MONSTER. I finished, just the same as I did last year. But it is still a SUPER workout. I have this workout 5 more times in the next 4 weeks. ALong with all the other MAX workouts. Who else is doing INSANITY?

  26. Whitney

    I’m doing Insanity for the second time. I just hit the Max workout portion. I just wanted to say thanks for posting all the reviews. I used them last time and I still use them. I don’t remember what exercises go with what disc and this way I can mentally prepare for the torture that I am going to put myself through. Good luck and push through!

  27. Robert Harden


    Thank you again! I just finished my 2nd round. I actually have the last fit test tomorrow. In a way, I’m looking forward to a break from the INSANITY, but I don’t want to lose the cardio I have worked so hard for! Keep pushing play and good luck with the MAX!

  28. BD

    The review on these are extremely accurate. I am 47 male who works way too much in the winter months and does not spend enough time on me. I am now on week 6 (after recovery week) Max month, and yes it feels like I am starting from scratch. It is tough but worth it!

  29. Robert Harden

    Thanks BD! Stick with it, I know its tough, but you can do it. Don’t let your body and your mind tell you different! I finished it twice, and each round, the MAX month worked me over mentally, just as much as it did physically. :) Keep me posted!

  30. Jay

    Just did this one today. F***ing bananas. Did you see better results in phase 2 than phase 1?

  31. Robert Harden

    Phase 2 is of course harder, so you should see more results. If you are still wanting to get even more results. Zero in on your nutrition. Make your diet as perfect as possible, and double check your calories. Make sure you have a 500 calorie deficit if you want to cut weight. If you eat clean, and have your calories right, you’ll get good results!

  32. Lance

    Hi I’ve watch the insanity workout last 3 days and I haven’t worked out for 2 months already cause of family work, I want to go back so bad so I can get in shape for wrestling, so is insanity workout okay for a 17 year old like me? I’m 5’6 and 138 would like to get fit before November

  33. Robert Harden

    Lance, I get this question A LOT. The short answer is: How committed are you? Are you willing to work? Are you willing to ignore those little voices that tell you to quit? Insanity is tough, I often recommend beginners start with something else. But then again, I have had beginners complete the program with flying colors. The answer is yours to answer. If you are willing to make push yourself past your comfort zones, then go for it. If you want to ease into the workouts, start with something else. That something else would be Power 90. If you want to try Insanity, you can get a free bonus workout here. It’s not offered on the infomercial, and we offer everything the infomercial has too. If you try Insanity, be smart, exercise within your comfort level, but push yourself to your fullest potential if you want great results. And follow the diet guide too! Good luck!

  34. Frances

    i started doing the insanity program almost 4 months ago im in my second round ( i wanna complete it another round before i move onto asylum)

    before i started i could barely even do a girly pushup and jumping jacks. not my strong suit either.. i modified the exercises a slight bit the first round thru of insanity to build up strength since the workout is hard on the knees. today i can do pushups jumping jacks etc with no problem whatsoever. my knee/back/joint pain is nonexsistant as it was something i had to take pain relievers for on a regular basis.

    ive lost about 60 lbs in 4 months and about 7 inches off my waist and about 6 off my hips.. 4 inches off both thighs and 2 inches off of each arm.

    i did have prior (unsuccessful) experience with turbo jam, p90, tae bo, pretty much you name it.

    that being said i saw quick results with shaun ts insanity and im a life long fan :)

  35. Robert Harden

    Frances!! This is absolutely fantastic! I’m so happy for you, and I have to say a great big “THANK YOU” for writing in and reporting the good news! Also congrats to you for graduating INSANITY!

  36. Lance

    I just ordered the insanity workout and can’t wait for it to come. I’ll keep update on whats happening :) thanks for the push Robert

  37. Lucie

    I’m on my first week of Month 2 and am loving every second of it. I’m 29 and have always been into working out, but moved to a ski resort almost 2 years ago. I must say, it is true that you put on winter flubber. Not only do you find comfort in fatty foods, but also tend to forget about the body you cover up with multiple layers. Once it was time to peel these off, I was the flabbiest and whitest I’ve ever been! :) Time for drastic measures…

    The first time I did the Fit Test, I thought I was going to die (and as I said, I’ve always been a pretty physically active person). While gasping for air by the third exercise, I kept on muttering “I can’t…I can’t…”, but I finished it with, okay, a few breaks. Because I’m a pretty determined person (if other people can do it, I can too), I grew mad at myself by the time I pressed play the second night. This anger facilitated me in charging through the next exercise.

    By the fourth workout, this DVD set had become a part of my routine. I found myself oddly looking forward to sweating and jumping frantically in front of the TV in the middle of my tiny living room (if you feel silly at first, this too will pass…trust me)…well, until about ten minutes into it, when I suddenly thought “wow, I was looking forward to this?” Ha ha… I wasn’t overweight (155 at 5’10 – happy at the 145lb mark), but lost 2 inches everywhere just within the first two weeks and I feel great! I haven’t weighed myself since, because I feel with all the toning, the scale might be deceiving; I’m just relying on what I see and how clothes began to fit me better again.

    Moral of the story, push through! There are days I seriously do not know how I’m going to even start moving as my body is telling me to just take a rest day when I get home from work…but don’t. Really, it’s just your mind trying to fool you into the “I’ve worked hard – it’s okay to sit on the couch” state. You can do it – I promise.

    Side note: I do workout barefoot and yes, my ankles did bother me at first, but they’re fine now. I only started not to wear shoes for these workouts, because I felt really claustrophobic in socks and shoes. I don’t usually pour sweat when I workout, so I was surprised how hot I was getting just minutes into the workout. Not having shoes on helps me stay a bit cooler and I feel like it strengthens my core muscles more effectively as it is more difficult to do balance exercises. Keep up the good work!!! And Robert, this is a great website – very nice job. :)

  38. Robert Harden

    Lucie, I’m absolutely thrilled that you wrote in such a detailed personal review. Thank you! You deserve the very best results, as it sounds as though you are sincere, and dedicated. Keep up the great work, and please visit us again. I must add, bare foot Insanity, impressive! I look forward to future comments, and good luck!

  39. Jorge D


    I am on week 2 of the Insanity and have noticed improvement in my conditioning, ability to stretch, and overall strength. I have had knee and lower back issues, which, unfortunately, appear to remain and become a barrier to really pushing through at key moments. As a former long-time smoker, though, I am proud to say that I am at least able to reasonably do the workouts so far. My main concern is one which was raised by other people here, namely that I have actually gained weight although I sweat well throughout the workouts, have cut down on many “junk” food. I am hoping that somehow I am gaining muscle, but I was under the impression that Insanity would actually help you slim down and tone muscle. My pants fit better so I think I might have lost some weight in certain body areas.
    Not sure.

    Thank you in advance for any advice.

  40. Robert Harden


    Weight loss will come from a calorie deficit. Often times, people will eat clean or at least clean up quite a bit. However, if the calorie deficit is not maintained, then losing weight will not happen. Yes people gain muscle, and that means something too. So it’s a fine balance. I always recommend my customers, tape measure. Measure, their waist, chest, thighs, arms, and hips. If you’re losing inches, clothes fit better, and you’re getting more tone, then the weight scale, is not as big an issue. If you’re not losing weight or inches, then the calorie deficit is even more relevant. I’m not certain where you fit in, but you said clothes were fitting better, that’s good! Recalculate your calories, sign up for a free account at the link below, and then email me some numbers. We’ll take a closer look.

  41. ron

    is it worth having a protein drink after every workout?

  42. Robert Harden

    The best post workout is the Recovery Formula. Month one I always had 1/2 a serving after each workout. During month two (MAX) I would mix 1/2 a serving with about 16 oz of water to drink DURING the workout, and then have the other 1/2 immediately following.

  43. Marcy Armstrong

    I am 29, 160 pounds and have just started the Insanity Program (I just finished Day 3) and I was wondering if it is normal that I have to take alot of breaks? I can’t even get thru the warm up with about 2 breaks :( I want this program to work and I feel like I am working out hard (honestly feel like dying) but I just feel like I am taking too many breathers, lol!!

  44. Robert Harden

    Marcy. Take breaks as you need to, and then each week shoot to improve. You’re doing fine! Insanity is the hardest program out there on the market, so its not just you. Take breaks, but push yourself, you’ll get better!!

  45. Kendell

    I was wondering what ONE workout you think would be the best to continue with without starting the entire regimen over. Something to do everyday that may help continue to lose some weight or just stay in shape. I had in mind continuing with Max Cardio but I’d like to get your opinion.

  46. Robert Harden

    I wouldn’t be able to recommend just one. By repeating the same workout over and over, your body adapts. When it adapts, if you don’t make a change, and challenge your body with something new, then you miss out on getting more and more results and progress. I would continue to do the program as its written personally. :)

  47. Joey

    I herniated my disk almost 3 years ago and hadn’t really done cardio within that time. I started Insanity in October. I’m now 1/2 way through my second round. I do the regular scheduled DVDs and added weight training 3 days a week. I do the cardio before work and lift after work. I modify the big jumping moves (power jumps, diamond jumps etc) with squats or cross jacks. I like that Insanity doesn’t require extra equipment. My third round I may just do the cardio every other day and fill in with weight training. Just to cut down on the time commitment after work. I really enjoy doing Insanity and it is always a challenge. Another “yeah me”, is that I turn 50 this year.

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