Insanity: Max 30

max302The long awaited (for me at least) Insanity: Max 30 has arrived. I am a big Shaun T fan. I have Insanity and Asylum 1 (review of Asylum should go up in March–at least that is my current plan) but that is all. I didn’t want to get Asylum 2 until I did Asylum 1 and I have been on the fence about Focus T25. But Max:30 seemed perfect, so my husband got it for me for my birthday. What is Max:30? It is a Beachbody fitness program designed and led by Shaun T. The tag line is that Shaun T has raised the bar on Insanity and put insane results within everyone’s reach. What this translates to is you get Shaun T’s killer cardio workouts that literally max you out, but–and this is the difference–there is a modifier. So if you cannot do plyometrics or high impact you can still do Insanity! Now, I like that for several reasons. Let me clarify that I do not need a modifier; I didn’t need one in the original Insanity and I don’t need one with Max:30. However, there comes a point in Insanity (and in Max:30) where I start taking “personal breaks” to catch my breath. I come back and keep pushing through the workouts, but as it continues, the breaks become more frequent. Well, not a problem with Max:30–for these personal breaks you do not have to actually stop moving. Follow the modifier until you get that second wind, then come back strong. I look at the modifier as an active recovery and I LOVE that! There are also two ways to play the workouts. The regular way in which it is filmed/formatted like Insanity, or with a split screen in which you see the regular workout on one side of the screen and on the other side the camera is always on the modifier. FYI, the modifier is frequently shown in the regular workout–just not non-stop–so you can watch it the regular way and still see how to modify.

maxNow, lets talk about what “Max:30” actually means. First, the actual workout is 30 minutes long. Second, the idea is to go-go-go at your level until you cannot go any longer. Here is how Beachbody puts it: “you go as hard as you can for as long as you can. Then, when your lungs feel like sandpaper and your muscles are begging for mercy, that’s when you take a break, write down the time you MAXED OUT, and get right back in to finish your workout.” So, Maxing Out does not mean you turn off the DVD and stop working out, or that you stand there staring at the TV and doing nothing for a long period of time. It means that point where you have to stop for a few seconds and regroup. Either to bend over and catch your breath, or do a less intense move so your muscles stop hurting–whatever. The point is, when you have to stop doing the moves with Shaun T and his crew for whatever reason–that is when you maxed out. You record that time on one of the charts that come with the program. If you’ve watched the trailer for the workout, you’ll see that Shaun and crew record their max out times on a chalk board. Once you (and Shaun and his crew) max out, you come back to the workout as soon as you are able and just keep going. You will probably keep maxing out, but you don’t have to keep recording your numbers–just the first time you max out. Then, the next time you come back to that workout, your goal is to go longer than you did the last time before you max out. The idea is to compete against yourself to improve your fitness level.

Max:30 is an intense, HIIT level, plyometric and bodyweight training workout program. The base program comes with 12 workouts. There are 2 bonus abdominal workouts you can purchase, but I did not. I usually do buy the bonus workouts, but I own plenty of core workouts already–I don’t need two more. In addition, the base program contains a lot of core work already. No more is needed IMHO. The program comes with rotation calendar for a 60 day program. 5 of the workouts are for month 1 and 5 are for month 2. In addition, you get a 10 minute core workout (Ab Attack 10) and a 20 minute recovery workout called Pulse. You get the Max Out Guide, which gives you more information on the workouts and the program, the nutrition guide Nutrition to the Max (this is an excellent guide), a No Time to Cook Guide which is full of excellent tips and info on eating out anywhere–restaurants, fast food, even gas stations! And finally, you get a wall calendar with your rotation calendars on it. On the rotation calendar it has a space for you to write the time you maxed out on each workout. Overall it is a high quality program with well thought out materials. As I have mentioned before, I am not a Beachbody coach or affiliated with them in anyway; I just appreciate and enjoy good fitness programs that a lot of time and thought went into. Max:30 is not cheap, so it’s nice to see you are getting your money’s worth.

How am I approaching Max:30? First, I am not doing the full 60 days. I am doing the entire program in one month. I am doing all of the month 1 workouts the first two weeks of February, then the second two weeks of February I will do month 2 workouts–and add in Abs 10 and Pulse wherever they fit. Due to the length of these workouts (30 minutes) and the fact I workout for an hour in the morning, I am doing them as doubles workouts. So I will do Max:30 every day after I get home from work. Since I started this on February 1, 2015, the review should be ready to post by February 27, 2015.

A little break down about how the workouts look. Shaun T and crew are in a large warehouse type setting. There is a chalkboard on one wall with all of their names written on it and that is where they all go to record their max out times. There is a bar along the bottom of the screen that keeps track of where you are in the workout. You don’t have a countdown clock but since each workout (the actual workout portion–not the cool down and almost all of the cool downs are 2 minutes, only one is 3 minutes) is 30 minutes, you don’t need a countdown. To the left, the time counts up. To the right, you get “Max Out Minute” which just counts along with the count up clock telling you what minute you are in. So the count up clock is counting by the seconds and the Max Out Minute changes every time you’ve completed one minute. And finally, along the top of the bar, you get the name of every exercise you are doing with a status bar so you know when that particular exercise is about to end.

max30Summary: The summary is being written at the end of my Max:30 month to give my thoughts on the program as a whole. First, Shaun T outdid himself. No, I have not done all of his programs, but I am comparing this to the original Insanity and this is a better and more functional program IMHO. I love Insanity, but it wasn’t perfect. For a HIIT level cardio workout program, Max:30 is pretty close to perfect. This is a well thought out program, well-led by a highly motivating trainer. Improvements have been made on both the strength and the recovery aspect. I also believe that for the intensity level of these workouts, lowering them to 30 minutes is the way to go. With that said, I also have to add that I still do not enjoy doing Insanity level workouts nearly every day of the week. It’s just too much (for me at least). I enjoy HIIT and plyo workouts and I always include them in my rotations every week. But I also believe in recovery and that applies to workouts of this level. I will definitely continue to use these workouts, but I will not continue to do them every day. 1-2 a week is adequate for me! Overall, Max:30 is well worth the money. BTW, these are some serious calorie burners. I do not personally use a heart rate monitor when working out but other people do and one of those persons created a blog post in which he did every Max:30 workout (including the deluxe/bonuses) and included his heart rate and calories burned. He has charts and everything! He looks like a normal weight man and he burned between 400-500 calories during each 30 minute workout. Pretty impressive. This kind of calorie burn is reflected in my results as well. I did not change my diet at all and yet dropped 4 pounds this month.

insanity-max-30-1Month 1:

1. Cardio Challenge starts with a 42 second overview from Shaun T which you should watch (rather than skip through) the first time doing the workout since, other than the written materials, that is really the only overview you are going to get. The workout itself is 33 minutes long. 30 seconds of that Shaun gives a little intro and while he is doing that the crew behind him are doing some dynamic stretch warm ups; I did the same because I knew from Insanity experience that the warm up is often as hard (or harder) than the workout itself.  This workout is done circuit fashion, including the warm up. The warm up will only be repeated once, but each circuit of the workout will be repeated 3 times before you get a 30 second break and each circuit (including the warm up) lasts approx. 4:30 minutes. The warm up is 5 minutes and consists of chest open jacks, jack upper cuts, 1-2-3 knees, cross jacks, high knee jabs. Circuit 1: squat kick, pike up spider jump, 10 and 2 (jumping and turning body in the direction of 10 and 2). Repeat 3 times total. 30 second break. Circuit 2: medicine ball twists (jack legs, pretend like you are holding a medicine ball and bring it side to side, working core), plank jack + in & out abs, 4 jabs + 4 high knees. Repeat 3 times total. 30 second break. Circuit 3: plyo power knee, scissor stance jack (you do a plyo jack, scissoring your feet while in the air and at the bottom when feet on are on the ground, touch your opposite toe), shoulder taps + in & out abs (you do in & out abs and when you are jumping feet out, tap fingers to opposite shoulder). Repeat 3 times total. 30 second break. Circuit 4: Slap back jack (jumping jack but clap hands in front of body and in back of body), suicide burpee (run 4 to one side and do burpee, run 4 to the other side and do burpee–and so on), plank speed tap (get into plank and bring one leg in and out, tapping on the floor under you; since you do 3 circuits, do right leg 1sr circuit, left leg second circuit and alternate legs 3rd circuit). Repeat 3 times total. 30 second break. Circuit 5: chair squat (start in wide squat with finger tips touching the floor and jump into chair squat with arms overhead; alternate wide and chair squat), foot ball runs with sprints, 2 jabs + 2 tuck jumps. Repeat 3 times total. 2 minute cool down/stretch.

The first time I did this workout I maxed out at 9:17. The second time I maxed out at 12:30, which just goes to show you that all you read is true–your body can keep going when your mind thinks you’re finished. Because my mind wanted to max out long before 12:30. But I gave myself the goal/task/mission/whatever of at the very least surpassing my max out time from week 1 (even if it meant taking a break at 9:18!). Then once I passed 9:17, I thought–just get to the water break. So I did. Then I told myself, you got the 30 second water break, you got some recovery–so Dig Deeper! And I did. 12:30 was it for me tho. Don’t misunderstand, I didn’t quit the workout, but I took my own short break at 12:30 then came right back to it. Throughout the rest of the workout I took a few more quick breathers or modifier breaks–but I never quit. That is one tough workout!

2. Tabata Power is 32 minutes long. The warm up is 4 minutes long, you get a brief water break then 26 minutes of tabatas followed by a 2 minute cool down/stretch. Briefly, tabatas are 20 seconds of all out work followed by 10 seconds of recovery; 8 of these cycles equals one tabata circuit. You get a 30 second water break between each tabata circuit. Each exercise is done twice. If it focuses on one side of the body then the second time you do it, you do it on the other side of the body. Overall, though I did find this a challenging workout, it was easier than Cardio Challenge. That is, until the end. The last 4 minutes of the workout before the cool down, he throws a tough 4 minute circuit at you with zero breaks that ends with one minute of tuck jumps. That was hard! Tabata 1: burpee lunges (jump lunge, burpee, jump lunge, burpee and so on…), 2. Plyo lunge jump, 3. Split Lunge Punch (jump lunges while punching), 4. Back lunge/front kick. 30 second water break. Tabata 2: 1. Moving Plyo Push Up (you do a push then jump, while in still in plank, to the side, push up, jump back–this, btw, is where I maxed out), 2. Push-Up Pop-Up (so a push up and at the top of the move a little hop with your hands), 3. Push-Up Row (push up then pull one arm in a row; alternate arms), 4. Knee Row Push-Up (same as #3 except on your knees–it also looks like he brought his hands in closer so its a tricep push up. 30 second water break. Tabata 3: 1. Fast Power Jump (fast wide tuck jumps), 2. Slow Power Jump (wide tuck jumps but you pause in a low deep squat between each jump), 3. High Jumps, 4. Squat Knee Up (no jumping; alternate knees). 30 second water break. Tabata 4: 1. Switch Kick Abs (lay on your back and alternate scissoring straight legs and punching at opposite leg), 2. Switch Kick Abs–one leg (same as #1, except you don’t scissor the legs; you hold one leg up and punch at it with the opposite arm), 3. Scissor Abs, 4. L-Hold (hold one leg up straight, the other a few inches off the floor and just hold). 30 second water break. Tabata 5: 1. Tricep Dip reach (get in crab and dip, then lift one leg and reach opposite arm toward toe), 2. Single Leg Tricep Dip (stay in crab, raise one leg and raise and lower body using triceps), 3. Speech Tricep Dip (still in crab, both hands and feet on the ground, raise and lower body using triceps fast), 4. 4 Count Tricep Dip (still in crab, raise and lower body using triceps to the count of 4). 30 second water break. Finale Challenge (no breaks/rests; these are all exercises you have already done in the tabatas; you do each of them for 30 seconds except #5–you do that one for one minute): 1. Split Lunge Punch, 2. Push-Up Row. 3. Switch Kick Abs, 4. Speed Tricep Dip, 5. Speed Power Jump. 2 minute cool down/stretch.

The first time I did this workout at I maxed out at 9:32. I swear I could have gone longer but at that point in the workout you are doing Moving Plyo Push-Up and well, that exercise maxed me out fast. But before that exercise I felt like I could have gone on longer before I maxed out. The second time I maxed out at 14:13. It was the tabata concept that got me through. I’m sure I was doing the Moving Plyo Push-ups slower than Shaun T–but I wasn’t looking a the TV, I was just telling myself, it’s only 20 seconds, it’s only 20 seconds, it’s only 20 seconds. And once I got past those nightmare push ups, I was able to go on even longer.

3. Sweat Intervals is 32 minutes. The warm up is 5 minutes and the stretch/cool down is 2 minutes. Sweat intervals is similar to Cardio Challenge, but maybe not as hard. I am not saying it is easy–not by a long shot! It was super hard! I was breathing hard, sweating hard and my face was burning red! That should tell you how hard I find Cardio Challenge if it’s worse than this one! Sweat Intervals is set up in circuits of 3 exercises that are repeated 3 times, then you get a 30 second break. There are 6 intervals and that includes the warm up which is a signature Shaun T warm up–as hard as the rest of the workout! However, the warm up has 5 exercises and is only repeated once. Warm up/Interval 1: 1. Chest open jack, 2. Jack upper cut, 3. 1-2-3 knee, 4. Cross jack, 5. High knee jab. 30 second water break. Interval 2: 1. High jump cross (the cross is a punch), 2. Squat lunge (jump squat with jump lunge), 3. Push up punch. 30 second water break. Interval 3: 1. Moving squat jabs (while squat jumping laterally you double punch), 2. Wide pike ups (in straight leg pike, jump feet in and out), 3. Hurdle drill. 30 second water break. Interval 4 : 1. Hop, hop runner, 2. Power Jump + Squat push (squat push is a sort of push up you fall into while in squat then push yourself back onto squat), 3. Switch kick punch. 30 second water break. Interval 5: 1. Free runner (a jump where you split your legs while in the air), 2. Ski abs power knee (you do this the first two intervals, but the third you just do ski abs), 3. Squat oblique knee (you jump when going from squat to oblique knee). 30 second water break. Interval 6: 1. Burpee lunge (do a burpee then a jump lunge), 2. Hit the floor (jump side to side, touching the floor with fingertips), 3. Cross jack jabs. 2 minute cool down.

I maxed out at 16:53 the first time I did this workout. I seriously felt like I was going to max out before but the way this is workout is set up, some of the exercises, tho intense, are less intense (Hurdle Drill) than the one they follow, so that is what helped me keep going (kind of like an active recovery). Plus, sometimes I was about to max out, but the 30 second rest was seconds away, so I just kept going. The second time I did it I maxed out at 18:15.

4. Tabata Strength is 32 minutes. The warm up is 4 minutes and the stretch/cool down is 2 minutes. Tabata Strength is Tabata Power kicked up a notch. And it is hard! On the rotation calendar you don’t even do Tabata Strength until Week 3 but since I am doing the whole program in one month, I did it the first week. And wow. It was the earliest I have maxed out so far. It was due to the first exercise–diamond jumps. So many diamond jumps! The structure of Tabata Strength is the same as Tabata Power however there are no water breaks. None. The only break you get is that 10 second recovery between the 20 seconds of hard work. You just go-go-go. The tabatas still consist of 8 cycles each and you still have 5 tabatas but they are now separated by 30 seconds of active recovery. So you continue to work, just at a lower intensity. And he has another fun Finale Challenge to really finish you off at the end. After the warm up you get your only water break. Then you begin your non-stop Tabata Strength workout. Remember, just like in Tabata power, each tabata contains eight 20/10 circuits consisting of 4 exercises. Each exercise is done twice. Tabata 1: 1. Diamond jump + single leg burpee, 2. Diamond jump + double leg burpee, 3. Diamond jump, 4. Plie power squat. 30 second recovery move: High knee abs. Tabata 2: 1. Alternating wide push ups, 2. Diamond push ups (tricep push ups), 3. Knee diamond hold (hold/hover for 20 seconds at bottom of diamond push up position, but on your knees), 4. Child’s pose to knee diamond push up. 30 second recovery move: Jack jab. Tabata 3: 1. Alternating split plyo lunges, 2. Plyo power knee, 3. Power knee lunge (one power knee, then jump lunge), 4. Low power knee. 30 second recovery move: Straight arm cross jack. Tabata 4: 1. 4 count V push ups, 2. Single count V push ups, 3. V push up hold (hold/hover at bottom of V push up move), 4. Wide pike ups (in pike, jump straight legs in and out). 30 second recovery move: Mummy kicks. Tabata 5: 1. Scissor push up (one leg crossed straight under body while doing push ups), 2. Knee tap push ups, 3. Toe tap push ups, 4. Plank toe taps. 30 second recovery move: 2 & 2 power strike (punching down twice on each side of the body). Finale Challenge (no breaks/rests; you do each of exercise for 30 seconds except #5–you do that one for one minute): 1. Diamond burpee, 2. Alternating wide push ups, 3. Max out knee up (jumping knee raises), 4. V push up, 5. Chair squat hold–very low/deep; for the last 15 seconds of the full minute you hold this chair pose he makes you pulse it. 2 minute stretch.

I am ashamed to say I maxed out at 6:47 on this one. If I had been paying attention to the bar I probably could have held out longer because the interval ended seconds after I maxed out. But I was dying so I wasn’t paying attention! So many diamond jumps! That’s when I maxed out btw–I got through all the diamond jumps with burpees–but then when we are doing just straight out 20 seconds of non-stop diamond jumps, I maxed out. The second time I maxed out at 20:07! So paying attention to when that 20 seconds ended was what pulled me through and kept pulling me through. However, the V push ups were burning my shoulders out and I maxed out during the V-push  holds. I just couldn’t hold it any longer.

5. Friday Fight: Round 1 is 32 minutes. The warm up is 5 minutes and the cool down is 2 minutes. Oh. My. God. I think this is the hardest Max:30 workout I’ve done thus far. It is truly insane. I was dying. After I maxed out the first time I just kept maxing out and several times deteriorated into doing the modified version until I could jump in again. Killer, killer workout. Oh–and almost no breaks. Two total. After the warm up you launch immediately into the workout and do not get another break until the 15 minute mark then your second and last one is at the 25:30 minute mark. Then you just push through until the end. Other than the warm up moves, no exercise is repeated. They are all exercises you have already encountered in the first 4 workouts. I will not lie. I was nervous coming to this workout. Partly because of the title and since it was by Shaun T I knew it would be brutal and partly because the past 4 days of Max:30 have bee kicking my a$$. So I was dragging my feet a little. But I did it anyway! The warm up consists of chest open jack, jack uppercut, 1-2-3 knee, jump rope, high knee jab; repeat then go straight into the workout. Exercises: 1. hop, hop runner, 2.plyo power knee, 3. switch kick punch, 4. wide in and out abs with knee tap, 5. medicine ball twists (jack feet while pretending bring a medicine ball from hip to hip), 6. moving jump cross (jumps with cross punches), 7. speed in & out abs. 8. scissor stance jack (scissor jump and at bottom do a squat and touch foot with opposite hand), 9. 4 jabs, 4 high knees, 10. tricep dip reach (in crab kick leg and touch foot with opposite hand). First water break at 15 minutes. 11. hit the floor (jump side to side while touching floor with finger tips), 12. 2 jabs, 2 tuck jumps, 13. burpee lunges, 14. ab attack (a kind of jump squat where you raise one knee and twist body toward it), 15. wide pike ups (jump feet in and out while in pike), 16. 10 and 2 (jump in the clock directions of 10 and 2), 17. squat kick, 18. X jump, X plank (X plank is a burpee), 19. plank toe taps (while in plank touch toes with opposite hand), 20. knee diamond push ups (diamond push ups on knees). Second water break at 25:30. 21. split lunge punch (alternating jump lunges with punches), 22. plank punch, 23. moving squat jab (jump side to side, punching while jumping), 24. punching abs (in C-sit with legs up, knees bent, punch your abs with your fists). 2 minute cool down/stretch.

I maxed out at 8:15. I think I could have gone longer than that, but I was really thirsty and some of the crew members were already maxing out and I don’t know–I think it mentally made me decide to max out. I was maxing, but I think I gave in too easily. I will have to push harder next time. The second time I did it I maxed out at 8:39, so I didn’t get much further than the first time. This workout is hard!

insanity-max-30-2Month 2:

6. Max Out Cardio is 32 minutes. The warm up is 5:30 minutes and the cool down is 2 minutes. This was my first workout of Month 2 and though it was super tough, I have to admit, I think it is my favorite workout of the collection so far. Even tho I maxed out pretty early, I felt this workout was constructed in a way to keep you going longer–even tho you get exhausted, some of the moves tho not easy moves, are mildly less intense than the others so they give you a bit of a recovery. Do not misunderstand. At the end of this workout my face was beet red and I was wiped out, but I took fewer personal breaks after I maxed out than I do in the Max:30 other workouts. The workout consists of 5 circuits consisting of 3 exercises; each exercise is done for 30 seconds, then the entire circuit is repeated 3 times. Each circuit ends with a 1 minute power blast. The power blast is just a challenging plyometric move. You get a 30 second water break before moving on to the next circuit. Warm up/Circuit 1: 1. Med ball twist (jacks while pretending to bring a medicine ball hip to hip), 2. 1-2-3 soccer juggle (3 jogs to the side and tap inside of foot), 3. Hop hop runner (hop twice then bring inside leg back and arm across body). Repeat 3 times. Power move: Plank jack front raise (plank jacks while alternating raising arm to the front). 30 second water break. Circuit 2: 1. balance kick back (while hopping on one foot you will kick the other leg back), 2. speed in and out abs (in plank, jump feet in and out), 3. low plank side punch (in elbow plank punch side to side). Repeat 3 times. Power move: genie tuck jumps (tuck jumps with genie arms). 30 second water break. Circuit 3: 1. high-low switch kicks (on Shaun T’s command you alternate low switch kicks with high switch kicks), 2. plank to squat, 3. moving slap back jump (jump forward and back, slapping hands behind back each time you jump). Repeat 3 times. Power move: 8 jabs, 2 diamonds jumps. 30 second water break. Circuit 4: 1. 10 & 2 punch (jump to 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock position while punching), 2. floor hops (in plank, jump feet side to side), 3. lunge punch kick (lunge back and jump kick while punching). Repeat 3 times. Power move: basket ball dribble (4 jumps and 4 scissor jumps). 30 second water break. Circuit 5: 1. oblique high knee (wide leg high knee runs), 2. sprint jack (alternate between sprints and fast jack feet at Shaun T’s command), 3. Pike up/oblique knee (in plank, do a pike jump in then out, then bring knee to elbow). Repeat 3 times. Power move: high jump clap (do a squat jump and clap under one leg while in the air). After you finish this power move, you do another exercise for 30 seconds: the attack (get into plie squat and alternate punching hands fast). 2 minute cool down.

The first time I did this workout I maxed out at 7:52. The second time I did this workout I maxed out at 20:10! I still think it has to do with the sequencing of the exercises. This one is just constructed to keep you going longer.

7. Max Out Power is 33 minutes. Warm up is 4 minutes and cool down is 3 minutes. It is a little longer than the other workouts and Shaun T is a little meaner! It is also deceiving. As I started it, I began to think that this workout was going to be easier than Month 1’s Tabata Power. But then it creeps up on you and kills you! My quads are burning! Rather than the tabata concept of 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off as in Month 1’s Tabata Power, Max Out Power does each move for 45 seconds with a 15 second recovery. Each circuit is 6 minutes long. Warm up: 1. high knee pulls (alternating knee lifts), 2. jog, 3. medicine ball twists (jack legs while pretending to bring medicine ball side to side), 4. mummy kicks, 5. lateral lunge kick on right, 6. slap back jack (jacks while slapping hands behind you (near butt), 7. lateral lunge kick on left, 8. Heisman. 30 second water break. Circuit 1: 1. slap back jump –  up/back (same hand movement as in the warm up except you jump forward and back), 2. slap back jack –  side to side, 3. slap back jump –  up/back (but this time you jump on Shaun T’s command), 4. low squat pulse –  up/back (you will always be in a low lunge pulsing–until Shaun T tells you to jump forward/back), 5. low squat pulse (no jumping), 6. chair hold. 30 second water break. Circuit 2: 1. plyo push up jack, 2. arm jack push up, 3. push up pop-up, 4. step out push up (step out with arm and leg), 5. knee plyo push up (you plyo from tricep to wide push up), 6. 4 count knee push up. 30 second water break. Circuit 3: 1. Pike up extension (pike jump up and out then do a back extension w/ arms out at sides), 2. wide push up extension (wide push up to superman), 3. low plank pike up (in elbow plank jump feet in and out in straight leg pike), 4. ski down abs (Russian twists), 5. X abs (lay on back with legs and shoulders off ground; bring arms and legs out to an X then bring in), 6. backstroke (lay on back with feet about 6 inches off the floor and alternate bringing straight arms overhead in backstroke). 30 second water break. Circuit 4: 1. burpee lunge (burpee then lunge; alternate legs), 2. squat lunge (jump squat into jump lunge, alternate legs), 3. frog jump burpee (frog jump forward then back then burpee), 4. lunge pulse (no plyo here–just like it sounds–but no 15 second break on this one!!! You go straight into #5), 5. wide burpee jump, 6. iron legs (jump lunge right then left then squat jump then jump and criss cross feet while in the air; alternate which leg starts the lunge).

The first time I did this I maxed out at 13:19. I seriously thought after getting through the first circuit without too much off a problem that I had this workout aced. Until he started pounding us with plyo push ups. That showed me. I maxed out pretty quickly at that point. The second time I did this workout I still maxed out during the push ups but I made it to 15:19 this time.

8. Max Out Sweat is 32 minutes long. Warm up is 5:30 minutes with 2 minute cool down/stretch. This workout put me to shame. Month 2 workouts are hard. Hard, hard, hard. Even Shaun T was maxing out repeatedly during this workout. It is set up the same as Max Out Cardio; the workout consists of 5 circuits consisting of 3 exercises; each exercise is done for 30 seconds, then the entire circuit is repeated 3 times. Each circuit ends with a 1 minute power blast. But, IMHO, Max Out Sweat was much harder than Max Out Cardio. Warm up/Circuit 1: 1. low switch kick punch, 2. hop, hop, knee (hop, hop, raise knee), 3. 1-2-3 clap (3 jogs to the side and clap hands under knee). Repeat 3 times. Power move: speed in and out abs (in pike, hop feet in and out). 30 second water break. Circuit 2: 1. plyo hook lunge (plyo alternating jump lunges with alternating hook punches), 2. wide in & out with knee tap (get in plank and jump feet in and out while alternating tapping knees; tap knee on same side of body), 3. switch kick punch. Repeat 3 times. Power move: hit the floor – tuck jumps (touch the floor side to side, however, after one touch, you tuck jump and then just keep doing that for one minute–NIGHTMARE). 30 second water break. Circuit 3: 1. Ab attack (wide squat then jump up, raising on knee and twisting torso toward it), 2. burpee punch (single arm burpees–at bottom of move you punch with one arm), 3. knee switch kick (raise one knee and kick with the other leg–so alternate knee raise, kick, knee raise, kick–jumping each time, too). Repeat 3 times. Power move: 4 jabs 4 knee punches (4 jabs and 4 high knee runs while punching). 30 second water break. Circuit 4: 1. wide fly – in & out abs (start in plank and jump feet in and out; while you are doing that you alternate bringing straight arms out to side–“flys”), 2. free runner (scissor jump, but do not alternate, just scissor jump on same side), 3. moving push ups (in plank walk with hands and feet to the side 2 times, each step you do a push up, so 2 steps/push ups to the right and 2 steps/push ups to the left). Repeat 3 times. Power move: 360 hop squat (start in low squat with ringer tips touching the ground; quarter turn hops all the way around in a circle (so it takes 4 hops to get back to starting position) never coming out of low squat and fingertips always touching the ground at bottom of hop). 30 second water break. Circuit 5: 1. slalom (get into a narrow squat (feet touching) and jump side to side touching fingertips to the floor along side the feet each time you hop), 2. plank jack tap (plank jacks while alternating tapping shoulders), 3. scissor X (4 scissor runs and 2 air jacks). Repeat 3 times. Power move: power jump dive (tuck jump the fall forward until hands hit ground and lower into tricep push up, walk back into low squat). Workout ends with 30 seconds of mountain climbers. 2 minute cool down/stretch.

I am ashamed to say that the first time I did this workout I maxed out during the warm up. Yep. 5:23–during the power move. It is embarrassing really. But this workout was hard! Even Shaun T was suffering! The second time through I got past the warm up! Yay! I maxed out at 7:49.

9. Max Out Strength is 32 minutes long. Max Out Strength is a bit different than the other Max:30 workouts, IMHO. It is more strength focused than any of the others. And he will burn your upper body muscles out big time. Just like in Max Out Power I was able to power through w/out maxing out until I hit the push ups–then I maxed out fast. It actually has the same warm up as Max Out Power, however, no water break! Instead of a 30 second water break you you get “bonus” warm up exercise then just dive right into the first circuit. There are 4 circuits. Circuit 1 focuses on lower body, circuit 2 focuses on chest via lots of push ups, circuit 3 focuses on core and triceps, and circuit 4 focuses on triceps through lots of tricep push ups. Each exercise is done for 45 seconds with a 15 second recovery. Warm up: 1. high knee pulls (alternating knee lifts), 2. jog, 3. medicine ball twists (jack legs while pretending to bring medicine ball side to side), 4. mummy kicks, 5. lateral lunge kick on right, 6. slap back jack (jacks while slapping hands behind you (near butt), 7. lateral lunge kick on left, 8. Heisman, 9. high knee abs. Circuit 1: 1. split plyo lunge (alternating jump lunges holding arms straight overhead), 2. plie plyo squat (plyo jacks), 3. 2 hop squats – 2 lunges (in wide squat hop twice then rotate into a lunge and hop twice; alternate sides), 4. hop squat – lunge (same as #3 except one hop), 5. squat thrust – lunge (same as #4 except after you hop squat you straighten, pressing hips forward), 6. squat thrust (squat then press hips forward). 30 second water break. Circuit 2: 1. push up jack tap (push up while jacking feet out and alternate tapping shoulders at top of push up), 2. push up jack, 3. plank jack – push up, 4. plank walk – push up (alternate sides), 5. knee push up, 6. 8 count knee push up. 30 second water break. Circuit 3: 1. floor switch kicks (get in crab and alternate kicking legs), 2. tricep reach (still in crab, alternate touching hands to opposite foot), 3. tricep knee taps (same as #2, except touch opposite knees), 4. tuck extension (get into C sit, feet off the ground; lower body into X with feet and shoulders still off ground, then come back into C sit touching hands to knees–feet never touch the floor), 5. floor tuck jumps (in C sit with feet off ground, raise and lower feet tapping palms to knees), 6. speed knee abs (basically bicycles but you tap hands to knees). 30 second water break. Circuit 4: 1. tricep push up jacks, 2. dive push ups (tricep push ups but at top of move press body back, stretching feet/heels), 3. lat push ups (this one was a new one for me; hands start in tricep push up position, but bring one hand to side of boy, close to ribs and do push up; alternate sides), 4. knee push up pulse (lower to tricep hover and pulse), 5. 8 count knee tricep push ups, 6. low plank hold (start in tricep hover on knees but with toes on the floor; on Shaun T’s command, raise knees and hover in tricep plank hold on toes). 2 minute stretch.

The first time I did this workout I maxed out at 12:15. I honestly almost maxed out earlier during the split plyo lunges, but after maxing out during the warm up the day before (during Max Out Sweat) I really pushed myself to get through it! I was determined not to max out during circuit 1 exercise 1! After the split plyo lunges, the other lower body moves weren’t as hard. But Shaun T really burns out the upper body. After my first max out I had to keep taking personal breaks to let my arms thaw out. At the end, his crew just laid on the floor, totally maxed out. The second time I did this workout I maxed out at 12:30–still during the pushups! I actually finished it about 20 minutes ago and my arms are still fried.

10. Friday Fight: Round 2 is 32 minutes long. 5 minute warm up and 2 minute stretch. I don’t know which was more brutal–this workout or Max Out Sweat. These workouts are incredibly intense! Shaun T says this is the hardest workout he’s ever created. I won’t argue that point. Max Out Sweat is a close second tho. Friday Fight: Round 2 has basically the same structure as Friday Fight Round 1–except even harder. You dive straight into the workout after the warm up–no water break until the 15:20 minute mark then you don’t get another water break until the 25:40 minute mark. Normally I would explain any exercise that isn’t self-explanatory by its name, but all of the exercises in this workout have been done at some point somewhere in Max:30, so I won’t describe them again here. I’ll just list the exercise. Warm up: 1. medicine ball twist, 2. hop, hop knee, 3. standing mountain climbers, 4. hit the floor, 5. plank walk. Repeat warm up. Workout: 1. iron legs, 2. floor hops, 3. scissor X, 4. plank jack – front raise, 5. plyo hook lunge, 6. hit the floor – tuck jumps, 7. free runner, 8. power jump dive, 9. ski down abs, 10. alt push up. 30 second water break. 11. low-high switch kicks, 12. slap back jump, 13. plank jack tap, 14. jab – speed bag, 15. plank to squat, 16. lunge punch kick, 17. genie tuck jumps, 18. wide burpee jump, 19. X abs, 20. tricep push up jack. 30 second water break. 21. 10 & 2 punch, 22. 8 jabs – 2 diamond jumps, 23. burpee punch, 24. high knee jab.

The first time I did this I maxed out at 5:49. I should be ashamed that I maxed out during the first exercise after the warm up, but it is a Shaun T warm up! Not easy and the first exercise was Iron Legs! Iron Legs! (jump lunge right then left then squat jump then jump and criss cross feet while in the air) For a full minute! I did it for 49 seconds and I was maxed out. The second time I did this workout I maxed out at 8:18, so I got a bit farther. I still wanted to max out during those Iron Legs, but I kept going!

max303Additional workouts:

11. Ab Attack 10 is a tough little core workout that I maxed out on several times tho I never recorded a max-out time. It consists of 10 moves and each move is done for one minute with no rests–so the workout time is actually 10 minutes, as advertised.
1. Floor tuck jumps (on your bottom, knees bent in C-sit; raise and lower legs tapping knees with palms).
2. Low plank side punch (in elbow plank, punch side to side).
3. Knee push extension (same starting position as #1, but touch your hands to your knees, then extend body out low in a sort of X, but hands and legs don’t quite touch the floor–maybe 6 inches above floor).
4. Reciprocating knee (in elbow plank, alternate bending knees (knees touch ground) quickly).
5. Switch kick abs (lay on back and alternate scissoring straight legs while punching toward them).
6. Plank toe taps (while in high plank touch hand to opposite toe).
7. Ab spring (same starting position as #1 and #3, except you keep upper body in C-sit and fast sprint the legs, heels tap the floor, using running arms).
8. Tricep push up extension (tricep push up to superman).
9. Floor ab attack (get into V-sit with knees bent and hold, punching with arms).
10. Drum V (stay in same position as #9, but straighten legs so your body is in an actual V set and “drum” fists on abdomen).

12. Pulse is a 20 minute recovery workout and it was welcome after all of the hardcore workouts. Pulse is a no impact workout that alternates body weight strength moves with dynamic stretching. There is nothing super difficult in this workout but it does do a good job with some strength work and flexibility. I really liked it. There was no maxing out in this workout, but that’s ok. I have to compare this to Insanity‘s Cardio Recovery and Max Recovery–neither of which were relaxing and Max Recovery in particular was painful and miserable. Pulse is nothing like those two. Nothing. No dread factor to doing this workout. And I love Shaun T for that. I loathed Max Recovery. Dreaded it. It did not make me feel better after he had beat the crap out of me all week with his Max workouts. Pulse however is exactly what the body needs. So yay! He really got it right with this program.


1. Chest opener while alternating knee lifts.
2. Reverse lunge with straight arm chest openers.
3. Side to side lateral lunges.
4. Down dog spider (down dog then alternate bringing foot to hand).
5. Squat pencil (squat then alternate raising straight leg).
6. Calf stretches.
7. Lunge pulse (hold in static low lunge while pulsing).
8. Alternating quad stretch.
9. Runner stance pulse (balance move).
10. Hip opener/alternating shoulder stretch.
11. Plie pulse squats.
12. Side to side wide leg hamstring stretch.
13. Plank Lat Pull Down (in plank, reach straight arm in front of you, then around to the side, to your bottom; alternate arms)
14. Childs pose to cobra.
15. Plank walk shoulder tap (plank walk to the side and back, then tap opposite shoulders).
16. Chest stretches.
17. Bear crawl walkout (do a bear crawl walkout, jump feet to hands then back out, bear crawl back in and stand up, arms raised over head).
18. Chest opener stretches.
19. Reciprocating knee (in plank, alternate tapping knees to ground).
20. Downdog to plank.
21. Lay on back and do switch kick abs.
22. Get in C sit and round back.
23. Crunch extension (start in C sit then extend body out low in a sort of X, but hands and legs don’t quite touch the floor–maybe 6 inches above floor).
24. Sitting with legs straight do hamstring stretch (grab feet).
25. Back stroke (lay on back, feet 6 inches above ground and alternate bringing straight arms overhead until thumbs touch floor, then back to sides).
26. Shoulder stretch.
27. Table balance (get on all 4s and raise arm straight ahead of you and same side leg straight behind you and hold).
28. Child’s pose.


15 thoughts on “Insanity: Max 30

  1. Hello, Great page. I have a question: I would like to do Insanity MAX 30 with the combination of other workouts. Do you have any suggestions? I love BJ Gaddour and was hoping to pair Shaun T and Bj Gaddour. Any help will be welcome. Thank you so much


    1. Hello Pepe! And that is actually a great way to use that program. When I did Max 30 I did not do it by itself. I did an hour long workout in the morning (usually strength) then did a Max 30 workout after work. That would be a great way to do it if you are using BJ’s MetaShred Extreme. But if you are using his MetaShred 21, then you could pair them together. I would do MetaShred 21 first since it is primarily strength work and you want to be able to have the energy to lift heavy enough weights to get a good strength workout, then follow it with a Max 30 workout for an hour long (intense!) cardio + strength workout. That is actually such a great idea I might try it myself at some point!


  2. This workout sounds very intense! I am a Cathe Friedrich fan, and just recently purchased her Get Ripped with Hiit series. This sounds much more intense. However, I have two sons who are less than eager to try Cathe workouts (because she is a woman?), and wonder if this will inspire them. How do you compare the workouts?


    1. Hi Carrie! And Shaun T’s Insanity workouts are much more intense than Cathe’s–but also the focus is different. He does no weight training. It is all plyo, uber-intense cardio and body weight training. With Cathe’s intense HIIT level cardio, it gives me an incredible workout, but I can do every single workout from beginning to end without having to take those personal breaks because I can’t breath or my muscles burn out. I am not saying that sometimes I don’t feel close to it–but I can always persevere until Cathe gives you a brief break. Shaun T’s workouts always burn me out. I cannot do any of his cardio ones from beginning to end without having to stop at some point to catch my breath and let my muscles thaw out. So that is the big difference. I do think Insanity workouts are the hardest, most intense and challenging cardio/HIIT workouts out there. So yes! I definitely think Shaun T and his Insanity workouts would inspire men more than Cathe would inspire men. I love Cathe, too, but Shaun T is a very motivating trainer. One of the most motivating out there, I think.


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