insanity review: 5 weeks in.

by Janetha on May 9, 2011

in meals,moves



as promised, i am going to check in and ramble a little bit about my journey with insanity so far. if you have no desire to read about my insanity challenge, scroll on down to the “meals” icon.


i started the challenge on april 3rd.  it began with four weeks of workouts that were 6 days on/1 day off.  there were a total of five workouts i did for the first four weeks.

  • plyometric cardio circuit
  • cardio power & resistance
  • pure cardio
  • cardio abs
  • cardio recovery

each workout was around 40 minutes, aside from the cardio abs.. which was 16 minutes. that one was tacked on to the end of the pure cardio workout days.  five of the six days were super intense and one of the days (wednesdays) was really mellow and easy.. the cardio recovery DVD.

after the first four weeks, there was one week of recovery.  this week (which was last week for me) consisted of the same DVD for six days in a row.  it was called “core cardio and balance”.  don’t let the term “recovery week” fool you.. this workout was no joke.  some of you warned me that the recovery week was in fact still a tough workout, and you were right.  while it wasn’t very fast paced, it was incredibly challenging.  there was a lot of focus on strengthening my core and working on my ability to endure slow, steady movements for a long period of time. for example, for three and a half minutes straight, i had to sit in a deep plié squat and hold my arms out and do various shoulder movements like flutters and circles.  they don’t call this part “shoulder burners” for nothing!  while it was a really great workout for core strengthening, i got SO sick of it by the sixth day! it was just too much of the same thing over and over. i was happy to cross off the last day of the recovery week!


i started out with a fit test on day one.  the fit test consists of eight different moves. (i googled it and you can see the eight moves here.) you do each move for a solid minute and write down the number of reps you are able to complete during that minute.  the fit test is revisited every so often to check on progress.  so far, i have done the fit test three times. once at the beginning, once after 2 weeks and once on sunday.. after month one and after the recovery week—so five weeks in.

here are my results:

move start date 2 weeks in 5 weeks in
switch kicks 100 109 120
power jacks 44 50 56
power knees 85 107 108
power jumps 28 38 40
globe jumps 12 13 14
suicide jumps (burpees) 14 17 18
push up jacks 25 30 33
low plank oblique 50 60 64


i wasn’t sure how i would do on the fit test yesterday.. but i was pleasantly surprised to see that i improved on all the moves.  i guess there is something to this program, eh?

after the fit test yesterday, i still had to do day 1 of month number 2.  i decided it was in my best interest to bake a carrot cake beforehand and give myself a little rest, since the fit test is a workout in and of itself.

after a brief break, i got down to business and completed the max interval circuit.  it was an hour of heart pumping, high jumping insanity. no, really.. it was crazy.  never in my life have i moved so much and so fast and in so many ways in such a condensed amount of time. i even screamed out in exhaustion a few times. i think i scared the dogs.

the workout consisted of a 10 minute warmup (if you can call it that—it is like a mini workout!) followed by 5 minutes of stretching.  next up was a circuit of four different moves, each 45 seconds long with no rest.  after the 3 minute circuit, you do get a brief 30 second rest to bring your heart rate down and get some water. the circuit is then completed two more times, for a total of three times through.  at the end of the third set, there is one more additional move tacked onto the circuit block for good measure.

the workout then goes on to two more circuits with the same set up as the first: 4 moves, 45 seconds each without rest, a 30 second break, repeat the circuit twice more, then one more move tacked onto the third set.  after all the circuits are completed, there is a short cooldown stretch.

and then you die.

if i had to compare month 2 to month 1, i would call the month 1 workouts a piece of cake. no, really. they are challenging, but do-able.  while i worked really hard during the month 1 workouts, i never wanted to scream out in agony because i was so exhausted.  month 2 is no joke.

even though it was incredibly difficult, i did complete the whole workout.  granted, i was dead tired the rest of the night, but i did it.. and that is what matters.  i think the most important part of completing these intense workouts is to do them with the correct form.  it is easy to get caught up in the DVD and want to go at the same pace as the class on the TV, but it is important to remember to go at your own pace. always, always, always put form over reps.  if you rush through the circuit trying to get as many reps in as possible, you risk doing the move wrong and that can lead to injury.  i tried to focus on doing each move correctly so i could get the most out of the workout.

pretty sure that worked.. my whole body is sore today. my glutes and my shoulders are the most sore, followed by my inner thighs.  it’s such a good feeling.. what can i say? i love DOMS.

i did the second workout of month 2 today after work.  it was called max interval plyo.  it has basically the same set up as yesterday’s, but there was more jumping and squatting. that was great on my sore glutes. there were also a zillion more pushups. oh, and marshall and his friends came home in the middle of my workout so i had an audience. lovely.

today’s workout was slightly easier than yesterday’s.. maybe because i was prepared for the worst or maybe it just consisted of moves i am better at.  either way, i welcomed the fact that it was just slightly easier than the previous workout!

it’s definite that yesterday’s max interval circuit workout was, by far, the hardest workout of my entire life.

during month 1 and the recovery week, i did the majority of the workouts in the morning. as you know, i am NOT a morning workout person.. but was bound and determined to become one.  i completed all but 3 or 4 of the workouts in the morning before work.  i am not sure if i will be able to keep up the morning workouts during month 2.  it requires so much more energy and also 20 minutes more time-wise. i am going to try to do it tomorrow morning and see how it works out.  i hope i am able to do the workouts in the morning because i sure love having my evenings free.

i have had several requests for me to talk about insanity on a daily basis, but there really isn’t a whole lot to say from day to day. it’s a DVD workout series and it is somewhat repetitive.. so talking about it daily would be ultra boring to read. however, i do update my insanity page somewhat regularly.  it is a journal-style documentation of the challenge and it really is pretty dull, but you can go ahead and knock yourself out if you want!

i am actually going to try to be more disciplined in updating it daily for these last four weeks.  i also want to doclument more about how i feel.. so here’s hoping i can keep up with that.

insanity talk over! feel free to ask me questions if you want. i am no expert nor am i a trained professional.. but i can give you my opinion.


tonight’s dinner was real good.


it was an adaption of heather’s balsamic chicken & peas with a few minor changes.


here are the ingredients i used:

  • cooking spray
  • 12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into a/2” cubes
  • 1 whole red onion, diced small
  • 1 TB jarred minced garlic
  • 2 cups frozen peas, steamed
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 TB whole wheat flour
  • 1 TB dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz whole wheat wide noodles (the curly ones), prepared according to package
  • salt+ pepper to taste

i prepared the chicken and sauce using heather’s method, so you can head on over to her post and check out the how-to.

i didn’t have any gnocchi, so i used the pasta i had on hand and skipped the browning in butter part and just tossed the pasta with the chicken, sauce and peas.


i started making this meal at 6:30.  i was done cooking, photographing and eating it at 7:15.  it was a super quick meal! 


i served it alongside asparagus. can’t go wrong with lots of green on a plate!


marshall said it was a little pea-heavy for his liking.. but i didn’t think so at all. i love peas!  if you don’t like peas, you could easily leave them out or replace them with another veggie.

this recipe makes four servings, here are the stats per serving:


pretty remarkable! body for lifers, this one’s for you.


thanks for the great meal idea, heather!

in other news.. it’s shedding season.

marshall just bought a wire brush and is in the garage de-furring the pups.  he started out in the kitchen..


and after only a few strokes this is what we had on our hands.. er, what marshall had on his hands. quite literally.


so he took it to the garage and is brushing away.


i just checked on them and by the looks of this pile, i am certain we will be able to build another dog by the end of the night.


good thing we have a nice vacuum. and a costco supply of lint rollers.


1. what was the hardest workout of your life?

2. do you like peas?

xo. janetha g.

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Nicole C May 10, 2011 at 8:11 am

Hardest workout ever, the ocean swim I did on Sunday. Giving Kronus a bath is a close second. Followed by bootcamp.

Negative on the peas

And if Marshall wants to come brush Kronus I won’t have any arguments. It takes forever!

Amanda May 10, 2011 at 8:21 am


I used to do Insanity but started getting really bad joint issues… sad. I’m thinking about slowly integrating a couple of the different DVDs in once in a while, just to mix up my workouts, but I was wondering what sort of body changes you’ve experienced, if any. I know you probably don’t use a scale, but just in terms of muscle mass, toning, size, etc. Thoughts??

janetha May 10, 2011 at 9:27 am

My sister and bro in law quit at month two due to bad joints. I think it is too intense if you have joint issues… I wouldn’t even mess with it in case of injury. I haven’t measured or taken after photos yet.. I will at the end of the challenge.. but I have seen huge fitness gains and am fitting into my jeans better :)

todayilovemylife May 10, 2011 at 8:46 am

Ok, if huli starts shedding again, I’m going to cry! She probably has like 4 times the hair of penny and randy combined. Hell. How much was that brush? I have seen them before but didn’t get how they worked–still don’t. But it is probably cheaper than the furminator, which is like $60. I had some other comments, but I’ve rambled for so long I forgot what they were. Do love peas, though! I don’t think there are really any vegetables I DIS like. xoxo

janetha May 11, 2011 at 9:05 am

They are just made of metal and the teeth pull the hair out super well! I think it was like $15 or so.. Marshall bought it so I am not sure. Love you!

Megan May 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

I’m definitely picky about my peas, but that dish looks really good! Heads up, the “recovery” workout in month 2 is super tough as well. He does some crazy ass yoga poses and it focuses a lot on holding strength moves for an extended amount of time. You might want to save that one for an evening workout in case you’re anticipating something lowkey like month 1’s recovery! :)

janetha May 10, 2011 at 9:21 am

Thanks for the warning.. whew.

Paige (Running Around Normal) May 10, 2011 at 10:02 am

“and then you die” LOL
this review makes me want to bust out my Insanity DVD’s again!

cleaneatingchelsey May 10, 2011 at 10:05 am

Ugh, Charlie has definitely shed his winter coat – it is EVERYWHERE!

pawsitivelife May 10, 2011 at 10:05 am

Its nice that your seeing progress. I started weight training recently and I do one “test day” a week to see if Im progressing. The hardest workout of my life was probably my first Bikram yoga class during which I was sure I would die. NOw two years ltr Im a pro. I guess the toughest workout is always the next workout.
p.s you reminded me to pluck the winterfur of my ferrets :)

Emily May 10, 2011 at 10:24 am

Is Marshall still doing Insanity? I would be interested to know what he thinks of it and what kind of results he is seeing from it.

1. Hardest workout- hm. I used to do kickboxing in this stuffy little gym that had no air conditioning and some of those workouts were pretty near puke-inducing. And I loved them so much!

2. I love peas! They were my absolute favorite food when I was little. As much for aesthetic reasons (perfect little green balls!) as for taste reasons.

lesleyliftinglife May 10, 2011 at 10:55 am

I have Insanity but have yet to actually complete it. I keep telling myself I’ll wait until I actually commit to completing it, and that just hasn’t happened yet. I did the test thinking, oh, this won’t be bad, it’s just a test, haha, and I definitely believe you that their warm-ups are mini workouts and everything else you say about it. I guess it really is insanity :p

Allie (Live Laugh Eat) May 10, 2011 at 11:19 am

Wow I did NOT know dogs shed that much! I thought Marshall was holding a magnifying glass up to Randy to see what was going on. Clearly, I am not a dog owner.

I have Insanity but I haven’t even tried doing the workouts back to back. The warm up kills me! Clearly, I am not insane enough :)

janetha May 10, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Hahahahaha a magnifying glass, I laughed so hard!

megan @ muncher cruncher May 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

Way to go on the Insanity girl!! It is SUPER hard. I haven’t followed the whole program but I have done some of the workouts so I knew what it was all about, and it is intense!! Well done.
That pasta looks delish!

Naomi May 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm

glad you are liking insanity–I did the whole progarm last summer and althought it was certainly challenging and fun!! i would NOT do the entire thing ever again…my feet, ankles small things in my body started aching and it was just too much impact for me toward the end of it! i needed a MAJOR plyo break! I do think the DVDs are so fun to incorporate into a weekly workout program maybe 1-2 times a week!

I LOVe peas and I never see other people use them in too many recipes so I’m glad they make an appearence in that pasta!!

Shannon May 10, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Oh man… I ordered Insanity the other day, and I am scared!!! Am I gonna DIE?!

janetha May 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm

you just might. i have started planning my funeral just in case.

Elina (Russian Bites) May 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

I’ve been wondering for a while about these workouts and loved reading your super detailed recap of month 1. Month 2 scares me a bit, I’m not gonna lie ;) I could NEVER do it in the morning…
That dinner is also being added to the “make soon” list.

Katelyn May 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Now you can officially say you have eaten Insanity for breakfast! :)

Susan May 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm

1. Probably one of the ones. Some of the exercises that girl uses are BRUTAL and leave me out of breath completely..

2. I love peas!

PS – terrified of insanity now. I ordered the dvds because of you (please feel special) and now I’m afraid to start.. the fit test looks brutal alone! Oh well, hopefully I can make it through the 2 months and I’ll continue using you as my inspiration!

Paige May 10, 2011 at 3:42 pm

BIG fan of your blog! Question though, where/how do you get the nutrition stats for all your meals? If you do use a website, how much do you trust what it tells you?

janetha May 11, 2011 at 9:00 am

Hey Paige! I use and I create recipes using their database. Every time I have ever compared their stats to the actual product I am plugging in, it has been right on, so I trust it a lot!

Kelly May 10, 2011 at 4:20 pm

This recipe looks and sounds amazing!! I am definitely making this soon!

Matt @ The Athlete's Plate May 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm

This recipe looks great! I’ll have to give it a shot ;)

lifttorun May 10, 2011 at 5:47 pm

We had to do these hill repeats when I was in cross country that had three types of hills in six sets. It was crazy hard.

And I love peas. So good.

cbrady3 May 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Thanks for going into detail about insanity. I’ve been so curious about it. Kinda want to give it a try when I move to a new city next year

Carla in Sydney May 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Don’t you just love dog fur??!! ;-)
I generally stick to wearing camel and cream clothes to match my dog’s fur…..if I try and wear black I just end up covered in white fur so it’s not worth it!

Thanks for providing another quick meal idea – I will have to try it out.

Carla in Sydney May 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I forgot to mention that I tried Panko crumbs last night on my chicken and it was great! A little hard to find here and we don’t have any flavoured crumbs either unfortunately. You are the inspiration behind so many of my meals lately…..thanks! :-)

BroccoliHut May 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Ah yes, shedding season. I am so glad that Margot is still small so that if she does shed this season, it will still me in a tiny volume!
I used to say that I hate peas, but that’s not really true since I love snap peas, snow peas, split pea soup…but I loathe straight up English peas.

Natalie May 10, 2011 at 7:14 pm

It’s shedding season here too…I try to brush my dog daily so the fur balls don’t start to collect around the house!

I’ve bookmarked this recipe, it looks delicious!

Amy May 11, 2011 at 8:58 pm

wow, thats some hardcore fur!

Julie (A Case of the Runs) May 13, 2011 at 11:58 am

Great to read a real review on this! I am not ready for this program, but it sounds great!

Eric B. | Insanity Review January 31, 2013 at 11:38 am

This post was a fun read. I am currently doing Insanity for the first time myself. I am completing my 3rd week today. I am getting nervous to start the “Max” level workouts, as I already have a hard time with the first set of workouts. It is intimidating that you say that Max Interval is the hardest workout you have ever done! I have been blogging about my daily experience with Insanity so far. It is a great way to stay motivated about the program.

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