Walking the line of insanity

BYU student Amber Nance makes her efforts to stay in shape despite Insanities difficult reviews. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)
BYU student Amber Nance makes her efforts to stay in shape despite Insanities difficult reviews. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)

Workout programs like Insanity guarantee quick results through grueling fitness routines.

However, questions arise about the safety and health of losing weight so quickly and pushing the body as hard as Insanity requires.

Insanity is designed for max interval training. Max interval training involves working as hard as possible for three to five minutes straight and then taking a break only long enough to grab some water and then jumping back into the workout. 

This type of training forces the body to work at maximum capacity, giving the guaranteed results from the workout.  

Former BYU student Dr. Ben Nasman of ATSU-KCOM medicine, said making a long-term diet change might be healthier then the short-term Insanity program.

“There are good workouts to get your heart rate up, but it needs to be realistic to maintain,” Dr. Nasman said. “It is good to lose weight initially but it is short-lived. You don’t see people doing Insanity forever, you should have a normal healthy diet and daily exercise.”

Personal trainer Jason Johnson from Anytime Fitness, expressed concern for beginners using the program.

“As an initial program for those looking to lose weight, I would not recommend it,”Johnson said. “The intervals are often too long and too intense for a beginner. This places too much strain on individual that is unaccustomed to exercise.”

On the other hand, Johnson said people who exercise regularly might have better results with the program.

“Those that have a history of exercise can most definitely benefit from Insanity as it will increase their level of exercise,” Johnson said. “It is important to make sure an individual allows time for their body to become accustomed to exercise, especially if high intensity exercises are the focus.”

Even for healthy, active people, Johnson expressed concern for potential issues with the program.

“What is particularly important is injury prevention,”Johnson said. “Often, people go too hard too fast too soon. This leads to muscular or connective tissue injury. Tendons and ligaments take longer to adjust to higher tension than muscle. So if too many repetitions or too heavy of weight is used, strains often occur.”

Former BYU student Britney Bowden did Insanity for six days a week and explained how she adjusted to the program.

“I was 80 pounds overweight when I started doing insanity,” Bowden said. “I couldn’t do the entire thing when I started, but over time, I was able to progress to be able to do the entire workout.”

Insanity requires dedication from the participants for maximum results. Bowden said how difficult it was for her to maintain the program.

“It takes a lot of self-motivation,” Bowden said. “You have to discipline yourself to not think about doing it, but just do it. For me it was never, ‘Am I going to do Insanity today?’ but ‘When am I going to do Insanity today?’ It didn’t matter if it was 11 p.m. If I hadn’t done it yet that day, I would do it before I went to bed.”

Intense workout programs, such as Insanity, should be evaluated on an individual basis. There are many activities to help students stay physically fit, and Insanity is just one of those many outlets for those seeking a healthier lifestyle.

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