Review of Insanity: Max30 (Week 1 Review)


Not sure whether you should try Shaun-T’s newest workout program, “Insanity Max:30”? Well much like my other reviews, I will be giving a week-by-week review of this program right here on! Read on to hear the basics of the program and my experience completing the first week!

What is Insanity: Max 30?

Insanity: Max 30 is a 60-day DVD workout program. For 8 weeks you work out 5 times per week (Monday – Friday) doing 30-minute workouts each day.

Month 1 of the program involves 6 workouts: (1) Cardio Challenge, (2) Tabata Power, (3) Sweat Intervals, (4) Friday Fight: Round 1, (5) Tabata Strength and (6) Pulse. (NOTE: “Pulse” is an optional low impact recovery workout that can be done over the weekend).

Month 2 of the program involves 6 workouts: (1) Max Out Cardio, (2) Max Out Power, (3) Max Out Sweat, (4) Max Out Strength, (5) Friday Fight: Round 2 and (6) Pulse (same from Month 1).

Each of the workouts (with the exception of Friday Fight) is timed so that you’re doing a series of moves for 5 minutes and then resting for 30 seconds. During those 5 minutes your goal is to “Max Out” which just means that you reach total exhaustion where you MUST stop and catch your breath in order to do the move with proper form. The first time you Max Out, you write down your time (which is up on the screen the whole time during the program) so that the next time you do that workout you can push past your Max and get stronger.

All three stacked

How does Max 30 compare w/the other Insanity programs (eg. Insanity and Insanity: Asylum)?

Having completed both Insanity and Insanity: Asylum, I would say that Max30 is not necessarily tougher than these other programs- it’s just different. Here are the four differences I see thus far:

1. “Max-ing Out“. The fact that Max30 encourages you to push to the point of exhaustion and stop when YOU’RE ready to stop, is a key way Max30 differs from other Insanity programs. In the original Insanity and Insanity: Asylum, you’re trying to get through a full interval (which is around 3minutes) without stopping. In Max30 the intervals are longer (5 minutes, with the exception of Friday Fight*, see my explanation below), but you’re encouraged to STOP whenever you need to and write down your personal max out time. In that way, Max30 gives you the leeway to figure out your personal stopping point and build on it throughout the program.

2. Modifier Track. Max30 has a Modifier Track, which is not in Insanity or Insanity:Asylum. This track is a different selection when you start each video and includes a split screen where you can see Shaun-T’s higher impact version on the left side of the screen and a lower impact version on the right side of the screen. I like to play the modifier track version so that I can choose when I want to do a lower impact version of the move, but the modifier track basically gives you two workouts in one because it gives you 8 weeks worth of additional lower impact moves.

3. Duration. This is an obvious one, but needs to be stated- Max30 is only 5 days a week for 30 minutes!! Both the original Insanity and Insanity: Asylum are 6 days per week and involves some workouts that are over an hour. If you’re pressed for time but want to be pushed to your limits, Max 30 is a better bet for you.

4. No Equipment. Lastly, Max30 doesn’t require any equipment. This puts it into the original Insanity family which is also equipment free but distinguishes it from Asylum which requires the floor ladder and free weights. In this way Max 30 might be better for folks who are looking to moreso lose weight than build muscle mass. Don’t get me wrong, you will build muscle with Max30, but you perhaps not as quickly as if you were using free weights.

Max 30 sweat!

How did Week 1 of Max 30 go for you?

Let me give some background on my fitness level pre-Max 30. I ran the NYC Marathon on November 2nd (which I trained for over four months) and since then I have taken some time off from working out. My knees needed some time to recover, so with the exception of a few T25 workouts, I’d been laying low on the workout front. So now I feel like a beginner all over again; my fitness from running has not completely translated to fitness in Max 30. The bottom line? Week 1 was TOUGH! Here are my Week one Max Out times:

My Wk 1 Max Out Times:

Monday: Cardio Challenge
Tuesday: Tabata Power
Wednesday: Sweat Intervals
Thursday: Tabata Power
Friday Fight: Round One
Pulse (Recovery Workout)

As you can see from my times, I maxed out soonest on Friday Fight Round 1. I’m not sure why this was so tough for me at the beginning, but I will also say that FFR1 is tough because it incorporates moves from all of the workouts over the entire week and there are fewer breaks (*one break after 15minutes and then (I think) there’s one more break around the 25 minute mark.)

What are you goals for this program?

I’ve gained about 10lbs during my post-marathon hiatus and servings of holiday cake, so my goal is to shed those pounds. I’d also like to get my nutrition game back on point, eating smaller more frequent meals over the course of the day and (re)committing to my super healthy nutrition shake each day. To keep me honest, here are my starting stats:

My Starting Stats:

5 ft 2 in
Waist (smallest point in mid-section)
Low Waist (b/n belly button and hips)
Bust (w/ sports bra)
Right Thigh
Right Bicep (unflexed)

Next week the workouts are the same, so I will go a little bit deeper into the moves done in each workout. Also plan to go into my eating plans for this workout so that I can maximize my results. Hope you’ll stay tuned!

-Helen 😉

More workout reviews

P.S. In case you didn’t know this already, I am an Independent Beachbody coach. I’ve been reviewing Shaun-T videos since before I became a coach, but in the spirit of full disclosure I am a part of Beachbody!

P.P.S. If you are interested in trying Max30 with me and a workout team starting on January 12th, email me at!


About ChicFitChef

My "deserted island" checklist: a BCBG dress, a healthy & diabetic-friendly meal and a few workout DVDs. ;-)
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