Stop the Insanity! My Take on the Insanity Workout.


I know I have been quite remiss in updating my fitness blog but thought I would catch it back up now. I kind of fizzled out after a couple of weeks of Insanity.

I ordered my Insanity workout and was excited to get started. I went through the nutrition guide and figured out my meals, calories etc. I liked that it incorporated a lot more carbs than P90X.  I was really shocked to see how many calories they recommended me to eat. For Step 1, they used the Harris Benedict Equation which for women is 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years). This calculates the basal engery needs which is basically how many calories you need to maintain your current weight without exercise. For me it was 1715, which seemed like a lot to me. For Step 2, you take the number from the Harris Benedict Equation and multiply it by the “exercise factor” which they assured me would be moderately active to very active while doing Insanity. I picked moderately active (1.55) just to be on the safe side. Step 3 is taking the number from Step 2 and subtracting 500 calories for weight loss.

Here is what I ended up with: 1715 x 1.55 = 2658 – 500 = 2158 the magic number of calories I was supposed to eat every day.

Now I don’t think I’ve ever consistently eaten over 2,000 calories a day in my life, but this sure sounded good to me. Carbs and more calories woo hoo! They made it sound like I would just burn hundreds and hundreds of calories doing the Insanity workouts.

I started out happily on week one eating meals specified in the meal guide. It seemed like a lot of food but they must know what they are doing right? I did the workouts religiously, they were tough but I made it though them ok. I figured P90X helped me get in shape for them.

Then came weigh day for week one. I gained 1.5 pounds! How could this be?! I recalculated everything to make sure I hadn’t miscalculated the calories, but I hadn’t. I decided to be extra religious on the food for week 2. Weigh day for week two was even worse, I gained 2 pounds! The horror! I was extremely upset to gain 3.5 pounds in two weeks after working so hard to lose weight doing P90X. I decided then and there to abandon Insanity and go back to P90X. I was totally disgusted.

In hindsight, I should have known something was wrong with eating that many calories and carbs. I think they totally over-calculate how many calories are being burned on the workouts. If I had used a heart rate monitor, I would have known how many calories I was actually burning. I have since invested in a good heart rate monitor. Perhaps I will try Insanity again but eat a lot less calories and also use the heart rate monitor so I will know how many calories are being burned.

The moral of the story: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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Categories : Health & Wellness, Rants


  1. [...] Stop the Insanity! My Take on the Insanity Workout. | Melinda's … I know I have been quite remiss in updating my fitness blog but thought I would catch it back up now. I kind of fizzled out after a couple of weeks of. [...]

  2. Fred says:

    Hi Melinda! When I have weeks like that, where I have been active but I gain pounds or some increase around my belly, I adjust the calories. It’s not an exact science, working from these formulas. The best they can do is estimate, and I have seen people complain about the formula used for P90X, too. It’s in the ballpark but not perfect, as you can see.

    I don’t know what to say about the carbs. I feel fine with 40-50% carbs and as close to 30% protein as I can get, no matter if it’s a resistance or aerobic workout day. I never followed the P90X nutrition plan, but then again I am still working with this inch or so I am trying to take off. Vanity pounds, as Jillian Michaels calls them.

    I say give it another try, with the calories and carbs that make more sense to you. Your body will tell you if you need more.

  3. Melinda says:

    Yeah, I do realize it’s not an exact science, but I think it was WAY off. I did great on the P90X nutrition plan. I am definitely better equipped if I try it again since I have a heart rate monitor now. I just finished round 2 of P90X so I’ll have to do a blog about that next :)

  4. JD says:

    (I know this is kinda old…)

    Yeah, your caloric intake seemed REALLY high.
    I’m pretty active and according to the guide, I could eat up to 2,000 calories, but subtract 500 for weight loss. And that leaves me with 1,500 or so. So, you must be pretty darn active! :)
    Also, I don’t know if you restarted it again, but it really does work. I’m on Month 2 now and I recall in the first week I gained 3 pounds. Just in the first week. But after Month 1 I’ve lost about 7 pounds. You just gotta stick with it. It’s more about measurements, than pure weight with Insanity.

  5. Brittany says:

    I disagree with everything, I have been on Insanity for now 6 weeks, I gained weight in the beginning, You are NOT suppose to eat more carbs, Eat healthy and MUSCLE weighs more than fat. MUSCLE will move the scale up, Fat will move the scale down in most cases. I worked my ASS off the last 6 weeks with Insanity and guess what!!?!?! I STUCK With it and guess what? I’m down 5-6 pds, and down 4 full pant sizes, I have abs, and muscle tone in my legs. Sucks to be you that you gave into the scale, it sucks. I am not judging cause i used to be that way but i realize the truth is muscle will weigh more than fat.

  6. Melinda says:

    @ JD I definitely think that the calculation in the book is way off and I should have just stuck with 1500 to 1800 calories like I did with P90X.

    @Brittany That’s great that Insanity worked for you. Different things work for different people. I much prefer P90X, I gained muscle and lost weight at the same time. Plus I just like the workouts better than Insanity also, but I’ve always been more into lifting weights than cardio.

  7. Amanda says:

    Everyone is aware that you will gain weight before you lose weight? And that the weight you put on could possibly be more muscle?

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