If you’re an early-riser who flicks the telly on while you blearily scoff your bowl of Just Right, you’ll probably have caught at least a few moments of the infomercial for the super-intense, super-American Insanity workout, devised and presented by oddly hypnotic buffstronaut Shaun T.
There’s a touch of the Globo Gym adverts from Dodgeball about Insanity’s promotional patter (“You can be sure that if you see someone wearing an Insanity T-shirt, they’re in better shape than you!”) but it’s not hard to see that it gets results.
A two-month-long, six-days-a-week programme of painful-looking 45-minute high-intensity workouts, the effects it professes are eye-popping – but then, they would say that, wouldn’t they?
But! Maz Nadjm, a 42-year-old entrepreneur from London, actually went and did Insanity, and to be honest, the results he got almost make us want to have a pop ourselves.
Unbound: Maz, why Insanity?
Maz: “I thought it looked fun. There are no weights involved and you can do it at home. I’m the kind of person who needs a push: if I go to the gym I don’t push myself to the limits, I go average. Very average.
“When I started Insanity, I was smoking, plus my time was limited, so I just prepared myself to go through the pain.”
Yeesh. So what does it actually involve?
“So, six days a week, high intensity activity. In the first week, you do 40 minutes, and I think that in that first week, I came close to having a heart attack four times. But I kept going. After four weeks, you get a week of recovery, and then it’s one hour a session.”
And how ‘insane’ is the Insanity workout, exactly?
“In intensity terms, it is insane, yeah. It’s doing the kind of movements you wouldn’t normally do, and as fast as you can. It sounds sick and sadistic, but it’s fun! It’s not running on a treadmill.
When first I started Insanity,
I really was not fit – I was still smoking, for starters
“I’m telling you, when I first started Insanity, I really was not fit. I was still smoking, for starters. I couldn’t walk up a Tube escalator without breaking into a sweat.”
And what were the results?
“When I started, my waist was 41.3 inches. After two months, it was 37.2.”
“I was paying attention to my calories too, but I still enjoy a Coors Lite or a glass of wine. I gained weight over Christmas, but I’m now back at it. And I’ve had to throw away an entire wardrobe of clothes!
“I’m a fan. The bottom line is, it’s not boring. Those first two weeks, I really suffered. But if I’ve got a hangover, or if I’ve got jetlag, I still think: ‘You’ve got to do this.’
“I just needed a kick in the butt, and I got it.”
If you’re yet to feel the intensity of Shaun T and Insanity, here’s that face-slapper of an infomercial.
And if you’re now fascinated by the man, the myth that is Shaun T, join his cultish legions of followers by signing up to follow him on Instagram.