Then again, we’ve yet to see a Shaun T program we’d call “easy.”
Insanity Asylum (Vol. 1) is almost 30 straight days of unrelenting training purgatory. (OK, that might sound a smidge dramatic, but many agree that Asylum gives Insanity a run for its money.)
This athletic-based program requires an insane amount of mental willpower, strength, and stamina. Shaun T even dubs these speed, agility, balance, and coordination-heavy workouts the “hardest” you’ll ever try … which is mildly terrifying considering he cooked up the OG Insanity.
Read more about the ridiculously challenging 30-day Insanity Asylum program below.
Table of Contents
- About the Creator – Shaun T
- What Is Insanity: The Asylum?
- Asylum Details & Features
- Asylum Program Pros
- Insanity Asylum Cons
- Wrapping Up This Insanity Asylum Review
About the Creator – Shaun T
What started as an unexpected Freshman 50 evolved into one of the most successful fitness careers of all time. After gaining weight in college, Shaun T switched to an exercise science major and quickly rediscovered his lifelong passion for fitness.
The future Beachbody SuperTrainer went from teaching dance classes to becoming a backup dancer for Mariah Carey to selling 10+ million Insanity DVDs by 2015.
What Is Insanity: The Asylum?
Insanity: The Asylum converts your living room into an elite-level athletic training camp. Shaun T packs eight unique workouts into this advanced 30-day program designed to help you eat, perform, train, and — most importantly — look like a superstar athlete.
(Basically, it was All-American Muscle before Athlean-X went mainstream.)
Insanity Asylum is just as much strength, power, endurance, and speed as it is willpower, grit, and mental focus.
Each straight-up punishing Asylum workout introduces progression-based cross-training exercises. The speed rope, weightlifting, calisthenic, and plyometric jump training will ignite your metabolism (for a shredded physique) and give you an athletic edge on the playing field.
While Asylum is a different type of “intense” than the original Insanity, it includes just two “true” rest days (well, six if you count the Relief workouts) and a 1,500–1,800-calorie diet. Theoretically, you should end Asylum fitter and ripped-er (is that a word?).
Warning: If you haven’t completed Insanity or even P90X, each Asylum workout will feel absolutely defeating (both mentally and physically).
Asylum Details & Features
To describe Asylum as “hard” is an understatement. Keep reading to learn more about Insanity: The Asylum and what makes this one-month Shaun T program so darn ruthless.
What Equipment Do You Need?
Like the original Insanity and Max 30, Asylum doesn’t require much in the way of equipment. However, here’s a look at what you will need:
- An agility ladder*
- A speed rope*
- Dumbbells (alternative: a resistance band set)
- A chin-up bar
* If there’s ever a time to regret not being born a decade earlier, this is it. The now-vintage Asylum DVD set once came with the speed rope and the ladder.
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Asylum’s workout times range from “really, that’s it?” for the Overtime workout and “who has the time?” for the near-62-minute Game Day session.
This table breaks down just how long the eight Asylum workouts are:
Insanity Asylum Schedule
The schedule itself is a bit unorthodox, but only because Shaun T numbers the days (instead of using a weekly format) and doesn’t cycle through the eight workouts in any particular order.
Here’s a closer look at the 30 days ahead while in Asylum:
* Shaun T also built in a recovery week if you plan to try either of the Insanity Asylum hybrids immediately after — Insanity or P90X.
More About the Insanity Asylum Workouts
We’re only going to say this once: Insanity Asylum is not Insanity 2.0.
Yes, the workouts in Insanity and Insanity Asylum are equally tough, they share the same trainer, and Shaun T is as yell-y as ever. But Asylum’s eight unique workouts — as you’ll see below — are a completely different beast.
(Note: Asylum workouts typically follow a circuit-style pattern, with several exercises lumped together into rounds with shorter 30-second water breaks wedged between them.)
Speed & Agility
One does not simply “ease into” Insanity Asylum. (Thanks for that, Shaun T.)
The program begins with the Speed & Agility workout, which sounds simple enough … except it’s Shaun T and a member of the ball-breaking Insanity line-up. The Speed & Agility sessions resemble track, soccer, football, and boxing footwork drills.
After a short agility ladder and jump rope warm-up, you’ll crush through several rounds of exercises like:
- Mountain climber progressions
- Agility sequences
- Agility bear crawls
- Agility touch squats
- Agility planks
(Hmm, we’re seeing a trend here.)
But Shaun T also rips the rug right beneath your feet with an unexpected mental spin. It’s baffling how simple these speed and agility moves look — until your feet don’t cooperate.
Vertical Plyo loops lower-body power into the mix, and, man, does this one decimate your legs. This time, Shaun T pushes you to jump higher and farther with power-based moves like:
- Low-stance jacks
- Decoy split jumps
- Standing long jumps
- Scissor jumps
- Single-leg power jumps
- Lateral jumps
If you’re winded from the warm-up’s wide spider lunges and adductor tuck jumps, you’ll be gasping for air and wobbling to the couch after this 40-minute session.
Relief is the official Asylum active recovery workout. Between stretches like hip flexor stretches, arm rolls, and downward dogs, Relief will loosen tense muscles and ease soreness as you prepare for another 2–3 straight days of Asylum training.
Asylum’s Strength workout receives rave reviews from Insanity users, mostly because it’s the badass circuit-style lifting session noticeably missing from the original Insanity.
It’s time to finally break out those dumbbells (or resistance bands) and the chin-up bar for 31 — yes, 31 — time-based strength exercises, such as:
- Progressive dumbbell rotations
- Skull crusher presses
- Overhead presses
- Frog jumps with single-leg planks
- Hip flys
The plot twist (dun, dun, dun) is that water breaks are rare, and Shaun T requires AMRAP in 30 or 60 seconds. Asylum Strength will try your endurance and full-body strength.
Game Day will either be your favorite Asylum workout (especially if you’re a former athlete or gym class hero) or give you not-so-great flashbacks of 11th grade P.E. On Game Day, Shaun T walks you through athletic drills for nearly a dozen sports, from tennis to surfing to baseball.
This hour-long Asylum drill presses through 34 exciting exercises, including:
- One mile run
- Rock climbing push-ups
- 100-meter agility dashes
- Jump shots
- Mounted mat maneuvers (wrestling)
- Soccer kicks
- Tennis volleys
- Lineman’s drills
Really, if any workout makes you doubt your sanity or consider quitting the program entirely, this is it. (Hey, at least you’re 11 days away from this bad boy, huh?)
Oh, hey there, Satan. If any of the Asylum workouts weren’t enough for you, you can hit “play” on this 13-minute Asylum workout as soon as you finish your first workout of the day.
Back to Core
Ah, yes, a core workout, how tough can that be? Truth be told, Asylum’s Back to Core workout isn’t as tough on your core as it is on the other “forgotten” muscle groups — the glutes, calves, hamstrings, and the back (oh, the back).
Between the side fly lunges, hip-up twist curls, swimmer-band exchanges, and a few pulse exercises (because why the heck not?), BTC will age you what feels like 20 years overnight.
(Turns out, you don’t need pull-ups or deadlifts for an absolutely brutal back workout.)
Sports Performance Assessment
The Sports Performance Assessment is the official Asylum Fit Test.
The difference here is that you aren’t timing yourself or following along with Shaun T. Instead, you’ll practice exercises like agility Heismans, X jumps, and moving push-ups to log your maximum number of reps in a single set.
(You’ll complete the Fit Test on day zero and day 30 for the sake of progress.)
Alongside the eight sports-oriented workouts, Asylum also comes with seven resources that you’ll use periodically throughout the next 30 days:
The Quick Start Guide is just that. If you want to start Asylum right here, right now:
- Snap before photos and log your body measurements.
- Complete the Fit Test.
- Roll into your first Asylum workout — Speed & Agility.
- Follow the program for 30 days.
- Repeat steps 1 & 2 to track your progress.
Otherwise, start with the Asylum …
Holy moly! We know it’s his program and all, but stuffing 26+ photos of Shaun T into the 13-page Asylum Fitness Guide is a bit redonkulous (sorry, always wanted to use that word).
As the name suggests, this guide essentially overviews the entire fitness portion of this program. But it also repeats just about everything you’ll see in the next three resources.
The Asylum Workout Calendar is actually a three-in-one type deal.
Page one is the OG Asylum schedule. Why it’s divided up into five-day chunks instead of — you know — seven-day weeks is beyond us, but it gets the point across.
On the next page, you’ll find two additional 30-day schedules. Now, they’re hybrid programs blending Asylum with two equally intense Beachbody routines: Insanity & P90X.
Insanity Hybrid Calendar
Shaun T must know how obsessed Insanity users are … because he also combines Insanity, Asylum Vol. 1, and Asylum Vol. 2 into yet another hybrid program. This time around, the hybrid is 84 days of calorie-burning, muscle-strengthening, athletic-enhancing torture.
If you’re going to print any Asylum program material, this is it. The Worksheet is where you’ll track your performance and physical progress throughout the next 30 days.
That includes logging your body measurements and weight on days one and 30. So if you somehow made it this far without a bathroom scale and a cloth measuring tape, it’s time to finally join the club.
You’ll also log your Fit Test reps on days one, 15, and 30 and track your progress weekly for other fitness categories like hydration, soreness, pull-up reps, and resistance band color.
Thirty days is a bit soon to see the definition or weight loss in the mirror. But increasing your reps or speed rope skills or shedding ½ from your thighs will prove that Asylum is working.
Quick Start Guide to Nutrition
Nope, don’t even bother opening this one. For whatever reason, Beachbody sneaks this damn guide into every single program, but this is not the nutrition plan for Insanity Asylum.
Get Shredded Nutrition Plan
The Get Shredded Nutrition Plan is the official 25-page diet guide for Insanity Asylum. (Shaun T insists that you’ll fall head over heels for this 14-day diet plan and decide to follow it for the rest of Asylum or possibly even forever.)
This jumpstart nutrition guide kicks off Asylum with ten simple tips, including:
- Eating more often — small portions 5–6 times per day instead of 3 square meals
- Avoiding dairy entirely (no cheese, but non-dairy milk alternatives are okay)
- Not quitting carbs and being more strategic about when you eat starches (early!)
- Drinking 64 ounces of water per day and cutting that soda and juice habit
Short of the 1,500 or 1,800-calorie plans (plus low-calorie modifiers) — with 150 pounds being the supposed cutoff — the Asylum diet plan isn’t anything out of the ordinary.
Meals are small (300 or 500 calories), it includes food substitutions for nutritious variety, and the plan compiles 15+ of Shaun T’s personal favorite meals — like chopped chicken salad and scrambled egg whites with a baked potato.
But you’ll walk away empty-handed if you’re expecting actionable nutrition advice. There’s literally nothing about how to calculate your TDEE, how many grams of protein you need, or how many servings of vegetables and fruit you need per day.
(Also, not to be a buzzkill, but eating more frequently throughout the day doesn’t necessarily curb an overactive appetite or binge-eating, according to research from 2016.)
Before and After Testimonials
It’s not that Asylum doesn’t spur life-changing physique results — it does.
By the time you become an Insanity veteran and build up the strength and stamina needed to actually complete Asylum, we’d bet you’re already in pretty decent shape. That leaves building extra muscle and melting away single-digit body fat percentages as the most common results.
Those who’ve completed this 30-day program reportedly:
- Lost <10 pounds in a single month
- Shed 10 inches in 30 days
- Built a six-pack like never before
- Turned athletic builds into Greek God physiques
- Burn about 400–600 calories per workout
- Dripped 2.5% body fat with one round
Then again, Asylum isn’t as much about dramatic weight loss and dropping pant sizes as it is improving on-field athletic performance and getting shredded. Asylum survivors also agree that the program delivers killer, exciting, and all-around successful sports-focused workouts.
Asylum Program Pros
- If you’re an Insanity addict in need of their next fix, Insanity Asylum brings the same intensity with a more athletic twist.
- Except for the lone hour-long workout, Asylum doesn’t ask for much in the ways of time or equipment. (Effort, sanity, and mental willpower are completely different stories.)
- Once you complete Insanity Asylum, the road splits into four side streets: three hybrid programs plus the second volume of Asylum. Or, if you’re a diehard Insanity fanatic, you could always return to the original Insanity.
- The Fit Test, body measurements, and progress trackers are amazing ways to monitor your improvements, even if you can’t physically see or feel them yet.
- Even though the physique results don’t live up to Insanity’s usual standards, most users end Asylum fitter, more athletic, and with a more aesthetic or ripped physique.
- Halle-freakin’-lujah! This program dials back the cardio level of the OG Insanity and shifts the focus to balance, coordination, agility, speed, power, and muscular strength.
- It’s a great change of pace from other Shaun T programs.
Insanity Asylum Cons
- Asylum is one of the toughest programs on the entire Beachbody On Demand platform. (AKA: it’s not for Insanity rejects, let alone those who can’t complete T25 or P90X3.)
- The Get Shredded Nutrition Plan isn’t exactly helpful. Unless you’re down with eating the same dozen or so meals for 30 days (or even forever), the guide doesn’t offer much advice. (Not to mention the seemingly random 1,500 or 1,800-calorie daily options that don’t factor in your height, exact weight, activity level, gender, or anything, really.)
- Between the vertical jumping, agility ladder work, and jumping rope, Asylum requires a lot more space than regular Insanity. A cleared-out basement, gym, or ground-floor room are your best options. (Forget about it if you live in a second-story tiny apartment …)
- With just eight workouts (and one is the Fit Test and another is an optional add-on workout), Asylum is bound to become repetitive, especially if you plan a second round.
Wrapping Up This Insanity Asylum Review
As the title says, YES, Insanity Asylum is hard. It’ll dig deep (pun intended) into your grit, courage, and physical abilities as you crush through 5–6 athletic-based workouts per week.
Asylum brings even more variety (with moves), fun, and physique changes to the table for those who consider themselves Insanity veterans. This Insanity off-shoot also forces your muscles to work in ways you haven’t in years.
But while it’s a fan-favorite for elite Beachbody users, it’s still not perfect.
The toughness makes it nearly impossible for newbies, Shaun T slacked on the Nutrition Plan, and it calls for a lot more physical space than other BOD programs.
All in all, if you’re bored with Insanity or want to add athletics to your aesthetics, Insanity Asylum is the tough yet obvious answer.