Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Reader Question - Should I do Insanity if I'm a skinny guy and can't keep weight up?

Should I do Insanity if I'm a skinny guy and can't keep weight up?

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First of all, if you don't know what "Insanity" is, you can check it out here. Insanity is a very intense at-home, high-intense interval training program from Shaun T and the company Beachbody.

I often get asked this question, especially on my youtube videos/reviews. No doubt, individuals see the results in the infomercials and want to, "look as good as those guys/girls do". A few things before I start off, yes it is entirely possible to get infomercial-like results from certain home-workout programs. However, everyone's results will be different depending on a slew of criteria including how hard you push yourself, your diet, your genetics, your personal abilities, your history of fitness, etc.

No matter where you begin your health and fitness journey, it is important to set goals for yourself. Goals can range from something cosmetic like, "I want to lose 15 pounds" to something more competitive like, "I want to run 5km in under 25 minutes."

By completing a training program like Insanity, there is no doubt that many calories will be burned during each and every workout. For a skinny guy/girl that wishes to put on some body weight, this may not be the right program for them. Having said that, there are other benefits to be gained from a training program such as Insanity such as aerobic stamina, anaerobic power, etc.

When referencing a skinny guy (or girl), one needs to evaluate exactly why that person is skinny and also what their goals are and why they wish to gain mass (assuming that is their goal). Often times, skinny people can be more genetically predisposed to a leaner frame. These people are often referred to as "hardgainers" or the fact that they have a hard time gaining mass. If an individual truly is having issues keeping weight on, despite being very sedentary, then there may be other factors at play and a visit to the doctor would be highly recommended.

Putting all of that aside and getting back to the topic, being skinny isn't so bad either. I know many guys (and some girls) don't like to be skinny and want to put on weight. I was the same way as a teenager as I really struggled to put weight on and keep it on. At the end of the day, your muscular size is not always directly correlated with your strength, power or athletic ability however, and a skinny person doing a program like Insanity can yield some tremendous athletic benefits such as aerobic conditioning and spatial awareness (balance, coordination, etc.)

It actually would be entirely possible for a skinny person to actually gain mass by doing a program like Insanity as there is a tremendous amount of body-weight resistance exercises here that can stimulate muscular hypertrophy, but it would be incredibly hard for an already skinny person to keep up with the caloric demands, especially if they are already genetically predisposed to have a fast metabolism.

If one would approach this question based on how I am assuming it is to be interpreted, I would say that someone looking to put on body mass in a strictly non-athletic way, then they should stay away from Insanity and look towards more traditional weight lifting routines that stimulate muscular growth (hypertrophy).

-Tyler Robbins