Tyler Robbins Fitness

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

Filtering by Tag: Insanity

Insanity Max:30 Sweat Intervals

Insanity Max:30 Tabata Power

Insanity Max:30 Cardio Challenge

Why are shorter workouts so effective?

Beachbody has released information about their newest fitness program called Insanity Max :30. This is yet another product in a recent string of fitness programs from Beachbody targeting that 30 minute exercise window. Notable others include: P90X3, Focus T25, 21 Day Fix, etc. So why are workouts becoming shorter and shorter.

Well, as I have discussed in the past, I believe shorter workouts are more appealing to people  wishing to start their fitness journeys. Let's face it, it is much more attractive for folks to think of starting a new workout program that is just 25-30 minutes a day as compared to either 45-60 minute home workout programs or even longer trips to your traditional gym.

Oh, trust me, I know. The video seems quite cheesy. Some people like that kind of "flare." It feels like I am watching a trailer for a Hollywood movie. Let's not forget that this is a fitness product, and products have to be appealing to sell more. As cheesy as this trailer can seem, I will not deny the fact that I am extremely excited about this program and will be purchasing it on day 1 for my wife and I.

I have been through Shaun T's original Insanity program. I have also done Insanity: The Asylum, his more sports-themed, punch-you-in-the-face workout program. I have to admit, however, that I much prefer lifting weights and working on increasing my muscle size and strength, so doing 45+ minute mostly-cardio-based routines is not that appealing to me.

Having said that, cardiovascular exercise is important for brain and cardiovascular health. Sure, it burns calories (more, the more intensity you bring), but the main focus, in my opinion, about doing cardiovascular exercise is to improve your heart and lungs and overall health.

I have tried Focus T25, and it is ok. The workouts are challenging and some are actually quite fun to do, but it just isn't the same as Insanity (let's be honest). So, when I heard about Insanity, but in short 30 minute workouts, my interest in home-based cardio routines suddenly piqued again.

So why shorter workouts? Can they still be as effective? You bet they can, here's why?

Take this study, for example:

"While other low volume HIT protocols have reported non-significant (Burgomaster. 2005, 2006) or small (below 10%) increases in aerobic capacity (Burgomaster. 2008; Hazell. 2010) the current protocol induced rela- tively large increases in both VO2peak (+19%) and an- aerobic performance (+12% - 14%). These findings con- firm the results of Tabata et al.(1996) who reported ele- vated VO2peak at both 3 and 6 wks of training, and demonstrate that increases in VO2peak occur following 2 wks of training. Interestingly, while VO2peak is traditionally believed to be determined by cardiac output, a recent report demonstrated increased VO2peak without an accompanying increase in maximal cardiac output following treadmill sprint interval training (MacPherson. 2011)."

So what does this mean? Well, basically, something that I have stressed time and time again. Short bursts of intense exercise is very effective at keeping you "fit" and improving your VO2Max. VO2Max, basically, is how effective your body is at utilizing oxygen. The more efficient and effective your body is at utilizing oxygen, the harder, faster, and more effective your exercise and everyday activities can become. Not only that, but your body then becomes a far more efficient machine at burning body fat stores as a primary energy source, lowering your body fat percentage.

The study had participants using Tabata-style exercise (similar to what will be used in Insanity Max :30), which is a form of HIIT (high intensity interval training). The study subjects completed 4 workouts per week, each consisting of 4 minutes of exercise (8, 20 second intervals, 10 second break between. Total time = 4 minutes). Yes, you read that correctly. In just 16 mins of exercise every week, these individuals improved their VO2Max, but maybe more importantly for many of you, they also had an increase in mitochondrial protein.

If you remember back to your high school biology days, mitochondria are considered the "power plants" of your cells. They have a number of functions, but the function that is most important to those exercising, is the production of energy through aerobic means.

So, with intense exercise, your body becomes more efficient at burning body fat as a primary energy source, leading you to be more effective at everything else you do throughout your day, burning more body fat during every other activity that you are doing.

So, we know that short, intense intervals are great for improving aerobic conditioning. But what about burning calories and dropping body fat?

A study done by McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada found that men who performed sprint intervaltraining for a total of 2.5 hours (including recovery) over the course of 2weeks has the same results as the group who performed endurance training for atotal of 10.5 hours over the same time period.

Yes, its alright to go back and read that again. 1/5th of the time for the same results! Another study following a group of 15 women found that high-intensity exercise (40 to 45 minutes approximately four times weekly at a mean HR of 163 bpm) reduced body fat by about 5 percent over the course of 15 weeks versus a virtually unchanged percentage in the group that performed exercise at a lower heart rate (132 beats per minute).

Long-duration cardio sessions have a place in your training block if you are training for something specific like a marathon in which you wish to improve your overall time. However, when it comes to aerobic conditioning, calorie burn, and overall health, about 30 minutes of intense exercise is really all you need!

"But what do you do for cardio?"

I highly recommend you head over and check out Tony's post because it is a great, quick read! It also summarizes what I have been thinking about over the past year - year and a half, but have finally gotten my thoughts together to articulate what I wanted to say.

I get questions from people ALL the time, especially when it comes to doing a program like P90X  - what about the cardio? Don't even get me started on the people who are coming off of doing a program like Insanity...I think these folks think that their hearts are going to shrivel up and die because they don't have their beloved jumping up and down at a million miles an hour.

Let me state this one thing loud and clear. If you are looking for a challenge, a way to improve your cardio conditioning, a way to lose weight, etc. Insanity is pretty hard to beat. It is a great (albeit, HARD) home workout program. It really does test you physically. However, don't for a second think that it is the only way to get "fit," nor is it right for everyone.

One of my most popular blogs of all time is: "Should I do Insanity if I'm a skinny guy and can't keep my weight up?

 Dec 20 2012 - 170lbs.

Keep in mind that cardiovascular exercise is determined to be doing something that elevates your heart rate to a level above resting for a certain period of time. You do NOT need to get your heart rate to pound through the roof in order to lose weight. In fact, unless you are specifically training for a specific cardiovascular-specific event (5k, marathon, hockey, soccer, etc.) then lifting some heavy things, and getting your heart rate up a bit will work just fine to keep you healthy and at a reasonable weight. 

Want more proof? Over the past year and a half, I feel as though I have drastically cut back on how much "cardio" I do. I have grown up playing soccer and hockey, and have enjoyed training for Tough Mudders and the World's Toughest Mudder, and I was definitely in great shape, but it didn't really change the way I look all that much, nor did it need to be done to make me "healthier." 

So, since I have cut out a lot of my "traditional cardio," I have substituted in more heavy lifting, compound lifting, all in attempt to work towards new goals - gaining weight and muscle. I think I have changed a lot during this time and still feel great! 

Another misconception that I come across all the time is; I need "cardio" to lose weight. Not true at all. Remember that exercise is great for your body, and it can help  you lose weight, but weight is largely controlled by what you consume. If you want to gain weight - eat a lot. If you want to lose weight - eat less....

Oct 25 2013 - 188lbs

At the end of the day, what I'm saying is, don't be so attached to the idea of "traditional cardiovascular exercise." As Tony Gentilcore mentions in his post, just try and do 20 heavy squats without getting your heart rate up. 

Illegal Downloads

I have analytics set up through my website provider Squarespace, so I am able to see how people 'find' my website through various search queries. 

I am quite amazed at how many times "P90X Free Download" or "Body Beast Free Download" shows up in that list. Well, maybe I'm not surprised...P90X is, after all, the most pirated DVD in the world. 

This blog is not meant to discuss ethics. If you are the type of person that believes that it is ok to take something from a business or individual without compensating, then so be it, that is your can of worms. 

Instead, I want to discuss the exact reasoning behind this and hope to help you sort things out...if you are in fact one of those types of people who believe in freebies. 

Honestly, I see the allure of getting something for "free." The idea that you can get the top-selling home workout program (P90X) of all time, for example, without having to do a thing. But, truly ask yourself, is this how you approach all things in your life related to your health?

Do you really feel as though your health and wellbeing is literally worthless? 

Whenever I discuss health and fitness goals with my clients, I always try and get them to understand the importance of investing. You must work hard for your money, and wish to invest it in things that improve your life, correct? Maybe you invest in purchasing your living arrangements (house, apartment, condo, etc.). You probably invest in some form of transportation (car, bus, subway, etc.). You certainly invest in what you eat and drink, as that is required to live!  Then, there are other investments, like car maintenance, house maintenance, going to see the doctor, the dentist, etc. 

By downloading a home workout program, "just because you can," sends a clear message. Sure, you may not think this way, but deep down inside, you know that you are short-changing yourself. You are placing a price on your health and well-being, which is literally nothing! 

I have never come across a single individual who has downloaded a pirated copy of a home workout program, and had tremendous results. Why? Well, there's probably a list of reasons, but to me, I think it is the lack of accountability. 

I remember back to when I first purchased P90X, as well as other home workout programs I have purchased since then. I discuss the purchase with my wife, and the conversation always goes the same way. "Sure, go for it! Just use it!" 

I work hard to make an earning as well, so when I take my hard-earned cash, and decide to put it towards a workout program, I am doing so with the mindset that if I don't  succeed, then I am just flushing my money down the toilet!

So, for someone who has just gone ahead and downloaded a copy of a program, they are missing that extra accountability to succeed. They are missing that reason to press play every day. 

I also train clients in person. I always tell them as well, that by paying me to come and train you, you are not only getting a workout program designed for you, but you are getting an accountability partner. Someone who is going to keep you motivated. Just because that motivation is coming through your TV screen does not mean that you have to cheapen the experience...

My Fitness Journey (so far)...

I have been blogging and vlogging for a few years now, with many of you following me throughout, but I have also had a lot of you just recently stumble upon either my website, Facebook page, or Youtube Channel. A lot of people don't realize the fitness journey that I have been taking (thus far), so I figured I would give a refresher course as to where I am coming from, where I currently stand, and where I am currently heading!

I guess you could say that I have not been your traditional "Beachbody transformation success story", as I have never been one to need to lose a lot of weight. Growing up, I was always an active kid. Consistently, every summer I would play rep (competitive) soccer, and then in the winter I would play rep  (competitive) hockey. My diet wasn't the greatest growing up, but I was a naturally skinny kid (nicknamed "skin and bones" by my family) and was active all the time, so if anything, I struggled to keep my weight up.

Holidays January 2006

Holidays January 2006

My love and passion for soccer ended up taking me College, as I earned a scholarship to play NAIA Division 2 soccer. At College, I graduate in 3 years (2003-2006), earning my B.Sc. in Biochemistry: Pre-Medical. Playing Varsity soccer was not entirely successful, as I had to sit out my 2nd season with a debilitating back injury that ended up requiring surgery (December 2004). I worked hard to re-hab in the off-season, and returned for my 3rd, and final season, but soon after graduation, I started developing some pretty bad habits.

I never really worried about working out when I was younger, as playing sports naturally kept me active. Once I graduated and settled into a full-time job, my exercising definitely took a back seat, not to mention some bad eating and drinking habits. I ended up out of shape and not happy with my lifestyle.


My poor lifestyle choices even lead to some pretty bad bouts of depression and anxiety! That moment clicked, when I realized that I could not keep continuing on my current path, so one morning, like so many others, I saw the infomercial for P90X!

September 2009

September 2009

When I first started P90X, I was totally and completely baffled by how "out of shape" I actually was. I always assumed that I was in shape, and a decent athlete, so I really didn't think that a home workout program would be this challenging! I worked hard at the program and made it through a few rounds, but my diet was certainly lacking.  Although I was in pretty decent shape, and was playing in a men's league competitive soccer, I didn't look the way I wanted to, and knew that there was something else that I needed to change besides just working out. I needed to start focusing on my diet, as that was just as much of a contributing factor, of not more so than exercise alone!

September 2010

September 2010

The P90X workouts started getting easier, and I was definitely improving. I went from being able to barely eek out 5 chin-ups in one set to cranking out 8+ every set during a workout. I was feeling good about myself, but still not looking the greatest.

I was starting to realize the importance of fuelling m body though. I started to make the connection between nutrition to perform, look, and feel better rather than to just fill my gut. In the mean time, I was growing my Beachbody workout library. By the end of 2010, I was starting to collect Tony Horton's One on One Series, as well as use the P90X+ series. I also competed my first ever half marathon in October 2010!

In 2011 I did Shaun T's Insanity series followed by Insanity: The Asylum (see my final results video here).

Throughout 2011, I dabbled with various hybrids, also training for Warrior Dash (July 2011), and then my 2nd half marathon in October 2011.

In December 2011, after my son Evan was born, I stumbled upon the promotional video for the World's Toughest Mudder from just a few weeks prior. I immediately knew that this was what I wanted to do next year!

February 2012 (post-P90X2)

February 2012 (post-P90X2)

A week after my son was born, my copy of P90X2 arrived, and I jumped into that program right away. P90X2 quickly became one of my favourite programs from Beachbody, due to the immense amount of thought and science that they put into it. I knew that this (P90X2) would be a great tool for me to use in my training goals to reach the World's Toughest Mudder in 2012.

August 2012, just a few days prior to Tough Mudder Toronto

August 2012, just a few days prior to Tough Mudder Toronto

I signed up for Tough Mudder Toronto, to compete in August 2012, and immediately began training it. I also competed in my 2nd Warrior Dash in July 2012, as a sort of lead-up to Tough Mudder. In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to qualify for the World's Toughest Mudder by finishing in the top 5% of the participants, so I trained hard throughout 2012 in order to qualify. 

My goal was achieved when I received word from Tough Mudder Headquarters that I did in fact qualify for the World's Toughest Mudder!

There was no time to rest after I returned from Tough Mudder Toronto, as I almost immediately jumped into training to 'bridge' my fitness between Tough Mudder Toronto to the World's Toughest Mudder which was taking place in November. 

December 2012, following World's Toughest Mudder

December 2012, following World's Toughest Mudder

My training went well, although there was a lot of endurance training, and I lost more weight than what I had anticipated. I went on to compete at the World's Toughest Mudder 2012 and came home ready for my new goals.

November was also the month that I began taking Shakeology.  I will be honest, I was pretty skeptical of Shakeology before I started it. I have always been a fan of Beachbody and their products, but I got so sick and tired of so many different Coaches literally trying to pour the stuff down my throat!

When I became a Beachbody Coach myself on October 1st 2012, I didn't even sign up for Shakeology at that time. But after a month, I realized that there was no point bad-mouthing the product unless I gave it a good, honest, 30-day sample. I haven't turned back since! 

Since I had lost quite a bit of weight during my WTM training, as well as at the event itself, the timing to start Beachbody's program Body Beast, along with using Shakeology as a nutritional aide, could not have been better! 

Thinking back to when I was younger, I have always been naturally skinny, so I was really looking forward to a program like Body Beast to see what kind of results (if any) I could get with it. I became a huge fan of the program right away, and, well...I think the results will do all of the talking!

After I completed Body Beast, I have played around with a few different modifications to the program, and have recently started my own strength training program, combined with Shaun T's latest program Focus T25!

I go back and look at how far I have come over these past few years. Not only have I changed my physical appearance a few times, but I have also changed mentally. I now see exercise as not only a way to 'treat' myself, but to also challenge myself and to compete! I enjoy feeling good, looking good, and challenging myself in new ways possible. I hope that I encourage and inspire all of you to go out and do the same!

September 2009 - 180lbs.

September 2009 - 180lbs.

June 2013 - 176lbs.

June 2013 - 176lbs.

More Focus T25 Information from Shaun T Himself!


Shaun T had a video chat the other day where he spent the first 20 minutes of the chat answering some viewer questions on his newest program Focus T25. If you would like to watch the video, you can find it here: Shaun T video chat

I have also summarized the information. Keep in mind that I am completely para-phrasing Shaun T's answers. If you would like to know the full detail of his answers, I suggest you watch the video.

Shaun T Focus T25 Q&A

2:30 - Is T25 like Insanity?

Shaun T's favorite program. Very focused, fun, effective, short.

3:45 - Do people lose weight doing this program (T25)? Do you have to do it more than once.

Hard to answer. Workout programs are different. Having said that, people lose weight doing T25. He mentions that regardless of what program you do, you need to focus on your diet to get results. You could be doing Insanity and burn TONS of calories, but if your diet is poor, then you aren't going to get results. You need the "will" not just a "want".

7:45 - What makes T25 different than any other Shaun T programs?

Touches on it being his favorite again. Nobody has an excuse to not do the proram since it is only 25mins. It is modifiable for all ages and demographics. Shaun T mentions that as he ages (now 35 years old) he needs effective workouts that are easier on his joints and body.

11:20 - If I have completed Insanity/Asylum/Asylum 2, etc. will I find this program challenging?

"Challenging" is a relative term. This program is challenging, but in a different way. The name "Focus T25" for a reason. He teaches you how to focus on every single movement to get the most out of every exercise.

15:00 - What made you come up with Focus T25?

Shaun T discusses how busy people are. He recommends his programs to people he speaks to, but the same question he always gets first is, "How long are the workouts?" Carl D also had the idea to have a 25 minute workout program for not only himself, but others with busy lives as well. Discusses the idea that there is a HUGE difference between a 25 minute and 45 minute workout.

Weekly Newsletter

Hey Everybody!

Last week of April, holy smokes!

Topics of interest this week:

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Day 362 - Weekly Newsletter

Hello Everybody!

What a beautiful sunny day here in Southern Ontario. It is amazing what a little sunshine can do for your mood...especially after the winter we've had. I hope all of you are well and are staying active/eating healthy. Do you have short-term and long-term goals set? Remember that long-term goals are great to strive for, but it is the short-term goals that keep you motivated, progressing along.

A couple things to cover this week:

1. I am going to Beachbody Coach Summit 2013! This will be my first time going to not only Summit, but to Vegas as well. Summit traditionally is the time of year when Beachbody makes big announcements on their upcoming products. I will be taking lots of photos (and potentially video) at the event and will be live-blogging as much as I can, posting anything I hear to both my website www.tylerrobbinsfitness.com and my Facebook page www.facebook.com/TylerRobbinsFitness, so keep an eye on both between June 20th-22nd.

2. Bringing me to my next point - I have been an active blogger using "Blogger", but will no longer be posting there as of Monday April 22nd. From then on, you can find all of my blogs at tylerrobbinsfitness.com/blog I have more social integration here, so keep an eye out as every blog I post will be automatically posted at 6am.

3. Another video has been released detailing Shaun T's new program "Focus T25".

4. My sister, who is a brand-new Beachbody Coach shared this awesome story with me: I am new to the beach body family. Two days ago I received my Les Mills Pump and my Chocolate shakeology. Anyways I started taking shakeology today, so I took it to work with me. Anyways I was just on my way home from work, and I was pulled over by the police. My husband's car has a taillight out, and I was having a hard time finding the insurance card (which I did find) in the glove box. Anyways the cop saw the bag of shakeology on my passenger side seat, and soon the conversation turned to it. I told him about the coach program and beach body sales etc... Anyways he let me go, and we may have a new client :). Thank you Shakeology!!

5. Just a few weeks left to take advantage of Beachbody's Insanity Challenge Pack Promotion!

6. For those of you who may have missed it, I purchased a brand-new squat rack with Olympic bar and weight plates this past weekend. I just couldn't hold off any longer, so as of this morning, I am back to using Body Beast as my workout program.

7. I have had some great new Coach additions to our team the past few weeks. Our team is growing fast! If you are at all interested in Beachbody Coaching, now would be the time to join, as the team will grow under you from here! Message me for details.

This week's blogs:

I'm Going to Beachbody Coach Summit 2013
Motivation Saturday
Aerobic Endurance Performance Factors
Designing an Aerobic Endurance Program
Types of Aerobic Endurance Training Programs
Stepping Back into the Beast!

And 2 favors that I ask:

1) If you like the hard work I put into writing my blogs and videos, PLEASE help me out by sharing them.  Click the share links below them and share them on FB, Twitter, etc.  It really helps me get more exposure and grow our team!

2) Also, as always, remember that the way I benefit from being your coach is that I earn a commission from any Beachbody products that you purchase, as long as you buy them through my site, tylerrobbinsfitness.com. It helps with the amount of time I spend answering all your questions, writing my blogs, filming my videos, and helping you out. Thank you! I really appreciate it!

Everyone have a great week!

Tyler Robbins
Independent Team Beachbody Coach
2013 Challenge Group - Team Fitness for Life

Quote of the day:
"You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."
~ C.S. Lewis

Day 355 - Weekly Newsletter

What a whirlwind week it has been, so much going on! I hope and trust all of you are keeping active, or at least have plans to start in the very near future. If you need any motivation and/or advice, you know I am here to help all of you in any way I can!

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