The INSANITY workout program by Shaun T is based on the concept of Max Interval Training, where he inverts the traditional concept of brief periods of high intensity exercise with long moments of low intensity such that you kill yourself for extended periods of time with only slight breaks. This results in your body working anaerobically for these longer durations as you exceed your VO2max capabilities. The consequence? Extreme results as your body is forced far out of its comfort zone and asked to perform at a level that is the equivalent of red lining a car. Does this sound right for everybody? Of course not, which is why INSANITY is marketed only for advanced athletes. But how do you know if you’re an ‘advanced athlete’? The INSANITY Fitness test is the answer.

First off, however, a quick word to the wise: do not embark on such an extreme workout regimen without consulting your doctor, especially if you are in any doubt of your physical capabilities. Some people get excited at the prospect of a total body transformation and throw out all caution, going from zero to extreme without any intermediary phase. Those are the people who hurt themselves or burn out, and it is essential to get advice from a qualified doctor to prevent or seriously lessen the chances of that happening.

So the INSANITY Fit Test. It’s deceptively simple. Eight different exercises, each performed for a minute. How hard can it be? Given Shaun T’s directions, as difficult as you make it. There is no prescribed number of reps for each exercise, but rather you are told to push yourself as hard as you can during that one minute. Whether you manage six reps or thirty, Shaun T’s advice is the same: take note, and prepare to exceed your number by the time you take the fit test again. How often is the test taken? It falls on Day 1, Day 15, Day 36, Day 50 and Day 63. If you follow Shaun T’s exercise programs to the letter, than you should notice extreme changes between each test.

There are eight exercises in the test. What are they? They’re vicious, that’s what, given how Shaun mixes and combines different moves to make them as tough as possible. Take for example the Push-Up Jacks. If this exercise were a kid at school it would be the tough outsider that nobody talked to during recess. You get into a push up position, and each time you straighten your arms, you kick your legs out wide into a jumping jack stance, only to bring them back and do another push-up. Or the Low Plank Oblique. Also very unpopular with the kids. Get into a plank position, resting your weight on your forearms, back straight, core tight, and then hold it for a minute. But… you don’t just hold it. You also bring each knee up as high as you can on the outside, doing as many of those as you can during your one infernal minute.

And of course let’s not forget the worst exercise of them all: Suicide Jumps. Why are they so named? Because they earn that moniker through and through. Start once more from a push up position. Then, as quickly as you can, hop your feet up between your hands, and then explode up into a jump, reaching as high into the sky as you can. Drop back down into a crouch, kick your legs back out straight into a push up position, and repeat until you pass out. Or finish your minute, whichever comes first.

The beauty of Shaun T’s INSANITY workout is that he doesn’t set artificial goals that ignore your personal strengths and weaknesses. Rather, he gets you to set your own benchmarks right from day 1, and then urges you to exceed them, to challenge your own previous level of athleticism, no matter how high or low. So how hard is the Insanity Fit Test? It’s as hard as you make it.