Fitness for Nerds: Surviving Insanity A.K.A. Azkaban

Last week I managed: Step class, Aerobics class, Insanity class (as my goal is to work out 4-5 times per week, this was a minor fail).

Taking a group Insanity class was like getting thrown into Azkaban. I’ve actually done the Shaun-T Insanity workout videos, and I’m in decent shape. This class was on a whole other level.

dementorThose who entered to investigate refused afterwards to talk of what they had found inside, but the least frightening part of it was that the place was infested with dementors.” – J.K. Rowling

What did this Insanity class have?

  • Dementors, who literally suck the happiness out of someone, causing incredible pain? Check. I’m fairly convinced the instructor was a dementor. So much pain.
  • The inability to escape? I didn’t attempt. I was terrified to do so.
  • Prisoners barely have any strength in Azkaban. Once again due to the dementors. Check. My body was a pool noodle.
  • Insanity? Well, that’s the name of the class, isn’t it? Plus, I pretty much felt like this the entire way through it.


I took a spot in the front row, and as it was my first time for this particular class, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The dementor wasn’t joking around. For some reason, she picked on me more than anyone else in the class, and this must have been because she smelled my fear. I was unable to produce a Patronus. I tried. But trust me when I say I just didn’t have the energy to do it. Plus, no wand on me, another sign that this was definitely Azkaban. She got into a turtle position and had me jump over her repeatedly. She held her hands up to about my nose-level and made me jump high enough for my knees to hit them. There was lots of yelling.

I am even going to share some actual screenshots from the evening in question. Someone took a video, and the resolution is really blurry, but you can still get the point.

insanity1Working hard in this photo. There was a lot of this type of thing. It was about 75% jumping, 20% push-ups and 5% face-down on the floor. But then comes the best screenshot of them all. Pure pain right there! I wish this was in better quality, because then I think I’d find it even more amusing.


Tips: The truth of the matter is Insanity is a great workout, and it can be a lot of fun despite (or because of?) the difficulty level. It’s a high intensity cardio workout, and if you want to burn a ton of calories, this is the place to go. It’s a bit like a boot camp. Squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, only very high-powered versions of them in quick succession. The warm-up alone will leave you dripping with sweat.

If you’ve never done anything like this before, I recommend finding one of the Insanity videos and giving it a go before heading to a class. That way you can get a feel for the type of exercises you’ll be doing. And don’t be scared away by my hyperbole. Yeah, it’s tough, but there are modifications for all fitness levels. The instructor shows lower impact and lower intensity versions of all the exercises, and plenty of people in my class were doing those instead of the ones that made me feel as if I were being attacked by a dementor.

This class is especially good if you’re looking for something different that can challenge your body. I’ll admit, it defeated me. I haven’t felt quite this challenged by a workout in awhile. This means I’m going to put myself through it again. Dementors, here I come. Maybe next time I’ll be able to manage casting my Patronus.


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