EXPERIENCE INSANITY: THE ASYLUM™! #457 04/27/2011
Tell a friend

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

Back to top.

Hell Month in THE ASYLUM

By Steve Edwards

Even if you never played football, you've probably heard the term Hell Week. This is generally the first official week of football practice, which takes place before the start of school so the coaches can put the hammer down and not have to worry about whether or not the players can walk to class when they're done. It's essentially designed to condense preseason conditioning into one weeklong period. Beachbody's latest workout program, INSANITY: THE ASYLUM, follows this example. Except instead of Hell Week, you're in for Hell Month, which promises to have you ready for a season of pretty much anything.

Shaun T

"This is not INSANITY®," says Shaun while pushing the team through THE ASYLUM's Vertical Plyo. He uses a tone that suggests INSANITY is some form of lightweight aerobic work rather than the most intense cardio program burned to DVD thus far. And, true enough, THE ASYLUM isn't INSANITY; it's a sequel to that program, and it's designed to take things to the next level. But THE ASYLUM actually isn't harder so much as it's different. So let's take a deeper look at THE ASYLUM so you can decide whether it's the right program for you.

What if you're not an athlete?

Beachbody® is promoting INSANITY: THE ASYLUM as sports conditioning, which the guide defines as "speed, coordination, balance, agility, and power." And while these performance traits will certainly enhance your contribution to the company basketball team, they'll also help you improve in other aspects of your life. When you move better, life becomes easier. Sports are just games that highlight human function, so nonspecific athletic training is simply exercise that helps you perform various life tasks more effectively.

And if you are an athlete?

If you're an athlete, or even were just an active child, you're going to feel a bit like a kid in a candy store doing this program. For someone like me, who played a lot of different sports growing up, it brings back memories galore, often involving sports I'd forgotten I'd ever done. The entire program feels a bit like playing, or, as Shaun says, as if you're part of Team ASYLUM and all practicing together for the big game.

"Frankentraining"

Men Working Out with WeightsOn one of my blog reviews of INSANITY: THE ASYLUM, I was asked the difference between sports training and sports conditioning. The simple answer is that sports training is systematic, and sports conditioning is getting in shape for your season as quickly as possible. Back on the Hell Month theme, THE ASYLUM is designed to whip you into shape fast, so it pulls from many different training systems, meshing them together to form what seems almost like a mad scientist's version of cross-training—"Frankentraining," if you will.

I'll back up and define the so-called Frankentraining a bit further. I often explain to customers, when comparing P90X® and INSANITY, that the X is like training for a season of INSANITY. The X is a longer, more systematic training approach that can be tailored a number of different ways to target strengths, weaknesses, and goals. INSANITY comes at you like a challenge and never lets up—more like a sports season.

THE ASYLUM is for when the season is about to start and you have to get ready as fast as possible—when there's no time to systematically tear you down and build you back up. It has to happen now, so you want to target strength, speed, coordination, flexibility, and stamina all at once. You heard the coach: It's Hell Month. There's no time to mess around. Let's get busy!

So what do you get?

Seven workouts, only six of which are actually part of the official program, though. However, as INSANITY grads know, the Athletic Performance Assessment (or Fit Test) isn't exactly a day off. Here's a quick breakdown of the programs that are included in INSANITY: THE ASYLUM.

Speed & Agility: Shaun used to refer to this as an active recovery workout, which we changed because this is the first workout you do and we didn't want people running away scared. It's a hard workout—very hard—but Speed & Agility targets proprioceptive awareness (neuromuscular patterns) and speed instead of explosive strength, so in a technical sense, Shaun's definition of "active recovery" is accurate. As any of you who've actually been through a Hell Week will remember, there were parts of practice that were obviously for strength improvements, like where you hit each other (or sleds, or dummies) with a lot of force. Then there were parts, usually during "breaks," when you did speed and agility drills that were often more painful than hitting those tackling dummies. This workout is about those "breaks." And because its target is speed, you'll most likely feel, like me, that there's no end to how much you can improve.

Shaun TBack to Core: One of the most interesting core workouts you'll ever do, Back to Core targets your abs by working everything but your abs. Having nice-looking abs is a function of having a strong core, low body fat, and good posture. Does it work? Check out the pic of Shaun.

Strength: A full-body strength routine that's varied and interesting. I think it's summed up pretty well on my blog:

"Asylum Strength will get more use than anything in my Beachbody arsenal. For someone like me who does a lot of mountain sports—or, really, any weekend warrior whose sport provides a lot of cardiovascular fitness—it's a perfect complement."

Vertical Plyo: See "this is not INSANITY" above—this workout is absolutely brutal. You'll either spend most of your time in the air or on the ground doing push-ups, which is how Shaun penalizes the team when their form begins to falter.

Game Day: A massive sports day, where you do sports-specific movements 'til failure, from a veritable summer camp of options. If it weren't so painful, it would seem like nothing but fun.

Overtime: Uh-oh, you've got another quarter to go. To be used after any workout for a bonus round. Some of the more explosive movements in the program happen here, so you have to want it—bad.

A Woman Doing a Relief PoseRelief: A thorough stretching routine that's meant to be done when you have the time after any workout. It promises to be the best 20 minutes of your day.

Getting chiseled

As the Men's Wearhouse® guy says, "You're going to like the way you look®." A lot of people have already noticed that Shaun looks more ripped than he did during INSANITY. The thing about sports training is that body composition changes happen naturally. You're not bodybuilding, per se; you're just making your body more athletic. And the human body, in order to function well, tends to add muscle to places that look natural, balanced, and attractive. There's a reason why the most popular ancient statues are of athletes.

Are you ready?

My reviews have tended to make people nervous about starting the program. And in reality, maybe you should be. INSANITY: THE ASYLUM is clearly a graduate program. Without a good fitness base, you'll be better off using one of our introductory programs, like Power 90®, ChaLEAN Extreme®, Slim in 6®, or Hip Hop Abs®. Whichever one of these motivates you to move is going to give you better results than something you can't do well. But on the other hand, if you've completed one of these programs in style, and completed any graduate program (P90X, INSANITY, TurboFire®) at all, you're ready to get into THE ASYLUM and mix it up. It's hard. Very hard. But the difficulty isn't a world apart, either. And if you do buy it and it feels like too much, I've made a preparatory 1-month schedule on my blog: http://steve-edwards.blogspot.com/2011/04/asylum-prep-course.html

Child's Play

Hell Week was accepted, and perhaps even enjoyed, because it was preparing you to get better at a game. And THE ASYLUM is all about the game: the game of life. The only thing that might make anyone think I need to be locked up is that it's given me a glimpse back at my youth. In closing, I'll leave you with an anecdote about "youthening," as they say in Camelot. You can tell me if I'm insane.

My summers as a kid were spent outside. My parents and pretty much the entire neighborhood would throw their kids out of the house with instructions not to come back in until dark. Without video games or money, we were pretty much left to make up stuff to do with what was in our garages. A day consisted of a football game, maybe some tennis, or some pick-up basketball. Sometimes we headed down the street to the school and jumped over hurdles or kicked field goals, or maybe we headed to the park for a swim. Afternoons would often feature a Little League® baseball game, after which I'd often stay late to work on my hitting or pitching. Summer days would end after dinner, with all of us feeling blissfully tired, doing our best to stay awake through The Brady Bunch.

My favorite moment doing THE ASYLUM so far was late in the Game Day workout where you're "playing" baseball. Baseball players haven't always been a paragon of athleticism, but on those all-sports days during my childhood, it felt plenty active. THE ASYLUM's baseball movements are decidedly tiring, and as I was delivering one of my many "pitches" in my garage during a snowstorm, I had an acute sense memory of a long-past summer evening. I felt the same warm fatigue those long days would provide. I could actually smell the grass, feel the setting sun on my shoulders, and hear my dad telling me to arch my back or keep my elbow up. So, OK, maybe that is a little insane. But that's an ASYLUM I won't mind visiting.

Related Articles
"5 Fun Summer Beach and Water Sports for Fitness"
"6 Ways to Fire Up Your Metabolism"
"How Fitness Changed Tony Horton's Life"

Steve EdwardsQuestions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, May 9th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share


Back to top.



SHAUN T IS WINNING
Clear Spacer INSANITY: THE ASYLUM™ INSANITY:
THE ASYLUM

Shaun T preps you to WIN with sports-specific training inspired by pro athletes. This 30-day program includes drills to maximize your speed, coordination, agility, and power. Commit and you'll be ready for game day—every day.

LEARN MORE
Clear Spacer Clear Spacer
Clear Spacer INSANITY®—$10.00 OFF SHIPPING INSANITY®
Transform your body in 60 days with the most intense cardio workout program ever put on DVD. Shaun T will push you past your limits to get you the hardest body you've ever had. Plus SAVE $10.00 through Saturday, April 30th!*

LEARN MORE
Clear Spacer Clear Spacer
Clear Spacer Hip Hop Abs®—$8.00 OFF SHIPPING Hip Hop Abs®
Dance your way to hot, sexy abs and burn fat off your entire body with Shaun T's fun, exciting dance program! Plus SAVE $8.00 through Saturday, April 30th!*

LEARN MORE
Clear Spacer Clear Spacer
Clear Spacer Beachbody® Jump Mat—$4.00 OFF SHIPPING Beachbody® Jump Mat
The Beachbody Jump Mat is essential to get through extreme plyometrics workouts. You can get great results while protecting your knees, joints, and spine from injuries that can occur with high-impact exercise. No home gym should be without it! Plus SAVE $4.00 through Saturday, April 30th!*

LEARN MORE
Clear Spacer Clear Spacer
Clear Spacer
Clear Spacer Clear Spacer
Clear Spacer
Consult your physician and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program.
Clear Spacer
*Discount offers are Web-only.
Clear Spacer Clear Spacer
Shop All Best Sellers


Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share


Back to top.


The Good, the Bad, and the Oily: 9 Cooking Oils and How They Perform in Your Kitchen and in Your Body

By Jeanine Natale

The notion of extracting the oil from food has been around for thousands of years. Long before it even occurred to anyone that oil and vinegar are two great tastes that taste great together, people began pressing oil from fruit, seeds, legumes, and grains. What we've learned since then is that certain oils allow us to augment our diets in ways that are both healthy and delicious. The specific oils we're looking at in this article are olive, avocado, canola, sunflower, grapeseed, sesame, coconut (really!), peanut, and corn oils.

Oil

Each of these nine oils contains both mono- and polyunsaturated fats. In addition to helping to lower cholesterol and possibly helping prevent medical conditions like heart disease, they contain beneficial ingredients like vitamin E and some omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, and also help other essential vitamins get to where they can do the most good for your body. Furthermore, both mono- and polyunsaturated fats have been shown to lower disease risk in general.1

Some of these oils are becoming increasingly more available in a variety of different forms. You've probably heard of virgin or extra-virgin olive oil, and if you like to frequent tiny gourmet-type boutiques that offer indulgences for your tastebuds, it's likely that you've seen the words "cold-pressed" on many a fancy label. This refers to oils that have been pressed very carefully at low temperatures to ensure the most taste and the highest nutritional content. Conversely, refined versions of these oils have been derived from second or third pressings, then usually processed at a higher temperature—these will have lighter, more neutral flavors, a slightly longer shelf life, and just generally a lot less good stuff.

Here are some ways to get the best use of whichever oil you choose. Don't forget, the cold-pressed and extra-virgin varieties will be more expensive and are offered in smaller bottles, as they have shorter shelf lives. Also, lower cooking temperatures ensure more retention of the very things that make these oils good for you when used wisely. You should always avoid the smoke point, or temperature at which all oils begin to burn. When oils reach the smoke point, this means most if not all of the beneficial elements have been burned away. Besides, it'll probably make whatever you're cooking taste terrible, not to mention how bad all that smoke is for your lungs.

As for serving sizes and or RDAs of these oils, remember that they are all fat. Always use them sparingly—a tablespoon of any of these oils is approximately 100 to 120 calories, with about 14 grams of fat.

Presenting Our Natural Nine

  1. Olive OilOlive oil. High in oleic acid, olive oil has long been touted for its beneficial properties, with many studies showing that it can help to lower bad cholesterol levels and even aid in the prevention of heart disease. Use extra-virgin or cold-pressed varieties for drizzling on salads, bruschetta, or even a cool, freshly tossed tomato and basil pasta—the distinctly dramatic taste of a fine-quality olive oil pairs well with, oh, just about everything. In a "proper" Italian restaurant, it's what you'll be treated to when you're first seated, served with fresh bread and sweet balsamic vinegar. The lighter, more refined varieties are good for stir-frying, sautéing, and baking.
  2. Grapeseed oil. This light, much thinner oil is high in linoleic acid—an antioxidant that helps promote healthy skin and aids in lowering bad cholesterol levels. Easily found in any health food store, grapeseed oil has been used in Middle Eastern cooking for centuries. If your local market has a decent international foods aisle, you should be able to find grapeseed oil there. Use grapeseed oil in just about anything you want, as it takes to being heated very well; stir-frying, sautéing, and searing are all quick, easy, and delicious with grapeseed oil. However, the delicate nutty flavor of the extra-virgin and cold-pressed varieties are exquisite for dipping, drizzling over cold salads like hummus or baba ganoush, or accenting all kinds of dressings.
  3. AvocadoAvocado oil. Vitamin E is spoken here. Avocado oil tends to be a bit more expensive than the other oils on this list, as it's still somewhat of a newcomer to the food scene, and you can find it mostly in those specialty/gourmet stores we mentioned earlier. Extra-virgin avocado oil has a delicious fruity, nutty flavor, perfect for dipping, drizzling, and accenting all kinds of dishes. It also happens to have, hands-down, the highest smoke point, topping out at 520 degrees for the most refined variety. Searing, stir-frying, sautéing, baking—a touch of this light, flavorful, versatile oil will definitely do you good.
  4. Sesame oil. High in antioxidants and vitamin E, sesame oil has been studied for its role in helping to reduce high blood pressure and lower bad cholesterol levels.2 There are a wide variety of sesame oils made from toasted (dark brown oil) and untoasted (light yellow oil) seeds. All varieties take very well to high heat, which is great for searing, and (of course) excellent for stir-frying! However, it's got a very distinctive smell and flavor, so you should use it sparingly, almost as an accent flavor in any type of cooking or in uncooked dishes. Be warned: Most of the sesame oils used for stir-frying is actually soybean oil blends. Read the label carefully if you decide to explore this flavorful oil.
  5. CoconutsCoconut oil. Another vitamin E powerhouse, coconut oil might just be put to better use outside your body than in it. It's the ideal oil to use in making chocolate candy, since it's solid at room temperature, but melts in the mouth.3 That being said, it's also much higher in saturated fat than any of the others we've mentioned, something many experts feel your arteries might prefer to avoid. Like sesame oil, coconut oil does have a very distinctive taste and a relatively high smoke point, which makes it great for stir-frying, searing, sautéing, and baking. Do some research, then use it wisely!
  6. Peanut oil. A common item in any food store, peanut oil has long been used for everything from salad dressings to deep-frying. It's naturally high in the antioxidants that help keep your cells functioning properly, and some commonly available varieties are fortified with vitamin E. Peanut oil is generally more highly processed and has a light taste, although there are currently some finer-quality cold-pressed peanut oils on the market. One caveat: If you're allergic to peanuts, it's best to avoid this oil.
  7. Corn OilCorn oil. Similar to peanut oil in taste and versatility, you can find corn oil pretty much anywhere, and it's a good option for those with peanut allergies. It's naturally high in omega-6 fatty acids, but there's some controversy surrounding corn oil due to the ongoing GMO (genetically modified organism) issue. There are a few specialty stores that offer a virgin corn oil made with non-GMO corn, but it's difficult to verify this claim, as regulations and quality controls vary rather widely both in the U.S. and abroad. That being said, you can use a fine-quality corn oil for anything from salad dressing to deep-frying.
  8. Sunflower oil. Vitamin E and good-for-you antioxidants are in abundance in sunflower oil. A lighter, thinner oil, sunflower oil has become increasingly popular, a choice motivated by the trend toward eliminating trans fat from use in restaurants and manufactured food products. The typical refined varieties are available anywhere, but there are also raw and cold-pressed sunflower oils available at health food stores and online.
  9. Rapeseed PlantCanola oil. Naturally rich in antioxidants, specifically oleic acid, canola oil is made from the rapeseed plant, which is found mainly in Canada. Hence the name "canola"—a take on "Canadian oil, low acid" that sounds smoother and has a better ring to it than "rapeseed." This light, versatile, nearly flavorless oil has gained increasing popularity over the last decade due to its health benefits, but also because of the controversy over GMOs. Because of all this publicity, there has been considerable transparency regarding the regulation of canola oil sources and products. While canola oil is highly processed (like your basic-variety peanut, corn, and sunflower oils), it does retain its high monounsaturated fat content. Just be sure you read the labels carefully, and always go for the finer quality products.
References
  1. Harvard School of Public Health, "Fats and Nutrition," 2006. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-table/index.html

  2. Daniel J. De Noon, WebMD.com, "Sesame Oil Benefits Blood Pressure," 2003. http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20030428/sesame-oil-benefits-blood-pressure

  3. AskDrSears.com, "All About Oils," 2006. http://www.askdrsears.com/html/4/t043800.asp

Related Articles
"10 Reasons to Eat Organically—and Locally"
"Soy: Magic Bean or Tragic Bean?"
"The Best Fats for Getting Lean"

Questions about your workout program, diet, the latest newsletter, or anything wellness related? Chat with Steve Edwards, the overseer of Beachbody's fitness and diet development (who also serves as your Fitness Advisor on the Message Boards), in the Beachbody Chat Room on Monday, May 9th, at 3:00 PM ET, 12:00 PM PT.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope, recently named one of the Top 50 blogs covering the sports industry by the Masters in Sports Administration.

Submit A CommentTell A Friend Bookmark and Share


Back to top.


INSANITY: THE ASYLUM Is Here!

Shaun T has been taking INSANITY to a whole new level of commitment. By combining drills from all Shaun's favorite sports disciplines, INSANITY: THE ASYLUM is going to make you Dig Deeper® than you ever have before.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Back to top.



Recipe: Avocado Tuna Salad

(from INSANITY: THE ASYLUM)
Avocado Tuna Salad

From the INSANITY: THE ASYLUM nutrition plan, here's an easy-to-prepare recipe that'll take care of all your daily omega-3 needs, with healthy fats from tuna and avocados to keep you feeling full and fit.

  • 1/2 avocado, mashed
  • Juice from 2 lime wedges
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 5 oz. light tuna (packed in water)
  • 1 cup mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 slice tomato

Place avocado, lime juice, salt, and cayenne in a mixing bowl and use a fork to mash into a paste. Drain tuna well and add to bowl; mix well. Pile mixed greens on a plate and top with tuna/avocado mixture. Finish with sprouts and tomato. Makes 1 serving.

Total Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories Protein Fiber Carbs Fat Total Saturated Fat
342 39 grams 7 grams 13 grams 16 grams 2 grams

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Back to top.


Print this page
Reviews
Be the first to write a review, opinion or comment.
Submit a review  
Previous Next

Beachbody Survey

Click here to compare Beachbody fitness programs
eGift Cards are here!—Beachbody®—Order Now
P90X2™
ChaLEAN Extreme®
Kathy Smith's Project:YOU! Type 2™
Debbie Siebers' Slim in 6®
INSANITY®
Brazil Butt Lift®—AVAILABLE NOW!
Now Available—TurboFire®—Intense Cardio Conditioning—Learn More

Follow Beachbody Online

Connect with Beachbody, fans, coaches, and your favorite trainers!

Social Media
Beachbody
Beachbody
Blogs
Carl Daikeler
Beauty By Beachbody
Steve Edwards
Tony Horton
Chalene Johnson
Message Boards
Beachbody Message Boards
RSS Feeds (What is RSS?)
Beachbody Newsletter
P90X Extreme Newsletter

Share This Page

Bookmark or share this page by emailing it to your friends, or adding it to your favorite networking sites! Simply mouse over the Share icon below for options.

Bookmark and Share