Can I Lift Weights & Do Insanity?

If you hear someone at the gym talking about "insanity," it's likely that your treadmill neighbor isn't referring to mental unraveling, but to a particularly rigorous exercise regime that promises dramatic improvements in fitness. However, the intensity of the program can also result in burnout or injuries among ill-prepared participants, warns the American Council on Exercise and Fitness. For your own safety, consult with a qualified physical fitness professional before beginning the routine and certainly before combining it with any additional weight-lifting.

Be cautious when combining an intensive exercise program, like "Insanity," with additional weight lifting. (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Insanity: Some Background

The insanity workout consists of exercise sessions lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour, in which you focus on both strength training and cardiovascular exercise. The workouts are designed to run over 90 days, with participants completing one workout each day, six days a week. In addition to the exercise routine, the workout features a dietary component which involves regular protein shakes.

Following the Insanity Workout Plan

To reap the benefits of the Insanity plan, start by building up to a basic level of fitness. During this period, it's vital to gradually develop your strength and endurance. The training program advises sessions no longer than 40 minutes per day. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to add weight lifting to your Insanity regimen during the initial session, which is a one-month period. Following the first month, the workout remains highly regimented by time period, again making it inappropriate to add any extra lifting. During month two, the workouts become longer and more intense. At this point, it's most crucial to be on the guard against overexertion as you add on any weight-lifting sessions.

Gauging Your Own Ability

When combining the Insanity program with weight-lifting, or just modifying the program to suit your fitness level, your most reliable source of information is either your doctor or a qualified physical fitness professional. Once you've established some basic guidelines for how much you should exercise and at what intensity, you can assess whether your routine fits the bill. If, while exercising, you can carry on a conversation or even sing, you are practicing what Mayo Clinic classifies as light intensity exercise. If you can carry on a conversation but you can't sing, it's moderate intensity exercise. Exercise that keeps you from speaking more than a few words is vigorous intensity. The average adult should work up to about 150 minutes per week of moderate activity plus at least two sessions of strength training.

Risks of Overexertion

If you overload yourself by incorporating too much weight lifting into the Intensity workout, you can ultimately retard or reverse the positive health effects of all your exercising. Overexerting yourself with excessively heavy weights increases your chances of an injury, which can interrupt your training or even incapacitate you permanently. Overexertion is one of the leading causes of unintentional injuries in the United States, according to "K-State Today," a publication of Kansas State University. To avoid overexertion, you should not only tailor your workout hours, frequency and intensity to realistic goals, but you should also keep your exercise routine regular. If you skip a week of the Insanity program, you cannot simply add on weight lifting exercises the next week.

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