Emerson goes insane with sweat and tears

by Alexandra DePalma / Beacon Correspondent • October 18, 2012

Ally insanity
A group of participating Emerson students synchronize their poses with the INSANITY workout video in the Piano Row room L151.
A group of participating Emerson students synchronize their poses with the INSANITY workout video in the Piano Row room L151.


A video blared calisthenic commands to a group of sweating participants during an “insane” workout. 

Students gathered to begin the Insanity fitness program, a vigorous workout that leaves participants screaming words of encouragement to each other as they stand soaked in their own sweat. 

The program lasts nine weeks and involves 60 days of daily interval training done at a high intensity. According to Insanity’s website, the workout includes cardio, resistance building activities, and plyometric exercises. Plyometric exercises, such as jumping, involve quick contracting and stretching of muscles in movements, and are designed to increase personal strength.

Amy Russo, a freshman visual and media arts major, organized the program at Emerson through a Facebook page. The group initially attracted only a small group of students, but as news about the program spread, more came. The group began the first week of the  work out on Monday, Oct. 8.

“Everyone was saying they didn’t want to gain the freshman 15, so I figured we should not gain the freshman 15 together,” said Russo, although the group consists of both freshmen and sophomores.

The students meet Monday through Saturday. There is one recovery day per week allowing participants to stretch their muscles with low impact exercise to avoid injury. 

The group members have come together for varying reasons, according to freshman Wesley Sanchez, who said he joined the group to try something different. 

“I’m doing Insanity to change up my routine and try something that pushes you as hard as you can,” said Sanchez. “It seemed like a really tough program, so I figured it would be fun to try it out.”

Upon arrival at the first workout, each participant had to complete a fitness test to gauge his or her fitness level. The test will be completed again at different times throughout the program to measure individual progress. 

The group initially met on the ninth floor of the Paramount Building. They have since left that location after floor members made complaints about the noise. The group currently meets in the Multipurpose Room or in room L151 of Piano Row. 

The Insanity workout was created by Shaun T, a professional fitness trainer, choreographer, and dancer. Shaun T became a fitness trainer after he gained 50 pounds during his freshmen year of college and decided to change his lifestyle.

According to Caitlyn Monaghan, fitness specialist and group fitness instructor at the Boston Athletic Club, Insanity is a good workout, but can be dangerous for people not used to it.

“It’s great if people are watched with form,” said Monaghan. “It’s not the greatest thing in the world to let someone new to exercise try it on their own—if form is off, people can get hurt. I like the moves, but for someone that is used to exercising.”