Les Mills Combat Versus Insanity

Posted on 12/24/2012


(disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Beach Body AT ALL I am just a 40-something  dude.)

I am mostly a writer, but lately been focusing a lot of time on working out and getting into shape. Here’s a quick post on that.

One quick note, while this article goes into a comparison of the two, if I you are looking at which workout to do FIRST, I would choose Les Mills Combat. It’s easier to start light and ramp yourself up. Insanity starts at full throttle and never lets up! But read on. There are many more observations.

Please note, I will be updating this post regularly as I have more observations on Les Mills Combat as it compares to Insanity.

Let me begin by stating that I am still about 50 40 37 28 20 lbs. overweight, even after completing the Insanity regime.  If you’re reading this it’s probably because you want to know (like I did) if there are any other workouts out there that can rip you up like Insanity.  And if Les Mills Combat (LMC) will give you enough of a workout, or be too easy. Read on.

Note: You can and should use some dumbells in LMC for certain videos.

I did 1.5 rounds of Insanity before looking into Les Mills Combat (LMC).  After I started to grow bored with Insanity I was looking for another program that would be just as intense, but offer up some differences. I looked at the Turbo Fire, but I am a dude, and that looked like a lot of dancing and choreography to me. Not my style.

I got Les Mills Combat after getting an email from Beach Body telling me it was just as intense as Insanity. Okay, you hooked me with that. I originally got Insanity because I wanted to attack the hardest video over put on DVD. And LMC was just as intense? Let’s go! I was growing bored with Shaun T and really didn’t want to do the Asylum stuff since I don’t think my fitness level is quite up that high. So why waste the money?

I got the Les Mills (who is not the dude in the video, but the creator of the entire workout regime) Combat (LMC) set. I ordered the Ultimate Warrior kit, not because of the gloves (see more on why do you need gloves below) or the tape, but because it added so many more videos to the bunch. Let me tell you, after doing Insanity for a few months, you get tired of the same ones. And after a few months of Insanity, you’re in pretty damn good shape.

So let me breakdown what I think the Insanity videos levels are.

Insanity breaks the workout into 2 months.

The first month of Insanity workouts are the 30-40 minute videos. Once you move onto month two, you really won’t want to go back to month one. Especially when you get addicted to burning  over 1000 calories in one hour, like I was in Insanity.

If I had to rank the Insanity videos from easiest to hardest (only for the 2nd month) I would say:

Max Recovery
Core Cardio and Balance
Max Cardio Conditioning
Max Interval Circuit
Max Interval Sports Training
Max Interval Plyo

This list is subjective of course. But I am a pretty big dude (6’2” 268  259  255 246  237 229 lbs) and propelling my big ass up was not easy.  After I completed the Insanity workout, I decided to keep doing the second month’s workouts until I figured out what I was going to do next. So I would randomly pick one of the 4 harder workouts and do them during the week.  I mixed in a few other videos I got off Amazon, and I found two that were great! I will mention them later.

I started the LMC. I figured I’d do the thing in the order they prescribed, even though I sincerely thought I would find the first week too easy.

The Les Mills order page from BeachBody is here  (Please note, I get no money for this! This is a real review!)

UPDATE: I really like the Les Mills warms ups and cool downs better than Insanity. They are quicker, and they don’t do the SAME warm up and cool down every time.

I watched the basic instruction video first. It was fairly informational and while I thought I would be put off by the accents of the trainers (they are extremely British) I eventually didn’t hear the accent anymore and just listened to them talk. The next day I started the Combat 30 video.

Initially it was difficult only because I didn’t know what moves they were going to and from. But once I got it down, I was moving and grooving okay.  I didn’t burn any where near my new personal goal of 1000 in an hour, but I anticipated that. I think I burned around 450-500. Not too bad.

The next day was a HIIT class, Inner Warrior. This was another 30 minute class, and I gave it my all. I was used to HIIT from Shaun T. and know how to pace myself.

Here’s the catch I’ve found on the “straight workout” DVDs (as opposed to the ones where you are mostly doing “combat” style activities) they start out in what seems too easy of a pattern, but by the time you get near the end, you’re getting your butt kicked violently. It was that way with this video.  How do you know the straight from the combat? If they’re wearing gloves when the video starts, it’s combat. And even though I say they don’t have a variety enough, they do actually have enough videos to where you won’t grow tired of them. I still haven’t.

The next day was the Combat 30 again, with the Core Attack video. I was a little more used to the first one, and Core Attack video was all core work, which I am fine with, but don’t see the reason for someone who can’t even see his abs to do. But I digress.  I did it.

The next day was the HIIT Plyo. While this video didn’t start as strong as Insanity, oh my GOD did it ramp up. Near the ¾ point, I was not sure I would make it. They would put Shaun T to shame in that video. But it was still only 30 minutes. I wanted the hour long BURN. However, the workout itself is as hard as anything Insanity has in it.

Then came the Combat 45 video (power kata), which truly was only about 37 minutes, but that’s cool. I liked it. There was a lot of punching and kicking, and I worked up a sweat, but never really felt too tired to continue. I was let down a skosh on this one, but maybe it will get harder when I learn the moves better. We will see. (update below)

Finally, day 6 I did the Lower Body Warrior 2 workout. In the beginning I was let down, it was so slow and I had to keep jogging between the workouts just to keep my heart rate up. But OMG when we got to the halfway point, I could barely make it. These fools tear it up!! I loved it and I have never had my average heart rate be as high was it was on the workout.

But it was only 30 minutes too!

2nd week.

The second week started out with Combat 60. To be honest, I was looking forward to this workout more than any other, if only because it was an hour. It is the longest video on the program, (not counting the 60 Combat Live) and I was hoping it would be more intense.

It wasn’t. I sort of coasted through it, not only because it wasn’t too hard, but because I was having trouble keeping up with their moves. But that wasn’t my biggest problem.

My biggest problem was that my heart rate never got up very high. I think my average was around 130, when I like to keep it at around 140.  I never felt out of breath or that I pushed myself too hard, and really wanted to feel that way.  If you’ve ever done the Insanity workouts, you know what I am talking about. If you push yourself as hard as you can, you have no choice but to take breaks and “grab water”. I never felt that way in this workout. But I’m going to try it again and see if by getting the moves down, I will burn more calories.

UPDATE–OMG, I did the Combat 60 workout again. Holy crap. I pushed myself as hard as I could, punching and hitting with power every time. My average heart rate at the end of the hour? 150. My new personal best record. It was tough, but FUN to do.

So far, entering into my second week, it seems like the non-combat videos are more rigorous. I will keep you up to date as I move forward.

*Now, about the gloves. I admit, I thought they were weighted, and when I found out they weren’t I really didn’t get why they added them into the program. But after using them a few times, I am starting to like them. You really can punch harder with them on, and make a better fist. It sounds odd, but it’s true. I have some weighted gloves I am going to start using once I have the moves down.

I will add more updates as I continue.


Just did the 60 minute combat again.  I almost threw up and had to stop. Yeah. Still didn’t burn enough calories (only around 850), but I think I will the next time I do it.

The key, you need to put EVERYTHING into every punch and kick you do. You have to do it like you’re pissed off. That’s the key to these combat videos, you must put your all into it. Don’t half ass your punches and your kicks!


Man, the HIIT programs on Les Mills Combat are tough! They don’t mess around. Lots up breathing hard and jumping around, even after completing Shaun Ts Insanity. I am liking this program more and more, but even though I got the Ultimate Warrior’s kit, it still feels like there’s not enough variety of videos. But, I am not yet growing bored with any of the videos either, so that’s a bonus.

Also, I have started using weighted gloves during the Combat videos. It’s a great plus. My arms really feel the burn afterward, and I would recommend them to anyone doing Les Mills Combat.


Still enjoying Les Mills. I am about half way through week 4. I’ve been religious in my sticking to their workout plan. My only complaint is the lack of variety of videos. I mean, I got 14 of them, but the schedule is pretty much static every week, with little variety. I guess that’s ok if you don’t want to think about it. You know that every Tuesday is a HIIT training day and every Monday is a Combat 60 day. Sure there are some varieties, but they are just mixing up the workouts you have already done.

Scratch that. I am not going to complain about the variety. They’re actually not that bad. It’s not HIIT every Tuesday, it’s HIIT or Upper Body.

See the pic I took of the work out calendar here:


Not sure if I am even allowed to post that pic. If Beach Body tells me to take it down, I will.

I am still not bored with the workouts. I feel like I am just now getting good at kicking. Also, one thing I noticed: with Insanity, the workout was for anyone in any shape. You just pushed yourself as hard as you could, whether you were a conditioned athlete or couch potato, it didn’t matter. You basically did every exercise to failure.

You can do the same with Les Mills Combat. It took me a few days to figure this out. How? You punch and kick as hard as you can. Literally, every punch and every kick. You’ll be surprised at just how quickly you are standing there going, ‘wtf?’ Wondering how you are having to take a break in the middle of the work out, when the first time you did it, you were able to complete the entire workout with barely breaking a sweat. I can’t emphasize this enough! That’s with the Combat videos.  The HIIT videos will break you like a bitch.

UPDATE–I am really liking Dan and Rache. Of all the Beach Body videos I have watched (P90X, Insanity, TurboFire, Hip Hop Abs) they may be the most likeable (with Tony a close second).

UPDATE (2013)— Okay, I have done Les Mills Combat for the full 60 days. It’s a good workout. So, I decided to go try out one of my old Insanity DVDs, it was Max Cardio Conditioning. Ok, not to be a weak ass, but the DVD kicked my butt. Why? Because it was all legs and jumping. The Les Mills Combat DVDs aren’t. So I wasn’t in it as hard as I could be. So I started thinking, which one actually gave me a better workout? If I put in a 60 minute Insanity DVD or a 60 minute LMC DVD?

Tough to answer. A lot of it has to do with what you’ve been doing. BUT I would say, I seem to get a lot more out of the Les Mills DVDs because I can get my heart rate up and KEEP it up. With Insanity, you get your heart rate up so damn high, you can’t keep it up. (Even the people on the DVD are taking breaks) But with LMC I can get my heart rate up and keep it there, where I want it. Not sure what that means, but I do enjoy both for what they bring. I am going to do another round of Insanity to see. Updates to come.

UPDATE — I’ve since gone back to Insanity after doing LMC for three months. It’s damn hard. I noticed that Insanity uses LOTS of jumps and squats to get your heart rate up. Fair enough, but it’s hard to keep that intensity up for  along time. LMC on the other hand, only does those on the HIIT days. The other days, you’re getting an entire workout for your body. To be honest, I think I am liking the LMC better because it isn’t all about the legs, I can sweat, keep my heart rate up, and stabilize myself without having to take so many breaks like insanity.

UPDATE — I have started The Asylum. omg.

If you’re interested in my methods and thoughts on how I lost 80  90 100 lbs, check out my other site: Fat Man Lessons

No, Not selling anything, but that is where I write about my fitness more than here!! 

You should probably start with Lesson 0 !!!


Posted in: Working out