Health & Fitness

A must-try Insanity workout

Dennis Tongo, a trainer at South Fitness Centre during a workout. photo | diana ngila
Dennis Tongo, a trainer at South Fitness Centre during a workout. photo | diana ngila 

Killer abs, toned body and rock-solid physique do not come easily. These head-turning features require both hard work and commitment.

Such are the guiding principles of eight fitness junkies who gather twice a week in Nairobi’s South B under Dominic Tongo, a fitness trainer to do insanity workouts.

In an insanity class, expect extreme sweating, uncontrollable grunting, and intense muscle burn while doing varying workouts.

Essentially, insanity fuses body-weight exercises with martial arts and jump variations, resulting to a series of short high-intensity workouts.

You exercise continuously in three to five minute blocks with breaks lasting only long enough to gulp some air.

Tongo says that insanity is a maximum interval training that seeks to keep the body working at maximum capacity throughout a given session.

“The point here is to keep pushing to your limits so that the body gets to a point where it adapts,” says the trainer who holds fitness classes for employees of Safaricom, Faraja Cancer Support Trust and ICEA Lion.

With insanity, the plan is to confuse the body muscles in different ways to get the desired transformation within the possible shortest time.

Whether one gets the desired results within 30 days is a matter of debate but he says to get stronger, leaner, and fitter, you have to exercise frequently.

Tongo who has been a fitness trainer for 10 years walks with a slight limp, due to an injury he got while playing professional football in Moscow, Russia. It took him nine months to recover after which he was forced to only spectate like fans.

That is when he started training children on fitness, thanks to his coach’s encouragement.

Fast forward to today and Tongo Wellness Centre, the company he started has grown. Before you join Tongo’s insanity class, he checks someone’s fitness ability and medical background.

For instance, a woman who has just had a Caesarean section cannot do insanity workouts.

Tongo, 32, says filling in a medical form is the first step in getting to know the trainee’s body composition.

“This way, I start taking them through the workout according to their graph. As it is, my desire is to motivate but a person has be dedicated and show commitment,” he said.

Being a total body workout that requires no gym equipment, insanity can be done either indoors or outdoors and in no time.

For instance, you can use your own body weight for resistance training and squats for strength training. Insanity works on the following body parts.


Core muscles are the ones that girdle your trunk and pelvis. These are the muscles that are vital in maintaining stability of the body.

These muscles are especially important when you are stretching, bending and reaching out.

Leg lifts and Pilates make good choices for exercises that work on the core. They can be done on a yoga mat or on the grass. While sit-ups are the classic exercises for strengthening the abdominals, they also train the neck muscles, correcting any posture anomaly.


They are the main extensor muscles of the hip. Jump training, also known as plyometrics are ideal for strengthening these muscles.

From truck jumps to squat jumps as well as bonds and hops over 20 metres and voila, the hip muscles are sorted.


In an insanity class, the leg muscles are catered for by hop and jump exercises that borrow heavily from skiing, boxing and basketball. These are helpful in toning the legs.