#Insanity Ep1: Insanity Max 30 (DevOps: Stability AND Throughput)

Beachbody have a library of fitness programmes that can be done from the comfort of your own home. When I say ‘comfort’ I don’t mean comfort – these programme are anything but comfortable, especially those architected, choreographed and taught by Shaun T.

Many of you may have seen the infomercials on TV where a big marine-looking guy is surrounded by people dripping in sweat and he shouting, encouraging and motivating you to ‘Dig Deep’. The Insanity fitness programme is probably one of the most well know home-based high intensity workout programmes around.


Two years ago, I started with Insanity and have since done T25, P90x3 and Insanity Max – with each iteration, the focus becomes more intense, the warm up and cool downs more active, and the exercises more honed to push you beyond your limits. Max 30 does everything that previous 45min and 1h30m achieve in 30mins – with the aim to max out (i.e. collapse) at a later point in each workout thereby showing increased fitness and stamina.

But, its not just the exercise – its about the discipline. Perseverance and commitment to perform your best every day, discipline in eating and drinking the right things, honesty in working to your max not just paying lip service to the routines.

Getting up and doing Insanity when you don’t want to is a massive challenge – the mental hurdles that need to be overcome such as “I am too tired to wake up at 06:00”, or “its too hot today”, or “I don’t feel so well” or “I can’t be bothered”. Even if you do ‘press play’, there is the “I cant do this anymore”, “I’ll stop at 10mins today” or “my body cannot do another press-up, lunge or burpee”. The challenge is clearly in your physical capability but more so its in your mind – Being the best you can be starts in your head.

I haven’t consistently done the workouts as I am a bit of an all-in or all-out kind of person – when in the mode, I’ll be disciplined and see a massive difference in my fitness, weight and performance but when I am out of the mode, I can lose it again – the good thing is that when I get back into it, my body (and mind) responds much faster.

"The faster you fail, the better the result" Beachbody

I think our physical ‘system’ is a good analogy for our mental and emotional ‘systems’ and I want to take some time going through the series and breaking this down into its various parts. Yes, I have had to apply some artistic licence to make the themes fit but hey, I am the author.

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So, what I plan to talk through over the next short series include:

  • Max Out Cardio; the core moves built to test your stamina and push your heart. This is an all-body workout with an aim for being the benchmark that you measure against. DevOps Context: Benchmarking your organisations capabilities and performance
  • Max Out Power; 30sec on 15sec off – high intensity explosive power moves to shock your system into action – focussing mainly on the big muscle groups. DevOps Context:Processes and Measurement Capabilities
  • Max Out Sweat; Dig deeper with high paced moves the make you drip. This is testing the speed and agility of your body and the motivation of your mind. If you can’t do one more, do three! DevOps Context: Technical Capabilities
  • Max Out Strength: Systematically building up strength with just your body as the resistance – this is preparing you for the fight. DevOps Context: Culture Capabilites
  • Friday Night Fight; The most intense 30mins of the series – with less rest and recovery periods and a mix of all the moves from the last 4 days. DevOps Context: High Performance IT

The above are done in two phases lasting of 4 weeks each – the first four weeks are hard and the last four weeks are insane. Sticking to the programme, working to your max and eating the right things gets results.

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Following on from the previous series of articles; “thinking results in feelings and feelings result in action” together with “philosophy to action and action into results”. Think, act and behave your way into a new culture. A culture of performance.

I intend to use some of the work by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble and Gene Kim from their book Accelerate which, as part of the DevOps Research Agency (DORA), has taken the studies done over the last few years across thousands of companies in multiple industries to help both understand and assess the performance of their teams.

Within the Accelerate State of DevOps Report 2018, the research of which spans 5 years, over 30,000 surveys with over 1,900 participants in 2018, a key finding is that high performance is characterised by Software Development, Software Deployment and Service Operations metrics as shown below:

And that many organisations play the trade off between Throughput and Stability, with high performers (and this year’s new category – elite performers) excelling at both Throughput and Stability

Insanity is about going fast AND being safe – DevOps is about high throughput AND stability.

Many organisations don’t know where to start and need some help getting started. If you feel you could do with some support with this, contact DevOpsGroup to conduct a DevOps Discovery underpinned by the DORA research and assessments and let us help you understand where you need to improve – team@devopsgroup.com

Finally, needless to say that there are warnings all over this programme that you should heed before doing any extreme fitness programme – be safe!

Image: Founders of DevOpsGroup Steve Thair (Left) and James Smith (Right)

More in this series:

  • #Insanity Ep1: Insanity Max 30 (DevOps: Stability AND Throughput)
  • #Insanity Ep2: Max Out Cardio (DevOps Performance Benchmarking)
  • #Insanity Ep3: Max Out Power (DevOps Processes and Measurement)
  • #Insanity Ep4: Max Out Sweat (DevOps Technical Capabilities)
  • #Insanity Ep5: Max Out Strength (DevOps Culture)
  • #Insanity Ep6: Friday Night Fight (Scale)

Raj Fowler

I am a natural, enthusiastic and authentic leader who understands the impact of IT as a differentiator for business performance and how organisational culture directly influences IT and business performance. With a strong appreciation of the changing technology environment, I have spearheaded a transformation of organisational ‘ways of working’ through adoption of the philosophies and principles that underpin DevOps, Agile and Lean. As a result, I have a track record of delivering operational excellence whilst improving IT agility, security and responsiveness enabled through close business relationships, technology-led thinking and inspirational leadership. 3 years ago we delivered about 50 to 100 changes per annum across about 80 business systems, all of which we managed using our standard plan, build and operate practices. Change was difficult and the transition from project to service was painful. I lived the opening chapters of the Phoenix Project on a regular basis. I now manage over 100 business systems and we categorised 7 of these as Products which include ServiceNow, Salesforce, Cognos, SuccessFactors, SharePoint. SAP and Bespoke Applications where we have established Product Teams. These are teams that build and support Product using DevOps philosophies. As a result, we delivered over 2500 changes last year whilst at the same time improving the service by 30%, improving customer satisfaction and employee morale. Using the "you build it, you support it" (Amazon) mentality, change is no longer a big event but a normal everyday occurrence and the usual spikes of incidents are no longer there, in fact with each change we deploy, the incident volumes reduce! Teams are not only delivering new features but are cleaning up their code and removing technical debt with every release. As a result, we have made a significant impact to the efficiency of our internal functions which in turn helps the competitiveness and profitability of the enterprise.

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