So I've been considering getting myself the Insanity DVD set. I was wondering if anyone here had done it or tried it at one point and could lend me some advice? I'm in decent shape already but do have little handles by my back. Will this get rid of those? As far as nutrition goes I plan on following what it recommends very strictly. My main goal with it would be to tone up my abdominal area and overall be more fit.
You could produce similar results for a much lower price and in a fraction of the time by planning your own exercise routine. You'll be much better served by identifying certain things you want to accomplish physically and then find a program that aligns with those goals or create one. If you want to be able to do a bunch of jumping jacks and odd plyo moves that can aggravate your joints, then Insanity will probably do just fine. Lose the fat on your back and stomach by adjusting your diet. Toning doesn't exist. Abs are made in the kitchen.
1) there is no such thing as 'tone.' Your muscles either get bigger, smaller, or stay the same. Same goes for fat. Insanity, along with the diet it prescribes, will help you lose weight in the form of fat loss and in most cases, muscle loss as well. It's cardio, cardio, and more cardio. You might gain a little muscle if you are untrained (newbie gains).
2) It can help you be more fit by expanding your aerobic exercise capacity. If you are untrained, you will increase your strength some. Your rep strength will increase in your ability to move light weights for more reps (like doing a lot of pullups), but your relative strength (pound for pound strength), beyond newbie gains, will not improve. If you are a strength athlete, you will get weaker doing this versus traditional strength training. This type of workout does nothing (beyond newbie gains) to train the CNS to perform more efficiently.
3) Have fun. If you enjoy doing it and it helps you reach your goals, keep doing it. If it sucks, do something else. There are thousands of ways that can more efficiently build muscle and reduce body fat that don't involve "going all out" on body weight and light dumbbell exercises for excessive rep counts that do not stimulate the CNS to perform more efficiently or improve your strength (beyond newbie gains).