My thoughts on: Insanity

Insanity is the best/worst thing on the planet. Okay that’s a bit extreme, but insanity is f-ing hard. Run down: Insanity is a 60 day, do it at home, workout program by Beachbody that I have a love/hate relationship with. The program is basically broken down into three sections: Month One, the Recovery Week and Month Two. Month one consists of approx. 40-45 minute workouts, 6 days a week for 4 weeks. Then the “Recovery Week” (and please notice the quotations) and then month two, 6 days a week for 4 more weeks where the workouts become longer and harder. The ridiculous part is after month one you think “it can’t possibly become more intense”… and then it does.

I first came across Insanity last summer and decided to give it a shot. I was both excited and nervous to try it out. I weighed myself, took my measurements and was finally ready to get INSANE!

Day 1 was what they call the Fit Test. 8 minutes, 8 exercises, 1 minute each to help track your progress throughout the program. I thought to myself… That’s it!? Wow, this Insanity thing is going to be a breeze! What I didn’t think of was the fact that during those 8 exercises you would be pushing yourself to the max and of course there would be a warm-up before those 8 exercises even started. Cut to afterwards when I felt so hot and tired that I thought I was going to throw up and had to immediately take an hour long nap to avoid being sick. I am happy to report that that only happened the one time and is not the norm.

Day 2 was the Plyometric Cardio Circuit, it was also the day that I started to wonder what I had gotten myself into. I had to keep reminding myself that it was only day 2 and that I would, eventually, get better. I constantly took breaks and was so thankful that the workout was on a DVD in my own living room which allowed me to pause in the middle of exercises, grab water, or go at a slower pace if need be. I was starting to understand why so many reviews were from people who had given up so early on in the program. This was certainly going to be a challenge… but now I had something to prove.

Day 3 or Cardio Power & Resistance. I woke up feeling very sore from day 1 and 2. My muscles were tired and my body achy. I wasn’t sure how much I would be able to move during the exercises (especially since walking and bending was proving to be a challenge). I wondered if it would be cheating to pop some Advil to keep me going. I decided against the Advil, started the warm-up and to my surprise once my body was warm it seemed fine.

Day 4, Cardio Recovery day. Starting I wasn’t sure what “Cardio Recovery” meant but let me tell you I liked it! It was not cardio at all (thank goodness) but mostly stretching and yoga stretches with some squats and lunges thrown in. No jumping or running. It was so nice to have a little break after the last 3 days being so challenging. Don’t get me wrong, there were still challenging sections but in comparison it was a much needed rest. I definitely found myself looking forward to Cardio Recovery days from that moment on.

And then came Day 5. Pure Cardio. What else is there to say? It’s called PURE CARDIO. I was able to push myself to do the whole warm-up without stopping or taking a break so that was a good start. Pure Cardio did however quickly became one of my most dreaded workouts (well until month 2 of course).

Day 6 or as I like to call it ONE MORE DAY UNTIL A DAY OFF! Day 6 was Plyometric Cardio Circuit, again, which also became a workout I dreaded. Most of the time doing this workout I felt like I was going to die. Literally. It was one of those workouts that you trudge through while reminding yourself that tomorrow is a day off. After the workout I felt amazing, because well, did I mention that Day 7 was a day off?! I also felt great for completing week 1.

Day 7 aka Day Off. My favourite day. It always feels so great having a day off to rest your body when you have been working it so hard.

Throughout Month One the workouts do become slightly easier as you become stronger however, your body does start to fatigue and around week three, you’re so physically and emotionally tired that you just want to quit. I have done the program through twice now and both times I found that around week three was when my brain (and knees) started to think, I can’t possibly do this. BUT, if you can make it through to the Recovery Week, then you’ll feel you’ve made it too far to quit.

So you’ve hung in there, and you’ve completed month one, and you’ve even made it through the recovery week, which is less like a recovery week and more like we’re going to call it a recovery week and make the workouts not as insanely hard so that people feel like they are getting a rest. And then month two. Month two is when you start the exercises and immediately want to cry (no really I read blog of a women who was doing Insanity and literally cried throughout the entire first workout of month two). It is that insane. During month two I stopped documenting how I felt because I can basically sum it up into one word, Dread. The workouts became longer and harder and you begin to dread it every day. It is hard. However, like I said this is now my second time through doing Insanity so that tells you that through all the pain and sweat (and possible tears) in the end it is worth it. Like myself, you will learn to have a love/hate relationship with it and like any exercise for the most part once you’re done sweatin’ it out you feel great.

What I really like about Insanity, well besides loving Shaun T… everyone loves Shaun T, is that all of the people in the videos are also at different levels in the program. There are those who are super fit and motivate you to keep up with them and “dig deeper”, while there are others who are dying just as much as you are which makes you feel less like a failure when you are lying on the floor gasping for air. I also LOVE the Insanity calendar and nutritional guide that comes with the Insanity workouts. The calendar is great to keep you on track and I’ve implemented a sticker reward system for completed workouts. (I dooooo love stickers). The nutritional guide is great even if you aren’t going to follow the eating plan that comes with Insanity. It gives you good information as well as new meal ideas… Thank you Insanity for bringing salsa turkey burgers into my life.

What I’ve learned from Insanity is that even if you can’t do everything to the fullest at first you will get stronger and you will get better. And the great thing is that by doing the exercises over and over again you really get a sense for what exercises are becoming easier. Like push-ups! When I first started Insanity over a year ago I was not very good at push-ups and had to do most of them from the knees. Over time I am proud to say that I now can do lots of full push-ups!

I am currently on the last week of month two (so close and yet SO far). Hopefully I can make it through. Wish me luck and who knows, maybe I’ll try Insanity the Asylum next.