Greetings dear readers!
So, part of me can’t believe it’s taken me this long to post about this, but as I always say, better late than never. If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that for the past month or so I have been doing the infamous Beachbody 60-day total body conditioning program touted as “the hardest fitness program ever put on DVD”, Insanity.
Although I’d always heard about Insanity in passing (along with P90X, another well known program from beachbody.com ), I didn’t exactly know what it entailed until a friend who was doing it explained it briefly to me. At the time I was growing a little bored of my gym routine and was frustrated with the fact that my running shoes hadn’t seen anything but a treadmill in far too long on account of the “tropical” weather outside, so I decided to check it out. I of course did my research and was instantly intrigued by the idea of max interval training as opposed to traditional HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). As Shaun T, fitness guru and the mastermind behind Insanity explains:
You perform long bursts of maximum-intensity exercises with short periods of rest. Each INSANITY workout keeps you constantly challenged as you alternate between aerobic and anaerobic intervals performed at your MAX.
I watched one of the workouts and was absolutely floored at how intense it looked, almost immediately I thought it wouldn’t be my kind of thing, despite the fact that I’ve long been a fan of HIIT training. After doing a little more research and reading through some pretty glowing testimonials and reviews I decided to give it a shot, for at least a week.
The worst that can happen is I’ll hate it, I thought, and I’ll just move on to something else.
Just to clarify for anyone who’s unfamiliar with the program, Insanity consists of 10 workouts in total. For month 1, you rotate the first four which are anywhere from 35-40 minutes long and workout 6 days a week. After that comes a recovery week where you repeat the same workout every day (one that is supposedly lower impact and more focused on core strength) and then comes month 2 which brings with it 4 new workouts, all of which are longer, harder and evidently far more intense than the first month. Every two weeks you complete a fit test to gauge your progress, which consists of completing as many reps as possible in one minute of a set of given exercises.
I’m not going to lie, a part of me was extremely intimidated by the Insanity program at first. Even with what I thought was a fairly decent fitness level, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to stomach it having not kept up a decent running schedule in so long. So in a manner of sorts, trying it out, even if only for a week, was sort of a personal challenge.
Sure enough, I tried the first couple of days out and it, was, brutal. I was in so much pain by the second day even just sitting down hurt! The workouts were extremely challenging and unlike anything I had ever done before.
The bad news is the first week was horrendous. I appreciated the challenge, but it seriously kicked my butt and I thought about throwing the towel in several times.
The good news is that by the end of week 1, I realised that although the program was very aptly named, I wanted to keep going and try to see it through for at least a month. I’m happy to report that I am now on day on day 28 (a rest day) and am officially DONE with month 1! Here’s a quick run down of why I’m loving it so far:
1. It’s a REAL Workout
It’s the first DVD workout I’ve tried that I can say is just as effective and sweat inducing as an hourlong session at the gym. The workouts are only about 40-45 minutes long but the max intervals along with a fierce combination of fast-paced cardio, plyometrics and body weight exercises has me collapsed on the floor every time.
2. Shaun T is Awesome
Aside from the fact that he’s adorable (extremely ripped version of Will Smith anyone?) He’s extremely motivational and is not at all condescending (I’m looking at you, Jillian Michaels). His words of encouragement and light yet no-nonsense style definitely makes you want to “dig deeper” every time.
3. Two Words: Core Strength
Although Insanity is largely cardio based, the majority of strength exercises included are targeted towards your core. It’s no secret that improving core strength can have an amazing effect on pretty much any physical exercise you do, from other strength training and conditioning to steady state cardio like running.
4. Convenience is Key
Insanity is just super convenient, plain and simple. I can do it from the comfort of my own home (as there’s no equipment involved), in enough time to get it done before work which means my evenings are free. I just love being able to roll out of bed and be working up a sweat in my living room 10 minutes later. I also love following a schedule, it’s so great to have everything set out for me and extremely gratifying to be able to cross the workouts off my checklist and calendar every day.
My goals when starting out Insanity were to improve overall fitness and endurance, and to tone up/build core strength. Although some people do embark on Insanity to lose weight, that definitely wasn’t a goal of mine and I’ve been eating accordingly to make sure I maintain my current weight (more on the nutrition plan in another post). So far I can definitely see a difference in my endurance, especially when it comes to the harder workouts and my second fit test results weren’t too shabby either (1st test day 1/2nd test day 15)
Switch Kicks: 35 –> 55
Power Jacks: 46 –> 56
Power Knees: 67 –> 106
Power Jumps: 31 –> 41
Globe Jumps: 6 –> 9
Suicide Jumps: 15 –>17
Push-up Jacks: 17 –> 23
Low Plank Oblique 54 –> 70
I also re-took my measurements and lost 1.5 inches on my waist, 1 from my stomach, 1/2 an inch around my hips and 1 off my thighs. These weren’t anything major, but it was great to see results just two weeks in, definitely motivation to keep going. I’ve also been doing a plank-a-day after each of the workouts, and I finally worked my way back up to a 3-minute plank again which felt great.
I’ll hopefully post some more updates on my progress as I go along, but if you really want to follow my Insanity journey make sure to follow me on Instagram, which I’m using to keep myself accountable by posting my daily workouts and veganised Insanity meals.