Just finished the Insanity workout sequence (as seen on TV) – the next step in my ‘keep the workouts varied’ approach to exercise. Insanity is a tough program that will test your will and you resilience, so I was glad to be able to get all the way through it with no major problems. And the results speak for themselves:
Yeah, actually I’m the same weight I was before I started the program. There are, however, a few caveats there. 1) I initially started Insanity a few weeks after running a half-marathon, and I’ve been doing free weights for years. So I was already in pretty good condition. 2) I didn’t alter my diet at all while doing the workout. For me that’s actually pretty healthy (dietitian wife), with reasonable amounts of fruits and vegetables, a few salads a week, and mostly normal portion sizes. This also includes some beers on the weekend, some burgers, pizza, and ice cream when I feel like it.
The most noticeable changes are no surprise to anyone who’s watched a little of the Insanity promotional material or read about it. The core muscle groups are stronger and more toned. Upper thighs, glutes, abs, and obliques. Definitely some improved definition there. If I kept up another 8-week cycle, a six-pack could develop there. Shaun T. promises results if you stick with it, and this workout delivers.
The people who would see the most drastic results from this program are in the 15-25 pounds overweight range but still flexible and athletic enough to exercise. Someone like that would probably see it coming off quick by the end of the cycle. If you’re significantly overweight and haven’t exercised in awhile, though I don’t recommend Insanity. This is a workout for someone who’s already active and/or working out but looking for the next challenge.
Because this is a hard routine. High impact aerobic moves. Plyometric cycles. Running in place, jumping (a lot of jump moves), and sustained cardio. The workouts are broken up with an initial stretch and a cool-down stretch – both of which employ yoga moves. You go six days a week. The middle day is a ‘Recovery’ day, which is lower impact and heavy on stretching and yoga, but still a challenge. Shaun T. ain’t messing around.
I struggled the first week. Difficult getting my wind, my legs and core just weren’t used to the jumping and stress. Had similar difficulties the sixth week (which is the start of the more advanced DVDs). Yet, I stuck with it and saw improvement, and was feeling real good by the last week. This is a mental test as much as anything. Are you stubborn enough to keep at it six days a week for 8-9 weeks?
In my case, I actually extended that timeframe. Told myself if I didn’t get in all six days – due to travel on vacation, getting sick, or just life happening – I would do that week over. So I ended up repeating three weeks during the routine due to missing a day here and there.
You also have to realize you are pounding your feet and legs with this routine. I actually started the routine initially, got to week three, and had to stop due to turf toe. Took another 3-4 weeks off, bought a new pair of cross-trainer shoes (it was my ignorance in trying to do the workout in my running shoes), and started again. I’m lucky enough to have access to a hottub/spa, and at my age this was key.
Also, you have to listen to your body. If a certain move is straining your back or you hamstring, ease off a little bit. Your knees getting sore? Ice them, take a day off. And I highly recommend doing this on rubber workout flooring or wood flooring if at all possible. A yoga mat is also helpful when doing the rapid down-up power moves that can stress your wrists and hands.
Not sure what’s next for me. Even though I feel really good right now, I’m thinking my wheels need a break. Think I will go back to an alternating free weight and cardio routine. Maybe I will do some lower impact – like an elliptical machine. I do plan to re-introduce Insanity workouts on cardio days. I might also keep doing the abs routine and see what happens. I kinda liked the yoga routines also. I’m probably actually in good enough shape to play some full-court basketball, but that’s a perilous path fraught with sprained ankles and knee problems…
As previously noted on the blog, when getting yourself in a workout routine, it’s all about setting goals (however artificial they might be) and being stubborn about following through.