On Monday of last week I made the decision to change gears with my exercise routine. I was trying to decide if I wanted to do another round of Focus T25 (Beta / Gamma Hybrid) or if I wanted to give Insanity another try.
Stephen, a friend on Facebook, suggested that we both start up the Insanity program together. Like myself, Stephen started the program once before but didn’t see it through. Having someone to lean on for support sounded like a fantastic idea, so I took him up on it.
Insanity: Day 1 – Fit Test
When beginning the Insanity program, the very first thing that you do is a Fit Test. The test gives you a solid workout while allowing you to set a baseline for yourself. Every couple of weeks the Fit Test is revisited and the idea is to compare your results as you work your way through the program.
The Fit Test starts out with a warm-up (which is by no means easy) followed by eight exercises. Each exercise is performed for one minute and you are instructed to do as many reps as you can manage in that timeframe.
Between exercises you are given a short water break to catch your breath and prepare yourself for what is to come. By the time I completed the Fit Test, I sat down and weathered the storm. Waves of nausea washed over me, the byproduct of pushing hard throughout each exercise.
After a few minutes the waves of nausea subsided and I dealt with a short bout of trembling. At no point during the Focus T25 Program did I ever feel so wiped out. I recovered well and aside from some fatigue, I felt fantastic.
Insanity: Day 2 – Plyometric Cardio Circuit
On the second day of my Insanity routine, I was dealing with a little muscle soreness from the Fit Test. Despite the soreness, I was eager to continue on with the routine. Plyometric Cardio Circuit was next up and I vaguely remembered it as being one of the hardest routines in the first round of videos.
Forty-Two minutes after pressing play, the difficulty of the program was cemented in my mind. I wasn’t hit with waves of nausea following the workout but I did have to sit down afterwards and wait out some trembling. The exercises are very taxing on the muscles and leave you feeling exhausted.
Insanity: Day 3 – Cardio Power & Resistance
Cardio Power & Resistance is about forty minutes long. The program is filled with a lot of bodyweight exercises that feel like they work large groups of muscles (walking push-ups, for instance) that wiped out my upper body.
The one part of this routine which gave me the most trouble (in terms of maintaining form) were tricep dips. No matter how many times I stop and reset, my form always feels wrong and I get very little range of motion. I don’t know if I’m simply not flexible enough or if I have short little T-Rex arms which make things difficult.
By this part of the program I was dealing with pain in my legs. I had an ache in my calf and the dreaded shin splints were rearing their ugly head. They are particularly problematic in the warm-up portion of the video. I was looking forward to Cardio Recovery to give my legs a much needed break.
Insanity: Day 4 – Cardio Recovery
Simply put, I hate Yoga. I would rather do cardio until I was on the verge of vomiting than complete a thirty minute Yoga session. I’m not flexible (I realize this is reason enough to do the program) and I struggle with form. Bad form leads to pain, which is a huge turnoff.
As much as I disliked this particular video, I completed it anyway. By the time it was over, some parts of my body felt good (legs being stretched out) and others ached (pain in my back).
Insanity: Day 5 – Pure Cardio
Pure Cardio is a high intensity program and gets off to a very fast start. Once the program itself begins (the main portion between the stretch and the cool down), there are no water breaks.
My legs were screaming and I had to revert to low-impact modifiers on a couple of occasions (stolen from Focus T25) to get through it. As hard as Pure Cardio is, I think Plyometric Cardio Circuit is actually harder.
Insanity: Day 6 – Plyometric Cardio Circuit
After a grueling round of Pure Cardio, I did a little research on how to ease the pain in my legs. Oddly enough, I came across a Q&A Session with Shaun T in which he said (paraphrased) “I know it sucks and people don’t like to do it but, fill a bathtub up with cold water and get in.”
I can assure you, getting into a tub of cold water sucks. If you don’t think about it and just jump in, it is only about thirty seconds of misery. After that I couldn’t feel my feet and the sharp pain in my legs was basically gone.
The cold water helped a great deal and made working through another round of Plyometric Cardio Circuit, the following day, easier.
Something very strange happened on my Rest Day. Despite being stiff and a little achey, I wanted to pop in another video and work out. The exercises are hard. Damn hard. But even so, I felt very energetic and eager to do something to burn some calories and get my heart pumping.
I’ve been able to fight off the urge to start week two early but I haven’t been able to resist banging out a couple of burpees for no reason at all (this odd outburst of exercise has happened three or four times today).
On a completely unrelated note, I decided to spend a little bit of time at the cigar shop today to watch football with the guys. As a change of pace from wearing a company branded tee-shirt, I pulled a button down shirt out of my closet. When I put it on, it felt like I was wearing a bed sheet.
While the scale has been a very frustrating part of these past few weeks, the work is paying off. It looks like most of my shirts are too large to be comfortable and I may need to do some shopping in the very near future.