I’ll admit it: I have a tendency to over-commit to things when I’m stressed out. It’s somewhat crazy, but it also gives me a welcome distraction at the same time.
This time around, I’m
over-committing myself to the Insanity 60-day challenge. 9 weeks of intense plyometric and cardio interval training 6 days a week, with a fitness test every 2 weeks to measure progress. Oh, coupled with 2-3 Burlesque Boom classes a week, two of which I’m teaching. Oh, and you know, teaching dance.
Let’s just say this: I am 4 days into a workout program that I thought would drop me to my knees and drown me in a box of cheap wine. Because seriously, I wouldn’t be in any shape to pour wine out of a bottle. Surprisingly, it has been FANTASTIC. No, really. Fantastic. I’ve done the fitness test and 3 of the Month One workouts, and I have really loved every single workout.
This is why:
- I’m kind of crushing on Shaun T. Not because he’s hot, but because I really dig his personality as a trainer. I was really expecting a jacked-up jackass trainer: a male version of Jillian Michaels. Shaun T is not. He motivates, he encourages, he pushes, but he is not a jackass. Maybe it’s his credible background (check out his bio here), or the fact that he actually smiles. Whatever. It’s working for me!
- Encouragement to STOP when you need to and push when you CAN! Unlike some pushy trainers, the program is really quite sane! It’s really reasonable, encouraging you to listen to your body and do what you can. There’s no guilt for slowing down – it’s all about pushing yourself at your own level. I love that. I hate, hate, HATE trainers who tells their clients they can’t stop. Self-evaluation is key, and Insanity covers that constantly!
- Lots and LOTS of pointers about form, alignment and mechanics. Almost every move is broken down and explained. I was really surprised by how many downgrades were given! Never once did I feel like I HAD to do the full-out version if it was completely beyond my capabilities. Even though Shaun T has some visible imbalances, he really takes care to tell people what to do, and show other participants good form!
- SO MUCH FLEXIBILITY TRAINING! There is a real, true emphasis on flexibility training as part of the program – not just the whatever part of the warmup/cool down. So many programs miss this, but Insanity really focuses on stretching warm muscles. The program includes static and dynamic stretching too, which was really impressive. Maybe it’s because Shaun T is also a dancer? I don’t know. But what I do know is that this type of emphasis on flexibility is severely lacking in any other program I’ve looked at!
- Body weight plyometrics! This is killer, but I love the trend towards traditional BODY work. No weights, no equipment. Just an incredible workout using your own body weight. The stuff that sports teams have been using to condition their players for years. Dance in itself is a giant ball of plyometric goodness, so this is right up my alley! Don’t get me wrong – I HATE basketball drills more now than I did in grade 9, but they are fantastic. And I love to jump. And hopefully by the end of this nonsense, I’ll be able to do a few more real pushups
- Their full-on admittance that this is NOT for beginners. Thank you!! Not just “check with your doctor”. Nope – this is NOT for beginners, so please do something else.
- Fitness tests every two weeks. 8 exercises, timed for one minute and recorded. Oh yeah!! I like performance measurements, not waistline and scale measurements. I’m doing this for pure fitness – I want to see if I’m getting better, not skinnier. Although I will gladly take the skinnier too… And the tests are built right into the calendar as part of the workout.
- Start to finish, the workouts are under an hour, including lots of flexibility and well-timed water breaks.
- There is a ticker at the bottom of the screen that tells you how much time you have left, and what intensity the current and upcoming sets will be. I love the visual!!
The first time I did the 30-day Shred, I wanted to punch myself in the throat. That is how much I hated it. I hated the “trainer”, I hated the music, I hated the words, I hated the set, I hated all of it.
I was terrified as I started the first DVD – I expected yelling, demeaning, army-bootcamp style intimidation. Instead, I’ve found a really challenging but SMART workout that pushes me beyond my abilities without making me feel bad. I am pushing myself, I am working hard, and I am really enjoying the time. It’s a true fit for me.
The test will be to see if I can make it for 60 days amidst dance festivals, recitals, and classes. But my goal is to take it one day at a time until May 12!
See you at the end