A few months ago I decided to mix up my fitness program a bit in order to avoid the inevitable monotony that tends to follow prolonged routine, and to intentionally focus on something that would require my mind and body’s full attention.
In consideration of this, I realized my choice would not only have to provide an element of challenge, but render me vulnerable to the possibility of complete failure in my attempt to succeed. While you may think me strange for saying this (and perhaps I am) I have learned that without the risk of defeat one can hardly presume the hope of true victory. If there be certainty of triumph before battle, those fighting must relinquish their rights to any personal contribution in the end. I can think of circumstances in which this surrender is imperative, but that is another thought for another time.
Before too long I had decided on the the most absurd option I could think of at the time, an interval training program called Insanity which a friend had recommended to me when I mentioned my need for an arse-kicker.
“It’ll leaving you dripping and panting on the floor, Jen. You will want to quit at some point and you may begin fantasizing ways in which you might hurt the fitness instructor.”
Ah. Sounds perfect.
If focus and pain was what I was searching for, I certainly found it. During the first week of the program my entire body felt like one all-encompassing bruise, making something as simple as walking a painful task. Needless to say, continuing with the daily Insanity workouts in this condition took a great deal of determination on my part, and what seemed like an element of pure lunacy.
I see where they got the name.
When I realized the pain was not subsiding and it hurt to reach down to put my shoes on, I began to wonder if something was actually wrong. Seeing I was going to need some outside direction, I sought the advise of a friend who has considerable knowledge/training in the area of fitness, half-hoping he’d tell me to quit. He didn’t, but the counsel he did offer was good. In short, I needed to push through the pain my body was experiencing, drink more water, and learn to stretch more regularly outside the daily workouts. The results were significant, the level of soreness gradually lessened, and got the nudge I needed to keep going.
I am happy to report I’ve now, two months later, successfully completed the program and did not die as a result. (: I liked it enough to repeat the 60 days and would recommend it to anyone who wants to go insane for a while and reap the benefits of doing so. It was, for me, just what I needed, and am grateful for the pain it took to push through to the end. For whatever it’s worth, I offer my thoughts below.
Strength-builder: I am undoubtedly stronger than when I began. The further along I got, the stronger I became and the more I could put into each workout.
No Equipment: Being a fan of simplicity, this was a big draw for me. You don’t need anything but a pair of shoes, a bottle of water, and as much (or as little) clothing as you choose to wear. The program is designed to use your own body to create strength-building resistance and cardio. It seems to accomplish this.
Challenging: As I said before, without a fair challenge it can be difficult for me to find motivation to try something. This program was hard, and I loved it for that reason.
Increases flexibility: Between the stretches that are included in the workouts and those recommended to me outside the program, I am significantly more flexible than when I began.
-Not so nice on the knees. My right knee has always given me a bit of trouble, and with the all the jumping that is involved in the plyometric portion of this program, I did have some issues with that. I don’t really have an answer to this problem yet, I just wrapped mine and pushed myself as far as I could during the jumps.
-Running withdrawals. Running does something for me that nothing else can do, so to refrain from that while I adjusted to the intensity of the program was somewhat difficult for me. Fortunately, this second time around I feel quite able to do both and have enjoyed having the variety.
If you’re interested in this craziness but wondering if you can do it, allow me to offer a bit of encouragement. A month into the program I got a call from my doctor, informing me that after reading some routine labs done a few weeks prior, I was severly anemic.
Bummer, but it didn’t stop me.
If I can make it through this without having all the energy I would have liked, imagine what you could do with it.