Adventures in Exercise: Insanity

At the end of last year, as you could probably tell from this post, I was not in the best frame of mind and had once again fallen off the exercise wagon. So at the beginning of this year, I decided I needed something I’d stick to, preferably something I could do from home. Winter 2015 in Boston, if you haven’t heard, consisted of basically nonstop snow for two months, which sometimes made it hard to go for a run or get to the gym. This year hasn’t been anywhere close to that, but I didn’t know that at the time. In any case, I’m glad I decided to do what I ended up doing: Insanity.

Insanity Workout Tips

I think I was a latecomer to hearing about it. Most people I told I was doing it had already heard of it, but I had no idea what it was until the end of last year. If you’re like I was then and have never heard of it, basically, it’s an intense at-home DVD workout with a lot of cardio and bodyweight exercises led by Shaun T. You do it six days a week for nine weeks, with one day off and one recovery day, with a less intense workout, per week. The workouts are about 40 minutes each for the first four weeks- warmup, stretching, then the main workout. Then there’s a recovery week with a less intense routine, and then for the next four weeks, the routines are more like 50-60 minutes each. You do a fit test on the first day to see how many of certain exercises (switch kicks, power jacks, suicide jumps, etc.) you can do in a minute, and the fit test comes up again about every two weeks so you can track your progress.


I started on New Year’s Day, and the first two days were the hardest. When I did my first fit test, I had to keep pausing the DVD so I wouldn’t puke. And the second day was even harder because I was so sore from the first day. But after that? It was surprisingly manageable. Hard, yes, but do-able. The circuits had a lot of exercises I’d never even heard of before, and I liked trying something new. Shaun T. is a good leader for this kind of thing, too–he’s just the right amount of pushy.


There’s a meal plan that goes along with it, too, and I tried to follow it fairly closely. I’m a bit of a picky eater, so there were some suggested meals I didn’t like as written, but did like when I used one of the substitutions listed in the back. I loved smoked salmon, so I did the lox and bagel one a lot, and I would sometimes substitute it for something like turkey. The pizza English muffin is another one I enjoyed, and this gave me a lot of ideas for healthy meals even when not doing Insanity.


All this said, I was definitely ready to be done with it by the end. Even though there are several different DVDs that go into this, I got tired of the same routines eventually. And it was HARD trying to find time six days out of seven to do it- so I’m even more satisfied to say that I never did miss an Insanity workout. Even when I went to New York, I brought my laptop and the DVDs with me and did the workouts in the hotel!
Since I’ve finished it, I’ve been trying to do a bunch of different types of exercise…but that’s a topic for another post.

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