So yes, I have decided to undertake the INSANITY workout alongside my friend Grace, an incredibly intense 60 day cardio/calisthenics/plyometric regimen put together by Shaun T and meant to whip your body into shape. With the holiday season coming up, I’ve decided not to wait till the beginning of January to get into shape–instead, I’m going to roll right through the holidays while working out like a mad man and eating as much healthy food as I can. Wish me luck!
For more information on just what kind of madness I’ve signed up for, check out our Shaun T INSANITY page.
Day #1 INSANITY Fit Test
I have to admit that I was a strange blend of nervousness and confidence going into the Fit Test. I’d been anticipating starting Shaun T’s INSANITY for over a week, and finally the day was here. I’d heard so much about the workout that I was intimidated-would I be able to keep up? On the other hand, this was just the Fit Test, a mere thirty minutes that would probably involve warm up and cool down. How hard could it be? I’d just go as hard as I could, do my best, and cruise on through to the other side.
Or so I thought.
The Fit Test has a simple set up. Shaun T walks you through each exercise, and then has two backup friends do the actual test as he motivates you. Having those two backups is incredibly useful-it allows Shaun T to focus on you through the screen, and gives you a basis of comparison for yourself as each reveals how many reps they accomplished that round, and how that compared to the first time they did the test.
So you start off with a warm up. Easy enough. Jogging on the spot, and then you begin to quickly cycle through jumping jacks, high knees, side leaps and more. By the end of the warm up I was already short on breath and my brow was slick with sweat. Didn’t help that I was working out in my garage which has poor ventilation. Five minutes in, and I turned to look at Grace. Both of us were grinning nervously. What had we let ourselves in for?
One thing I immediately noticed was that both Grace and I had already transitioned out of feeling goofy and laughing at how up beat the whole setup was to suddenly getting our game faces on. This was clearly going to be a question of survival. So when Shaun T started the test and launched us into the switch kicks, there was no longer any time or energy to spare on feeling self conscious.
Switch Kicks. Rough, but not too bad. Then, a quick breather, and we were thrown into the Power Jacks. And that’s when it really hit me as to why INSANITY was going to be so rough. You don’t have enough time between workouts to re-equilibrate. Just as your breath is starting to struggle back under control, you’re thrown into the next workout. Power Jacks. And then Power Knees.
By the time we hit Globe Jumps (which are particularly brutal on a concrete floor) we were both slick with sweat. INSANITY promises to make you work out in a puddle of your own sweat, and by then I believed it. By the time I finished my last Globe Jump, I was gasping. Sweat wasn’t dripping off me, but I knew it was a matter of time.
That’s also about when I noticed how cleverly Shaun T had put these exercises together. You go from working out your legs to transitioning to your upper body to finally locking into your core, a smooth progression that feels natural and continues to gradually pick up the intensity until by the end of the Fit Test you’re on fire. But the benefit is that by the time you get to the tough upper body exercises like the Suicide Jumps you’re revved up, good to go, and you can fully launch yourself into them.
Push up Jacks weren’t so bad for me, but in a way that’s a deceptive benefit; the better you are at an exercise, the harder you can push yourself, and the more out of breath and beat you are by the end of that minute. By the time we settled into Low Plank Oblique I was a dripping sweat, fighting to keep my breath and all my muscles were burning. I powered through the Low Plank Obliques, losing steam as I got to the 50 second mark, and then with a sudden manic burst of energy busting out some final 10 in the last ten seconds before collapsing to my knees, forehead to the floor, eyes closed, inhaling air, gulping it down as if I had been drowning.
But man it felt good. Comparing my results to the male backup, I saw that I’d kept up. That I was in sufficiently good condition to do the INSANITY test, right on the cusp so that I would reap the most benefits. Light headed, legs trembling, I forced myself to not sit down and instead follow Shaun T through the cool down. Unbelievably, Grace was doing great, having fired up her system to the point where she was now ready for more. All those years of yoga were really paying off. Me? I was ready for a cold shower and to put my feet up.
Or I would have been if I wasn’t so excited about what we had just done, and what lay in store. Tomorrow is the first real INSANITY workout. I’ve still got that blend of nervousness and confidence, but a small voice is telling me that I can do this. That I can dig deeper, that I can push through. And while that voice doesn’t sound exactly like Shaun T, I’ve got a feeling that it’s his confidence and encouragement that’s going to play the deciding factor in this endeavour.