If you go to the ‘P90X or Insanity Workout?‘ post, you’ll see that there are some 120 comments or so. Now, half of them are mine, but they’re all responses to the same basic question: “Am I ready for Insanity/P90X?” What I sense is a lot of excitement, a lot of enthusiasm, but a level of uncertainty as to whether people are ready for such an extreme workout. With good reason! I’m going to focus on Insanity today, but my advice applies to any extreme workout.
First off, a disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor should my advice be used as a substitute for qualified medical advice. Beachbody and Shaun T both believe you should get medical clearance before attempting this workout, and I agree. Take my advice as general guidelines, and go see your doctor! Also, there are about 6 billion variations on the human body out there, walking and talking and breathing right now. My advice cannot apply to them all; for everything I say, there will be ten exceptions. So once again, take this advice as general guidelines, and then apply them intelligently to yourself.
The most important thing to remember when trying to decide whether to do Insanity is that fitness is a life long journey, not a two month stint. People get excited for some reason, say a New Year’s resolution, the desire to impress a new boyfriend, realizing that they can no longer fit in their old jeans–and then suddenly they want to get fit NOW, want to lose weight NOW, need to start working out for four hours a day TODAY. This, people, is not a healthy attitude. While I always applaud the desire to get fit, let’s be realistic. Fitness should be seen as a marathon, not a sprint. Going from 0 to extreme without any prep will simply result in your getting burned out or injured. It’s NOT a question of mental toughness, but rather a basic question of biology. Are your joints sufficiently conditioned for this level of intensity? Do you have dangerously high blood pressure? There are a host of other considerations, but what people need to realize is that your body needs time to get ready for that kind of intensity. Wanting to do it all NOW will simply get your hurt. So relax, take a deep breath, and consider: do you need a warm up program first?
A warm up program is something of intermediate level. Something that will help you shed the first few pounds, help you get your system ramped up, help your bones and tendons and joints prepare for greater intensity. I usually recommend either Power 90 or RevAbs for the guys, or Power 90 or Brazil Butt Lift for the girls. All of them are excellent programs, and can be made as intense as you need them to be so that even a fit athlete can be sorely challenged by them. However, they work well as ‘entrance’ programs, and only take three months to prep you for Insanity.
I can hear you now. “Three months!?!? I don’t want to wait three months! I want results now! I want to be extreme NOW!” And then you go and buy Insanity, bust yourself up, drop out after 3 weeks with a bad knee, and go back to the couch. DON’T BE THAT PERSON. Be smart. Realize that three months will go by in a flash, and then you’ll be able to attack Insanity like a tiger.
So, the question then becomes: how to know if you’re ready or not for Insanity? How to know whether you should do Power 90 first? This is tricky, because there are too many variations out there for me to address them all. One answer is to go ahead and buy Insanity, do the Fit Test, and if it clobbers you, return the product for a full refund (minus shipping and handling). You’ll get to see first hand whether you’re there or not. Realize that the Fit Test is nothing compared the actual workouts, and that if you can’t finish the Fit Test, you’ll be in a world of pain with the actual Insanity Workout.
Second, just think about it: have you been doing exercise regularly this past year? If not, odds are you’re not physically ready for Insanity. If you’re coming back after a nine month break, or a six month break, you’re probably no longer in the right kind of shape. Are you overweight? If you body fat percentage is over 18%, odds are that you’re not ready either. Again, yes, there are exceptions, but in general, that’s a good guideline. Are you recovering from an injury? Wait until you’re recovered. Are you committed to another form of physical activity, like training for a marathon or teaching 4 spinning classes a week? Insanity will probably overload you. Have you never worked out before? Insanity is probably too intense a way to start.
Remember: it’s not a question of desire or willpower. It’s simply a question of whether your body is ready or not. Remember, always speak to your doctor first, and then perhaps buy Insanity and try the Fit Test. Or be wise, be patient, take serious, mature long term view, and buy a warm up program first.
Either way, whenever you are finally ready, Insanity and Shaun T will be there waiting for you.