I’m writing this post the next day. I did the second INSANITY workout yesterday evening, and woke up this morning feeling like somebody had spent the night beating me up with an iron skillet. My hamstrings seem to have shortened by two inches, my feet are sore, my lats are smoldering, and my shoulders feel tight. Cardio & Plyometrics is a tough, tough workout. And it looks like I’m a secret masochist, because I’m gunning for tonight’s workout. Somehow, for some bizarre reason, despite the pain and soreness and stiffness I’m loving the INSANITY workout.

Before I jump into the workout itself, I just want to comment on my diet and appetite. Before starting INSANITY I was cruising along with a minimum of exercise, coasting on a previous stint of resistance training that had lasted me several months during the summer. I’d lost some weight, my appetite was down, and my energy levels alternated between sluggish and plain normal. The day before the Fit Test I hit the grocery store and bought a bunch of the recommended food stuffs (can we say salmon, asparagus, broccoli, etc?) and on Monday I ate a metric ton. Tuesday, I ate even more. After the Cardio & Plyo workout I ate two salmon wraps (my own concoction, and incredibly delicious) and this morning inhaled a massive bowl of cottage cheese, fruit, crushed flaxseed and granola. My point is this: three days in, and my appetite has tripled, I’m feeling sore as all get-out, but deep down, I’m already feeling great.

SO. The actual workout. Cardio & Plyo starts off with the same warm up from the Fit Test. If you recall from my first post, the warm up is no joke. And any urge to giggle is immediately destroyed when you realize that Shaun T makes you do it 3 times in a row, each time increasing the speed and intensity. By the time I’d finished the warm up, I was already gasping and covered in sweat. Which made the stretch that followed it so incredibly delicious and welcome. While I had trouble holding the yoga poses (that’s basically what they are, a mix of triangle and warrior poses meant to open up the hips and extend the ham strings), I relished the break. Because I knew worse was coming.

And come it did. My memory of what I ended up doing for those next twenty minutes is a bit hazy. I know that it involved circuits of different movements, ranging from squats to mountain climbers to side shuffles and more, but they’ve blurred into a series of high knees, side jumps, gasping and sweating. I managed to hang in there, working my way solidly through the first half, but then Shaun switched things up and we started doing the football drills.

Football drills. I’ve never played American Football, but now I feel sorry for those guys. I could do little more than zombie shuffle my feet up and down when I was supposed to be on my toes, and when we hit the basketball drills I was reeling. Jumpshots for ten seconds, and then down to bust out four pushups, then sprint your feet eight times while in the pushup, then up for another jump, and then back down, then more, and more, and more until you just collapse, forehead against the ground, heaving and trying to get back up.

The worst, the best, is that you’ll do each set three times, each time increasing the intensity, until you can’t give any more. And then, on the last set, Shaun immediately transitions into some crazy and extreme exercise, and forces you to give more than you thought was ever possible. At the end of the basketball drills, when your shoulders and core are a blasted inferno, having done ski jump plank crunches until you want to die, he forces you to start hopping your feet up next to your hands, still holding the push up position, and then back out into plank. And then hop them back up. Then out. And up. And out. Over. And over. And this is when your arms water, your shoulders are jellied, you can’t breathe, you can’t think. In. And then out. In, and then out. For ever.

I wish I could say I managed to stick with it the whole way, but I couldn’t. I had several moments where I simply knelt there, head down, sweat dripping to the ground, my lungs heaving like bellows. I always tried to throw myself back in, but it’s evident, painfully, clearly, gloriously evident that I have a lot of room for growth. It was some consolation to a number of Shaun’s backup exercisers also take breaks, but man oh man. Rough!

When we finally settled down into the cool down stretches, I was floating. I don’t think I’ve ever been as drenched in sweat, reeling and euphoric at the same time. Because if I can stick with this for sixty days, if I can push through and hold on, then I know I am going to reap some incredible rewards.

And oh—let me finish with a quick word on Shaun T as a fitness coach. Amazing. He keeps up a dialogue the whole time, encouraging you, yelling at you, cajoling you, ordering you to dig deeper, to push through, telling you that he’s right there with you, to not give up, to try harder. And it’s amazing what a difference it makes. As the music gets more intense and your lungs are burning and your eyes are closed against the stinging sweat in your face and you’re on the verge of collapsing, hearing Shaun’s voice pushing you, pushing you just a little further makes an incredible difference. Tonight is the third workout.

Wish me luck.


If you want to read my first experience with the INSANITY workout, here’s the link to my Fit Test post.