Insanity

7 Aug

ImageA pair of sneakers, a calf sleeve, a few weak knee moments, and the most painful shin splints later, I have finished the Insanity program. For two months I stayed away from the gym and instead I made the dark guest room with the dingy, dog-hair covered carpet my cardio studio. And although I failed to take before and after pictures, I feel a written recap is in order.

I am a total gym rat. Ask anyone who knows me and they will agree (probably followed by an eye roll). So when I started to get sick of my hour cardio, half-hour of weights, and abs routine, I became nervous. WHAT WAS HAPPENING!? With the summer coming up I decided to try something new. It came down to P90x and Insanity, and since the latter was 60 days versus the former’s 90, I decided to take on Insanity (the lazy move of the unlazy people? Seems ironic to me). Eventually, after taking a rather long break from the active life, I got myself an eBay account and ordered Insanity.

The day it came I was pumped up and ready to start. As a fairly fit girl I was ready to lose slightly more fat and gain more muscle – particularly in my arms, which, besides the fact that I use them every day, have been the bane of my existence. No matter how many tricep workouts I do, they simply don’t get thinner. They’re either bigger with muscle or flabbier with fat. I could really write a novel on the subject. But in any case, if Insanity could not fix them, I was willing to fully surrender and blame genetics.

When I popped in the first DVD, I was surprised to see it was only thirty-something minutes long. How would I ever feel fulfilled after such a short workout? Well, after the first round of the warm-up I was about ready to take that DVD and launch it at trainer Shaun T.’s head. The feeling did not go away as I did round two of the warm-up…and round three. Good God, the warm-up was a workout in itself. After the stretch that was anything but a relaxing break, I embarked on the hardest 15 minute workout of my life. And I did the same the next day, and the next day, and the next.

Every day was a challenge. Most days I attempted to “dig deeper” as Shaun T. requested, but others, I had to admit, I flailed around or crashed on the carpet in utter exhaustion. At the start of each workout I would think, “There’s no way I can do this,” ESPECIALLY when month two started and the workouts were an hour long. Yet, I somehow always did it. And after every workout I was drowned in my own sweat (and tears).

I realize that I’m making it sound like I hate Insanity, but I don’t. I can’t say that I loved the program. Quite frankly, I got bored sometimes and missed people watching at the gym. But I am so glad I did it. When I started, I predicted I would last two weeks. But here I am, having completed the full program, and I am so proud of myself. I rarely feel accomplished when it comes to fitness and my body, but I’ve done something undeniably incredible. Although I don’t see the change in my body, I feel the change. My legs are so much stronger, my butt feels like a rock (sort of) and my abs are even harder than they were before. On top of that, I had seriously huge improvements in every single strength move in the fit test (done at the beginning and end of the program). The proof was on the paper.

Yet, even with all the aforementioned accomplishments, I don’t feel all that great. I’ve been hungrier from the intense workouts, and in turn I’ve been eating a lot more. I made the mistake of weighing myself a few weeks ago and was completely turned off by the number I saw. I understand that a portion of that weight gain is from muscle, but I still find it hard to accept. As a girl with her share of body image issues, that number bothered me endlessly. It upset me that I was ruminating on a number on the scale. I was stronger and fitter and I knew that a number should not matter. I started thinking about what I wanted in my body and what body members of society generally strive for. We want to be skinny, yet we want to be strong. We want to have definition in our abs and legs, yet we don’t want to eat the food our body calls for prior to an intense workout. I liked how my legs were starting to look, but the fact that it was becoming harder to fit into my size six jeans was pissing me off. How could I work so hard and go up a size?

There are a lucky few in this world that can achieve the toned yet skinny look, and I am not one of them. I recognize this, but I have yet to accept it. Yet, while I’m engrossed in the fact that my jeans don’t fit, I haven’t stopped working out my legs in an attempt to shrink them. To me, that says it all. My passion for fitness reigns.

Now that I am done with Insanity I’m not sure what I am going to do. On Tuesday, I decided to go for an early morning walk before work. I took my usual walking route, weaving through the back roads and climbing the hills. Afterwards, I did an old abs routine. It was a workout, but not a very intense one. Despite that, my ass still hurts today from scaling the hills and my abs are sore from the different moves. The unexpected pain reminds me of how much I adore fitness – with all the different muscle groups you have no idea what you’re working and what you’re not working. And while Insanity might be a kick-ass workout, something as simple as a brisk walk works you in a totally different way. And of course, the psychological benefit of some early air and the freshly risen sun peeking through the trees can’t be beat.

So thank you Shaun T. Besides potentially lowering my IQ due to your poor grammar, or teaching me how one should address oneself in the third person, you gave me an incredible workout and a better understanding of my body and its capabilities. And maybe if I had been able to completely stay away from all the tempting foods surrounding me this summer, or had the guts to take before and after pictures, I would have truly seen the difference in my body. But hey, perhaps I’ll see more improvement the next time around – except for my arms that is; because we’re officially blaming those guys on genetics.      

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