Insanity – The First Week

I said the other day that I had started Insanity, a Shaun T work out routine. Some folks know, from Facebook or Twitter or in real life, that I have been on a quest to get healthy and fit again.

I was very unhealthy a year ago. I had gone from a very fit, very active man while I was in the Army (and after) to incredibly unhealthy and struggling with weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and all the other things that let you know you are in poor health. I was 45, obese and unhappy. Last June I started on a journey to change all of that.

I will write more about all of that later. I think this is not an unusual thing for a middle aged executive, and perhaps my tale can help someone else. In any case, for now suffice it to say that I lost the weight (from 218 to 185), got the blood sugar and pressure under control and got in shape again. Not fantastic shape, but good enough to pass the Army’s Physical Fitness Test by last fall. Then I decided to tackle Tony Horton’s Power90 as my next step. That definitely took me to a new level of fitness, but still not what I want.

I still have some belly that needs to go and I want to be at a level of fitness like when I was in the Army. Power90 would have been a good recovery day workout back then. And that’s what I want now. So, I started Insanity.

Insanity is a very advanced workout. It consists of two 4 week phases, separated by a 1 week recovery period. Every two weeks, on day 1, 15, etc you take a fitness test. The fitness test day consists of a 7 minute warmup, 5 minutes of stretching and a 8 exercise test. The exercises are things like push-up jacks and switch kicks. The fit test day is a pretty serious workout all by itself.

The normal Insanity days for the first four weeks consist of four different workouts, in rotation: Plyometric Cardio Circuit, Cardio Power & Resistance, Pure Cardio + Abs ad Cardio Recovery. Each of these is 40 +/- minutes long. They are all set up the same way. First you do 10 minutes of warm-up, things like run in place, butt kicks, jumping jacks and so forth. You break a good sweat by the end of that. Then about 6 minutes of Hatha Yoga level stretching, tons of focus on balance and core, plus serious stretching of all major muscles.

Now, once the warm-up is done, it’s on to the real workout. Let me tell you, warm-up and stretching is already serious. You’ve burnt well over 200 calories, are dripping sweat and could be happily done with your work out now. In fact, when I was in the Army, at this point we would go run 3-4 miles. Well, instead of running, you are going to do 20 minutes of very advanced cardio that also happens to work on power and core strength. We are talking about pushups, plyometrics, in and outs, basketball jumps, level 1 and level 2 drills, football sprints and much more. This is all followed by a 4 minute stretch and cool down.

This is a very intense workout. Intense to the point where I have nearly thrown up two mornings this week. I finish the workouts drenched in sweat, shirt off, shaking and basically completely done. I immediately need a cup of berries to get some sugar energy in me. Today, after having done 6 days of Insanity (Fit Test, Plyo Circuit, Cardio Power, Cardio Recovery, Pure Cardio, Plyo Circuit) I feel like I did at the end of my first week of Basic Training. My body is weak and sore, but I can feel deep down the changes in my core muscles and my cardio performance. I can’t wait for Week Two.

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