Yesterday I finished the last day of my Insanity Workout and I am euphoric about making it all the way through to the end. It was tough. You can find out just how tough by reading about my Insanity journey from being a sedentary lounge-around to a full-on exercise freak.
Before I started Insanity training and during the time I was working through the fitness programme, I read a lot of reviews about the Insanity exercise system. Much of what I read was very useful and similar to my own Insanity journey, but there were some things that I found out for myself that I just wasn’t prepared for.
Here are a few tips that many Insanity reviews fail to tell you.
You will begin to see some results very quickly
Within a week I was feeling more poised and purposeful, I felt like my posture was better and my stomach had stopped jiggling.
Do not underestimate the importance of following a good diet plan
You need to be eating clean fuel and lots of it. Calculate your calorie requirements using the Harris Benedict equation and make sure that you eat often. Also, ideally, you should take in more than half of your daily calories by 3pm. Low calories means low energy – and get your rest too.
Land softly and keep your form
Nothing will hurt your progress more than getting an injury and not being able to continue. Insanity is tough on your knees and ankles, so make sure you land softly and if you’re flagging and your form is failing, then stop and regain your strength. Do not, no matter what, risk an injury.
Do not pause the machine
Don’t hit that pause button to get more rest, you’re just cheating yourself. Sure, you may need to take some breaks at the beginning, but once you have a few sessions under your belt, things will get a whole lot better.
Fast forward to the warm up
There’s a lot of preamble on the DVDs, you can skip through the health warning, the ad for the WOWY online gym and also Shaun T’s intro, so you’re straight into the warm up. This saves you at least five minutes of time.
Gulp that air in
If you’re starting to flag on an exercise and nearly ready to give in, blast all the air out of your lungs and suck in a big gulp of air. It’s amazing how much this can stimulate you and give you another 20 seconds or more of energy. Try it!
Get good clothes
I started out by buying a decent pair of cross training exercise shoes, which really made a difference. What I didn’t do was buy good exercise clothes. I started out with some basic gym shorts and a cotton training vest. The shorts were a bit restrictive on some of the hamstring stretches and the cotton vest just held sweat and got really nasty. Insanity workouts are heavy duty, grueling workouts and you need to have the right gear. I ended up buying an endurance running tshirt that wicks away moisture and a pair of MMA fighting shorts, which gave me a huge level of mobility – I would definitely recommend getting MMA shorts for Insanity workouts.
Month one is easy
You won’t realise it till month two, but month one is a walk in the park. The workouts don’t last all that long, averaging around 35 to 40 minutes a session. They make you work hard. Very hard, but the workout schedule is created to build you up to the apocalypse that hits your body in the second month. You will feel like you can’t do it anymore. The exercise sessions stretch to as long as an hour and they are a lot more complex to perform. And the days when you have to do two sets of different workouts will definitely destroy any other day that you can remember where you thought you’d done the most physically demanding activity.
You will be buzzing
Finishing month one gave me such a kick! I was elated by my progress. Easing off in the recovery week was great too, and I repeated the same session six days in a row, so was able to compare my progress very easily. Month two hit me like a 300mph brick wall. Dang, I wanted to give up on more than one session. I almost did, but I hung in there and completed every session. The intense difficulty made me angry, the physical impossibility of keeping up with Shaun T and the Insanity crew the first times I tried almost made me cry! But every time I hung in there and I would dig deeper. And at the end of every workout I was buzzing with happiness, triumphant and revved up that I had made it through to the end. Do not give up and you will be buzzing!
Drink a workout formula instead of water when you’re tired
You’re probably going to need at least a pint of water when you start digging into month two. Sometimes you’re going to feel more tired when you start a session. Go for it anyway, do not dodge a session because you’re not 100% up for it, but to help you on your way add some maltodextrin powder and a soluble electrolytes tablet to your water to help you blast on through.
Expect to get a lot of muscle definition
If you are looking to bulk up a lot, Insanity is not really the exercise program for you. Insanity will give you more muscle definition, though your muscles will get a bit bigger. This is an extreme cardio workout interspersed with some bodyweight strength training. You will be stronger and bigger, but your new look will define all of the muscles in your body while simultaneously cutting your body fat down. Because of this your body will tend toward a very athletic look.
You will build up serious cardio endurance
When I did the fit test for the first time, my heart was pounding and I could hardly breathe. However, as I completed each consequent fit test I began to get stronger. A lot stronger. Every Insanity workout will be a challenge, shooting your heart rate through the roof, but as your cardio strength improves, you will begin to welcome it like an old friend.
It’s a mental thing
The truth is that Insanity is tough, but it is doable. More of it is mental rather than physical, you just need to dig in there and stick with it. You can do it. Dig Deeper y’all!!!
…and don’t forget your water and your towel each and every time!
How have you been getting on with your Insanity training? What did you learn that you never expected?
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