Thursday, December 16, 2010

Week 1 of Insanity

I started the Insanity Workout just one week ago and I'm going to tell you about what to expect in the first week and what to look forward to for the rest of the first month. If you haven't started the program yet, be warned it is not easy. If you are looking for a muscle building program, this isn't it either. Insanity is a series of CARDIO exercises designed to get your heart rate pumping and to get some major calories burned. Click the link if you want to know more.When I started Insanity I was expecting P90X evolved. I was hoping for a cardio infusion of some basic weight training exercises (like pushups and squats). It is almost this but it is way more cardio then it is strict weight training. P90X was a great fusion of both and is a very well balanced workout program. Insanity takes the cardio from P90X and then adds cardio to the weight portions. Really you can't compare the two programs and so I'll stop there.

In my first week I've sweat at least a gallon a day and that is no joke. I've sweat a lot before but never so much in such a short amount of time. I expected the workouts to be about an hour each day (like P90X) but instead they range from 35-45 min a day with an average closer to 40 minutes. That was a pleasant surprise.

Unfortunately, the workouts make up the time with high intensity. A typical workout starts with a high intensity warm up session that is about 9 minutes long. Then you stretch for 6 minutes and then go into the main workout. The workouts themselves consist of blocks of 3 minutes of intense cardio followed by 30 seconds of water and rest. There are usually 2 or 3 blocks per workout and the third set always has a couple extra exercises tacked on the end just when you desperately want to stop. At the end you get to stretch for another 4 minutes and then call it a day.

The first week started with a fitness test which you use to track your progress throughout the program (you redo the test every two weeks). Then every day you do a different cardio workout, although a lot of exercises appear in different workouts so they feel the same from day to day. The first week had 5 different workouts (excluding the fit test) with one workout doubled up. It seems the first four weeks cycle the same 7 workouts changing the days that you do a workout routine. The program is not as diverse as some other programs, but it is more diverse than most cardio programs that have you do literally the same workout every day of the week. It is also diverse enough that so far in week 1 I'm not bored with the exercises. Of course it is only week 1.

The workouts themselves are very difficult. If you are a beginner in the program don't get discouraged. Just do what you can. It is actually encouraging that during the workouts themselves the people in the video themselves take lots of breaks. In fact during one of the workouts, one guy literally just throws his hands up like he is quitting. The first couple of workouts I was only able to do about 70% of the workout and I didn't feel to bad because everyone in the video was taking lots of breaks. After just one week I'm able to do about 85% of the workout and I feel like I'm right there with the guys in the video. What makes you feel even better is that even at 70% completion you still do more exercise than the trainer, Shaun T. It is kind of funny because I feel like just when he gets too tired to do any more he gets up to walk around and observe the other students.

Expect to do a lot of running (in place) and jumping. There is a lot of squats and pushups as well. Many of the exercises combine multiple moves (like squat jumps or moving pushups) and will greatly fatigue your muscles. I've done some very intense exercise before, but I never really feel this tired after 40 minutes of work. I've even played basketball for 4 hours straight and I wasn't this tired after. Of course I am a little out of shape now, but the exercises change rapidly and provide very little rest so you are constantly moving. The program promotes as many as 1000 calories per workout, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is more like 500 calories. Even still that is a great deal of work, especially for such a short amount of time.

I hope I have not deterred you from trying the program. Given time you will work yourself into being able to complete the workouts. Just be prepared for a very grueling workout and one which should be very rewarding in the long run. I'll update on Insanity in another couple of weeks to let you know how it is going and what has been going on up to that point. Until then stay classy.

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