Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The end... of Insanity

So, I am done, finished, the Insanity program. I've "enjoyed" it, which means I think it has helped me especially in core strength. I didn't take pictures, weigh myself, nor measure anything prior to starting the program so I don't have measurables to say it has worked this well or whatever. But it was never about that for me, it was about trying something outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to get away from just running and this was a good stepping stone to do some more weight training.

I haven't done the last fit test yet but may try to do so this week, we shall see. Again not a goal but would be interesting to see if there was improvement over the last one I did.

The take aways for me are:

  • To keep doing some of the workouts from the program a few times a week.
  • See if I can turn the improved core strength into better running and soccer.
And on that note, I did a 45 minute run today and aside from a little soreness or stiffness in my knee and IT band my lungs felt great, not taxed and my pace was the same as 2 months ago, so it seems I didn't lose ground. Not sure I gained ground either but that's okay.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The LAST Week

It's here, the last week of Insanity and I'm happy to see it. Not that I haven't enjoyed, perhaps a strong word, it, but rather 56 days or 8 weeks of 6 times a week is a lot of work. Not too much, but with work and other things going on it can be a challenge to remain consistent and committed to it. But, with 4 sessions to go plus the last Fit Test, the end is in sight!

It sucks the last session and Fit Test will be in a Hotel, but I've before so not a huge deal just a minor inconvenience. I'm quite interested to see the results of the Fit Test since I haven't done one since the 2nd one. I find it hard to tell through the weeks the gains I'm making because every session is tough, as it should be. I still hate Floor Switch Kicks! Level 3 and Full-body workout are off the Christmas card list. I have enjoyed being this active this often combined with the other things I do, minus runs, which I'll pick up again next week.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Week 7: 12 sessions to go...

I've graduated from Days to Weeks, largely because I haven't been posting daily anymore. There are only so many times you can write that the session has kicked your butt! However, my main travel is done, although there is a possibility of a Texas swing coming up shortly, so workouts will be easier. I did lose 2 workouts while I was away last week. Mainly because 11 hours in the car didn't make for me to want to exercise. Space was limited in my room but I did mange to get one session in on Wednesday, but prefer my basement for doing Insanity.

I missed one main workout and the recovery workout. I got my Friday workout in and Saturday was to be the Core Cardio and Balance or substitute with the Max Interval Sports. Initially, I was going to do Core Cardio and was all set to go, but decided to toss in MIS. Core Cardio was 37 minutes long and MIS 53 or so and I did feel like getting a good hard session in. I figured even if it was too tough I could at least make it through 37 minutes, so away I went with MIS.

MIS is different in a few ways:
  1. No Warm-up like we are use to, although we always progress through the sets wisely with a slower set before progressing.
  2. No Stretching in the beginning. I don't think it had a negative impact, but more on that later. 
  3. Rather than the 3 sets of about 4 exercises (typically the last set has a superset added for fun) it was a sequence of sport styled cycles: Boxing, Football, Basketball, Gymnastics, and Track.
I liked the uniqueness of this session. Like all of them there is lots of fatigue and failure late in sets, but new movements and the variety was welcomed. I did feel extra stiffness/soreness yesterday and today mainly in my quads (soreness) and back (stiffness), which I attribute to Saturday's session. I did supervise my 7 y/o to be nephew's swimming party on Sat. but that was mainly treading water and walking through water. And played football Sun., but that doesn't typically bring out this soreness.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day ??: A Change

For me, this is Day 31, I think, and if I was following the schedule this would've been my 3rd day of Cardio and Balance in the recovery week between Month 1 and Max Month 2. However, I decided to forgo this Recovery week and jump right into Month 2. I had a couple of what I think are good reasons for it neither of which are macho related.

Reason 1: I felt like I was recovering quickly from the workouts and after that first week when I had lingering muscle soreness, I was always ready for the next days workout. Further, I have been coupling all the workouts with my normal activities: Monday-Soccer; Tuesday-Curling; Wednesday-Basketball; Friday-Soccer; Sunday-Football. As well, 40-60 minute walk for the dogs each day or most.

Reason 2: And really the primary reason was I didn't want to lose momentum. Next week I will be travelling most of the week for work and will be sharing a hotel room so getting my workouts in will be much more of a challenge. I figured if I'd already been through the hard stuff once I'd be more motivated to find a way to get it done while on the road.

So, I've done Max Interval, Plyo, and Cardio Conditioning and they are all hard (er). The Floor Switch kicks in Interval are near impossible for me, at least to get the bounce rhythm they do, I'm hopeful by the end I'll be able to do a few like them. These sessions seem to put movements together, which is hard and more fun, I think. Certainly have experienced some muscle soreness again, which is telling me I'm getting at some muscles or depth of exercise I wasn't in the first month.

I found Cardio Conditioning was hard but had a "fair" flow to it. Just when you were nearing exhaustion, Shaun T would throw it a couple of exercises that gave you some cardio recovery but work some deep muscle or muscles deeply.

All in all hard but good! I'll do the 3rd Fit test Sunday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 24: First Insanity on the road

The good news is I did the Plyometric session on the road. The space was quite tight and a little treacherous when my sweating was added to hardwood floor. So, my feet slide a lot in push-up type exercises but all in all a successful workout. I was also concerned with making a lot of noise as I stayed in a B&B, but apparently I wasn't overly noising or breaking plaster!

Tomorrow will be another on the road, but in two weeks it will be tougher task to get them done, but am hopeful I will get them all in.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 22: Fourth Week!

I've made it this far, the beginning of week 4, the mid-point in view and a set of new workouts (apparently harder) to look forward to after the recovery week. My musings for this week and that first "MAX" week are around the added difficulty of being on the road this week for 3 workouts and then in two weeks probably 4 or 5 of them.

It will make timing a bit more difficult, but should I figure it out I should be able to find away to find time for the rest of the workouts to come. I think the single greatest benefit of doing this program is that I can find the time to workout 6 days a week if I choose to. For me it is easier than many as I don't have kids, but even still most can find 45-60 minutes a day if they want to. Not always easy but possible.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 20: They just don't get easier

Even though I know the movements well at this point, I think I;m more tired at the end of each session, which I guess signals that I continue to push myself. 3 weeks are in the books and at this point I wish I'd taken stock of my body prior to starting. No photos taken, no stepping on a scale, no muscle measurements. It would have been interesting to see if the program is transforming my body at all. I haven't changed my diet, so even if strength of muscles is improving I'm probably not dropping a ton of body fat.

The whole "conflicted runner" blog title is because I want to run long distances, yet I don't want to give up on my other sports, most importantly soccer, which has made it hard to run to the extent I want without injury. All that is to say, that I'm still in that place while doing Insanity. I want to do all the things I do plus Insanity and it can be a little tough. Little groin injuries, back bothering me some still, etc. I have successfully stayed away from running while I'm doing the program, though during the recovery week I'm thinking of going for a couple.

My rest day tomorrow will include touch football!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Day 19: Still Working

Day 18 was a recovery workout day and it felt fine. So I will leave it at that.

Today was power and resistance, a fair bit og jumping and push-up work in this session. My back is still bother me a little so I'm trying to be careful. The biggest area of concern was the very last movement, which is hop squats/push-ups super sets. 8 squats/8 push-ups and repeat for about 4 sets. It isn't the movements that are concerning here it is that it is the final exercise and trying to push it can lead to forgoing form in the push-ups. I think I did okay with it, but back is a tiny bit more sore than before doing it.

Soccer game tonight, so we'll see how the back holds up to it and to tomorrow's session!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Day 17: Happy Day

Well it was a happy workout day because my back didn't stop me from working out. I was certainly cautious and paid more attention to keeping my core tight, which frankly wasn't a bad thing. I certainly was  cautious with up and down movements, of which there are plenty, but the good news is that my back actually felt better after the work.

I was concerned for the Cardio Abs and the "C" position, but that was okay too. So, a success all in all. Now, we'll see how it holds up to basketball tonight!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Day 16: Back to the grind

Into the 3rd week of Insanity and the tedium of known workouts; however, they never fail to beat you into submission. Sure, I do more and faster and usually better, but in the end I'm wiped! The third set of the second series of movements knocks me down and barely lets me up to do the fighting movements. The biggest trouble is for today's workout is I think I've hurt my back, likely due to poor form somewhere along the way.

I'm hopefully this will not stop me from sticking with it. I don't want to have to take days off, I fear that would derail the Insanity train fully.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Day 15: 2nd Fit Test

This was the first mark in the sand to see how the improvement was coming along, although, I think the next fit test is a better determinant because the first test was learning the movements as well as the intensity of it. So, the results are in and certainly there was improvement in most areas or exercises.


Switch Kicks: 80 --> 112
Power Jacks: 51 --> 70
Power Knees: 92 --> 109
Power Jumps: 43 --> 43
Globe Jumps: 10 --> 12
Suicide Jumps: 14 --> 23
Push-up Jacks: 22 --> 34
Lower Plank Oblique: 42 --> 63

Flat on the Power Jumps and decent improvement beyond that. My assumption is that this test will provide the greatest gains and the next ones will be smaller gains and probably some more flat scores. Week 3 starts in earnest with the next workout, which I'm sure will cause drooling or something similar!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Day 12: Small Movement, big gain

Today was pure cardio coupled for the first time with Cardio Abs, a super set of Shaun T if you'll allow. Pure cardio was of course a really good sweat, and after almost 2 weeks I feel strongly that I will never be not tired because as the movements become more second nature and my strength/endurance increases I am able to work harder longer. As always, the ending few sets are the most difficult, but that is largely common sense. Which brings me to Cardio Abs, the new session.

Certainly, a change was welcomed, the warm-up seemed tough because I just had finished pure cardio. I found the ab work in the "C" position somewhat uncomfortable for my back. It may take some getting use to is all and finding the best/right position. The middle set involves a fair bit of straight and bent leg movements, which felt hard and good. Finally, plank work! I don't mind plank exercises, and this set offers, at the end, a small but significant movement that really feels like it is working... it is starting in a low plank and basically pulling your belly button towards your chin (not a good description probably) while you stay in the plank. It is a very small range of motion movement but can really be felt. Then you move to an up plank and do the same... 3 or 4 reps of that and the burn is on!

Soccer tournament on the weekend! Next post likely Monday after the fit test, I wonder what it will show?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day 11: A Change-up

For the reason mentioned yesterday, I skipped the Cardio Recovery and replaced it with Power and Resistance work-out. I've written about it twice so will not bore more than usual. I'll say I believe I'm doing more before succumbing to fatigue. This work-out was hampered a little by a bruised finger and a pulled groin suffered at basketball. Oh well, all in a days exercising!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Day 10: Seriously?

Forget all I said about other work-outs being the hardest. This is the one... well until I do the next workout, if the pattern remains. I thought, this will be tough but I'm getting the hang of it. While this is true, the second set Shaun T puts you through here: Basketball, Level 1, Ski Abs, and In/Out push-ups is brutal!

Basketballs are no problem, can always finish that one up. But by the second set Level 1's have me beat up and dragging to even begin the Ski Abs. When the third set comes around I am begging the carpet that I'm kneeling on to tell Shaun T where to place his In/Outs! Just to keep us completely toasted we finish up with some fighting-based arm movements. I think this is the hardest, but I'm positive I'll change my mind tomorrow or the day after.

On another note, I'm about to make this all harder. Going to play basketball today as well, which will give a nice little afterburn, I think. Plus, tomorrow's recovery day will be bumped out and I'll bring Friday's into Thursday and Saturday into Friday, because I have an indoor soccer tournament on the weekend out of town. With the fitness looming on Monday, we shall see if all this hurts or not.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Day 9: Pure Reminder!

I remember thinking and maybe also typing that I didn't find Pure Cardio too overly hard. Well, maybe I was premature and more likely, this time around I was more capable at doing more. Dripping sweat everywhere during and after this one. I think it is the suicide jumps, Level 2 (8 push-ups, push-up run for 8, get up jump, get down and repeat), frog jumps that really bring this session to a hard close.

Head is scrambled so those probably aren't even the ending ones, just the ones burned in my mind. I think I'm pushing harder at the sets and lasting longer and breaking shorter. More than likely, by the time I feel confident in these workouts we will have moved on to the second 30 days and new and harder workouts, Joy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Day 8: 2nd time Power & Resistance

Day 7 of the Insanity program is a rest day; but, I was out in the morning with about 10 buddies playing touch football on a half frozen field, This biggest trouble being cracking me knee on the first play of the game when I slip on the ice. Fortunately, just bruised and no other major falls to speak of over the 2 hours.

Day 8 was the 2nd time doing this session and I did find it tough, at times tough to pull myself off the floor (I think I drooled and I may have actually spit on the carpet. I must go check and clean it up now that I have blood rushing to my brain again). I was able to get through most of the exercises full out through the warm-up and the initial round of movements - exception being the tricep dips. I just have trouble getting the position. I can sort of do it for the first movement but when the leg goes up, nope can't hold it. Maybe the next time will be better.

The second set of movements is challenging with the hurdles, globe jumps, moving push-ups and the like, but definitely better than last week! Bridging the off day to start the 2nd week is a good step to going 60 days on this.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 6: End of Week 1!

So, for those following along, this is the last of the first week of Insanity. This the second time to have done the Cardio Power circuit and it is still very hard; however, it was better than the first time through. This session has two distinct sets of movements, the first set is close to fully doable albrit still hard. The second set kicks mu butt. A lot of pushup exercises back to back to back.

My legs aren't nearly as sore, but we'll see how next week goes!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Day 5: Pure Cardio

This is set up on the video to be feared and it is tough, as they basically all are. After the warm-up, it is about 20 minutes or so of set after set, all or most which are 1 minute long of a variety of movements. Power Jacks, Suicide run, suicide jumps, ski down, etc. Oh and plenty of push-ups.

I found there were places where I needed to rest at the start of a set because the previous one was tough, then I'd get at it and maybe rest a little more, especially push up movements. Certainly, I got a good sweat on and I believe I'm feeling some of the benefits in constantly thinking about my core and engaging it. A big test today as I have a soccer game later tonight and it will be interesting to see how my legs feel after 5 days of this program.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 4: Cardio Recovery

Essentially, this is break day with some isometric twists! It is a shorter session at just over 30 minutes and it focuses on controlled movements not speed. Further, it uses pulses after long isometric contractions to burn your quads. I am very inflexible so much of the yoga style stretches are tough for me to get into and even harder to hold. So, long as I don't pull a muscle attempting, I imagine these stretches could potentially help me.

All in all, an easy session. What will tomorrow bring?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 3 of Insanity...

...was pretty tough.

My calves, which I tend to have some tightness issues with anyway, are really tight and sore. I wasn't even 100% certain I'd be able to do today's session, but I gave it a go and they loosened up enough through the workout to do it. Today's fun was Cardio Power and Resistance, excitement personified in a workout! Maybe not, but there sure were a couple of movements that I found nearly impossible.

Tricep dips in a crab like position and the same but with one leg with your sole facing the ceiling straight up. The former, I could do a bit, but it felt uncomfortable (not a lot of arm flexibility). The latter darn near undoable for me. I may have managed a handful of them. Maybe I will be able to do more the next time this session comes around. Another hard effort in the books and I'm sure more areas of my body will be sore tomorrow but feeling pretty good about it still.

However, unless otherwise proven, I feel this is a spot training program unless there is a good maintenance plan out there. I feel it would be far too boring to do this over and over again past 60 days and the commitment to go 6 days a week every week is difficult for most I would imagine. Maybe 2 or 3 times a week would be sufficient to maintain.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Insanity?! Days 1 & 2

Well, my brother-in-law, Shawn and I have decided to give Insanity a go to see how it will help get us in shape. We are doing the work-outs on our own but are on the same schedule, at least after 2 days of 60 we are. It all starts with the Fit Test, which feels like a killer. I consider myself to be in decent shape ( I run a few times a week, play basketball once a week, soccer 1 or 2 times a week, Curl once a week, touch football once a week, and take the dogs for a walk most days), but the fit test knocked me down!

I got back up but only after 1.5 liters of water and about 45 minutes of barely moving. I had a decent supper but the Spanish Chorizo (only one at that) came back to haunt me during the test and after as a slowly recovered. So, I've learned that doing this program will force me to make wiser food choices just based on survival, so I don't feel ill after the session.

DAY 2 Plyometric Cardio Circuit
It starts off with a warm up that in itself can be challenging. Certainly, these programs are such that you will only get out what you put in, but you need to pace yourself to give you a better chance at making it through the whole session. Warm-up, check. Stretching, check. Then there is a series of movements that you do in succession, 4 I think, then a short rest. You do these for 3 sets (maybe 4) and increase your speed with each set. I always did some in each exercise in each set, but the later sets were really tough.

The second set of exercise where difficult as well and ended with what I'm calling a superset as there were about 6 movements in a row. It ended the high impact stuff with some arm movements that were doable but not easy. Stretching to cap it off. This was hard!

Until tomorrow...