Yesterday I officially started a new workout program: Insanity Max 30. This is like a condensed version of the Insanity program but harder and, in my opinion, more cardio-based. I’m now two days into the process, and I thought it might be fun to share my thoughts so far. Hopefully I can read this after 60 days and look at how far I’ve come.
Day 1: Cardio Challenge.
I feel like this photo sorta sums up how I felt. EXHAUSTED. While I don’t look sweaty in this photograph, I can assure you that it was pouring down. This workout is probably one of the hardest I’ve ever done, next to Kam’s classes in Pittsburgh. It seems to tap my heart rate the most. At many times throughout, I just wondered if I’d ever catch my breath again. My heart was beating FAST.
As you can see, I “maxed-out” early (this is the point when you have to stop and take a break or modify). The five-minute intro itself is dizzying. That said, I liked the balance of cardio moves throughout. They feel effective, especially for my legs. By doing this program I’ve realized how much my legs are out of shape. I don’t run very much, and the workouts I did over the summer were more geared toward my arms. So this program is definitely putting the emphasis back on my thighs and calves. All in all, I’m glad I finished!
Day 2: Tabata Power.
I did a little better today in terms of my max-out time. But this workout is a different animal altogether. It is much more focused on strength and using your own body as weights. Think: tons of push-ups (unlike any you’ve seen before), tricep dips and core work. What I love about this DVD is the new moves. I have done thousands of push-ups but none like these. Shaun has you go down, lift back up and bring your arm up to your shoulder (like a row). It is HARD. I can only do a few and then I have to modify.
This workout seems to affect my back the most. My muscles must need improvement in that area. Last week, I was sore for days after doing this workout. I sense the same thing will happen tomorrow. Either way, I know I’m working parts of my body that have long been ignored.
I am going to stick with this. I love the shorter length. It’s manageable, and I can fit it into my day. I truly feel like I am pushing myself to my potential — which I love. This program is not for the faint of heart. Good thing I am a determined son of a gun!
Wish me luck, friends.
On Sunday I attempted something I hadn’t done before: 50 power jumps. I learned this move from Shaun T’s Insanity, and basically it looks as the visual suggests. You jump with your knees up in the air. I like to do sets of 10 at a time to get it over faster.
I hadn’t planned on doing these power jumps, but I was trying to capture an in-action photo of myself working out. (Do you know how hard that is to do?) My coaches post pictures online, and I find them super inspiring. But every photo I took was out of focus or strange. Nevertheless, it put a challenge in front of me: perfecting the jump. I kept doing it until I got a photo I liked. And then, when I was so close to 50, I decided to do another 15 jumps.
Needless to say I was incredibly sore the next day. It’s been a while since I really challenged my body like that. On top of the 50 jumps, I also increased my weights during my upper body workout. There is a big difference between 5 and 10 pound dumbbells! I swear I am still sore, two days later.
The entire workout reminded me of the importance of changing things up. When I was a hardcore runner, I’d often fall into fitness ruts. I’d put in my 30 minutes on the treadmill and get out of the gym. My weight stayed the same (despite my attempts to shed pounds). And I wasn’t gaining muscle. It all makes sense given this article Jenna recently passed on to me. Which is why I love Shaun T. and his fitness programs. Or adding in a few power jumps to a routine workout. It all adds up to something bigger. And I don’t get bored.
I have been doing T25 for the past couple of months, and I can feel myself tiring of the program. So, I’ve been adding running back into the workout schedule. Right now my weeks look something like this:
- M: Run 3 miles
- T: T25 Upper Body Focus
- W: Run 3 miles
- Th: T25 Rip’t Circuit
- F: Rest
- S: T25 Dynamic Core/Core Cardio
- Su: Run 4-5 miles
I am training for an 8K with Jenna, and I think this is the perfect routine to keep me from getting bored. Plus I get to enjoy the last nice days of the calendar year!
How do you change things up?
There is a reason for posting this photo that goes well beyond vanity:
For once in my life, I have arm muscles. Things take shape when I move my arms. There are indents in places that used to be squishy. There are sharper lines and curvatures. There is real definition.
I realize that posting a picture of yourself post-workout in “gun show” position seems a bit narcissistic. And honestly, that’s usually the case with blogs – they are designed to be self-centered. But posting this picture goes beyond that. This picture is proof that, even when I feel like I’m slacking, I’ve spent the past several months working hard. We all know muscles don’t come overnight.
The old me would have never, *ever* posted a photo such as this. I’d spent years being embarrassed by my body, trying to cover it up. It’s not that I flaunt it or anything now. I am still a work in progress. But I’ve gained a confidence I never had before, and it was all through a few daily pushups (and some serious Shaun T. training).
This year I’ve completed Insanity, Focus T25, and I’ve trained and ran a half marathon. At the moment, I’m looking for something new. Since time is in high demand, I’m re-doing month two of T25. But, as I feel every couple of months, I want to kick things up a notch again. Focus on a new program or exercise.
I’ve contemplated CrossFit, but I’m not sure I can fit the daily WODs into my schedule (they are at a bad time), and I don’t want to become obsessive with exercise or suffer from a muscle meltdown. I am thinking about running another race, at least a 10K, now that I live next to a beautiful trail. Thoughts? What do you suggest should be my next endeavor?
This week I’ve transitioned from the Alpha Cycle of FOCUS T25 into the Beta Cycle. It’s my sixth week of this program and, honestly, it doesn’t even feel that long. I still love it. The program is so short it doesn’t feel like I’ve been doing it so long.
All in all, this has been my favorite Beach Body program yet. I can take it with me anywhere. I did workouts on my parents’ porch while home for my grandmother’s funeral. I complete workouts in my office at the end of the day to avoid busy commutes. And I can easily squeeze it in during a Saturday or Sunday morning before a busy day. Not to sound like an infomercial – but it’s worked more for me than any other exercise (including running).
In truth, I’m not seeing such drastic results as I did with Insanity – but I’m still losing pounds and inches. To date, I’ve dropped 3 pounds since I started the program and several inches off my thighs, waist, and chest. Even more important, my arms are truly toned for the first time in my life. I’m not embarrassed to wear a tank top – something I’ve avoided for the past two years. I just feel more healthy and confident in my own skin.
So far it seems that Beta is faster than Alpha. There aren’t any breaks in either program, but I feel like all the movements are done more efficiently and quickly. I especially like this because the 25 minutes seems to blaze by. Though I will admit I’m taking more breaks than I’d like.
My goal for the next 5 weeks? Finish the program. Take less breaks. And continue to feel good in my own skin. I have no doubt that this program will see me through!
How are you doing with your workout program/s?
Did you take some time for yourself this weekend? Did you slow down?
I’m not sure I followed my own instructions. On Saturday I hit the ground running. I did a two-hour Kam Jamz hip hop class (whoa, talk about a burn) and then drove to Latrobe, Pa., for a family function. I didn’t get home until 9:30 p.m., and I was exhausted. I stayed up too late with -M and his brother, porch sitting and wine drinking. It was fun, but I slept in until 10 a.m. the next day, and the weekend just got away from me.
On Sunday, I took it easy. I went out for Thai for dinner, and I didn’t get my workout in. I slightly regret the latter, but what can you do? At least it was only a stretch day. I did my stats on Saturday and was pleasantly surprised with the results. I like not technically “weighing in” on the scale.
That said, I’m getting this week on track in terms of scheduling and exercise. I feel my best when I’m moving daily and know what’s ahead for the week. I’m going to do a little extra this week, and I’m looking forward to changing it up:
- Monday: T25 Total Body Circuit
- Tuesday: T25 Speed 1.0; Hip Hop Class in the evening
- Wednesday: T25 Lower Body Focus
- Thursday: T25 Cardio; Ballroom Dancing class in the evening
- Friday: T25 Total Body Circuit, Ab Intervals
- Saturday: REST
- Sunday: Stretch
What’s on your calendar?