Sunday, December 6, 2009

Exercise, Beachbody, and Insanity...

It's no secret around here that I like to work out. Mommy Time at my house is between the hours of 2-4 pm, and it's usually during this block of time I can be found in front of my computer with the chair pushed over to the other side of the living room. I love working out at home. Gyms suck. They're expensive and filled with a whole bunch of gadgets that you don't need (and are all taken anyway).

Workout equipment can be fun and can spice things up a bit, but I'm amazed at the number of people who think that they are necessary. "I can't work out today because my (treadmill, elliptical, tube, ball, etc.) is (broken, missing, malfunctioning, etc.)" Excuses, excuses. Now, I'm just as susceptible to marketing as anyone else, perhaps even more so, but my exercise fanaticism isn't centered around gadgets. I'm all about infomercial workout programs. I seriously am die hard addicted to infomercials. I can't help it, I was born this way. My Dad, a plant loving cherry orchard growing outdoorsman, couldn't stand it when I'd spend an entire Sunday on the couch at 14 years old, watching repeats of Ronco Showtime rotisseries, George Foreman grills, and Oxyclean. Back then, exercise programs were few and far between, and to my recollection only the Tony Little machines and the Bowflex gyms really stand out. But now, in the future, we have something I like to call...Beachbody.

Me and Beachbody are like this (I'm hooking fingers together). Oh my god, I love Beachbody. I swear to you, I'm not on Team Beachbody or anything like that, I just have had genuine success with their programs. I haven't tried every single one, and a lot of them I only borrowed from friends so I wasn't able to continue them, but the ones I have tried, I liked. Some of them I even loved. Slim in Six is the one my sister likes, and through her I was able to give it a shot. Great for beginners and people who haven't worked out in quite some time. It required equipment, which it came with, but I'm a minimalist so the more equipment you need, the less likely I am to follow through. Why? Because equipment is EXPENSIVE. One hand weight at Walmart is 10$. ONE! You don't even get two! And with Beachbody, you get strong moderately fast and need to keep increasing resistance. Which means, yes, more equipment. Slippery slope, that one is.

Hop Hop Abs is another fun and variety adding series that I also borrowed short term and liked. It's especially appealing if you can't stand classic workouts or really, really like dancing. I'm not a dancer unless none of you are around, so I was halfway with this one. Effective for the whole body and fun, but if you lack confidence on the dance floor and can't let loose when no one's watching, you'll feel too retarded to give this one a chance.

Turbo Jam. At one point, the phrase "Turbo Jam" leaving my mouth was heralded with trumpets and singing Angels. This was my go-to program for YEARS. My incredible results with this program in particular led my sister and her SO to purchase it as well, and to date I've also collected many of the extra DVDs that came out after the initial program was sold to supplement the workout for TJ veterans. After my first pregnancy, which was before I studied nutrition, became a vegan or leaned what real health truly was...I was bummed. Yes, the awesomeness that is Kombucha Diva was not even conceived at that time, and I found myself very bummed, indeed. Still watching infomercials (which I still do to this day), I sort of took a liking to the instructor of Turbo Jam and decided to give it a shot. I lost 70 pounds, no joke. All on Turbo Jam. I was so hooked.

Since then, I've done all of the aforementioned workout routines interspersed with yoga, walking, and various other DVDs on Netflix, until I came across something that completely challenged me. Well, punished me, I should say, for ever even imagining that I was, in any way, fit. That workout is Shaun T's Insanity. I can tell you with confidence that I know why it's named Insanity. Because in the middle of the very first workout, I collapsed on the floor, in a mid-winter puddle of sweat, and screamed "THIS S#!T IS F*&#%@G INSANE!" I imagine the volunteers who tested this program before unleashing it's unholy fury upon the innocent public exclaimed something similar in test runs. Regardless, in that moment, I knew I was in love. I knew that this program was different, and it was going to be so awesome.

Insanity is everything I could ever want in a workout. There is not a single shred of equipment necessary besides shoes. No weights, no bars, no tubes, no balance crap...nothing. I suppose you'll need to actually want to be fit, but that's on you. No excuses, either want it or you don't. The instructor, Shaun T, is incredibly motivating, not silly or annoying, easy to take cues from, and familiar, since we already know him from Hip Hop Abs. More importantly, this workout means business. I have never in my life, in any workout I've ever tried (and I'm a flaky Gemini) been pushed this far or felt this good. It's not that I wasn't capable of delivering, it's that no workout has ever ASKED this much of me. So many programs are targeted at fat Americans sitting up late on the couch watching infomercials, and while there's a market for that, there's also a market for those who actually got up off the couch and are looking for the next step in total body fitness.

I have successfully completed Week One, after passing the fit test, and I am already feeling much more powerful, especially in my legs. This is the first workout that has targeted my calves so well that they're actually sore. Or as I like to call it, on fire and run through a meat grinder. This thing will whip you into shape no matter what's soft, loose, or fat on you. IF (and that's a big if, hence the big letters) you can pass the fit test, which is brutal in itself. If you don't pass, don't even try, because while I did pass, the test alone was one of the hardest things I've ever physically done in a workout, and it's really just there to see if you can handle the actual fitness program. Sometimes, I feel that the program itself is saying to me, in not so many words, "You're not fit at all. And now, I'm going to make you pay..." There's some maniacal laughter that usually follows.

I'm definitely not trying to scare you away from Insanity. But for those of you who are ready, my personal experience has led me to believe that it's definitely one of the many positive and effective ways out there to get results. Now, let's see if I can keep my attention span trained on the series long enough to complete the 60 day program. Hopefully this thing will whip me into enough shape so I can finally bust out some P90X! (if I can ever stand to own that much equipment, that is).

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