Insanity: Day One

My brother had mentioned that he was (with a group at his work) doing the Insanity Workout. I’d also happened across one of those informercials for it during a late night migrating accounts for someone, and it looked interesting, although not a “workout” in the sense of hitting the gym and weights has always meant for me. The workout uses plyometrics and body weight only, along with a metric assload of cardio, and looked like a challenge.

Challenge accepted.

Those who know me know that one thing I do not need to do is drop a lot of weight (5’4″, with a weight that fluctuates between 108 and 112, generally to the lower side). That said, ever since this cancer nonsense started, what I have found is that my endurance/stamina took a greater hit than I thought, even this far out from the first round and two years now from the second. I find when I do my outside work on the property, I work for a good period of time, then have to take a break – when I get really hot, my throat tends to start closing up, thanks to the surgery and radiation. I then go back out for more work, but the time I can spend on whatever task is at hand is less than before, with another break coming sooner than I’d like. Repeat a couple of times until it’s clear my body is signaling it’s ready to stop. So, I may work outside much of a given day, between 9 and 2 or 3, but almost a third of that winds up being rest/recovery.

Looking over this Insanity stuff, it looked quite a lot like the conditioning I used to go through when I played softball in high school. I can’t allow myself to even hope that I’ll get to that level again – too much damage thanks to cancer (fuck you, cancer!) but I can at least work to get to the best level I can be with the limitations imposed by the treatments I had to endure.

Today was day one: plyometric cardio circuit. The warmup is about three minutes and is fairly intense even by itself. If you’re not sweating a bit after the warmup, you’re not pushing hard enough. This is followed by a stretching session and lunges, and then the real workout begins. Suicide drills, power squats, mountain climbers, ski downs (think side to side mini squats, as if you’re a skiier weaving through a slalom), stride jumps, and football/basketball stationary sprints, basketball jumps (simulating picking up a basketball and shooting it, following through on the motion), pushups, ab work, and some boxing motions (jabs, uppercuts). Another stretching session to cool down, and then it’s over.

Equipment needed: none, although a heart rate monitor would be a good idea, and a pad for the floor if you tend to slip around on certain moves. A towel is also massively helpful, as this will bring out buckets of sweat.

Caveats: if you have chronic knee problems, this is probably not for you unless you manage those issues well. I have knee issues from my softball days, but keeping excellent form prevents most problems from cropping up and rendering me unable to walk. There is a lot of jumping around in this, as well as quite a lot of lateral movements, and it may not be suitable for everyone because of the stresses these moves will put on the joints.

Overall, I only had to stop for a few seconds a couple of times, and during the third round of each group of exercises, I could not go as fast as the trainer. That’s fine, though, as form is better than speed in this case, to avoid injuries. Some of the exercises proved to be very difficult, due to the slice and dice they did on my back ¬†and side for the lung removal and from the muscle/tissue removal from the neck and shoulder: the last round of pushups, for instance, I simply could not complete, managing only one instead of the complete round. I expect this to get better, and I was pleased with the first day’s effort. When I’m working outside and my body is telling me it’s time to stop, I try to go just one step further before doing so: pull one more line of weeds, haul one more load of mulch, or do one more whatever. That attitude helps when attempting workouts like this.

So, is it worth it? After only a single day: yes.

Tomorrow, something called cardio power and resistance, which should prove interesting.