Last week, my wife Liz and I decided to begin the INSANITY exercise program. It’s billed to be a thrilling, excruciating and engaging 60 days of vital cardio/calisthenics and Plyometric workout drills. But first, before we could begin we needed to go through the INSANITY fit test. Successfully completing it will mean that Liz and I are ready to begin the actual workout program. If we fail, well…….that’s NOT going to happen.
Wish us luck.
Beginning the INSANITY Fit Test
The fitness test lasts for only thirty minutes but within that period you are supposed to be able to determine how fit you are really are. I was really looking forward to this experience. Despite what many people had told me, I wasn’t convinced about the intensity of the INSANITY routine. It couldn’t be that difficult now could it?
I soon got my answer.
The Fit test begins with the fitness Coach Shaun T on the screen. After he welcomes you, he then proceeds to walk you through each of the exercise routines. He is not always alone. At some point he is joined by two backups. With more people on the screen including Shaun, it gives room for Shaun to do other things whilst still providing you with effective models on whom you can base your actions on.
The fit test begins with a simple enough warm up. You’re asked to begin to jog on the spot for about a minute. It seems like an easy enough routine until Shaun decides to up the tempo. After a minute we begin to alternate our warm up routine with some jumping jacks, side leaps and high knees. As far as exercises go, these are intense enough to be listed as normal workouts but Shaun seems happy to classify them as mere warm ups. In five minutes, I can feel the sweat dripping off my face and body to the floor. Next to me Liz is just as covered in sweat. There is one important difference between us now and the way we were five minutes before. We’re no longer laughing and smiling. Shaun means business and it looks like we’re in for it.
Once the warm up is completed Shaun immediately begins the test by leading us in a series of switch kicks. There is no noticeable period of rest between the end of the warm up and the onset of the actual test. It just seamlessly transitions from one state to another. I suddenly begin to realize why INSANITY is considered by many to be the most excruciating workout program.
In a blaze of routine, we go from switch kicks (which weren’t that bad) to Power Jacks (which are a lot harder). Again, we are not given time to rest during this transition. Shaun has no problem throwing us from one workout to another without giving us time to rest. As if to prove this point, he leads us from the difficult Power Jacks workout to the more difficult Power knees.
If I thought I was going through a tough time, I was all set to scream by the time we got to the Globe Jumps. My body was completely slick with sweat. I was gasping so quickly, I half feared I would use up all the oxygen left in my garage where I had chosen to workout.
Shaun T is a genius. I don’t notice it during the workout program but after the exercises I come to realize the amount of planning that has gone into the various stages in the workout. With his guidance we are taken though a working of our legs, then our upper body and finally our core. The result of this smart ploy means that the progression unfolds naturally and it makes it easier (if such a word can honestly be used) to adapt to the different workouts. Some of the exercises which we do (e.g. Suicide Jumps) would have been a lot harder if we had skipped some stage of the workout. By making us do these earlier exercises, Shaun conditions our body to prepare for the routines ahead. Like I said—genius.
We did a couple of push jacks which lasted for about a minute. After that we ran another 60 second Low Plank oblique workout. By this period though, I was struggling not to scream “I quit”. The exercises were really taking their toll on me. Next to me I could hear the panting of Liz as she, like me, struggled to make it to the end.
I wish I could say that once the 60 seconds of the last routine was up, I calmly walked over and picked up a towel but that would be a lie. Once we were done, I spun around in a half circle and allowed my knees take a well deserved break. Lying on the floor never felt so good. I had a renewed understanding of how important breathing and oxygen really is.
But under that mental and physical exhaustion I was smarting to realize one thing. I felt great. I had finished the fit test and that meant one important thing. I was qualified to do the INSANITY workout program. Liz asked me if I wouldn’t join Shaun T in doing the cool down routines which he was currently engaged in, I told her that I would take a rain check on it. I would get to it later.
By later I meant tomorrow. Tomorrow I will begin my very first INSANTIY exercise program. Having gone through the fit test today, I sense that this new adventure would be just as difficult, excruciating and yet thrilling. I’m not worried though. I’m determined to go through this workout program successfully. If Shaun T can complete them, then so can I. Some people might call my determination insanity. They’d be right.
That is what the program is all about isn’t it?