Keen to Get Lean: My summer of Insanity (Weeks one and two)

By: IONA HOLLOWAY

Edited by: KELSEY CRUZ

My head is killing me.

I was expecting every muscle-ache imaginable when I started Insanity – a 60-day total body conditioning program –  but a pounding headache has also become my unanticipated and unfriendly workout buddy over the last two weeks.

To be fair, I need the company. I’m a field hockey player at Syracuse University, but I’m an international transfer from Glasgow, Scotland. I made the decision to stay in Syracuse on my own this summer and train for my senior season. Cue Insanity.

Insanity is an exercise program (six days a week) chockfull of cardio, speed, agility, muscle endurance, and core stability. But it’s not the sort of thing yummy mummies do in their living room. It’s not even the kind of thing averagely-fit people do in their living room. Every day is 45 minutes (or more) of undiluted hell on Earth.

And I’m in a top 3 ranked Division 1 program at Syracuse. I know what it’s like to puke after a work out.

The photos of Insanity success stories are remarkable, but when the boxset arrived in the mail, I didn’t know whether to weep with joy or fear. The packaging was just plain scary, resembling the homemade bombs you see in movies. What made it worse was that Insanity was a birthday present: To Iona, From Iona.

The program and diet manual promise “insane” results, but only if you commit fully to the diet and exercise program. How much you eat depends on your weight loss/gain goals as well as your height and starting weight. The premise of the nutrition is eating 5 “calorically identical” meals every day, which works out at about1,900 calories for my 5 ft 2 inches,133-pound frame. (I’m being very real with you, ladies. I just broadcasted my weight.)

I’m a product of my sporty lifestyle: More muscular than most, but pretty normal-looking until you get to my quads. They explode outwards in all directions – much to the distaste of my hip flexors and to the amusement of my English roommate. I’m not unhappy with my body but there’s room for improvement, both aesthetically and performance-based.

My mission statement for my summer training is “Keen to Get Lean (but not be starving in the process).” With that in mind, I look to the Insanity calendar on the wall, which tells me which of the ten available workouts I will be doing on any given day.

Yesterday was Pure Cardio.

“Ok, Pure Cardio DVD,” I said. “Let’s see what you’ve got.”

As it turned out, Pure Cardio has serious game.

Shaun T, the delicious Insanity fitness instructor, is a huge plus point of the program. When I was dying doing my tenth set of eight pushups (in one minute!), he looked straight at me through the television and said something like, “Dig Deeper! I’m helping you through this…PUSH!”

Although some of his lines may be better suited in a maternity ward, in moments of muscular crisis, his booming voice and rippling six-pack flush the lactic acid away.

After 45 minutes, the workout clock finally ran out and I was left whimpering on the floor, hopelessly reaching for a banana that was just out of reach. Not even Shaun T could save me now! Surely, leg sweat like this has never been seen before on a human being.

Thirteen days in, and I’ve taken the calendar down. There’s really no need to be taunted by my Insanity workout schedule when I’m trying to sleep at night. I take it out once a day, find out what I need to know, and walk calmly towards the DVD player.

Sweating and headaches aside, I’m loving the ride. I’m doing Insanity on top of regular running workouts, and I’m down to 126.5 pounds in two weeks. You can’t beat it with a big stick. And I’m attacking the headaches by upping my water intake to a lofty (for me) four liters a day, which seems to be helping.

With that, I’m off to do my workout for the day. Cue loud music and Shaun T yelling, “Come on y’all … LET’S GO!”

Stay tuned for my next entry where I’ll introduce you to some of the circuit training and key moves that Shaun T promises will “change my body.”

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One Comment on “Keen to Get Lean: My summer of Insanity (Weeks one and two)”

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    October 12, 2012 at 10:21 am #

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