Keen to Get Lean: The Home Stretch of Insanity


Edited by: KELSEY CRUZ

My summer of Insanity was born out of a desire to get out the weight room. After a spring semester of tri-weekly, hour-long (at six a.m.!) weight lifting sessions with the Syracuse University field hockey team, I was officially dumb-belled out.

But for this week’s Insanity write-up, I got back in the weight room. Sure, I stayed away from the Olympic platforms and the pull-up bars. To be honest, I didn’t even break a sweat. But I wanted to talk to Dan Pribula, the strength and conditioning coach for multiple Syracuse University sports teams. I was interested in his take on Insanity’s plyometric component and some other slightly vain female-related aesthetic issues.

If you’ve read my previous write-ups, you will know my quads are my Waterloo. I thought they were unshrinkable …until I did Insanity. I wish I’d tape measured them at the start of the summer because I have a feeling they’ve lost a bit of their “trunkiness.” But Pribula maintains that as a female athlete, muscles are all part of the fun.

“The three big things you see different in an athletic female’s body and a ‘regular’ female’s body are more muscle, less body fat, and higher body weight,” Pribula explained.

Lowering body fat is Insanity’s summer gift to me. Granted, I did all the hard work, but it’s something Pribula says will pay off when field hockey season kicks off in just less than two months.

“Reducing overall body fat can improve the body’s ability to perform because a reduction of fat reduces the strain on the cardiovascular system,” Pribula said. “Less body fat also means less weight for the muscles to have to carry and move during activities.”

Because of Insanity, my weight loss has recently plateaued at 122 pounds, but my body has “leaned out” over the last three weeks. I think I might be entering what Pribula calls “ideal performance weight,” which is both sport and body-type dependent.

“Ideal performance weight should also be coupled with ideal body fat percentage,” Pribula said. “It is a balance that you need to be careful with. You want to make sure you lose weight the correct way and lose body fat, but not the muscle that has made you big, strong, and powerful.”

Going by my unscientific “fat percentage finger pinch method,” I’m on the fast track for preseason training that starts in two weeks. My interval splits are dropping, which I’m putting down to my leaner, meaner body shape.

Body fat aside, I’ve loved Insanity’s plyometric component, including footwork, jumping, and changes of direction. The exercises replicate field hockey and have sharpened me up over short distances.

“Plyometrics training increases muscle power, strength, and speed,” Pribula said. “These increases have a direct correlation to an athlete’s explosiveness.”

Given I’ve managed to sprain my ankles at least six times in the last two years, the fact Insanity’s plyometrics have given me some “spring” is nothing short of a miracle.

Here’s a video that shows some of the plyometric moves you can incorporate into a workout.

With two weeks of Insanity left, I’ve discovered I can send in a before and after photo and get a free Insanity t-shirt. It’s grey so given the amount I sweat during an Insanity workout, I think I might just stick it on the wall.

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