I had a conversation with a friend the other day. It dealt with them getting ready to embark on the Beachbody P90X program, and I spoke highly of Beachbody’s Insanity program, which I did this summer. The other person was curious as to why I didn’t move on to doing Insanity:Asylum, or the upcoming P90X:MC2 program. I explained to them that I had decided to try and roll my own workouts with what I had learned, and I realized that a lot of that had come from Insanity. So I decided to write this entry – what I learned from doing Insanity.
1. You can make time to exercise daily.
This is the biggest lesson I learned from doing the 60 day program. Before, I could not imagine having the time to work out 6 days a week. But when I made the commitment to do the program with my wife, everything changed. I set alarms to get up earlier. I multitasked, doing the routines while the kids ate their dinner and played. For an entire two month period I made it work. And when it was done, I knew I could continue to make it work.
Which leads into another point – the biggest benefit I got out of doing near daily exercise is that it became a habit. Now, if I take a day off of exercise, I feel like I’m missing out. Build a habit, and you will build a new lifestyle.
2. Your core is important.
Or, as Shaun T says, “im-PORT-ant”.
Your core, all those muscles in the middle that I cant name (except for abs and back), are the real center of your body. If you get your core into shape, all those stabilizing muscles end up benefitting you immensely. It helps me with my balance, running, and provides a strong base for full body movements. Back soreness will go away when your abs get stronger. You learn to use your body as a whole, which is how it was meant to be used. In simple terms, its called “functional fitness”. To understand functional fitness, I will direct you to Chapter 2 of Pete Kemme’s e-book “Creating the body that God intended us to USE“. Which brings me to…
3. Functional, whole body movements are better than isolation exercises.
Insanity is what led me straight towards the whole functional fitness paradigm. Crossfitters know this already, but when you do whole body exercises that engage multiple muscle groups, you are working more efficiently than when you isolate muscles.
For instance, doing bench presses works your pectorals and your triceps. But push-ups work those same muscles, plus your entire core to stabilize your body. And you can do spiderman push-ups to work your obliques as well, or even push-ups as part of a burpee for a full body workout. Plus it engages all those stabilizer muscles that don’t normally get worked.
And if you do those fast and hard enough, you get a great cardio workout.
4. Take rest breaks when your form suffers.
Being aware of my body as I exercise became second nature. And your body will tell you when its time to take a break. Namely, your form will begin to suffer. You won’t be able to complete the push-up without your back swaying. You will try and do a tuck jump, and your knees will only go halfway up to where they are supposed to.
That is your cue to take a short, quick break. Grab a few sips of water, take a few deep breaths, and get back to it. Its amazing the effect a short break will have on your body.
And you will need breaks. I loved it when the hardbodies that were doing the exercises in the video had to fall out and take a break. Because it let me know they were human. And because it pointed out to me that when you are working hard, and pushing yourself, you will reach the point of burn out.
5. You will live through being sore.
Being sore sucks. There is no other way around it. But its manageable. And its the natural byproduct of tearing down your body so it can be rebuilt. Better than it was before. Just ask Lee Majors (for those of you born after the 70s, Google that on your iPhones).
During the whole Insanity program, I was sore all the time. And in unpleasant places, like my glutes. Which is a nice way of saying my butt. Seriously, all of the squats and jumps worked those muscles to death, and you have no idea how much you use those muscles until they are sore. And try as you might, there is no good way to explain to someone that you winced because you have a sore butt.
So, while I am not currently following a Beachbody exercise program, I would not trade those 60 days that I did for anything.