Sunday, January 25, 2015

Here it comes...Insanity!

Tomorrow I'm embarking on the 63 day program known as the Insanity workout.  I'm a little scared, but mostly excited to try something new - and to share the experience here.

Let's start with some basics:

What Is Insanity?
  • Have you ever head of HIIT (high intensity interval training)?  Basically, you warm up to a moderate pace and then throw short blocks of hard/intense work before shifting back to a lower gear to grab a drink/catch your breathe/slow your heart rate - and you repeat this pattern throughout the duration of your workout.  Insanity flips this formula on its head with something they call Max Interval Training. You come out of the gate hard and push yourself to the max for 3-5 minutes, take a quick (30 seconds or so) break to get a drink/wipe the sweat of your face/curse yourself for deciding this was a good idea, and then it's back in for another 3-5 minute block of intense exercise - for 63 days.   The fine folks at Beachbody, the company behind Insanity, claim that you can get a year's worth of results in 60 days.  I don't know that I necessarily believe that, but I do know that traditional interval training does deliver much faster results that just slogging along at one pace through an entire workout.

What's In The Box?

  • 10 DVDs
  • Nutrition Guide
  • Wall Calendar
  • Fit Test Tracker
The DVD's are divided into 3 phases:

Month 1: 
  • Plyometric Cardio Circuit
  • Cardio Power & Resistance
  • Cardio Recovery
  • Pure Cardio
Recovery Week:
  • Core Cardio & Balance
Month 2:
  • Max Interval Circuit
  • Max Interval Plyo
  • Max Cardio Conditioning & Cardio Abs
  • Max Recovery
There's also a Fit Test DVD that is used 5 times during the program (Days 1, 15, 36, 50, 63).

The Nutrition Guide is pretty good.  Unlike a lot of so-called nutrition guides that come with workout  programs, this one actually has the user go through a relatively complex formula to determine how many calories the body needs to function (known as basal metabolic weight or BMR) + how many calories you burn going about your daily activities (a desk jockey like me will burn fewer calories than a someone doing physical labor like construction).  From there you also factor in your gender and age.  After that, you add or subtract calories based on your goal - lose weight, maintain weight, or gain weight.

Once you determine your calorie level, you use the Nutrition Guide to build a menu of 5 meals a day. Each meal starts off with a base calorie level around 300 calories and there are suggestions of how to increase the calories to 400 or 500 based on your needs.  I like this feature a lot since it means that Mr. R&R and I can eat roughly the same meals, but I won't be over-eating and he won't be starving!  Oh yeah, did I mention that he's doing this too?  I guess we're both insane!

Finally there's the Wall Calendar (self-explanatory) and the Fit Test Tracker - a fancy-sounding description for a card that looks like this:

Why Am I Doing This?
If you've been hanging around here for any length of time, you know I love a challenge and I enjoy finding new ways to make myself sweat. I'm pretty sure that Insanity is going to give me a run for my money - in fact, I'm pretty sure it's going to kick my ass around the block and then wipe the floor with me.  I'm also hoping that Insanity will help me build a really good cardio/endurance base for my 2015 training/racing season - which just happens to start the week after Insanity ends.  Oh, and then there's the little matter of an upcoming beach vacation.  I'll be wearing a swimsuit... in April.  I can deal with being pasty white (which is pretty much par for the course in my life), but I'd really rather not display my current layer of winter insulation, so it's time to lose it. What? Vanity can be a damned good motivator sometimes.

This afternoon, Mr. R&R and I both calculated our calories (and did our starting weights, measurements, and photos), menu-planned, hit the grocery store, and then got to work doing food prep for Day 1.  All I can say at this point is that our refrigerator is near-bursting, I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to manage to eat all the food this program calls for, and I'm really not looking forward to doing all the dishes that will be resulting from this adventure!

Questions? Comments? Offers to do my dishes?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Web Zombie No More

Like many people, I freakin' love the internet and like many (if not most people) these days, I'm almost always connected to it.  At any given moment, I have a smart phone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desk top computer - and frequently more than one of those devices - within an arm's reach of me.

It's not unusual for me to Tweet or check Feedly from my phone during the work day, and I also tend to stream jazz over Spotify in the afternoons.  When I get home, I plug my phone into the charger and switch over to my iPad.  From there, I usually catch up on Facebook, Tweet some more, perhaps play a game like Plants vs Zombies or Sudoku, or generally go down the rabbit hole of web surfing and/or  Pinterest.

Occasionally, I'll fire up the laptop if I need to do some more in-depth research on something, edit photos, write a blog post, or need to get more work stuff done.

The point is, I'm always connected.  I realized over the holidays that my internet presence was getting in the way of getting a lot of other things done, sucking up what little free time I have, and generally preventing me from being present in my life.  I was essentially becoming a web zombie by getting lost in the internet vortex almost every night.


As of January 1st, I made a conscious effort to decrease my internet usage/online presence - especially the completely useless, mind-numbing trips down the rabbit hole of random web surfing. If I'm going to be on the internet, I've been trying to limit myself to social interaction (Twitter), blogging, or working on actual projects.  I actually set myself a weekly schedule of other things I needed/wanted to do.  I'm pleased to say that, 15 days in, I've definitely reduced my internet consumption and have made lots of progress on my goals.

I set a challenge on Goodreads to read 24 books in 2015, and as of right now, I've already read 6. I think I may need to revise that challenge number upward! So far, my favorite has been Ranger Confidential: Living, Working, and Dying in the National Parks by Andrea Lankford and I'm currently reading Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner.  Spending so much time with my nose in a book, or a Kindle, has made me feel a little bit like a kid again.  My mom used to yell at me to "Quit reading, turn off the lights, and go to sleep!" all the time.  Back then, I used to wait until she was asleep and then I'd read some more under the covers with a flashlight - and hope I didn't get busted.  Now, no one tells me to go to sleep, but I sure do need an extra cup of coffee on some mornings!

I've managed to tackle a project that's been on my "Things I'd Like To Do Someday" list: I'm trying to learn Spanish!  Mr. R&R and I scored a killer deal on Rosetta Stone's Spanish package just after Black Friday, so we figured we'd both give it a shot.  So far, I really like it.  The lesson format is very different from the way I remember learning French when I was in school, but it's really nice to be able to repeat lessons as desired and work at my own pace - usually about 20-30 minutes 2x/week. I've completed the first lesson (each lesson has several parts) and I'm looking forward to starting Lesson 2 over the weekend.

In the last two weeks, I've also:

  •  Managed to order Walter & Spot's 2013 photo book. Yes, you read that right, the 2013 photo book.  I've made one via Shutterfly every year since they've been with us, and the 2013 book sat, fully completed, for over a year because I kept forgetting to do something about it.  I finally took the 10 minutes to review and order it - with a coupon!  I also went through my photo library for 2014 and I'm in the process of slowly putting together their 2014 book using iPhoto's book platform.  It's been a challenge, but I'm curious to see how the final product turns out.  I still have quite a bit of work to do on that one, but I figure it's probably a better use of my time than reading a bunch of religious rants/vague complaints/looking at funny pictures of cats on Facebook.
  • Joined Mr. R&R in a nightly reset of the house where we make sure all the dishes are done, the rabbit cage/play area are tidy, and all the clutter is picked up.  It takes about 20-30 minutes a night and we've both been really happy with the results.  It's definitely taken an element of stress out of both of our lives and has made it so that instead of having to do a ton of damage control on the weekends, we're free to tackle other stuff that always gets pushed aside - like reorganizing the linen closet, painting, or plotting another mini-improvement to The Cave.
  • Studied the Nutrition Guide for my upcoming foray into the Insanity Workout - and start planning how to make all the shopping and food prep work for me.
Close, but not quite!
  • Spent more time on the floor playing with Walter and Spot - which they seem to like.  
More time...more photo ops

Overall, I'm loving this new way of living.  I also think it's only going to help once Insanity begins.  It's a relatively small time commitment as far as the length of the workouts, but I'm going to be spending a lot more time in the kitchen, in the shower, and trying to get 8 hours of sleep a night.

How do you like to spend your free time?  Read any good books or cooked anything fun lately? Thoughts on learning another language?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

P90 Masters Wrap Up & What's Next

I did it!  I finished the P90 Masters Series on December 27th.  It wasn't all rainbows and puppy dogs, but it wasn't exactly horrible either.  I definitely didn't get the dramatic visual results I got with last year's Raise The Bar Challenge, but my clothes fit better and I feel much stronger and healthier, so it was definitely a worth while endeavor.

I only lost about 6 pounds, but I've gotten strong enough to do the majority of my push ups on my toes - something I wasn't able to do before.

My body fat is only down 3%, but somehow I have lines in my abs that I've never seen before.

I may have only lost a few inches off my hips and waist, but I'm more flexible than I was when I was practicing yoga on a regular basis.  That's something I didn't realized I missed until I got it back!


Now onto why I think I didn't get such visually dramatic results this time:

  • After Raise The Bar, I mostly stuck with the healthy eating plan, so I didn't have as much work to do to clean up my diet and thus, since my body was already used to eating pretty well, I didn't drop weight simply from dropping junk food.
  • Stress.  My stress levels have been through the freakin' roof for the last few months and that kind of stress is obviously sub-optimal for losing weight/building muscle/etc.  Unfortunately, I don't get paid to workout, so there wasn't a whole lot I could do about it.  A girl's gotta work!
  • Cheat meals.  I let myself off the hook a little more during P90 Masters than I did during Raise The Bar.  This was probably not the best thing I could have done as far as maximizing results, but I truly believe it's a big part of what got me to the 90 Day mark instead of making it to about 65 Days.   I got off the "Dieting Merry-Go-Round" a long time ago and I'm not about to get back on it!

So that leads to the big question: What's Next?

I'm giving myself a short break (about 4 weeks) from any formal program.  I'm indulging in some less-than-clean eats and doing whatever sort of workout I feel like doing.  After that, it's on like Donkey Kong because on January 26th I'll be starting the 63 days of torture known as The Insanity Workout - a.k.a. The Hardest Workout Ever Put on DVD.  Oh yeah...I definitely think this one is going to hurt and I'm already looking forward to it.  Stay tuned!

Sourced from Pinterest

Have you ever tried Insanity?  Would you?  What would you like to see included in my Insanity posts?