Monday 22 February 2016

Face Up Fitness: So, I Finally Decide to Give Insanity A Go…

Do you think you’re fit? Have you tried Insanity?

If you’re a fitness class regular, or a home exercise video obsessive, then chances are you have already given Insanity a go. It became massive a few years back, and still remains a popular choice for those who want to push themselves to the limit.

Pushing yourself to the limit is what Insanity is all about. Insanity is said to be the most challenging home fitness programme you can get. And it’s right up there in terms of level of difficulty when it comes to gym-based Insanity classes.

I consider myself to be pretty fit, having trained four times a week for years. My regime is currently an hour of weights plus twenty minutes of cardio (it’s important to mention this, as you’ll find out!).

Up until the tail end of last year, I’d barely stepped foot outside a gym.  But as part of a resolution to spread my fitness wings a bit this year, I decided to give Insanity a go (I’ve already crossed yoga and barre fitness off my list). Just before Christmas I went along to an Insanity class run by Emily Stevens (standing, main pic) at the Camden Centre in Tunbridge Wells.

What is Insanity?

Shaun T and his Insanity programme
Shaun T's Insanity Max:30
Insanity was invented by former pro dancer and fitness guru Shaun T (pictured above), and is based on ‘Max Interval Training’.  Traditional interval training involves exercising intensely for short periods of time, then resting for longer. Insanity turns that on its head – you train for long  periods of time (typically three minutes), then rest for short (30 seconds). See why it’s called Insanity?

Exercising at this extreme level is said to burn up to 1,000 calories an hour - that’s more than half our daily food allowance! Fab!

Insanity uses your own bodyweight for resistance throughout, hence it can be done at home, though personally I prefer a studio setting where you’ve got others (i.e. Emily) to kick you up the bum (metaphorically speaking ) should you find yourself flagging.

It’s cardio-intensive (think jumping jacks, jumps and on-the-spot sprints) and works the arms, legs, glutes and back (so the whole body essentially). It will burn fat, sculpt your muscles and increase cardio fitness.

How Did I Get On?

Well, you know I said I thought I was fit…? I just discovered that perhaps my cardio fitness is not so hot. Doing shoulder presses, barbell squats and bicep curls, i.e. strength training, for an hour is one thing. But doing 51 minutes of solid cardio (the rest breaks work out at 9 minutes across the whole hour – if my maths is correct?) is quite another.

For the first time during a fitness class I found myself bailing out for sneaky extra breaks to get my breath back. Boy, it’s tough. I was assured I did well (apparently everyone finds it tough at the start) but I can’t deny, as someone who considers herself to be pretty fit, my pride was a little dented by the experience.

The lack of photos in this post is testament to the intensity of Insanity and also my flagging cardio fitness – I neither had the time nor the inclination to take many pics and virtually all of those I did take came out blurred (Insanity is too fast paced for my little camera to handle and my hands were clearly shaking too!).

More on Shaun T and his various Insanity programmes here.

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