Lately I’ve been posting about home renovations and gardening stuff in addition to foodery, and I wanted to add a new element to this mix, which is exercise.

I enjoy trying out different kinds of fitness programs, as long as they’re fun and motivating. A former boss got me interested in running, and within a month I went from 30 seconds of struggling to jog to 20 minutes of nonstop running! When I used to go to a gym, I lifted weights, took spin classes and tried pilates. In college I took a year’s worth of swimming and intro ballet classes (both were lots of fun and very challenging) and continued swimming 2K laps at Ala Moana Beach 3 times a week. Though I never excelled at any of these things (I came in the last 5 of the “Turkey Swim” race!) it was a lot of fun and I always took it as a personal challenge, and that kept me going.

There were times in between where I stopped exercising, but eventually got to the point where I felt like I needed to get moving again. Now that I live far away from gyms and beaches, I do my workouts at home.

Such a small box filled with so much potential!

Prior to doing Insanity I did Jazzercise and Leah Sarago’s Ballet Body 3x a week and loved it (don’t listen to people who say Jazzercise is for ‘old ladies’, I’m sure they would have a different opinion if they tried at least one class!) As much as I enjoyed those workouts, I wanted a different challenge. I wanted more upper body strength and less lower-body bulk. I thought Insanity would be a great way to surprise my muscles with a new challenge…and let me tell you, they were in shock!

Day 1: Fit Test- WOW!

Just so you know, the Fit Test isn’t about comparing yourself to the people on the DVD or to gauge where you stand on a 1-10 scale. This will help chart your progress by comparing your results every 15 days during the Month 1 and Month 2 workouts. It all begins with a 3-minute warm up and I was scared at how fast paced it was! Jogging, jumping jacks, and some other new moves that really got your blood pumping and your heart rate going! After a series of stretching, you go into the Fit Test moves:

As you can see by my scrawling, I kinda lose count.

You have 1 minute to do as many reps as you can. Since I’ve had exercise injuries in the past, I was just as concerned with reps as I was with form so made sure I wasn’t sloppy, but did try my best to do as many as I could. It’s best not to cheat with this since the idea is to do better in 15 days. ;)

I also took a photo of myself in a bathing suit and, knowing that I’m my own worse critic, I was pretty disgusted. I’ve put on a few pounds and can’t fit into some of my clothes without sucking parts of me back in. I decided it was time to get rid of the extra weight and get back into shape–pronto!!!

Day 2: Plyometric Cardio Circuit – OW!

PLYOMETRICS – exercise involving repeated rapid stretching and contracting of muscles (as by jumping and rebounding) to increase muscle power. (Merriam-Webster)

This morning felt like I spent yesterday riding a horse–and all I did was the fit test!  Just like yesterday’s workout, there is a 3-minute warm up, fast paced, then a 30 second break to get some water, catch your breath, and get ready for the exercises. You do about 4 different kinds of exercises in one round, each takes 1 minute, then you get a 30 second break. The next round you try to go faster, then even faster in the last round. Football drills, basketball drills, and plank exercises are in this one, and I love how you just gotta push through and do your best.

I was having fun with some of the moves by making the arm movements a little more graceful and making up my own visualizations (making ballet arms during jumping jacks, “picking guavas” instead of “mountain climbing”) so that took away some of the insanity. If I had a coach, he/she would be rolling their muscley eyes at me. ;)

Can you picture Shaun T yelling, “Come on, we gotta make that guava jelly, I need fifty more guavas–PICK!” (source:

Day 3: Cardio Power & Resistance – puff, puff!

My adductors were still sore from yesterday’s workout, as well as the sides of my calves. The stretching focuses on back, quads, hamstrings and adductors, but you’ll probably need to stretch the calves and arms on your own, especially after Day 3’s workout.

You’ll do sprinting, jumping, and also some push-up routines that works your upper body and triceps, and my arms were pretty fatti-gued afterward. There were also my least favorite, the globe jumps, where you start from a squat and jump with arms over head. I didn’t have much power in the quads and glutes, so I rested when I felt I needed it, and practiced good form rather than try to keep up with the rest of the group. I did girly push-ups when Shaun T did regular ones and I know I couldn’t jump as high as everyone else, but it’s the first round, and as I get familiar with the moves and technique, I’ll better be able to build strength and draw more power with each move. :)

I did eat some chips and a fruit salad w/plain yogurt 45 minutes before, and took sips of water during the exercises. I felt just a wee bit nauseous at times, as well as afterward, so just had a few sips of water, chewed peppermint gum (relieves my queasy stomach,) then had a protein shake about an hour later. Figured my body was still digesting the fruit & yogurt from before, and I wasn’t that hungry.

Day 4: Cardio Recovery – Stretching, not Sweating

I took a break yesterday because I was busy doing some home renovations all day. But after seeing this video, I should have just done it and go back to work! It’s mostly stretching with some strengthening exercises, but it’s not likely that you’ll end up in a puddle of sweat like the others. After finishing it, I was wondering if it was the right DVD or if I’m supposed to do something in addition to it. Nope, just stretching! My calves were achy yesterday, today I have no muscle aches (because of the skipped day.) Although the Insanity calendar lists 6 days of exercise routines, this Cardio Recovery video now makes it seem more like 5. I don’t think I need a recovery shake after this, eating light might be a better idea.

Day 5: Pure Cardio – Pure Insanity!

I did my workout around 8:15am, so only coffee in my stomach (I get nauseous if I work out with too much in my stomach, even if it’s just water.) The warm-ups were fast-paced and already I regretted having two “down days” in between Day 3’s “Cardio Power & Resistance” and today’s cardio workout. I’d say today’s workout was just as intense as Day 3, but with different exercises. There were some people in the video that looked like they were going to faint or throw up, but Shaun T would go up to them and tell them to take a break. Yes, this workout will push you to do better, but you really gotta pay attention to your own limits and don’t compromise good form for more reps, especially on the first go-around.

I don’t know what it was, but I was smiling at the end of this workout. Maybe it’s seeing those people on the big screen getting tired like me, or maybe I just felt great because I worked out today. Or maybe that stretch at the end felt soooo good! Whatever the reason, all I know is that I felt great. :)

Day 6: Plyometric Cardio Circuit – Good Shoes are a MUST!

One thing that is important to have for this workout as well as any other is a good pair of shoes. Less than 2 minutes into my workout today I noticed the toes on my left foot were feeling numb. It was difficult to maintain my pace, so as soon as the warm-up was over I paused the DVD, took off my shoe and massaged my toes until they were back to normal. A couple days ago the outside of my right foot, right along the pinky-toe side, felt like it was bruised. I’ve been having trouble with my toes going numb in my workout shoes every now and then and usually adjust the laces to accommodate, which helps. But my workout shoes have gone past its prime and have been through some tough workouts, and I think it’s time to give it a break very soon.

Now that I talked about shoes, let’s talk about the workout. It was tough and challenging, I slipped in my sweat a couple of times (be careful, folks!) and I drank too much water so had to take a break and ease my side stitches and to keep from barfing! I felt like I could do better with my form and focus on the muscle groups I was supposed to (such as using your abs to lift your legs.) I was so glad for the end, which seemed to come pretty quickly. I made a protein shake with half water/half almond milk, 2/3 of a banana and a teaspoon of cinnamon. I drank it down fast–must be hunger as well as thirst!  I felt like I could eat something but need to watch calories. Knowing lunch would be in a couple hours, I brewed a hot cup of coffee to satiate my stomach.