Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Top Ten Insanity Tips

Now that I have completed Insanity (Round 1 for me) I'd like to share, in no particular order, some things with you that I learned along the way. (Okay, I know what you're going to do. You're going to skim the post, read the tips, and say yeah, I know all that. Don't do it! Read what I have to say about each one, or I'll come to your house and read them to you out loud.) 

1. Get your mind right. 
If you're used to doing workouts that you can actually do, you're in for a surprise. If you don't understand that on the front end, your mind will work against you. Don't go into this competing with the people doing it with Shaun T on the DVD - let them be inspriring to you, but it's not about them. It's about you. There will be moves you will do well, and others that will kick your tail. You may have to hit pause, take a longer rest, do less reps. Check your ego at the door. Remind yourself of your reason WHY. Every day strive to do better than you did the last time. You're competing with yourself. Do the work and you absolutely will improve.

2. Wear a heart rate monitor. 
This little tool helped me the most. I tend to fire out of the gate at full blast, but it's hard to pace myself, so my heart rate would shoot up and I'd be out of breath too quickly. I decided on a threshold for the upper limit of my heart rate, and set that on my monitor. I didn't watch my heart rate, but if my monitor beeped at me, I backed down on my pace until it stopped breathing. This helped me learn my body's responses, and kept me going. Otherwise I'd push hard and too far at first, and then not be able to recover and push through the next exercise. Pace yourself in a challenging way and don't get into the danger zone with your heart rate and breathing. Just as a sidebar, I like the Polar FT7 (got this from Amazon).

3. Don't jump until you are ready. 
I have a knee that periodically barks at me, so I took it easy on the jumps. If anything felt hinky I would do a modified version (small jump or step-through) until I felt stronger. I figured out I love diamond jumps and greatly improved on my power jumps this way. The jump-rope style jumps annoy my knee for some reason, so sometimes I would just sub a different jump. The key is, build, and never sacrifice form. I mean, never. The other thing that goes with this one is to just work. It may not be pretty, it may not be what you want to look like yet, but just work as they work. You will improve!!

4. Push play every day. 
If you go into this thinking you don't have time, you won't make time. Don't skip workouts. Don't wienie out. Your conditioning doesn't get better while skipping workouts. Schedule them, and stick to it. (See my other post here for a view of my Insanity war board). I will admit there were a couple of days that when I pushed play and heard that music start I'd have a wave of nausea. There is a trainer I like who says that if you don't have some nervousness before your workout, you're probably not challenging yourself. But I can also tell you that when it was over each day there was a part of me that wanted to keep going! Sounds crazy, huh? Well it IS Insanity after all.

5. Invest in a mat. 
Even carpet with padding under it isn't the greatest when it comes to a nice landing while doing plyo. We have some nice large rubber mats in our home gym and they really helped. This isn't to take the place of perfecting your landing form, but it does help to have that extra cushion and non-slip traction under your feet. They now have plyo mats available at Beachbody, or you can go to your local Sporting Goods store. We had purchased ours at a specialty exercise equipment store.

6. Make sure you have the right shoes. 
Now I know some die-hard barefooters. I actually know someone who does Insanity barefoot on her tile floor. That may be for some, but most people need some decent shoes. I figured out very quickly that my running shoes weren't cutting it, and I typically buy a running shoe a little larger. I found with this that my feet slipped around in them, and while they had good heel cushioning I really needed more cushioning at the ball of my foot. There were lots of suggestions for cross-trainers, and I did like the width of the shoe at the toe box, but they felt heavy to me. I already have to get this butt in the air, why do I want heavy shoes? So I ended up with Brooks Pure Flow. They were lightweight, had more cushioning at the ball of the foot, I felt spring-y when I jumped and I went down a half size from my running shoe, which mean my shoe felt secure but not too snug on my foot. I confess I tried mine on at Dick's Sporting Goods but purchased them at Zappos (because I'm a fan). You may have to try a few.  Don't be afraid to put some on in the store and try a few power jumps! Also, your socks matter too. They need to support your feet! My favs right now are Thorlo Experia (got these at Sports Authority). Expensive but they wash very well. Buy some cheap workout clothes, but don't cheat your feet.

7. Figure out your high energy time of day. 
If you are a morning person and can do an intense workout first thing, more power to you!! It sets your body up right for the day, revving your metabolism and giving you the mental edge to make better food choices. I am not a high energy person in the morning, and so I did mine in the late afternoon or early evening. This is my high energy time. A little forewarning for you night owls like me though: pushing this kind of workout too late in the evening has the potential to really jack up your sleep. Try to allow yourself time to recuperate before you have to hit the sack.

8. Get your eating right. 
You will figure out very quickly that you will not perform well during workouts like these if you do not have enough nourishing food and water on board. Space your water out and stay hydrated. Choose food that is going to fuel your body, not drag it down. Insanity comes with a complete nutrition guide - it's very balanced, clean eating; not a diet. Use it to get your best results! You will sabotage yourself if you continue to make poor food choices and drink soda, etc while doing this. You can't out-train a crappy diet. Another tip to getting it right: it helped me to eat about 1.5 hours before I did the workout. Too much time meant I didn't feel as strong, too little time meant I was still digesting food when I started. You don't want that because you want your body concentrating on the muscles that are working.

9. Put some post-workout drink in your water. 
Water, water and more water. But after you've done the workouts you'll know which ones are the hardest for you. On some of them I would add a little of my P90X Results and Recovery drink to my water DURING my workout, which really helped! Another product I tried is Beachbody's E&E pre-workout formula. I really liked it. It calls for 2 scoops, but I only had to use one.

10. Tell people you're going to do it. 
Remember my Insanity war board? Well I took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook and Twitter. It made me more determined to reach that goal because I had let people who are important to me know about it. Accountability will drive you a very long way. Workout partners are great. My husband stepped in and did some with me, which was so much help and support. But wrongly chosen workout partners can drag you down. Give it a lot of thought. Either way, some smart person said: "If you're tired of starting over, stop quitting." Truth!! Decide what you're going to do. Tell everyone else. Hold yourself accountable and do it.

What I post about here is my own journey of fitness. I'm also a Beachbody Coach. So the live links in this post will take you to these areas on my Beachbody Coaching site. Here's the thing - I love to help people. If you decide you want to purchase a product from Beachbody, and you do it through my website, you'll pay Beachbody, they ship your product, they give me a commission and then all the coaching you receive from me is free. That's how it rolls. Take advantage of it! 

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