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Fad Fitness: Insanity Evicted

Week 4: Insanity headquarters moves to The Active Times' office


Less than 12 hours after my return to New York, I got a harsh wakeup call about my Insanity routine.

On Monday morning, I rolled out of bed, did my 45-minute workout and sauntered into the kitchen for a post-workout smoothie. There I found my roommate, looking slightly annoyed, who said something along the lines of, “I can hear your rhythmic stomping, which means so can our neighbors. You need to get a mat.”

As it turns out my running, jumping, bounding and otherwise floor-pounding exercises had awoken my lovely roommate from her slumber, and likely everyone else in the apartment below us.

Now, I had foreseen that this could be an issue, so as a precaution I had done the workout not only on a mat, but also barefoot.

Clearly nothing else could be done. So, by the end of our conversation, Insanity had been unquestionably banned from our home.

If you’re anything like me, you might now be asking yourself, why did it take three weeks for this to become an issue? I have two theories. The first: I was getting stronger and hence jumping higher, running faster and generally more enthusiastic in my workouts. The second: The week of me out of the house reminded my roommate of how peaceful mornings had been before Insanity…and she finally lost patience.

Whatever the reason, I had to find a new place to work out, and my solution became an empty office right next to The Active Times’ cubicle. Every day at 6pm sharp, I locked myself in and proceeded to serenade my coworkers (rather than everyone in my apartment building) with the sounds of my floor-pounding antics.

In fact, it worked well to be around my exercise-enthused colleagues, who checked in with me and helped keep me dedicated.  By week four, the rest week was looming and taking a day off seemed more and more tempting.

It didn’t help, of course, that I was using my days off Insanity to do long rides in preparation for my century in December.  

“I’m so tired,” I moaned to our senior editor before slouching into the empty office one day, “I haven’t had a break in two weeks.” 

“Well, we learned an important lesson then,” he said. “Take that rest day.”

Of course, he was right, and I vowed to be more conscientious in the weeks following.

In short, the lessons from week four (and the first part of the program) can be summed up this way:

  • Always take your rest day: You can still be active, but don’t hit the gym for heavy cardio or lifting.
  • Ask people to check in with you: It’s even better if they can see keep a visual as to whether or not you’re working out. Either way, it will hold you accountable as you go on the wild, 60-day ride.
  • Make sure you have a reasonable place to do the Insanity workout before you order it: If you live in an apartment building where you can hear everything, this is not the right program for you. 
  • The routine and easy accessibility helps you stick to your workouts: Even though repeating the same videos four weeks in a row got a little old, it also kept things simple. When I go to the gym, it takes me half an hour to get there and change, and my workouts last 60-90 minutes. In terms of cardio, Insanity gives me more with less of a time commitment. The fact that I could cut out my commute by doing the workout at home or at work also helped make sure I stuck to the program six days a week.

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About the Project: The Active Times' Fad Fitness Challenge is a six-week-long project in which five hapless writers will immerse themselves in five popular fitness programs—CrossFit, Insanity, Barre, Flywheel and Kettlebell classes—for the dual purposes of getting in shape and evaluating them for our readers. We guinea pigs will bust our butts, burn calories and discover muscles we'd long since mothballed and, if all goes well, emerge into the New Year with a well-rounded perspective of the top fitness fads. Check back every weekday from now until the New Year to come along for the ride without breaking a sweat. Click here to check out the rest of the programs.

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