Fad Fitness: Insanity Interrupted

Week 3: After Hurricane Sandy, the workouts move to the Midwest—and boredom ensues
Staff Writer

As my third week of the Insanity program rolled around, so did Hurricane Sandy.

By a major stroke of luck, I was visiting my boyfriend in Chicago when the storm hit. So, for the next seven days, his apartment became Insanity-central. After work every day, I 'd set up my computer on a chair and make sure my 8x10 space in front of the big windows in the living room was clear. Then, I'd dive in with the warm up–watching people pass by on the street below as I jumping-jacked, butt-kicked, and high-kneed my way to fitness. 

This week brought several realizations. The most notable: I was bored. After two weeks of doing the same five videos, I wanted something new. Even with the addition of Cardio Abs at the end of week two, I still wasn't satisfied. While I initially thought this video be a fun alternative to the other four workouts, I quickly realized it was just a strenuous, 20-minute add-on to Pure Cardio that involved another killer warm up and a lot of planking. I never knew that I could sweat so much and be so bored at the same time. 

Furthermore, I felt like my lower body disproportionately carried the pain (and benefit) of the high-impact workouts. After so many squats, lunges and jumps, my leg muscles were exhausted. When it came to my upper body, Insanity only targeted a few muscles in my arms and chest with its variety of pushups and planks. My strength-training exercises at the gym, I thought, were a better approach for balanced upper-body strength. 

Despite my qualms, a few things kept me motivated: The more toned lower body I saw in the mirror, the improvement on my fit test (you’ll see the number in my final installment) and the home-cooked meals that awaited me at the end of several of my workouts. In addition, finding a better stereo system to blast the Insanity music helped me increase my intensity. 

To stay committed, it's important to find the little things that keep you going–whether that's muting the Insanity soundtrack or setting little goals for each workout (ie: I want to do 40 jump squats per cycle). 

As the workload takes its toll in the third week, it's also increasingly important to stick to a healthy diet and to find the best time of day for your exercise. If you're a morning person, squeeze in that 45-minute session before you head to work. If you're most energized at night, do the workout then. You need every advantage you can get. 

By Sunday, I was exhausted as I headed back to a soaked New York City. Little did I know that yet another challenge to my workout was about to arise…

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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