So, today I began my return to Insanity.
You may (or may not) recall how, back in 2010, I attempted to tackle this fitness program. We’ve all seen the infomercials and we’ve all been tempted to sign up, if for no other reason than to snag one of those free “I earned it” T-shirts. Last time around, though, I got eight days into the program before my left leg began feeling the pangs of a shin splint. By Day 16 both legs had succumbed to The Splints and I had to give up. Too much jumping too fast as compared to zero jumping in the years leading up to it? Maybe. I was loving it and wanted to keep going, but couldn’t.
I gave it up for a while and some time later tried it again. It didn’t take long for the shin splints to return, this time even quicker, and again I was sidelined.
So why, nearly four years later, have I decided to have another go at it? Well…this time, I have a plan and the plan is one word: modification.
I never knew there was such a thing for Insanity; it isn’t mentioned on the DVDs (I guess because, just like in baseball there’s no crying, in Insanity there are no shortcuts) and so it was my impression there were only two speeds: Insanity or nothing.
Fast-forward a few years and my wife Sarah is a certified Insanity instructor. Each month she gets a new CD and DVD with a new Insanity program to teach in her classes and, besides the instructor showcasing the moves, there’s also a person standing beside them showing how to modify the moves for people like me who may not be able to go at top speed all the time.
When I saw the person modifying the exercise, it was like a light went on. Why didn’t I think of going at a slower pace or maybe not as full-on? Because, to be honest, when I started to, I felt like a dork who couldn’t keep up. Even though on the DVDs Shaun T encourages you to take breaks whenever necessary and the others on the DVD seem at times to be struggling just as much as I was, I never felt like I had permission to take it down a notch.
I talked about it with Sarah and she encouraged me that the big difference – for me at least – is to always keep one foot on the ground. The jumping (for those who don’t know, there’s a lot of jumping) killed me and obviously it wasn’t something I would be able to dive right into, no matter how much my ego wanted me to. By modifying, though, I would still get a killer workout, sweat like a beast, and not risk having to bail out again. Or, at least, that’s my hope.
So today I did the fit test once again. I hated not jumping like they were on the video but I knew that if it was something I wanted to be able to stick with for the long haul, I’d have to force myself to drive in the slow lane and let the others whiz past me in the carpool lane…as much as I wanted to be in the car with them enjoying the ride. Instead of switch kicks, I was doing switch step kicks. There was no jumping in power jacks but instead power side lunge jacks. Globe jumps became globe side-steps. You get the point. No jumping, just stepping.
And yet by the time I got to the end, I was sweating, panting, and in need of morphine. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go full-speed Insanity but right now it’s not about breaking any world records. It’s just about crossing that finish line. That finish line that is waaaaaaaaaaaaay, way out there.