For months, I sat in the dark in the middle of the night nursing our sleepless baby and watching Insanity infomercials. There was nothing else on at 2 am. Motherhood taught me that early morning television is a vapid wasteland of mind rot. Who knew?
I was inspired. My atrophied, postpartum muscles were crying for a challenge – well except my biceps, because rocking a baby for hours on end gives you Schwarzenegger arms – so when my husband’s recruiter recommended the program, I couldn’t wait to get started.
Is there a love language for people with slightly masochistic tendencies? That’s us. For two months, we’ve been doing push-up jacks in pools of sweat and now you get a review out of the deal. You’re welcome.
Insanity is a 60 day program with 10 workouts. You exercise for 40 to 60 minutes per day, six days a week (thank you Shaun T for respecting the Lord’s day!). The first 20 minutes consists of a warm-up and stretch. Don’t be fooled. The warm-up almost killed me the first few days, and the stretch was no picnic either. Shaun T knows what he is doing though. With all the special attention paid to stretching, I hardly had a sore day during the program.
The workouts use only your own body weight. No equipment needed. Most of the discs have interval circuits where you perform a series of exercises for three minutes, rest for 30 seconds and repeat two more times. The pure cardio and max cardio discs are straight aerobic exercise with no rests.
Included in the Insanity package is a very practical nutrition guide. It’s recommended that you eat five or six 300 to 400 calorie meals per day consisting of lean proteins, whole-grain carbohydrates, low-fat dairy and lots of fruits and vegetables. The plan can be adjusted to increase you calorie intake to meet unique nutritional needs (breastfeeding for me; crazy fast metabolism for my husband). Since neither of us needed to lose weight, we didn’t follow the plan strictly, but I did appreciate commonsense approach to good nutrition.
That sounds great, I hear you thinking, but this is a Catholic website. What if I don’t have a burning desire for a six-pack? Will sweating like a pig for an hour a day really help my spiritual life? Never fear. I’ve unpacked the theology of Shaun T’s favorite motivational phrases just for you.
1. Dig deeper, y’all
Are you feeling burned out? Exhausted by the demands of school, work or vocation? It’s time to dig deeper. The Christian life is insanely hard. There’s a reason the road to Eternal Life is narrow. We are called to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. There is no room for apathy, so…
2. Push through it
I was a really mediocre wogger (walker pretending to jog) pre-Insanity. After two months, I’m running up hills with the greatest of ease. I’ve been trying to improve my run for years, but only sticking with a sometimes monotonous workout day after day got me that reward.
The Christian life you’re living may not feel like a big adventure. What’s gained from cleaning the house for the gazillionth time, listening patiently to your coworker’s annoying stories or dragging your tired body to daily crack-of-dawn Mass? You may be unable to see it, but the monotonies are transformative. God works through the ordinary to make you stronger, to expand your heart.
3. Use your core
Shaun T doesn’t care if you’re jumping, running or doing pushups – he wants you to tighten up those core muscles.
Take away one letter, and you’re left with ‘Use your cor’ which is Latin for heart. It isn’t enough to talk the talk or walk the walk. Our actions and our words mean nothing if they aren’t done with love.
4. I’m smiling cause I love it
The practice of virtue isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s real drudgery, but lighten up. God does not need mopey do-gooders depressing the world with pious sermons. God wants us to be happy. He wants us to take joy in the hope we have in Him in the midst of our sufferings.
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”
Disclaimer: If you find sports bras and shirtless men immodest and offensive, Insanity is not for you. You should know, however, that the people in these workouts are very real. Nobody is wearing makeup or smiling coyly at the camera. At the end of every workout, they are wallowing in pools of their own sweat. Personally, I was too busy dying to be offended by the rampant spandex.