“The Miracle Isn’t That I Finished…”(Day 63: The Final Fit Test)

dig deeper and fit testJohn Bingham has a quote, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” In ways, I can agree with this, because so many people talk about doing things and never start them, let alone finish. At the same time, I started Insanity before. Starting is probably one of the hardest parts, but what brought me to the finish this time was continuing and not letting set backs hinder me. Whichever part is more the miracle, I’m proud that I finished this time and that I improved significantly from the first time in most of the exercises.

My results were:
Switch Kicks–41 reps (82 kicks)
Power Jacks–52
Power Knees–84
Power Jumps–40
Globe Jumps–10
Suicide Jumps–17
Push Up Jacks–33
Low Plank Obliques–65

I was slightly disappointed with the Switch Kicks because I took a bit of a slide back from the time before and only improved 1 rep (2 kicks) over my first test. However, my best Switch Kicks number was 6 reps (12 kicks) better than my first test. The other results were all an improvement. I had 11 more Power Jacks, 22 more Power Knees, 35 more Power Jumps, 4 more reps (16 more jumps) in Globe Jumps, 4 more Suicide Jumps, 18 more Push Up Jacks, and 15 more Low Plank Obliques. Overall, I’m proud of the improvement in my capabilities. Next time we’ll see the improvements physical results.

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“This Is Where It Hurts” (Day 50: Fit Test Four and Max Interval Circuit)

max interval circuit and fit testDay 50 was Fit Test Four followed by Max Interval Circuit. Because I had been so tired during the workout after the last test, I planned to leave much more time in between this time. I left a couple hours longer in between, but it was still exhausting going through both. Fortunately, the last test will be on it’s own day so I won’t have to worry about that again. The only thing I have to say about the Max Interval Circuit after the test can be covered in something Shaun T says during the High Knees with Twist: “This is where it hurts.” That said, here are my results from Fit Test Four:

Switch Kicks-45 reps (90 kicks)
Power Jacks-50
Power Knees-72
Power Jumps-37
Globe Jumps-8 (32 jumps)
Suicide Jumps-16
Push Up Jacks-28
Low Plank Obliques-65

Last time, I threw myself off on Switch Kicks by counting individual kicks instead of reps, so I went back to counting reps and improved by 3 (6 kicks). Last time I had ended up with 6 kicks less than the time before so I basically just brought myself back to my previous high count. Unfortunately I got 2 less on the Power Jacks this time, but I improved by 2 on the Power Knees. I remained the same on the Power Jumps, Globe Jumps, and Suicide Jumps. I improved by 4 Push Up Jacks and by 5 Low Plank Obliques.

Overall, I was sort of disappointed that I didn’t improve in more areas (and slid back in one) but as Tony Horton says in his bookBring It!, “Do your best and forget the rest.” I did the best I could at the time I did each test, and that’s the important part. I didn’t backslide for much of it and I did have improvement in some areas, so I’ll be satisfied with that and I’ll be interested to see how far I’ve come from this time and from the beginning next time.

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Bring It! Part 1: The Principles (The Principles, Fitness Quotient, Fit Test, & Cycle of Success)

bring itIntroducing the Principles

Bring It! starts with Part 1-The Principals. This section is part introduction to Tony Horton’s program (which he says is the same one he uses himself) and part self discovery. One of the first things he goes through is his principles: Individualization, Periodization Training, Progression, and Cleanse-Nourish-Supplement. While he goes in depth on each of these I’ll try to sum them up somewhat: No one plan will work for everyone so we must figure out what our “fitness personality” is and choose programs designed for it. We can avoid hitting plateaus and boredom by incorporating variety. No matter what level we start from, we will improve. We must cleanse our bodies of toxins like caffeine and alcohol and replace unhealthy foods with nourishing one then will learn about which supplements will work best.

My Fitness Quotient

Once the introductions are complete, it’s time for the self-discovery part: taking his assessment called the Fitness Quotient(FQ). The test is divided into two parts “Finding Your Fitness Level” and “Finding Your Fun Factor.” The first part “is designed to pinpoint your level of conditioning and motivation”. The answers determine which workout plan we’ll follow throughout the book. The second part will show you what kinds of exercise activities you most enjoy which helps in finding things to “engage in during your active rest time” as well as to “create a fitness routine that you can actually look forward to doing.”

Fitness Level
Fitness level is calculated based on 25 questions each with three answers. The category most of your answers fall in determines your fitness level. If you’re between categories he says to pick the lower one and then take it to the next level if you need more of a challenge. As it turned out, the majority of my answers put me in the “Warrior” fitness level (below that is Striver and below that Beginner). It was pretty accurate including such statements as “You enjoy physical activity and work out consistently. Exercise was probably part of your natural routine in childhood. You are self-motivated and fairly disciplined, and you enjoy working out several times a week…” So, throughout the program I’ll be following the exercise and dietary guidelines for Warriors.

Fun Factor
Fun Factor is determined by reading lists of statements under Meditative Player, Social Player, Team Player, Extreme Player, Competitive Player. While I checked boxes in all of the categories the most I checked off were under Extreme Player. The profile also rang true including statements like “…You’re a no-holds-barred person who gives it your all…You get excited over new things and thrive on change…” He recommends checking out waterskiing, kayaking, scuba diving, snowboarding, mountain biking, or surfing. I can’t say I’ve ever properly done any of them (although I did use an inflatable kayak on my last white water rafting trip) but they look interesting. Learning to surf has actually been on my to try list for awhile (along with capoeira and rock climbing). Interestingly enough, Tony Horton says this is the category he fits in.

The Fit Test

The Fit Test is not as physically demanding as I expected it might be. Most of it is based on measuring a few movements. The only physical activities included step ups to gauge working heart rate, modified push ups, squats over a chair, and crunches. The hardest thing about it was keeping up with the timing (most things are done over the course of a minute), and it probably would have been easier if I’d waited for my husband to be home to track the time while I did the rest. Ideally resting heart rate is supposed to be a three day average but I’m not that worried about it so it’s just from one day.

Resting Heart Rate: 67 (Good)

Step Up (Working Heart Rate): 128 (slightly under Training Zone for my age)

Waist to Hip Ratio: 26″ waist/37″=.70 (Excellent)

Hamstring Flexibility: Normal

Shoulder Flexibility: Good

Upper Body Strength (Modified Push Ups): 25 (Excellent)

Lower Body Strength (Chair Squats): 30 (Excellent)

Core Strength (Crunches): 25 (Excellent)

The resting heart rate was only in Good rather than Excellent range. The working heart rate was a little lower than the Training Zone given for my age but Tony said “Everyone’s working heart rate varies, and it’s not uncommon for an individual to go outside of the training zones…” so I’m not too concerned. All the other results met or exceeded those for the highest level for their respective tests, so I’m in pretty good shape.

The Cycle of Success

Part 1 wraps up with Tony’s Cycle of Success which is somewhat or a pep talk of things to do to “make sure your head is in the right place.” There are 12 different sections of several things Tony places importance on. While many are things I already knew to do it didn’t hurt to have the reminder. At the end he sums it up: “Ask for help, don’t fall for gimmicks, stand up for what you believe, face your fears, find mentors, and be creative. Practice clearing your mind, observing your thoughts, and discrediting those that don’t serve you. Finish what you start. Engage yourself in a hobby or two. Choose right over wrong. Lighten up. Do what you love, love what you do.”

Having made it through part 1, I was ready to move on to Part 2, the routines.

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“This is Why It’s Called Insanity” (Day 36: Fit Test Three & Max Interval Circuit)

max interval circuit and fit testDay 36 was the first day of Month 2. In the morning I had to leave much earlier than I usually get up for a doctor’s appointment and didn’t get back til several hours later. I originally had planned to do Insanity when I got back but I decided to rest. I kept putting it off til I finally decided to do the Fit Test late at night. I told my husband I’d get the test done but try to be quiet during the workout if he was going to bed. He said not to worry about it as I wouldn’t wake him up. So I got started.

My Fit Test Results:
Switch Kicks-86 kicks
Power Jacks-52
Power Knees-70
Power Jumps-37
Globe Jumps-8
Suicide Jumps-16
Push up Jacks-24
Low Plank Obliques-60

Usually I count the reps on Switch Kicks, which consist of two kicks, and this time I counted the individual kicks. That kind of threw me off and I ended up with six less kicks than last time. On the upside, this irritated me enough that I pushed harder on the Power Jacks and got six more than last time. I got three more of the Power Knees. I also noticed on the Power Knees I have been keeping the leg that comes up further back than Tania was so I’m sure that’s contributing to me getting much less than she does. By the time I got to Power Jumps I was starting to get out of breath but I managed to beat last time by one. Unfortunately the Globe Jumps I was down by a whole set (four jumps). I managed the same amount of Suicide Jumps. I had acid reflux as I got down for the Low Plank Obliques and managed to be down by four on them. Overall while it wasn’t a terrible test, I am somewhat disappointed by the slide back in the areas I did not do as well on. But I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised as tired as I was.

The calendar has the Fit Test and Max Interval Circuit one after the other on the same day, but whether one is really supposed to do them back to back I don’t know. I was not able to. I waited about an hour in between which put me starting the workout on about 22 hours without sleep. I managed to push through it but it was very draining and I think next time I will give myself a longer gap between the test and workout.

The warmup changes for Max Interval Circuit. Now it’s Jogging, Jumping Jacks with Arms Up, 1-2-3’s, Jump Rope Side to Side, High Knees with Arms Out, Switch Kicks, Hit the Floor, and Side to Side Floor Hops. This is repeated three times with increasing speed. I kept up with most of the first time and then started falling behind. After the warmup is still a stretch with slight variations. Then we got down to the circuits.

The first one was Pedal/Power Lunges, 2 sets of Ski Abs, Push Up Jacks, In and Out Abs, and Oblique Pushups, then Power Strike, and Frog Jumps. This whole circuit was repeated three times with breaks between. On the last set before we could break we did Football Runs and Cross Jacks. The Football Runs involved turning in a circle and were sort of dizzying.

The next interval was 4 High Hook, 4 Low Hook, 4 High Jump, High Knees with Twist, High/Low Jab with Squat and Floor Switch Kicks which was also three times. During the second round of 4 High Jumps he says to only do the jumps if you can. This was just as well because I wasn’t getting very high at that point due to exhaustion and while my husband had said he wouldn’t be bothered I still didn’t want to jump too loud. I also didn’t have the strength to pick myself up too high for the Floor Switch Kicks and started doing the kicks without the little “jump”. Fortunately during the kicks he said we don’t have to jump for the whole time. On the third time, we had 1-2-3 jabs across one time and then the break.

The last interval was Side Suicide Jumps, Squat Hook, Full Body Drill (Running, Moving Pushup, Wide Floor Sprints) and Plank Punches, also three times. Toward the end Shaun T said “You’re probably completely exhausted.” Ya think? But as he also said, “This is why they call it Insanity.”

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Second Insanity Fit Test (Day 15)

dig deeper and fit testTwo weeks ago, I took the first Insanity Fit Test. My goal taking the second one on Day 15 was to do better than the first test, but also to do better than when I had taken the second test last year. I had both sets of numbers nearby for the test, but because the numbers from last year’s test were higher, those were the ones I used as my gauge.

Here’s how I did:

Switch Kicks–66 reps (132 kicks)
Power Jacks–46
Power Knees–67
Power Jumps–36
Globe Jumps–9 reps (36 jumps)
Suicide Jumps–16
Push Up Jacks–20
Low Plank Obliques–64

For the most part, I did better than last year’s attempt at this test. I got two more reps (4 more kicks) of the Switch Kicks, one more Power Jack, four more Power Jumps, two more of the Push Up Jacks, and four more Low Plank Obliques. On the Suicide Jumps my number remained the same. The Globe Jumps were the only disappointment with one less 1 rep (4 fewer jumps) than last year.

While this wasn’t as well as I wanted to do because I hoped I was doing much better this year than last year, I was happy that I still did much better than my first test this year. I got six more reps (12 more kicks) in the Switch Kicks, five more Power Jacks, five more Power Knees, 11 more Power Jumps, three more reps (12 more jumps) of the Globe Jumps, three more Suicide Jumps, five more Push Up Jacks, and 14 more Low Plank Obliques. Overall, I feel good that I’ve been improving and I look forward to the next test at the start of Week 5 (which will actually be in three weeks because they don’t label the Recovery Week with a number).

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The First Insanity Fit Test (Day 1)

BeforeJanuary 2nd 2011 was the first day of my new attempt at Insanity, and that means it was time to take the Fit Test. Before beginning, I had my husband take my before pictures. I didn’t check them til later that night, so I didn’t know they weren’t the “head to toe” full body shots required on the application form for the free Insanity t-shirt. Since the first pictures have to be dated before beginning the program, I can’t take news ones now that I’ve started. They may not accept the ones I have, but I plan to still try.

I re-watched the “Dig Deeper” clip before the Fit Test, where Shaun T talks about the program. He explains the variety of workouts involved including cardio, plyometrics, stretching, ab work, and sports training. Shaun T demonstrates the proper performance of some of the moves in the program including squats, jumps, the plank position, and the C-sit and stresses the importance of never sacrificing form. He also explains interval training and how his program flips traditional intervals so that you’re doing three minutes as hard as you can go then 30 seconds of rest. He says that the intervals “are intense but they give you insane results.” That’s the goal.

The Fit Test consists of a warm up and eight different exercises. If you have Insanity, you will find pictures of each of the exercises on the calendar and the Fit Test card. If you don’t have those or want an extra copy to track your tests, you can download the worksheet free. I started the Fit Test with my previous results next to the paper I would write the new results on. My plan was to try to at least meet and hopefully at least marginally exceed the results of the first time.

1 water bottleTaking the test was as hard as I remember it being. I was out of breath and my heart was pounding for much of it. I needed every second of the rest period, and in some cases a few extra seconds. I also drank a lot of water. By the time I finished the test, I had downed half of a 1.5L bottle.

My end results were:
Switch Kicks–40 reps (80 kicks)
Power Jacks–41
Power Knees–62
Power Jumps–25
Globe Jumps–6 reps (24 jumps)
Suicide Jumps–13
Push-Up Jacks–15
Low Plank Obliques–50

How did this compare to my first time? I did four more reps (eight more kicks) of the Switch Kicks, one more Power Jack, two more Power Knees, the same amount of Power Jumps, three less reps (12 less jumps) of the Globe Jumps, one more Suicide Jump, three more Push-Up Jacks and, two more Low Plank Obliques. Overall, I was happy that at least I hadn’t fallen too far back out of shape and did slightly better on most of the exercises. Of course the numbers are still much lower than where I was at the time of my first attempt at the second Fit Test, but I have numbers to work up to, and hopefully also exceed.

In addition to comparing my performance to my own past scores, I also compared myself to Chris and Tania, the two people who demonstrate the Fit Test. Chris said that he did 80 kicks his first time. If he is actually counting kicks rather than the reps in the instructions, then I got as many as he did. I was also where Chris started for my Power Knees, and had one rep less than he started at on the Globe Jumps. For the Low Plank Obliques I did more than Chris had in either test, and more than Tania had her first time. Overall, I don’t think it was bad to be able to positively compare half of the test exercises considering that Shaun says that if you can beat them “you know you have it in the pocket.”

After the test, I was exhausted, but once the tiredness wore off, I actually had more energy than earlier in the day and was already feeling better than I had in awhile. I look forward to Day 2 which starts the regular workouts, the first of which is the Plyometric Cardio Circuit.

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