Friday, March 16, 2012

Insanity, Unlimited

In response to my desire to increase resistance-type training in place of the long cardio adventures I was doing, I have started doing the Insanity Workout DVD series. They consist of 10 different 40-minute workouts that are done in a certain sequence over a 60 day period. I think I’m supposed to do them over 60 days straight but I’m doing an every other day thing to accommodate some of the other exercise commitments I have (walking at lunch with colleagues, squash games, and my weekend runs with my dogs). Its all going really well and I’m enjoying the mix of activities I have on the go right now. I’m definitely not getting bored and there is a nice balance between cardio and weighted exercise, lone and social stuff, at-home-with-kids-critiquing and adult-uninterrupted experiences. It seems trendy right now this sort of Jillian Michals/Biggest Loser, bootcamp, plyometrics kind of workout. There are things like burpees and stride jumps and squats and planks and fancy push-ups – all things that make me want to put on my 1970s striped Adidas outfits and head bands and get jumping!

Now I was told the Insanity workouts were going to be hard before I began. I braced myself for a big challenge, perhaps an impossible one. I worried that I was too old. That I was too heavy (when your own body weight is the resistance, weighing more can be a detriment or a bonus depending on how you look at it!) That I would get injured. That I couldn’t keep up to those hard body types. Aside from the fact that I regularly call the facilitator on the screen an asshole (pardon my choice of words), I am glad that it is possible to follow along reasonably well even if I can't do it all. No matter how much I do, it still pretty much kills me whether I am keeping up to the gang or not. It isn’t uncommon for me to find myself soaking wet with sweat, face down on the floor, moaning on the sixth push up of the fourth set while the bunch on the tv are on their 30th.

I love the simplicity, the lack of equipment, the anywhere/anytime way about it, the intensity over such a relatively short period of time that makes me feel as though I’ve just run a 10km (plus bonus muscle aching) every time.

At one point I had finished a round of some knee-up, plank, arms outstretched physical fandangling and turned over onto the floor with a thunk to rest for a while (this is just around the time I might have called the instructor, Shaun T., one of those profanity words). Lying on my back with my eyes closed, I imagined the keen, glistening sweaty bunch on the tv popping up with vigour and starting into their second set but I didn’t look. I didn’t want to know what I couldn’t do while I caught my breath. Then I peeked out of the corner of my eye. There they were outstretched on their back getting a nudge from the instructor to get up and keep going. It was then that I realized. Nobody can do this. There is not meant to be an end to it.

Enter permission here.

Permission to go as far as you can until you feel like you can’t and knowing that is enough. Permission to get up and try again even if you can only do one-third of the things everyone else is doing. Permission to congratulate yourself on pushing to your own limits and knowing that is exactly where you are supposed to be right now. Permission to do another round even when you are scared of how much it hurts, how much you might fall short, how much you wish you were in better shape. Permission to feel your body sweating, your heart beating, your muscles aching. Permission to be alive.

I would really recommend something like this for anyone who is reasonably active and fit, not prone to pushing themselves to the point of injury, and willing to get their butt kicked every single time. It is excellent if you find you have reached a plateau in your current activities and are not finding your fitness is improving. After taking a 3 week hiatus from running, I went for my first run yesterday and was quite surprised how I was able to go for much longer at a faster speed with my new found strength and endurance from these exercises.

Though I recently posted about how I appreciate that my current job has some semblance of boundaries where farming and parenting life did not, I am now becoming more of a fan of the unlimited. For it is there that we discover the kindness we need to offer ourselves in every life situation. Life will ask too much of us. We must go forward where we can. And decline when it gets too much. Unlimited is real. So too will become my new job tasks, I am certain.
Give it time.

It isn't what is being asked of us that is the problem. It is okay for us to be capable beyond measure, but know our own limits. It is okay to venture forth towards our greatest potential and not be afraid of falling. Our job is to find the edge, to move towards it always knowing that when we start to teeter we’ve gone too far. To know that we have the right to stop, slow down, close our eyes and lie on our backs while the rest of the world continues around us. We have the right to stand up and be our best. And lie down when we need a break.

And using profanity can sometimes help as well.

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