July 1st, 2013, I started a new workout program.

I had finished my second half-marathon in May and my motivation to workout had gone DOWNHILL very quickly. I needed something to jumpstart my fitness routine and get me back on the healthy living track.

Running had been my go-to workout, but summer running is not my favorite. I looked at a few different options and, after talking to several experienced friends, settled on Insanity.

I checked in with you last on day 16 of the 63-day Insanity program. I’m now an Insanity survivor and wanted to share thoughts on the whole crazy experience! Many of you have asked questions, so I will try to address those as well!

My Insanity Results

I did not start Insanity to lose a lot of weight. I wanted to be leaner, stronger, healthier overall. And I DEFINITELY go that. I don’t have an amazing transformation to show you, but I can feel it 110%. Here is my before and after…

Insanity BeforeInsanity After

I did lose about five pounds and some inches around my waist and hips, but I am most pleased with the toning and muscle-building that happened over those two months. And my boys think my muscles are pretty cool, too! I’m not interested in “bulking up,” but I really love being stronger! My fit test at the end was clear proof that I had greatly improved my strength and endurance. A BIG WIN in all areas!

Pros and Cons of Insanity

I’m not going to separate this list into pros and cons because I feel like each one has a “but” attached to it. I also think some pros for me might be cons for you and vice versa. Here we go…

Insanity is as hard as you make it.

I really did feel like I was in pretty good shape when I started Insanity, but that first day just KICKED. MY. BEHIND. I thought, “What have I gotten myself into?” BUT I also thought, “I NEED this push!” Insanity is really as hard as you make it. Even the people on the video have to stop to catch their breath often because the point is to push yourself as hard as YOU can. If you can only go for a one minute before you need a break, then go hard for a minute, collect yourself, and get back to it! Don’t start Insanity thinking you can keep up with Shaun T and crew the whole time. I’m not sure I will ever be able to keep up with them, but I know that I will always be working towards that! And if I ever get there, I can always push myself harder. That is the point! Most of the days are intervals – work hard for three minutes or so, rest, get back at it! I really came to like this format by the end.

Insanity is an intense full-body workout.

Each DVD will give your WHOLE body a workout – upper body, core, & lower body are touched on every day. This is where I feel like I need to make a disclaimer: If you have weak ankles, knees, hips, or back trouble, Insanity is probably not the workout program for you. I went into it having never really had injuries in those areas and still had to take out some of the jumping because I wanted to preserve my knees for running! Shaun T is always reminding us to “land softly,” but I am not the most graceful person, so I would often continue doing some other move while they jumped to avoid injury! I know you always see this at the beginning of workout DVDs, but if you’re not sure about starting a workout program, you really should check with your doctor before you begin!

Insanity includes rest days!

I just wanted to make sure you know that Insanity believes in the importance of rest, so every seventh day is a rest day and you will want it! Your body needs time to recover and your mind needs time to gear up for the next week!

Insanity workouts range in length from 40 to 65 minutes.

Insanity is split into two 4 week periods with a recovery week in between. During the first month, all of your workouts will be less than an hour. During the max month, the longest workout is 65 minutes. You may flinch at those times, but because you can do this all at home with no equipment or set-up necessary, this will still be less time than driving to the gym, getting your workout in, and driving back! The workout length also includes a warm-up, stretching, and cool-down, so all in all, I thought it was very reasonable.

Insanity requires no equipment.

I did every workout in my living room. I was able to take the DVDs to my parents when we traveled up there and not have to take anything else with me. Just me. Love that.

Insanity is very motivating.

This is a personal like/dislike, but I just wanted to mention that I think Shaun T and his team were very motivating without being too intimidating. I found it to be a great mixture of tough love, practical coaching, and encouragement. I needed some “in my face” but I also needed to know I wasn’t a failure for having to stop midway through an interval. I always felt very accomplished at the end of a workout because I kept going! And Insanity is the reason I got my fitness “mojo” back!

Your Questions

How “fit” do you think you need to be before you start this program?

I actually don’t think it matters how fit you are because you have to start somewhere! As I mentioned before, you do need to be aware of physical limitations that might not make this a good fit for you.

How did you fit it in your day?

I always did it in the morning. I tried to get it in before the kids woke up, but that didn’t always happen. Thankfully, they actually liked watching me push myself through a workout. If the little one was awake, I put him in a highchair with breakfast and he happily watched and ate as well! Morning was my magic time because I knew if I didn’t get it in then, I might not do it at all!

How do you (or could you) deal with starting Insanity if you do not have the endurance?

I was so there. I could hardly finish a single exercise when I started. My advice: try each exercise, focusing more on getting the form right and less on how long you can last to begin with. If you can only last ten seconds with the proper form to begin, THAT’S OK! Catch your breath, grab some water, and move on! And only measure your progress, not your performance compared to someone else. Give yourself lots of grace and don’t give up!

How do you balance spiritual and physical health in the middle of an intense program like this?

I believe very firmly in moderation and setting priorities. It was never an option for me to do my workout INSTEAD of my Bible and prayer time. I was tempted to just skip my Bible time after a workout because I didn’t “have time,” but those days were doomed from the start because my mind was not in the right place. I found that reading a short devotional before my workout helped me remember why I want to take care of my body: because I want it to be strong and healthy for the Lord to use as He wants!

Insanity Flex

One Last Thing

Through this whole experience, I became a big believer in the Beachbody program. I had never done another workout series from them, but I quickly came to appreciate the way they come alongside people to help them achieve their heath goals with accountability and motivation and tools. And I have also discovered how much I LOVE talking about health and fitness from the perspective of a real mom, not a trainer or health expert. Each time one of you has asked a question, I have been so excited to answer and help you in any way I can!

I have found a passion for encouraging women to live healthier lives. I know I could do a lot of things with this passion. One of them will be writing about it more here. The other will be using this passion to motivate others as a Beachbody coach. I want to be a part of making the health goals of others come true and Insanity, a Beachbody product, did just that for me. Beachbody has a HUGE variety of resources and everyone could find something that would work for them! This really isn’t about a sales pitch, but if you’re looking for a coach to walk beside you, pray for you, and kick you in the behind when you need it, I would love to be that person!

What’s Next?

I’m not moving on to another workout program just yet because I am in half-marathon training mode! I am doing a 78-mile relay with seven friends on October 12th, followed by my third half-marathon October 19th! The first week back to running was a little rough, but this week is already going better! After the half, I’m looking at the Focus T25 program {just 25 minutes a day} for those cold winter months! Maybe some of you will join me?!

And this might be the longest post I’ve ever written…

Thanks for hanging with me and let me know if you have any other questions!

*Disclaimer: Erin is an Independent Team Beachbody coach.