The definition of insanity

in•san•i•ty

noun

“extreme foolishness or irrationality”

I cancelled my gym membership in May because I never went. I turned a room in my house into a a room where workouts happen. I gained weight.

Nonsense.

I decided to change my strategy to something a little more insane.

Insanity.

Insanity Fit Test

I started my 60 days this morning with the Fit Test.

Results:

  • 63 switch kicks
  • 30 squat jacks
  • 65 power knees
  • 10 power jumps
  • 7 globe jumps
  • 11 suicide jumps
  • 11 push-up jacks
  • 34 oblique planks

This is the definition of insanity.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m blogging again.

Moves to increase metabolism

The body burns calories by breaking down cells for energy. Increasing the rate at which the body breaks down cells burns calories faster, which leads to weight loss.

Weight loss is the goal. My goal is five pounds.

Genetics and gender determine metabolic rate. However, we can fight genetics to increase our metabolism and lose fat faster.

What woman doesn’t want to defy her genetics?

…Heidi Klum.

She pretty much hit the jackpot. Congrats, lady. You look fab.

Increasing metabolic rate is easy… ‘er said than done. Har har. You have to eat the right food and workout the right way.

We have talked about food. You know! Green, whole, fresh? Nix anything processed or with added salt and refined sugar.

EAT BREAKFAST. Do it. No arguments. Beginning the day with fuel is the only way to get the engine going.

The engine is you. So eat something.

But how do we workout the right way? Is running and yoga not enough?!

Well, to my dismay, Insanity by Beachbody (my nemesis) had it right: Interval Training.

However, Insanity turned interval training upside down and made my life terrible so I will not be going back to that.

Oh, no. There was crying and shame and unhappiness. It was ugly.

I will, however, use the same bursts of speed and energy at the end of a non-Insanity workout to increase my heart rate to increase my metabolic rate to increase my weight loss!

Whew!

Women’s Health Magazine featured five interval sessions:

I will try the Lateral Speed Steps. I promise to try, but I will fall because I am not coordinated enough to do it.

The Shuttle Space runs excite me! I really enjoy sprinting. Where can I find cones or an available football field?

But I do not enjoy running for long periods of time. Distance running is fine, but I tire quickly and bore easily.

Treadmill + Shae = not friends.

I have zero endurance, too, which doesn’t help.

Interval sprinting is a workout saver. I can even sprint on my back! Ha!

What are your interval workouts?

Plyometrics key to stronger, faster runs

Husband completed Tony Horton’s P90X, a 90-day workout program by Beachbody, the year before we got married. P90X was a good program for him, and it worked, but he didn’t enjoy every workout.

His least favorite day of the week was Plyo Day. During my Insanity sessions, I absolutely hated Plyo Day. (Well, I hated every day.)

Plyometrics are drills designed to increase muscular power. For example, “burpees” are plyometric moves that emphasize exploding from a static position.

BODYROCK.tv workouts add push-ups to their burpees:

…crazies.

I may hate them, but plyometric drills are a key component to stronger, faster and longer runs.

Olympic runner Adam Tenforde told Runner’s World that plyometric drills were key to why his running times decreased.

“Plyo is a big part of why my times have come down so far,” says Tenforde, “and it has also improved my closing speed, flexibility, and injury resistance.”

I want to be a better runner so I will add at least three moves to my workout that I generally avoid.

  • Vertical jumps
  • Split jumps
  • Ankle hops (We called these “Ankle Pops” in Shocker Fitness.)
  • (Or, you can try Irish Dancing. I hear it works better if you do it wrong.)

Vertical jumps and split jumps were moves used in Insanity as well as squat jumps (a.k.a. The Most Awful Exercise Ever). P90X featured spinning jumping squats, which I highly enjoyed watching my husband do in our tiny living room.

Oh, plyo. Here I go!

Interval Workouts + How To: Calculate Calories Burned

For Livestrong.com, Greg Presto writes in the article “The Best Exercises for Fat Loss” that sprinting in the form of interval training is a great total-body exercise.

I guess I am doing something right on Mondays.

In this blog, I have discussed sprinting, interval training and intense workouts as being more effective than taking the tortoise-route when wanting to lose weight.

Intensity in short bursts burns calories more quickly and more fat overall. (The cardio zone is not nearly as good as the fat-burning zone.)

Interval Training
Remember our prior discussions (and complaints) about Insanity? Insanity is the definition of interval training… it just happens to be a bad definition for me.

Luckily, Insanity is not the only interval training program.

Interval training is simply bouts of high-intensity exercise alternated with short rest periods. “Simple” meaning turning a normal workout routine into an interval workout routine is pie – up the intensity, rest and repeat.

If you like the track, sprint 100s. If you prefer the gym, get on the treadmill, elliptical or bike and do your own intervals!

Interval training burns more calories and improves the body’s ability to burn fat by promoting the production of growth hormone, which burns fat, and adrenaline, which burns fat and suppresses appetite.

I need me some growth hormone… Wait… Maybe not…

Interval workouts are shorter. Good thing because most people hate exercising for lengthy periods. Interval training also will get you fitter in fewer workouts.

Awesome.

Sprints
Sprinting will give you gorgeous glutes, muscular legs and an all-over awesome body.

At the track, Ashley and I see sprinters all the time, and I WANT those legs. Remember, I want runner muscles?

According to the article, sprinters also have amazing arms and shoulders. I believe it! Since adding sprinting to my workout regimen, my arms are becoming more muscular and lean doing less pushups. Sweeeet!

A “Be Careful!” Note: You might pull a hammy. (P.S. I like calling it a hammy!) The article suggests beginning sprints on a hill (really?) to put less impact on your joints.

Sprinting only once a week can cause soreness (the good times). The article said even abs will feel the pain-gain, and it’s true. My tummy is sore… and smaller.

Density Workouts
Cardio is not necessary to get a high-intensity workout. (It is good for you, don’t get me – or the article – wrong.) However, by strength training opposing muscle groups at the same time, you can increase your heart rate and burn fat.

For example, work the glutes with squats, and then move on to the arms with hammer curls. Or work the legs with lunges, and then do pull-ups (from the article – I cannot do a pull-up).

And Livestrong.com suggests…

“For each exercise, choose a weight with which you can perform 10 reps. Alternate between exercises, performing just five reps of each with a 10-rep weight… Rest as needed between sets and pairs so that you can complete each set of five without failing.”

Alternate 10-15 minutes. When you do it again, try to beat your record. (Just like weights class in high school.)

Not in the article, but something I have tried as a workout… Do squats while doing bicep curls. Do lunges with a twist to work the core. Do step-ups with an overhead press. It works both muscle groups at the same time, which works the body harder. Debbie Seibers does it, and she looks great.

Countdown Workouts
Something I’ve never heard of… intriguing…

Countdown workouts use opposing exercise pairs, too, but require you to keep careful count. Go figure.

According to the article, the workout involves one fewer rep for each move. The whole point is to keep you on track with counting, and also provide motivation because there is a finish line – zero reps.

From Mike Wunsch, performance director at Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, Calif., the article highlighted a few countdown pairs:

  • kettlebell swing with squat thrust
  • medicine ball side toss with medicine ball slam
  • jumping jacks with pushup
  • squat thrust with pushup

I have to figure out what a squat thrust is…

The Hurricane (?)
Brief, but intense was the description provided…

The Hurricane is made up of lifting weights and interval training broken up into three groups called rounds. Each round includes an exercise to get the heart rate up, and the two in between. The whole thing lasts about 16-22 minutes.

You might just have to see it because the explanation is just complicated… Check it out!

And the final item…

Diet
NOT an exercise or workout regimen but a necessary part of getting fit.

The article has done something for me that I have been trying to figure out precisely for… well, forever…

Calories = [(0.2017 x age) + (0.6309 x heart rate) – (0.09036 x weight) – 55.0969] x time / 4.184

That is one helluva calculation… (trembles in fear of math), but let’s try one for the helluva it!

Calculation for Wednesday’s Hill Workout
[(0.2017 x 23) + (0.6309 x 170) – (0.09036 x 132) – 55.0969] x 30 / 4.184 = 321.7 (I think.)

Math, even with a calculator, sucks.

…after all that work… Pretend I’m a man, and then I burnt 321.7 calories. Ugh!

As a woman…
Calories = [(0.074 x 23) + (0.4472 x 170) – (0.05741 x 132) – 20.4022] x 30 / 4.184 = 356.7

There! That’s how many calories I burned.

I now have the most complicated way to figure out how many calories I have actually burned. (Gotta love Livestrong! :) ) Guess what’s going to happen, though? I’m still going to go off whatever the machine says.

Favorite interval workouts? Go!

How did you burn calories today?  I was supposed to run. Instead, I spent two hours cleaning my ENTIRE house. (Except ceiling fans…)

My Running Program

I quit. I know I said I wouldn’t. But I quit Insanity. I hate it!

The program works if you do; and I worked hard and saw results, but I cannot continue to torture myself with a program I do not love.

I will never learn to love fitness if I keep doing things that make me hate fitness.

It is all so clear to me now. So I quit.

Liz Plosser of Women’s Health Magazine put together an article (and strategic running plan) to shape up and shed pounds in minimal mileage, and I want to try it. (I knew I was going to get excited about running!)

Run Less, Lose More Fat
Liz Plosser

According to the article, most people operate under the assumption that the more they run, the more weight they will lose.

Well, that makes sense, but unfortunately our bodies are so efficient at working that the longer we run, the easier it becomes so we burn less calories.

Ah, the human body! So efficient! So amazing! So utterly in the way of me losing weight! :(

Initial weight loss occurs – in my case, this is usually water weight – and then progress stops because the body is too good at what it does: moving.

With Women’s Health Magazine’s strategic running program, a runner will have to run three to five days a week, but rarely for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Um… sweeeeeeet! Here we go!

Sneak in Speed
Interval training (Insanity) introduces short bursts of intense aerobic exercise, or speed, into your everyday regular routine or pace.

According to the article, when you run at a comfortable pace, your cruise control, your body gets energy from the oxygen you inhale instead of using up your stores.

The body and I are going to have some words.

However, when you speed up, your body must work harder to make the muscles contract and expand, which does use up your stores and burns more calories.

A magical calorie-burning bullet, the article said. And, according to the experts, mixing short, medium and long intervals will keep your body guessing.

…meaning it can’t keep up! Ha! Take that body!

Devote one day a week to one of these speed drills:

  • Quickies: For 15 seconds, run at a hard but sustainable effort and then jog or walk to recover for 60 seconds. Repeat six times.
    Beginner: Build up to 10 intervals over eight weeks.
    Seasoned Runner: Build up to 12 intervals over eight weeks.
  • Long Repeats (Beginner): Run a quarter mile on flat or rolling terrain at a hard but sustainable effort and recover by jogging or walking for two minutes. Repeat four times. Build up to eight intervals over eight weeks.
    Seasoned Runner: Run one half miles and follow the same directions.

Head for the Hills
Ugh. Incline.

For each degree of incline, count on at least 10 percent more calories burned. (Source) Moving forward and up at the same time makes your body work harder.

Again. Ugh. Incline. (Internal Mantra: I want a perky butt. I want a perky butt. I want a perky butt.)

Do one hill workout a week:

  • Find a gentle hill or set your treadmill to a 5 percent incline.
  • Run up the hill at a hard but sustainable effort for 10 seconds.
  • Jog or walk back to where you started, or reset the incline to zero, until you completely catch your breath (45-60 seconds).
  • Beginner: Repeat four to eight times.
  • Seasoned Runner: Repeat six to 10 times.

… I want to be a seasoned runner. Sounds spicy!

Strengthen Your Stride
Strength training makes you stronger from head to toe so you can run harder, and it is absolutely necessary if you want to lose weight. (Source)

Strength training also keeps you free of injuries. Lower-body exercises are important, especially for women, to avoid hip pain. Didn’t I just say something about my wonky hip joint?

Lifting before you run increases fat burning while you run. After about 20 minutes of strength training, you’ve used up all your stores so running will burn fat. (Source)

So I’ll do some lunges, squats and pushups before heading out on a run. Good idea!

Do three sets of 12-15 reps twice a week; rest for 30 seconds between sets. You will need five- to 10-pound dumbbells and a resistance band. (I’m going to need to hunt for those resistance bands… No clue where I put them!)

  • Unilateral Lift: Grad a dumbbell in each hand, stand on one leg and lift the other leg slightly. With your raised foot stationary, lean forward with your arms straight and extended toward the floor as you bend at the hips. Return to start without lowering your raised foot.

    Similar to Warrior III? I think so.

  • Lateral Band Walk: Place a resistance band around your ankles. Stand with feet hip-width apart, and then step to the side with one foot. Walk 15 steps in one direction and 15 steps back. That’s one set. Repeat three times.

    Ashley R./T. did this little number in track and made me do it once. Inner thighs were a burnin’! Come to think of it… Everything was on fire.

  • Marching Hip Raise: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Raise your hips to create a straight line from your knees to shoulders. Lift one knee to your chest, trying not to drop your hips. Lower, then lift your other knee to you chest. That’s one rep. Do it 12-15 times.

    Think of Bridge Pose in yoga, and then add a knee lift.

  • Leg Raise: Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, palms up. Keeping your legs straight, raise them until they are perpendicular to the floor. Slowly bring them back to the starting position, keeping your lower back against the floor.

    We used to do this in soccer… except in soccer, another girl would catch your legs, and then hurl them to the ground in hopes of making you touch it. We were NOT allowed to hit that floor.

Go Long (in Moderation)
No more than one long run a week? Heck, yes!

A long run means 30 minutes or more. I used to do that three times a week! What was wrong with me?!

So what’s the new plan?
(Why get fancy with a program when I can do this by myself?)

Adding it up…

1 speed drill day + 1 hill workout + 2 strength training days + 1 long run = 5 days a week. Add yoga on Saturdays, and I’m back at the gym using my membership! :)

Shae’s Test Schedule

Monday – Quickies

Tuesday – Strength Training

Wednesday – Hills

Thursday – Strength Training

Friday – Long Run

Saturday – Power Yoga (I’ve missed it so!)

Sunday – Rest

What time of day? Kansas has pushed 100 degree heat and more than that in heat index for the ENTIRE MONTH OF JULY. It’s not dying down anytime sooner either.

It’s too hot to run outside in the afternoon, or even in the evening, which leaves mornings. Early mornings.

Ugh. Mornings it is.

It is quite exciting to try something new that I haven’t learned to hate yet!

Who knows? I love running when I was in middle and high school. I wasn’t “active,” but I was mobile, at least. Maybe running is my in love workout?

Maybe maybe.

When should I start?

Tomorrow. :) (Although, maybe I should do some sort of detox first…)

Know a good fitness app for the iPhone? I’m looking for something the WHM but that will also allow me to track. I do not like MyNetDiary.

If it wasn’t for shorts, I would go running

I perused Run Street’s Slacker’s Guide Series briefly.

Briefly because I did not want to get too excited about running, which always happens, but never quite works out for me.

Of course, after reading just a few blog posts, I felt inspired to lace up my cross-trainers and hit the pavement.

(It helped that she looks amazing! I totally want runner muscles.)

After reading, I remembered an article I’d read on Women’s Health: Six Reasons to Start Running.

This is what I do. I find encouraging blogs and supporting articles that make me want to work out, and then try it (or never try it), decide it’s awful and quit!

Ugh. Fail.

Six Reasons to Start Running
Reason #1: I found this funny… “It’s so easy. True, some high-tech gear will make your run more fun, but really, all you need is a good pair of shoes and a supportive sports bra.” (Source)

When someone finds a supportive sports bra – for someone like me, not someone like the women in the Insanity workouts – let me know. My sports bra is ripping apart my skin and bruising me.

Reason #2: So easy… “Yet so hard. No other exercise matches running for its ability to soak that sports bra.”  (Source)

Running blasts the most calories, and, when you’re counting calories, it’s nice to subtract once in a while. Like I needed more encouragement.

Reason #3: Running works out your heart.

But why more so than other workouts?

When you’re legs hit their stride, they squeeze blood toward the heart, which forces it to pump the blood back. The faster you run, the harder your heart works and the stronger it gets. (Source)

Check out this nifty little explanation of stride.
Apparently, it’s an entire move or something.

When my track-star-workout-buddy gets back from her honeymoon… Ashley R. is now Ashley T…. we are going to the track and “striding.” She likes to run; she’ll know what it is.

Reason #4: Running is good for your joints.

When you weigh less (by running for weight loss), you are at a less risk for osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. (Source)

Now, I have an inkling to disagree. When I was very young, I loved running and riding my bike and simply being mobile. (Cars ruined everything for me.) Several times I read or heard from people I knew that running would be bad for me.

It was. Because of running in my “growing years,” I developed a nasty little pop in my left hip. While it usually doesn’t hurt, a particularly big one can pinch a few nerves and send irritating little tingles up and down my leg.

I could be crazy, of course, that is very likely. However, the pop is there, and it’s annoying. If running now will prevent it from getting worse… well, then, I would just have to be proved wrong.

Reason #5: Less stress! Hallelujah!

Have you ever seen What Women Want, with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt? They wanted to sign NIKE to their advertising agency. Do you remember the commercial they “created?” A woman doesn’t need to dress up for the road. A woman doesn’t have to impress the road.

Just her and the road, and she can work out all her problems on the pavement. I think avid workout enthusiasts will say the same. (Source)

Reason #6: Running can prevent disease.

Regular exercise reduces the risk of many kinds of cancer, including colon, breast, endometrial and lung cancers. Becoming a regular runner may help you cancer-proof your life. (Source)

In addition, running can battle heart disease, stroke and diabetes, lower blood pressure, raise good cholesterol and boost immunity. AND it can prevent vision loss. (I need to vision loss prevention; I’m going blind over here!)

With all those disease-prevention benefits, it stands to reason that if you’re a runner, you’ll live longer.

I want to live longer.

If I didn’t have to wear shorts… I’d be a runner. Perhaps I need to invest in some of those “capri” pants.

Second Insanity Fit Test 2 today. I do not expect to do well. :(

Last week, I was very stressed, so much so that I didn’t want to eat, which is weird because I always want to eat.

Well, when I let go of the stress and resolved some issues, I stuffed my face I was so happy.

Last week, from Monday to Friday, I lost four and a half pounds. Not good. On Sunday, I weighed myself again and had gained it all back.

Plus one.

My WEIGHT DROP! blog now needs to be changed from four pounds to three pounds. Boo.

I supposed I’ve been slacking in my workouts, and then trying to make up for the slack with extreme cleaning of my house. (I moved the microwave f0lks.)

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned sweat session, though. And I’m about to hit it.

Wish me luck!

Favorite sports bra: NONE! I hate them all. (P.S. If you’ve got suggestions for big-chested ladies, I’m all ears.)

Favorite running shorts: I haven’t found the perfect pair yet, but I like Danskin products.

What do you like most about running?
I’ll tell you when I try again!

Clean bill of health!

On Monday, I went back to my doctor to get this checked out. (Caution Male Readers!)

For the past six weeks, I struggled to reduce the (overly) large amount of caffeine I drink on a daily basis by MORE THAN HALF.

Well, I did it!

My doctor told me she could really tell I cut back on the caffeine, and then she said that I had to keep it up.

I believe her exact words were: “And not a pot of coffee a day.”

And she said it with a “doctor glare.” You know the one.

Weird thing: We discovered I have one big rib on the right side. It’s just larger than all my other ribs. (I checked.) Fantastic.

I promised. Of course, I might have to break that promise come August.

School is soon! I’m excited, but only because I need to accomplish things. I need to accomplish papers and speeches and teaching.

Ugh. I’m not good without school, I suppose!

Unfortunately, with school comes Ramen Noodles and all-nighters, which leave me too exhausted to workout.

I’m gonna get fat. Boo.

Currently, my workouts and diet are going… OK.

Dieting is just no fun, and daily I learn that I eat too much by counting calories. Counting calories is impossible.

I did Pure Cardio of Insanity today, and it went well. I pushed my body until my legs went out and I fell on my butt.

Twice.

Yeah, I went back for more.

And I died! (Eddie Izzard)

Well, my computer is acting weird, and I have studying to do… Hate on the GRE with me!

Also, I have a gross giant zit on my face. I would show you but the picture wouldn’t turn out right.