I hear this song in my head every time I fall off of a program like Insanity and then restart. Today was yet another day of dusting and going at it again. Only this time, I’m not trying again, I’m doing! And by doing, I mean I got through the Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs workouts after weeks of no Insanity. Was tough but wasn’t any tougher than it was before, and considering that it amounts to about an hour of Insanity, I am impressed with myself. I did it - and I’m doing it!
I don’t know what it was about tonight! Maybe it was because I started working out later than I would have liked (after sundown). Maybe it was because I just started getting back into these workouts. Whatever it was, my inner heffa decided to fully emerge during today’s workout and she DID NOT help me stay focused!
Some background on my inner heffa:*
She’s lazy. She hates change. She hates anything that seems like “work.” She LOVES lounging around. She LOVES all things sugar, starch and fat. She knows nothing about accomplishment. Whenever I get going on any kind of pursuit, she’s always there, whispering in my ear, “Tricia, why don’t you just stop and take a break? Get yourself some cookies? Watch some reality TV?”
She has been there all throughout the Insanity challenge, whispering and taunting me, but she had not ever come out with full force. She isn’t the reason why I took two weeks off… there was plenty to take her place during that time! I sort of heard her taunts yesterday but today…WOW!
She started in right away, during the warmup. Shaun T. would say “come on, you can do it!” and I would hear her say “but I don’t want to!” As I transitioned from jogging to jumping jacks, jumping jacks to heisman, etc I would hear her say to me, “Why don’t you just take a break?” At one point, she had me convinced that all that I’d do tonight is the warmup and stretch. After the stretch, however, I decide to ignore her and push on into the workout. And she got louder:
“You can’t do this! Just stop now! It’s too hard! You hate suicide drills! And then the basketball drills coming up!”
At the point I heard that, I paused the DVD. I really had to regroup. What the hell was going on with her? Why was she trying so hard to sabotage me? And what could I do to get back on track?
I went to Youtube and put on my “Workout” playlist. The very first song on the list:
I heard the intro of the song and I got back into it. I don’t think my inner heffa is strong enough to stand up to Katy Perry telling me I’m a firework!
And so I completed the workout - at least as best I could - letting myself take breaks when I really needed to, etc. At the end, I could see a small puddle of sweat on the floor (For real! Ew!) but that heffa was nowhere to be seen or heard.
I’m sure she’ll be back, though. And I’ll be ready.
*My inner heffa is me, of course. We all have this heffa in us, but some of us take heed to it more than we should. I have learned that suppressing this part of myself really doesn’t work, however. Focusing on other things, like my personal power, helps.
So it’s been about two weeks since I did Day 18. Why I paused is really not worth a discussion on this blog…but let’s just say, ish happens and if you don’t have a plan in place, ish will can throw you way off course. I am proud to say, however, that despite the ish I’m back on track. “Fall down seven times, stand up eight,” says the Japanese proverb. I’m with it.
Of course, I lost some of my ability to keep up with some of the moves, like the globe jumps. I was surprised to find, however, that I’m just as good at the tricep dips as I was before - not that I was ever really “good” with them but I didn’t get worse! I also still have the balance that I found two weeks ago. I’ll attribute that to my focus on my core in my everyday activities. I’ve found that focusing on keeping my core tight while walking, standing up on the train, washing the dishes, etc has helped my with my balance issues - and I’ve only been focusing on it in this way for a couple of weeks!
An observation (and a confession): I feel at my sexiest immediately after I’m done working out. Something about the sweat… is it just me?
I FOUND MY BALANCE TODAY!
I lost it when I was 12. That was when I stopped dancing. I just wasn’t into it anymore, and it was costing my mother money she could use for other things, so I stopped. Looking back, I can see that I lost a lot around that time, in terms of the way I viewed myself and the world. I was at that age when angst sets in - and it set in me, good. To add to this “natural” (I guess) teenage angst were number of disappointments I experienced as a child that, by the time I turned 12, caused me to give up mentally on a lot of what was familiar and fun for me before. When I let my dancing go, I am sure my balance went with it, dissipating slowly throughout the years…
BUT I FOUND IT TODAY! WHOOHOO!
So the Cardio Recovery workout is really a series of stretches, yoga moves and calisthenics, and ends with a series of balance moves. In prior workouts (Insanity and otherwise) whenever the instructor says something along the lines of “lift your leg and don’t let it touch the floor for 10 seconds” I’d freak out and tell myself that I couldn’t do it because I lack the balance. And then I’d try to do it and - not surprisingly - I couldn’t keep my leg up. Today, however, I decided to change the story I told myself about my balance - and I made this decision as soon as I caught me telling the old “I have no balance story.” The story is now “I have balance - I need to get stronger but I have balance.” I told myself this story, focused on my core, and eventually observed myself keeping my leg off the ground during the last balance move (oblique leg raise)!!!
It is amazing to feel my body get stronger. It is also amazing to see what happens when I really change my mind.
Now that I’ve rediscovered my balance, I wonder what else I’m going to find in this process?
I was sick for about four or five days - had a head cold - and during that time I didn’t do Insanity. I figured it would be a bad idea to push myself THAT hard while ill and particularly while my ability to breathe was compromised. Today, however, I feel better (though not completely recovered) and so I decided to jump back on track. Jumping back on track was rough physically (of course!) but more so mentally. I dug DEEP mentally just to stay with the workout. During the middle of Pure Cardio, this well known poem came to mind and I kept saying the last verse to myself over and over until the end:
When things go wrong as they sometimes will
When the road your trudging seems all-uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup
And he learned too late when the night came down
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit
It’s when things seem worse that you musn’t quit.
Contrary to the appearance of this blog, I have actually completed the Insanity workouts for days 10-14, with at least two break days in the midst. There was nothing new with the workouts but the fact that I have gotten better at doing the moves - except for the Insanity Cardio Abs, which I did for the first time yesterday.
About “Insanity Cardio Abs”…wow. I realized after that workout just how much work I need to do on my core muscles! I know that cardio is key to slimming down the abs but the muscles need to be much stronger than they are. I might add that workout to a few more days in this challenge than required….
So I did the fit test for the second time just now and I AM PLEASED! I didn’t do any more switch kicks than I did when I first started (59 reps in a minute). I think that’s due to the strength (or lack thereof) of my core muscles. But I’ll be focusing much more on those muscles from here on out! The most significant progress I made in the fit test was definitely the pushup jacks! I went from 0 to 12 pushup jacks in a minute!!
When I woke up this morning my body was in no mood to workout - and that’s pretty much the deal every morning - but this morning, like fourteen others before it, I took a deep breath and got going despite my corporal lethargy. And I am so glad today - like every day before - that I pushed past that feeling and got moving. The ability to push past the craving for laying around and doing nothing is so critical for my success. And yes, I think the “I don’t feel like doing anything” feeling can be a craving like any other craving. There’s a difference between resting and being lazy - one is vital for good health, the other is destructive if you give into it too often.
And I’d say the MOST significant progress I’ve made since starting this workout challenge is getting better at pushing past the cravings, whatever they may be.
So Day 9 really should have been days ago, on Saturday, but life had other plans. I woke up on Saturday morning nauseous and although I felt better later on during the day, my stomach did not feel strong enough to withstand the Pure Cardio workout. I didn’t do it yesterday because I woke up super late for work - and probably did so because I didn’t sleep well the night before (the nausea). I got home late from work, and I wasn’t jumping up and down on top of my neighbors at midnight!
So today was my Day 9. I pushed harder during the warmup today - particularly during the “high knee” workout - and I am feeling it!!!! My core muscles are like, whoa. This time around, I actually did the level 2 drills (drop, 8 pushups, 8 plank “sprints” or “runs, pull in, jump up, and repeat) in its entirety 3 times - 2 more times than I did before! I also managed to do the pushup jacks again - 11 this time! I drank my Results and Recovery formula, took a shower and felt AWESOME.
The lesson: Just because a plan doesn’t go as anticipated doesn’t mean that the overall scheme is not going well. It’s a lesson that keeps on showing itself to me lately and I think, as of today, I GOT IT! It dawned on me when I was pushup jacking that, even though I am not on day 11 like I thought I’d be today, I am doing quite well. Just because I got to Day 9 later than I would have anticipated or planned doesn’t mean I messed up, or that I won’t get the results I want.
Following a schedule or a plan (like the Insanity plan) is one thing, but my success is not tethered to strictly following the plan - but to my motivation to remain open to the possibilities, and to keep going!
Furthermore, I’m reminded God (the universe, Allah, whatever you call it) has its own timing for you - you just have to have faith that it’s going to work out for the best, and understand that you don’t always know what “best” is going to be. It doesn’t mean you can’t plan - but it means that you have to be open to letting the plan be flexible, or to letting it go entirely, if a better way to get where you’re going comes about. The universe conspires to support you if you let it do it’s thing - imposing your schedule on the universe doesn’t help it work on your behalf. You never know what it has in store for you. You - or I, I should say - need to remain open to the possibilities.
My arms are sore, but in a good way. I also have another goal with this Insanity challenge: 50 pushups in a row, non-stop. I started practicing yesterday - I can do 10 straight right now - and I will keep practicing every night. I’m just interested in seeing how I can get stronger.
So Day 7 (yesterday) was my off day. On that day, all I did Insanity-wise was google recipes or suggestions for a Results & Recovery Formula, as I realized on Day 6 that I REALLY should be drinking something along those lines after I do these workouts. I am not interested in buying Beachbody’s Results & Recovery, however. So I found this forum and there I found a recipe for a formula. I’m going to try some iteration of this recipe, except that I’m going to swap the fruit juice part for blended fruit and water (because I really don’t buy fruit juice of any kind to keep in the house). I feel like drinking a proper recovery formula after working out will help loads with the way I eat for the rest of the day - or at least I hope it will - because for the first six days all I’ve wanted to do is carbo-load, which is not helpful in terms of the weight-loss/waist-shrinking efforts.
Oh that reminds me! Between Day 3 (after my birthday festivities, during which I gained) and today, I’ve lost 2.6 lbs. And also, I learned that the more one sweats during a workout is a reflection of their level of fitness (which I basically read here: Fitness Myths & Half Truths). So apparently, I’m getting more fit!
So today, Day 8, was another day of Cardio Power & Resistance. I feel like I’m melting right now. My arms are sore. While working out I was reminded of a friend of mine who, while I believe well-meaning, basically questioned my effort to even try to pursue this workout challenge. I say she was well-meaning because she was only talking out of her own doubts and fears to pursue something that presents itself as daunting. She didn’t say “you can’t do it” - she was just like, “Are you sure? It just looks hard!”
I thought about that and I actually questioned myself in the same manner while working out. And then I did some moving pushups (I did a pushup and then I moved to the side? GTFOH!) and answered my own question.
The mind is a funny beast, isn’t it?
Yes I can do it. And it’s not just I can do it - it’s that I am actually doing it!
Then I thought about 52 more days of Insanity. And I reminded myself that this is a day-at-a-time process. And by “this” I’m not just talking about the Insanity challenge - but my goal to be the healthiest and fittest person I can be. It’s not a race - but a marathon ran at my own pace. Taking it one day at a time.