I have been an avid exerciser my whole life. Every week I swim 3000 yards at least three times, ride my bike 20-40 miles, walk and lift weights. I am in excellent shape (if I do say so myself).And then I tried Insanity (reference 1). Insanity is a 60 day program on 10 DVD’s that has you using nothing but your body to kick your own butt. The trainer, Shaun T, leads you through interval training with plyometric moves that build strength and power.
The first Insanity DVD (Plyometric Cardio Circuit) crippled me, or I should say it paralyzed my calves. I knew in the first two minutes of the DVD that I was in trouble, but couldn’t believe that I would be brought to my knees by jumping jacks. Three days after this DVD, I still could not go down stairs. So, I had to regroup and approach these DVD’s differently the next week and pace myself – when Shaun T said to rest if you needed it – I did just that.
How could a person that can ride her bike 40 miles and swim 3000 yards and walk 3 miles in the same day not make it 2 minutes in to an exercise DVD? The SAID principle – Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands (reference 2) - states that your body becomes accustomed to the demands you put on it. My body is used to riding my bike and swimming since I do these all the time, but my body is not used to power jacks, suicide jumps and push-up jacks.
Even though I had reaped the benefits of a good exercise regime with a low resting heart rate, good BMI, good body fat percentage – I knew I was missing an important fitness component. So I decided to go back to the basic, core principles as outlined by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (reference 3). I had been doing three of these four components, but was missing out on muscular endurance.
- Cardiorespiratory endurance – is continuous rhythmic aerobic activity – like swimming and cycling (yeah – already got that covered)
- Muscular strength – is exerting force for a brief amount of time – like lifting weights
- Muscular endurance – is the ability to sustain repeated contractions – like calisthenics, pushups, si-tups (just like Insanity)
- Flexibility - is the ability to move through a full range of motion with stretching and can be done everyday
If you are not an exerciser, you need to get off the couch and do any type of exercise; some moving is better than no moving. If you are already exercising and have a goal of overall fitness, then you need to make sure that you are switching things up and are including cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength exercises, muscular endurance exercises and stretching for flexibility. Once I conquer the Insanity program, I will keep it in my overall fitness program so that I have a well rounded program. That is my opinion and a survey of one.