Sunday, February 21, 2010

Insanity Fit Test (Part Deux)

I hadn't revisited the Insanity Fit Test since starting Round 2, mostly because I'm deathly afraid of it. As you might recall, I barely made it through my first attempt at the Fit Test. But now that I've completed my 90-day P90X/Insanity Hybrid, I was curious to see how much (or even if) I've improved -- before all my gains disappear with the onset of laziness and inertia.

My post-Round 2 Fit Test results, after the jump...

Once again, we start with a quick warm-up and stretch before launching into the Fit Test exercises. The Fit Test itself consists of just eight moves -- each performed for one minute, and with a one-minute break in-between -- but given my desire to crank up my numbers up as far as possible, I attacked the exercises so hard I felt like I was going to pass out at the end of this morning's test. Not good, and not smart.

Still, by going totally balls-out, I was able to push my reps to levels never before achieved (by me, anyway). Below are my pre-Insanity and post-Insanity numbers, along with Tania's and Chris's results.

Switch Kicks (as many reps as possible in 1 minute)

Tania (Pre-Insanity): 74
Tania (Post-Insanity): 110

Chris (Pre-Insanity): 80
Chris (Post-Insanity): 100

Me (Pre-Insanity): 132
Me (Post-Insanity): 142

Power Jacks (as many reps as possible in 1 minute)

Tania (Pre-Insanity): 51
Tania (Post-Insanity): 65

Chris: Not reported.

Me (Pre-Insanity): 65
Me (Post-Insanity): 75

Power Knees (as many reps as possible in 1 minute)

Tania (Pre-Insanity): 98
Tania (Post-Insanity): 125

Chris (Pre-Insanity): 62
Chris (Post-Insanity): 81

Me (Pre-Insanity): 100
Me (Post-Insanity): 119

Power Jumps (as many reps as possible in 1 minute)

Tania (Pre-Insanity): 41
Tania (Post-Insanity): 50

Chris (Pre-Insanity): 36
Chris (Post-Insanity): 42

Me (Pre-Insanity): 45
Me (Post-Insanity): 94

Globe Jumps (as many reps as possible in 1 minute)

Tania (Pre-Insanity): 9
Tania (Post-Insanity): 11

Chris (Pre-Insanity): 7
Chris (Post-Insanity): 11

Me (Pre-Insanity): 10
Me (Post-Insanity): 12

Suicide Jumps (as many reps as possible in 1 minute)

Tania (Pre-Insanity): 18
Tania (Post-Insanity): 23

Chris (Pre-Insanity): 17
Chris (Post-Insanity): 22

Me (Pre-Insanity): 21
Me (Post-Insanity): 26

Push-Up Jacks (as many reps as possible in 1 minute)

Tania (Pre-Insanity): 23
Tania (Post-Insanity): 32

Chris (Pre-Insanity): 21
Chris (Post-Insanity): 42

Me (Pre-Insanity): 41
Me (Post-Insanity): 67

Low Plank Obliques (as many reps as possible in 1 minute)

Tania (Pre-Insanity): 40
Tania (Post-Insanity): 70

Chris (Pre-Insanity): 35
Chris (Post-Insanity): 49

Me (Pre-Insanity): 82
Me (Post-Insanity): 119

After the Fit Test was done, I wanted to immediately crawl into the corner and pass out, but I dutifully finished writing down my results and then collapsed.

With the exception of Power Knees, I was able to surpass Tania's and Chris' reps on every exercise. I'm proud of this accomplishment, but this unlikely result can be explained in a number of ways:
  • It's possible -- even likely -- that my form wasn't as precise as Chris and Tania's. I can't say for sure; I was too busy trying to give myself a heart attack.
  • Thanks to P90X, I began Insanity at a good fitness level, and even back on Day 1, I was already able to crank out a good number of reps.
  • Instead of doing 60 days of Insanity, I did a 90-day hybrid of P90X and Insanity, which means my body had more time to adjust to the demands of Shaun T's program.
  • I killed myself attempting the Fit Test moves. After their Fit Tests, Tania and Chris stood around and chatted with Shaun T. I, on the other hand, lay on the floor, curled up on my right side, trying like hell to catch my breath. I couldn't even stand up. 
Seeing my motionless form on the floor, M, who was chugging through her ChaLEAN Extreme workout on the other side of the garage, called over: "What are you doing? Are you okay?"

"I'm okay -- resting," I wheezed. But it took me another five minutes to recover from just eight minutes of actual exercise.

I can't imagine doing this Fit Test again, but I probably will. It's a damned good HIIT workout -- especially if you only have a half-hour to exercise.

So now that I'm done with Insanity, what do I think? I think it's a seriously wacked-out routine that requires an almost superhuman level of exertion, and I'm glad I did it. I think I'll continue doing Insanity workouts occasionally in order to maintain my VO2 max gains. I don't doubt that Insanity's one of the toughest workout videos on the market.

But I also don't think that means it's the best workout series out there. Shaun T's singular focus is on interval training, which has been shown to be a great way to boost fitness, but Insanity lacks the heavy resistance training featured in P90X, Turbulence Training, ChaLEAN Extreme, CrossFit, and other programs. Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that Insanity's simply not a sustainable fitness routine in the long term. I haven't done the research, but my gut is that doing day after day of high-impact plyometric cardio moves at close to your maximum heart rate taxes your system and increases the odds that you'll get injured. For my money, P90X is the better, more well-rounded program (despite Kenpo X).

Also, with P90X, there's yoga. I miss yoga. For all the jumping around and stretching in Insanity, I feel like my balance and flexibility has suffered in Round 2. I'm definitely going to reincorporate yoga into my exercise routine going forward. Stay tuned...