Letter #144: ‘Insane’ Completion

Dear Insanity,

I wash my hands of you. After 9 weeks, 61 days and way too many minutes of pure hell, I have completed you! Now, I must make a few disclaimers with my word completed. Actually, I have some beef with you in general…it all correlates.

Week 1: legitimately, the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t think there was anyway I could finish you with how horrible I felt. I could barely sit, walking was a challenge and peeing…well, you do the math. Somehow, I survived.

Weeks 2-5: my favorite. Forty minute workouts, tops. Still hard, but making it through the first week is key. These weeks were “easy” for me. I use easy very lightly. I was motivated. This time length was ideal for me. These were the golden weeks…especially recovery week!!

Weeks 6-9: AWFUL. This is my issue with you. You suckered me in, then you throw this Max training business in. I was conditioned mentally for 40 minute workouts. You come around and are an hour if not more. In the scheme of life, 20 minutes isn’t that big of deal. In the scheme of you, huge deal. At this point, I was committed so I couldn’t bail.

Here’s where my confessions and disclaimers come in. While I completed all 60 days of your program, I did not complete all “x’ number of minutes. Sometimes I just didn’t have an hour plus to give, so I’d cut the video a little short. Did I cut corners? Yes, but I stand here openly admitting it. If you would’ve remained 40ish minutes, I would’ve fully completed you, but I failed. I also got sick in the middle of you and postponed everything a week, didn’t skip a week just pushed it back. Disclaimers complete.

Now, I know every person reading this is skimming simply looking for my results. As promised, no awkward before and after pictures for everyone’s sake! Nevertheless, here are my results. You begin with a fit test on day one and end with the same test on the last day. My numbers increased significantly. I won’t bore you with specifics, but these are my improvements from each exercise. 74/99, 32/36, 70/95, 30/34, 7/10, 6/10, 8/15, 20/44. Basically, my endurance increased in every area, some significantly.

Endurance wasn’t my only result. My body’s firmed up as well. I’m more solid. I can feel it in my arms, thighs and mainly my stomach. Trust me, this doesn’t mean I’m ripped or super toned. I simply can tell a difference in firmness, and I’ll take being more firm any day.

Lastly, weight loss. This is what people really want to know. I guess I have one more disclaimer. I’ve eaten horribly through you. The holidays, trail: where there’s no say of what you eat, then the “draft:’ where somehow there was always food around. So, take that into high consideration when looking at these results…I lost 1-2 pounds, but remember, muscle weighs more than fat, and I’ve gotten ‘You look skinnier comments.’ I feel better and that’s all that matters!

All this being said, I’m going to miss my boyfriend, Shaun T. Kidding, but he became the male I spent the most consistent time with and this became the ongoing joke. I loved the consistency I had with you. You burdened me, and the result was working out regularly. However, you’re the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically, and I’m thankful you’re over. For nine or 10 weeks you’ve been hanging over my head. Today, nothing is hanging!

I’m glad I tried you. I think you do good things. However, I don’t think I’ll ever do your consecutive 60 days again. I don’t know, I might, but not anytime soon. I got bored doing the same thing over and over. I now understand why you’re called what you are. Einstein’s quote makes more sense than ever: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Sure, I had some results, but I need a bit more adventure in my life. I’ll consider incorporating you into my workouts weekly. If nothing else, it’s fun to know I finished (basically!), and if I can do this I can anything!

Looking forward to a break…actually, I’m 95% sure I’m starting half marathon training,

Finisher of you and super excited

Past Insanity blogs:

December 13th…’Insane’ Consistency

January 3rd…’Insane’ Update

Letter #95: ‘Insane’ Update

Dear readers,

I’m officially in a three week relationship! Now, I know some of you are holding your breath waiting for my elaborate story about how I met this strapping, godly, funny young man…well, don’t pass out because you’re going to need to hold your breath a little longer. My relationship is with a man named Shaun T and with a workout series called Insanity. I committed to this 60 day program and am tracking my results (here’s my commitment letter). Legitimately, it is the hardest physical undertaking of my life, and I was a 6A high school athlete.

It’s a DVD series of interval training and consists of various “moves’ for typically 30 seconds at a time, but each move is put into groups to combine for 3-15 minutes depending on the day. Each DVD is different and emphasizes specific areas. There are literally moves that I still, after 22 days, cannot achieve, but I have improved immensely. Let’s say this…if someone caught this on tape, it could potentially win America’s Funniest Home Videos.

I haven’t lost any weight to this point, but I didn’t change my eating habits at all over the holidays. Typically, I probably would’ve gained, but I simply maintained. More than weight loss, I have noticed a significant difference in my tone. I’ve trimmed up. I don’t know if you’d notice much difference at this point, but I’m more firm and my endurance has increased through the roof (I take a fit test every other week, and the number of “moves’ able to do in the allotted time increased significantly).

I’m also tweeting daily (you can follow me here) through this 60 days to encourage accountability in the process. If I don’t complete a day, then I know people will know about it…and it captures my thoughts about the day immediately. Here are the first 21 days…see if you want to attempt this after these comments:

  • Insanity day 1: feel good so far. Nearly puked Danna’s from last night; could only do minimal reps-setting self up for big increases at end.
  • Insanity day 2: woke up more sore than when I went to sleep. The people on it are super human. End of story.
  • Insanity day 3: didn’t know it was possible to be this sore…ever. Stairs, peeing, rising from a chair are all hellacious actions.
  • Insanity day 4: cardio recovery. Easiest day yet, but this isn’t saying much. My body needs 3 days of recovery, not 30 minutes.
  • Insanity day 5: somehow still sore upon wake up. 38 min of ‘pure cardio.’ So hard, but I’m getting better every day!!!
  • Insanity day 6: repeat of day 2 only I was a bit, only a bit, less likely to die. Here’s to later start time bc it’s Sat and tom being Sun!
  • Insanity day 7: Shaun T believes in keeping the Sabbath holy.
  • Insanity day 8: established I have ZERO upper body strength. If I’m ever able to do the push-up moves, it will be a miracle.
  • Insanity day 9: pure cardio=pure hell. Side note: I think I pulled my left hamstring. NO…I have 51 days to go.
  • Insanity day 10: still harder than ever imagined. Note to self: do it in the morning…nearly puked my Cool Greens.
  • Insanity day 11: after finally convincing myself to get out of bed this morn and do it, it was great. I LOVE recovery day!
  • Insanity day 12: still hard as heck, but every day is a little better…Merry Christmas to me!
  • Insanity day 13: thought I was doing well when I only stopped ONCE in pure cardio. Then, they decided to throw the 1st cardio abs at me.
  • Insanity day 14: Shaun T knew it was Rother family Christmas…day off!!
  • Insanity day 15: 2nd fit test=immense improvement with a long way to go/Christmas food yesterday didn’t help!
  • Insanity day 16: does this ever get easier?!
  • Insanity day 17: broke up pure cardio and cardio abs with Christmas decor destruction…best decision of today.
  • Insanity day 18: thank God for cardio recovery, and doing it this late sucks. Lunch with friends=worth it.
  • Insanity day 19: Happy New Year to me?!
  • Insanity day 20: 33% complete!
  • Insanity day 21: Day off!!!

More than anything, I feel better when I work out and this has been a great avenue thus far. I’m looking forward to seeing the end results of all this, but I’m also proud of the consistency I’m establishing in my life as well as the fact that I’m pushing through and completing this commitment even though it’s REALLY hard.

Must press on and finish this race,

Insane committer

Letter #78: Hawaii: Comfort Zone?

Dear comfort zones,

You are easy to get caught up in. It’s comfortable for me to go to work all day, then make a sandwich for dinner. It’s challenging for me to think through what I’m going to cook, have already grocery shopped to have the ingredients and make a home-cooked meal. It’s comfortable to have Chili’s be my go to restaurant in Branson (I love their salsa!). It’s hard, umm…ok, more of an out of my norm, to try a new, local Branson joint. It’s easy to lay in my bed until 7:30, throw myself together and make it to work by 8. It’s SO hard to get up at 6, do Insanity, then go to work. It’s comfortable for me to simply maintain the relationships I have in my life currently. It takes effort to branch out and make new friends in a new place and to be honest, it’s awkward at times.

Institute friends at Sam's going away party. Top row: Sam, Marissa, Me, Laura. Bottom row: Joy, Rachel, Caroline

We say we want to avoid you, but if we’re honest, we enjoy how easy life can be in the middle of you. You are hard, inconvenient and challenging to distance ourselves from, but if we’re going to grow into the people the Lord intended us to be we have to branch out. Taking steps of faith, getting to a point of being uncomfortable and experiencing newness or change allows us to see God working rather than relying on ourselves.

Today, my friend Sam Pace leaves Branson. I knew Sam from OSU, but we weren’t great friends. Then, we went to the Kanakuk Institute together and became better friends. Then, she decided to stay in Branson for a semester to nanny and apply for law school, and our friendship solidified. Today, she departs to go home for the holidays, then she’s moving to HAWAII for the semester before starting law school! This is the epitome of stepping outside of you, and today, I am inspired to get out of mine. She is moving there knowing one person. That’s it. Now, don’t get me wrong…it’s not like the beauty of the island is going to be trying, but not knowing people, not having a job lined up, not knowing the culture…this is a leap of faith. Plus, I now have an excuse to vacation in Hawaii!

These are pictures from her going away party. We even decorated brownies! I made this! OK, Frosty is a bit deformed, but this is a big step for me in my craftiness!

I don’t know who Neale Walsh, but I love this quote from him: “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” I don’t know if my life began because I started Insanity, but I do know that often times when I’m outside of you, I see the Lord working more in my life than when I’m in the middle of you. Sam, enjoy ‘beginning your life’ in Hawaii, as I learn to step out of being comfortable here in Branson.

Inspired to branch out of you while exploring a trip to Hawaii,

Attempted comfort zone avoider

Letter #74: ‘Insane’ Consistency

Dear consistency,

You are my second subject now to get two letters written to you. I’ve already told you once, but I’ll tell you again. You are the most attractive quality in a person, and I strive to embody you. After a month, literally, of thinking through and praying about it, I began blogging daily. For 74 days, I have exercised more of you in my life than ever before.

You have inspired me. After another month of thinking (this blog has allowed/forced me to do a lot of this lately), I’m adding a new element of you in my life. Today, I begin a two month commitment. Today, I embark upon the new workout fad, Insanity.

You see, I enjoy working out, but my recent seven weeks of traveling have created a bit of a hiatus in this department. It’s time to get back into the workout game. Why Insanity? I like it’s claim to putting me in the “best shape of my life.’ I’ve heard it’s really hard, and I love a challenge. I can do it without ever leaving home. I’ve been avoiding the gym for multiple reasons: I’m too cheap to pay for a membership, and I can work out at K-Kauai for free except it involves a 10 minute walk in the cold…not happening. So, Insanity is the perfect fit.

I’ve been wired to function well when you’re in place in my life. To be honest, I think this may be true for all of us. I borrowed the entire Insanity collection from K-2. It includes a two month schedule cycling DVDs. I will stick to it exactly and see what happens after two months. I’m even going to keep track of my results…all will be spared of those weird before and after pictures.

All of this being said, I write you today to thank you for proving yourself necessary in my life. Thanks for allowing me to see your value at a young age. Now, I need your help in sticking to yet another commitment. Teach me to embrace you in every area of my life. Each day, I know people are reading my blog (shocking, I know), which is built in accountability. I need accountability in this endeavor as well. Now that I’ve made this commitment public, hold me accountable people, and have all the women of the Houston household embarking on this “insane’ journey with me, you will be achieved. Just like Einstein said, I will be “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

Here’s to the next two months,

Seeker of being in the “best shape of my life