Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Beachbody Chronicles: An Insanity workout I can do without feeling like I'm dying!

Finally: An Insanity workout I can do without feeling like I could barf up a lung.
   Core Cardio & Balance is a “rest” workout DVD of Insanity, the high-intensity cardio workout program led by Shaun T.
   It’s meant to be done in the week between Month 1 and Month 2 of the program.
   “You’ve been pounding your body for about four weeks now,” Shaun says during the Core Cardio & Balance workout, explaining that it’s meant to provide some rest to your heart and muscles.
   “You shouldn’t feel super-exhausted at the end. If you do you’re doing it too hard.”
   I have been pounding my body, but not with Insanity only. I mix the program’s workouts in with my other excellent DVDs.
   I was glad I didn’t feel super-exhausted at the end of Core Cardio & Balance. I was able to get through it well, generally keeping up with its pace and only modifying once or twice.
   I found it much more doable than the other Insanity workouts I’ve done so far, which are very challenging to the heart, lungs, body and mind. Core Cardio and Balance has a slightly slower pace than the other workouts.
   Apparently a “rest” workout in Insanity means “a workout you might be able to do without wanting to call the paramedics,” for average exercisers.
   The 37-minute Core Cardio and Balance workout starts with seven minutes of light cardio and 3.5 minutes of stretching as a warm-up.
   The main section is about 20 minutes of cardio and standing core-strength exercises, as the workout’s title suggests.
   Cardio moves include:
- Ski hops – light hops from side to side with the feet and knees together.
- Hit the floor – touching the floor from a slight crouching position with one hand, then the other and a slight hop in between.
- Level 1 drills – Burpees with push-ups and running action thrown in.
- Heisman – Running in place with a deliberate side-to-side motion with knees high, as if running through a set of tires on the ground
- Moving plank walks – “walking” from side to side in a plank position, which is holding the upper-part of a push-up. This is too difficult for me, and so I did push-ups and held a stationary plank instead.
- Jab switchs with jump squats – facing in one direction, doing an alternating punching motion, then jumping to the other direction and doing the same.

Following the cardio moves are some standing core exercises, which will be familiar to fans of Shaun T’s Hip-Hop Abs workout program.
   These exercises include standing on one leg and lifting the opposite knee up repeatedly, and bringing one arm down and the knee on the same side up, doing a slight crunch with the oblique ab muscles.
   The final exercise sequence is done from a wide plié, also known as sumo squat. From this stance, the arms are pulsed up and down or make small circles. It is challenging, but I was able to do it, thanks to the ballet barre workouts I have been following.
   When Core Cardio & Balance was over, I felt surprised and a little shocked that I didn’t want to cry – I felt rather refreshed, in fact, and was ready to tackle the day.

The Beachbody Chronicles: My adventures using Insanity, P90X, TurboFire and ChaLEAN Extreme

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