Day 4: Cardio Recovery

Pain Update: Abs, Calves, Lower Back, Obliques, Arms.

I want to kick off this post by stating how hard it was to get up this morning. I lay there, eyes closed, thinking about how tired and sore I am. It’s Day 4 and I am losing motivation already. I need encouragement if I’m going to make it through the rest of this week. How do you guys do it? How do you push through the physical weariness?

Here is the title image for today’s workout:

Cardio Recovery

I’d like to point out that for once, the face and form of this highly-toned athlete represents EXACTLY how I feel today. So I’d like to take a moment to thank Beachbody for remembering weak-willed people like me.

*Sob* I’m so, so tired.

My consolation is that today is all about recovery. Huzzah! And isn’t this the least intimidating-sounding workout on this week’s schedule? The word ‘recovery’ brings so many pleasant, low heart rate images to mind. Just to be sure, I checked the online dictionary:

Recovery: a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.

Which means that during the past 3 days, I’ve been of abnormal health, mind and strength. Can’t really disagree with that.

I had hoped, ridiculously, that Cardio Recovery would be all about breathing softly beneath the sound of windchime and birdsong. Of course, I couldn’t be more wrong. You’re still working hard, albeit in a different way. Whereas the first three days of Insanity is about power, explosion and stamina, Cardio Recovery focuses on its gentler cousins: control, strength and flexibility.

Today’s workout has shown me that I am but a blob of Playdough to be shaped, stretched and minced into a lumpen plasticine sausage. Shaun T is the Puppet Master and I am just his sweaty little marionette. It’s not a pleasant image but it fits.

The aim of Cardio Recovery is to work deeply into the tissues to help those poor muscles recover after 3 days of brutality. It involves copious amounts of stretching and yoga-like positions. For me, this means a great deal of falling over and uncomfortable intimacy with the living room carpet. I’m not as flexible as I’d like to think but it feels inspiring to know that if I carry on with this programme, some day I may be able to reach further and hold longer in these very same stretches.

A selection of exercises in the video:

Plank work (hopping involved)

Child’s Pose (who comes up with these names?)

Hamstring Stretch



Oblique Work

Hip stretching/flexor work

Balance Pose

… and more

The great news is that there is NO explosive jumping. No jarring stress on the knees or ankles. But you WILL sweat, just through the exertion of holding unnatural poses for inordinate lengths of time. I’m beginning to understand that Shaun T’s philosophy is this: Sweat Is Good. I may have to print it on a T-shirt.

Despite my reluctance to get out of bed this morning, I have found Day 4 a welcome reprieve from the usual torture and certainly a much needed focus on my poor, aching muscles. Today, Shaun T has given me permission to slow down a little, take time out to dwell on my achievements and, most importantly, gather my strength for tomorrow’s battering.

It’s interesting to think about how my perspective has changed from pre-workout to post-workout within the space of a few hours. Despite my dread and yes, I admit it, fear of yet another Insanity workout this morning, it felt a little anti-climatic. Don’t get me wrong – Cardio Recovery is a wonderful session for stretching tired muscles and improving flexibility, but the lack of adrenaline-fuelled power moves in the video left me feeling slightly bereft. Even the supercharged Insanity gang seemed less whoopy today. I think I must be secretly addicted to pain. Either that, or I have been brainwashed by the cult of Insanity in the short space of 4 days. I don’t know which is more worrying.

Anyway, please do share your experiences and words of wisdom about your workout regimes. I don’t think I can sustain this blog on my own. I’m rapidly running out of muscle tissue in my fingers.


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