Another day, another workout with the word cardio in it.
Following on from yesterday’s slower tempo recovery session, my body felt much better this morning. My calf muscles were less tight and I generally felt less sore. I was ready to get back on that Shaun T treadmill and give it some welly.
The fact that it’s called Pure Cardio today seems to imply that the cardio I’ve been doing up until now has been watered-down cardio. As if all my hard work thus far has really been choreographed at a difficulty level more suited to children and small animals, which really diminishes my sense of achievement this week.
However, let’s be positive. Pressing onward, I will grit my teeth and prepare myself for what I believe may be the hardest cardio session yet. Let’s go!
He looks tired, doesn’t he? This is pretty much what you’ll look like at the end of it. That is, if you’re still upright.
As you finish your warm-up (which we all know is a workout in itself), Shaun T actually admits to being nervous about what’s to follow. He’s nervous? if he’s nervous, then how am I supposed to feel? Not cool, Shaun. Not cool.
So it’s warm-up, stretching and then 15 MINUTES OF SOLID CARDIO. No breaks. Nothing. Full on, all out, speed, power and strength. And then a 5 minute cool down which involves earnest stretching from Shaun T while a bunch of exhausted athletes pant heavily in the background and shake their heads at their foolishness for signing a contract.
In essence, Pure Cardio does exactly what it says on the sweaty tin. It’s flat out, non-stop cardiovascular mayhem. Shaun T throws in drills from the fitness test on Day 1 and the plyometric circuit from Day 2 and a few new ones. Worryingly, the word ‘suicide’ appears again. There are new exercises, old exercises, exercises that require impossible repetition and NO WATER BREAKS during the main workout. That’s right – no sneaking off to catch your breath.
Here’s a selection of the delights that await you in Pure Cardio:
- Suicide Drills
- Switch Kicks
- Wide Football Stance
- Stance Jacks
- Hooks and Jump Rope
- Power Jacks
- Level 2 Drills
- Frog Jumps
- Power Knees
- Mountain Climbers
- Ski Down
- Scissor Runs
- Suicide jumps
- Push-up Jacks
15 drills of 1 minute each. No, not 30 seconds like you’re used to by now. 1 minute each. No stopping.
You know it’s bad when Shaun forgets the name of one of his exercises because he’s SO tired. At one point, he asks a demonstrator how she feels and she squeezes out the following words in her final dying breaths: “I wanna leave”. Well, Shaun T’s motto is: “Get fit or get out”. Frankly, I might just join her and get out. If she’s got a 6-pack and wants to leave, what chance do I have with my 1-pack?
This is the first Insanity workout I’ve seen where super-fit athletes drop like flies. At one point, I was beginning to wonder if Shaun T would have anyone left to demonstrate his workout. And even he collapses at the end of it.
In a strange way, it’s comforting to know that even the elite struggle with this one. But you know, I am so glad I’ve had 4 days of build up to this, because I can see how it’s helped me get through this particularly gruelling routine.
Main things I’ve learned about Pure Cardio:
1. Keep plenty of water to hand because you’ll need it (if at all possible, attach a length of garden hose to your mouth).
2. Warm up slowly because you’ll have to repeat the warm-up drills 3 times, each time gaining speed and power. And you still have 15 minutes of pure cardio to do.
3. Stop when it hurts. Take as many rests as you need to.
4. Maintain perspective. You are only competing with yourself, no one else. Your only goal is to be faster and stronger tomorrow than you were today.
5. Be proud of yourself for even trying this. By simply attempting it, you have eclipsed every couch potato in the land.
If you’ve just done Day 5, or completed the Insanity programme, please share your experience. It’s always good to know there are others out there who’ve battled with Insanity and survived!