So this is it – the first ‘Max’ workout of Month 2.
I prepared by reading far too much about how intensive the Month 2 workouts are (thanks a lot, Google, you always get me into trouble) and ended up nauseated.
But Month 2 is “where the magic happens”, or so I’ve been told by most of the websites I visited. The same websites have also made generous use of the words “vomit” and “I want to die”, which isn’t so reassuring. This is the month when things really get insane.
Mental preparation aside, I got into my workout gear, poured myself my usual glass of water, thought twice and poured myself a pint jug of water, cracked my knuckles and pressed PLAY.
Guess what? It’s hard, but it’s NOT impossible. Really? Did I just say that?
I won’t sugarcoat – this will push you. You will produce more liquid – sweat, tears, and maybe some other stuff – than ever before. But if you’ve adhered to the Month 1 schedule as diligently as you can, you will have prepared a strong springboard into Month 2. There is no way you could work this hard and last this long without all the hard investment you’ve put in for the past 5 weeks. So please, don’t quit after Month 1. This is where it begins to pays off.
To my surprise, I didn’t feel like I was back at square one, even though I fully expected to. I’m not the athletic or sporty type. I don’t get excited about a new pair of trainers. I don’t feel the urge to do lunges after dinner. Yet for me, today felt challenging, exciting and most of all, possible. The new exercises are a welcome change. They introduce more variety to my routine and distract me a little from the fact that my chest is on fire.
The main thing to note is that this workout isn’t harder because of the exercises, it’s harder because of the length.
Max Interval Circuit is 1 hour long, a good 15-20 minutes longer than the Month 1 workouts. This means you’re pushing for longer. That extra 15 minutes of cardio makes a huge difference to the amount of stamina and strength you will expend. Instead of a warm-up, stretch, two circuits and a cool down, you now have three circuits to contend with. At one point, I was so overwhelmed with fatigue I actually laughed at the screen.
Shaun T also throws in occasional ‘bonus’ exercises, just when you think you’re done with a circuit. As if he’s somehow giving you a wonderful gift. This bonus is as welcome as being slapped on both sides of the face for a full minute.
The Max Interval warm-up looks different but feels good. It took me a while to get my form right. Having been used to symmetrical drills like ski hops, where you slalom your way left and right with arms and knees pointing in the same direction, I struggled with something called ‘Jump Rope Side to Side’. Apparently, my brain is having a hard time telling my knees to move left and my elbows to move right. During this drill, my limbs pretty much covered all points of the compass.
What’s also different about today’s workout is that Shaun T whips you through the third round of warm-up in a much shorter time, almost as if he’s impatient to get you to that main circuit. The gang (Tania is noticeably absent in this one) is brimming with energy and whoops, and it’s nice to see them so enthusiastic.
When it comes to the main circuit, it will definitely test your endurance. The exercises themselves are not overly difficult, but it’s essential to find your own pace as you muddle your way through these new moves.
I can’t over-state the importance of pacing yourself. If you recall in a previous post, I mentioned that Shaun T emphasises that it’s important to FIRST master form, and THEN add speed. Make sure you perform the exercise with the correct posture (which will take time to perfect). Once it’s second nature, build on that perfect form by going faster.
When watching the breakneck performance speed of these finely-tuned fitness buffs, it’s tempting to race along with them but you run a high risk of injury. Some of these moves involve fast side to side movements which can easily lead to a twisted ankle or knee if not done with the correct form. Take it slow, at least for the first few rounds, and allow yourself to acclimatise. You’ve got plenty more weeks of this to come so there’s no hurry to get there straight away.
So here’s the Max Interval Circuit breakdown:
Duration: 60 minutes
Warm-Up: 3 rounds of…
Straight Arm Jacks
Jump rope Side to Side
High Knees (arms out)
Hit the Floor
Side to Side Floor Hops (they look like demented donkey kicks)
Circuit 1: 3 rounds of…
Ski Abs/ Power Jacks/In-Outs Abs/Oblique Push-ups
‘Bonus exercise’: Football runs/Cross jacks
Circuit 2: 3 rounds of…
High Knees W/Twist
High – Low Jab w/Squat
Floor Switch Kicks
‘Bonus exercise’: 1-2-3 Jab Across
Circuit 3: 3 rounds of…
Side Suicide Jumps
Full Body Drill
Wait for Death
The last bit is optional but I’m not exaggerating. Observe these casualties:
My heart breaks for Anna as she lies prone on the floor, but all I can think about is how much I want her nice, lean legs.
Okay, time to stop writing. I finished the workout an hour ago and my back is starting to seize up. Boy, am I going to huuuurt tomorrow.