Hey friends! Today I have a 2nd guest post for you from my friend Daniele, who is currently completing the Insanity program through Beachbody. Her experiences below are just that – her experiences. Her guest post are the views and opinions and Daniele and may not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Healthy Heddleston. I will chime in with some thoughts at the end though.
Volleyball picture from high school when we were seniors: #23 is Katie… #24 is Daniele.
Hi everyone and welcome to my second post about my progress with the Insanity workout program. If you didn’t catch my first guest post, I’m Daniele, an old friend of Katie’s, who started Insanity to shed off some of the weight I put on working from home and not setting aside the time to work out.
Insanity is a 9 week program (working out 6 days a week). There are workouts for month 1, harder workouts for month 2 and a week of “recovery” workouts in-between. Month 1 workout review can be found in the previous post. I just completed the “recovery” workouts this week. This workout (you repeat Core Cardio and Balance for all 6 days) includes many variations on the workouts from the 1st month, however Shaun-T instructs you to keep the intensity down. It’s nice to take it easy and a bit of a break from the regular workouts but the workouts are definitely not easy-peasy
I was super excited to start the 2nd half of the 1st month of Insanity, not because the workouts would be easy (I should be pushing hard no matter what), but because I expected to be shocked at how much more I could do. Instead, a series of things came together to make the 2nd weeks much more difficult than the 1st. When I first started Insanity, I expected it to be hard so I was proud of myself when I got through the workouts and I didn’t beat myself up if I got a stomach cramp or wasn’t feeling up to pushing consistently hard every workout. But when I hit the 3rd and 4th weeks, I was surprised and a bit depressed when I felt more burned out than I had during week 1 and 2. Obviously, I was in way better shape than I had been when I first started, so I think it may have been because my body had not completely recovered from the first two weeks and also because I wasn’t preparing for my workout the way I should have (more about that below). All this frustration contributed to a general lack of excitement about doing the workouts each day and I quickly lost that honeymoon, elated feeling I had when started the workout. By the time I started my 5th week (recovery week), I wasn’t really looking forward to each workout. Sure starting a workout is tough, but it’s much harder to stick with it when things are less than ideal. I reminded myself that Insanity was challenging and that I didn’t expect to be able to get through the entire program when I started. I also promised myself that I would push as hard as I could and that I would make an effort to make sure I prepared for each workout (don’t start hungry or too late at night).
Despite all these issues I did see results. I wanted to have super motivating pictures to share, however the 1st day of insanity I was super embarrassed about how I looked and wasn’t planning on sharing the photos, so I stood in a flattering way that makes it really hard to see differences between photos. I can tell you that I have seen a huge difference.
I promised this post that I talk a bit about the nutrition plan that comes with the program. The first part of the plan lays out the diet goals and should look familiar to many of you. It shows you how to calculate the number of calories you should be eating each day based on your weight, age, activity level and whether you want to gain/lose/maintain weight. It also instructs you to split these calories between 5 meals and allows you the option of doing 5 equal sized smaller-meals, or 3 big meals and 2 snacks. The rest of the nutrition plan includes some awesome, very balanced recipes. We haven’t made any of his recipes yet, but I have finally purchased some super foods (including Bok Choy, Edamame, Quinoa and Flax Seed) that I kept hearing were great foods for your diet, but I hadn’t tried yet. The goal with Insanity is to provide enough good fuel for your body because you really can’t sustain these workouts without it. The days where I started a workout hungry, I was exhausted 10 minutes in and sick by the end of the workout.
In general, my boyfriend and I eat pretty healthy (especially since I was trying to keep weight off with my sedentary work life through diet alone). In general, when we’re watching our weight, J and I stick to foods we love that are naturally low cal. I’ve included some of my favorite recipes that fill you up way more than the number of calories would lead you to believe. In addition to good food, we always keep a few indulgences around the house. We keep a bag of mini-chocolates and some mini full fat ice cream sandwiches (only 90 calories). I prefer the real stuff over diet, or low-fat options, hate splurging on the “skinny” brand ice-cream novelties, and find that learning to be happy with smaller portions of the “bad” stuff is a great habit. I read somewhere that you should think of your diet like a budget. With your real budget, extra spending money you can be spent on an investment piece, a few smaller nice quality pieces or one accidental splurge that you will probably regret later. For my diet this means instead of eating free pizza at a meeting that I don’t really even enjoy that much (but seems appetizing when I’m hungry), I could bring a healthy snack for the meeting and “save” those calories for something I really enjoy like brownies or ice-cream. Instead of telling myself “you don’t deserve to have that pizza”, I’m telling myself that the “pizza just isn’t worth it”. I’m allowed splurges once in a while, but I can’t have every splurge that’s put in front of me and also be healthy, so I might as well chose wisely. This mentality keeps me much more motivated and makes it easier to stay on track.
I like to count my calories only when I make major changes to my diet just to be sure I’m not taking in more calories than I think I am. I am in love with Calorie Count from about.com. In addition to logging and counting calories in your food, it also tell you whether you are getting the right amount of salts, sugar, carbs, proteins, vitamins etc… It has a lot of great diet tools, a community to chat with other dieters, a dashboard for your web browser, a “calorie camp” to get motivated. I like the diet profile that told me that it was probably my activity level (not my diet) that was driving my weight, something I was aware of but happy to hear from someone else.
In addition to taking a close look at my diet, I also started taking some workout supplements that my boyfriend was already using. The first one I added was MUSCLETECH’s Neurocore, pre-workout stimulant. I normally take it 45 minutes before my workout with a peanut butter and strawberry or almond butter and banana sandwich on 1 slice of whole wheat bread. Without the supplement and food fuel, I really have a hard time pushing through the workout. More recently I’ve found that my muscles are having a hard time recovering after workouts and I’m also prone to incredible knots in my calves and neck. As a result I’ve been trying out a GNC’s pro-performance L-Glutamine Powder, which is just free-form amino acid and GNC’s Beyond Raw Re-Power which is supposed to be great for anabolic workouts. Both of these were recommended to us by the people at GNC, to encourage muscle recovery without bulking up. So far I’m enjoying the results of the supplements. My muscles no longer feel incredibly sore to the touch after rough workouts; however I don’t see myself taking these supplements longer than I need to. I definitely recommend talking to your doctor [and dietitian!] and seeing what they recommend. In addition to the supplements, I’ve also been working on getting my electrolytes from natural sources to limit the painful knots. I also keep Gatorade on hand for the days my diet doesn’t keep up with my workout.
I’m about to start the 2nd month of harder Insanity workouts. Wish me luck. I’ll blog about them and my results next time!
How about you guys. What are your favorite healthy, filling foods? What sustainable changes have you made to your diet that made all the difference? What do you think of Insanity’s Nutrition Plan? And have you ever tried supplements?
Katie’s Thoughts: Daniele asked me to take a look at the nutrition plan, so I was able to view the preview of the plan since I don’t own the program myself. Generally speaking, the plan looks pretty well balanced and I like that it teaches you a little bit about how the calories are calculated for your body. What I don’t like about the plan is the use of protein powder. Using protein powder seems to be a very personal choice (even among dietitians), but I’m in the camp that I would rather you eat protein than get it in a powdered form.
I think Daniele is doing an amazing job and I can definitely see definition in her abs and arms — so awesome! Also, supplements are also a personal choice, but I did want to mention that I do take the GNC L-Glutamine as well — but in chewable tablet form. Aside from the a few vitamins, that is the only supplement I take to help decrease muscle soreness after long runs.
Way to go Daniele – can’t wait for your next update! Please show her some love!