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Calorie Count Blog

Why Insanity Doesn't Work


By +Carolyn Richardson on Feb 24, 2013 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -Rita Mae Brown

It's called physical activity, but you and I both know our ability to stick to exercising regularly is all in our heads. Beyond doing the same workout for months and expecting an ever-stronger, fitter you, have you found yourself playing out the same scenario in your head about why you're working out? Here we give you insight on how to avoid insanity when it comes to exercise.

Must Burn More Calories

We're all familiar with 'crazy talk' about exercise. Unfortunately, us calorie counters may be the biggest violators of the "must burn more calories" mentality. We know our bodies will adapt to the same exercise routine after 6 to 8 weeks, we're aware that our boredom of said routine will rise up around two weeks, and yet we don't want to let go of the calorie speech. While calorie counting works for food, it's officially crazy to choose a certain exercise to progressively burn more calories. The numbers you can find are only calorie estimates anyway. When you think to yourself, am I burning enough calories, counter that with  this: you will get out of whatever exercise you do what you put into it. You could lose your mind trying hot yoga, spinning classes, and intense boot camps purely to burn more calories. To stay consistent as a lifestyle, you'll have to continually think of different ways to challenge your body - and that may mean taking that long walk is a better bet than that hour-long spin class. It's a daily challenge to choose exercise, and sometimes that means doing something that just keeps you moving.

Must Change My Workout

So you've decided that it's time to try something new. Maybe you've finally got the nerve to use the pilates ball, or you're up for some box jumps instead of jumping jacks. You don't have to go out and buy a 90-day workout program or try a new gym to avoid a plateau. Extreme change happens gradually, so don't get caught up trying to outdo yourself every 6 to 8 weeks to change things up. Adding one new exercise to your strength training routine, picking up a tennis game or two, or adding 10 more minutes a couple of days a week all count as change. If you continually push yourself to the extreme, the pressure will break you. Especially after the huge weight loss numbers start to slow, the last thing you need is to try and trump every workout you do. Slow and steady wins the race. Plan small changes each week, so that you eventually change the face of your workout routine without too much heavy lifting. 

Must Have Fun

Some people obsess about working out to lose pounds and then after the weight is gone, the excitement wears off and all of a sudden that becomes a reason not to workout. From "I'm tired" to "I don't have time," we make disconnected reasons to the real truth: we don't think we're going to enjoy our workout. Inconveniences abound in our lives, from babies, to boyfriends, to training for a new job, but we don't throw in the towel and say I don't have time. Instead we make allowances and do the best we can with what we have. News flash: Every workout is not going to be as fun and exhilarating as it was when you first started. This is not a reason not to do it. If you can own that, you'll keep yourself from getting so down on your workout plan and instead get motivated about making it more fun when you can.

Bottom Line - You're Not Crazy

The takeaway is simple, don't put too much pressure on yourself with high expectations and lofty fitness goals that don't apply to your life. You're not in the business of making good TV, where there always has to be an interesting plot, or some triumphant finish line photo. It's insanity to believe that everyday is going to be picture perfect, or that every workout is going to make complete sense from every angle. Stop spinning your mental wheels about every intricate detail of exercise. Get up and move. Staying healthy is a journey, not a destination.

Your thoughts...

What self-talk do you use to keep you motivated about exercise?

NOTE: For those expecting a review of the popular Insanity Workout series, stay tuned for it next Sunday!



Comments


Actually, that's an Albert Einstein quote. Research before publishing would be nice!



this writer has completely lost credibility with this reader... I usually don't read anything with her byline.



I don't make extra time to work out- instead I take bicycle as a substitute to taking the public transport to get to work and back Monday through Friday.  It takes the same amount of time to get to work, but instead of getting into a packed stinky train, I enjoy a bike ride.  I think there are too many messages being broadcast that somehow we need to do "more", but I think in my life extra time is a luxury I don't have. 

 

Since last August I started taking my bicycle- at first I thought "Today, do I want to spend 2.50 on a train ticket to work, or can we try the bicycle today instead?" Then my brain thinks "I want to keep my money, and I want to get some exercise."

 

I just repeated this process every day, each day I went biking, it felt rewarding to see the numbers on my activity log. 

 

Somehow that drill sergeant voice isn't as effective as the rewarding feelings.  I arrive to work in a better mood, and I have a way of getting rid of a lot of work's stress riding the bike on the way home.

 

The disadvantage is, climate changes can be challenging.  I have a lot of gortex in my baskets on my bike in case of unexpected precipitation. 



Original Post by: mandiewinz

Actually, that's an Albert Einstein quote. Research before publishing would be nice!


Actually, there are many people who have used similar phrases, but Rita Mae's use of it was "cited" here, and that is perfectly acceptable.



This article has actually discouraged me from doing my usual morning cardio.


I think this article is very freeing.


 I agree,  it is freeing. I was 1 of those that always had to top myself.  All i got from it were musculoskeletal issues. I'm having hip arthroscopy in a week for a labral tear. I have learned  be easier on myself & now have a better diet since i'm not  always trying to work it off.



Working out is a personal commitment. You set your own challenges and goals! I like to run, pushing myself as much as I can, everyday...and I think that's ok :) After all exercising, regardless of what we choose to do, is what matters!


I've done the gym since October & now have Kangoo Jumps as well so that I can do some exercise other than the gym. Kangoo Jumps are great fun & save my poor joints from too much strain. I'm waiting for Kangoo classes to start up where I live, but may be a while yet as in UK they are quite a new thing to most people.


I don't have the money to join a gym. Nor do I have the drive your writers have. I watch my next door neighbor all dressed up for the gym take off in her Prius to go exercise, then I go back to digging in my garden. Moving rocks and cinderblocks, digging holes, raking leaves. My gym is in my back yard. It never seems to come up on the calorie count "activity" board, but I know it helps exercise different muscle groups. Dusting off my gloves , heading out to the compost pile.



Original Post by: mandiewinz

Actually, that's an Albert Einstein quote. Research before publishing would be nice!


B.S. Mandiewinz. There's no proof Einstein said it either. Rita Mae Brown used it in a book but before that it's first known appearance is in a Narcotics Anonymous publication. (research)

Now say you're sorry. ;-)



I agree, I gave up for a week! I was working out five days a week, didn't lose anything, time to regroup and start again.


Original Post by: noxsoma

this writer has completely lost credibility with this reader... I usually don't read anything with her byline.


So thanks for going out of your way to b*tch so we can all be privelege to your scorn. Good morning to you too. Tongue out



As Calorie Counters, I think most know that you don't even HAVE to exercise to lose weight! Yes, it will help speed up the process, but it isn't a "do or die" situation.

I was still losing weight by eating half meals via Half Meal Habit when I got too busy to work out.  Yeah, I missed it because it gave me energy and that overall feeling of well-being, but it's to the point now where I'm eating so little, I don't HAVE to work out to maintain my current weight.

Don't BURN OUT!!!  :-)

Jim



I have been doing the workout 'insanity' for 6 weeks now. I haven't lost weight but I have toned up incredibly and am alot stronger do therefore I stick with it. I am not discrediting this publish at all just offering my experience of which may even support this comment, however shows my motivation to continue. :-)


Whoa dude, chill out. The whole point of this is for people to put their opinion. Not everyone is going to agree with what you think, luke117. I dont like the attitude of this "Why Insanity Doesn't Work" article. What a waste of a good opportunity to encourage people. I find it non relative to some people and I am sorry to myself that I wasted five minutes reading it.


I really think the point of this article is for people to not beat themselves up if they can't be spending countless hours trying to push themselves harder and harder.  Like I said, I am now injured and can't workout.  I am with Jimmyloram, I have actually cleaned up my diet since I can't move as much and have lost weight. I feel working out made me subconsciously think I could eat a little more possibly.  Which is why I would see the same people, day in, day out at the gym and look EXACTLY the same...and not a "good" same if you know what i mean.



Insanity and P90x really heped me, I'm maintaining now but love the way it's helping me tone & maintain! So I will definitely continue and its fun doesn't seem like a workout more like a party. Shaun T Hip Hop Abs is Awesome!!!!



Original Post by: robinmaymar

I don't have the money to join a gym. Nor do I have the drive your writers have. I watch my next door neighbor all dressed up for the gym take off in her Prius to go exercise, then I go back to digging in my garden. Moving rocks and cinderblocks, digging holes, raking leaves. My gym is in my back yard. It never seems to come up on the calorie count "activity" board, but I know it helps exercise different muscle groups. Dusting off my gloves , heading out to the compost pile.


I love this comment! You don't need to pay $50 a month to exercise in a room full of machines and sweaty people. There are opportunities to exercise all around us all the time! I find it much more satisfying to walk to Lake Michigan and look our over the water than to walk on a treadmill.

I think people are being a bit critical and taking this article the wrong way. All it's saying is don't obsess and stress yourself out over always getting the best workout in. I think the advice to not burn yourself out is pretty sound advice.



You know what is like a party.  hula hooping, or hoop dance.  It is so much fun at teaches you how to work with your center and pelvis.  It is great cardio and good for your core...plus sexy as hell. Laughing



Well, I used to salsa dance but injured my knee & had an op so motorised gym equipment got me back moving again. My back isn't up to gardening or decorating but I have lost 20lb by diet & gym so don't rubbish the gym, not all gyms are the same & some of us need it.


I don't think this article was meant to slam the "Insanity" program in particular.  I think it is more of a wake-up for those of us who try to overdo the exercize and and then get discouraged because it hurts too much and we don't seem to be seeing any change in the body.  I believe that everyone needs to get moving in whatever way is the most comfortable for their lifestyle and physical abilities.  Choosing the right foods is a good place to start and probably the most difficult for all of us.  As our society has a "get it now" mentality we don't have the patience or the ambition to prep and cook the whole foods that are the most nutritious for our bodies so we grab the chemically adapted stuff that takes seconds to "heat and serve" and fill ourselves with toxins instead.  The size of the soda you buy doesn't have anything to do with how obese you are ....if a small one isn't enough your going to buy two.  Whole foods, moderate exercise, and loving ones self for who you are will make all the difference in the world!  Mindset is the greatest battle!

 



Yep, I'll need the equipment too after my hip arthroscopy. I look forward to becoming more active again. I'm just saying that changes are 80% diet & exercise certainly helps maintain weight once you reach goal. You can't put exercise bad eating habits.


Who is this crazy person talking about a great program like insanity . That program had help thousands of people get in the best shape of there life. Find something else to talk about .


Few  things learned about exercise over the years.

1. In my 20s /30s I played lots of tennis. You could play day and night and the fun factor was the big motivator. Great for weight loss/control.  Also lots of walking and biking to work in late '30s.

2. In my 40s /50s my tennis waned for various reasons. Switched to a very sturdy treadmill for 15 years and it really worked.  To keep it interesting I wore headphones and listened to great tunes.  25-35 mins. workout.  I discovered the handrails were so strong they were like parallel bars, so I could bend my legs and support my weight, to develop strong arms and shoulders. I alternated this with running, and got great results with upper body build and avoidance of boredom.

3. As I hit 60 the treadmill died.  I now do 2 daily pushups sets and find this fun and  pretty sustainable.  Am trying to use a Lateral Thigh Trainer 10 mins x2 a day, but find it boring.  Plan to get an ipod and go back to tunes I guess.  

Just some ideas.  For me the big challenge in exercise has been, how to keep it interesting over a long time frame.

 



Original Post by: TMStearns

Whoa dude, chill out. The whole point of this is for people to put their opinion. Not everyone is going to agree with what you think, luke117. I dont like the attitude of this "Why Insanity Doesn't Work" article. What a waste of a good opportunity to encourage people. I find it non relative to some people and I am sorry to myself that I wasted five minutes reading it.

Completely agree, I myself am doing Insanity and in the first week I lost over 10cm / 3 1/2 inches whilst losing nearly half a stone and then in my second week I maintained the weight but still lost inches. 

And for the person saying that you don't need to exercise to lose weight, yes that's true, but it exercising is about so much more than just losing weight. It's about toning up as you slim down, it's about maintaining your new, healthier weight and, finally, it's about conditioning your body. Your heart get's stronger from doing cardiovascular workouts, exercising helps reduce stress, helps with balance, and is helping your body stay young (there's research to prove that doing certain activities, such as running, release chemicals that keep you looking younger on the outside and feeling younger on the inside too.) 

Exercise is good for maintaining a healthy life even after your weight loss, please don't dismiss it so casually as it's actually a very beneficial simple thing to do to help your body in the short, and long term.



Original Post by: cceecs

Insanity and P90x really heped me, I'm maintaining now but love the way it's helping me tone & maintain! So I will definitely continue and its fun doesn't seem like a workout more like a party. Shaun T Hip Hop Abs is Awesome!!!!


This article wasn't talking about Insanity the workout in case anyone else missed it.  Says so at the bottom.  That being said I think Insanity is ok if someone can handle that...and they give themselves time to recover.  I have a friend that talks about doing it 6 days a week.


Anyone that exercises in large amounts needs to read about anabolic/catabolic balance.  The body needs to have time to break down and build up.  If you don't give your body enough rest your body produces tons of stress hormones that will keep you in a broken down state.

Body by Science is 14 dollars on Amazon and deals with the anabolic/catabolic balance as well as many other topics.  It talks about High intensity weight training and high intensity interval training which are two methods of exercise that are far more efficient than steady state cardio.

Many people do steady state cardio going at a set moderate pace for 30 minutes to 2 hours.  Its ok to do that some but HIIT or High intensity weight training can be done in much less time with similar or better results.

High intensity interval training is basically 3-5 minute warm up time followed by 30 seconds of all out and than 2 minutes of slow speed.  This continues till 20-25 minute mark than a cool off period of 3-5 minutes on the back end.

20-30 minutes of this is as effective as much longer periods of steady state cardio.

Really recommend the book.  It explains things better than me and has many really interesting topics.  You can also listen to Doug Mcguff on Youtube.  He has some good videos on Anabolic/Catabolic balance.



I don't know why this article would discourage anyone. Having said that I realize difference and uniqueness is what makes us all, well, unique!  I am 58 and have always hated exercise. I refuse to dress in the latest gym togs and do the reps recommended by the 20 something hot shot. I did have a narcissistic personal trainer at one point who taught me a tremendous amount about my body, how it works and what works for me. I could have bought a new vehicle with what I paid the trainer! So now I work out on my own. I do what I feel like doing. I find that pushing, for me,  can lead to injury.  Moving is what is important and I agree wholeheartedly with the comments about gardening and digging in the dirt. An hour of weedeating gives me a workout, so, for that particular day, that is what I do.



Is there anywhere I could click a thumbs down on this article?



I also took the word "insanity" as an allusion to the DVD exercise program that's all the rage.  



Chill out Luke.

We all have the right and I would say obligation to disagree and/or voice objections. It is only in this crazy PC world that if you don't like it then shut up.

 

I for one am in need of articles on a calorie/fitness site that will help motivate me, be stronger, more determined. I found this article to be discouraging.

Exercise is very good for you and though it can help you lose weight the key is really calories in as opposed to calories out. However, I have found through exercise I am much more motivated to watch my weight. Studies have also shown those who exercise are much more likely to keep it off in the long run.

Point being, exercise is very good for you and so few American's get any where enough exercise. Exercise benefits go way beyond just a tool to help lose weight. To me exercise ought to be encouraged in every way possible.

So, to me the article is harsh, discouraging and focusing on a very small group that might go over board on exercise.  If you take anything to an extreme then it becomes bad, that goes without saying.

Yes, this author does lose credibility with me too. I try to have an open mind and will read articles from the author in the future. However I will read anything else the author puts out with a little skepticism after reading this article.

I disagree with the article and your criticism, does that mean I am bitching?

 



Kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Let's try and remember that in our comments here. This place is supposed to inspire, encourage and support us towards a healthier lifestyle not drag one another down with rude, critical comments.

Unplesant talk is not helpful for building others up nor does it benefit others who read it.

Reading comments to articles like this does not inspire me to seek info, advice or information here.

'If you can say something nice - dont say anything at all'.....wonder who said that first? Research? (tongue in cheek!) :D

Let's play (exercise/count calories/etc) nice people!

 



It always amazes me how bent out of shape people get over perceived critisism on their workout and diet beliefs and routines. Don't get me wrong, I've done it too and do get it as getting into shape and losing weight is very stressful, but to get all het up over this article if all things is kind of ironic as it's telling us to relax and not push ourselves so far we lose motivation, and lets be honest, where would be the point in that? This article doesn't slam insanity (and the like) workouts, nor does it tell you not to push yourselves, it just tells you to not burn out. If you can push yourself and enjoy doing so, go ahead, but if it is counterproductive for you, then don't, there is more than one road that leads to Rome.


Original Post by: nickster72

Kind words are like honey--sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

Let's try and remember that in our comments here. This place is supposed to inspire, encourage and support us towards a healthier lifestyle not drag one another down with rude, critical comments.

Unplesant talk is not helpful for building others up nor does it benefit others who read it.

Reading comments to articles like this does not inspire me to seek info, advice or information here.

'If you can say something nice - dont say anything at all'.....wonder who said that first? Research? (tongue in cheek!) :D

Let's play (exercise/count calories/etc) nice people!

 


'If you can say something nice - dont say anything at all'.....wonder who said that first? Research? (tongue in cheek!) :D

Silly people, we are reading and commenting the pros/cons about an article, saying what you perceive as only nice things doesn't even make sense here. We can still be civil...



Original Post by: luke117

Original Post by: noxsoma

this writer has completely lost credibility with this reader... I usually don't read anything with her byline.


So thanks for going out of your way to b*tch so we can all be privelege to your scorn. Good morning to you too. Tongue out


What Luke said...



LOL!  Maybe we all just need a piece of chocolate cake today!



Original Post by: mathina

LOL!  Maybe we all just need a piece of chocolate cake today!


What Mathina said!! :D



I have been on this weight loss journey for over 3 years and kept my weight at my first goal for nearly a year, since last May. I have at times went gun ho into exercise. I at times go to the Y and also work out with weight at home. But I must admit I am not very consistent. But I do walk. I have truly come to love walking. It just doesn't feel like exercise. I have a dog, she loves it more than I do. So consistently I have walked when I did nothing else and it works. I do agree with the last part of what this author said "Get up and move. Staying healthy is a journey, not a destination." As a calorie counter I do still believe that the key is to keep count of what you eat. Maybe not count every day, but at least keep a mental note in your head.



OMG!  Everyone take a chill pill and reign it in a little.  If you can't play nice together, I will have to separate you!!Wink



Original Post by: hobbbs

OMG!  Everyone take a chill pill and reign it in a little.  If you can't play nice together, I will have to separate you!!Wink


:-D


hi all, i find the same routine boring so i just make sure i am active and enjoy walking, some light hand weights at home , yoga etc. i have found if i join a gym it becomes stressful to attend and i hate to waste money- Cool



Insanity and P90X are VERY intense.  Do you have the time to workout for OVER an hour PER DAY six days a week???  If so, great.  I recommend trying them.  

I have gone through each of the above.  I COULD NOT do P90X at first, so I did what I could, which was about 30 minutes or half way through each workout.  I never made it all the way through, but man, I got much stronger!  Same with Insanity...HEAVY on the cardio, and very hard.  Again, was only able to get through 1/2 at first, then I could do the whole workout.

Folks, with these workouts, do what  you can.  Did you do 20 minutes of P90X?  Awesome!  Did you get through 25 minutes of Insanity before almost passing out? Good for you!  You just did a lot more than you did yesterday!  I now do about 12 to 18 minutes a few times a week (HIIT workouts).

I love this community and the fact that it focuses on EATING, which is numero uno when it comes to seeing results.  We simply eat too much, my friends.  I still do, on occasion.  But at least now I'm completely aware that I'm eating too much.

Whatever exercise you do, yay.  as long as you're doing and watching your calories, you'll win in the end.

Jim

How to painlessly lose weight by half meals all day and working out an hour a week - Click here.



Original Post by: k2catew

hi all, i find the same routine boring so i just make sure i am active and enjoy walking, some light hand weights at home , yoga etc. i have found if i join a gym it becomes stressful to attend and i hate to waste money- Cool


:D



Original Post by: maky

Original Post by: hobbbs

OMG!  Everyone take a chill pill and reign it in a little.  If you can't play nice together, I will have to separate you!!Wink


:-D

:D

 



why is that?



Original Post by: jimmyloram

Insanity and P90X are VERY intense.  Do you have the time to workout for OVER an hour PER DAY six days a week???  If so, great.  I recommend trying them.  

I have gone through each of the above.  I COULD NOT do P90X at first, so I did what I could, which was about 30 minutes or half way through each workout.  I never made it all the way through, but man, I got much stronger!  Same with Insanity...HEAVY on the cardio, and very hard.  Again, was only able to get through 1/2 at first, then I could do the whole workout.

Folks, with these workouts, do what  you can.  Did you do 20 minutes of P90X?  Awesome!  Did you get through 25 minutes of Insanity before almost passing out? Good for you!  You just did a lot more than you did yesterday!  I now do about 12 to 18 minutes a few times a week (HIIT workouts).

I love this community and the fact that it focuses on EATING, which is numero uno when it comes to seeing results.  We simply eat too much, my friends.  I still do, on occasion.  But at least now I'm completely aware that I'm eating too much.

Whatever exercise you do, yay.  as long as you're doing and watching your calories, you'll win in the end.

Jim

How to painlessly lose weight by half meals all day and working out an hour a week - Click here.


I would like to reiterate since not everyone read my post that too much exercise is indeed very counter productive to good health.  Being in a constant state of breakdown without giving your body time to rebuild effects you.

It may do it slowly over time....if you are young with decent hormones.  The worse off you are maybe the faster you notice.  Just keep in mind that you have to give yourself time to repair.  Doing anything of any great amount of intensity 6 days a week is probably too much for anybody.

Insanity if you want to do it is probably fine...as long as you skip weeks to let your body fix itself.  I would hope everyone would do this automatically, but I know sometimes people get caught up in exercise that they feel is empowering them.  I would think for a week long workout you'd want to take up to 3 weeks off.  I'm not sure whats the best but with a 1 day break in a really intense workout your body is going to need a good amount of time to deal with the stress.

Just be careful is all I'm saying.  Don't just assume because you feel fine that everything is perfect.  The body without rest will break and I don't think anyone wants that.  1 day a week isn't enough.



You are absolutely correct.  Movement of the body is the whole idea!  Kudos to you!

 



I liked the article -- I am one of those obsessive people she is talking about.  I like to work out and often try new things -- It however is not so much because of having reached a plateau -- but more not to get bored.

However I do a lot of different things - walking outdoors (have walked a marathon) but most of my outdoor walks is 6-7 miles.  I also do treadmills mixing up different programs -- and also walking backwards at the track. And starting this coming week, Pilates.

I have a GPS watch where I can track my speed, hear rate, altitude etc. and for the most part I only use that out doors -- but use the heart rate at the gym too.  Weather for the most part determines if I'm at the gym or outdoors for a walk.

 

 



Original Post by: mandiewinz

Actually, that's an Albert Einstein quote. Research before publishing would be nice!


Exactly what  I thought!



I lost 20 pounds a little over 3 years ago from several months of consistent Bikram.  I loved it-I knew after class that I was losing most water weight, but the yoga lifestyle helped me be healthier person...that's how I dropped the weight.  I was worried this time around that Bikram would be the best and maybe only way to get results again.  I couldn't keep up with it consistently since I've moved and the studio is not near my house.  I've learned that mixing up my routine is better anyway-and there are many ways to solve the puzzle of how to lose weight for my body.  I'm enjoying spin classes at my local gym, but I'm also doing walking, restorative yoga, cardio dvds, and occasional elliptical/weight lifting work-outs (my least favorite).



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