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I’m proud to say it… I survived Insanity!

No, not mental insanity, a workout program. For those who aren’t aware, Insanity is an intense workout program developed by fitness instructor Shaun T. It was described at the time of its release as the hardest workout ever created. Its designed for you to develop a better body in 60 days. I first became aware of Insanity one night when I was bored watching infomercials (Beachbody is known for advertising their products that way) and I came across theirs. I’m familiar with Beachbody programs as I’ve had an experience with Turbo Jam before. The first thing that interested me is that no weights were needed. While I have nothing against weight training, I also am not interested in purchasing a gym membership just to have access to them either. Plus, like any other Beachbody program, I just needed a room with lots of space, a TV and DVD player. I got the program back in May and interesting enough, it sat for 6 months. I would watch some of the videos to get an idea of what I would be doing but I never started it. That changed one day when I got a job that required me to be in a car for 8 hours. I found myself getting tired within the first hour of my shift. Needless to say that wasn’t a good thing being that I was not only a hazard to others on the road but also to myself. I knew right there I had to increase my energy level. That day, I made a decision to start the program at the beginning of the week. It started becoming real to me when I set out the DVDs, posted the calender up and prepped all the necessary paperwork needed.

The Journey Begins

Me before I started INSANITY

The following Monday, I got dressed for the workout, got my water and prepared to start. The first thing Shaun T has you do is the “fit test.” It’s designed to track your progress every two weeks but for the first day, it’s to see where you stand. The first fit test was extremely hard. So hard, I threw up at the end of it. I couldn’t even finish the ending stretch. My sister, a former Big Ten Division-I athlete, told me to “be careful” with the workouts and never over-extend myself. The second workout was also tough and a pain to get through. I did finish it and felt like I was throwing up but didn’t. I did have to sit down for nearly 10 minutes before I could move though. I spent the rest of the week, falling through each of the workouts with similar feelings to the first and second days. Week two was much better as I was able to push more and do more than just keep up. I even worked out Thanksgiving Day (it just so happened I started through the stretch of the holidays). When I took my second fit test, my results were much better than my first and I didn’t have another sickness episode.

Hitting Walls and Pushing Through

By the fourth week, my knees started to give out. The intense workouts started to catch up to me and I knew it. I’m an athletic person, I got the build and the activity level but I was never an athlete. This entire process was very new to me. The good news is that in-between the 9 weeks of pounding your body, there is a recovery week. It came right when I needed it and I took that entire week very easy.

Next week started month 2 of the workouts and the Christmas week (it was an off day so I didn’t workout like Thanksgiving). It started with a fit test, which my results improved, and a new routine of workouts. After the fit test, I worked out that same day and it felt like week 1 all over again. Falling through the workouts. This time, I was able to push through and work harder. During that particular week, I was asked to watch my friends house as they were out of town for Christmas and take care of their cats. I still found a way to workout, even while pushing the cats out of the way and doing it on my laptop (try going from a 42″ to a 15″ screen). Unfortunately, I also strained my tricep that week but I didn’t let that stop me. I kept pushing and getting my workouts and fit tests in, as I always got better). Much like week 4, my knees started to give out the last week of the program. This time, I knew how to treat that and I kept giving all my energy in the workouts. When I finished my last workout and fit test, I was excited!

Fit test results from beginning to end

Reflection

Beachbody’s key branding statement is, “Decide. Commit. Succeed,” and that’s exactly what I did. I committed to something greater than me, for me, to bring about the best possible body possible. Aside from creating a better physical frame, I also learned a number of other lessons and increased some of the skills I already had. After 2 months, I enhanced my outlook on life and I’m ready to share it with everyone. Here are some of the lessons I got out of the Insanity experience:

Completed INSANITY Calendar

Don’t Let Anything Get In Your Way

I don’t care if it’s a broken down car, bad day at work or school, a fight with family/friends, etc., don’t let that deter you from your goal. Your commitment isn’t just about words but about the actions you take daily toward your goals you’ve set. I’ve talked about a bad day not effecting you unless you allow it to. That will be key in completing any goal or task that you set. If I can fight through 4 cats getting in my way from working out and still get the body I want, you can get through whatever excuse you’re telling yourself.

Always Do Your Best

There are many times where I phoned in a workout but I came back the next day and kept going. Usually that next day I killed the workout. The cool thing about Insanity is that it’s not about keeping up or besting the workout, it’s about doing the most to get your body to the point you want it. In everyday life, sometimes we phone in our efforts but we always get back in and go at it the next day. As long as you keep putting one foot in front of the other you’ll be fine.

Keep The Ultimate Goal In Mind

Why did you commit to that goal? What was that milestone result you wanted? Whether it was for business or a personal decision that goal will keep you moving to the direction you want. When I started working out, it was to help keep me awake on the road. Even when work slowed down and I wasn’t working, I still kept doing it because I wanted to feel a certain way. I wanted more energy and develop a body I never had before. That goal, kept me moving even when I had my lazy episodes. Make sure that goal you have stays at the forefront of your mind. If it helps to make it an urgent goal, go for it. In the words of Shaun T, dig deeper.

Project It Forward

If I can create a better body in 60 days, what else can I do with that level of committment? That became a key question I asked myself. It was certainly an adventure that taught me more about myself than anything else I’ve done before. I’m so happy I had this experience and what it taught me. I feel it helped me break some of my old habits I had in the past. At this point, there’s only one thing to do. Keep it moving and keep moving forward.

Where’s My Shirt Shaun T!?

What great things have you committed to that changed your life? What new habits did it help you form? Please share and give feedback.

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As many might have known, yesterday was Social Media Day. Mashable sponsored many social media meetups in various cities around the world and Detroit was no exception. There were more than 15,000 parties going on around the world and apparently, Detroit had the second largest SMDay party. The party was held down at Sound Board in Motor City Casino (ironically, the same place as Ignite Detroit) and was a blast. The whole point of SMDay is to get people offline and to meet in person. We spend a ton of time online, connecting with people, following people on Twitter and various other social media sites that we rarely get a chance to meet them in person. Last night was a great opportunity to put faces with names (or Twitter handles if that’s your thing).

Last night was a great networking event. I saw many people I knew, re-connected with some amazing people and even finally met a few folks I’ve been meaning to meet for months now.  One of the highlights was inviting my drummer from Rare Standard down and having him re-connect with various people he knew. Through his introductions I got a chance to expand my network and connect with more amazing people. It was a very pleasant experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

As I reflect back on that evening, it got me thinking about more ways to create momentum. Social Media Day was a huge inspiration to me and that energy needs to be shared with the world. Here are some more tips on how to create and keep momentum:

Start Where You Are/Be Present

I put this first purposely because while it may not seem like a step, it’s a very important realization. We may not always be where we want to be but that’s ok. Where you are now is perfect in this moment. If you’re in a transition, great. If you’re soul-searching, great. If you’re a manager at some large company, great. A fortune 500 CEO, great. The point is use where you are as a launching platform. You can always create where you want to as long as you’re present. You may not know exactly what you want now, but if you stay present (keep your antennas up) you will find it. If you’re always focused on the future, you can miss what’s right in front of you.

Get Active/Get Energized

Whether it’s in your community, in your business or in your personal life, get active. One of the things I learned from Tony Robbins is that emotion comes from motion. If you understand the word “emotion,” it literally is just energy in motion. You have to have what Tony calls that juice for life. In other words, find something that energizes you. One of the things that energizes me is networking. I enjoy meeting new people and finding out how I can help them. Speaking of which…

Meet New People

New people bring new energy. Everyone has a story to tell, everyone has information to share and everyone has something to offer. You can learn so much from everyone you meet. What to do and even what not to do. New people also bring new opportunities which is why it’s important to be present. One thing to note is that people come in all different packages. Just be sure that the people you meet are people you want in your life. It is important that the people in your life are positive as that energy rubs off.

Be Vulnerable

This may be a surprise to some people but yes, this does create momentum. It forces you to face many fears (really, pick one). It also forces you to be open and present as you go through changes. Vulnerability is very unfamiliar territory. You step out on the skinny branch and go against your old habits and your beliefs which challenges your ego. The ego may have gotten you to where you are now but if you want to go further you have to relinquish your ego’s grip. Vulnerability does just that.

Take Small Steps And Celebrate Small Victories

You can only create momentum one step at a time and keep it that same way but one step is all you need to start. As long as you put one foot in front of the other and continuing to do that, you create a positive force that you can continue to build on. When I began running, it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever decided to do. My closest friends and family know that I can’t stand running for the sake of running. That’s not my idea of exercise as I’m mainly a cardio junkie but as I started running, it got easier. I even found a way to go 6 miles with my first run. Talk about a big step. When I got home, I was extremely proud of myself because I faced something I truly hated with a passion (You want to talk about being vulnerable, THAT’S vulnerability and a massive momentum builder!). The second time I went out was much easier and I went nearly twice as far. I celebrated that big time because of what I did. I’m not suggesting you go on a big run or train to run a marathon as that was a huge step for me but it did create momentum. Even if you start with something simple like doing the dishes, use it to your advantage especially if you normally don’t do it. And don’t forget to celebrate!

Never Underestimate The Power Of Social Media

Obviously I’d be putting this in because of Social Media Day but not necessarily. If used correctly, social media can be used as a great support system. I’m part of groups that help people with blogs, career advice, job seekers, small business and professionals, spiritual energy work, etc., and all of these are filled with people willing to help one another. Even when I post links to my blog, I gain feedback. In the past week and a half, I’ve been called an inspiration by a few people. I would’ve never imagined that I could be an inspiration to anyone but deep within, I always wanted to be. You can say whatever negative things you want about social media but bottom line, you have a choice of how to use it and it can be a place of great positive energy.

Feel free to share more momentum building tips and stories. I’d love to hear them.

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