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Miss Insanity: this would be the nickname awarded to me by my senior captains at our end of the year Pom Pon banquet. Defined as insane? In their eyes perhaps, but for me Insanity is far from a mental disease, more so, it is a way of life. During my sophomore year of high school, I presented myself with a challenge completely unrelated to anything academic. A 60-day workout program called Insanity became my life and my reality, and quickly opened my eyes to a whole new meaning to the word “potential.” As I pushed my body through each of the 45 minute workouts, I uncovered an entirely new side to myself. In order to achieve the results that I desired, I had to conquer my mind, and ultimately, discover what my body was truly capable of. Gasping for breath, all I wanted to do was collapse into a sweaty heap on the floor; however, I cast those thoughts aside and reached new heights mentally and physically each and every day. Not only did this program transform my body, it truly transformed my mind.
It was New Year”s Eve. My friends, Liza and Caitria, and I had given into the idea of spending the occasion with my family at my grandparent’s house, this of course, was a decision we would soon learn to regret. Sipping on Welch’s rendition of champagne watching The Last Song with my uncle, we thought nothing exiting could possibly come out of this evening. Sure, we had a delicious meal, and my parent supplied us with “party favors” such as cardboard hats, and obnoxious kazoos, but this was New Years Eve! Where was the action? Where was the celebration! By 11:00 the ball in New York had already dropped and the majority of my family had decided to turn it in early.
“It’s not even midnight our time yet though…” I said, puzzled with their foolish choice.
“Yeah, we’re tired though, you and your friends can watch the ball drop our time, just don’t make much noise,” my father replied.
“Alright I guess.” I gave him a kiss goodnight and he slipped away to catch some z’s.
My friends and I picked ourselves up off the couch and moved into the rec room where I would soon discover what would consume my new year. Being late at night, infomercials were running on at least half of the channels available to us. We watched a few, mocking the cliché black and white before and after pictures. We were however, actually interested in one of the “guarantees” offered by an infomercial for a 60 day workout program called Insanity. It just so happened that the three of us had been discussing the fact that we had no idea what to do for our New Year’s resolution, when this particular offer was being made: 10 workouts, a meal plan, and online support for only two payments of 74 dollars. I looked to my friends then proudly declared,
“I’m going to do this.”
With eyes squinting in confusion, Caitria replied,
“You’re crazy. That’s $140. So much money dude.”
“Yeah but this could be my New Year’s thing. This could be my new challenge!”
“Well, I give you props girl. Have fun dying. Those workouts look intense,” Caitria said with a hint of sarcasm.
Enlightened and exited, I ran to my parent’s room to tell them of my decision. Forgetting that they had been trying to fall asleep, I burst through the door.
“Mom! I found my New Year’s Resolution!” I exclaimed.
My mom rolled gradually over to face me, blinking slowly, a smile creeping onto her tired face.
“What is it?” She asked with a surprising amount of curiosity.
I began to explain to her the workout program I had discovered. I was aware of its expense, but I was also prepared to spend as much money as it would take. I was going to do this. I had never delved into such a commitment before, and it was going to be solely my own. I would do it for no one but myself, with no outside incentives aside from my own self satisfaction. With the winter blues kicking in, I knew this program would give me something to keep me occupied. I was not aware however, of how completely and utterly consumed by it I would become. I placed my order over the phone that very night, then patiently waited for the moment it arrived.
Winter break had ended, school had again began, and frankly, I was tired, tired of the same old days, in the same old classes, with the same old people. I needed a change of routine, a break. Walking toward my front door one day after school, I caught a glimpse of that brown UPS box that I had been anxiously waiting for. With a sudden burst of excitement, I paced quickly toward the box; it had Insanity stamped across the front of it in bold black lettering. My heart began to beat quickly and I swung open the door.
“Mom it came! It’s here! Insanity came!” I exclaimed as if I was a child waking up on Christmas morning. That’s how important this was to me. I hadn’t even begun the program yet, and my Mom was already looking at me as if I was crazy.
“Awesome!” My mom said, and then turned back to her array of paper work sprawled across the table.
I pivoted and thundered down the stairs eager to pry the box open and discover the next 60 days of my life. I stabbed a scissors through the clear packaging tape then ripped through the rest of the cardboard with my bear hands. I was beyond exited. Sweeping the Styrofoam beads away, there it was, the Insanity box containing the most strenuous cardio work outs ever put onto a DVD. And I, Anne Fuller, was going to do them all.
The first DVD I ever popped in, was entitled “The Plyometric Circuit.” I had my brand new tennis shoes tied tight, my knee taped and braced, and my hair up in a long ponytail which would soon become a major annoyance. In the introductory portion, I was introduced to the infamous Sean T. who would become my best friend, as well as my worst enemy. A tall black man with muscles bulging out of his T shirt and a smile that hinted that he meant business. And boy, he meant more business than I could have ever imagined. We began with a warm up, jumping jacks, high knees; I thought I felt pretty good. Then, the circuits started. Three minutes of explosive cardio exercises done with as much speed and agility you could muster. I was only three minutes into my workout, and I was already on the floor. “What have I gotten myself into.” I wondered. As the instructor began yelling, “Here we go, we’re moving into another circuit, let’s go!” I forced my body to stand up and get right back into the workout. I had my music on behind me, and using it for some much needed encouragement, I made it through my first insanity workout.
Sprawled out on my basement floor, I struggled to catch my breath. I dumped what remained in my water bottle on my face and closed my eyes. “That was hard,” I concluded, “This is going to be a seriously Insane 60days. With that thought in mind, I picked myself up, and staggered up the flight of stairs. I was greeted by my brother. The look on his face said everything.
“Don’t ask,” I said sighing. My brother smiled and shook his head, as if he too realized how crazy this was going to be. It was time for a shower, a long, hot shower.
Insanity called for some serious discipline I of course was required to make some pretty drastic lifestyle changes; I had to set apart an hour each day to work out. I was not allowed to consume any junk food or drink any liquids other than water. I resisted the temptations of my mom’s warm chocolate chip cookies time and time again, with their fattening aromas floating through the air; I struggled to defy my agonizing craving. Fresh out of the oven, the smells would find their way to my room and tantalize my ability to resist. But I was dedicated. I set my mind on my goal, and from that point on I would let nothing stand in the way of my desired results. Every other week I would perform a fitness test where I could see if I was making any improvements and, as it turned out, my commitment paid off. By the end of my 60 day period of insane exercise, my aerobic ability had increased by 77%. I continuously set goals for myself, and when I achieved one goal, I built upon it and set another. Goal setting was the way I stayed motivated. I gave myself mountains to climb, and committed wholeheartedly to whatever was waiting for me at the top.
60 days of painstaking workouts and a strict diet took more dedication and hard work than I had imagined; however, staying motivated was something I did not have to struggle with. I differ from most people in the sense that procrastination is not part of my lexicon. When I receive a task, I complete it right away and as efficiently as possible. I looked at insanity as simply another task. Without hesitation, I would arrive home from school, put on my tennis shoes, fill up a water bottle, and descend to the basement to workout. An hour later I would emerge from the depths drenched with sweat, my water bottle sucked dry. This was my routine each day for 60 days. I would not let anything get in the way of what I needed to accomplish.
Not only was it important to simply do my work out, but I knew that if I wanted to receive the best possible results I would have to push my body to its limit and do every exercise with correct form and speed. The way these workouts were designed, was in circuits. You would go as quickly as you could for three minutes then have a thirty second break, and you would repeat these circuits six to nine times. After only the first circuit was completed I felt ready to drop dead, and the thought of giving up circled my head throughout the entire duration of the workout. However, once that hour was completed, I could look back and say, “I wanted to give up forty-five minutes ago, but I pushed through, and now look how far I have come”. This aspect was truly what changed my life as I completed this workout program. I learned that what I thought I was incapable of, was so miniscule compared to what I could do if I set my mind to it. A difficult math problem, a struggle with a friend, a challenging dance routine, or a long day at work: these are all life experiences I encounter often, and each time I find myself ready to quit, I think about insanity and I remember what I am capable of. I also remember that the 30 second rest period is just around the corner, so if I push long enough, and get through that circuit, I will soon catch a break.
It had been 59 days. I was almost there. As I walked down the eight carpeted steps to my basement on the sixtieth, and final day of Insanity, I took a deep breath in, exhaled, and began my concluding workout. The final day involved taking that fitness test for the last time. I exerted every ounce of energy and passion I could collect, the familiar playlist of heavy metal and Eminem ricocheting in my ears. I listened to the words coming from the speakers, “I don’t care what it costs”. It was as if the world around me stopped, and I was the only one moving. Something completely inhuman came over me. I was in perpetual motion. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see, but I couldn’t stop. I would never be able to discover what was possible with my body, until I conquered my mind, and in that moment, on my final day of insanity, I completely lost track of my thoughts. I abandoned what my flesh was screaming out, and just let go. Forty-five minutes completed, I had finished. A dreamlike sense of serenity swept over me like a king-sized sheet of cotton, it swallowed me. I just couldn’t believe what I had accomplished, and I did it all on my own.
During my 60 day experience of Insanity, I moved past the standards I had set for myself in the beginning of the program. I achieved my goals, and even then I continued to strive for greater results. I learned the true meaning of potential, that there is no boundary or limit to how far you can go if you break down your barriers and push yourself to a level far beyond what you had originally known. I carry with me the life lessons of perseverance and goal setting that I learned through Insanity and apply them to everyday life. I possess a self motivated drive to achieve my goals. I realize that there are no limits to how far I can push myself, and that the results that I will attain if I go beyond the ordinary, will be extraordinary. I am dedicated and utterly devoted to achieving victory in every aspect of my life, whether it is writing a paper, going to poms practice, or simply doing a workout, I will never take the short road, but I will always cross the finish line.