My Return to Insanity (the Good Kind)

I, Audrey Payne, got up early to exercise today! As in, I left my nice, warm, cozy bed (that I love SO MUCH), to sweat through my clothes and get yelled at by the fitness industry’s biggest angel, Shaun T. Five years after my last go-around (which I started at this same time of the year!), I’ve decided to give Shaun T and his Insanity workouts another try! (And by the way, I am the polar opposite of a morning person. I prefer that people don’t speak to me before 10 am, and I have to snooze my alarm about five times before I get up every day. I WISH I was a morning person, I really do, but alas, I was born this way).


I last did Insanity in the winter/ spring of 2012, when I was younger, sprier, and had more men to impress (bahaha). It was my first year in DC and I had just had my heart broken (for the one millionth time by the same guy – you’d think I would learn after a while). And obviously, the best revenge for heartbreak is to get a rockin’ bod. (Like I always say – heartbreak really sucks, but it’s a great catalyst to better your life!). So that was what I did! Probably the most rockin’ bod I’ve ever had actually! My roomie and bff at the time, Veronica, and I dove in headfirst to the world of Insanity. For those unfamiliar, it’s a two-month program where you follow a scheduled workout routine, doing a video six days a week. There are a few different workouts for phase one (which lasts four weeks), a week where you do the same cardio video each day to “recover,” then move on the phase two, which lasts another four weeks. Phase one seems monstrous when you first begin it. Each video is about 40 minutes (which I know doesn’t sound like much but ohhhh it is) of high intensity interval training (HIIT), including some daunting moves like the “power jump” (where you literally jumping as high as you can from and to a squat position), the infamous suicide, and way, way, way more push-ups than I ever want to do. Ever.

The man himself, Shaun T.

But I’ll be honest, you haven’t seen monstrous until you hit phase two, which is about 60 minutes per day. Just when you get used to phase one and think “yeah, I’m in pretty great shape,” NOPE. Shaun T is here to let you know that you are indeed NOT in great shape. Or any shape at all, except maybe round! Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but I remember just being blown away at how hard phase two was. However, right now phase one is a struggle, so I will cross that bridge when I come to it. 😉 (I know I’m making this sound totally unfun, but actually, it’s pretty addictive and the rush you get after is INSANE).

Veronica and I in our post-Insanity Hay Day.

Anyway, moral of the story is we got in fucking awesome shape, and because we did it together, had a great time. We’d yell at each other (in a loving way) when we’d lay on the floor dying, and the workouts would frequently end in hysterical laughter. We’d always cool down with a (slow and burnt out) walk around the block, and on days when we felt like we might go out and party too hard that night, we’d also go for a jog or play tennis. We really kept each other on track. It probably sounds brutal, but it really was great fun! And our bikini bods were on point that summer!

My favorite post-Insanity beach pic (me on the left). #Goals (Good job past-Audrey!).

This time around, I’m not doing the workouts to combat heartbreak. I’m doing them because I miss being in awesome shape. Before I hurt my back, I was a workout machine. I loved it. All those endorphins! I’d run for five miles a day then go for a hike and it would be no thing. An old guy at the gym would even call me the “energizer bunny.” I felt like I could do anything. Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit lethargic, less attractive than normal and like my rock climbing isn’t progressing to the level I want it to. So, I’m trying to change all that. I want more energy, more confidence, to get stronger and to slim down. So, I think this will be a great start. If my back starts bothering me, I’ll have to stop. But so far, so good! I’ve got achy muscles, but I feel great!

I thought writing this post would help me stick with it (though to be honest, if I’m excited enough to get up EARLY to do the workout, I feel pretty good about my chances). When you put your goals out into the world, I think you feel like you have more of a duty to attain them. And this is something I really want to focus on over the next few months – getting healthy, strong, fit and confident. And a hot bikini bod, obviously. 😉

Anyway, four days in and I can still walk, so I think that bodes well for my progress.

Bonus motivation: my girl friends and I are taking a trip to the beach for Memorial Day weekend. So that gives me three months to get ready!

Has anyone done Insanity before? Tips for sticking with it? Other fitness goals? I’d love to hear from you all!

Published by Audrey

Hi! My name is Audrey, otherwise known as Glowstick on trail. I've always been into hiking, adventuring, and the outdoors, but these things took a backseat as I worked on my career in public relations for several years in Washington, D.C. In 2018, I decided that I was discontent with city life. Instead of working on my career, I needed to work on my happiness. So, I reprioritized. I quit my (amazing) job at World Wildlife Fund, thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, and relocated to beautiful Boulder, Colorado, where I work in climate communications and climb mountains every chance that I get.

4 thoughts on “My Return to Insanity (the Good Kind)

  1. This was so inspiring!! I’m struggling a bit lately in ways similar to you. Lethargic, feeling less hot, etc… I’ve been so focused lately on how hard it is to start exercising and I’ve been finding excuses not to work out . I’ve completely forgotten about the incredible high you get after you workout and how good it feels when you start to get addicted! I mean getting a body that you feel comfortable in and having lots of energy is a great end goal…but for some people, people who want instant results and often get discouraged when it’s just taking too long to get that hot bod (me)…it’s really helpful to remember that there is instant gratification in exercising…that high! Eventually that hot bod will be there, in time…but for now I’m going to keep looking forward to that high! Thanks for reminding me of that…I’ve been in a little bit of a slump lately.


    1. Awww thanks for responding! I’m glad you found it inspiring. I always get so much less active in winter – the short days and early nights wear me out. But I feel like I’m just waking up again with the spring and I ALREADY feel like I’m getting addicted to working out – only four days into insanity (though of course I’m always quite active – this is just a more intense kind of active). Stick with it when you can and take breaks when you need them. It will pay off with persistence! And I would def recommend insanity if you’re looking for motivation. The shortness of the videos make them totally doable and since they’re intense you don’t get bored! Sometimes you just need a little extra kick/ guidance and I already feel better in week one!


      1. My only experience with videos like that is P90x. The problem I had with P90X and I don’t know if Insanity is similar, is that I thought it started at a level that I just wasn’t at. For example Tony on P90x would be like “Ok we’re going to do these dive bomber pushups for the next 30 seconds”… Yet, I can’t physically do that push up! Like, my body just isn’t there yet. Do you see what I’m saying? So is Insanity something that one can start at any level or do I need to be somewhat fit at the very beginning in order to just do some of the workouts.


  2. Hahaha yes TOTALLY get it! I definitely take way more breaks than are scheduled (so many pushups and squats – I can’t even deal), and I remember when I first started it last time I could barely walk after the first day. But it definitely gets easier and you can do more and more pretty quickly. That’s the thing with this program – you see results really soon. It’s part of the fun of it I think – seeing how quickly your body adapts and gets stronger. I will say though, Insanity would be rough on your knee until you’re totally ready to go. Since I have slight runner’s knee I actually wear a knee brace during it because there is a decent amount of jumping. I gotta say though, I am in week one (just finished day five and got up early to do it for the second day in a row!) and my energy level is definitely way up from what it was even last week before I started! I’m like Insanity first, then on to conquering the world!! (I’m pretty sure my body is drowning in endorphins and it’s pretty amazing!).


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