Insanity Day 38: Hearts on Fire (FREE bonus Rocky IV Montage!)

I shit you not. This is how I’ve felt for the past 3 days. Training to fight Ivan God Damn Drago.

Three days into Month Two and my calves, quads, shoulder and upper arm muscles are stiff as … well a stiff thing. I’ll leave the rest of that up to your imagination! I had spent the “Recovery Week” trying really hard not to think about month two, I had read lots and indeed plenty of people had told me that the difficulty ramped up significantly. I was desperately hoping they were wrong … they were right. The best way I can describe it, is to go back to Day 1 and multiply that feeling of “oh holy fuck what am I doing” by about 10.

That said, at the end of today when I did the “Max Cardio Conditioning” I could start to feel my body reacting. The aches went away as the muscles warmed up and I found myself really pushing into it. So much so that a large bump on the floor had me thinking the front door had gone. A groan from the good lady told me otherwise and I went back to slaughtering myself!


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OpenDNS, YouTube & Parental Controls

Don’t look now, but there appears to be a post on this blog of a mildy technical nature! I know. I was surprised too.

The Internet is a truly wonderful place for children. There are games they can play, videos they can learn from and a plethora of other things that can excite and maintain their interest. I’m 28 years old and have been online since I was around 13, back in the heady days of Dial Up Pay Per Minute and Napster (the less said about the £600 BT Phone Bill for one month the better …). As I was growing up I seen things on the Internet I had never seen before, some of it was a little less than savoury. You can imagine. Thinking back on it now, it was awesome probably a bad thing.

As a ‘growed-up‘ parent, I’m relatively relaxed about the Internet. I work for an ISP. I spend upwards of 70% of my free time in front of a computer. I have no less than 10 Internet connected devices in my home at any one time. I fully understand the Internet and the beast that it can be. Which is why, it came as a bit of a surprise when I had such serious issues with one of it’s core members. YouTube. Not YouTube in itself, but some of the content on there and how difficult it was to stop little eyes and ears seeing and hearing things which are just not appropriate.


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Insanity Day 29: Cable Ties, New Toys & Month One

It’s hard to believe I started this little journey a month ago. I was sitting on the couch on a Saturday morning feeling a bit sorry for myself. I was glancing occassionally at my stomach and something clicked in my brain. Enough was enough. Lets do this! Ordinarily “this” equates to about 2 days of activity and a recession into the same old form. This time has been different. There is no doubting though, that Christmas was my biggest worry. Turkey and Ham, Stuffing and Mince Pies, Boxes of chocolates and endless amounts of Bad Things do not for a good recipe make when you’re looking to drop weight and improve your general tone.

I am pleased to report I have made it through relatively unscathed.


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Insanity Day 19: When this baby hits 88kg … thoughts on Time

Day 19. Still going strong folks. Convinced myself I’ll get myself under 15 stone this week, not sure I’ll manage it but we’ll see. The last time I was that weight for any length of time was easily 5/6 years ago.

I am writing this post-workout, still a bit sweaty got to be honest but I’m in my hotel room so nobody really cares … right? Except maybe you … who now has the image of a hulking mass of sweat and jiggly bits sitting in front of a keyboard 😉

This post is some of my thoughts on the time spent doing these workouts, and how you can do them too. I’ve lost count of the number of people in the last couple of weeks who have told me they would love to try it but they don’t have the time. I was that person. I’ve seen how easy it can be if you’re smart about it.


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Insanity Day 16: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Well, it came and went. Our Christmas Party was everything it usually is, lots of fun, very messy and filled with great memories. I’ve been at iomart in various guises for 9 years now, and it struck me on Friday night just how many good friends I’ve got there, it really is like an extended family at times. The pair of nutters in the photo above are two of my favourite folk at iomart Hosting and it’s also one of my favourite photos from the night. Looking forward to 2013 already!


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Insanity Day 13: Do. Or do not. There is no try.

The geeks screaming “THATS NOT YODA” is giving me great amusement right now.

Two Weeks coming to a close ladies and gentlemen. I’m still here. I’m so pleased tonight, this time last week I had wussed out of the last 10 minutes of the Thursday exercises (Plyometric Cardio Circuit). This week. No, this week there was no wussing out, there was no backing down, there was no bending the knee (ok, actually there were lots of bending knees) … This week, I powered through.

What’s better, is that this week I managed “Pure Cardio” AND (FUCKING AND!) “Cardio Abs“.  One after the other, almost a full hours work. Endless pain in the abdominal area but again, I’ve come away feeling superb.

Things I’ve Learned So Far

It’s OK to Pause

You’ll hear this consistently in the videos. Stop if you need to. Take a break. Go get some water.

Make sure you do, particularly during Pure Cardio as it’s an slog with minimal scheduled stops. So make sure you do take those breaks. If you are anything like me, your body is not good enough yet to keep up with the instructor 100% of the time.

Stretch regular and often

I don’t mean during the exercises, or during the cool down. I mean during the day, when you’re eating your dinner, when you’re going to sleep. Your muscles will tighten ridiculously fast if you don’t and it just makes the next day that little bit harder.

Pose like a … well, poser

Do it. In front of the mirror. Look at what you’re trying to lose at least once a day. It reminds you why the hard work and sweat is worth it. I, rather embarrassingly have taken to shouting at my belly mid-exercise. It’s ridiculous but it works.

Enjoy your food

Try to keep it healthy but don’t deny yourself little treats. Last night I had one of the most delicious mince pies I’ve had in a long time. Just try your best to dig a little deeper on your next exercise.

Bring a Towel

If you do this right, you will at some point, taste your own sweat. It’s a bit salty. Towels are good!

You Guys Rock

Twitter was where I launched this blog, Facebook is where I stepped off the precipice to share my experience with friends and family. The reaction from everyone reading has been amazing. If you’re doing this – share your story. People will come up randomly and tell me how they’ve done in the past, or why they stopped, or just to wish me well. It’s nice. People are nice. Forget what the Channel 4 News tells you. There is humanity in the world!


Tomorrow. Christmas Party. Copious amounts of food and drink. This is a real test of my resolve I think. I plan to go out large tomorrow night, this type of night comes but once a year and as per my mantra, I’ll enjoy it.

I’ll be bringing forward my Fit Test to tomorrow from Saturday, and making Saturday my rest day for obvious reasons. Tomorrow will also be my second weigh in. I’ve had a sneak peak and … all going well, I should be on track for a another positive result.

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Image Copyright Star Wars

Insanity Day 11: Midi-chlorians & Your Immune System

Admit it. Midi-chlorians got you here right? 🙂

Well, today I’m not talking about Midi-chlorians per se, but I am talking about another unseen magical wonder in your body which helps you Use The Force (sort of).

Just as I started the Insanity workouts a friend and colleague of mine said something I wasn’t really expecting:

Watch you don’t get ill cause with that much high aerobic excercise in such a short space of time your immune system will take a pounding.

Wait. What? How can exercising regularly actually hurt you? That doesn’t make sense. I’ve never ever seen any health or fitness guru say “better stop working else you’ll end up sick”. Sure they tell you to rest and stuff, but make me sick? Shit you crazy. So off I went, I proceeded into Insanity without really thinking much about what he said and … well you know that story up until now. It’s going good. However.

I got sick.

Cruel coincedence? Maybe. I’m nursing what is commonly referred to in medical circles as a Grade Three ‘Mannus Flu-us‘ I’m told it’s quite serious, but I’ll survive and recover. It’s not impacting the exercise but is a mild annoyance. I will soldier on and whinge like a wookie to anyone who will listen.

It did get me thinking about what I had been told barely a week before, could he be right? I felt compelled to do copious amounts of Googling research. Turns out, he might be right.

These are not the Midi-chlorians you are looking for …

They’re actually Neutrophils. I know, I had never heard of them (by that name) either. The best (simple) description I’ve found for us non-biologists is:

These are key players in the immune system, responding to the site of infection in the body and attacking any invaders they find. Neutrophils are short-lived cells, committing cell suicide (called apoptosis) after only a few days in the bloodstream. If these white blood cells are too enthusiastic about offing themselves, it can weaken the immune system.


White blood cells. Committing suicide. Way cooler than Midi-chlorians. Probably.

So effectively with all this high intensity exercise, you are at risk of your immune system being less than great. I have to say though this doesn’t make me want to stop, but does give me a very healthy respect for something which can balance things out a little which honestly, again, naive-exerciser that I am … never really gave a rats ass about.


Five points if anyone can reply and tell me the now mildly disgraced author behind that one.

General Googling research seems to suggest that to help combat some of the breakdown, Vitamins C and E would be a good choice. I’m in the Scattergun variety though when it comes to things like this, and thinking too long or hard about it leads to boredom. So I’m opting for plain old Multi Vitamins. They’re cheap, they’re cheerful and … yeah you get the picture.

Hopefully this is sufficient to help me along, although I’ve got a trip to my doctor booked in as I do seem to be taking this quite seriously. Which is new ground for me friends! New ground.

Disclaimer and Progress

I can assure you there are a plethora of good reads about Neutrophil suicide rates and high intensity exercise (and also how Vitamins help you combat it) out there, I’ve linked to one of them above which I found the easiest to read and the most interesting. This blog is not the place and I most certainly am not the person to be authoritative on the subject. I’m just a fat gaming geek trying to get healthy, so please, before you make any rash decisions to replace food with vitamins or any such crazyness like that. Consult with your GP or Physician. Seriously.

Progress is great. Tonight was my second “Cardio Rest” … you have no idea how good it is to reach these days and your body can take a bit of a rest. Still got that Christmas party on the horizon … stay tuned.


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Insanity – Day 9: Mars Bars, Snickers and Sugar OH MY!

Day 9 is a return to Pure Cardio. Similar warmup to other days with such joys as Push Up Jacks. A few little aches and pains appearing now, my left calf muscle in particular is aching today something awful. Not enough to stop me but it does emphasise the importance of the warmup. Critical.


I’ve been hinting at writing a post on Food since day one pretty much and I’ve got 20 minutes to myself so I thought I would explain what and why I’m eating. I’m not a dieter. I am rubbish at it. This isn’t wholly surprising when you stop to take a look at the world around you just for a minute or two. Take for example a recent trip to a well known supermarket’s “corner shop” style store. At the self serve checkout, I was literally surrounded by chocolate. It was stacked on the window ledges. It was in little plastic bowls attached to the till. It was sat on the floor in a display behind me. It was fucking everywhere. I’ve only really noticed this since I started Insanity – just how much crap is being funnelled at you it’s a miracle we eat anything healthy.

So, combined with my vice for food, and the plentiful availability of it in a city like Glasgow. Dieting is never going to work for me.

What are you doing then?

Simple really. If I can avoid eating crap I will. However I will not feel guilty about eating less than healthy food. I have a wife and two small children whom I refuse to drag into a world of vegetables and no ice cream. If we’re out, and the boys want to go to McDonalds, we go to McDonalds. If we’re at a friends house and they’re phoning a Chinese, I’ll have a Chinese.


I am trying to be conscious of what I eat. The McDonalds menu get’s a bit more of an inspection to see what they have which might be better for me (rather than the default, “I’ll have a Large one of whatever special you have this week please Ronald”). My wife has mentioned tonight that we’re having Chinese. Cool. I’ve started looking at other parts of the menu to see what’s likely to be the least offensive but still tasty. Chicken with Beansprouts is looking like a good option but I’ll ask if it comes lathered in MSG filled sauce first … if it does, sure fuck it. Work harder tomorrow.

In My Control

When things are in my control, at home, or if I’m cooking dinner, or breakfast/lunch at work. Then yep, I’ll probably look like I’m dieting. Why? Well, after a few days of Insanity you start to feel really stingy about calories. You’re knocking your pan in during these workouts, I finished today literally dripping with sweat (sexy!), it’s a natural reaction to start thinking “I’m not wasting that effort, no way”.

The dish in the photo above is a perfect example. Lunchtime in our house at the weekend generally involves something like Toast, or chicken nuggets, or maybe a fry up if I’m feeling glamorous. Today the boys got their little chicken nuggets, the wife got her toast. I on the other hand, chucked in some frozen veg (heated, obviously) and took two of the chicken nuggets – whipped it together with some Pepper and voilà  Pretty healthy, pretty tasty, 5 minute lunch.

So it’s not a Diet per se, it’s just using your noggin a little bit.

What should be really amusing though is next week. Christmas Week. Office Party Week. Gulp …

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Project Insanity – Week One Summary: Failure and Success

So here we are. One week on from when I started Insanity. So far so good, I’m still motivated to keep going and the results are, well, insane. First though, a catchup from the last couple of days where I’ve not had a chance to update.

Day Six: Failure

I drove down to Manchester first thing on Thursday morning and after power sliding through some fresh snow on the M74 spent most of the day at the offices of our companies latest acquisition Melbourne Hosting. Fairly standard fare for food that day so nothing to report on there.

We went out for dinner to a local restaurant which was really good. A terrine of pork to start, with a sirloin steak for main and an incredibly indulgent cranberry and orange sticky toffee pudding. Epic fail on the eating healthy front but as I’ve said from the start, I’m not in this to diet like a crazy person. Life has to be enjoyable, and that includes food.

I went back to the hotel room and let my food settle for an hour or so and then got into the workout which was a repeat of Day 2, Plyometric Cardio Circuits. I crashed out around 10 minutes before the end of the class though. Not sure if it was the eating food before the workout, or that the hotel room was baking hot but I just couldn’t manage the last 10 minutes. I was pretty disappointed with myself and went to sleep in a grump.

Day Seven: Purgatory

On the seventh day, he rested. Every 7 days in the Insanity workout is a day off. I had hoped to do a little exercise to make up for the previous night but no dice. Just a long drive home.

Day Eight: The Weigh In – Success!

Boom. Day 8. Weigh in day. Also a return to the Cardio Power & Resistance.

I’ve lost 1.9kg mass, 2cm around my belly and half a centimetre around my thighs. DELIGHTED.

I’m feeling great at the moment. It’s working. It’s damn hard work, but it’s working.


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Project Insanity – Day Five: These are not your average fatties

Raaaaaaaawr. Five days. Not getting any easier. Still getting awesome bouts of happiness after finishing the days workout though. I know it’s a chemical reaction, but YAS! It feels good.

Struggling with the food intake though, I’ve never been one to eat regular and often. It’s crucial apparently that you don’t actually diet on this workout, eat healthier yes, but cut down on food no. Today I skipped breakfast, had a decent sized Tuna Mayo Salad sandwich (white bread because they had no wholemeal) and that seen me through ’til dinner. A fresh cooked baguette with sandwich (thin) steak, some halloumi cheese with onions.

I want to do a bigger post on Food in general as I have a few thoughts about it, mainly around how I’m doing things. I’ll get to that at some point.

I discovered today another guy in my work is doing Insanity too, I’m not sure how he’s doing but I need to catch up with him at some point. I’d like a training buddy, someone to gauge myself against. One of the good things about the Insanity videos is that the instructor is always surrounded by around 8 people. You see them doing the same warm-up  the same exercise and going through the same pain. These are not your average fatties. These people are super fit with bodies to die for, and seeing them struggle is oddly encouraging, cathartic even.

Big ‘ol drive to Manchester tomorrow – staying overnight so will be doing the workout in the hotel. This is THE best thing about this method. You can do it anywhere with around 6ft squared space. No gym. Nothing fancy.

Until tomorrow …

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