Improve your surfing with Insanity workouts


Broken.  That’s the best word I can use to describe how I felt during my first week doing the Insanity workouts.  It broke me, physically and mentally.  But after a while I got better, and more importantly I started to feel less kooky in the water….

Imagine how you would feel if you had to cover yourself in grease and climb over and under the world’s hardest assault course, and there’s a pack of cheetahs chasing you and some guy is yelling ‘use your core’.  Well, that doesn’t even come close.  This is zumba on steroids.  At the end of each workout I would lie in a heap on the floor in a pool of my own sweat, feeling so dejected that I couldn’t even do half of what the instructor Shuan T wanted me to do.  The problem was that I’d been deluding myself about my level of fitness.  Prior to starting I’d thought smugly, how hard can it be?  I’m a surfing instructor, I’m fit, I can take this in my stride for sure.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  I had to completely reassess my level of fitness.  Yes, I could paddle and surf for 2 hours without needing a break, but aside from surfing my fitness was shoddy.

But then something interesting happened (well, interesting to me anyway).  I stuck with the programme and after about 2 weeks I was surfing one day and I started to feel new power surges in my body.  Suddenly I was paddling onto waves that I never used to be able to make.  I didn’t need to sit and rest on my board for so long after grueling paddle outs.  My popup felt stronger and I could crouch lower in my bottom turns.  Of course it was because of the Insanity.  And that became my motivation, insanity was improving my surfing.  Yes we all want to have lean bodies and ripped abs and burn calories, but it’s hard for me to maintain motivation if my goals are only superficial.

That was 2 and a half years ago and I’ve been doing Insanity ever since.  I don’t follow the programme anymore, and I only do it maybe once or twice a week.  Surfing is a sport which requires a huge amount of strength, and women surfers often fall short in this area.  By upping our strength we can really improve our wave catching and wave riding.

insanity 5

There are lots of reasons why I love the Insanity programme, but here are my top 8…

  • Shaun T the instructor is an absolute legend. His fitness is incredible and he is hugely inspiring and motivating.  He’s authentic and I always feel like he really wants me to get fit.
  • The workouts are short (around 30 to 45 minutes) so it’s relatively easy to fit into the day. I can work to my own schedule, and not the one set by the gym.
  • No equipment needed and you only really need a small space. Perfect for studio apartments.
  • Insanity is not sexist. The women in the cast kick serious ass and usually out do the men.  Tania and the ginger Ariel need to be mentioned in dispatches for being like particularly hardcore.  I salute them

insanity tania

  • The posse of students behind Shaun T are all great. I find it strangely comforting when they groan and fail and act like they’re dying.  This may sound sad, but I feel like we’ve been through a lot together and they’re my friends (yes, I do need to get out more)

insanity 1

  • The music. I always feel like I’m in a James Bond car chase, or I’m skiing down the mountain trying to evade the gestapo.
  • There are no stomach crunches
  • Shaun T’s quotes….. “jump from the bottom, jump from the bottom, jump from there” …. “this isn’t tap dancing people” …. “this isn’t a coffee break” …. “it’s get fit or get out” …“never compromise form people”…. “I’m so tired I can’t even remember the name of my moves”… “don’t have your legs too wide, JOSH, don’t have your legs too wide”  I always chime in at this point with a “JOOSSSSSHHHHH!!!!”  There are tonnes of great quotes and I’m only scratching the pinnacle of the surface here


Even after a long time of doing Insanity  I still modify many of the exercises, don’t do all the reps, press pause and take breaks.  I have heard of people injuring themselves doing it, especially people with knee issues.  As always listen to your own body.  I don’t think that a dvd workout is as effective as having a personal trainer, and it doesn’t have the camaraderie that a group fitness class will provide.  However, for people pressed for time I would highly recommend Insanity, but start slowly and prepare to feel broken.

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