*If you stay up late enough you will see some of the craziest exercise phenomenons ever. The Ab Roller, the Ab Crunch and, least we forget, the giggle-inducing naughtiness of every Shake Weight workout. But there are so many overweight Americans that every home fitness enterprise that is created seems to be an instant success.
Our Lee Bailey thinks he found a brother who is on the verge of the next best thing. His name is Shaun T, of Hip-Hop Abs fame. Now, he’s back with “Insanity,” a workout so off the wall Uncle Lee was tired just looking at it.
The workouts look so challenging that even some professional athletes might have trouble with them. But Shaun tells EURweb.com that it only appears difficult.
“That is perfectly false,” said T of any assumptions that this workout may not be for the novice. “The way I designed ‘Insanity’ is you can be at any fitness level and be able to do as many reps as you can do. If you watch the videos it’s not rhythmic, it’s not dancing, you do not have to do everything I do exactly as I do it. Even I have to take breaks with ‘Insanity.’ If I don’t take breaks then I’m not pushing myself. You should understand what it is to work hard or have knowledge of workout, or an idea of what’s it’s like to feel yourself tired, before you start. You shouldn’t jump from not doing anything for 6 years to doing ‘Insanity.’ If you’re used to exercising a little bit you should be okay.”
OK, Shaun tells us that anybody can do the workouts, but we pressed him on that a little harder and he did eventually concede … just a bit.
“You should definitely be active,” said Shaun. “You have to have a knowledge of body posture and things like that. I recommend you have a little bit of knowledge about what it is to be tired before you try ‘Insanity’.”
So, what type of “knowledge” does one have to have to perform “Insanity” at peak efficiency?
“I started playing football and basketball when I was six years old. I was a high school and collegiate track star as well, so it was definitely athletics first before dancing. I didn’t start dancing until after I started getting into fitness. When I was in college my major was sports science. So, I got into teaching fitness and one of the classes I started teaching was a dance class. By the time I was finished with the dance class I was like ‘Wow, I can dance and I can choreograph. This is something that I can do and I love it’, he continued. “After working in the pharmaceutical health industry for a few years I went and started my career as a professional dancer because I figured I might as well do it while I was young. I danced really, really hardcore professionally for like 5 years.”
Let us get this straight, this brother played both football and basketball in high school, ran track in high school and college then was a professional dancer? This workout is not for any normal American. But that’s exactly how he wanted it.
“I used to teach at Equinox in West Hollywood and my dance class was so popular that Beach Body came (to me) and that’s how I started getting involved with doing ‘Hip-Hop Abs,’ my first fitness program which was also a dance program. I guess I’m pretty blessed because I’m using my college degree full out,” he joked. “I travel anywhere from America to Canada to Asia. There are fitness conventions all over the world where I also teach a fitness certification class and where I teach people how to teach aerobics. Most people, when they want to come work with me go to www.shauntfitness.com and check out where I’m going to be making appearances and they come and rock with me for a day, then die! But I know CPR and bring them back to life and send them home.”
Not for nothing, but the “Insanity” workout seems like it’s only for people that are extremely serious, or have an exercise induced death wish.
“With ‘Hip-Hop Abs’ we dance and have fun and we cut up and we laugh, but in ‘Insanity’ the most that could happen, and often does, is they gag and throw up here and there. But, that’s part of the pain. Me personally, I love it. If somebody has me working out so hard that I’m heaving over a trash can then I love it.”
Shaun T’s career takes him all across the map. We asked him what he felt the biggest difference in fitness is between the United States and other countries to which he has traveled.
“It is astounding the fitness level between America and Asia. For instance, Tokyo. There are very few people there that are overweight, quote unquote. I say quote, unquote because I know that fitness level is not completely dependent upon weight. These people eat good, they have a law in Tokyo where if you’re under a certain number of centimeters your BMI (Body Mass Index) has to be under a certain number or you get taxed.
Yikes! You get taxed? Don’t get us wrong. We like big butts just as much as the next urban website, but if that law was introduced here then that would make up for the federal deficit and then some.
“In Europe they have 15 to 20 fitness conventions in their countries every weekend. I mean, it’s packed. I just wish that America would jump on that bandwagon. It’s not really about the weight, but the level of activity. You can go anywhere in America; New York, Miami, Los Angeles and you just see out of shape people. It’s an overwhelming majority and it’s very, very depressing. At a fitness center, training center … you can put your hands on it just about anywhere. That’s why I do what I do and I try to inspire as many people as possible.”
The 20th century has witnessed this country enjoy of a string of successes that are historically unprecedented. Could it be we’re wallowing in our own success? Is it the types of foods we’re eating?
“It’s not really about what as much as it’s about how much,” he explained. “Like most restaurants, for example Cheesecake Factory. How big are the plates there? It comes down to what you learned in school with the food pyramid. If you just have portion control you basically can eat whatever you want. We think the more rice we have the better, the bigger the plate the better or I need to have dessert. You don’t need to have dessert. That’s where people get it wrong. One of the best pieces of advice that I like to give to people is don’t drink your calories. I promise that if you would stop drinking soda for a month you would loose ten to twenty pounds. It’s a promise. It’s caloric intake to output and it’s just sugar you don’t need. It’s those little things that would make a huge difference. One glass of wine is actually good for you. But it’s never one. It’s never one!
Now wait a minute, says the naysayer, you have been at your athletic peak for most of your life! How are you going to profess to know the everyday eating habits of the everyday American?
“I understand it’s hard. Trust me I know, but once you gain control of that it is the best feeling to say ‘Yeah, I’ve eaten enough and I can’t help but eat again.’ The less you eat in one portion the more times you can eat in a day. Instead of not eating all day and eating a huge meal at night, stuffing myself and going to sleep after not exercising, your body is going to hold on to that and say, ‘Well you’re only eating one time a day so I’m going to hold on to all that stuff.’ But if you eat five times a day, and it’s a good portion, your body is working. People don’t grasp that concept. A lot of people don’t loose weight because they don’t eat enough.”
The “Insanity 60 day Total Body Conditioning Program” is for the serious-minded, but the DVDs do start off a slower pace for those who need to get used to the moves, but Shaun T tells EURweb.com it’s called a “body conditioning” workout for a reason. His intentions are to help people transform their body, not just tone up. The program features 10 different exercises designed to target a different part of your body. For more log on to www.beachbody.com