Chapter 1: Cray Cray In A Box


The box sat on the kitchen table for two days, daring me to open it.

“Don’t open this box thinking you can pretend your way through this,” said the big, bold print. “We need you to be prepared to dig deeper than ever before!”

Now, I’ll be perfectly honest here: I’m a very shallow person in many ways. I occasionally enjoy sitting on a bar’s outdoor patio, watching people stroll by as I judge them. (Silently, in my head… at least until I’ve had a few cocktails, at which point I have been known to hold up cocktail napkins rating them on a scale of 1 to 10.)

But the box that now sat there, taunting me, wasn’t talking about the kind of superficial deepness which I clearly lacked. No, what the box was emploring me to find was the kind of strength it would take to not only rip off it’s protective plastic coating and pry apart it’s cardboard maw, but then reach inside, pull out the enclosed DVD’s and do something I dread more than just about anything else in life: exercise.

Friendly Fitness intro1

Fitness and I are not well acquainted. Oh, sure, we’ve flirted from time to time, and I’ve even made one or two stabs at commitment. But… well, exercise is hard, y’all! So when it comes to weight-loss programs, I’ve taken a somewhat stand-offish approach. Like with love, I’ve assumed that if it’s meant to be, it will happen.

A few years back, I saw this skit on the wildly-underrated MAD-TV, and it has stayed with me ever since… largely because the woman in it is probably the best representation of my take on weight loss I’ve ever encountered.

So how, you might wonder, did I wind up in a staring contest with a box containing Insanity, one of the most ridiculously difficult workouts Satan ever created?

I’m so glad you asked…

Chapter 2: Sold!

I have a weakness for infomercials.

It really doesn’t much matter what’s being sold, if you produce a slick, 30-minute ad with a catchy, oft-repeated phrase (“Set it… and forget it!”) and air said commercial at 2:30 a.m., I’ll buy whatever you tell me to.

Fleece blankets with sleeves that look suspiciously like backwards robes? Yes, please!

A faux golf club that allows me to discretely pee on the golf course? I don’t golf, but… I’ll take two!

Despite this addiction, I wasn’t even the least bit tempted when I first saw the ads for Insanity a year or so ago. Yes, there were the requisite before and after pics of folks who’d gone from far fatter than me to slim and sexy, but I work for a magazine. I know how photoshop works! And even if those pics were real, the clips of the workouts showed incredibly fit people drenched in sweat and looking as if they were struggling.

If they were having that much difficulty, surely the program would kill me. Like, literally.

But then, I booked myself on a cruise, having decided that I’d mark my 50th birthday by doing something I’d wanted to do ever since I was a kid dreaming of growing up to be THE LOVE BOAT’s Julie McCoy. With the cruise just under 300 days away, I realized that I didn’t wanna be that guy hanging on the Lido deck by the pool, afraid to take off his shirt for fear children would mistake his massive moobs for flotatation devices.

There I sat, contemplating this dilemma late at night when on came a commercial for Insanity. I was just about to pick up the phone when I did the math and realized that I’d be spending about $140 (masked as “three payments of $39.99 plus shipping and handling!”) on a program there was, if history was any indication, every likelihood I’d abandon.

Or never start.

A quick trip to E-bay found a set of the DVD’s for $60, including shipping, and it was said box of DVD’s with their part-empowering, part-terrifying warning that now sat on the kitchen table, taunting me.

“It’s now or never,” I said. And while that did in fact mean that never was an option, I went with now and opened the box.

This, as the kids say, is where things got real…

Stay tuned for the next chapter of The Insanity Diaries.

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