One Step at a Time: Going insane

Fitness columnist Abbie Wenthe knows there's power in a pack.

A big thing in the American fitness culture lately is getting big results in a small amount of time.

Everyone wants those six-pack abs and defined arm muscles in as little time as possible, and the weight-loss industry is taking full advantage of this trend. Programs such as P90X, Insanity and TurboFire are taking the market by storm and tricking the weak of heart into buying their promises of amazing results in a short time.

Of course, being an avid viewer of late-night infomercials, I watched the Insanity ads about 20 times this summer. Once I see something I think will really work to get me in shape, I become obsessed and will stop at nothing to get my hands on that workout program. The only thing stopping me from going insane on the spot was the hefty price tag that accompanied this set of miracle-working DVDs. So I put aside my insane dreams and stuck with Jillian Michaels — there was no way I was spending the money I earned by lounging outside and getting tan (aka lifeguarding) on a fitness program. That summer job money goes toward the insane out-of-state tuition this fine university of ours demands.

This year I am living in my sorority house in a room with three other girls. Needless to say, it gets insane enough in our room even without the help of Insanity instructor Shaun T. I absolutely love all my roommates, our random dance parties and workout sessions, but four girls can get a little crazy.

One of my roommates is a nutrition and fitness major, and she mirrors my love of fitness and being healthy. Turns out she has the Insanity workouts on her computer and has been looking for someone to push her through the impossible workouts. This was the part where I jumped up and down and screamed, “Pick me! Pick me!” And because she is the best roomie ever, she picked me.

We wasted no time in getting down to business — why wait to get the abs of our dreams? We printed out the workout schedule and pictures of healthy food and Victoria’s Secret models for inspiration, and I marked out the 60-day challenge in my Lilly Pulitzer agenda, complete with stickers and colored pens. (I’m a sorority girl. What did you expect?)

Since we had recruitment and all the joys that accompany it, we didn’t have copious amounts of time to start the program right away. When we finally decided to give our first workout a try, we headed to our sorority’s annex basement since it has the most room to jump around without getting too many awkward stares. The annex basement is the place everyone goes to craft and work on projects, so it is covered in glitter, paint, glitter, rhinestones, glitter and glitter glue — it is definitely not the ideal place to get hot and sweaty.

We decided to go for it anyway, and by the end of the workout, we were drenched in sweat and covered in glitter from head to toe. We looked like walking Christmas tree ornaments that had just been thrown in a swimming pool. With our hot-tamale-red faces, we practically looked like Santa.

During the rest of recruitment, we barely had time to go outside, let alone work out, so we decided our 60 days would start on the first day of school. With all the excitement, we sparked interest in other girls in our sorority. Soon we had our roommates and five other girls on board. But all too soon, the first day of classes rolled around and it was time to start the program.

Unfortunately, some girls were crafting in the basement, so we were forced to set up the computer and work out elsewhere, the only other logical place being on the patio aoutside. So around 8 p.m. Monday, nine sorority girls lined up in front of a computer with Shaun T yelling, “Go! Harder! Push it!” And we were all yelling back at him, “Shut up! This is crazy!”

All of this was happening while fraternity guys and girls on their way to fraternities walked by. Of course, they all cut through our house area, so they got to see us dripping in sweat and dying on the concrete. At least one guy was nice enough to offer an encouraging “Keep it up!” as he walked past.

The workout was almost impossible, but we were able to get through it together. I’ve always been more apt to work out by myself and make it all about me. However, I have found that in a group setting, it becomes more of a challenge to work harder than the person next to you and encourage and inspire the entire group.

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