One Step at a Time: the only thing possibly harder than organic chemistry

Fitness columnist Abbie Wenthe on the early morning workout


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I am a very competitive person. I absolutely hate losing, and I do whatever possible to keep that from happening. I blame my days spent playing soccer and competitive swimming on this drive to never lose. This competitiveness surfaces in every part of my life, not just sports — on assignments, tests, in a casual volleyball game and at the rec, I am always driving to be the best. This can be helpful when working out in a large group, like what I did last week.

Last year, I always loved going to the TigerX classes at the rec because of the large variety of classes offered. Whether it was hardcore cardio, dancing, weight training, cycling, yoga or Pilates, I could always get a good workout and have fun while doing it. And since they were group classes, I got to compete and force myself to jump higher and kick harder than the blonde twig next to me.

Since I started doing Insanity about three weeks ago, I really haven’t had time to go to a TigerX class, but last week with the first round of exams, my sorority sisters and I majorly slacked on Insanity. Another friend asked me to go to either sunrise cycling or sunrise yoga with her, and I was planning on it … until my alarm went off at the crack of dawn, and the world around was quiet and unmoving. Naturally, I went back to sleep for a few more hours before my 8 a.m. biology discussion.

After I dragged myself all the way across campus to discuss cell membranes and mitochondria and slacked on early morning yoga, I decided I needed to be productive and not sleep until my next class. I had an organic chemistry test the next day, so I knew working out had to be done in the morning before my brain could handle any talk of dimethylpropane and cyclohexanes. I checked out the schedule online and saw that power class worked into my schedule in the next hour, so I got my workout clothes on and dragged one of my roommates with me to the rec to get our power on.

I had taken the class multiple times last semester, but I was unsure about the instructors and what to expect with this class. We started out with a two-lap warm-up jog around the indoor track, and I was feeling pretty good. "I got this," I thought. I’ve done Insanity, so I can get through anything!

What failed to cross my mind was how I, well, hadn’t done Insanity, or any workout for that matter, in five days. And trust me, it showed.

After our jog, we finished up the warm-up with a quick stretch, and then we wasted no time getting into the heart of the workout. We started out with circuits where we did a series of five different exercises for 45 seconds, each with a 15-second rest. We repeated the circuit two times, and after the second time, I was convinced my arms had turned to Jell-O. I accepted the fact that I would never be able to lift my arms above my head again.

And lucky me! We still had 25 minutes left of class, which we filled with a few more laps around the track and other drills, a few straight from Insanity. When the Insanity drills came along, my competitive edge kicked in. I told myself to suck it up and get through the workout; I knew these drills and I could do them better than the instructor, who was definitely slacking off.

Overall, the class was a great workout, and I left feeling accomplished and ready to face the rest of my day. I had a flashback moment to high school and that conquer-the-world feeling after a morning practice. I will admit I love my sleep and hate having to give it up, but I just may have to finally give sunrise yoga or cycling a try. After a 10 a.m. workout, I had the energy to crush my organic chemistry test. Who knows what I could be capable of after a 6 a.m. workout?

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