So, my first week of Asylum is done and I would like to share a few thoughts about it:
The slight downside
First of all, you need space, a lot of space. You are jumping a lot, you are doing moving planks a lot and you are moving/running back and forth a lot. So before thinking of buying Asylum, make sure you have a big space to work out in.
Shaun changes from exercise to exercise really fast. Specially Vertical Plyo consists of exercises in which you need to change from ladder to floor to ladder to bands quite fast (including adding bands and removing them fast as well). You definitely should check out the different routines before you do them, to know when you need to change between exercises (I wish I did). It’s also a good idea to look at all the programs which include Agility Ladder exercises to get the routines down. The Small Agility Ladder intro is ok but by far not enough to explain all the different routines you will be doing with the ladder. They are not supper complicated and checking them out once should be enough. However, due to the fact mentioned, that you change really fast and the exercises themselves don’t necessarily last long, you are better off knowing what’s to come, switch fast and get the accessories needed to not have more downtime then needed.
Another issue I run into is the choice of dumbbell weight. I currently only have up to 5kg dumbbells and they don’t seem to be heavy enough for some of the exercises (for others I needed to go down to 4kg however). It’s a good idea (again) to check through the exercises and know beforehand which weights you are going to use since Shaun doesn’t give any kind of indication or hint what to look for.
Differences to P90X and Insanity
Now that I have a feeling for Asylum with one week down I can see the differences between those three programs. I think I intuitively made the right choice to do the programs in the right order. Anything else would have led to me getting injured. I am absolutely certain about that.
I would definitely start with P90X again. It gives you a great base in every aspect of fitness and makes sure you are prepared for any additional workouts. I say this because you can easily modify P90X to your own level (with either weights, repetitions, breaks) and you will still get a lot of benefits and improvements out of the program no matter what your fitness starting point is. Specially the Yoga workout and Plyo helped me get ready for Insanity. Without those, my knees would have been a candidate for serious injury during Insanity. While P90X is a great overall program which REALLY works on every aspect of your health and fitness, Insanity is definitely working on your cardio. The Issue with doing Insanity first would have been that I would not have been strong enough, specially for the upper body workouts to get enough benefit from the program.Without Insanity, I would not have had the Cardio/Stamina to even get through the warm-ups in Asylum (even though I still struggle as is ;)).
I was a bit afraid that Asylum would be “too sporty” for me. Even though I love sports (tennis, skiing, softball, running) I never really was very good (or had the patience) at/for say swimming or running or athletics other then throwing. I am not a soccer player or basketballt player and I am not a swimmer. I am not really looking to increase any special sports performance per se and thus I wasn’t really sure if Asylum was a good pick for me.
Well it was and is: While you are doing quite a few exercises you might be familiar with from Insanity, you are doing them a) in a way that challenges your coordination and b) it really forces you to keep control over your body. I never realized how “sloppy” and uncontrolled I have been doing a lot of exercises, specially jumps. Even though you THINK you are doing them as controlled as you can, you get sloppy without noticing, specially in Insanity (or Plyo X in P90X). The agility ladder REALLY forces you and helps you to focus and it leads to a much more controlled way of exercising. There is even a huge difference of doing the workouts/warm-ups with or without the speed rope. Using the rope automatically forces you to jump higher and more controlled while you can cheat if you are doing the exercises without the speed rope (which is an option and is also demonstrated by several members of the cast).
In a very rough summary, to me, Asylum feels like a condensed version of P90X (strength parts) mixed with Insanity (jumps, cardio and plank work) while (as mentioned) the program forces you to have control over every movement. The last part makes it probably the best workout I have done so far. While Asylum does remind me of P90X and Insanity, there are a lot of new or advanced moves (such as X jumps with resistance bands on both your ankles and in your hands or one legged power jumps) which will keep you motivated. It’s very challenging to do jumps and plank work such as Plyo-Push ups with the ladder. As mentioned before, I would basically flare around without much control while going through the exercises. Asylum really helps you to keep your body under control, which is also one of the main reasons this workout is being advertised as the hardest of the Beachbody workouts so far.
Here are a few impressions of Strength and Back to Core of the first week. Both days are very focused on controlled and slow exercises unlike Speed and Agility and Vertical Plyo (which I didn’t take any footage of yet). Speed and Agility seemed to me the easiest of the exercises so far while Vertical Plyo was very challenging due to the fact that I didn’t know how fast I would have to change between resistance bands and the ladder and without knowing the routines properly beforehand. Strength and Back to Core are both great with some exercises that are seriously hard for me (Reverse Plank Series probably being the hardest of all). You will easily see that my posture is not the best yet as I am struggling to keep good form and control over the movement. Sorry for the somewhat crappy quality. We are still settling in and the light is not the best 🙂