Last year I went to my first ever INSANITY class and raved about it. It was a pop-up event in a stunning location, run by a teacher I loved (and still love). London Insaniacs Tanya is one of the best fitness teachers I have ever had and she motivated me to keep on going when all I wanted to do was anything but. Since then I have been to another one of her classes and am just a few clicks away from going regularly. I never thought I would fall in love with INSANITY but I have and I can only thank her for that. She’s also the first person who got me doing burpees.
When I had the chance to interview her I grabbed it with both hands. It’s a brilliant interview and it’s below the cut. Enjoy!
INSANITY is a high intensity cardio workout which tones the whole body without using additional equipment and instead you use your own body weight. How did you discover Insanity and what made you want to become an instructor?
Before INSANITY Live was released in the UK I knew about it from the hugely popular 60 day DVD home workout program. I’d seen it on infomercials but the real introduction came when I did a couple of workouts with my 52 year old Mum who was smashing the 60 day program… she is a machine!
Then in March 2014 I became a qualified group exercise instructor, the same time INSANITY Live was launched in the UK. Me, being a lover of all and anything high intensity, jumped straight on the INSANITY train and booked in for instructor training. I just knew immediately it was what I wanted to teach.
There are so many preconceptions about INSANITY – the main one being it’s only for the super fit – and these can turn people off from taking a class. What is it about INSANITY that you love?
Such a HUGE misconception. What I love about INSANITY is that anyone, no matter what fitness level, can do it. This is because each individual works at their own maximum effort, as long as you are putting in your own 100% then you are reaping the same benefits as the person next to you whether a beginner or an athlete.
Plus the calorie for time value is insane (pun intended), in one 50 minute class you could burn up to 1000 calories. That is equal to doing about 2.5 hours of steady state cardio, which I find super boring too so I know what I’d rather choose.
There are actually loads of other health benefits to doing max interval training over steady state cardio including getting and seeing faster results, a healthier heart, increased VO2 Max which also improves endurance training, you burn fat instead of muscle and you build lean muscle which is our built in fat burning furnace. Crazy right?
I know I have my favourite INSANITY move, but do you have a favourite move?
Oh really? What’s yours? My favourite moves always seem to be a burpee variety, two of my favourites being football burpee drops and frog jump burpees. I must be a glutton for punishment.
As a professional fitness trainer you must spend a lot of your time in fitness clothes and with the rise and rise of sports luxe there must be so much choice when you go shopping. Do you like trying new brands and testing new products or do you prefer sticking with items of clothing you know work?
I can’t tell you how amazing it is to have a uniform of active wear, add being a girl to the mix and shopping for work is an absolute pleasure – Nike Town becomes heaven!
I’m always up for trying new brands, as that’s the way you learn if you like something or if that particular brand is suitable for the activity you do. Function is just as important as fashion if not more and I can’t have anything holding me back from exploding sky high in all those power jumps… or falling down around my ankles.
That being said the brands I have found so far that suit me best are Nike, Sweaty Betty, Lorna Jane (an awesome Aussie brand) and H&M. H&M sportswear quality has improved massively and at a steal of a price.
Similarly with clothing, brands promoting healthy foods have also increased. I love trying new juices and foods and I was wondering if you are the same? Are there any post-workout fitness snacks you would always have in your gym bag?
There are some awesome health cafes and juice bars popping up in London which is making it so much easier to eat healthy on the run. But when it comes to bringing packed snacks that don’t include natural, wholefood sources my go to option is a Quest Bar. High in protein and fibre with no added sugars, the macros are amazing and they use quality ingredients with super tasty flavours to choose from. They are an American brand so are mostly available online at the moment, popping up in some local boutique health food stores.
The other snack I love is Total 0% Greek Yogurt with some fruit, preferably berries or banana. Proper Greek Yogurt is high in protein and super filling and Total even do yogurt pots with some honey attached which is a perfect ‘on the go’ mix of protein and carbs for post workout. Don’t be fooled by the “Greek Style” labels which are everywhere, these are simply just thicker yogurts. Look out for Total.
Tip: All natural yogurts make a good snack but Greek Yogurt is much higher in protein. Aside from Total 0% fat (the exception), steer clear of ‘low fat’ labels, brands often replace healthy natural fats with unhealthy sugar to make up for taste. In this case it’s always better to choose the full fat option to forego the mass load of sugar. Total 0% may be 0% fat but it has no added sugar, just loads of protein so eat up!
I personally hate the word diet and believe that a healthy lifestyle is far more sustainable and achievable. How did you go about implementing a healthy lifestyle – what were some of the first steps you took?
Very true, diets are short lived, unsustainable and a whole lot of no fun. Let’s face it; restriction and starvation play no part in an enjoyable, healthy lifestyle.
A healthy lifestyle is more then just physical, it is mental too. One of the first things we need to do is change our mental attitude, when we want to look, feel and be healthier then we can explore and experiment with what forms of exercise we enjoy and will ultimately make time for in our weekly schedule. Make your workout fun, not a chore…no one likes chores.
The trick with healthy eating is to learn new information slowly and gradually add new habits, trying to take on everything at once can be overwhelming and when things become overwhelming we tend to give up.. .sound familiar? For example, for one week make it your goal to drink 2-3 litres of water a day, the next week try to eat a source of protein with every meal, next week aim to eat vegetables with at least 2 meals of the day and so on. Set small goals often, the habits will eventually become second nature and voila… a healthy lifestyle will begin to emerge.
It would also be super valuable to learn what your calorie intake should be for weight maintenance and fat loss, optimal macronutrient ratios (protein, fats and carbs) and what foods fall into those categories. Knowing this information will also help you learn what portion sizes are right for you, there is no ‘one size fits all’ equation, everyone is different according to things like age, weight an activity levels.
I could talk about this subject forever, I love teaching people how to live and eat within their means for maintenance or fat loss while being able to enjoy treats and a glass of wine. What is life without chocolate and wine?! It’s all in the balance.
People in Australia seem to be as passionate about their fitness as we are. You spent your Winter there – was there anything you think will soon be making its way over here?
Such a great question… um, the weather! Ha, unfortunately I don’t think that will be making its way over anytime soon. INSANITY hasn’t even made its way to the land down under yet but one thing I have noticed over there is the pop up and increase of girls only 12 week group food and fitness programs. I haven’t really seen or heard of that in the UK yet but I absolutely love the concept. It’s basically where a group of people sign up to a 12 week program which includes 12 weeks of meal plans and workouts all done in person and within a group for that extra motivation and support. It’s next level group fitness, I love it and would love that to come over here.. .although it does require time and commitment which not a lot of busy Londoners have so perhaps that’s why it hasn’t worked over here? Regardless… I’d love it!
You currently run classes in Fulham, Hammersmith, and Chelsea as well as in Sweaty Betty’s Chiswick boutique, and pop-up events all over London. What else have you got planned for 2015?
I sure do and due to so many requests from my last event I’ve recently launched a new 30 minute 7.30am class in Central London on Wednesdays starting on the 11th of February. A few other things brewing in the pipeline for 2015 include a second event with the amazing Active In Style team, becoming certified to teach Beachbody’s second live workout class launching in the UK… PiYo (a fast paced, calorie scorching fusion of pilates and yoga) and possibly making an appearance instructing on stage with the Beachbody trainer team at the 2015 Be:Fit expo. 2014 was an amazing year and 2015 is going to be even more epic, bring it on!
Thank you so much Tanya! And as for what’s my favourite move, it’s the power squat sequence – though I really need to work on my balance with that one!
If you want to try INSANITY then have a look at Tanya’s classes – all the information can be found on her website. Now I am going to go and get me some Greek yogurt.