The Definition of Insanity / by PJ Monson


PJ Monson (CentralSweat founder) has been working in the health and fitness industry for over six years. Her training began in Chicago with a certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine,  focusing on motivational weight loss programs, functional training for long distance runners, and small group programs for brides. She moved to Washington DC in 2009 and secured continuing education credits in kettlebell training, TRX resistance training, pre/post natal care, and became a NASM certified performance enhancement specialist (skills in strength, power, and endurance training for athletes).  Health and wellness will always be her first priority and she is so excited to build a strong Central Sweat community focused on healthy lifestyle.  Disney World is famous for being the “happiest place on Earth,” but it actually transforms into several different versions of hell when you’re running through The Animal Kingdom on mile 20 of your first full marathon. The Disney Marathon was the first race my brother and I did together. He, however, finished, gone back to the hotel to shower, and returned to the rest of my family by the time I “hop jogged” my way to the end. I can say two things with absolute certainty about this event. 1. I have never felt more accomplished and 2. I will never do it again.

It always amazes me how many of my clients approach me with the goal of “I want to run a marathon.” It is not the actual goal that is shocking, but the follow up answer I receive when I ask them the obvious follow-up question, “How often do you run now?”. Most of the time they answer with “Oh, I have never actually run before”, “I use to run in college”, or “I actually hate running but I need to get in shape.” None of these answers lead me to believe a marathon should be the next logical step in their fitness journey.

The main cause for this marathon mayhem is people’s need for structure. We miss our childhood days when cardio activity was more than an exercise, but a sport. Competing on the track turns into running on a treadmill, soccer drills turn into intervals on a crosstrainer, and football drills into twenty minutes on the stair climber. We yearn for the days where exercise served a higher purpose than just keeping our bodies alive and functioning properly.

In an ideal world, it is recommended that you do some form of cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week. This fact varies depending on your immediate goals. There are four main ideas I give my clients in helping them figure out their cardio plan:

  • You will have to dedicate many hours a week to cardio so pick things you actually like doing!

  • Always change it up!

  • Expand your idea of cardio past the machines at the gym

  • Running is not the end all be all!

Do what you love guys! Find your inspiration in hiking, ice skating, zumba, cardio kick boxing, walking in Central Park, or going for that marathon if your heart so desires. There will be times where the treadmill is called for, but liven the experience up with some intervals and kick ass music.

(Side note: Studies show that cardio is more efficient when done to music than your favorite tv show; If you know the guilty party in Law & Order before the detectives then you’re not working hard enough!)

We have all heard the famous Albert Einstein quote:

“The definition for insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Apply this logic to your WORKOUT routines. The more variety you add the more change you will see.

The cardio side to our healthy mojo triangle is an important one. Before you try and tackle Mickey Mouse’s 26.2, do a little self-exploration and figure out what cardio plan might be ideal for you.