Insanity starts early in Blue Jays' clubhouse, with Henry Blanco leading the way

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DUNEDIN, Fla. - The insanity starts pretty early each day in the Blue Jays' clubhouse.

Veteran catcher Henry Blanco leads a group of Toronto players and officials in the "Insanity Workout" seen on TV ads and late-night infomercials.

You've got to get up early. They start at 5:15 or 5:30 a.m., usually going for between 35 and 45 minutes.

Josh Thole, A.J. Jimenez and Maicer Izturis are among the players who take part, Blanco said.

"It gets you going. It gives you some energy," said the 41-year-old Venezuelan.

"You might as well do it when you wake up that early in the morning. It keeps me in pretty good shape and at this age, that's what you want to do."

Baseball players start early during the spring, with most arriving well before the Toronto clubhouse opens to the media at 8 a.m. The gym, however, is off-limits to reporters.

Manager John Gibbons likes what he sees.

"He's an older guy but you really wouldn't notice it," he said of Blanco, seen as the front-runner to back up incumbent J.P Arencibia.

According to its website, the 60-day Insanity workout system "might just be the hardest fitness program ever put on DVD."

Blame personal trainer Shaun T (Shaun Thompson) and his 10 workout discs "packed with plyometric drills on top of nonstop intervals of strength, power, resistance, and ab and core training moves."

"No equipment or weights needed. Just the will to get the hardest body you've ever had."

The players use the DVDs in the workout area at the Jays spring training clubhouse.

"I get here (each morning) and they're in there working out," Gibbons said.

The manager hasn't joined them, although he did try the P90X system — another extreme workout regimen — a few years ago while he was with the Kansas City Royals.

"I lost about 22 pounds and didn't even worry about the diet part," said the 50-year-old Gibbons.

A back injury, thanks to yoga, ended his workout program after 75 days, however.

Organizations: Blue Jays, Kansas City Royals

Geographic location: Toronto

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