If you are one of the countless people who hop on and off of the merry-go-round of getting in and falling out of shape, I have news that will help you end the madness! The news is that it doesn’t have to be that way!
The most common mistake people make when trying to get in shape or lose weight is trying to do too much too soon! The human body is an amazing machine that can adapt to countless conditions and stimuli but you have to provide the foundation for that adaptation to take place in an effective, long lasting manner. Jumping into a bootcamp class or signing up for an intense aerobics class without first building a base of conditioning that will support those activities is just senseless.
Is there anything wrong with bootcamp or aerobics classes?…no but without first building a baseline level of conditioning means that you will nine times out of ten, end up quitting due to injury, excessive fatigue or just flat-out not being prepared…thus ending up right back on the merry-go-round.
If you have a history of starting and stopping programs of exercise, I am willing to bet you also have a history of NOT building up a solid base of conditioning. When you fail to adhere to a progressive approach of conditioning, you prevent your body from slowly acclimating or “getting used to” whatever activities you are involved with.
In my experience, the best way to build a “base” is to first start with strengthening your muscles with strength training so that your muscles, tendons, connective tissue and joints all develop the necessary strength that is needed to support future activity. For example, if your goal is to run a 5k or10K running event, starting this process with a weak, unconditioned body usually ends in over-use injuries, frustration and then quitting.
A better format is to first start by walking for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 days out of 7 and performing moderate strength training twice per week with at least 1-2 days rest between lifting sessions. Each week, you can add more time and intensity to your walks then progress to runs. Your lifting sessions should include moderate weight, high repetitions and be a structured balance of training all of your major muscle groups.
In a matter of weeks and months, your body will acclimate and then thrive with this new format of activity that will support a consistent schedule of numerous activities. All this can be achieved by simply starting off slow and letting your body’s natural adaptation processes do their magic. Trying to bypass this process by jumping into programs of exercise too advanced for your body to effectively adapt to, always ends with failure and more time sitting on the couch!
Determine what types of activity you want to perform, seek help from professionals in those specific disciplines and begin the process of “getting in shape to get in shape.” If you do this, you will be surprised at how effective this process can be for helping you FINALLY turn the corner and live a life full of consistent activity and healthy habits. Start slow, seek out help, choose activities based on your personal preferences, follow your passions and then go for it…Go Getem!