You may have heard all the fitness motivation quotes such as, “Pain is weakness leaving the body”, or “Sweat is your fat crying” … or “No one ever drowned in sweat.
Such ‘ooh-rah’ sayings that sound great but can lead you down a slippery slope to skipping your workouts and making you quit.
A fitness journey is usually a personal experience that is too subtle to approach in a formulaic manner. Different individuals prefer different approaches.
The lady who has not exercised in 15 years may prefer slower workouts that she can keep up with. She doesn’t mind slower progress as long as it’s not torturous.
The man who used to be a former football player and let his body go to seed may be looking for a hardcore fitness program like Insanity Max to rev up his stamina. He still has the competitive and driven mindset and wants a program that pushes him.
The fitness program you choose to embark on can make or break you. Almost all fitness programs that are sold commercially will deliver positive results. A lot of thought and experience has gone into the production, because this is a highly competitive billion-dollar industry.
However, application and compliance are where the ball is often dropped and almost always, it’s the end user who drops it.
Let’s look at a few factors you should take note of…
* Are physical limitations holding you back?
If you have bad knees, choosing a fitness program which incorporates a lot of jumps and lunges will be torturous for you. If your wrists are affected by arthritis, following a program with lots of push ups can be extremely painful.
Speak to your doctor before starting on any fitness program. Choose one that is easy on your body but still challenges you. Modify moves to suit your condition.
* Is the program too advanced for you?
You can go from crawling to running in a day. If you’re unfit and have not exercised in years, suddenly joining a CrossFit program or Insanity Max will wipe you out.
These highly demanding workouts are best used by people who have been training for a while and wish to take their fitness to the next level. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to spend the first 2 or 3 weeks just getting your body used to the increased activity levels.
This will help to improve your stamina and strength. After 3 weeks, you’ll be ready to try out the more difficult fitness programs.
* How do you feel at the end of the workout?
Initially, it’s normal to be exhausted. In about 3 weeks to a month, your stamina will improve remarkably, and you’ll notice the workouts becoming easier and more manageable.
However, if after a month of training, you still feel like you’re about to pass out after a workout instead of feeling energized, the fitness program may be too hard for you.
It’s best to drop down a notch and train at slightly lower intensity until you gain strength and stamina to handle the harder workouts.
* Are you drained for the entire day?
Once again, this may be the case during the first 2 or 3 weeks when you’re new to exercising. After your morning workout, you’re in a zombie state for the rest of the day and can’t wait to sit down.
If this ‘state’ persists after 3 weeks and your workouts are leaving you feeling depleted of energy, then your training regimen is too hard. Lower the intensity and give yourself time to improve.
* Do you dread working out the following day?
No matter how long you’ve been exercising, there will be days when you just feel like skipping your workout. This is normal.
What’s NOT normal is dreading your workout session every single day. This may be the case in the first 3 weeks when you’re first starting to exercise – because you’ve not inculcated the exercise habit yet.
If you find that you’re dreading your workout every single day, you should choose one that’s easier to cope with. The goal is to first increase the activity in your life… and then increase the intensity.
It may take longer to see results, but it will still be faster than choosing a tough program and quitting.
Ultimately, the fitness program you choose to do should be challenging and still motivate you to keep going. Push yourself a little more with each workout, but don’t overdo and tax your body and mind to the point where you abhor working out.
This will just discourage you and you’ll quit because it seems too hard. Approach your training regimen gradually and build a strong foundation. Once you have a solid base level of strength and stamina, you can go hard and train like a beast.