Most fitness programs such as CIZE, P90X, Insanity Max, etc. have a calendar and some even come with meal plans.
You’re told what workouts to do on what days and how much you should eat and some all-encompassing fitness programs even provide recipes and tell you what foods you should consume.
Generally, if you follow the programs to the letter, it’s inevitable to see positive results. However, you must exercise common sense and pace yourself.
Trying to do too much too soon will leave you feeling horrible and it will be an uphill battle to stay on track. Most people quit because they don’t pace their journey.
* Don’t scare yourself
When you first embark on a fitness program, aim to give about 25% to 35% of your best effort. This may seem counterproductive, but in reality, you’re easing yourself into the idea of training and the physical exertion that comes with training.
If you go too hard on your first day, you’ll be exhausted. You’ll dread exercising the next day. For the determined ones that do give it their all, they’ll be drained and worn out by day 4.
Their minds will conjure up a million excuses to skip the workouts and so on. Some may not even be able to stick with the program because of pain.
* Avoiding pain and injury
Pain can come from delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) or it can come from injuring yourself. If you’ve not been active for years and all of a sudden decide to go all out and start doing jumping lunges in Shaun T’s workout, you just might end up with sore knees or a twisted ankle.
Your body needs time to ease into the whole process of exerting and jumping and working. Pacing yourself is crucial to avoid muscle inflammation, sprains and strains.
Of course, if you’re regularly active, you won’t need to worry too much about pacing because you already have a good degree of stamina and strength.
But most people who get on a fitness program are usually trying to transform their bodies after leading a sedentary lifestyle for years… and it’s imperative that they start off slow and steady.
* Making it till the end of the workout
A P90X workout is anywhere from 45 minutes to 60 minutes long. Insanity is about 45 minutes long… and the shorter version, Insanity Max is 30 minutes long, but much more brutal.
Alo Yoga workouts can range from 30 to 60 minutes. CrossFit workouts are about 10 to 20 minutes long, but they’re extremely demanding.
As you can see, most fitness programs are about 30 minutes to an hour long. These workouts are different from traditional bodybuilding sessions where you lift heavy weights for a minute or so with 2 minutes rest.
It’s not even HIIT sprinting where you run for 30 seconds and rest for 30.
Most fitness program workouts are cardio-based and you’ll need to pace yourself to make it to the end of the workout. If you go all out, you’ll be winded within 5 minutes and be barely able to keep up with the remainder of the workout.
So, pace yourself in the beginning, and as your stamina improves, you can go harder and faster. Usually, by week 3, you’ll notice an improvement in your stamina, and can put in more effort.
By week 5, you should be able to go all out and challenge yourself without annihilating yourself.
* You’re in this for the long haul
Last but not least, do not look at any fitness program as a one-time thing to get over and done with. The goal is to make exercise a habit and a lifestyle choice.
Even if P90X is 90 days long, there are always other programs you can do. You do not go back to a sedentary life once you get the body you want. That’s a sure-fire way to get back the body you don’t want.
If you understand this concept, you’ll realize that there is no rush here. Results will come as long as you make slow and continuous improvements.
The most important takeaway from this article is to challenge yourself daily, but don’t torture yourself and make the entire process an abominable journey.
By making slow and steady progress, you’ll be more likely to stay on course without quitting because of the severity of the protocol. Give yourself and your body time to adapt, and with time, you will be fit and toned.