“That would kill me!”
“I’m too (old, out of shape, fat, fill in your own adjective here) to do that anymore.”
I have heard people making these statements when they are considering fitness goal setting in a new fitness program. They take a look at it from the bottom of a very steep hill and the hill just looks too hard for them to climb. Take heart, oh you people of little strength and conditioning! Your body was made for activity. Your body wants to be strong and healthy. Your brain just doesn’t know it yet.
When you physically challenge your body, it will respond. If you challenge it consistently, you will see gains in muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. Challenge means you are going to apply the overload principal. The overload principal means you are going to make the body work harder than it is used to working. Does that mean you start out like an Olympic athlete and kill yourself? No. Working out like that leads to really sore muscles, injuries and the quick quit which happens to many people who are just starting a program.
To apply the overload principal, you start out at a certain level (depending upon your individual fitness level when your start) and you gradually increase your workout intensity over time. For example: Let’s say you need to work on your upper body strength, so you choose to do push-ups. Let’s say when you start, you can only do 10 modified (on your knees) push-ups with proper form. For your first three workouts, you do 10 modified push-ups. During your fourth workout you increase your intensity to 15 modified push-ups. You stay at that level for another 3 workouts. Now you decide you are ready for push-ups from your toes, but you can only do 8 with good form, so you go to your knees for the remaining 7. The next week, you increase your intensity to 10 push-ups on your toes and 5 on your knees. You see how it works? I’m no youngster anymore and I can do more push-ups (from my toes) than most of the high school students I teach. I could never do a pull-up in my entire life. Now I can do two unmodified pull-ups. Yay me!
Your body will respond to this kind of training and you will be pleasantly surprised at how fast you make gains. That is incredibly motivating. The beauty of it is…you can start at any level and increase from there.
Here’s where I stop and tell you that if you have been sedentary, you need to get checked out by a Doc first and get the green light to start exercising. Safety first!
If you are not sure how to plan this out contact me. I will be glad to walk you through it. Beachbody also has great programs that apply this principal to each workout. You can check those out for your fitness level on my “workouts” page.
Now get out there and climb that mountain! Slow and steady wins the race 🙂