In the last year or so , there has been a switch in the fitness world to shorter, more intense workouts. Many of the people who joined the P90X and other extreme fitness movements got great results. They also found that they couldn’t fit hour long workouts into their schedule six days a week for the long term. People still wanted the good results, but they wanted them in a shorter period of time.
Enter High Intensity Interval Training and Tabatas type workouts. After all, who doesn’t want good results in a fraction of the time, right? The at home fitness industry has answered with workouts like T25, Turbofire and P90X3. These are great, but what if you are just starting out? You have to be careful that a more intense workout doesn’t leave you injured.
The key is starting at a lower intensity level and working your way up. If the workout calls for a burpee, for example, there are several different levels you can start at and work your way up. Most DVD type workouts have one person demonstrating the modified version. Stick with that until you are fit enough. Want to put your own workout together or modify a more intense one you already have? Here are several videos I made that demonstrate body weight exercises at several different levels. Use them to pick the intensity that’s right for you. Then get more intense as you get more fit!
Since becoming a personal trainer, I hear this from many of my clients: “I know what I should do. I know what I should eat. I know that I should exercise regularly but I just don’t do it. I don’t know how to stay motivated.” When it comes right down to it YOU are the only one who can make the choices for a healthier lifestyle. The trick is to take the “willing mind” and turn those thoughts into actions.
First and foremost, if you are eating poorly and living a sedentary lifestyle you will not be able to change overnight. If you think about it, you probably got to that point gradually (perhaps over a number of years) and you won’t go the other way in a heartbeat.
- Pick your one most unhealthy habit. Maybe you drink soda at every meal. Work on changing that habit gradually. Should you pick a “give up soda” day and quit cold turkey? NO! You will probably feel deprived, give up in a few days, beat yourself up for failing and not try it again for months. Instead, pick the meal that you could most easily swap out a soda for a glass of water, and then do it. Don’t change anything else about your diet until you start noticing results from that action. Now, swap another soda for water and repeat. Write down what results you are seeing (more energy, a small loss on the scale, better sleep). Refer to this list if you start to waver.
- Add some exercise. If you are a total couch potato, are you going to go to boot camp? Again, NO. Add some light exercise. Fifteen minutes each day is fine. Walking is fine. The important thing is to set that time aside and DO IT. When it starts feeling easier and when you start seeing benefits, add a little bit more.
- If you mess up, that’s all it is. The next day you get a clean slate and you get back to business. It is not time to give up and go back to the “old you”.
- Get someone else to hold you accountable. Tell them what your goal is and ask them to check in with you at regular intervals. It’s a lot harder to blow off your workout and eat six donuts if you know you will have to tell your accountability buddy it happened.
- Try something new. It’s always fun to try something different and it can keep you motivated. Find a cookbook full of healthy recipes. Cooking Light’s Complete Meals in Minutes is a great place to start. Ever tried Yoga, kickboxing, Zumba, kayaking or circuit training? The list could go on and on. Sign up for a class or find a good DVD. Just remember to build up to this kind of exercise (see #2)
- Make it social. Share your experiences (both successes and setbacks) with others. Find a workout partner, post about your journey on Facebook or on your blog, start or join a support group, take some healthy meal prep lessons. There’s nothing better than getting healthier except making new friends while you get there.
- Challenge yourself. You may not think you will be able to ever do a push-up from your toes or run a whole mile, but if you take it one step at a time you CAN! When I did 90 days of P90X the thing that motivated me the most was seeing my ever increasing number of repetitions on my chart as the days went on. Check out challengeloop.com to find a challenge that will keep you going!
Research shows that if you do something for 30 days, it becomes a habit. If you trade that ONE soda for a glass of water and continue for 30 days, you will soon wonder why you ever wanted a soda. Before you know it, you won’t want any other beverage but water and all that soda and extra calories will be a distant memory.
Now I will challenge you! Post the one unhealthy habit you would like to change here. What is your plan is to change it? Tell me. Putting your goal and your plan in writing makes it real and that’s motivating too!
Sometimes you just need to make a change in your exercise program.
I grew up in the 70’s when the exercise craze just got started. That’s when the nation changed over from mostly manual labor jobs to more tech type jobs. The big thing at the time, was running. There were running books, running shoes and the advent of the “jog bra”, now known as the sports bra. When I graduated from high school, I knew I had to keep myself in shape (no more PE classes or sports) so of course I started to run.
Over the years I ran on and off, mostly off. Here’s why:
- I was the slowest runner ever. My fastest mile clocked was 10 minutes. Everyone smoked me, even couch potatoes just starting out.
- It hurt my knees
- My upper body was naturally scrawny. Running does nothing for that.
After years of running and quitting, I finally decided I didn’t like it and gave it up for good. What to do now? I became a Curves girl. I got cardio and weight training and I liked it a lot. I stuck with that consistently for 2 years. Then they moved and it wasn’t convenient for me to get there. Now what?
I found at home workouts that I really liked through Beachbody. I started with P90X, now I am doing ChaLean Extreme and I look forward to my workouts. It sure beats the fight I used to have with myself to get motivated for running. The moral of the story is this. If you don’t like the workout you are doing, you won’t stick with it. Find something you like. That’s more than half the battle!
What are your favorite workouts and why?
I have had several people ask me about the workout I am currently doing called ChaLean Extreme, so I thought I would do a quick review of it here. Chalene Johnson has put an extreme weightlifting program together that fits in with my busy lifestyle. I did two rounds of P90X and got into really good shape. Then I got bored which always happens to me and I know it’s time to do something else. If I don’t, I will quit working out (not good). Here’s what I like about ChaLean Extreme:
- This is a weightlifting program that encourages you to “go heavy or go home”. Usually women don’t get that message. They are told to do light weights and lots of reps. You CAN go heavy. You don’t have lots of testoterone running around in your system, so you won’t bulk up, but you will look and feel great!
- It takes you there in steps. Burn circuit gets you started. Push circuit helps you increase your weight and Lean circuit works upper and lower body together to get your metabolism burning at optimum levels.
- It doesn’t ignore the glutes, inner thighs and outer thighs (ab and adductors).
- It includes cardio and flexibiltiy with “Burn Intervals” “Burn it Off” and “Recharge” It also includes two ab workouts. I still like “Ab/Core Plus” from P90X+ so I switch it up in the abs department.
- You get an intense workout in a reasonable amount of time. The longest workout is 52 minutes. All the rest run 30 to 40 minutes.
- The program comes with a nutrition plan and a cookbook with some tasty recipes in it.
- I love Chalene’s energy and positive attitude. She reminds me of my spitfire college roomate, Karen. I think they would get along famously.
- I lost 1/4 inch from waist, 1/2 inch from hips and 1 1/2 inches from thighs during the first 90 days and that was after completing P90X and losing inches during that program.
If you are finding yourself getting a little doughy and flabby or if you are sensing that your metabolism is coming to a screeching halt, check this program out. You won’t be sorry 🙂
Do you want to be able to do your favorite physical activities without tiring out right after you start? Do you want to be leaner? (more muscle/less fat) Do you want better posture? Do you want to have less chance of injury? Sure you do! Muscular strength is defined as the amount of force a muscle can produce in a single effort. You can improve muscular strength by getting involved in strength training exercises. Ladies: Strength training will not turn you into a giant walking muscle. It will replace those flabby places you don’t like with more muscle mass. Guys: Strength training will bring you quick and very visual results that I’m sure you will like.
You can strength train by using free weights (dumbbells and barbells), weight machines (check out your local gym), or your own body weight (crunches, push-ups, pull-ups, leg raises etc.) You can also use a combination of these in your training routine.
When you start a fitness program it’s so so important to work on muscular strength as well as cardiorespiratory endurance. Two of my favorite fitness programs that incorporate strength training into an overall fitness program are Beachbody’s P90X and ChaLean Extreme. These programs include cardio, strength training, muscular endurance and flexibility with a progressive plan to improve your fitness level. What are some strength training programs you think are effective?