GET STARTED NOW—But use common sense

GET STARTED NOW—But use common sense

It’s important to use common sense when beginning a new exercise program or even switching to a new modality of exercise. For example, consider sprinting. If all you have done for years is run three 8–10-minute miles each day over the same terrain at exactly the same pace, you’ll need to take time to break into a new sprinting program. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. This is critically important to understand. Just as you wouldn’t take one violin lesson and expect to play “Pachelbel’s Canon in D” without difficulty, don’t expect to do a complete high intensity sprinting workout your first time out.
Of course, this applies to any number of the exercises I teach. Here’s the deal. Any workout you can do with ease the first time is a waste. No challenge = no progress. Remember that effective exercise is based on progressive overload. Easy exercise is no exercise! Yet, pushing yourself too hard can be far worse than not pushing hard enough.

In the beginning, don’t try to prove anything to anyone, especially to yourself. Do enough to challenge yourself with each exercise, but coast through most of the workout. You won’t know until the next day whether or not you did too much. For many, who know no better, their first workout is also their last. They get so sore 24 hours later that they feel as if they’ve been run over by a truck.
Researchers don’t know precisely why beginners have next-day soreness, but these three rules for beginners will prevent it:

1. The first day, push yourself only about half as hard as you think you can on any exercise.
2. Back off if anything starts to hurt or if muscles start to tremble.
3. For safety, perform 7 repetitions of joint mobility exercises (the warm up and cool down) every time you work out.

If you’re just a bit sore 24 hours after a workout, you’re proceeding at the right pace. This doesn’t mean your early workouts won’t be challenging. Concentrate on learning good form. Don’t rush it. Impatience is the prime cause of failure.
It takes about three weeks to break in your body so that you don’t get sore anymore. When you make it, you have accomplished something major. Making it through those first three weeks can change your life forever.

Coming off years of inactivity can seem very rough. About 10 minutes into your workout, a little demon will tell you to quit. Tell him to shut up and keep going! Hold on to the image of a sound mind in a sound body.

The amazing human body can survive under very adverse circumstances for long periods of time—including surviving junk food from vending machines and no exercise. But for us to thrive and participate in the joy of life, the body’s complex mechanisms must have a variety of high quality nutrients and progressive daily physical exercise. Still, don’t try to be instantly perfect. Radical conversions almost never succeed. But do take the immediate big step of committing to a workout schedule.

Regarding other lifestyle factors, just keep asking yourself if you’re doing better this week than last. As long as the answer is yes, your mirror will supply the psychological reinforcement you need to keep moving forward.

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