Stop Exercising So Hard! Why Moderate Workouts Really Do Work

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/2/2011 6:00 AM   :  125 comments   :  44,020 Views

See More: fitness, DVD, tv, trends,
Have you noticed how intense workout programs have become in recent years? The top-selling fitness DVDs are by "America's Toughest Trainer" Jillian Michaels (think 30 Day Shred) and also include P90X and Insanity (advertised as "the hardest fitness program ever put on DVD"). Even Crossfit, which combines gymnastics, power lifting, and plyometrics and was originally used by athletes, firefighters, and soldiers, is gaining popularity among unfit beginners and housewives alike. The ever-popular "Biggest Loser" TV series also depicts people exercising to the point of injury, hospitalization, and vomiting.
 
I remember a time when commercials for fitness products used to show how easy and effortless it was to lose weight and tone up in just minutes a day. But now, we see the sweat and strain and want to be a part of it. Are we crazy? Am I the only one concerned about this trend?
 
As a certified fitness professional, I can tell you for a fact that it is both unsafe and very risky for the average Joe (or Jane) to jump into high intensity exercise when just starting a fitness routine. Yet workout programs like these aren't marketed to regular exercisers who want to take their fitness to the next level. They target people who are overweight and obese, out of shape, and/or not already exercising consistently. To go from sitting on the couch to performing high intensity exercise is contraindicated by all reputable fitness organizations, including ACE (American Council on Exercise), ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America), NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association), The Cooper Institute and more. All reputable fitness organizations say that one must start small with lighter and shorter workouts and then very gradually build up their fitness level before attempting the types of workouts I see being sold to beginners every day.
 
But safety concerns and risk aside (not that I want to downplay that), what bothers me most about the trend toward high intensity fitness programs is that they are shaping consumers' ideas of what exercise should be like and what it takes to lose weight and get healthy.
 
Many people believe that this is what exercise is: sweaty, messy, painful, breathless and intense—and that these are requirements for losing weight or getting fit. How likely are you to jump on board if this is what you truly believe about fitness?
 
Well I'm here to tell you that the ill-conceived ideas of exercise that are shaped by reality TV, late night infomercials, and consumer fitness trends don't hold much water. They sell DVDs and ad space, but they don't help the average person.
 
Intense workouts set most people up for failure. You fail at the workout itself when you can't keep up. You fail on any day when you can't commit to the full length of the program since most of the workouts are "all or nothing." You fail when you're too sore or tired to want to exercise. You fail when you don't get the fast and amazing results you felt you were promised. And you fail when all of these things combine and make you dread working out.
 
Here's the truth: Exercise doesn't have to be painful. It doesn't have to leave you tired, sore or breathless. And to be perfectly honest, it should never make you puke. Exercise doesn't have to take hours a day or cost a lot of money. It doesn't have to leave you in dread of your next workout. And it doesn't have to be boring or torturous.
 
For someone who gets winded walking up a flight of stairs; for the person with mobility issues that has trouble just getting around; for people with diabetes complications that affect their feet; for individuals whose excess weight hurts their joints; for the very people who still aren't exercising regularly for whatever reason—I design workouts, review products, and share fitness tips with YOU in mind. I want you to feel successful on day one, encouraged on day two, excited about day three, energized on day four, confident on day five…
 
These feelings are far more important than chiseled arms and calorie burn, because these are the things that will keep you coming back to make exercise a habit. Once it's a habit, then you can think about doing more or working harder or challenging yourself with more intense workouts like the examples above (if that's what you like), but first and foremost—you have to just get started. And the beauty of this approach is that YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.
 
You can walk, dance around your house, try a yoga class or hula hoop in your backyard—regardless of whether it's easy or hard, short or long, or even if it only burns 2 calories per hour. Those intense workouts only burn the hundreds of calories they claim if you're actually doing them regularly, not when the DVDs are collecting dust in your media cabinet.
 
It's time we stop focusing so intently on the end result and start enjoying the process more. Find a way to move your body that you LOVE and I promise you'll achieve the goals you have in mind. Here are some more workouts and tips to get you started:
What do you think about the trend toward intense exercise? Has it helped you, hurt you or not affected you?





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Comments

  • 125
    Amen! Great article.
    - 1/24/2014   12:22:09 PM
  • SKINMINA
    124
    Interesting... - 6/3/2013   8:07:48 AM
  • JOGIRL411
    123
    Thank you for writing this!! I have been thinking about this for some time now after buying these high intensity workouts. Jillian Michaels, the firm thin in 30 and countless others are selling us on the faster and harder the better. Well I am here to say I don't enjoy it. I dread the workouts and they make my knees hurt. I do not like Jillian Michaels telling people to use her DVDs 5-6 days a week because I have read that you should not work the same muscles everyday and she does this in the popular 30 day shred workout. I have the biggest losers workouts and they advise the same thing. There are a lot of squats and lunges in these DVDs so I don't do them everyday. As far as lose lots of weight in 20 min a day...get real. The biggest losers on TV workout 6-8hrs a day to lose that weight. I feel like many of these trainers are pulling the wool over peoples eyes. I want to do a workout because enjoy it and I can feel and see the healthy benefits from it. My pledge for 2013 is to ignore the hype about get ripped in only 20 mins and lose 20lbs in a month and just do workouts that make me feel good about working out. - 1/20/2013   4:55:27 PM
  • 122
    I try to work out as hard as necessary, but have to be realistic....can't afford to be out of the game due to injury...so I keep it real, for who I am. - 3/22/2012   7:34:28 AM
  • 121
    RIghtr on Nicole, intense and regular = my exercise style. Got a trainer who pushes me and keep me on track. plus weight watchers. I lost 35 pounds and 30 " with this method. And am looking forward to losing the rest of my weight at the same rate. Intense but not overwhelming, so glad others feel the same way. No tough mudder or insanity for me!! - 3/20/2012   8:01:42 PM
  • DIETER27
    120
    The trend for intense workout has not affected me. I workout at my own intensity and find that if you push too hard you will injure yourself more. One step at a time is my motto. Thanks for your blog ! - 3/8/2012   10:12:37 AM
  • 119
    I was curious at some comments I'd seen on a friend's page about this article, so I looked it up and was interested to read it and the comments afterwards. Then, just for fun, I decided to actually view a P90X infomercial just as an example to judge for myself whether they're marketed to beginners. I hadn't watched one before because common sense would dictate they are not designed for someone at my fitness level, which was the thesis of this article. My conclusion was, yes and no on the marketing question. While it addressed taking your workout to the next level, it also showed a "before" picture of a pasty dude's torso that had a big beer belly and man boobs. His after picture showed the cut lines of having muscles where the belly used to be. I would say this is most likely false advertising. So you can't say at least in this instance there wasn't an element of trying to get buy in from people at across-the-board fitness levels. I think a lot of people missed the point of Coach Nicole's blog. Thesis: it is both unsafe and very risky for the average Joe (or Jane) to jump into high intensity exercise when just starting a fitness routine.
    Conclusion: Once it's a habit, then you can think about doing more or working harder or challenging yourself with more intense workouts like the examples above (if that's what you like). At no point does she argue that these higher intensity workouts are a bad idea for challenging yourself when you reach a higher fitness level. And I'm just going to add an observation here, somewhat unrelatedly, that it was interesting to view some language in the comment section that expressed value judgments about people who aren't as physically fit. If you're more physically fit, you've "graduated" or are doing something "better." Nice to know. - 2/8/2012   7:27:43 PM
  • 118
    I agree 100%! Any workout that looks super hard turns me off completely. Exercise should be something that you enjoy, and that challenges you, not something that is so hard that you try it once and then HATE all exercise for weeks because you're in so much pain afterward. - 12/30/2011   10:27:30 AM
  • 117
    It hasn't affected me. I see the infomercials and think I wish I could do that. But I prefer to stick to my own cardio and strength training routines. I like to go with my proven winner, something that I like and enjoy. I have done it the spark way. I eased into it a step at a time. Go Spark! - 11/26/2011   3:05:07 PM
  • 116
    I haven't tried any of those particularly hard workouts yet. I would like to eventually when I am in better shape, though. My husband does get on my case about over-exercising. He constantly reminds me I don't need to do that much when I exercise for 2 hours/day for 7 days straight. Over the past 2 weeks I've purposefully done less exercising in order to break through a weight loss plateau by changing things up. I realized how great my body feels when taking a day off from the workouts; I love the day after feeling in the muscles I've worked. I think I'm seeing better results, too. I'm making a point to take off days between strength training and only do cardio 5 days/week now, and it really has been more effective than 7 days/week ST and cardio. - 11/26/2011   1:42:56 PM
  • 115
    @FIDDLEMOM and others: the push, push, push mentality is usually the disparate but harmonious voices of younger adults (possibly former cheerleaders or athletes) with at most a few pounds to lose; or if dozens of pounds to lose, a far different body type from me--and from many others in a different life space or with different genetics. I know when I had been their age, I did not exercise and I had about 70 pounds to lose at that time that did not come off but sporadically, with major food cutbacks. I know when I had been their age, and not even very overweight at the time, I could not run (slowly) a mile without developing severe pain in my midriff. This is at age 19. The only exercise I came to naturally, had been walking and stretching my legs up the wall. As a teenager! - 11/26/2011   10:40:55 AM
  • 114
    Nicely said! Also if one does embark on something extreme and loses weight too quickly there are added complications. You already mentioned injury but there is also the starvation mode kick in, loose skin and Leptin resistance to mention just a couple! - 11/24/2011   2:19:05 PM
  • 113
    Let's hear it for common sense, Coach Nicole!
    Like many others, I gained a pound a year for forty years after high school. It is foolish as well as dangerous to try to work it off in forty days. Moderate diet and moderate exercise is the healthy and permanent way to get fit. - 11/24/2011   11:17:31 AM
  • STEFFERINO
    112
    I think that the biggest loser is extreme but they are there for entertainment and really do emphasize a rigorous program. The average person should not be on something like that but it is good that they are professionals and have medical staff on site.

    I just think that one should do what works for them and is comfortable but not tooo comfortable. You gotta sweat a little bit and just be smart about your work outs. Don't do strength training every day especially if you do it to muscle fatigue. - 11/23/2011   7:37:35 PM
  • 111
    What it comes down to, in my opinion, is do what works for you. If those programs work for people, great. If you don't like them, do something else. - 11/19/2011   2:43:27 PM
  • 110
    Thank you Nicole! What you've written is pure Common Sense! Morbidly obese people didn't get that way because they were hot to work themselves into a puddle! While there are people who just LOVE to "feel the burn" most of us are not in love with working at that intensity. We are just trying to be able to be able to breath while we bend over to tie our shoes, be flexible enough to reach high shelves, and have enough strength and stamina to live the lives we want to live.

    I love that your philosophy reflects your compassion and respect for people in every stage of life, health and fitness, and that your videos and blogs are always encouraging and never demanding or scolding. The #1 thing that we hefty health-seekers need to remember is that this is NOT a race! We don't have to do this in a matter of weeks (or during one season of reality TV); rather, we can take all the time we need to reset our course.

    Wonderful blog! - 11/15/2011   7:00:16 PM
  • KRISTINFUSE
    109
    Thanks for sharing this perspective, Nicole. Too many people jump into a rigorous workout routine without taking stock of how it can affect their bodies if they're not ready. At Fuse Pilates, we "redefine hardcore," but we also encourage students to do a few private classes or start with mat classes before hopping on the Reformer. It's important to start on your body's terms and grow from there. - 11/10/2011   1:41:34 PM
  • 108
    I've not been coming to SparkPeople much in the past couple of months in part because of this very thing.

    There is usually at least an undercurrent of "if you aren't pushing to your max, you aren't doing anything worth while" and I get tired of it.

    Every time I've done an exercise/diet/healthy living program (here or elsewhere) it's always there, the subtle, and often blatant, "you have to push, push, push." And I always end up hurting myself, feeling totally worn out and frustrated. Even with the changing how I eat aspect of it - all those "happy" comments and such about how wonderful it is to totally drop (not just cut back on) all the things you really enjoy and eating stuff you don't enjoy because it's healthier. The point always being that you have to change, change, change to the MAXIMUM to actually accomplish anything.

    In one article or blog you'll read all about how slow and steady, small changes etc. are the way to go, then in others you read how that just doesn't really cut it, how that really isn't enough.

    I appreciate this article, but it's just more of the confusing, contradicting stuff that is part and parcel of all health/diet/exercise programs and advice. Really, about the only constants seem to be you need to be moving a lot and you have to eat more fruits and veggies than anything else.

    Does anyone really expect people to feel comfortable here following the advice in this article? They might when they first come here and aren't reading very many blogs and such, but they'll soon feel like no matter what they're doing it isn't enough.

    I quit coming here so much, as I mentioned, in large part because I had once again hurt myself exercising. Once the pain went away, I've just cut back a little on how much I eat, try to do a bit more veggies but not worrying about the 5 or more servings thing, and walk around in my home in three 10 minute shifts (once every hour/3 times). Maybe ride my exercise bike for one of those shifts instead, or as one or two extra shifts if I'm not feeling tired. Sometimes I walk outside and do about a mile. Guess what, I've lost weight that wasn't budging when I was trying to stick closer to the program and doing more intense exercising. I don't feel anxious over every bite of food, worried over every meal and I haven't gotten hurt.

    I really am glad this program has worked for so many people. I'm glad it's here and it's free and I may come back more often in the future. But I'll be really careful about getting sucked into the push, push, push mentality. - 11/10/2011   12:05:00 PM
  • 107
    As a traditionally intensity junkie, I have to agree. After a couple of car accidents that stopped me teaching 12+ classes a week (cycle, kickbox, strength and yoga), I got back on track. So I thought. Started at home with Jillian Michael's DVD and another one...only to wind up at a sports chiropractor who said STOP LIFTING WEIGHTS for now. Huh? (I thought he'd tell me to strengthen more!)

    With all the push to intensify and to work your core and many muscles at once, I injured myself.

    What got me back? I decided to go old school, simple and what feels good. Once in a while I'll do something "fancy", but I generally do the elliptical or treadmill and listen to my body - some days I'll do hard intervals, other days just stay at my target heartrate (65-75%). As for weights, I went to what got me in shape 20 years ago: 3 set of 12 reps to fatigue of leg press, quads, hamstrings, chest press, lat pull down or row, biceps, triceps, shoulders and, of course, abs most every day.

    I understand the benefit of interval training and of integrating the use of more muscles at once while also using your core. But if it hurts, don't do it!

    Now mixing it up means different exercises for the primary muscles (like for chest - the bar, or free weights, or incline press, or flys instead).

    3 months of this training (strength 3x week, cardio 5-6 days for 50-65 min) and NO PAIN!!

    So keep it simple, even if that means just walking and stretching! - 11/9/2011   1:35:20 PM
  • 106
    OK, so here's my take all Coach Nicole's article and all the comments about it...you gotta do what's right for you. Period! I've been a gym member for over 30 years. So I've heard it all, lived through all the trends, yadda yadda. First of all, you have to LIKE what you do. Yes, it's not always easy to get up and go to the gym, but I NEVER regret going once I've finished. Personally, I have found that I'm a social exerciser so going to the gym fits my personality. I need others to make me work harder. I've tried videos and just found I get bored with doing the same old thing. They are a great starting point and are good inbetween other workouts. They serve a purpose, but I recommend adding other types of exercise to your routine. Secondly, when you add intensity, it boosts your metabolism. Your body gets used to doing the same exercises over and over. Changing it up makes a huge difference, not to mention it keeps your mind interested. Even if all you do is walk, you can walk a little faster for a block, or stop at a corner and go up and down the curb like a stairmaster. Doing a weight routine 2x a week builds bone mass so I added that to my regular routine. IIt's all about mixing it up for me. That's what keeps me motivated. It all helps! About a year ago I started jogging a little bit. Now, don't get me wrong, I hated running. Talk about monotonous. Anyway, my friends and I joined the LA Marathon to raise funs for Love Without Boundaries to help orphans in China. Talk about finding the right combination to get you physically fit. Training for the marathon was a combo of social exercising, raising intensity, and doing something for a worthwhile cause. All my years of exercising was coming together. It helped to all be doing a specific training schedule to get us ready to walk 26.1 miles. We walked together at least once a week. We raised funds. We belonged to a team, we had a purpose, and also because we paid an entry fee for the marathon, we never thought about quitting! After one year I can proudly say that I have walked a 5K, a 1/2 and a full marathon AND I just completed a 1/2 marathon but this time I ran/walked it in 2 hours and 43 minutes!!! I never thought I'd ever be saying that I ran anything, let alone a 1/2 marathon! Walking just led me to jog a little here and there. Eventually I started doing the Jeff Galloway Run/Walk Method and it WORKS! It didn't even cost me anything!!! I'm a 50 year old mother of 3 and this method of training has provided just what I need to complete a 1/2 marathon injury free. So with all that said, I'm here to encourage you to try something new, mix it up, join a walking/jogging group, sign up for a 5K, 1/2 or full marathon, raise money for a needy cause, do something you thought you never would. It's all good. We're all in this life together, why spend useless energy putting other's methods down. Just get out there and get your heart pumping and enjoy it with others! - 11/9/2011   8:52:37 AM
  • VEGGIE_GIRL28
    105
    Its so wonderful to hear someone actually come out and say this!!! - 11/9/2011   1:14:11 AM
  • 104
    Such a sensible article, Nicole!!! As a 76 year old I must say I have been surprised at how much I have benefited from walking, riding the recumbent bike and doing water aerobics. For the past two months some health problems have kept any exercise at a minimum for me and I could not believe how snug my clothes got in a short period of time. Sure hope I can resume that walking soon!!! - 11/8/2011   8:39:42 PM
  • 103
    Nicole, you are such an inspiration. I love your commonsense approach to living! - 11/8/2011   6:45:17 PM
  • 102
    I'm so glad you wrote this. When I started to add regular exercise to my life, all I thought pain and breathlessness - but I learned to realize it's not at all that way and find it an enjoyable part of my day. I try to convince other couch potatoes to join me, but they see these extreme workouts and flatly refuse. I agree it's important to point out how unhealthy this trend is. - 11/8/2011   9:21:32 AM
  • 101
    really good article. the people who say you have to push it also have a point, but as in all things, balance is the key. if i work out so hard that it hurts, makes me puke or makes me dread it, i'm not going to stick with it. everyone has different levels of carrot and stick that jives with their own personality, and mine requires me to be nice to myself. if i just can't bear to do an 8 mile run, i'll do 5. and if i'm having a particularly hard day, i coax myself out the door with a mile walk. often that feels so good that i end up doing more, but i always give myself that out. i'm still overweight, but i just ran my first half marathon and am eyeing a full one. my main concern isn't how hard i go or how much it burns, but that i keep running for the rest of my life. that requires keeping my workouts wimpy enough that i don't injure myself, and that it stays fun. i may never be skinny and i'll certainly never be fast, but i'm doing something every day- even if that *something* is hula hooping in the sunshine! - 11/8/2011   9:14:55 AM
  • 100
    BLONDIEGRRL, I'm sorry, but you're sinking really low. A lot of people on here are working hard, when so many Americans take the easy way out and do nothing at all. Also, not everyone on here who is arguing in favor of Nicole's article are "light weights". I've been through P90X, Insanity, and Asylum-two of which while PREGNANT. I've run marathons and half marathons...one of which also while pregnant. So I'm hardly a fru-fru exerciser. . I just know that my health and my joints can't take that level of intensity 6x/week indefinitely. That's why HIIT should be reserved for once a week or once every 2 weeks even. The key to keep your body from plateauing is to change up your workout constantly. - 11/7/2011   2:51:03 PM
  • 99
    great blog - 11/7/2011   2:22:39 PM
  • 98
    How about I don't mock all you people who do the lightweight workouts if you don't mock me for working toward something better?

    I'm busy training for my first marathon, and I'm glad I found a real-life personal trainer who is interested in more than just "cute exercise clothes." - 11/7/2011   10:48:01 AM
  • 97
    I agree that jumping into intense workouts is very dangerous! The gym I go to is very aware of this fact. With the intense, high impact workouts like Body Attack, they always encourage us to use the lighter options if we find it difficult or if we are suffering from injuries. With strength training classes on Body Pump, the instructors worn us to use less weight than when we strength trying on our own and when a newbie comes along, they set them up with the lightest weights. When they bring in a new class, they start easy and slowly work up the intensity and difficulty level. They rock! So, this trend towards intense workouts didnít have a negative impact on me. - 11/6/2011   1:52:47 AM
  • 96
    Great Blog Coach. I don't think it has affected me. - 11/5/2011   6:04:31 PM
  • 95
    i work 3rd shift so i see all the infomercials on a regular basis. somehow these advertisements convinced me that i need to be doing more, so even though i didn't purchase what i was watching, i did try other dvds that were too hard and not exercise i enjoy, and guess what???? i failed and felt disappointed in myself and it caused me to stop exercising because i felt like such a loser because i couldn't keep up. lately though i avoid informercials and stick with dvds that are exercises i love (hip hop abs and zumba) and can complete a whole workout routine. it really does make a difference enjoying what you do and not doing too much too soon! - 11/5/2011   1:22:04 AM
  • HS1056
    94
    Thank you, Nicole! Somebody needed to write this and I hope many people read this article and take heed. When I made the choice the start my healthy lifestyle I had been doing NO structured exercise. I started with a beginner's low impact walking dvd and began to make small healthy changes to my food choices. It's been less than 5 months since I began and I've lost 37 pounds so far. That's an average of 1.85 pounds per week. Just what Sparkpeople recommends. I do not consider this a "diet" but a lifestyle. I'm going into my senior years now and I want to be an active participant. No more watching life go by from the sidelines for me! - 11/4/2011   12:28:52 PM
  • 93
    I'd also like to add that all of this HIIT exercise is all about 1) training like an athlete and 2) burning the most calories in the shortest amount of time.

    It's a "short cut" really, and it's going to bite you later on. It's like I said in a previous post, give it 10-15 years and this daily dose of high intensity exercise will be contraindicated by all of the big names in fitness. There's a REASON athletes are pretty much useless after their mid 30's or 40's. Marathon runners get arthritis in their 30's and 40's. Seeing a pattern here? If you do these workouts 5-6 days a week, your body will decline prematurely. They are good every once in a while, but this trend of killing yourself like this, several times a week, is just reckless. - 11/4/2011   11:57:26 AM
  • 92
    Watch out, Nicole! You're making the Beachbody coaches mad! ;-) But seriosly, Team Beachbody is all about prospecting and selling, and to do it to AS MANY people as possible and with a STRONG emphasis on growing your own income. It's actually funny how a lot of their prospecting techniques are the same principles evangelists have used for years to share the Gospel. Health is important, but Beachbody is not the Gospel, nor should it be treated with the same amount of reverence. Every time I would try to listen to Beachbody materials (coach calls, events, etc), I kept thinking to myself "wouldn't that energy be MUCH better spent spreading the Gospel and God's word? To share Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and what the meant for man-kind? To talk about the fate of Hell that awaits the lost/those who haven't accepted Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior? Isn't that persons eternal soul VASTLY more important than selling them shakeology or P90X? Won't fixing their spiritual affliction benefit that person's well being FAR better and far LONGER than fixing their physical affliction? Maybe other people think so, but if I'm going to step into someone's comfort bubble (and out of mine!) to talk to them about something that will "change their life for the better"...Jesus is coming out of my mouth, not Beachbody's products. If you want to sort out your physical afflictions, first you have to sort out your spiritual affliction.

    FAITH comes before family, which comes before food, which comes before fitness. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."- Matthew 6:33.

    Christ died for us on the cross so that we would REJECT sin and the things of the world (beauty, fame, money), and embrace the cross and all things heavenly. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." -Matthew 6:21.

    And regarding food and fitness; why do I think they belong behind Faith and Family??
    "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" Matthew 6:25
    and
    "For bodily exercise profits for a little while: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:8

    ...and finally there are numerous scriptures that speak of family priorities...there are FAR to many to list here.

    It's all about priorities. My health is VERY important to me, mostly because God commands me to care for the body he gave me.
    "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

    So, for me, it all comes back to serving and honoring the Lord and His son Jesus Christ who has saved me from hell.

    How's that for a tangent?
    - 11/4/2011   10:51:58 AM
  • LAURALOVESSPARK
    91
    I so agree with you Nicole!!!
    Sometimes I even forget that too.
    I always enjoy working out more when I'm not dreading it!!!
    Thank you for reminding us!!! - 11/4/2011   10:06:10 AM
  • 90
    The trend toward intense workout hasn't affected me, but it is affecting family members around me. - 11/4/2011   5:01:43 AM
  • 89
    I'm going to play a little bit of Devil's Advocate, so please don't throw things through your computer monitors.

    If we take a look at what our Federal Government "Does" rather then what it says is good for us, then the answer is to go from couch potato to running at least five miles without stopping in less than eight (8) weeks.

    If it was just focused on running, the governments program would be tough enough, but the running is immediately preceded doing 100, sit-ups, 100 push-ups, straight arm extension and hold for 90 seconds or more, a nasty little core exercise the Army calls the "Dying Cockroach" (which is a half crunch with your legs lifted), squats, squat thrusts, etc. for a minimum of 50 minutes - but usually runs an hour of more.
    Yes, the military expects you to be able to do all of this, and if you drop out and puke, you are awarded with 3 days where you have to hand-walk a 15' horizontal ladder before every meal.

    When I went through this basic physical training back in the dark ages, I thought I was in pretty good shape. I ran Track and Cross-country and played football.

    The conditioning of my legs and my cardiopulmonary condition made a large number of the exercises not much of a challenge. BUT, the upper body work initially made it difficult to use a knife, fork or spoon and lift food to my mouth.

    Strange. Looking back on it now, it seems almost like fun.

    Looking at the philosophy of the man many consider the Father of Conditioning, Jack LaLane, he never warmed up before a set of exercises, long distance swimming events or anything physical. He pointed out that our ancestors (cave-men) didn't have a chance to warm up when attacked - or when laying in wait to ambush game.

    I noticed that he never mentioned that the cave-men were constantly walking and thus were almost always "warmed up". - 11/4/2011   2:42:26 AM
  • 88
    It really is about balance, and I feel this article is a little less than balanced.

    Granted when you're beginning, you should begin small and build on. No, you should not plan on running a marathon your first week--that IS a recipe for discouragement.

    BUT you do have to do enough exercise to get your heart rate up. Sometimes when you've been doing the same thing for a while, and you are not getting any results anymore, you have to push yourself a bit. Telling yourself that it's okay to take things easy too often ALSO leads to discouragement--because you're no longer getting any results. Sometimes you do have to get up off the couch and move your body--even if you don't want to.

    And if you have built up to working out at a higher intensity (like the DVD's downplayed in the article), and it's working for you--MORE POWER TO YOU! :)

    Cheers! :) - 11/4/2011   2:27:32 AM
  • 87
    Awesome blog! You are too true! I tried The Firm a few years ago. It promised results in just 10 workouts. The problem was that I didn't know what half those moves were, I couldn't keep up, and there was no way I was going to be able to make it through an hour workout! They've collected dust ever since. What I didn't realize then was that they are for at least intermediate exercises, whereas I was brand new. I'm so glad I've found a better way. Thanks SparkPeople! - 11/4/2011   12:16:01 AM
  • 86
    Thank you! You always sound so balanced. - 11/3/2011   10:42:18 PM
  • AMBER461
    85
    I am doing exercise with different people plus the spark, I also walk six days a week for one hour and fifteen minutes, then I come home and I would do resistance bands exercises and other walking exercises in the house.

    I like some of the things you say about not giving up. It is good to motivate people it may them feel good. - 11/3/2011   8:51:48 PM
  • 84
    I have always hated exercise. I felt living was enough of a workout for me. Granted I skied swam, danced, walked and enjoyed rafting so I did get "exercise" in. However, as I aged, suffered some injuries and gained weight I could no longer do those things I enjoyed. When I thought of losing weight and getting a little healthier the thought of having to EXERCISE for 60 minutes turned me off. For heaven's sake, I couldn't even stand for 10 minutes. Thanks to SparkPeople and their mantra of small things help. I have lost 80 pounds, I'm able to walk 3 or 4 miles at a stretch and can enjoy being more active each day. Thanks so much. - 11/3/2011   8:29:51 PM
  • CICELY360
    83
    While I thought the article had a few point, I wonder if Coach Nicole ever completed any of these workouts. A person has the option of modifying their workouts. Iíve done 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. She has three levels on the DVD, all only 20 minutes apiece. Twenty minutes is not that long. If you canít do push ups or jumping jacks, modify the exercises. There are hundreds of exercise programs. Some people like intense workouts, some like moderate ones. Personally, I like a short intense workout. I donít do an intense workout every day. I do it three, maybe four times, a week to give my body rest days. - 11/3/2011   6:17:03 PM
  • 82
    Nicole, I appreciate your comments in this. I know that I am not the best at exercising, but even a short, slower walk is better than nothing when you have trouble breathing and so much pain that you can barely stand up at times. I once asked about how to post slower walking speeds (I have no idea, really, how fast I walk so always use the slowest) and was told that I wasn't doing any kind of exercise at all. That discouraged me so much that I quit. I have done some more since then, but have only logged my exercise maybe 3 times in approximately 2 years. If I have to do things at high intensity when I cannot breathe or stand, it doesnt' seem worth it to try anymore. - 11/3/2011   3:57:44 PM
  • 81
    I enjoy spark people the community. I enjoy most of the information you get here. I enjoy the people. However, most of the workouts don't get my heart rate up. I started slow and built up to a decent fitness level.

    However, what annoys me about Spark is the constant need to put other programs down. Yes, they need to make money, but the fact is that people do these other programs and still log onto Spark and click the buttons. There is no need to Attack Beachbody, Biggest loser, Jillian Michaels.

    The goal should just be to make money (which they do with every click) and to get people fit.

    I also think the article is inaccurate in the wording of the criticism against those programs because I have Insanity and it clearly tells you several times to not do it if..... It is by no means marketed to a beginner.

    What makes it sad is that the point of the article is good but gets lost because of that fact. You should work out to your fitness level. That is completely right on... But to make that point you don't have to downgrade anything else.

    You don't push someone down to make yourself better. - 11/3/2011   3:43:15 PM
  • 80
    Yes! Good to hear this. I've been one to feel like if I don't push hard most days, I'm not going to get/be fit. It's nice to hear from a true professional that it's good and OK to take it easy once in a while. - 11/3/2011   1:44:56 PM
  • 79
    I have a few of the DVDs, and I must say they helped, but only until I got to the point I couldn't do them anymore. Six days a week??? Really? I have found that just going out walking at a 16 or 17 minute mile pace has also shown me results, without so much pain. Thank you for the article. I was feeling like I just didn't have the willpower to stick with the "training". - 11/3/2011   1:07:29 PM
  • 78
    Now that's exactly what I needed to hear. I keep quitting because I get out of breath after a few minutes of exercising with some of those videos. Thank you! - 11/3/2011   12:25:20 PM
  • 77
    I truely believe this!! I was training for a 1/2 marathon and doing the Jillian 30Day shred and I hurt my Achilles doing some type of mountian climbing run on the floor. I did get better, but I had to take 2 weeks off of my training!!! Great Blog!! - 11/3/2011   11:56:02 AM
  • 76
    Solid advice. I over worked my body to get in shape and I did. The problem was that my routine was to intense for me personally to keep up with long term. I stopped exercising at that capacity and tone began to leave my body. It was pretty discouraging. Finding what works and what does not work for us individually is the key to personal success. Starting slow is smart and helps to avoid injury and going for the gusto is a matter of choice, but maximum intensity is different for every~body. - 11/3/2011   11:34:21 AM

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