STRENGTH – Part Five
‘The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do’
Brendon Patrick - The 3 Pillars.
Fitness is a relative term; it can apply to any particular sport you may choose or, even your Saturday morning Parkrun or a daily walking routine.
It’s ultimately dependent on mode of fitness you choose, what your current health and fitness levels are and what exercise and injury history entails.
For example; a person who plays tennis 3 days per week may not necessarily be able to complete a single gym session with someone who routinely lifts weights. This doesn’t mean that the tennis player is unfit; it just means that they’re at a level of physical fitness that is reflective of their tennis routine.
With that in mind, no two people are the same and, fitness should be approached on an individual basis where the overall goal should be determined before establishing a long term exercise routine.
What to Expect When You First Begin a New Fitness Routine
Using a person who is relatively inactive as our main example; entering a fitness routine is probably not as difficult as he or she would imagine. In fact, this is the stage in anybody’s fitness journey where some of the fastest progress is ever made.
This is particularly interesting as the amount of actual work required to obtain progress is sizeable fraction less than what a much fitter person would have to endure in order to accomplish notable progress.
This is because of the two variables, frequency and volume that must be considered when developing an exercise program.
Suitable Training Volumes and Frequency for Beginners
For an absolute beginner; because their muscles are only just learning to adapt to this new stimulus, they wouldn’t be able to sustain a high volume of workload in the gym when compared to an established gym enthusiast.
On top of that, the frequency between gym visits would also have to be a lot lower to enable adequate recovery. However, with this balance of volume and frequency in mind, significant progress is generally made despite the low workload.
As the individual advances, they have to increase volume and frequency in order to provide adequate stimulus. Their progress funnel is narrowed as a result and their achievements become harder to obtain physical results.
Achieving the First Step in Your Fitness Journey
Often when I speak to people at the beginning of their fitness journey, it’s common to hear them mentioning that they don’t believe that they’re in a fit enough position to actually commit to an exercise routine.
At this point one must realize that this quite probably the best time to actually begin. And, because of the exact reasons I mentioned in the previous section, this is one of the most gratifying stages of a fitness journey that can lay solid foundations to a long and vibrant fitness endeavour.
Not taking this first step can be a costly mistake.
Establishing Healthy Fitness Habits
When we’re beginning, it’s all about learning to walk, in a fitness sense, and trying to create some momentum long before we actually run. It’s at this stage we also establish healthy patterns that go towards establishing long term exercise and nutrition habits that can catapult your future results
On average, it takes around two months for a habit to be created and, I would argue that it would take closer to 6 months or 26 weeks for the same habit to become truly established.
In those 26 weeks, if you were to exercise for up to 30 minutes per day, at a moderate intensity, for 5 days of that week while eating healthily, you would lose, on average, 0.5kg per week. That’s 13kg.
If you were to include a dedicated fitness routine and diet in that same time and decided to exercise with a mentor, the figure of 0.5kg could increase and the time to lose the same 13kg would be significantly reduced.
Don’t Give Up So Soon
Most fitness new-comers throw in the towel within the first three months of beginning a new fitness routine. Don’t let yourself become a part of this statistic.
It’s this 12 week stage of any fitness routine that is vital for establishing a healthy lifestyle. The reason most people give up within this time-frame is because most fitness results don’t become visible so early in the journey.
These first 12 weeks shouldn’t be used to chase quick results; losing 10kg in 21 Days simply doesn’t work and, anybody who tells you otherwise is lying.
Building the Foundations to Launch Your Dream Body From
Because your body may not be prepared to exercise at the intensity required to achieve significant and long term results, you need to create the foundations on which you can launch your dream body from.
What this simply means is conditioning your body for much more results driven workload down the track. We call this the preparation phase that forms the initial stages of a periodization program.
The preparation phase is designed for the sole purpose of strengthening your joints and ligaments so they handle the workload that can drive your fitness results through the roof.
Does this mean you won’t see any results in the first 3 months? Certainly not; be patient, consistently do the groundwork to build your foundation and the results will follow.
Building the Foundations of Fitness
Creating a healthy level of fitness doesn’t have to be torture. All it takes is a consistent level of commitment with disciplined approach that best suits your lifestyle.
As I’ve previously mentioned, what we’re essentially doing here is, building the foundations that foster long term habits that enable fitness to become a bigger part of our life.
At this point in your journey, the sky truly is the limit.
Whether you’ve been leading a mostly active or sedentary lifestyle, chances are that you or someone you know has experienced an exercise-related injury.
It’s safe to say that most gym-goers have encountered the dreaded feeling of gym intimidation at some point in their life. For some people, overcoming anxiety about the gym may be harder than the workout itself!