I haven’t worked out for almost six months. I want to get back on track before the new year. Help!
Aloha, Lorrie. Join the club, for you are not alone. Together, we are all going to regroup and refocus on the first Sunday of each month with our Friends in Fitness “Walk & Talk.” I hope to see you this Sunday, Oct. 1, at 6 p.m. on the Kaua‘i Bike Path. We meet at the Kapa‘a Swimming Pool on Kou Street.
You didn’t mention what you have done, did, and now do, so let me try to define and refine some key points.
w Every third day: While periods of calculated rest and recovery are necessary for repair and restoration, I don’t suggest ever taking off more than two days in a row. Inactivity rapidly regresses levels of cardiovascular fitness, largely due to decreased blood volume. This occurs almost immediately, so working in working out every third day is of the highest priority.
Muscular endurance (higher repetitions) also fades rather quickly, due to changes in blood volume, enzymatic activity, mitochondrial density, and your body’s inability to tolerate metabolic by-products, such as lactate. The return of “the burn” fires up after only a week or two of inactivity.
Muscular strength (heavier weights) can be sustained by surprisingly infrequent training, as little as once per week per muscle group. Intensity is much more important than duration or frequency for maintaining established strength.
While stretching capacity decreases for many individuals, some actually become more flexible with less exercise. Contracting muscles shortens muscle fibers. Contracting them less frequently can potentially make fibers more pliable via reduced “tonus” (muscle tone). This is not a good thing.
• The new you: Improving your level of health and fitness by increasing your capacities for strength, stamina, and stretching does take some effort. However, maintaining “the new you” requires a lot less. It is very important to continue what you’ve started, even if this means working out consistently inconsistently, such as every third day.
• Hear the bad news: Listen up. Don’t quit. A proclivity for inactivity is an exercise in futility. Taking a monthlong break is almost the same as slacking for a year. Years of sedentarism is essentially the same as forever, at least physiologically. So, after six months couching it as a potato aficionado, start back slowly and safely; it’s almost like starting over.
• Here’s the good news: Even if you haven’t exercised for years, or forever, your body and brain are still primed to pump positive motions and emotions. Of course, snapping back into shape takes effort and focus, but we are fearfully and wonderfully made to be able to literally instantaneously transform by the principles of Eccentrics in Strength, Stamina, Stretching & Sustenance.
• Start at the very beginning: It’s a very good place to start. With regard to starting over, your body will be more tolerant to duration and frequency than it is to intensity. You can work out longer, and more often, but definitely reduce the intensity of the exercises to which you were previously accustomed. Performing multiple, less-intense sets of specific movements is smarter and safer than attempting a single, faster, and potentially more intense set.
To learn the smartest, simplest, speediest and safest new year resolution solution, sign up for my Super 7-Week Shape-Up System. It’s free to start, and you can even ask me questions on our super Sunday sunset strolls. Since you’ve taken some time off, I highly recommend starting back at ground zero with week zero. Sometimes, the fastest way to move forward is to begin with a step backwards.
• Rinse and repeat: When progressing through a periodized program, I often suggest repeating each week twice, if not thrice, before graduating to the next level of intensity. For instance, my 7-Week program should ideally take 14 or 21 weeks. Though your body can adapt within minutes, hours, or days — the brain sometimes needs a week or two to catch up.
• From the inside out: The best way to reboot your booty and sleek your physique is with mega-doses of nutritive fitness. For inspiration, watch the free movie on week zero of my website. You’ll love it. Let’s all get back on track this month with seven days of fresh juices, smoothies, salads, fruits, veggies, sprouts and a smattering of raw nuts and seeds.
I look forward to walking and talking with you tomorrow on the Kapa‘a Bike Path.
Doug Jones earned his Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland and has served professionals and personalities as a concierge fitness trainer for decades. As a resident of Kaua‘i and Connecticut, he has helped millions of people learn the secrets of fitness and fat loss, both online and in person. To submit your questions, or for more information, call (808) 652-6453 or visit www.DougJonesFitness.com.
Source: The Garden Island