Stop Exercising So Hard! Why Moderate Workouts Really Do Work


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  149 comments   :  127,381 Views

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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  • 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
    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
    "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
    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
    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
    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
  • 75
    one word--YEP! - 11/3/2011   11:27:10 AM
  • 74
    I've been reading some of these comments and for the most part I believe that REASONABLE people GET IT. But as for all the nit picking comments about this or that I just want to say, Nichole, that I LOVED this blog and I agree whole heartedly. If PX90 wasn't being marketed to beginers then why are the before and after pictures of over weight people becomeing buff??? I get what you're saying completely Nichole. Exersize should be FUN as much as possible and something we look forward to and people that CAN do all that intense stuff- more power to them, awesome, good for you- but people who can't should be told that its not an all or nothing thing, like you said. This article obviously wasn't intended to single out fit people or particular shows or programs but instead to show some compasion to beginners and/or people that have special circumstances. I just don't understand why some of the people that commented had to "take issue" with every thing instead of getting the point. Not every article is aimed only or directly at the athletic marathon runners! Sheesh!

    Oh and by the way, I do Turbo Fire 6 days a week and in NO WAY WHATSOEVER found this article wrong. My mom has alot of health issuses and is trying to lose well over 100 lbs. I sent this article to her as soon as I read it to encourage her. Thank you Nichole. You get it. Sparkpeople get it. And I think that if someone doesn't get it who read this then they SHOULD go find another website because theres no room for people like that here! - 11/3/2011   11:03:44 AM
  • 73
    While I love to work up a good sweat when I work out (and I sweat very easily), I don't work out like that during every single workout. I seldom have sore muscles (which I attribute to a good stretch after my workouts), and I don't work out to the point of pain. Discomfort - yes; sometimes when I am running and my legs feel like lead, I just want to stop and give up, but I'll push through that mental blockade and keep going. But I would not do that if I were in pain. I like watching Biggest Loser, but I do realize that their weight-loss methods are extreme and I personally would not want to lose weight that way! I know that I've had a good workout if, after the workout, I feel energized, not exhausted. And I love that energized feeling! - 11/3/2011   10:25:00 AM
    Thank you! I needed to "hear" this. I am one of those who went out and bought everything on the shelf that "promised" me everything under the sun....only to find out I actually had to do something. Today, I push myself to exercise daily. Some days are "hard" and some days are "easy". But I exercised....and that is the most important accomplishment for me. I always keep in mind.....Life is too short to be miserable! - 11/3/2011   10:17:31 AM
  • 71
    1) Coach Nicole was nice enough not to mention "Biggest Looser" by name, so I will! This show is SO dangerous! Not only have I seen people on the show basically being verbally abused by Jillian, but it is TOTALLY unrealistic!
    2) I don't remember PX90 being singled out! But, I'm sure what the point here is, the infomercials show obese people in the before/after pictures, leading the people to believe that if they purchase these DVDs & drop as much as you could spend on a reputable trainer or gym membership, that you will end up looking like Jennifer Aniston! So, people who are out of shape buy them, try them for a couple of weeks & at best, these end up on a shelf somewhere or worse, the person ends up getting injured! And the end result is, they are back where they started!
    Speaking of Beach Body, I had a debate with them over one of their DVD's/work out plans that instructs you to do the program 6 days a week. If it was cardo, that would be one thing, but they were exercizes ment to build muscle! I emailed them & mentioned that your muscles need 24 hours rest between workouts. There answer..."everyone's body is different & each person should do what is best for them" info like this is how people get injured! - 11/3/2011   9:14:35 AM
  • 70
    While I LOVE Jillian Michaels, I had to work up to her workouts... I started with Leslie Sansone's walking videos... so you can build to harder workouts, but the key is "building". - 11/3/2011   9:07:04 AM
  • 69
    Thank you, Coach Nicole. The wonderful thing about SparkPeople is that this is a place that welcomes people of all fitness levels. For every person looking to do their next marathon, or triathlon, there is someone here for whom it is a significant challenge to simply stand up long enough to get 30 minutes of exercise a day. Wherever a person is in this fitness journey, there is encouragement and support to be found. It just helps very much to hear your validation of those of us who, because of age, lack of previous exercise, injury, or infirmity, look at DVD's like this and instead of being inspired, feel discouraged. It's nice to hear from a fitness authority who truly understands the needs of a beginner as well as a well-trained athlete! - 11/3/2011   8:58:57 AM
    Definitely true for me, too, Nicole! The 1 hr., 15-min. workout I do is not a strenuous one, but rather a collection of physical therapy exercises I've amassed over the years :) What's interesting is that just about all of them can be found among Spark's exercises, even though they were parts of my various PT routines. There's nothing extreme or exhaustively demanding in the whole workout, and it's done a great job of helping me achieve my fitness goals. - 11/3/2011   8:39:56 AM
  • 67
    I've found this to be so true. If I'm not internally motivated to exercise to achieve a specific goal, what keeps me going is doing what I enjoy that doesn't feel like exercise, like walking or Zumba. I don't enjoy boot camp type routines and would never stick to that. Sure, my progress is slower, but more consistent over time. - 11/3/2011   7:57:44 AM
  • 66
    Great insight! I think the key point is to start gradually and exert yourself enough that you won't burn out. Be consistent! - 11/3/2011   5:11:51 AM
    Thanks for the good, common sense.

    I am amazed at the arrogance that some people develop who have lost weight and become very fit. Suddenly, they forget how hard it was, or figure if they have done it, anyone should be able to do it in the same amount of time.

    I am also amazed at some of the very dangerouos moves that some dvds put forth. Valerie Bertinelli and her trainer put out one that was aimed at Beginners -- the level 1 was so easy it was barely a warm-up. The level 2 had jumping lunges!! Can you imagine someone over 200 lbs (or even over 175lbs.) doing jumping lunges?? How long do you think their knees would last?

    For those of you who are young and/or can physically do almost anything, and skoff at what I am saying--just wait!! How many athletes fall apart after the age of 40? We have all seen them. They complain about how they are in constant pain.

    Yes, moderate exercise is the key. I see nothing wrong with kicking it up a notch when you get bored, but high intensity day after day--your knees and hips may not bother you now, but wait.

    I know--I have knee problems and once developed a bone contusion in my hip that turned into a stress fracture that put me on crutches for two months. And this was when I was in my 40's.... - 11/3/2011   12:01:28 AM
    2 Calories an hour? I assume this is a typo - even sleeping my fitness monitor says I burn 1.1 calories a minute. - 11/2/2011   11:38:33 PM
    I had been working out moderately for several years with no results. In July I hired a trainer who upped my intensity levels - a lot - and over the past 3 months I've lost 15 pounds, 5% body fat and 14.25 total inches. Intensity is the key (at least for me) - 11/2/2011   11:09:08 PM
  • 62
    I started working out consistantly in July. Nothing was happening, I started on Sept 9th trying to work out 250 to 350 minutes per week. So far it is working but not as fast as I would like. I am 47 and feel like I am in the best health but the scales do not seem to be moving. I do love my Bob and Biggest Looser DVD's I feel he inspires me, but you need to be in some sort of shape beginner to intermediate before starting. - 11/2/2011   10:37:55 PM
  • 61
    WOW!! Hot topic! Ok, while the company never promoted this stuff for beginners, I have certainly seen ads in magazines and on the Internet (I don't have TV) that promote using the products to get slimmer/fitter faster. Before I signed up for SP in June, I had looked at purchasing one of those "programs" thinking maybe... Fortunately I didn't buy it because I would have been discouraged and given up. Thanks, Coach Nicole, for making the statement. Now I am promoting the SP way...little by little, 10 minutes a day to start...etc. - 11/2/2011   9:32:21 PM
  • 60
    I totally agree. This is salesmanship without regard to the buyer, who wants a quick fix. - 11/2/2011   9:31:18 PM
  • 59
    I agree with everything you said. Fortunately, I'm relatively immune to the kind of marketing hype you describe. I became a bicycle commuter last May, and I'm really enjoying it. They can keep all their DVDs! Occasionally I do some of your short exercise programs to round out biking with some strength training. I'll get there. - 11/2/2011   8:03:26 PM
  • 58
    I agree with MINNA72 that P90X has NEVER EVER said it is for the AVERAGE JOE. My adult children do the work out and have no problem with Tony Horton who is 54 and in wonderful shape. They do INSANITY as well, but they are all fit. But, Tony Horton says this isn't for people who aren't in shape to start with as there is a test to pass. There is SLIM IN SIX for beginners, and then P90, for the next level.
    My adult children are looking forward to the P90X2 coming out next month. - 11/2/2011   7:44:42 PM
  • EIRE32
    Really liked the article! Decided to get up and get moving 6 weeks ago by just walking the dog. Set my first goal at reaching a mile, reached that by the end of week one (with some pushing). Decided to join the park district fitness center so I could come inside as the weather starts to turn. Joining comes with 3 sessions with one of the trainers, which has been very enlightening. I had been walking for 40 minutes at about a 20 min/mile pace. The trainer has the same philosophy, spend 40 minutes just walking on a treadmilland you are bound to get bored and possibly give up. Why not mix it up, increase the intensity just alittle, and have some fun with it. Here is the program the trainer has put me on. Weights 3 days a week concentrating on upper body because that is where my biggest deficiency lies, after all my legs have been hauling my large behind around for years now, lol. 2 sets each of bench press with barbell, bench press with dumbbells, clean and press, squat rows on the cross cable machine, and wood choppers with a 12lb medicine ball. I also mix in some work on my triceps and some kettleball work. Five days of cardio. After a couple minutes of warm up the mix is 5 vigorous minutes of stationary rower, 5 minutes on the elliptical, and 10 minutes on the treadmill with a base pace of a 17 min/mile with interval increases to a 15 min/mile every 30 seconds for a minimum of 30 seconds. I mix up the stations depending on what I feel like doing first on any given day. On weight days she says to do the weights first then the cardio. I must admit, it's way less boring and I feel it. Don't overlook the rowing machine! I did when I started but wow is that a good way to work the legs, the back, and get the heart pumping and if you have knee or joint issues the impact is very minimal. - 11/2/2011   7:23:53 PM
  • 56
    I totally agree with this article. Although I do workout hard (I do Turbo Fire, Taebo, etc.), I also appreciate some moderate exercises also -- like a leisurely walk with my dogs. When I walk by myself, it is hard for me to walk leisurely -- I usually end up walking briskly. - 11/2/2011   6:32:00 PM
    Coach Nicole, thank you for your voice of reason in a field gone mad with extremes. We do not love ourselves by allowing someone to yell and goad us into fitness. For many of us who have been overweight for a very long time, gentleness is something we often do not believe or think we deserve! Exertion and movement can be the very kindest way to love ourselves into healthy lifestyles . I am so glad we have you to help us change our lives. - 11/2/2011   5:40:50 PM
  • 54
    I am so glad you wrote this! I am decently in shape, yet always overweight; I did purchase the 30 Day Shred because it does look like a good workout- and it is. The issue I have with it is that you are meant to do the workout daily. Which conflicts everything I have learned about exercise: you need to rest the muscles you work for one following day. My arms are so sore after doing the 30 day shred, yet I am supposed to do it again the next day? That is not good for Anyone! - 11/2/2011   4:57:11 PM
  • 53
    I agree...partly. I love Jillian Michaels' workouts, but I'm not a beginner. I started out slowly and used a lot of SP's workouts along the way - and I LOVE Coach Nicole's workouts and bootcamps. I guess one way to avoid the marketing is to not watch tv, not read the mags you find in conventional stores, not browse the internet! Think of all the time you could save...for working out! And cooking from scratch! - 11/2/2011   4:00:24 PM
  • 52
    YES YES YES YES. Best thing I've read on Spark in a long time. - 11/2/2011   3:53:58 PM
  • 51
    Fitness marketing is just like everything else, over the top sells. We don't even know what is good for us any more. If we listen to all the hype, no one makes the cut. We each need to listen closely and make our own decisions, but not without all the facts, which often the marketing puts in small print or voiceovers. Thank you for reminding us to look at all the angles. - 11/2/2011   2:56:13 PM
  • 50
    I agree 100% with every word that Nikori said, especially this line: "Are we now discouraging Sparkers who have become athletes and love workouts that make them sweat?"

    The more I read articles like this blog entry, the more inclined I am to believe that Sparkpeople isn't for me anymore. The site seems to be aimed only at beginners who like easy stuff like water aerobics and walking and not at those of us who have moved up to advanced. I thought Sparkpeople was for EVERYONE who was interested in getting or staying fit and healthy?

    Yes, I agree with Coach Nicole that those exercise programs are not for beginners. But THEY ARE NOT MARKETED TO BEGINNERS. - 11/2/2011   2:55:39 PM

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