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   :  46,947 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

  • 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
  • NURSECINDYK
    72
    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
  • CIRANDELLA
    68
    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
  • PRUSSIANETTE
    65
    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
  • WISTERIALODGE
    64
    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
  • 63
    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
    57
    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
  • CGRHEART1
    55
    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
  • 49
    Agreed! Love that I can walk outside on a warm day and enjoy scenery AND burn calories while enjoying myself and being at less risk of injury. - 11/2/2011   2:38:27 PM
  • 48
    Coach Nicole is awesome! She is encouraging and shares the best exercise and fitness tips all the time. She wants everyone to succeed. I love what she said about "enjoying the process". So very true.
    I enjoy my Tony Horton 10-minute trainer, several Jillian Michaels DVD's, Tae Bo, Zumba, and other classes at the gym. I mix it up all the time so I don't get bored. I think the point of the story here is that we should be enjoying fitness and exercise, not loathing it. If the more intense workouts do not motivate you to continue working out consistently, then they are not for you. If they encourage you, then go for it. However, when just starting out or after an extended break (2 weeks or more), I agree that it is very important to start out small and increase the level and amount of time you workout as your fitness level improves. Jillian Michael's 30-day Shred is a great example of this. There are 3 workouts, each one a little more difficult that the previous one. She says to workout with the 1st one until you are ready to move on.
    Thank you Coach Nicole. Great article, and a great reminder to enjoy getting & being healthy. - 11/2/2011   1:20:04 PM
  • 47
    I have used Insanity. Insanity is for the person who wants to take their workouts to the NEXT level. They advise you to have a certain level of fitness and get a doctor's permission before starting. It is listed in the ADVANCED category of exercise by Beachbody. If people are foolish enough to buy these workouts when they are not ready for them then that is not the fault of the advertiser. People need to start taking responsibility for themselves instead of playing the blame game.

    When I take a break from exercise for more than 4 weeks I do not jump into Insanity. I Walk with Leslie Sansone, I Turbo Jam and do ballet and combine series of 10 minute workouts to build up my fitness.

    Use these videos responsibly and you will look and feel amazing. Use them IRresponsibly and you will be injured, hate exercise and still unfit. - 11/2/2011   12:59:47 PM
  • 46
    Oh, how I love you, Coach Nicole!
    This sure has been a heated conversation! I love the Beach Body workouts that I've used, but I absolutely could not do them at the beginning of my fitness journey! They do say that if you are just starting out, then these aren't for you - but that's at the beginning of the videos (and throughout). Do the infomercials imply otherwise? I've never seen them.
    The gentle, realistic approach of SP and Coach Nicole are the BEST way to go, and I've lost almost 50 pounds totally with Spark People and the fitness recommended here. After over two years of working up to it, I'm just now doing the intense workouts described in the article - I would have seriously injured myself trying it two years ago!
    Thank you thank you thank you, Coach Nicole, for giving us SO MUCH! - 11/2/2011   12:00:44 PM
  • 45
    Thanks for this blog, Coach Nicole!! - 11/2/2011   11:39:29 AM
  • 44
    Good article--And WOW I am shocked at some of the ugliness I'm reading around P90X, Insanity, & Jillian programs. Especially by BONEWOMAN who says she' s anti-Beachbody but turns around says she's a coach but just for the discounts. How can you be anti-health? Is she anti-Starbucks then, is she anti-WholeFoods then, cuz they are HUGE commercial marketers. Why isn't she hatin' on Coach Nicole because she's promoting herself here?

    If these programs are "so bad", "overly intense", "too difficult for the average Joe", and "set people up for failure"--then tell me why P90X & Insantiy are consistently the #1 & #2 at-home-workout programs in the world, not America, the world! Why? Because they work and anyone, yes anyone can do them. There is a modifier in each one so beginners, like my 58 year old dad can do. Tony Horton himself is 53. He started P90X when he was 47. How about Cami Lusk who has MS and lost 70lbs doing her version of it--she's in a wheelchair.
    The most important thing I feel is at stake is 'dogging' these workout programs when they are clearly doing something wonderful for the population. P90X is a social phenomenon and people are banding together to get fit and help others get fit too. And why because it's FUN...it's different.... And the last time I looked at my community PEOPLE need to get motivated and inspired to do MORE...not just do what's comfortable and easy. We have to push ourselves if we are going to continue to consume what the food industry and restaurant portion sizes are churning out. I'm not saying you have to choose P90X or Insanity to get an intense workout...but you need to work to change your body. You will never see the fat come off or change if you do what's comfortable.
    The thing to recognize is Beachbody can and does help thousands of people get really fit. I think bashing them for marketing their product is not right, it's flat our wrong. I think BONEWOMAN needs to sit back and ask her self what has she done lately to help someone get healthy and fit and change their life for the better! That is what is at the heart of Team Beachbody. Coaches who are in this truly care about people, their family and want to see them live healthy lives. P90X & Jillian programs represent the gift of health & fitness. It may not be for everyone but you shouldn't judge the book by it's cover till you've actually gone through the programs.
    Peace Love & Health! - 11/2/2011   11:39:19 AM
  • 43
    I do think those intense workouts are made for some people and they need come with a warning lable stating so. I like to challenge myself so I do believe that some people enjoy those intense workouts. I do think that if you are looking for a workout check with you doctor first. Most workouts I have seen have said that. - 11/2/2011   11:39:07 AM
  • THATRABBITGIRL
    42
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this.

    I thought I needed a more challenging workout and purchased a couple Jillian Michaels DVDs at the beginning of this year. They were so painful that, yes, they started to make me dread working out. Instead of energizing me, the workouts made me feel exhausted. They made me feel like a failure.

    I started skipping my workouts. And I started gaining the weight back again. Those feelings of failure started to spill into other areas of my life.

    It's only been in the past month or so that I've "rediscovered" that exercise can be fun and energizing and inspiring and doesn't have to be painful. I'm doing Leslie Sansone's walking workouts now, and I look forward to my workouts again.

    So thank you for this post. I am enjoying the process again and no longer concerned about being "shredded" in 30 days. I still have my Jillian Michaels DVDs, but I'd much rather have fun while working out than feel tired and sore and angry with myself. - 11/2/2011   11:01:07 AM
  • 41
    Interesting blog. I am one of those people who has mobility issues now - even though in years past I DID all of those intense and extended workouts (and was proud that I could do them). And now I must rely on what my body is capable of now, which isn't these hard-core workouts.

    You have to find what works for you at your stage of life and your health level. Informercials and ads have been selling their one-size-fits-all "magic bullet" to get healthier forever. Only you can figure out what truly fits you. - 11/2/2011   10:55:59 AM
  • 40
    When has Insanity or P90X EVER been promoted as suitable exercise programs for beginners or unfit couch potatoes? This is a completely and utterly inaccurate claim in this article and I really wish to see it edited to provide accurate info.

    If unfit people start either of these programs , then it is their decision, but they are not encouraged to do so by these trainers. I have done both of them (and the 30DS, which is nowhere near as intense) and they do get you results; awesome, beautiful results - but you work for it, oh, boy, do you ever. Not for beginners AT ALL. - 11/2/2011   10:35:47 AM
  • 39
    that was very inspiring....I have been in a little slump lately and this (and the sun) really gave me the boost I needed. Thank you!!! - 11/2/2011   10:35:35 AM
  • 38
    Who wants to bet "WLKN_ON_SNSHINE" is a BeachBody coach and is mad coach Nicole just hurt her sales? ;-) Sorry, I'm a BeachBody coach too (only for discounts), however I'm very anti-BeachBody.

    Nicole is 100% right. It's all about SELL SELL SELL. And sure, they have the disclaimers that P90X and Insanity are not for the feint at heart, but those infomercials and those zealous BeachBody coaches target the overweight and out of shape, because those are the most susceptible to the "get your dream body" sales techniques. I can't tell you how many BeachBody coaches I've heard/seen talk about the obesity trend in America and then say "Job security!". They admit they target that desperate, yet often naive, population. I like P90X and BeachBody because I'm a hard-core fitness nut that enjoys a challenge and maximum calorie burn. However, I enjoy a good "slow and steady" workout too. *gasp!?* Slow and steady? But that's so DISCOURAGED!

    Truth is...what's "good for you" now, will be contraindicated by ACE, AFAA, ACSM, etc in another decade. What was "bad for us" 10-20 years ago is popular now. Same goes for nutrition. Fitness fads are like fashion...they're constantly changing. Just pick a program YOU enjoy and are comfortable with and you will be successful. Period. - 11/2/2011   10:31:22 AM
  • 37
    Perspective:
    I am a beginner. I am overweight, I've had 2 children via C-Section within the last 3 years, and I don't have a lot of time to commit to exercise.

    The key to any exercise program is to find one that WORKS FOR YOU. Whether it be mall walking, running marathons, or scaling cliffs, it needs to be something you don't dread doing and ALL exercise has an inherent risk of injury (running=bad knees for a lot of people). I agree that these intense programs don't work for everyone. But they do work for me. I've been doing Turbo Fire CONSISTENTLY for the last 3 weeks. I have never stuck with any other form of exercise for so long and I'm excited about how I'm going to feel when my workout is done everyday. It fits into my daily life well because I can get it done in my house, in under an hour before my kids get out of bed.

    So far I have lost 2", and 4 lbs. (Not a lot I know, but it's something)

    I like that I'm encouraged to go as hard as I can. I like that I am getting MUCH better at keeping up. I like that I'm getting stronger, jumping higher, and pushing myself. There is no miracle "get fit quick" program. You have to put in the work to get the results and I find that Turbo Fire helps me to do that.

    These programs aren't bad, just different and they are not for everyone. Just like the gym/running/horseback riding is not for everyone.

    Good discussion topic, Nicole! - 11/2/2011   10:26:28 AM
  • 36
    While it's important to "challenge" the body, I think this new trend towards intense exercise, takes it way too far. Too many people are killing themselves in the gym. Does it work ? Sure, HIIT, crossfit, insanity all work. BUT the problem is that this type of intense exercise isn't sustainable. At some point, your body will break down. This is what happened to me when I was doing high intensity workouts too often. I did start feeling more fatigued. I was getting more flus/colds as well as aches and pains. In short, my high intensity workouts were causing me to over train.

    So, I had to cut back and when I did... I got fewer injuries. Over all, I started feeling better. Yes, I still challenge myself with an intense workout. but not as often as before. I used to think that more was better. It's not. You don't have to kill yourself to be healthy.

    Of course, part of the problem is also the late night infomercials convincing people they have to look CUT to be healthy. That's one thing I've noticed. I've noticed a trend towards six pack abs for men and women. Your bombarded with images of people with highly defined muscles and told if you don't look like this, you'll never be successful. It's not a wonder women (men too) never feel content with their bodies. we're constantly told our bodies aren't good enough UNLESSS we buy the products, do the intense workouts, etc....

    I tell people that good health comes in many different shapes and sizes. Moderate exercise does work.



    - 11/2/2011   10:24:46 AM
  • 35
    I'm actually angry at SP for posting an article with so many inaccuracies. P90x is NOT aimed at the average joe or jane... neither is Insanity. There are fit tests you're supposed to be able to pass before even starting the program. They even make the fit test available online so you can test before even buying it. They advise strongly at the beginning of each DVD against starting P90x unless you are fit enough for it. These intense workout programs are not for the feint of heart... but it you're looking for big results, they are the way to get them.

    Not only that, but Tony Horton reiterates again and again during P90x that you should "Do your best and forget the rest." He says that if you can't keep up, that's okay, because you'll get there if you stick with it. NOT ONCE does he say, "If you can't keep up, give up." That said, I also have some Jillian Michaels DVDs and I know that she DOES say that... which is not a good motivational method.

    Yes, there are people who will start P90x and Insanity before they are ready, but that's their choice. I really wish you would get your facts straight about each workout program before attacking the ones that you've obviously never tried. - 11/2/2011   10:15:01 AM
  • MAMAHILDRETH
    34
    Bravo! I had to start from couch potato. I slowly started with 10 minute workouts on my treadclimber and worked up to 20 or 25 minutes. I was very happy with my workouts. I once read an article that said a woman of my weight and height must workout 3 hours a day 6 days a week to lose any weight. I proved that person wrong. I lost 30 pounds once settled into my routine, and that was within 5 months from the start. - 11/2/2011   10:13:58 AM
  • 33
    this is absolutely true and needs to be talked about more often. i get more results using easier techniques, and i relax and recover and REBUILD faster without aches or pains. just walking or swimming or rebounding or dancing does way more than drill sargeant style bootcamps. stretching and qi gong do more to reduce cortisol than any intense "i think i can i think i can" stressors. nutrition done properly actually stimulates the body to such a high degree one can't sit still, they have energy to burn, in which case exercise becomes inevitable, the polar opposite of pure will and hard work blah blah blah. try eating organic fruit smoothies for a year and not exercising, good luck with all that energy! - 11/2/2011   10:09:06 AM
  • EMIM05
    32
    you know what i find hikarious. The fact that there is a jilian 30 day shred ad above the article. Lol.
    I do agree though with the insanity of high intense workouts aimed at us way out of shape - 11/2/2011   10:06:14 AM
  • 31
    @BRITOMART - I don't believe people are in an uproar because the article doesn't meet their personal beliefs. I think people are getting a little defensive because this is the equivalent of titling a vegan article "Don't Eat Meat! Why a Vegan Diet is Better."

    On an unrelated note, I love your username. The Faerie Queen was my absolute favorite as a child. - 11/2/2011   9:57:38 AM
  • 30
    Very nice blog, Nicole. I agree with you that these intense workouts like P90X and the ones you see featured on the Biggest Loser have their time and place, but they are NOT appropriate for beginners who are just getting started with exercise. Exercise/fitness should be accessible to everyone, and I hope that people don't get too led astray by the message that exercise "has" to be intense and painful! I may one day be interested in a program like P90X to take my fitness to the next level, but not anytime soon. - 11/2/2011   9:53:42 AM
  • ADWINSTON41
    29
    I started using the programs after 3 c-sections and double hernia surgery and they really helped me. But I knew that you take it at your pace not their pace. Everything takes babysteps. As long as you are doing something its better then sitting on the couch. I remember specifically in P90X when he repeatedly says you do it at your pace and work up to it. You may never be at there level but you still see results. Overall there is something out their for everyone and I think it is important to change it up. - 11/2/2011   9:49:04 AM
  • 28
    I completely agree. When I started exercising, doing Jillian Michaels' DVDs, I could do the entire workout. Gradually, over a year, I could do less and less. My knees became damaged to the point where I cannot run at all. My hips and shoulders became fragile. I got more and more injured, and I got weaker and weaker. I lost no weight at all. It caused tremendous physical pain and frustration to be told that this would make me stronger, only to find it making me weaker. Finally I gave them away.

    Now I walk as much as I can. I take the stairs. I have a stationery bike for if I really want a heart-pumping workout. My knees will never recover, and my body is still extremely fragile and I cannot "push myself" at all. But at least I'm not in constant physical pain, constantly at the doctor, and constantly feeling like a depressing failure.

    Thanks, Coach Nicole. - 11/2/2011   9:37:55 AM
  • 27
    Great article! One of the reasons this advertising works is people are always looking for a magic bullet. Couch potato to Wonder Woman in 30 days? Yeah right. I'm able and willing to push myself farther but I'm 55, not 25, and have to take that into consideration. And when I talk to my friends, trying to get them motivated, I would never tell them they have to start at the level I'm at now - after coming off the couch six years ago. I've seen too many people getting injured and then not doing anything for months, or in some cases being turned off exercise for good. - 11/2/2011   9:36:19 AM
  • 26
    One thing I really like about Spark is the way the site tries to reach everyone, regardless of what 'level' a person may be on. So this article isn't addressing everyone, just as those that address potential problems in eating 'vegan' aren't intended for the hamburger lovers.

    Ease up, take what you need/want from and let the rest go. It's not about 'you' all the time!

    Coach, this is a good reminder about balance and focus; thanks! - 11/2/2011   9:32:38 AM

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