Train your mind AND your body: Give yourself permission to ease into this revolutionary yet sustainable workout model

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Give yourself permission to ease into a new workout model. Try walking first, then work up from there. (Photo Credit: starksvilleparks.com)

There are many fitness models and programs, but as a personal trainer, my best results with clients have been through P90X & P90X2. These programs offer functional fitness, which applies to everyday life.

It’s hard to admit it, but we’re a society that responds to immediate gratification. Unfortunately, this behavior translates to how we view exercise: We want to work hard and drop the unwanted pounds and get fit today! Not only is this psychologically difficult, it’s physically impossible. It takes 3500 calories to burn one pound of fat, and that’s not exactly doable in an afternoon workout session.

My approach with clients, either through the P90X or P90X2, or simply choosing to begin walking, begins with resetting our paradigm to exercise as a lifestyle change, not just as a passing fad.

The first two weeks of any program begins with giving “permission” to the client to begin slowly. Say you want to walk 30 minutes at 3 mph, let’s start with 2 mph. It may seem too easy, perhaps, but it is doable and sustainable, and this is our goal.

Our focus is to train the mind these first two weeks, adapting to a new routine. The hidden benefit to this simplistic approach is that while the mind is adapting mentally, the body is also adapting physically.

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Once you’ve tried walking for several weeks, gradually work your way up to a slow jog, and then running.

By week three, the workload can be gradually increased, working the different energy systems in the body. This slow, methodical approach has shown the greatest success in client exercise sustainability.

Back to the 3500 calories and 1-pound weight loss. I weigh 185 pounds. If I workout on an elliptical trainer at a slow and comfortable pace, I burn 300 calories in one hour.

Presuming my caloric intake remains constant, I will lose 1-pound in 11.5 days, or approximately 3-pounds in one month. While this may not seem very impressive and can provide little motivation to begin, without changing diet or exercise output, in 6 months the total weight loss will be nearly 18-pounds, and that’s something to write home about.

If you were to do nothing and read this post again in 6 months, where would you rather be – same weight, or 18 pounds lighter?

What are some of the ways you’ve found to sustain your workout routine and nutrition plan?

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