Everybody wants to get in shape as fast as possible. A quick YouTube search for workouts yields results claiming they can get you in shape as fast as possible.
Popular workout programs like the Insanity workout have their place, but not if you’ve been sitting on the sofa all winter. Your body doesn’t care that the sun is getting nice and you want to get in shape.
Intense workouts that are supposed to act fast rarely end well for the untrained. In fact, such workouts are even challenging for personal trainers if they’re not ready for them.
Those are the type of workouts people train for, likely only reaching adequate fitness levels after weeks, or even months, of training.
Fitness is about the long game. It’s about training your body so that the challenges get easier through progression. You’ll know when you’ve graduated when you can get through increasingly intense workouts without overwhelming strain.
Injury risk goes way up when people try to bite off more than they are ready for. Sure, you might be out for that first walk or jog of the season and everything feels great, so you decide to go a little further and harder.
Unfortunately, you’re running on adrenaline and putting yourself at risk for injury. You may not realize it for a couple of days, but it will hit. Believe me. Unfortunately, an injury, like a pulled muscle or stress fracture, could derail your summer.
Planning exercise is the best way to avoid injury and allow your body to get ready for increasing demands. That means starting slow and progressing to more demanding fitness endeavors.
So, let’s say you’ve been keeping things rather sedentary for the past few months. Instead of hitting the ground running, start with a 15–20-minute light walk. Do that for a few days or a week, then start going a little longer.
After another week, go ahead and pick up the pace.
Take the same approach to cycling, resistance training, or any other form of exercise you choose. Start slow, fight the urge to use maximum effort, and prepare your body for the challenge.
After a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to progress faster and go harder.
Be safe, have fun, and prioritize sustainability for long-term results.