Small Changes add up to one big change

by pilates32 on October 2, 2010

[dropcap1]I[/dropcap1] am frequently asked by clients and friends, “How can I achieve this weight or this amount of strength in the shortest time possible.” I am not sure sometimes if they are joking or that they seriously believe that there is a secret speedy solution to their fitness demands. We are regularly fed media advertising campaigns and fitness product advertising that promise six weeks to success and ten weeks to “toned up”. Whether this is remotely possible or not, I do believe that this type of person is missing the real point to their fitness pursuits and here’s a few reasons why…

The first few weeks

When commencing a training program such as Pilates, it will take approximately two to three weeks to adapt and integrate the workouts into your lifestyle and routine. Recovery from each workout will be much longer as the neuromuscular system and myofibrillar make up of your muscles would not be used to the intensity of the training, neither the types of movements and contractions involved in Pilates. You may ache much more than you usually will several weeks from now. Don’t rush it! Allow your body to recover and rebuild the muscles to see the greatest improvement. If you train when aching this will only have a detrimental effect long term (supercompensation needs to occur; which I will discuss in the future). Rushing it will only cause you to be tired and possible injured.

To move a mountain you need a pick!

To get in terrible shape could take years. It doesn’t take weeks to reverse years of bad eating and a lazy lifestyle. Chip away at this task slowly. Set small weekly and monthly goals to lose small amounts of weight and become that little bit more active using Pilates on a daily basis. This is why I created the video workouts, so that clients don’t have to wait for the next class till they exercise. They can do shorter workouts from home on a day to day basis, or 3-4 times a week.

Be realistic with your time

If you work full time, have a family, a business and a social life, it doesn’t work to go to the gym 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. Be realistic. Set goals that you can keep to. At present I am personally very busy with all the teaching I have going on, both in Fitness and Physical Education, so I aim to train three times a week. I try to do Pilates workouts daily, implementing exercises from the “Core Strength and Stability Series,” using some rest days as an opportunity to just stretch (especially my hamstrings and hip flexors). But this is never any more than 20 minutes. It would not be optimal to train hard every day as I would be unproductive in many other areas of my life and extremely tired.

Stay Injury Free

Training hard on the treadmill every day and lifting weights to reach your goal fast can mean a lot of tight muscles and a lot of muscle imbalances between agonist and antagonist. Our busy lives can mean we neglect time to stretch, train our core efficiently and prepare our body correctly before exercising. This is why I created the “Injury and Pain Free Back Series”. To allow beginners and regular exercisers the opportunity focus on their core and spine, safeguarding them from injury and keeping the body functioning at its best.

Think three-five years from now

I say this to every client who begins a new regime or returns to the gym. Make small changes and work towards short term goals. Don’t think 12 weeks from now, think 5 years from now. You will be different person, living a lifestyle full of energy with the physique you have always dreamed of. I’m not saying it takes five years, I’m just emphasising; this is a lifestyle, a behaviour change not a short term detox camp.

So, day by day, week by week, stick at it. Remember the workouts allow for adequate progression so you can journey from an injury and pain free back to a reshaped and strengthen body.

Author: Ian Harris

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