When Exercising Remember: Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
The old saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. Make this your mantra as you step on the scale or grab your sneakers after a long winter hiatus. There is a very good chance that you did not put on those extra 10 (even 20 pounds, YIKES!) overnight. Rather, a pound at Thanksgiving, one more over the holidays, and now after just finishing the last of the Valentine candy, your favorite Easter treat is on the store aisles calling your name.
How easily that 1 pound gain multiplies for so many of us, as studies indicate nearly 60 percent of the American population is overweight. Repeat your new mantra again as you step back on the elliptical machine and can barely breathe after just five minutes. It is not a coincidence that your fitness level has dropped while the scale has climbed!
You quickly decide it is time for action. The “lose 30 pounds in 30 days” diet that you saw advertised on TV sounds perfect. Combine that with grueling hour long gym workouts and you should be back in your high school shape in no time. But wait, we have already established the weight didn’t go on rapidly. To lose it quickly can put your health at risk and lead to a loss of lean muscle mass. Healthy weight loss is usually one half to one pound per week. That means to lose those 10 pounds that took 2 to 3 months to put on will take 2 to 3 months to take off! Repeat after me, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”.
[ Healthy weight loss is usually one half to one pound per week. ]
Just as unwise, is to jump back into the same workout that you were doing when you were in “great shape”. Not only is your cardiovascular system (heart, lungs and blood vessels) not ready for this, but your risk for a sprain or strain is also increased. If your lay off from weight training has been more than a few weeks then it would be wise to drop your weight on all of your exercises by 25%. If you are just starting a resistance training program, easing into this program will prevent that dreaded muscle soreness. Do one set of 10 to 15 repetitions for twice a week for the first two weeks and then, add a second set. Next, increase the amount of weight you are doing on each exercise.
With respect to your “cardio” training (used to be called aerobic), try walking the distance that you previously ran or alternate walking and jogging intervals. Try a few days of stationary biking on your own before heading back into a challenging indoor studio cycling class. Of course, if you haven’t been exercising for a longer period of time (perhaps years), best to check in with your doctor and get the thumbs up. Start by doing 15 minutes of walking (treadmill, outdoors, or around the mall) and work up to 30 minutes. Once you accomplish this, then increase the speed or add some incline to your walks.
We want what we want and we want it now!
Just like the current TV commercial where the man does one lap around the gym and then slaps the scale when his weight hasn’t changed from 249 pounds, our quickie weight loss and improved fitness results are unrealistic. Fad diets and an overzealous exercise program will quickly lead to the end of our GET IN SHAPE program.
Just repeat to yourself, “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and neither was I.
Jill Bond is an Exercise Physiologist at Cocoa YMCA Family Center.
The Cocoa YMCA Family Center at Brevard Community College marks the first YMCA partnership with a community college. The Cocoa YMCA Family Center has undergone a 33,000 sq. ft. expansion providing a complete makeover to BCC’s previous gymnasium. As well as a new and beautiful two-story facility, the Cocoa YMCA has a wide variety of member and youth programs consisting of Personal Trainers, Aerobic and cycling classes, Child Development, Teen Center activities, Karate, new Cybex cardio and weight equipment, and water fitness classes for all ages. We look forward to the changes the Cocoa YMCA will make to the local community and welcome you to be a part of those changes!
Call (321) 433-7770 for more information.
Jill Bond is Exercise Physiologist atCocoa YMCA Family Center