The Extreme Fitness Craze... Is It For You?

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Gone seem to be the days of the colorful leotards and exercises that barely caused you to break a sweat.  Exercise has been evolving over the years thanks to more research in that area, as well as the knowledge that there are people out there who like to work hard.  Enter the dungeon style, hard core, extreme fitness programs!  P90X, INSANITY, ChaLEAN Extreme, Turbo Fire, Crossfit... perhaps you've heard of these...

For a long time you could only find extreme fitness programs like this by working with a personal trainer or taking a group class at the gym (but even hard core group classes are few and far between).  Why is that?  Well, one of the main reasons is because there are more dangers when doing such intense workouts.  In the past it was always thought best to have someone there with you in person to make sure you are doing things properly and not risking injury to yourself.

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I like that fact that companies are now having more faith in the competency of their purchasers.  It's true, we, as buyers, are not really all that stupid... and if you explain things to us there's a good chance we'll get through an exercise with good form, we won't hurt ourselves, we'll get great results, and we'll learn something new each time we work out.  Wow!

However, there are still a few things you should consider before purchasing and starting one of these intense fitness programs for yourself...

1.) Do you have any medical conditions?
If you are on any special medications or have had any past injuries, then you'll definitely want to consult your doctor before starting any of these programs.  They don't lie on the commercials, they are intense.  Find out from your doctor or physical therapist what exercises you SHOULD and SHOULD NOT be doing.  Can you do one of these programs if you have a list of exercises you SHOULD NOT be doing?  Yes, you can, but you may have to skip some of the exercises and insert your own modified exercises in place of what's on the video.

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2.) How long has it been since you've worked out?
If you are a beginner to exercise OR it's been years since you've worked out, you may want to back up the truck a bit.  These programs are designed at the intermediate and advanced level.  However, most of them do have easier counterparts (not ready for P90X?  Try P90 or the P90 Masters Series.  Not ready for Turbo Fire?  Try Turbo Jam instead).  If you are hardcore in the brain, though, and you want to hit one of these from the start, just be prepared to fail.  However, failure, in exercise, is not always a bad thing.  It gives you a starting point to progress from.  I honestly get upset when I do a new workout and can finish it the first time without feeling like I was worked to the bone.  I enjoy failing!  That's a mindset that you can work towards, so that you ache for the burn, and can't wait for a program to show you something that you can't do!  BRING IT ON!  So, you CAN do one of these as a beginner, but you may need to press "pause" more often, or simply modify the moves to make them less intense.  You'll build up to being that warrior that you so desire to be... just keep that mindset going!

3.) What is your mindset?
I kinda led into that one... yep.  Mindset is a HUGE part of fitness.  I'm going to tell you right now... don't order one of these programs if you are just kinda/sorta thinking that maybe you'd like to try it, when you have the time, when your favorite television show isn't on, when you aren't tired... nope, nope, nope.  If you are going to invest in one of these programs, make sure you are COMMITTED!  They are hard.  They will challenge you.  You have to have your head in the game to really keep it going.  Chances are you already have enough things around the house acting as dust collectors, don't let that happen to these fitness programs.  If you order one of these programs I want you to take BEFORE pictures, I want you to do the FITNESS test, I want you to read the nutrition information fully so that you are prepared to follow the program as designed.  If you do, you will get results.  Will you get ripped?  Eventually... our bodies are all different.  Which leads me to...

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4.) Are you willing to be patient?
You have to be patient with yourself on these programs.  Will you get ripped in 60 or 90 days?  Maybe.  We are all different.  We all have different starting points, and we all have different genetics.  Over here, Joe might get a six pack by doing P90X and drinking a six pack every week... and over there, Mandy might fight to get her abs to show and she's eating squeaky clean.  You're right, it's not fair.  However, you WILL get to your ultimate goal if you don't give up and if you keep re-evaluating your actions to see where little tweaks and improvements can be made.  Some of us just have to work a lot harder than others... blame your parents.  Hahah.  However, all genetics can be overcome with hard work.  You CAN do this.  It took my friend, Tommy (pictured above), multiple rounds of P90X to lose over 100 pounds and get his six pack to show... but he did it.  Not only did he do it, but he's now a poster boy for P90X and his picture is all over the site!  He worked hard, and it paid off.

5.) Are you willing to pay attention?
The instructors are quite good at giving you cues and modifications in these programs to help you have proper form and avoid injury.  So, make sure that you pay attention.  Also, don't be a hero (meaning, you may not be ready to do the exercise all out, so don't push past your current limitiations).  You may even want to preview a workout before doing it so that you know what's coming and can truly watch the video for form first.  If possible, do the workout in a room with a mirror.  Many times people will think they are using proper form, but then they'll see a photo, video, or reflection of themselves and realize that something isn't right.  I've been working out for years now, and I STILL prefer to be in front of a mirror so that I can check that everything is in proper alignment.

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What if you are not ready?
That's ok!  Just making the decision to start with any fitness program is the beginning of a beautiful thing and a beautiful new you... inside and out.  So, if you aren't ready to make the leap to extreme fitness yet, then figure out what it is you love to do.  Are you a treadmill-a-holic?  Do you love to dance?  To get started in fitness start by doing what you love.  Set up a schedule.  Maybe you aren't ready to commit to 6 days per week.  That's fine.  Commit to three days per week.  Mark them on your calendar... then just do it.  As you get stronger and more confident you can increase that to four days per week, then five, then six!  However, give yourself at least one day off per week :-)

If you need any help picking out a fitness program, let me know!  I've done just about all of the Beachbody programs, and I've also tried quite a few that are on store shelves as well.  Let me help you find something that you'll love and stick with.  Just leave a message for me here and we can chat!

Thanks, as always, for stopping by!

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