If you are ready to start a workout program, and prepare yourself to stick with it for the rest of your life, I think you are making a great decision. I blogged over the past few months about how I recently progressed to Level 2 (and Level 3) workouts, 8 years after I made the decision to commit to exercise and a good nutrition regimen for the rest of my life.
Since the beginning, I combined my workout videos with treadmill work. On the treadmill, I started by walking. When I was ready to take it up a notch, I jogged for 1-minute intervals at each 5-minute mark. As I got stronger, my running intervals gradually lengthened in time until I was able to jog for the entire workout.
In the beginning of my journey, my workout video collection consisted of Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, Banish Fat Boost Metabolism (55 minute workout with no weights and intense cardio); and No More Trouble Zones (55 full body workout with weights). I also completed various other workouts from Exercise TV, which entailed yoga, kick boxing, and strength training.
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While many of these workouts have a modifier, who lessens the impact of all the moves, some workouts do not. In today’s blog, I am going to give some tips on lessening the impact for those who are new to exercise. Remember, the goal is maximum effort, while doing the moves in correct form. This is why I recommend beginners work with a trainer if possible.
Here are some techniques I used in the beginning stages of my journey to get me through some of the more difficult moves in the workouts.
- If they asked me to do push-ups on my toes, I tried at least one repetition that way and concentrated on keeping my abdominal muscles tight. Once I became too tired, I did the rest of the push-ups on my knees.
- If they asked me to do jumping jacks, I kept the same arm movements while stepping from side to side.
- If they asked me to jump rope, I did fast toe raises while keeping the same arm movements.
- If they asked me to use weights, I started with no weights.
- If they asked me to do a plank, I started by putting my hands on the floor while keeping my knees down until my arms felt strong enough to hold my body weight. As I progressed, I started to lift my knees off the floor and tried to make my body a board while holding it for as many seconds as I could. If the trainer asked me to do mountain climbers, plank jacks, plank twists, or any other plank variation I was not quite ready for, I reverted back to the plank hold.
- If I found the side plank too challenging, I held the position on my elbow and sometimes put my knee down for balance.
I am so happy for all of you who are about to start on this journey. Making the decision and taking action on it is the most crucial part of the process. While it may feel difficult at first, it will get easier as your body gets stronger. It will also get easier as you lose weight, because you won’t have as many pounds of body weight to support with your muscles. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are not keeping up with the trainers in those videos. If you accept where you are today and stay loyal to the process, you will see your body change slowly over time until you eventually reach (and surpass) your goals.
If anyone has any questions about getting started, please post a comment below as our community has a great deal of expertise.