A common mistake that people make when starting a workout routine is that they go in unprepared. Most of us want to believe that we are physically stronger than we really are.
I have always been tall, big boned and looked like someone with brute strength. And I believed it despite getting constant back and leg pain from just walking. Walking up two flights of stairs would leave me heavily winded, but I still believed I had super human strength because I looked like I did. I fit the big & tall label perfectly.
|June, 2010. Flirting with that 300 pound mark.|
I was physically strong, but only in short bursts, and despite that, I was still convinced that after years of inactivity, I could walk into any gym tomorrow and go hardcore for at least an hour.
This is just the mindset that I as a physically strong looking person had, and it is the same with a lot of people of all body types. One of the most common New Years resolutions people make is that on January 1st or 2nd, they are going to go to their local gym or health club, get a membership and make new health changes for their life. That, "New year, new me" meme that millions of people post on their Facebook and Twitter timelines on December 31st.
For a lot of people, the "New year, new me" deal ends up being nothing more than a spur of the moment thing. They see others talking about it, it gives them a sudden burst of inspiration and they hop on the bandwagon. And that's where it ends. A post or a Tweet, followed by a few 'like' clicks and comments of encouragement from friends of family. The end.
|Screencap from a 2011 Facebook video. Size 3XL shirt. Close to being at my physical worst.|
For those who actually stick to their word and do go seeking out a gym membership, they go in ready to go, all guns blazing. Ready to tear it up. They do some pre-workout stretches as their favorite pulse-pounding songs play on their iPods. They grab a 30 pound dumb bell and do 10 reps.
"Let me sit here for an extended rest period, and when it looks like nobody is looking, I'll just casually walk over to that rowing machine over there."
Position yourself on the rowing machine. Set a moderate difficulty level and a time of 30 minutes. Countdown.....3-2-1, GO!
What the f***?!
"Let me rest for a second, and when it looks like nobody is looking, I'll just casually walk over to one of the available treadmills over there."
Get on the treadmill. Set a moderate difficulty level and a time of 30 minutes. Countdown......3-2-1, GO! Your arms are still a bit sore from 10 reps on 30 pound dumb bells. Your back feels a little stiff from the rowing machine. And now your legs are starting to feel sore. You look at your watch. You are barely 15 minutes into your workout!
You lower the difficulty level on the treadmill. Go for another 5 minutes. Step off the treadmill. Walk back the the change room in pain. Too sore to shower, so you change back into your regular clothes, go home and collapse on the couch. Then what happens? The next morning, you wake up in more pain than you went to bed with. As a result, you don't go back to the gym again. Luckily it was just a 30-day free trial membership with no commitment.
Congratulations! You've been brought back down to Earth!
|February 20, 2014. Day 50 of rebuilding.|
You went in completely full of yourself and you gave up. You went in trying to run when you didn't even know how to walk.
NEWSFLASH! Michael Jordan did not come out of the womb with the ability to dunk a basketball. Wayne Gretzky did not come out of the womb already knowing how to skate. They became great by starting with nothing but a will to succeed. And they started with the very basics. They had to learn to crawl before they walked. And it is the same with starting a new workout and diet plan.
If you want to be successful at making positive healthy changes in your life but have no prior experience, odds are you will NOT be able to go an hour at the gym, and you will NOT stick to a strict diet by practically starving yourself on day one. Your head might be ready, but your body isn't.
You need to start from scratch. And that means doing what you thought would be too easy and beneath you. It means not seeing quick results. The beginning stages of a new workout and diet routine is a lengthy warm up process, much like how we stretch before starting a workout.
|October 7, 2014. Day 279 of rebuilding.|
The beginning stage is not about SEEING results quick, it's about FEELING them. I started my rebuilding process with nothing more than 10 minutes of very basic yoga poses a day and eating more fruits and vegetables and less junk. I still ate some junk in the beginning but less of it. After day one, I was in pain. The next day, I woke up in more pain. My body had been inactive for so long that it was in a state of shock. But as time went on, my body quickly got used to the activity. My 10 minutes of basic yoga a day turned into 20. My intake of junk became less and less. As I felt my body waking up, my energy started going up. I traded sitting on my couch watching movies and playing video games for going out and walking.
After three months, my basic yoga had gone from 10 minutes a day to 30 as I was able to hold poses longer and would add new ones. I was feeling and seeing results and working out was quickly becoming something I felt like I HAD to do, to something I WANTED to do. Eventually, I went out and bought two 25 pound dumbbells and started a weight training routine. Shortly after that, I added a cardio routine by doing Tae-Bo style punch and kick workouts while I put a UFC DVD on.
I now alternate cardio and weights. Cardio one day, weights the next. And while I do have a gym membership, I do most of my "beasting" in my living room. My gym equipment consists simply of a yoga mat, two 25 pound dumb bells and a pair of MMA gloves. Everything else comes from inside which was locked away for many years and had to be woken up and charged.
|Home "home gym". Simple as this. Yoga mat, two 25lb dumbbells and MMA gloves.|
(The gloves are for when I get energized and bang my fists together. It happens.)
You need to crawl before you walk. Walk before you run, and run before you sprint. You don't start hardcore, you BECOME hardcore. You ARE as strong as you think you are, but you need to give your body a chance to catch up with your thoughts. And every minute counts. If you are only able to go a few minutes during the beginning stages, a few minutes is better than no minutes as you are at least keeping your body active. BECOME HARDCORE!
|December 18, 2015. Day 716 of rebuilding and still going strong.|
Don't tell ME that YOU can't do it!