Here we go again! That special time of year! I must admit I always chuckle when I go to train my clients who live in apt buildings that have gyms in them. Come Jan 2nd of any given year I'm sure to find the gym packed with people who have the best of intentions but no real clue of what they are doing. The next week or 2 I'll be giving you an eyewitness accounts of some of the do's and dont's of starting a workout program.
My first observation:
A mid 30's gentleman appx 5'10 and I estimate around 210 lbs with 30lbs of that being beer belly. He's drenched in sweat running on the treadmill at 7.5 and to my surprise he's already grinded out almost 2 full miles in about 15 minutes so i know that he didn't start out slow and work up to 7.5. He goes another 5 minutes then makes his way over to the stairmaster.
So you say "Dave, stop being mean, he should be applauded for trying. Whats wrong with running a couple of miles?" Well I'll tell you. I've never seen this man before and I'm in this bldg as much as 6 days a week at varying times. Perhaps he works out regularly but I doubt it. The fact is that by carrying around 30 extra lbs on his frame and running that fast he's putting TREMENDOUS stress on his ligaments and tendons. What most people aren't aware of is that tendons and especially ligaments need conditioning as well. Muscles have tremendous amounts of blood flow and repair themselves quite fast. Connective tissues on the other hand have limited blood flow and if injured can take a long time to heal. This gentleman should start out with a nice easy stress free warmup on the bike or ellipitcal to take weight off of the joints then make his way over to the treadmill where he can maximize his fat burning.
The way he was laboring tells me his intensity was plenty high to get results but the reality is that he was working so hard that it probably wasn't very enjoyable and as a result, his chances of sticking with it long term are slim.
Start small! Rome wasn't built in a day. Instead of making a general resolution to lose 30 lbs, resolve to go to the gym 30 minutes 3x a week for the first 3 weeks. Get yourself conditioned and focus on building the habit of making exercise a part of your life. Schedule your workouts into your Blackberry or Outlook calendar and prioritize them. If you absolutely have to miss a workout force yourself to reschedule into your week and stay on track. With a 3x per week plan there are 4 other open days for you to reschedule so NO EXCUSES!