Safety versus fear!
I have often wrote that life is about balance. This is no less true than when beginning a workout program of any kind. You need to balance safety and fear. If you do not do it safely, you can cause injury and be in worse shape than when you began. However, if you are paralized with fear from doing anything, what benefits do you get? If you avoid exercise for that reason, you increase your risk of heart disease and other obesity-related health issues.
What to do?
Like most things in life, you have to struggle with some type of balance. And again, with most things in life, what works for you does not work for your neighbor, so there is no cookie-cutter advice I can give. I do, however, have some questions and tips to share with you to help you find that balance. I will also be posting soon about common weak parts of your body to be concerned about when starting a new Functional Fitness program.
Let’s start with the more complicated cases. If you have severe insulin issues or other health concerns that could factor in with working out, especially an intense Functional Fitness program, than you have to…let me repeat, HAVE TO consult with your physician before starting out. Bring in a couple of our beginner workouts and show your doctor and see what he or she feels about the format and types of exercises.
On the same note, if you have moderate to severe injuries such as a strained shoulder or a messed up back, you NEED TO consult with your physical therapist during the beginning stages. They should already have a tool box full of exercises they would love to see you do and I will bet you anything that those exercises will be very similar if not the same as many that we do here at Kemme Fitness. The key here is knowing when you let things heal (taking it easy) and when to strengthen. That is where a qualified and trusted physical therapist comes into play. Basically, injuries need time to heal. But then there comes a time to rehab and strengthen. And believe me, we will strengthen…we will strengthen the tar (no more swearing here since my wife started reading my posts) out of every part of your body!
Time for an easy group to talk about. For you folks who are active adults – simply go the Beginner Workout page and begin. Just be careful at first and listen to your body. You should know the difference between a good sore and a pulled muscle. DO NOT work through the pain. Rest, recover, and start again slow.
It is not uncommon, especially for runners, to be extremely sore the first few times, but this should go away after a few weeks to where you should be at a point where you may be sore, but are able to complete a workout whenever you want. Common sense – take it slow at first and listen to your body!
Here is the hard group. What to do if you are a healthy adult, but are just plain out of shape and the thought of doing the 120 workout is just too much. Maybe you are older, or maybe just have a nice sized spare tire. This is where balance comes into play.
Here are some questions to ask yourself.
-Are you needing to lose weight, or are you needing more to get stronger? Or both?
-What parts of your body are the weakest? Your back? Your wrists? Your core? (that last question is almost always a yes for most people).
-On a related note, try the Core Test. Lie flat on the ground on your stomach. Put your hands up next to your head so that your thumbs are touching your temples. Move your hands out a bit to the side, keeping them in line with your temples. Lift your elbows off the ground, keeping your hands flat on the ground. Now try to push your whole body up so you are only on your toes and the palms of your hands. Push yourself all the way so your arms are locked out and you are in the top part of a Push-up. Did you raise your shoulders before your butt got off the ground, or could you tighten your core enough to raise your whole body up evenly? If your shoulders came up first, you need to improve your core strength. Don’t worry, this is most people.
-Do you need to clear anything with a physican or physical therapist first?
-Do you have your goals set? It may be to lose weight or to be able to have more energy. It may be to run a 5K with your kids. It may be to do one good Pull-up. It may simply be to avoid injury at work or at home while doing chores.
-Have you learned proper form for the exercises you are going to do? If not, go to the Exercise page and watch the video links to help.
-Are you ready to be a superhero or super ninja?
Time for some tips.
#1: Start out with bodyweight exercises to avoid moving weights improperly and causing injury. Master Push-ups, Squats, Burpees, Lunges, etc.
#2: Shoot for 30 minute workouts at first, but take as many breaks as you need.
#3: In between breaks, try doing the exercises as quickly and intensely as you can in proper form. Take longer breaks if need be. You will be increasing your anaerobic capacity (the ability to recover from short bursts of energy) and this will build your confidence quickly.
#4: Avoid movements/exercises at first that cause any pain.
#5: When ready, try working in a few of the exercises that are harder for you such as Pull-ups and Push-ups. Remember starting out doing Push-ups on your knees is not cheating. And doing 1 Jump Pull-up instead of 10 regular Pull-ups is not cheating. It is starting slow. Do your 1 Jump Pull-up often and you will improve quickly.
#6: Work out with a friend(s). It will keep you motivated.
#7: Think core…do not isolate muscles. Don’t worry, it will be hard to isolate muscles if you do the exercises on this site.
#8: Get away from thinking of cardio versus lifting weights. They are not separated in a Functional Fitness workout program. You do it all together. It saves you time and burns more calories.
#9: Remember, you are working all your muslces together and are getting benefits even while doing bodyweight exercises and not going very fast in the beginning.
#11: Have fun. Enjoy the weird looks you will get from doing our exercises/movements. Turkish Get-ups just look awesome!
It is important to have respect for exercises and your body to avoid hurting yourself. Again, start out with bodyweight exercises and most importantly – learn proper form. But fear of working out is dangerous (couch potatoes are likely to have health problems, including heart disease). If you follow common sense and some of the guidelines above, you can minimize any risk and will be able to try new things and improve the quality of your life.