Being a fitness professional for more than twenty-five plus years has allowed me the opportunity to see fitness trends come and go. When I was in the early stages of my career in fitness, the rage was high impact aerobics. Then, came low impact aerobics, step aerobics, cross training, and so on. But now it seems more hybrid programs are popping up such as extreme boot camp classes, power yoga, power pilates, etc. It appears the higher the intensity, the better. But, is harder or higher intensity the best choice for you?

First, we must acknowledge that not all exercise programs are the right fit for all individuals. Elite athletes do extreme workouts that are appropriate for their sport, but not the average fitness client. Some times, we get confused in what our goals are and what we are looking to achieve. Many variables have to be considered when developing a fitness program. Clients need to have concrete health and fitness goals. Ask yourself a few questions before beginning any training program. Such as; what is the goal of my working out? To lose weight, get healthy or train for an iron man. Maybe you want to try body building. As you can see, each of these fitness goals require a different training approach. Athletes from all walks of life train differently depending on what season they are in. The off season training is very different then when they are in season. But for most of us, being fit does not equate to extreme training programs.

Second, your joints need to last a life time. Grinding away on a regular basis of extreme training just might lead you to the orthopedist and physical therapist. Baby boomers, yes I am one, tend to push the envelope in all areas of life including fitness. I agree that we are at a time in our lives that age really does not limit what we can do. People of all ages are doing amazing things. Running marathons at 100! I bet they train smarter, not harder. Because exercising smart is a much safer bet to protect soft tissues and joints so exercise can continue to be a part of life. One major injury can really put a halt to the best intended exercise program. Remember the “no pain, no gain” motto, well we put that to rest decades ago. Exercise and pain do not go hand in hand. A good fitness program should not be painful. Yes you should feel the work, but not to the point of pain. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong.

Many certified fitness professionals from all walks of life are suspicious of workouts that are of extreme intensity. Research continues to be ongoing and the injuries from some of these types of workouts are being reported. For now, make sure fitness goals are clear and your workout is not compromising your ability to continue to live an active and healthy life. After all, working out should replenish you, not deplete you. The best indicator of a workout is how you feel doing it and afterwards. If you can’t walk the next day, then reevaluate. Exercise should always be a part of your life, soreness should not. Some people believe if they are not sore, then they did not work hard enough. In all actuality they worked too hard and injured their muscles. But it seems, we some how keep going back to that slogan “no pain, no gain”. It did not work decades ago, and it really is counter productive today. Replenish yourself with your exercise program and forget about restrictive exercising and diets. A whole foods diet with plenty of valuable nutrients coupled with an exercise program that fits you is a win-win formula. Top it off with a circle of family and friends that support you in your healthy lifestyle. In other words, enjoy your life.

For more information about fitness, please contact Kay Colgan at Middleb

For more information about health and fitness, please contact Kay Colgan, at Middleburg Pilates and Personal Training, 14 S. Madison Street, Middleburg, Va. or call 540-687-6995.