We’ve all seen the personal trainers on weight loss shows, like the Biggest Loser, screaming at participants to PUSH HARDER and DIG DEEPER during their workout. The participants end every workout completely depleted since their bodies were pushed to the breaking point. Some participants even required medical attention due to excessive fatigue.
You may have even worked out with a trainer that has the same mindset, it’s very common in gyms and fitness studios. These “hardcore” workouts may initially seem like the right thing do to. Heck, if training moderately hard during a workout is good, then training VERY hard during workout must be great?
Actually, this couldn’t be further from the truth. We want to explain why you should avoid these excessively difficult, “hardcore” workouts at all costs…
But first, let’s define WHAT we are referring to when we say hardcore workouts since that is a very broad term. In most cases, the hardcore workouts that we’re referring to can be characterized by one or more of the following ways.
1. These workouts leave you depleted or excessively FATIGUED after finishing them. You may become nauseated during the workout and potentially fatigued for hours after completing the workout. Sure, becoming fatigued is a part of training but it shouldn’t linger for hours after the workout. Most of us strive for abundant energy throughout the day, not a fatigued body.
2. These workouts can leave you excessively SORE for days after completing them. Sure, mild soreness is fine but excessive amounts of soreness is your bodies way of letting you know it was far too much.
3. These workouts are often RANDOM, meaning not a ton of time goes into designing them. Other than getting people tired, these workouts have no real purpose. You can find thousands of random workouts on YouTube, so don’t bother paying for random if that’s what you enjoy.
4. These workouts often lack the proper ASSESSMENT prior to you participating. Meaning, you can literally sign up online and show up to a class without anyone understanding your body. Yes, your body is different than your friends, it should be assessed as if this is the truth. Avoid training programs that don’t offer a complimentary body analysis BEFORE you start training. Throwing a pile of exercises at someone without the proper assessment is careless (putting it kindly) which explains the astronomical injury rates associated with this method of training.
5. These workouts are often COMPETITIVE in nature, meaning there are clearly people who have better numbers. Competition is great, if one is a trained professional who has the genetics, skills, coaching and nutrition to account for the excessive amounts of activity and training that goes into being competitive.
The next issue we need to address is WHY are these hardcore workouts popular? As you’ll notice, most gyms and fitness studios promote this style of high impact, high intensity training. But keep in mind, the local fast food chains have lines wrapped around them. Popular isn’t always good. Here are the reasons why most people are initially drawn to excessively difficult workouts.
1. They can be FUN since high intensity workouts are fast paced and explosive in nature.
2. You can FEEL these workouts immediately. Let’s face it, we all want instant gratification and hardcore workouts make you feel like you just completed something special. Don’t be fooled by the fatigue, burn and sweating that is associated with these workouts. You can hold a squat in a sauna for 10 minutes and lose a pound of sweat and be sore for a week, but it was far from an effective workout.
3. Because these workouts are so difficult and you often complete them in a group setting you’ll find it creates a strong COMMUNITY since you are completing the workouts together. This is the “secret sauce” behind hardcore workouts. Everyone wants to belong, it’s human nature. Community is wonderful, but is it worth it? Keep reading before you decide.
4. They are ENTERTAINING, hardcore workouts change often, sometimes every day which keeps most people entertained and interested in the workout. Sure, workouts have to progress overtime but your body desperately needs consistency to ensure it’s progressing at an appropriate pace, without new injuries. If you “shock” your body with new high intensity workouts you’ll soon be looking for a good physical therapist to treat your beat up body.
5. You get RESULTS early on. Without a doubt you’ll become more fit in the early stages with this style of training. This doesn’t mean much, doing any new activity can give you results early on. The question is, are the results sustainable over a long period of time?
The REALITY of the situation is that adults, specifically those 30+ years old who are busy professionals and/or parents, should avoid these hardcore workouts at all costs. Are there exceptions to this statement? Of course, but this person is in the 1% of the 30+ demographic. We’re talking to the 99% that are not naturally gifted athletes with a lot of extra time. Here’s the painful reality behind hardcore workouts and why they do more harm than good when it’s all said and done.
1. You don’t have the TIME to train at such high intensities. After a very difficult workout your body desperately needs the time to rest and recover. This means you’ll need to perform a tremendous amount of time caring for your body with stretching, soft tissue work, nutritional counseling, etc. to ensure your body is healing from the high intensity training.
2. You’re no longer YOUNG. If you’re over 30, which most of us are, you’ll soon notice your body simply isn’t the same as it was at 20. We don’t need to get into the science behind this since we all understand this is a fact. You need a fitness program for someone who is 30+. The needs and body of a 20 year old are vastly different than that of someone who’s over 30. Just as you can’t eat pizza and fast food like a 20 year old and expect not to gain weight, nor can you train like a 20 year and think it will end well. Sure, training like you’re in boot camp or as if you were an elite athlete is a ton of fun without a doubt, it’s just not very wise.
3. They’re UNSUSTAINABLE for the simple fact that you don’t have the time or ability to recover from them. So the results you saw early on fade due to injuries. The #1 factor you want, regardless of your goals, is sustainability.
4. They’re not designed for YOU. If you are 30+ years old the primary issues with you are FOOD choices and/or STIFFNESS throughout your body. After years of being busy your food choices are not up to par, which likely leaves you with 10 or more additional pounds of fat. In addition, the extra decade of of sitting has left your body stiff and immobile, you now wake up a little more stiff and may even find simply touching your toes to be a challenge. The last thing a stiff body needs is excessive amounts of high intensity exercises. It’s literally the last thing a stiff and immobile body needs.
To summarize, training at max intensities can be a lot of fun. Not too mention you can also see results early on, but at what cost? You need a workout designed for your body once you hit the 30+ demographic. Why? As stated above, your body won’t respond the same as a 20 year olds. Attempting to follow an excessively high intensity workout will absolutely do more harm than good. Your injuries will outweigh the results when it’s all said and done. Oh, and let’s not forget, some of these injuries may linger a lifetime. Those of us who’ve injured a joint all know this to be true.
Sure, you need to train harder when your body is ready for more but this doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a gradual process that happens over a period of time. You get one body, so caring for it should be a priority. When you’re ready for a workout that will build you up, not beat you up, email the Fuse team at info@FuseFitnessStudio.com.
We specialize in creating customized workouts for busy adults who want long-term, sustainable results. If that’s you…you’ll find Fuse to be the perfect fit for your body.