Which exercise program is best is an ongoing debate and conversation among active people. There are a number of factors and variables when it comes to exercise and physiology, and they are subject to basic scientific rules. Part of this includes: physical recovery, tissue rebuilding, nervous system tolerance, cognitive and emotional processing.  As trainers, we need to know how to manipulate these variables. In fact, it is this manipulation that keeps our bodies in a state of change and improvement.

These days we are seeing the ongoing marketing and sensationalism that keeps fitness trends in the news, with “new” ideas of the best way to get fit.  The truth is, our bodies must “work” to improve. There is no magic pill. This is not necessarily “fun” so we see these “new” ideas to get us excited about exercise. One fallout from this trend is the level of intensity we see in some programs. Just think of how often you’ve heard the words “extreme”, “high intensity”, “super-whatever”, “insanity-whatever” and ”boot-camp”.

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Many programs are built around very high levels of intensity. This is not by itself a bad thing but it is quite often overdone. Period! We’ve discussed in the past that we need to train through different levels of resistance, number of reps, etc., so using a short burst of intensity is fine, particularly when training for sport, but our bodies respond best to more moderation.

High intensity on its own can lead to overtraining, lack of recovery, injury, and burnout. After those, you are not better off and perhaps worse off. Research has shown that moderate, consistent exercise will provide the best benefit. This applies to the movements themselves, the emotional willingness to continue, and the satisfaction for having done the exercise.

Benefits of a moderate exercise program

We refer to this gentle pushing of the body as “Baby Steps”. Put another way, if you want to go from a starting point in exercise to reaching a distant goal, you are better off taking many gentle baby steps along the way as opposed to giant increases. Following steps to reach fitness goals gives motivation and focus. As we get older, this becomes all that much more important, since injury and recovery are a bit more of a concern in later years.

Please go for a program that emphasizes an overall sense of moderation and avoid insane amounts of intensity. Don’t be afraid to get a good “push” on the body now and then, but back off quickly, and concentrate on that continuing consistency. The human body responds best to this type of training.

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