Lately I've noticed an interesting trend in the fitness world; people are being pushed into two distinctive arenas - hard core, extreme and punishing styles of workouts or very easy to moderate "soft" workouts.
Both of these pose a problem.
Participants going to the extreme of challenging workouts run the risk of Rhabdomyolysis, which is simply the catastrophic breakdown of muscles cells (or explosion of muscle cells). But the polar opposite of these tips of approach is not significantly better. Not ever taxing the body in exercise creates no catalyst for change. We see people who have come to classes for years and their bodies have never changed.
"Ok", you're asking…."so what's best way to get in shape?"
How about a "Goldilocks" approach? To find out what is "just right" for your body, try pushing yourself a little bit in a class by moving that much faster, lifter a little bit more than you usually do, making bigger motions that normal. Try this, once a week and see how long it takes for your body to recover from that increased effort.
Less than two days to not feel a little soreness? Chances are your body absorbed the effort well enough and isn't fighting you back on it. Increase your effort within the third day again. Once again, check how well you recover. Start to develop an awareness of how well your tolerating these increases. Your body will start to let you know what s "just right".
With any change in fitness regimen, continually increase your efforts for now more than a 3 week stretch and then back down for a week to a lighter workout. This gives your body a chance to recover and for the mitochondria within the muscle cells to adapt to the new stresses.
Give this approach a true test and repeat the cycle for 4 rounds. Chances are you'll be looking at a totally different body than what you started with and best of all you'll not get hurt!