There are tons of fitness programs on the market these days. CrossFit and Orange theory fitness are two of the biggest. While these are great programs they might be too much for someone just starting out with exercise.
Building a base or foundation is important before going hard during your workouts. Would you build a home on a house with a weak foundation? No, you wouldn’t because the house wouldn’t be stable and may fall.
When you do base building, you will be getting your body ready to handle the harder workouts. You won’t be huffing and puffing during the workout. This will make the workout doable and more important more enjoyable.
Here are some ways to build a foundation of fitness.
Doing steady state aerobic training is an important part of building your cardiovascular health. Aerobic training will improve your body’s ability to burn fat as a fuel source. The body has a lot more fat to burn than carbs and teaching your body to use this as your primary fuel is key to a long-lasting fitness program. Training in your aerobic energy system also promotes fast recovery when doing high intensity workouts.
Try to keep your heart rate at a low level during this phase of training. Using a heart rate monitor can help keep track of your exercise intensity. Using a heart rate zone calculator can help find what zone you need to be in. I like Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 zone calculator.
Doing workouts with stabilization as the focus is a must before starting doing power or maximal strength workouts. During the stabilization phase you will be training with high reps around 12-15 on one leg or balancing on one leg. Bad form and muscle imbalances is one of the biggest reasons we get injured during our workout program. When you build up all the little muscles before working the big ones it will help prevent injury.
While working at the gym many of the body builders would watch me lifting weight as heavy or sometimes heavier than them. They would ask me how I can lift so heavy at such a light weight. I explained that I did a stabilization phase training my body to fire my muscles more efficiently. When I would switch to higher intensity workouts I would perform better and I would avoid injury. Now that I am doing marathon training the stabilization is important to prevent knee injuries and hip tightness.
If you don’t how to program a stabilization phase talk to a NASM certified personal trainer to help you get started.
Here is an example of a stabilization phase if you’d like to build it on your own.
How long should you do this phase
If you’re new to working out a base building phase should last anywhere from 12-24 weeks. This will help get your body ready for anything that you want to do down the road. Try not to jump forward until you’re ready because it will get in the way of your results down the road. I’ve met with so many clients that have jumped into a program like CrossFit or high intensity class only to find themselves injured. When you’re done building up a base of fitness you will be able to crank up the heat and take on anything. If your goal is weight loss don’t worry about going hard during your workouts because it will only cause you to eat more calories and maybe burnout causing you to quit working out.