6 Steps to Orchestrating the Perfect Fitness Regime
The coolest part of a symphony is watching all the players just before they start. In that single millisecond, the rise of the conductor’s baton draws us in, focuses our attention, and takes us from audience member to participant. We’re transformed. Now, what if transforming your body, the difference between sitting in front of your TV wishing you had a lean-mean-body or actually developing the talent to create it, was as simple as lifting that baton? Let’s look at 6 Steps to Orchestrating the Perfect Fitness Regime so that your one-man act can become the iconic Body Symphonic.
Imagine that you’re now the conductor of your fitness regime. Taking charge of your own body change is no simple task though; it’s hard work. And what’s usually missed in these beginning stages is that even before you begin the physical work … there’s work to be done. Think of this like music study before playing an instrument. We would all like to skip a beat between thinking and doing, but if you want ripped and awesome, you definitely want to start with the foundation of exercise theory. The action of rock-solid intensity demands it.
So grab your baton and let’s get on with the show!
Every great work of art begins with a blank page. But that doesn’t mean you have to have a blank stare (blink, blink …). The brilliant thing about doing exercise regimes like P90X or INSANITY® is the notes that create the sweet sound of success have been arranged for you. But before you Push Play on that first workout DVD, do your prep work. Read your guidebook and figure out the schedule. Study the nutrition guide and plan your meals. Get your gear straight, know your support team, and take your Fit Test. Figure out what your goal is, and how you are going to get there. Preparation and study will only make the process easier in the long run. Congratulations, you may move to first chair.
- Warming Up
Most professional musicians will pound out a few scales before playing a concert. They take the time to warm up before every practice and performance. Take the appropriate time to warm up your instrument. Your tuned-up body is far less likely to get injured and no pain means more gain!
Increased muscle temperature improves muscle elasticity, dramatically reduces your chance of injury, can assist in greater endurance and strength, and can help get your head into the game. According to kinesiology expert Professor Duane Knudson, “You need to make tissues and tendons compliant before beginning exercise.” In other words, get warm. This could be a light jog, jumping rope, jumping jacks, or sun salutations. If you want peak performance, an active warm up is the best way to hit the high notes.
The music stops, the lights go up, everyone files into the lobby for a drink (or two), and the lines to the bathroom stretch down the hall. It’s break time. Even the greatest performers need a release from super-charged focus and intensity, be it for only a few minutes. Short-term breaks create long-term success, which is why recovery is an essential part of every workout. The body actually changes while we are at rest—recuperates and comes back stronger.
Training for strength, endurance, or muscular growth all require different amounts of rest between sets. Lifting a very heavy load will sometimes require 3 – 5 minutes of recovery to replace the phosphagen stores needed for the next set, while an endurance athlete may need as little as 30 seconds for a set that takes the same amount of time. However you are training, use your mini-intermissions as intended, and not as an excuse to check your email or switch the laundry over. If your program gives you a minute, stick to the minute. Life’s a delicate balance and so is your exercise regime. If you want your show to be one for the ages, it’s essential to learn the artful balance of give and take.
When you look at a piece of orchestral sheet music, there are often 12 different staffs for 50 or more instruments to follow. Somehow the violin, oboe, clarinet, flute, tuba, and bass know which line to follow, and what they produce is perfect music. This harmony is the act of blending all the parts and pieces, all the players, every intention, every personal desire into one crowd-pleasing masterpiece.
This is also the beauty of a well-designed workout program. By combining an active warm up to increase the temperature of the muscles, cardiovascular training to decrease lower body fat and increase heart volume, resistance training to increase strength and lean body mass, and elasticity work to help promote recovery and increase range of motion. All the elements work in harmony with each other. Like players in a symphony, they blend together in a whirling spin of intensity and control to create the triumphant Body Symphonic.
- Take a Bow!
A standing ovation says it all: The cheers, adulation, and a chest pounding sense of pride are the earned rewards of the Body Symphonic. Your final act is a cool down. It’s a slow, deliberate decrease of intensity to bring all the moving parts to rest. A simple 5-minute cool down will guide you through this transition period. It can assist in recovery, help reduce muscle stiffness, and decrease adrenaline levels in your system. But more than anything, it allows you a chance to transition back to the “real” world, and focus on how hard you just worked. Take deep, easy breaths and feel your body relax as you replay the performance in your mind. Each day is an opportunity to set a new standard of excellence. Your mental highlight reel will prove to be the greatest measure of success.
You’ve done it. You have set the stage; you have the tools, but most importantly, the confidence to take command in every single exercise performance you create. This is just the beginning, as every day can be an encore of the amazing workout you just completed. In order to create physical change, your encore might need to occur 5 or 6 days a week, or three to four times for maintenance (not the same workout, obviously, but one that combines all of the elements of your composition). And every time you purposefully slide a DVD into your player you’ll know at the very core of you that change is about to happen. No feelings of doubt, no hesitation, no more going through the motions. Keep moving forward and focus on full-blown, hyper-intensity, turbo-charged change. And if you commit to putting the work in every day, you’ll soon see all the pieces come together into the Body Symphonic—your ultimate masterpiece.
- Taken from the P90x Newsletter!