Years ago I found a great book claiming it takes 90 days to create a new habit or to change an existing one. Having experimented with many change methodologies there is no doubt that 90 days of focused effort is the best way to maximize success.
If you watch late night TV you’ve seen the infomercials for extreme workouts like ‘P90X’ and ‘Insanity’. As mentioned above, the common theme is a 90 day cycle where each day a different workout (cardio, weights, stretching etc.) targets specific fitness areas. Typically a specialized diet plan also accompanies each program and should be considered an integral component to the workout.
Over the past three years I’ve tried the leading 90 Day workouts including P90X, P90X3, INSANITY and Supreme90. They are all VERY intense and require a major commitment for 3 months straight. At the end of the 90 days, assuming you put in the effort, the physical and mental changes are amazing.
The one downside is finding what to do next when the 90 days is complete ! Starting over from the beginning is not something I’d recommend. I usually take a few weeks off between 90 day cycles and downshift to power walking or swimming.
The only program I can do continuously is Supreme90 by Tom Holland. Supreme90 has a good mix of workouts that mix cardio, weights and full-range of motion using simple routines. I’m a big believer in the Paleo lifestyle and Supreme90 is a good fit for a caveman workout.
Here are my key findings to achieving success with 90 day workouts:
1.Workout at Sunrise
Finding the time to workout regularly is hard during the day, especially when you are over 40 like me. Do yourself a favor and get in the habit of working out early in the morning. It jump-starts body and mind creating a great attitude to attack the challenges of the day. Take extra time warming up before workouts especially in winter. Trust me, by the end of 90 Days you will be leaping out of bed in the freezing cold jones’ing for an intense workout.
2. Ramp Slowly
Unless you are a professional athlete be prepared for a level of intensity unlike anything you’ve experienced. It took me three attempts to get through P90X because I was unprepared for the pace. By the end of the first week my body was so sore I could barely sleep at night. For the first two weeks of any program workout at 50% intensity, don’t try to keep up with the trainers. Be patient in the beginning, getting into a regular routine is more important than keeping up with the trainer.
3. Follow the Diet
I cannot stress enough the importance of following the prescribed diets. The right amount of protein, carbs and fat has been planned for each stage of the workout. I made the mistake many times of not eating properly and got sick or injured. It’s almost impossible to finish these workouts without calorie counting. Also make sure to study the Paleo diet as it tends to be optimal for good athletic performance.
4. Buy a Cheap DVD Player
When you receive the DVDs make copies if possible. DVDs will get scratched. Buy a cheap clam-shell DVD player with a flip-up screen that you can take to the gym and not worry about breaking or being stolen. Nowadays you can download the videos onto a tablet but having tried this I wouldn’t recommend it. Using a cheap DVD player also tends to have simple playback controls that won’t get in the way during a workout.
5. Track Blood Pressure and Glucose
I notice changes to my blood pressure when first starting a new 90 day workout. Over the course of 90 days my blood pressure tends to improve so I got in the habit of monitoring it with an automatic cuff. I also invested in a blood glucose meter to check blood sugar levels before and after a workout.
If you are ready to be physically and mentally challenged try a 90 Day workout and email me afterwards with your results. I’d be interested to compare notes.
***NOTE: Always check with your doctor before starting any workout routine.