photo by Vera Kratochvil (click image to see more)

Most people feel like they are drowning when trying to maintain a long term fitness plan. This is completely unnecessary. Thankfully, by following one simple rule, anyone can successfully start AND FINISH a year long fitness regimen.

In this post we show you exactly what to do and what NOT to do in order to achieve your goal.

The really good news is that it is very simple and easy to follow, the bad news is, it won’t produce the overnight results you desire. It will take some time. BUT if you have a little patience you will get what you have wanted your whole life: a transformed body and 100% consistency in the gym.

Beginners and those who’ve traditionally found it very difficult to make a commitment to consistent training without constantly catching colds, burning out or running out of time and energy, have all done so for the exact same reason: THEY TRAIN TOO MUCH. 

Training puts a strain on your muscles, nervous system, immune system and psyche. ALL of these systems need to be allowed to adapt slowly if you are to begin and successfully continue a fitness regimen for years to come.all your systems

Come January of each new year, the gym population doubles with people on New Year’s resolutions. These poor souls strain themselves 5 days a week at maximum intensity to pay for their Christmas indulgence and for last year’s sedentary lifestyle.

photo by Vera Kratochvil (click here for more)

photo by Vera Kratochvil (click image for more)

Within 6 weeks these people are gone only to show up a month or two later to begin the on-again, off-again cycle which will eventually lead them to quit altogether.

Quite simply, these people force their bodies — which have been inactive for some time — to do something they absolutely cannot do. They are defeated before they even begin. Either their psychology gives up or their immune system or they get injured. And all their efforts are wasted because they have not transformed their bodies. You cannot make up for lost time by simply going “nuclear” on your gym intensity.


The easy-does-it program slowly increases your training frequency over a period of 8 and a half months. Yes, you read that right. 3 quarters of one calendar year. Along with good nutrition and proper hydration and sleep, it is the only way to allow all 4 systems to adapt to the permanent increase in physical activity without getting behind in recovery and therefore causing pain, fatigue, constant illness or mental burn out.

Here’s how to apply it (CLICK TO ENLARGE):

The key to success is PATIENCE!! This approach takes nearly 9 months to get you to the “PERMANENT CYCLE” listed at the bottom of the above figure. Throughout the entire program, make sure to be tuned into your body. If you feel you’re getting sick, take one or more days off (if not the whole week). The key is to respect your body and its already busy lifestyle and to slowly allow all your systems to adapt to a consistently more physically demanding lifestyle.

We strongly recommend you hire a trainer to show you routines appropriate for your desired intensity levels (i.e.: mild, moderate and severe). Once you reach the permanent frequency cycle, continue to adjust your intensity from mild, moderate and severe as your body will not be the same on any given week (or even day). Especially make sure that you still throw in plenty of mild workouts into the mix during the weeks in which you’re training 5 times. Never train at maximum intensity more than 3 times per week. Ever.

photo by George Hodan (click image for more)

photo by George Hodan (click image for more)

Further, mix up your training = inside the gym, outside the gym, swimming, cycling, running, power walking, therabands, machines, dumbbells, kettle bells, etc. The more variety the better.

This approach is modeled after the fact that a body responds to frequency NOT intensity. Otherwise put, if during the year you were to train at high intensity for 8 weeks, burn out, and then take 4 weeks off to recover (typical overtrain + don’t train cycle of burnouts), you’d get 35 weeks of intense training AND a full 17 weeks off. This may not seem horribly bad, but because the intensity was too high, your body would actually resist the workouts in hopes of preserving its vital functions and staying healthy. Much of the effort would be too much for the body and it would under-react to training by minimizing fat loss and muscle-gain.

loose jeans

photo by Petr Kratochvil (click image for more)

Plus, due to the multiple weeks off, the body reacts by “weathering the storm” of the 8 weeks of workouts. Which means that even with all that sweat n’ blood, the body refuses to really get toned up because the workouts are not consistent and followed by huge down time. And the body, above all else, listens for consistency not intensity. And when you take more than 2 full weeks off in a row, the body is undoing all the hard work of the 8 weeks of training. This is a very frustrating lose – lose scenario that keeps millions of people from permanently staying on a fitness cycle and get the result they so desperately want.

These 4 weeks on + 1 week off cycles allow your systems (i.e.: muscular, nervous, immune, psychological) to recover should one or more of them be getting behind.

Eat right, drink plenty of water, buy a new mattress (if you have to) and train your body in slowly increasing frequency and intensity. By next year you won’t recognize yourself in the mirror.

One thought on “HOW TO START — and finish — A YEAR LONG FITNESS REGIMEN

  1. This is great advice! Reading it, I completely agree with you. And remember that there are other ways to start getting more active! Play with the kids at the park, don’t just sit on a bench. Take them swimming, hardly a workout, but try following your 2 year old around a pool for an hour! Take a family bike ride or walk. But do the gym routine separately. That way, you’re increasing family time and your own fitness regime

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