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Sustainable Fitness: Tips and Insights for a Gradual Progression to make your Fitness Plan Stick

Many of us today believe that body transformations happen over night. That it is the “normal” to cut 100 lbs. in three months, when in actuality, that is the anomaly. In fact, most of time, their is a lot of circumstances leading up to that progression. Nothing happens over night.

Fitness and progression takes time and effort to maintain. So why isit hard to maintain our motivation for our fitness goals? Seems so easy.

The classic saying; “You just got to show up!” Don’t cut it for some people. We all got lives, and as the classic scene from forest Gump goes:

Guy: “You just stepped in shit!.

Forrest Gump: “It happens”

Guy: “What shit?”

To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s crucial to keep in mind that sustainability is a great corner stone to build your fitness plan off of. We are bombarded by ads displaying intensive fitness programs and crash diets to provide temporary cures and fill there pockets, while the programs themselves are frequently unsustainable over the long run and can have a number of detrimental effects on one’s health.

A long-term, consistent, and sustainable approach to exercise, on the other hand, can result increasing your chances of lasting effects and enhanced general wellbeing. My primary purpose of writing this article is to give a brief dive into our topic of discussion.

A few tips, a little rambling, but all from the heart. Use this as a reference. At the bottom of the page, I will provide some websites that I found to be beneficial when researching this topic. I hope they benefit you in your ventures.

Negative Side Effects of All-or-Nothing Mentality:

A person who exhibits and vocalizes the all-or-nothing approach to fitness is someone who has the belief that, in order to be healthy, they must be absolutely disciplined and consistent with their exercise and nutrition.

Their is a time and place for certain individuals to interact with the behaviors entailed with this mindset. But even with all of the athleticism in the world, if the programming is to intense over a long-period of time, even for these individuals, the end game will always be burnout, injury, and/or lost of appreciation for the activity.

This way of thinking can result in a vicious cycle of extreme actions, including excessive exercise or rigorous dieting, followed by periods of inactivity or overeating. This kind of conduct can have detrimental effects on one’s physical and mental health and is not sustainable. (One of my biggest issues for sure! If you want to hear more on this topic, I have a lot of practice and insight. Just message me. I’m open.)

The all-or-nothing approach to training can have a number of drawbacks, including the unhealthy concern with weight and looks that can result. In trying to obtain a specific body form or size, a person may develop a fixation on doing so and resort to excessive or unhealthy activities. This can result in disordered eating patterns and a poor body image, both of which can have detrimental effects on one’s physical and mental well-being.

When a person can’t maintain perfect discipline, an all-or-nothing approach to exercise can also result in emotions of guilt or failure. This can result in a vicious cycle of self-criticism and make it challenging for someone to maintain their fitness objectives over time. Once we stop appreciating the process and start to hate it and find no benefit for it, that is when we fall off the horse. All-or-Nothing is like being the best 100m sprinter, but you’re racing in the 10,000m. Different structures for different objectives.

In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s advantageous to strike a balance and pay attention to sustainability rather than perfection.

Now let’s take a look at what sustainability can look like for you and how building a map to navigate the terrain before you jump into the wilderness will allow you to venture further than you imagined.

The advantages of increasing your workout routine gradually:

Numerous advantages of gradually increasing your workout regimen can help you stick to your goal over time.

One of its key advantages is that it can build up your tolerance to prevent burnout. We all have a finite amount of motivation when it comes to learning and developing new habits. When you try to take on too much too quickly, you risk becoming unmotivated and overwhelmed.

You may lower the danger of burnout and improve the enjoyment of your fitness journey by beginning with moderate intensity workouts and progressively increasing intensity and duration. This allows the body to accumulate the proper time required for you to adapt to the new demands placed on it.

Gradually increasing the intensity allows a person to gain confidence and coordination in their movements to help further prevent injuries down the road developing from improper mechanics and body fatigue. (These two go together like peas and carrots.)

Finally, gradually building up your fitness routine can help you feel a sense of accomplishment because it is a great way for the mind to stay focused on the long-term trajectory of your plan. Looking to far ahead can lead to a feeling of uneasiness and possible regret for thinking that you could do such a thing. Great things take time. Be smart.

Tips and Insights to Gradual Progression

Allow time for your body to react and avoid injury:

When starting a new exercise program or making changes to your existing routine, it’s important to allow time for your body to adjust and avoid injury. When you place new demands on your body, such as by increasing intensity or duration of workouts, it takes time for your muscles, bones, and connective tissue to adapt.

If you try to do too much too soon, you may be at an increased risk of injury, as your body is not yet ready to handle the new demands being placed on it.

A few thing to consider are:

  • Pay attention to physical cues and adjust your routine accordingly: It’s important to listen to your body and pay attention to any physical cues it may be giving you. It’s a good idea to cut back on your workouts or take a rest day if you are in pain or uncomfortable. Once we are presented with an uncomfortable situation that we have not been exposed to, we tend to be a little nervous. It’s normal. We are explorers and at the same time, we are survivors. Just pay attention to your surroundings. Internal and external.

  • Try not to get places fast. Their is a lot of new stimulus your body is trying to adapt to. It is filled with emotions, thinking, judgment, and all sorts of stuff that zap energy from your motivation and try-hard. Realize that every time you show up, bridges and pathways are being created to adapt to these new demands. We always want the process to be faster than what it is. Take it from me. One’s fitness level is never going to be what they want it to be. We want what we want. Use it to your advantage. Want smaller and you will win everyday. Your progression is your own. Our bodies tell a story and they all different.

  • PAY ATTENTION! That’s all. Just think that when you are first starting and think of nothing else except those words, and it puts you in a better position for success.

Increase workout duration gradually:

As you get more accustomed to your fitness regimen, you can lengthen the time you spend exercising. By doing so, you can keep your body guessing and increase your ability to recognize your current limits. It’s a good idea to start with shorter workouts and progressively lengthen them as you get more accustomed to them.

Don’t forget that when you are first starting to increase workout duration, it is important to not forget about a few facts:

  • You will be, more than likely, using more calories throughout your day. If you feel sluggish and tired, remember that you are working hard. It is a natural progression in short durations. Make sure it is not a prolonged issue. This will tend to lead to the consistency of your workouts decreasing. This decreases your overall work number hours for the week. Being tired for the sake of being tired is a sure fire way to hate what you’re doing. If I’m suppose to feel better, why do I want to feel crappy all the time?

  • Remember that it is not all about time. Just because we are somewhere for a set amount of time, doesn’t mean that we are working the same every time we are there. Make sure that the workouts are focused and concise before you go in. It can go a long way for your success. We tend to focus more on items we have invested time in. Give yourself 5 to 10 minutes to just think about what your objective is, how to accomplish it, and pat yourself on the back before you go in. The best investments are the one’s we put into ourselves.

  • The best way, for me, to create a good base of figuring out how much time I should be investing to not get burned out, while still getting a good workout in, is to give landmarks to go off of. Get your plan together and bring it to your workout space. Try not to make yourself tired, just take the time to do every move you have put together. Don’t pay attention to reps, but focus on the number of sets you have put together for yourself. (Don’t forget to pay attention to your bodies cues. If something is hurting and you don’t know if it is injury related or not, don’t work muscles and joints which annoy that area.) Write down how long it took you to do all that. Now next time you go to do the same workout, try to remember which moves you are good at, and which ones are going to take some time. This way, it will give you a decent idea of how long ones workout should be to start. (This is my method. It works for me. Just ask if you want me to elaborate on this.)

Don’t be afraid to mix in rest days and rest times:

Recovery is one of the most overlooked aspects of creating proper fitness goals. To many times do we fall for the scam talk of: “If your not working hard, then your not working”. This is talk from an old guard.

Not saying it isn’t beneficial, it’s just, now, we have other outlets and perspectives. The goal being to make fitness accessible for all. Rest and recovery is part of that new card.

Muscles don’t grow when you workout. The results of any workout, I argue, happens during recovery. Not during the stimulus. That is the catalyst. Planning the recovery phase of your health and wellness plan is as important as the rest of it. A piece of the whole puzzle.

Here are just a few activities that some of you can consider to incorporate into your recovery schedule:

  1. Walking: Walking is a great way to get your body moving and can be done at any fitness level. If you wish to take it a step further. While you are walking, focus on walking “perfect”. Make every step count. Walk differently then you normally walk. Walk slow; walk fast. If you walk fast; walk slow. Only move one arm when you walk? Only move the other one. Have fun with it.

  2. Yoga: Yoga is a low impact form of exercise that can help improve flexibility, balance, and strength. There are many different styles of yoga, so you can find one that works best for you.

  3. Swimming: Swimming is a great low impact workout that can help improve cardiovascular fitness and build muscle strength.

  4. Reading: Allowing your body to rest while still working out your brain is a great way for those neuro connections to get refined. Working your brain can be just as beneficial as working out the body. Although it might be a rest day for your body, their is no reason why we can’t workout the old brain muscles.

  5. Breathing Exercises: Their is never a bad time to get some breath work done. Want to maximize your recovery day? Try out a new breathing exercise or do some reading about the power of the breath. From a former meathead who knew no other way to breath except forcefully, trust me when I say this can prove to be a very powerful tool for your utility belt when having to take on tasks in the future. Can’t do without it now.

  6. Stretching: Stretching is a great way to improve flexibility and can be done at any fitness level. You can start with simple stretches and gradually increase the intensity as you become more comfortable.


Although it may need more time initially, easing into a new workout regimen pays benefits in the long run: When beginning a new fitness regimen, it may be tempting to attempt too much too fast, but it’s crucial to keep in mind that taking it slowly can pay off in the long run. Be intuitive to what your body is telling you. This is a piece of the puzzle. Any one in to puzzles will tell you the fun part is taking the time to put it all together and get to see the final product, all while getting progressively better at putting the pieces together. You get where I’m going with this.

For any deeper insights into some of the topics discussed in this article, I suggest visiting:

“Heart Risks Associated With Extreme Exercise.” Cleveland Clinic, 30 July 2020,

Perna, Erica. “The Side Effects of Excessive Exercise |” LIVESTRONG.COM, 15 July 2019,

“All-or-Nothing Thinking: Examples, Effects, and How to Manage.” All-or-Nothing Thinking: Examples, Effects, and How to Manage,

(Thanks for reading. Please give me a clap if you enjoyed. It motivates me. I really want to hear back from people and accept all criticisms. My main point of all my writing is to take what I know, or think I know, fairly well and put it into a language that can introduce ideas and concepts to as many people as possible that they may get excited to research the topic further. To spark some joy in their research. This is going to be more of what my weekend articles are going to look like. A little longer. A little more specialized. A little more opportunity for conversations. Peace mofos.)

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