Quick workouts for poor results

Reporter: Chris Burrows

Let’s face it, life is busy and fast-paced. We barely have time for leisure activities, to socialise with family or friends — and forget about exercising.
But what’s this? One month to stronger abs challenge? Every day for a month you do three different exercises, and each day you increase the difficulty. By the end of the month you’ll be doing 100 sit-ups and two minutes planks. You can easily find five minutes a day for that, and what could go wrong?
Workout routines are easily found on the web these days, especially on sites like Pinterest and Tumblr. They look easy and are appealing to anyone who is finding it hard to find the time to exercise and are desperate to lose that extra weight. But as appealing as these workout routines are, there are inherent risks to them.
One of the first problems Angie Wood, fitness co-ordinator for the Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre, sees with a program like this is there are no rest days.
“No pain, no gain is a misnomer,” Wood says, adding that when you exercise your muscles you create tiny tears in the muscle fibres. It is these tears that can cause the soreness you feel after exercising, but if you don’t give these tears time to heal you can cause serious damage to your muscles. Soreness is normal for muscle development, but what you don’t want is to feel pain. This is usually a sign that you are not allowing your body time to recover or are doing something wrong.
Another problem Wood sees is with your form, or the way you are performing an exercise. Doing a plank for two minutes doesn’t mean anything if you are doing it wrong, and this can also lead to injury. Wood suggests researching the exercise or seeking someone “in the know” that can help you perfect your form. YouTube and Bodybuilding.com have resources that can help.
It’s also important to train for your goals, Wood says. For instance, if your goal is to run a marathon in the spring, then working out your abs is not going to help you achieve this goal. This is another reason researching routines is important, and other resources, such as fitness DVDs, are better for you than a quick fix. The FLEX also has personal trainers on hand that can help you develop a workout routine geared towards your fitness goals, and can teach you proper technique so you can avoid injury.
Whatever your fitness goals, and whatever routine you choose, Wood says to make sure you’re having fun. That way you know you’re going to stick with it.