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The Princeton Longevity Center Medical News

Do Extreme Home Fitness Programs Work?
Choosing the Right No Excuses Work-Outs (Part 2)

By: Tom O'Connor
Exercise Physiologist

Have you heard of the latest trend in extreme home fitness programs? There are a number of them including P90X, Tabata Training, Boot Camps, TRX Suspension Training and more. These workouts usually consist of high intensity powerful total body movements.  Programs vary for equipment requirements from needed to optional to no equipment whatsoever. These types of workout have become very popular despite their non-traditional no-gym-needed attitude.  So, can they work for you?

Almost any exercise can be effective at weight loss, as long as you’re burning more calories than you’re taking in. If weight loss is your main goal, and you follow any program with a negative caloric intake, it will work.  These extreme home fitness programs are usually prepackaged with most of the thinking for diet and exercise plan done for you and make it easy to get into a routine. Some at-home videos are as short as 15 minutes, which is very easy and efficient to squeeze into busy schedules. These programs are also good high energy motivators - especially boot camps and group training – making getting in shape a supported effort and a bit more fun for those who need that extra motivation.
So what is the down-side? Although these programs work, some require extensive workout plans (some as long as 60-90 minutes; 5-6 days per week) along with following a strict diet and meal plan.  For most of us smaller, smarter steps are much more helpful. Positive reinforcement from achieving these smaller steps can help you reach your goals.  A simple workout program that can be performed in a small amount of time in our “No excuses workout” can be found by clicking here.

While these routines are great for caloric expenditure, they are also missing some key components. The program designer, host of the workout video, or the class instructor does not know you or your body type. They don’t know if you have an injury history or a muscle imbalance/compensation.  They do not know if you have other goals such as muscle definition instead of just weight loss.  Having an exercise physiologist create an individualized program that covers your muscle balances and needs based on your body type and goals is the best way to get the results you are looking for.

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