every day and watching each calorie you put into your mouth. So, what now? Can
you keep your new body without all the work?
Yes and no. In order to function well, you need to move and properly fuel
your body. But the fitter you are, the easier it is to stay fit. This means you
can maintain your fitness with much less effort than it took to get there.
The following checklist will assuage the fears you have about losing your new
body or reverting to the unhealthy habits you've worked so hard to change, and
provide you with a sensible plan to maintain your results.
Before you worry about keeping your results, you should celebrate. You've
earned it! Your fitness won't fall apart overnight, and a break will give you
physical and—more importantly—mental relief from worrying about training, diet,
Don't worry about losing fitness. A little time off will actually improve
your fitness by allowing your body to heal microtrauma (natural breakdown of
muscle and connective tissue) incurred during regimented training. If you're in
need of convincing, consider that professional athletes are forced by their
trainers to take full-stop breaks at the end of each season.
Too much time off, however, will start things sliding the other way.
The length of your break should be related to the length of your program. If
you've done a month of INSANITY: THE ASYLUM®, a week off is plenty. If you completed 90 days of P90X or P90X2®, you've got close to a month of leeway before your fitness will begin to suffer.
You can exercise during this break and I strongly recommend it. Just make it
fun and, absolutely, don't follow a regimented program. This is the time to take
your newfound fitness for a drive around the block. If you've ever thought there
was something you'd like to try, now's the time.
Without a maintenance plan, expect to keep your results for about as
long as it took you to get them.
It takes approximately 3 weeks off to fully undo 3 weeks of training, while
it may take 3 months to fully lose 90 days' worth of effort—it takes about the
same amount of time to lose your fitness as it took for you to attain it.
But since starting at square one sucks (remember?), you never want to wait
too long to restart your training. The break you took in Lesson 1 should
transition straight into a maintenance plan. If you got in shape for something
like a vacation, class reunion, or another type of indulgence-oriented function,
you need a plan (if you didn't start with one) for continuing. Hopefully your
new healthy habits have been well ingrained and you'll soon begin to miss the
endorphin rush of your daily exercise sessions
Create a maintenance schedule
To maintain your fitness, you'll need around half the volume of your training
program. The two simplest ways to do this are with full workouts every other day
or with half workouts 6 days per week.
For the full workout plan, pick workouts to do every other day. The workout
you do can be based on what you feel like you need. The downside is that it can
be boring, which is why we offer many maintenance workouts, like P90X ONE on
ONE®, INSANITY Fast and Furious, Brazil Butt Lift® Master Series, and so on. You
can also mix and match from other workout programs, take classes at the gym, or
play sports. The key is that you push your body in the way it was accustomed to
during your training program.
Doing half workouts is trickier because you're probably going to have to
abridge your workouts. Instead of "just Pushing Play," it's up to you to
structure your workout. A good general guideline is to warm up, do one or two
rounds of exercises, and then fast-forward to the workout's cooldown (or do a
cooldown on your own). About 80% of a workout's value happens during the first
few sets. And while that may put you 20% under elite fitness, it's perfectly
fine for maintenance.
With either schedule, you'll want to make sure you're not doing similar
workouts too close to each other. Don't do plyometrics or work similar body
parts back to back.
Continue to push yourself.
Just because you're working out less doesn't mean you can slack off. Your
workouts should improve over time while you're maintaining, the same way they
improved over time during your program. Your goal during each workout is still
to lift more weight, move faster, jump higher, go deeper into stretches, and
mimic the trainers as much as possible. Your body needs to be pushed. If it's
not, it will regress.
Eat how you did when you were out of shape and your results will melt
For a few days, or even longer, it will seem like you can now inhale burgers,
beers, and everything else that you've been denying yourself without any
consequences. This won't last.
It's a fun perk, but it's simply your body's new raging metabolism trying to
heal microtrauma. The fitter you are, the slower your body is to show
regressions. And while your new, fitter body will endure splurges much better
than it did before, it is not, and will never be, immune. It's like the saying
goes, you can't out-exercise a bad diet. At least you can't forever.
You don't need to eat as strict a diet as you did during your
program. On the flip side, you don't need to eat like you have a fitness competition coming up unless, well, you have a fitness competition coming up. In fact, you probably shouldn't. Beachbody programs are "boot camps." They are designed to be very strict. Real life should be more relaxed and include indulgences. Fitness competitors don't stay in competition shape all the time, and neither should you.
There are a few popular maintenance strategies incorporated by fit people.
One is the 80/20 rule. Keep 80% of your diet relatively clean so that you can
let your hair down with the remaining 20%. Another is workweeks on and weekends
Whatever you do, just remember that your new body needs more calories to
maintain than it did when you began your program. That's because your
muscle-to-fat ratio is higher than it was when you started, so your metabolism
is higher. Food is also essential for rebuilding the breakdown caused by your
workouts, all of which means you need (or get) to eat more.
Ultimately, your goal is to stop calorie counting and learn to eat based on
how your body feels. If you're lacking energy, eat more. Avoid excessive eating
by stopping before you're full and realizing that when you overeat you feel
sluggish and uncomfortable. By eating intuitively, you can maintain your
physique more easily than by measuring every morsel you put in your mouth.
Lesson 7: You can't maintain forever.
A solid maintenance plan can keep you fit for a long time. However, if you
want the level of fitness you had after your last program, you're going to
require a reboot every so often, as in reboot camp. There's simply no way around
the fact that elite fitness requires sacrifice, hard work, and getting out of
your comfort zone from time to time. P90X2, anyone?
By steve edwards