Are Extreme Workouts for You?

These high-level fitness programs aren't for the faint of heart. Find out if you're ready for the challenge

Extreme workouts should be avoided by entry-level fitness enthusiasts

Forget about simple jogging or lifting weights – extreme workouts are the hot fitness fad

Tired of the same old traditional workouts? Boot camps, power workouts, Crossfit and other hardcore exercise programs are becoming increasingly popular to boost fitness levels, burn fat and banish boredom.

There are intense programs like extreme yoga, even extreme golf (where you basically run around the course). There are also fitness fusion workouts where you mix and match activities like ballet and boxing, or yoga and Pilates. This challenges your mind and muscles in different ways and targets strength and endurance, core strength, balance and agility in just one workout.

Whether you choose a boot camp workout, Billy Blanks Tae Bo or Sam Lopez’s Relentless 75-minute cardio/weights program, you’ll need to be in good shape first. Keep in mind that intense exercise shuts down your immune system (while moderate exercise boosts your immunity).

Rest and Recovery After Extreme Workouts

If you are regularly pushing yourself to the max, be sure you allow at least 48 hours’ recuperation between workouts – and take time off if you are starting to feel ill. For more mature individuals, the ability to recuperate from high intensity workouts is much slower than at a younger age.

Intense exercise breaks down tissue (skin, muscle and bone), so remember that extreme sessions in the gym may actually speed the aging process because an older body takes time to sufficiently repair the tissue breakdown from extreme physical stress.

If, however, you’re young, in good health, physically fit and bored with standard exercise methods, put some fun back into fitness by being extreme!

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.