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  • Writer's pictureJaime Hernandez

How long does it take to get back into shape?How much exercise do I need?

How long does it take to get back into shape? How much exercise do I need?

This is a common question and the answer is dependent upon your age,gender,starting state of physical condition, injuries, or special medical conditions. The general guidelines for a novice exerciser has three phases.The first phase is the Pre-prepcondition and then the  preconditioning phase;  that generally takes 3-6months and then general conditioning could take one to two years for most people.

Interesting Fact: The body regenerates it self anew every 8 years….the bones take the longest at 10 years. Changing your body is a slow process but, can be done.

Individuals need to start slow with their new exercise program so they do not get injured.When you are lifting free weights, doing your cardiovascular exercise or just stretching you should not feel pain. It is important to have the right program designed for your specific goal such as body fat loss, muscle gain, general health, or a specialized exercise program if you have any injuries or diseases.

A safe and effective exercise program uses a periodized regimen which allows the individual to slowly adapt to the new stimulus because most injuries occur when the body is not addressed in this fashion and to much weight or intensity is applied to the body. Let me explain the difference of each program type below Periodized and non-periodized exercise program.

What is the difference between Periodized and non-periodized workout regimen.

The definition of Periodized is a measured amount of time; in fitness they are cycles, Micro=1wk,Meso=4-6wks, Macro=1yr. Non-periodized has no specific schedule some people call this muscle confusion.Non-periodized exercise is used primarily for people who are in season for a particular sport so as not to interfere with their sports specific movement patterns. NOT EVERYONE IS TRYING TO BE AN ATHLETE SO SOME OF THE BOOT CAMPS AND GROUP CLASSES THAT ARE NON-PERIODIZED ARE NOT APPROPRIATE FOR NON-HEALTHY INDIVIDUALS; THAT WOULD BE A PERSON WITH PREVIOUS INJURIES OR DISEASE.

The body has to follow some rules of adaptation(change) and it all depends on the exercise you chose to do. The safest way to change your body is with a Periodized exercise program so that you control the amount of stress placed on your body.

The GAS or general adaptation syndrome describes three basic stages of response to stress= (AKA Exercise):

(a) the Alarm stage, involving the initial shock of the stimulus on the system,

(b) the Resistance stage, involving the adaptation to the stimulus by the system, and

(c) the Exhaustion stage, in that repairs are inadequate, and a decrease in system function results.


The foundation of periodized training is keeping ones body in the resistance stage without ever going into the exhaustion stage for each phase of training. By adhering to cyclic training the body is given adequate time to recover from significant stress before additional training is undertaken therefore you are less likely to get injured.

What does that mean for me? Here is an example of how that applies to cardiovascular Training and Freeweight training.

Cardiovascular fitness

If you are a beginner  you should start with 2-3 times a week 10-20 minutes of cardiovascular training for the first six weeks. Chose a walking route that is flat to start out.Every six weeks (Mesocycle4-6wks)you are going to change the amount of time and number of days per week that you do your cardiovascular exercise so now you will do 3-4days per week and 25-30 minutes. If you need more guidance check out this link to my last blog for a walk to run program.

Free weight Training

Using weight training to change your body is the most commonly used modality of exercise people are most familiar with.The same principles apply to weight training  as for your cardiovascular training every 4-6 weeks you should change your program. Make sure to work all of your major muscle groups; do not just do the exercises you like doing.  I encourage people to do free-weight training 2-3 times a week if you are a beginner. Start light and work your weights up every other week. Remember it takes time for your body to adapt so be patient with your body it will get stronger. If you feel a lot of muscle pain you are probably doing to much and or you are not doing the proper amount of stretching.To really see a change in your body I would say a minimum of 3-6 months will do for most generally healthy people.

Well that is just some of the basics of how to make sure you do not do too much exercise so that you do not hurt yourself.

If you need help to put together  youR own fitness plan let me know!

Thank you for your time and energy.

Jaime J. Hernandez

Health and Exercise Prescriptions   ©



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