Crash Workouts


Nearly all of us have considered doing a crash diet, and maybe we’ve even gone through with it. There was that amazing vacation that required a tiny bikini or that bridesmaid dress you needed to zip up just a little bit more, so you went for it. Did it work? Did it last? Nope. So what about a crash workout?

Nothing beats a phone call or a consultation when someone looks at me and asks if I can get them down 10 lbs in two weeks. So can I?? Well, I have seen crazy things happen, but realistically, no. I’m saying NO for three reasons:

It is unhealthy.

You are going to be miserable.

There is a good chance you will hurt yourself.

Last time I looked, crutches are no fun on the beach.

Not yet convinced? Let’s look at some science.

Our first thought to lose weight is tons of cardio. Spending two entire weeks on the treadmill may lose the weight, but it is incredibly dangerous (not to mention dreadfully boring). When we do repetitive movements like running, we are working the same group of muscles over and over, which leads to fatigue. In a moderated workout, fatigue is what allows muscles to get stronger and grow larger. If we push them too far, however, other muscles will take over to compensate. Those muscles are usually your lower back extensors. Too much repetition in strength training can actually damage the integrity of the muscle DNA and can throw off hormone balance. To prevent these serious consequences, our workout program must be balanced. We need to be sure we are not overworking one muscle group to the point of fatigue and compensation. We also need to make sure we are engaging opposing muscle groups to keep the entire body balanced. For example, if you do several upper back exercises, make sure you pair them with chest and pectoral exercises (and of course abs) to balance out the body.

So now it’s crunch time, operation bikini. You have the facts about what NOT to do, so what are you going to do? Be sure to mix it up. If you have not been in the gym or studio for a while, don't overdo it. Start off with thirty minutes of cardio every day and add variety by hoping in a spin class or doing some stairs. To add tone to that slimming figure, rotate in a Pilates machine class or HIIT class. Pilates both lengthens those tight muscles and tones them at the same time. HIIT tones muscles while getting your heart rate up.

The biggest red flag to watch out for? PAIN. Muscle burn is ok, that will happen with an intense workout. But if something pulls, is pinching, or feeling like it is radiating heat, STOP. Trust me, it isn’t worth it. Remember the crutches on the beach? Also remember that the reason for going on wonderful vacations and wearing beautiful dresses is to feel fabulous, not to destroy yourself just for the end result.

If you have any persistent pain, please see your doctor. For Pilates classes and personal training, ask us! As always, we want to help you build yourself. OnPointe.

  • Shan, G; Comparison of repetitive movements between ballet dancers and martial artists: Risk assessment of muscle overuse injuries prevention strategies. Research in Sports Med. 2005 13(1) 63-76.
  • Meeusen R ; Nederhof E ; Buyse L ; Roelands B ; de Schutter G ; Piacentini MF. Diagnosis in overtraining in athletes using the two-about exercise protocol. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2010, 44 (9) 642-8.

Author: Kaitlyn Rhoades