As with most things in life, finding the middle ground between “fanatical” and “lackadaisical” is key when approaching weight loss. In the same way that lack of motivation can tank your weight-loss goals, so too, can an overzealous approach.
For instance, let’s say you suddenly get motivated to shed extra pounds as quickly as possible and you begin severely restricting calories and/or putting in multiple workouts a day.
Newsflash: This is generally a recipe for failure, due to the steps your body takes to keep you alive during what it perceives as a time of starvation and from pushing your body beyond its safe physical limits.
That’s why, in most cases, we don’t recommend that you attempt more than one Beachbody program at a time. Our team of fitness and nutrition experts design each program to be a complete fitness solution; trying to do two Beachbody programs at once may stifle the effectiveness of any single program.
“If you give a program your all, you should reach any achievable goal you set for yourself,” explains Stephanie Saunders, Beachbody’s executive director of fitness. “Doing two programs simultaneously could force you to give 50 percent of your effort to each, which isn’t the most effective use of your time and could lead to overtraining and injury. Overtraining syndrome can affect your central nervous system, which can lead to depression, fatigue, and neurohormonal changes.”
Cody Braun, another Beachbody fitness expert, echoes her point: “By going off the program calendar, you risk overtraining, under-developing muscle groups, and going on the wrong nutrition plans designed for specific programs.”
In fact, burning too many calories through extra workouts can actually slow weight loss in some circumstances, because you aren’t eating enough to optimize workout performance or recovery. “The nutrition plan and workouts in every Beachbody program are designed to create the perfect calorie deficit for weight loss,” explains Saunders. “Losing one to two pounds per week is ideal.”
How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off
It’s important to keep in mind that weight loss is a journey, not a destination. Losing the weight and then making adjustments to your lifestyle to keep the weight off can seem daunting, but small, incremental changes over weeks, months, and years can lead to major results.
Here are a few principles to keep in mind to help you lose weight without doing two Beachbody programs at once:
1. Set realistic goals
“Weight loss takes time, so plan and set goals that are a challenge, but are still attainable, like consistently losing a pound or two a week,” advises Braun. If you set goals that are too easily reached, you won’t be motivated to try your hardest. Conversely, if your ambitions are set too high, you’ll be more likely to get frustrated and give up.
2. Watch what you eat
“Weight loss is largely nutrition-based, so be extremely diligent about your diet,” says Saunders. “Also, drink water, water, and more water.” Exercise is key to weight loss, but so are the methods by which you take in calories and hydration. Be sure not to overlook nutrition.
3. Recruit cheerleaders
“Surround yourself with people who will support or even join you on your weight-loss journey and celebrate every success,” says Saunders. When you hang around people who encourage you and who live healthy and active lifestyles themselves, you’re more likely to stick with a diet and exercise program.
4. Focus on the big picture
“Make sure to get eight hours of sleep at night and keep your stress levels as low as you can,” advises Saunders. If you’re looking to accelerate weight loss, these things are key. Simply eating right and exercising isn’t enough when it comes to improving overall health. It’s important to listen to your body and take rest and recovery seriously.
“If your heart is truly set on mixing multiple Beachbody programs, there are hybrid calendars available,” says Braun.
Hybrid calendars incorporate workouts from two or more Beachbody programs that are at the same difficulty level and have complementary goals. In other words, on some days, you may be doing two workouts a day, but you’ll be alternating between workouts from different programs. For example, The SHIFT SHOP program with Chris Downing has a hybrid calendar option that mixes and matches workouts from P90X3, CORE DE FORCE, and 3 Week Yoga Retreat.
If you’re convinced that two workouts a day is your best path to lose weight, then it’s important to be strategic in your approach in order to avoid overtraining or injury.
So, if you do INSANITY in the morning, do something low-intensity later, like 3-Week Yoga Retreat or even just a short hike or relaxing swim, suggests Sanders. “All these light activities will help increase circulation, speed recovery, and will not overtax your body,” she explains.
Remember that rest is part of training. Oftentimes taking the rest of the day easy after a hard morning workout is exactly what you need to perform at your best the following day. When it comes to your workouts, quality is always better than quantity.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get fit, or master a new skill — slow and steady is usually the best path to follow. This is how long-term, sustainable weight loss is best achieved.