Is Penny Hardaway’s 30-Day Transformation Safe?

Photo: iam1cent/Instagram

Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Caron Butler and even retired NBA player Penny Hardaway have all reported incredible results taking part in an extreme 30-day fitness program. Hardaway lost 35 pounds by the end of his, and Butler has shed 10 pounds in five days. Where do we sign up, right? However, as with any extreme fitness regimen, it’s best to examine the potential pitfalls before taking the leap. Here are the possible dangers of committing to any quick-fix transformation (especially if you’re an average guy).

Extreme workouts can backfire
High-performance athletes and celebrities are no strangers to working out hard. As a result, their bodies recover quickly from the tough exercises a 30-day challenge may heap on them. The average Joe, on the other hand, may buckle under daily workouts such as Hardaway’s, which saw him walking one hour at a 15-degree incline before hitting the weights for another. If you don’t have a fundamental level of fitness, consider taking a safer long-term approach.

Rapid weight loss has its downside
When you shed fat quickly by creating a massive caloric deficit—that is, increasing your workout or decreasing your food intake—your body automatically triggers a starvation response. The result is a lowered metabolism and increased hunger, both of which can set back your weight loss goals if you cave. Additionally, your body also starts breaking down muscle for energy, meaning not every pound you lose is stored fat. Ideally, you’ll want to consume 3,500 calories less than you burn every week (equivalent to one pound of bodyweight) to avoid a starvation response.

Then there’s rhabdo
When the dangers of CrossFit were first examined, no word struck fear into the hearts of extreme workout fans more than “rhabdo.” Short for rhabdomyolysis, it’s a condition that results from broken down muscle tissue entering the bloodstream, which is harmful to the kidneys. Individuals who commit to high-intensity exercise plans and don’t leave enough time for their bodies to recover are at risk of developing the issue. The symptoms range from the benign—red urine and fatigue—to more serious complications such as seizures.

What next?

The reason many extreme diets or fitness regimens are limited to spans of 30 days or five weeks is that, put simply, most bodies physically cannot keep up with them forever. Their gains can be short lived, too. Once an extreme program ends, the old habits that got you into your weight loss mess in the first place can quickly resurface. The best way to keep the pounds off? Embark on a long-term lifestyle changes. These small tweaks should get you on the right track.
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