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Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Posted 22 Sep 12

Do I need to start off slower with my C25K?

Hi, I just started the C25K challenge this wk and done 2 days so far and I am really sore. I understand this is bound to happen going from little exercise to jog/walk 20min routine. But I guess what I want to know is it ok for me to do this as I have 6stone to lose and my parents are saying its too much for me and I should start off gently but I don't want to give up now that I've started. Should I stick at it and perhaps repeat wk one till I feel I can build up stamina or give up and just walk for now till I lose a few stone? I've already lost 9lbs in my first wk next weigh in is in two days. Thanks in advance

Our expert says...


First off, well done for making the decision to start the C25K challenge and congratulations on your recent weight loss.

The C25K plan has been devised to build stamina and fitness slowly, making it ideal for beginners and those looking to make the transition from a sedentary to a more active lifestyle. As with any new exercise programme, you may experience muscle soreness for a couple of days after the activity, this is completely normal. However, if you experience more severe symptoms such as nausea, headaches or intense aches and pains either during or after exercise, this may be an indicator that you need to reduce the intensity of the exercise and begin by walking 3 times per week and gradually increasing the intensity before commencing the C25K plan.

Assessing how you feel whilst exercising is a good way of determining whether you are doing too much too soon. The ''Borg scale’’ gives a subjective feeling of effort and will enable you to get a general idea of an appropriate level of intensity you should be working at. As you exercise, rate yourself between 6-20 using the following scale:

7 very, very light exertion
9 very light exertion
11 fairly light exertion
13 somewhat hard exertion
15 hard exertion
17 very hard exertion
19 very, very hard exertion

The C25K plan begins by following the principle of intervals which basically means you work between two intensities, a comfortable one and a much more challenging intensity. You should be aiming to work at level 9 or 10 during the lower intensity periods and at level 15 or 16 for the higher intensity periods.

Only you will truly know how you feel during and after exercising. Listen to your body and if its telling you to slow down or spend longer at a certain stage before progressing then pay attention to these signs and adjust your exercise intensity accordingly.

Hope this helps,



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