Several lifetimes ago, when I worked with college students, I made a list of two rules. First, don’t be a jerk. Second, use your good judgment. I thought that covered everything, but I discovered later that a third rule was necessary as a clarification: no sangria ever under any circumstances. These remain my basic rules.
In fitness, the second rule is really important. We all want to be fit Right Now. Unfortunately, the trip from couch to marathon takes a while. Every journey begins with a single step, they say. One step. Take one at a time. The odds of taking the second step improve when we take one at a time.
How do we tell if we are taking the right steps? We feel tired but not completely wiped out. We have soreness, but we can still get out of our chairs without (too much) swearing. We feel up to doing it again tomorrow (cardio) or the next day (weights). When we are counting the moments until the next dose of Advil, when we wish that our favorite massage therapist worked 24/7, when the very idea of moving seems to make our entire bodies ache, we have violated rule two.