Sunday, July 5, 2009
Starting an exercise program can be scary. You're eager to melt off ugly fat and
develop a physique that won't quit.
You want to find a fitness program you can stick with, and you don't want to
waste valuable time doing boring routines that get you nowhere, and leave you
tired and back to your lazy, stay-in-your-comfort-zone ways. Plus, you want to
get the most efficient workout for the time involved and money spent.
But most people don't know where to begin. Here's how you can start out smart.
1. Get a thorough check-up before beginning a fitness program. This is
especially important if you're over 35, have been sedentary for a long time,
have high blood pressure and/or cholesterol, are a smoker, or have chest
pains or shortness of breath. Hopefully, your doctor will be thrilled you're
making this lifestyle change, and will tell you if you have any limitations.
2. Ask yourself these questions when planning an exercise program:
Do I want to work out alone or with a partner?
Do I like endurance activities, or activities that require greater mental
alertness and quick bursts of energy?
Do I enjoy competition, or do I want exercise to "relax" me, so to speak?
Does my previous exercise history lead me to believe that I'm going to
like or dislike the activity I'm considering?
3. Start your days smart by working out before breakfast. Give yourself a
mental boost and a metabolic surge for the day by getting going as soon as
you wake up. If you have difficulty doing this, remember that those who
exercise in the morning are most likely to stick with an exercise program.
4. Another good reason to work out in the morning is because a night workout
could leave you too revved up at bedtime! It takes about 2 hours for your
body to "cool down" enough for you to get some Z's.
5. Have a specific objective in mind when starting a new routine.
Everybody wants to "lose weight and get in shape." But everybody means
something different when they say that. The important thing here is to be
clear on precisely what you want to achieve from your fitness program.
Focus on the next 90 days - what would you most like to accomplish?
6. This fitness program must fit YOU. Your new lifestyle in NOT your
spouse's, your children's, or your best friend's. IT'S YOURS AND YOURS
ALONE. If you can't get to a gym, get some exercise videos for a good
workout. If you are lazy about working out at home, get your butt over to a
gym and invest in a membership.
7. Challenge your bod EVERY TIME YOU WORK OUT! Insanity is defined as
doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. If you're
doing the same old routine every darn day, you're body is just going to quit
on you. No results, but more frustration, irritation, and anger. While your
workouts must be challenging, you must also feel invigorated after the
workout. If you're completely trashed, then you went just a wee bit too hard.
8. If you want a workout partner, find someone who motivates you, who has a
routine already in place and is getting results from it, and will let you tag
along. Have thick skin, though. This person might want his/her solitude so
s/he can focus better on the workout. Keep asking around until you can find
someone who can show you the ropes, who'll pick you up when you're down,
and you do the same. Or, hire a competent personal trainer.
9. If you've got a few pounds that are stubborn as a mule, tack on 5-10 minutes
per workout. The extra time adds up fast, and with a sound, balanced
nutrition plan, you'll see the desired difference in your clothes, how you
look, and on the scale.
10.No matter what activity you choose, always warm up and cool down.
Warming up promotes blood flow and gets your muscles and joints primed
to handle a fat-burning workout. The cool down gets rid of metabolic
wastes, like lactic acid (the chemical that is associated with muscle soreness,
keeps blood from pooling in specific areas (which could lead to dizziness or
fainting), and, along with light stretching, keeps your muscles limber