Create a Goal
A good start for
your exercise program is beginning at the end--in other words, figure
out what you want to accomplish. While a well-balanced program ideally
includes cardio work, strength training, and flexibility exercises,
your goal will determine your focus and how much time you spend on each.
For example, someone
interested in burning fat should focus more on cardio. Include
all five exercise components in your workout plan. Refer to the exercise
components. Create a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
Plan Your Program
Many a good intention
has been sabotaged by non-specific plans. "I want to get in shape
this fall" has the distinct flavor of a non-specific goal that
carries no plan of action. "I'd like to lose 2 inches from my waistline
by December by working out Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the gym"
incorporates a specific, measurable goal with a specific plan of action.
For more details
on Planning a Strength Training Program.
For more details on Planning a Cardio Program.
Develop a Strategy for Handling the Obstacles
You might look at
the following list of possible obstacles to determine the ones most
likely to jump in front of your exercise program.
- I'm too busy...
- I'm tired...
- I'm not in
- I don't feel
- My kid(s)/spouse/friend(s)/pet(s)
really need me...
- The gym is
- Ow, I hurt
my (name your favorite injury)...
- I forgot my
What the average
person doesn't realize is that the mind will create all sorts of reasons
to prevent you from getting out of your familiar pattern, which for
many American resembles a slug, so the most important thing is to listen
to the excuse and go exercise anyway. In that way the new pattern, or
habit, becomes going to the gym no matter what obstacles throws itself
your way. Use discipline for at least the first six months until that
exercise habit becomes your new pattern.
Clothes and Shoes
There's three important
points about exercise attire:
should be comfortable, breathable and allow your body to move. By
the way, since most gyms are filled with mirrors wear something that
you like to see on yourself. Throwing on your oldest t-shirt and shorts
may be functional but depress your spirit.
- Shoe soles die
after six months so either buy a new shoe insert or new shoes so that
your joints-especially knees and ankles-can be protected. This is
an important investment.
- Carry an extra
exercise outfit in your trunk so on those days when you forget your
exercise gear, you'll have the back up.
Work out Safely
Many an exercise
program has been sabotaged by injury. Going too fast, too soon can cause
long term problems, not to mention burn-out. Check out our Safety
and Etiquette page to protect yourself.
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