Where do I start? This is a question I get asked often as a personal trainer and group exercise teacher. So many people feel daunted by the idea of beginning a fitness regimen that they end up not even attempting to take the first step. I’m going to take the mystery out of starting a new fitness routine with these four simple steps!
Step 1: Break Out Your Calendar
One of the best ways to make sure you’re fitting exercise into the work week is to schedule it into your calendar just as you would any other important appointment. Many people are likely to keep their doctor’s appointments and scheduled meetings for work or other professional commitments, so it’s equally as important to schedule time in the calendar for your health. I often encourage clients to take a look at their calendars on a Sunday and map out the days and times that they can fit in their workouts. With a clear plan, you will be more likely to check fitness off your list.
Step 2: Set Attainable Goals
If I had a dime for every time someone told me they were going to work out every day as part of their newfound enthusiasm for fitness, I could retire. I don’t like to set my clients up to fail; I want them to succeed for the long haul. I recommend setting realistic goals as opposed to hitting the ground running and not even being able to finish the month out because you have hurt yourself or you are burned out from doing too much all at once. This is a recipe for disaster and can sabotage your plan.
Fitness is a lifelong journey and a lifetime commitment. The short-term fix will only give you immediate satisfaction. If you’re looking to change for the better, then look at your journey as a lifestyle change with longstanding results and immeasurable health benefits.
If you’re a beginner, I suggest starting out with two to three days of cardio activity and one day of strength training per week. Your cardio activity can range from 30-40 minutes and you will want to be working in your target heart rate zone. If you would like to know what your target heart rate zone is, plug your age and exercise level into the calculator on this website: http://www.active.com/fitness/calculators/heartrate?force_a2=y.
Your weekly strength training session should involve weights and should last between 30-40 minutes. By setting achievable goals you will feel more confident about.
Step 3: Make the Most of Your Time
If you’re going to devote time in your week to working out, make that time count! I would rather see someone doing strong intervals on a treadmill or strength training circuits with weights for 20 minutes than spinning their wheels on a stationary bike for an hour.
If you are really limited for time, do strength-training circuits. Think of these intervals like cardio with weights. Perform four to six weight-training exercises, each lasting 30 seconds. Repeat each circuit two to three times with rest between each cycle. This is by far one of the most effective and efficient ways to boost your metabolism, build lean muscle mass and make your workouts count!
Step 4: Mix up Your Routine
If you want extra motivation to help you get out of a fitness rut, jump into a new fitness class! There are thousands of diverse and inspiring options out there for you to try. Whether you’re looking to up the ante with a spin TRX fusion class, strengthen your core in Pilates, or get your shake on in barre class, there is a way for you to add some variety to your fitness plan. Check out your local fitness studio or gym to find classes that will help you stay committed to your goals. And bring a friend with you, as there is power in numbers and you can keep each other accountable.
Step 5: Work with a Personal Trainer
Having a fitness coach hold you accountable to your goals can make all the difference in your success with a fitness program. A trainer can help you make a plan and stick with it for the long haul. I often write up programs at home to help supplement the time my client’s are not training with me. A great fitness coach is a true guide along your journey, helping you pave the way for a lifestyle that can truly change your life for the better!
Danielle Rogers is the owner of Fitness Fusion in Bristol, RI. She jumped into the fitness industry while attending Boston University twelve years ago and is certified through A.F.A.A. (American Fitness Association of America) and NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine). While developing her skills as a teacher and trainer, Danielle chose to fuse her strength training background with the flexibility of yoga and the stability of Pilates. Danielle became STOTT PILATES ® certified and YogaFit-1® trained, and truly enjoys motivating clients and students to achieve their personal goals through
exercise. She is inspired by the power of fitness, and its ability to transform a person’s life both physically, mentally, and spiritually.