There are many programs and products available on the fitness market that promise to be “the best” answer to your fitness prayers.
These programs all claim that it will be easy and will take only a few minutes a day for you to achieve a body that looks like it belongs in Hollywood.
Unfortunately, these claims are truly unrealistic and create a tragic expectation that fitness should come quickly and easily.
It doesn’t happen that way and any product that claims it does is lying to you.
There are many ways to maximize the efficiency and results of your program and choosing the right exercise plan is a key to making sure your fitness plan becomes part of your every day life and is something you look forward to instead of something that you hate.
Choosing the right program can engage your mind and body and provide results far beyond the better looking body that you were probably after when you began.
Identify Your Goals
The first priority when choosing an exercise program is to determine the goals you are trying to meet.
Do you want to:
- Lose weight
- Improve your cardiovascular fitness
- Reduce your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease
- Achieve better flexibility and relaxation
These elements are the most common reasons people choose to begin a program. The best thing about a great fitness plan is that regardless of your main goal, you are likely to receive the other benefits as side effects of your fitness program.
Recognize Where You Are
You must understand where you are starting from, and begin with exercises that are not too demanding. This ensures you can successfully engage in activity every day without pain and risk of injury.
The old adage “no pain, no gain” is a highly exaggerated idea. Exercise should not ever actually be painful.
If you are completely unfit, you will likely begin with some light stretching, lifting hand weights and walking. However, the lower the level of intensity, the higher the time investment you will have to make.
The standard suggestion is an hour a day most days. The best aspect of this beginning phase of your exercise plan is that there is no need to join a gym to achieve your goals.
You can begin your journey toward better fitness just by:
- Walking up and down stairs in your home
- Parking in the back of parking lots
- Walking around the grocery store
- Many other “Conscientious Cardio” activities
Your Exercise Program
Your program should include Cardio exercise for a minimum of thirty minutes at least five days per week. Options to achieve this include anything that uses the large muscles of your body and increases your heart rate.
Walking, jogging, biking, dancing, mowing lawns, stairs, skating, etc. all count. You can even break these up into 10 – 15 minute segments so they can easily fit into your day no matter how busy you are.
You must include some strength training in your exercise plan, even if you are not looking to “bulk up”. Many women worry about lifting because of the fear of building big muscles. However, you will realize this isn’t an issue once you understand the correlation between muscle and calorie burn and their ability to have long and lean muscles. These types of muscles can give you a toned body without looking bulky.
If you are not looking to gain strength, you should focus on high repetitions with a smaller weight.
If you are trying to gain strength and muscle mass, you should focus on fewer repetitions with much larger weights.
You should include strength training in your exercise plan at least three days per week, but never two days in a row. Your muscles need time to recover between sessions when you are focused on using larger weights.
Flexibility is also an essential component to any kind of exercise plan. You can achieve spectacular benefits from participating in Yoga, Tai Chi, or another stretching program. A flexibility program will also provide relaxation, stress reduction, joint lubrication improvement and injury prevention.
This is the most commonly neglected part of fitness plans, but it can become one of the most enjoyable over time.
- For those that want extra motivation and guidance, group fitness classes are a fantastic way to keep up your motivation and ensure the safety of your program.
- Home fitness videos are excellent as well if you remember to stay working at your level.
- Personal trainers can also help you to achieve the perfect mix of activities for your lifestyle and goals.
Make sure that whatever you choose to do, that it is fun and enjoyable or you will have a hard time doing it for the rest of your life.
What Do You Think?
Do you have any other ideas that are important to be included in a good exercise plan?