So you want to start an exercise program. Or more likely, re-start a program that didn’t work the last time around. Here’s the quick, 5-step process to making and committing to a program that will be effective and you can stick to!
Step 1 - How often?
How often are you doing your program? Bare minimum should be 2 times a week, 3 is more effective depending on your programming. If you’ve struggled in the past, doing try to jump to 5-6 days a week out of nothing - it’ll leave you tired, sore and kill your motivation quickly. Start 2-3 times a week and build up!
Step 2 - How much?
How long are your workouts? Are you expecting yourself to spend an unrealistic amount of time on your routine? If so, figure out what you actually have to spare consistently in terms of time and work backwards from there. If 60 minutes of strength training and 30 minutes of cardio costs you too much of your day, focus on the strength training and try to get your steps up throughout the day in place of slogging through cardio. Or throw an exercise bike in front of the TV at home during your evening routine. These are just a few examples, but be realistic about the amount of time you have available.
Step 3 - When?
Are you a morning person, night owl, etc? When are you feeling most high-energy and motivated? Start with that when you’re picking the time of day for your workouts. Also remember to space them out throughout the week. 3 days in a row followed by 4 days of rest is definitely not ideal (although if there’s no other options it can work). Also think logistics - do you have time to work out, eat and shower before work? Are you zapped after your workday and making a beeline for the couch? If so, consider adjusting your sleep schedule or pick another time!
Step 4 - What?
Are you doing things in your workouts you actually enjoy? There are certain types of exercise that will be more effective depending on your goals, but the best exercise for any given person is the one they enjoy and will actually do! So check out the Zumba class, get that audiobook and go for a run, pick up some heavy stuff, check out group fitness, but pick something you actually like to do, or it’ll be much easier to talk yourself out of it.
Step 5 - Why?
Always go back to this if your motivation is faltering. Why did you want to do this in the first place? To lose weight? Get healthy? Get ready for a trip or competition? Long-term goals are always easier to sustain, and deeper (think “live longer” vs. “smaller pants size”) ones tend to help motivate people more effectively, but find your why and keep it in the front of your mind when you feel like skipping a workout!
Clear as mud? Makes sense but don’t know where to start? Just have a few questions? Text, call, or email me and let’s get your plan figured out!