There are people out there who experience lasting fitness breakthroughs. They all have to start somewhere. This week's post is about how you can start your fitness regimen.
How do you break out of your rut? By creating a new rut. A lot of people have good intentions and a lot of people have brute force discipline. But that's not really what it takes.
What does it really take? It takes a good set up. You have to set yourself up for success.
As with any goal, your goal of starting fitness needs to be SMART.
- TIME BOUND
1. Specific- Decide what you are going to do. I suggest beginners either go to a class at an accredited health center, gym or, as a lower cost alternative get a selection of appropriate fitness DVDs for home use. One great regimen is every other day at the gym interspersed with every other day at home with a DVD. Always take at least one or two days off a week. On those off days you may do gentle yoga to perpetuate your habit and stay limber.
Being specific also means that you know exactly what you are going to wear and exactly what you are going to do to start the workout. For me, this means coming home from work, changing into my exercise clothes, turning on my DVD player, grabbing a glass of ice water, and then putting on my workout shoes. By then, the workout is as good as done. I do it the same way every time to create and reinforce a habit loop.
2. Measurable-Consult with your doctor about how many days a week you should work out. I suggest no less than three and no more than six, preferably 5 to 6 days per week. When you are a beginner the duration of your exercise should be no more than 30 minutes and possibly closer to 20.
Very importantly decide on a method of recording your exercise episodes. This can be as simple as making a mark on the calendar or as complicated as using a fitness tracker on your smart phone. Don't make a big deal out of the recording, just do something simple and quick. Then your exercise becomes measurable.
3. Attainable-Make sure the first three months of your workout are easy. Your workouts should be so easy that they provoke nothing more than some light breathing. They should not hurt, burn, or exhaust you. The first three months of what you do is simply to let your body and your mind adjust to the idea of regular exercise. You are building a habit. You will almost certainly want to modify the routines you see in the easiest of your DVDs, but this is perfectly okay.
4 Relevant-The first three months of your fitness workout should focus on light cardio and light resistance combined. This is the most relevant form of exercise according to current Sports Medicine evidence. You do not want to undertake long distance running or powerlifting or anything so specialized or extreme.
5 Time bound-You know your schedule. Carve out precisely 30 minutes for a 40 minute work out getting yourself five minutes on either side to change clothes. Know exactly where the workout is going to be placed in your day for the entire next week. Be realistic… you have 30 minutes. Everyone does, but this might mean you need to be more efficient overall, and there is nothing wrong with that. It also might mean that you have to cut things out, Such as Facebook, Pinterest or even Big Bang Theory.
You really want it. You know it will make you feel good. You know it will enhance your health. You know it will set a good example for your family. I'm here to tell you that fitness is not hard. In fact, it's fun and satisfying. Take these SMART steps today and start your fitness routine.