How to Start a Simple, Yet Challenging Fitness Program!
Congratulations on choosing a lifestyle change that involves physical fitness! To most beginners, designing a fitness program can be a daunting task. Everyone starts off from a different baseline, (some people are overweight, some are underweight, some have previous injuries, etc.), but with some basic guidance and tips, anyone can design a straightforward, yet effective fitness program that they can build into their daily lifestyle. 1. Assess your fitness level
You probably have some idea of how fit you are. But assessing and recording baseline fitness scores can give you benchmarks against which to measure your progress. To assess your aerobic and muscular fitness, flexibility, and body composition, consider recording:
- Your pulse rate before and immediately after walking 1 mile (1.6 kilometers)
- How long it takes to walk 1 mile or 400 meters, or how long it takes to run 1.5 miles (2.41 kilometers)
- How many half situps, standard pushups or modified pushups you can do at a time
- How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you
- Your waist circumference, just above your hipbones
- Your body mass index and basal metabolic rate
- Design your fitness program
It’s easy to say that you’ll exercise every day. But you’ll need a plan. As you design your fitness program, keep these points in mind: •Consider your fitness goals. Are you starting a fitness program to help lose weight? Or do you have another motivation, such as preparing for a marathon or fitness competition? Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress and stay motivated.
- Create a balanced routine.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
For example, try to get about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week. Also aim to incorporate strength training of all the major muscle groups into a fitness routine at least two days a week.
- Start low and progress slowly. If you’re just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly. If you have an injury or a medical condition, consult your doctor or an exercise therapist for help designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength and endurance.
- Build activity into your daily routine. Finding time to exercise can be a challenge. To make it easier, schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment. Plan to watch your favorite show while walking on the treadmill, read while riding a stationary bike, or take a break to go on a walk at work.
- Plan to include different activities. Different activities (cross-training) can keep exercise boredom at bay. Cross-training using low-impact forms of activity, such as biking or water exercise, also reduces your chances of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint. Plan to alternate among activities that emphasize different parts of your body, such as walking, swimming and strength training.
- Allow time for recovery. Many people start exercising with extreme enthusiasm, working out too long or too intensely and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Plan time between sessions for your body to rest and recover. Starting off with 3 days a week is a great place to start.
- Put it on paper. A written plan may encourage you to stay on track.
Consider speaking to a certified personal trainer and a nutritionist to help you set up a basic fitness and nutrition program that you can use as a baseline for your progress and something that works with your body and current fitness level. If you are starting a very basic resistance weight training program, your workout plan should consist of a very basic 2-3 day a week, upper body/lower body split to start off, consisting of compound, multi-joint (exercises that use more than one joint at a given time), movements that target multiple muscle groups at once.
For example, the barbell squat is a compound multi-joint exercise that primarily targets all the muscles in your lower body, while the leg extension is a single-joint exercise that primarily targets the quadriceps muscle only.
Finally, here are some random fitness tips that you can pick and choose from to help you design a lifestyle program to improve your level of physical fitness:
- 1. If you eat healthier, high-nutrient foods like lean meats, vegetables, good fats, and complex carbohydrates, your body will have the raw material to lose fat and build muscle.
2. The key to success in any aspect of fitness will always be nutrition. How you eat, when you eat, and what you eat will dramatically affect how you feel and look. Nutrition will affect every component of your lifestyle, so it should be balanced and coordinated with your desired goals. Without the proper eating habits, say goodbye to any hope you have of building that lean, muscular, and strong body you might have in your mind.
3. Starting a new workout or nutrition program can be very exciting or very intimidating. It depends on how well you plan! If you set yourself up the right way, by making attainable goals, then you should feel more excited than nervous.
Medical Advice Disclaimer
This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.
Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 000 immediately.
The views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, practice or other institution with which the authors are affiliated