Now that Winter is over and Spring is here, it is time to dust off those running shoes (hopefully you have been using them so they shouldn’t be too dusty!) and enjoy the warmer weather!
It is also the time that many people re-start their exercise routines. I have had many questions regarding the right programs for people and which fitness plans are best suited for them and their lifestyle.
If you are new to exercising or simply returning after a bit of a hiatus, finding the right plan can be difficult. Everyone wants to jump straight in to the “all or nothing” routine, however from observation, I know that after a few short weeks (or even days) people can lose focus, motivation and momentum, slowly falling back into old habits.
This can usually be the result of a few things:
The “total action hero” Approach
You desperately want to lose weight (right now!) so you choose the most extreme fitness routine/DVD/program in the market, that has amazing transformation photos, however after playing the DVD/starting the program, you realize that your body is not cut out for 100 burpees in a row or explosive pushups with double claps. You then feel defeated and throw the DVD into the drawer (while icing your aching joints and sore back) and then watch more fitness infomercials, hoping to find the next fitness solution!
The “I am confused about what I am doing” Approach
You decide you are going to exercise, so you head to the gym, walk around, lift a few weights (without any plan or without knowing what to do), walk for 10 minutes on the treadmill and go home. You repeat this for 2 weeks, don’t see any results, then give up, deciding that nothing will ever work for you.
The “I want to look like Angelina Jolie” Approach
You look through the internet and find a fitness routine that a celebrity, model or bodybuilder follows. You print this out and take it to the gym. After following it diligently for weeks, your body doesn’t look anything like theirs does in the picture! How could this be? You thought that following Angelina’s exact routine would magically transform your body into hers! This routine goes into the trash and you then start looking for a new celebrity, model or bodybuilder routine on the internet to follow…
The “cardio bunny” Approach
You are scared of doing weights so just stick to cardio. After doing an hour a day on the treadmill, you notice that your clothes are a bit looser, but your body is not really changing shape. You decide that you will now do 2 hours a day. After a week you realize that you simply exhausted and all this cardio is not sculpting your butt like you wanted or giving you definition in your arms. You can’t work it out though – all the women are on the cardio machines so it must be the right thing to do?
The “I can eat anything because I went to the gym” Approach
You find a plan that fits into your lifestyle and work out religiously. You start to see great results, so think that you can start to “slack off” now and have dessert every night, “because you deserve it”. You then notice your results are lagging, so work out even harder. Your body is looking great! Time to treat yourself again, so out comes the cupcakes. Back at the gym again – things are looking good! Now for some biscuits and chocolate at work…this cycle continues endlessly!
Do any of these examples ring a bell? There are many more I could list, however these are the most common ones that I have observed.
So how can you choose a plan that will work for you and your goals?
Here are 10 important things to consider:
1. What are you trying to achieve? Set clear goals on your dream body!
2. When do I want to achieve this by?
3. How much time can you realistically set aside for training?
4. What is your skill level?
5. Do you have any injuries that may stop you from doing certain exercises?
6. What type of activities do you enjoy?
7. What keeps you motivated?
8. Do you prefer to work out at home or in the gym?
9. Are you able to follow a plan exactly?
10. Are you serious about making real changes to your body, or are you looking for a quick fix?
Ask yourself these questions to work out what NEW approach will work for you. Following the same routine (that has not given you results in the past) is a surefire way to achieve very little progress.
Be honest and make sure you choosing an approach that will fit in with your lifestyle!
Be fit & well