Let’s talk a little about building your own fitness plan. It should be easy, right? Just decide you wanna lose some weight or gain some muscle or train for a race and do it.
Ah if it were only so cut and dried!
The best way to success is to have a plan, something that you develop, that will work for you, your life, your schedule and your goals.
Let me outline a few things that may help you
- Goal setting. I know this sounds cliché but if you don’t know what you want or how to go after it, how will you achieve it? Whether you want to start walking, running, training for an event, lose some weight, or get into a schedule for the gym… whatever it is… your choice… It’s old school now days but I just love having a basic calendar to outline what I need to do. When I’m marathon training I sit down and mark out the mileage for each day, as well as days I strength train and have active rest days. There’s something satisfying about blocking off each day when I get it done…and it gives me a visual tool moving me closer to my goal.
- Be real. No one knows your life better than you do. Don’t plan to train for a big event if you work full time, have a family and other obligations that won’t let you do what’s necessary to prepare. Or don’t set a to lofty goal to lose a big amount of weight in a short time. Better to be realistic and maybe overshoot what you have planned than be frustrated you can’t get it done.
- Know where you are. If your intentions are to lose weight, you’ll want to gather some measurements so you have a baseline from where you start from. I know it can be rather…sobering… but if you want more than the fickle scale to give you feedback you’ll also want some starting measurements. Be honest and be real with yourself. Also, you might consider taking a “fit test”. This again, will give you a baseline for your strength and cardio abilities. A. Record time it takes to walk a mile. B. How many push ups can you do in a minute? ( knees on floor if needed) C. How far can you reach to your toes, seated on floor and leaning forward? D. Pulse rate before and after test. You won’t need to reassess but every 4-6 weeks.
- Commit to exercise, most days of week. No matter what your goals are, exercise should be a part of them. Start small, but start. Get a partner if you need accountability. Again, you use your planner to track your activities.
- Finding balance. Rest days are just as crucial to your success as time in the gym, or out on the road. I’ll freely admit to chafing at rest days. I feel..lazy… or like I should be doing something. Until I got that rest days aren’t about being lazy but should be active…as in… feeding my body good food, and doing things like stretching, or yoga to keep my muscles in working order. Having a rest day also gives you some time to be more mentally focused for when you’re out again.
- Speaking of stretching. This is something I’ve really learned the value of and have tried to be much better at doing it before and after a work out. I use a variety of things from the standard foam roller, to a pvc pipe to roll out on. A lacrosse ball is also awesome for feet or really getting into a tight knotted muscle.
- Mix things up. I learned early on that having several activities would keep me from getting bored with always doing the same thing. Later, as I learned more, it just made sense to incorporate a variety of things because it worked my body differently to make me strong all over and not just good for one sport. Not only that, doing things like strength training if you love running or cycling will hopefully keep your body from injuries. Find things you love doing and then make a rotation in your week with them. For instance my week might look like: run, cycle, strength train, run,cycle, rest day. Sometimes I put my rest day midweek. Other times I might have an extra strength training day if the weather is really awful and I cant get outside. Sometimes I have two rest days if my training has been more physically demanding. Making your own plan is flexible!
- Listen to your body! I’m not talking about that part that is encouraging you to skip your workout… tell that part to shut up and get after it. I mean if you feel “off” or not well, are running a temperature or something is really hurting you take a rest day. That is far more beneficial than doing it to just “get it done”. Chances are, a day off, you’ll come back stronger the next day.
- Make a commitment to consistency. I won’t lie. It is crazy hard in the beginning to commit to anything new, especially exercise! I would encourage you to make a daily commitment to it, not make any excuses for not getting it done, and challenge yourself to systematically take one day, one week at a time doing it. Habits take a few weeks for form. Give yourself time to develop exercise as a habit… once it is… you will not be able to imagine NOT doing it!
- Finally, have fun! Yes, I said have fun….exercising… have fun. Find things you love and commit to becoming the best student you can of it. Enjoy how you feel and the things you will learn and accomplish. Enjoy new strength and energy and being fit.
Now… get busy… grab a planner… your ideas…. and get started on your own personal fitness plan!