You have committed to joining the club and working on your health & fitness. But now what??? What does it really take to go from vague ideas of health and wellness to making those your new reality?
New members often tell me that they are going to visit the gym six or seven times a week. I suggest they make a promise to themselves to come four times. They are always puzzled as to why I wouldn't want them to come more often.
If you promise yourself six visits a week and you make five, you will feel as though you've failed. If you commit to four visits and you make five…then you have exceeded your expectations! #winning
Life happens. Getting to gym every day is not realistic, nor necessary (more about that later).
Getting fit takes months, and in some cases, years of dedication and consistency. Adding muscle mass and losing fat are two separate processes that can occur together, but each take their own series of steps and commitments. People often feel better shortly after committing to their health journey but get frustrated that they do not look different as quickly as they would like.
Setting a series of small doable goals, both scale and task oriented, is the way to keep yourself focused. An example of each would be to set a goal of losing 1 pound a week instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds or adding 10 pounds to your squat by the end of a month. These small steps will keep you focused and successful on the way to achieving your larger goals.
HAVE A PLAN:
The human body has over 600 muscles. The gym has probably close to 100 machines and hundreds of pieces of other smaller equipment. Is it any wonder that people often resort to walking on the treadmill, doing a few crunches in a corner and then leaving?
Our bodies need aerobic exercise (although probably not as much as you think) and strength training, as well as flexibility. They also need important pre and post workout care in order to gain strength, change metabolically and heal from your workout well enough to do it again.
- Start gradually by easing into your chosen activity, picking up the intensity slowly. This serves as a warm up as well as a signal to your muscles as to what's to come.
- Cardio (aerobic) exercise being done for health and wellness can be kept to 30 minutes, of varying intensities, a few times a week. Only endurance athletes need to do long extended periods of cardio.
- As far as strength training is concerned 4 basic lifts will cover most of your body - an upper body push, an upper body pull, a lower body push and a lower body pull. Strength training two to three times a week, on nonconsecutive days is enough to help most people reach their goals.
- After finishing your workout take a few minutes to cool your body down slowly and then stretch out major muscle groups.
As a personal trainer I would be remiss if I did not mention how beneficial a fitness professional in your corner can be. Personal trainers can meet with you as little or as often as you wish. Hiring one for a single or a couple of sessions in order to be sure you are approaching your plan correctly and efficiently is well worth the investment.
The best laid plan in the world is not going to work for you if you hate what you are doing.
There are many ways to approach fitness - machines and classes, in groups and as individuals, long slow workouts and short brutal ones. If you cannot find your groove, try something else. Ask as trainer or a group exercise instructor for suggestions. Find what you love and make your time in the gym work for that.
I personally do my indoor grind work faithfully, but I do it so that I can indulge my twin outdoor passions of long-distance cycling and backpacking with my sons. Trust me when I say that the thought of carrying 35 pounds and trying to keep up with a 17 and 23-year-old for 5 days keeps me hitting the weights.
All the above are a piece of the puzzle. The most demanding and comprehensive fitness plans do not work without the eating and nutrition components in place. Please join me next month when I decode healthy eating and look at some of the most popular eating plans in our society today.
Megan Leipholtz CPT
If you have any questions, concerns or bragging rights you want to share with me please feel free to grab me at the club or use the email or cell phone listed.
Let's make 2019 your best year yet!