Do you always plan a fitness program and then fail to follow it? If yes, this article is for you! You’ll get some really useful tips to stick with a fitness program.
Health and Fitness go hand in hand
We can only love to the fullest extent and truly enjoy life if we are healthy. In other words, the quality of life will be severely compromised if you don’t have good health. We need both mental and physical health. That’s because, you cannot function properly if you are mentally unwell, but otherwise fit physically. Again, you can achieve mental fitness only if your body is working properly. The right exercises, diet, eliminating stress and relaxation will ease your mind and improve your health.
Those who are physically fit are healthier. So, stay physically active. It has become more important now as many people are leading a sedentary lifestyle these days. Cut out the bad habits, such as consuming alcohol, and smoking. Avoid junk foods as much as possible. Relax. Take a break. All these ensure a fitter you. If you already don’t do all this, you are in need of a fitness program. You might have to change your lifestyle quite a bit to get fit and healthy.
Top Reasons Why You Should Follow a Fitness Program
Luckily, there are many fitness programs you can follow to achieve good health. Most of them are good for you. Here are the benefits you can get from a fitness program.
Improves health and helps you reduce the risk of diseases
Exercise regularly and you will certainly reduce the risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular issues. It improves good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL), reduces unhealthy triglycerides, and prevents high blood pressure. Besides, regular exercising will also help you manage type 2 diabetes, arthritis, some types of cancer, and other conditions better.
Improves muscular endurance and strength
Muscles carry out many of our bodily functions. By working out regularly, your muscles will become strong and endurance will also improve, thus, helping your body work better. With better endurance, your muscles can work for long hours without feeling tired. A 60 second push-up test will reveal the strength of your muscles.
A fitness program improves your energy level
When you exercise regularly, oxygen and nutrients are better delivered to your tissues, making your systems work more efficiently. You will have more energy if your lungs and heart are working better.
Fitness program helps you lose weight
A fitness program will constitute of two things. Regular exercises, which will help you lose those excess pounds, and right eating, which will ensure that you add fewer calories. Together, the program will aid weight loss, and prevent weight gain.
Makes you more flexible
Your body becomes more flexible when you move specific joints through exercise. Flexibility is a very important aspect of fitness, particularly for athletes. Static stretching, ballistic stretching, and even yoga can help you achieve optimum fitness. It makes you more agile, mobile, and improves balance.
You will sleep better and improve your mood
Scientific studies have proved that we fall asleep quicker and have deeper sleep if we exercise regularly. Just make sure that you don’t exercise close to your bedtime. Similarly, when you follow a fitness regimen, it will be easier for you to beat stress and relax. Workout after a stressful day and you will see almost an immediate improvement.
A fitness program can improve your sex life
Perform better in bed, thanks to your fitness regimen. You will have more energy, and your libido will be high. Men have few erectile dysfunction problems, while women achieve enhanced arousal.
The Best Fitness Programs
Weight Loss Programs
These fitness programs allow people to lose weight quickly and safely. The focus is on burning calories through interval training, cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, circuit training, and plyometrics. The exercises will also improve your physical tone. But only doing exercises will never be enough. The best fitness programs will also provide a good meal plan.
Express Exercise Programs
These programs are best suited for people who are hard pressed for time. Each session can last between 10 and 35 minutes. That’s all you need to give a day to achieve better health. There is a specific exercise schedule you have to follow in each session. For instance, in one session, your focus might be on cardiovascular improvement, and in another, it could be abdominal strength. You must follow a weekly schedule for overall development.
Muscle Mass/Strength Exercise Programs
Targeting the important muscle groups of the body, these fitness programs are designed to improve your muscular strength and muscle mass. They can also reduce body weight and improve your metabolism. There are many exercises for each muscle type.
Abs/Core Exercise Programs
Purpose of the core and abdominal exercises is to reduce excess body weight in your abdomen, and strengthen the core area, which is your hip, abdomen, and lower back primarily. These parts of the body are the structural foundations, and are naturally very important. Almost all your upper and lower body movements depend on this structural foundation.
Advanced Exercise Programs
These programs are for people who have been following a fitness regimen for some time already. It’s not for beginners, and not for those who are just starting off. These fitness programs improve lean muscle mass, increase strength, cardiovascular conditioning, and tone the body. The program can be customized by fitness experts to suit your individual fitness goal.
How to Start a Fitness Program
Don’t delay. Get started today. Starting a fitness program could be one of the best decisions you make. Here’s how you can start the program, no matter which one you choose. There are just five steps.
1. Assess your fitness level
It is always a good idea to find out your fitness level before starting any fitness program. It is likely that you already have some idea of how fit you are. However, you should still assess and record your baseline fitness score because this will help you measure your progress later.
- Measure your pulse rate before and after walking a mile.
- How long did it take you to walk 1 mile?
- How many pushups can you do in 5 minutes?
- What is your body mass index and waist circumference?
2. Choose the fitness program
There are plenty of fitness programs, all with different objectives. Select one that matches your fitness goal. What are you trying to achieve?
- Do you want to lose weight?
- Do you want to build muscle mass?
- Do you want more strength and endurance?
- Are you planning to run the marathon?
- Do you want overall improvement in health?
Select carefully, because each program will be different.
3. Join a gym or buy the equipment
You have two options. Either, you can join a gym, or you can do the workouts at home. Joining a gym is a good idea for a lot of people, because the equipment is already there. But there are others who prefer to workout at home. However, you might need to do some purchases, even if you go to the gym, like, the right shoes, and books or CDs if you will be working out at home.
4. Get started with your fitness program
Remember the following when you are starting,
- Start slowly. Build up gradually. Increase your workout time gradually as your stamina improves.
- Always warm up before the exercises, and cool down once they are over.
- Don’t exert yourself too much.
- Keep a water bottle with you. Sip every now and then. Stay hydrated.
- Break it up into small sessions.
- Stop if you are short of breath, feel dizzy, or pain. Never push yourself too hard.
- Be flexible. Take a day off if you have to.
5. Monitor your progress
Assess your fitness level after six weeks. Do you see an improvement? Don’t lose heart if you don’t, because things are sure to improve if you have selected the right program, and if you are doing the workouts correctly.
- Assess again after a couple of months.
- Seek the advice of a fitness trainer if you still don’t see an improvement.
- On the other hand, if you see a marked improvement, then it is time for you to go to the next level.
- Increase the intensity. Exercise for a longer time.
- Assess the results after another two months.
Challenges You May Face with your Fitness Program, and How to Overcome Them
There will surely be distractions and challenges that you have to overcome. Here are some of the most common challenges,
I do not have the time to exercise
In reality, nobody can be this busy. There are fitness programs where you have to exercise for just 15 minutes in a day. Surely, you can give 15 minutes in a day.
- Don’t worry if you cannot find the time for a full schedule. Squeeze in a jog, or short walks.
- Don’t take the escalator. Walk up.
- Play active sports with the kids on weekends.
A fitness program is boring
Repetitive exercises day after day can indeed become boring after a while, particularly if you are doing it alone.
- Find a partner you can exercise with – relatives, friends, co-workers, neighbors. Anyone. It should help both of you.
- Change the routine. You don’t have to do the same things every day. For instance, you can swim one day, and cycle the next. They are both good exercises that will help you lose weight and stay fit. Also, both swimming and cycling will improve your cardiovascular health. Your muscle groups will also strengthen.
- Do the activities you enjoy, and you are likely to remain interested. If need be, customize the fitness program you are following.
I am too tired after work
This is a practical problem too, particularly after a difficult day at work. You may not have the energy or motivation to do those stretches, treadmill sessions or exercises when you are feeling tired.
- Do them in the morning. Wake up half an hour early. (if needed, go to bed half an hour earlier!)
- Alternatively, you can do the exercises during lunch.
- Walk to your place of work, or walk back, if you live close enough.
Never miss an opportunity. You will sleep better and wake up refreshed if you follow your fitness program religiously.
Health club fees are too high
Indeed, the fees of many health clubs, particularly in the big cities have gone up sharply. But remember, you don’t have to join an elite club. There are many simpler places that can give you equally good results.
- You can always buy a few simple equipment and workout at home.
- Use resistance bands and elastic tubing. They are cheap.
- Do squats and pushups.
- Start a walking group with your co-workers, neighbors or friends.
I may hurt myself
Start slowly if you are worried about an injury. A simple walking program cannot hurt you. Pick up pace, and do more intense workouts once you are more confident. But, remember to cool down once you are finished.
- If you are joining a gym, tell them that you are a beginner. They will then start you off with the basics.
- Ask for a certified trainer to look at you while you are working out, and rectify the errors so that you can be sure you are doing them correctly.
How to Stick with Your Fitness Program
So, you see, there are likely to be quite a few challenges. One of them is lack of motivation. You cannot expect overnight results from any fitness program. But some people will lose patience, and stop once their expectations are not met. Keep going. You will surely get the results. You need something to keep you motivated.
There will be days when you won’t feel like it. But find a way to keep working.
Here are some wonderful ways that will help you stick with your fitness program.
Link up exercising goals to your health
Set up goals to achieve. This should keep you motivated. Motivation loss is one of the main reasons why people drop out from their fitness program. You can, for instance, check your cholesterol and then set a target of lowering it by 20 points. You will reduce the risk of heart disease if you can lower the level of bad cholesterol in your body.
Share your fitness goal on social media
Don’t just keep the goal or target within yourself. Share it on social media. Let everyone know so that they can question you on its progress. This will keep you accountable. For example, post your workout routine the night before, and then post its pictures after the session. You cannot ignore it when people send you motivational mantras or good luck wishes.
Strike an agreement with the kids and your spouse
These are the people closest to you, and are likely to be most affected by your good/bad health. So take them on-board. Make them agree to give you 1 hour daily, provided you have exercised for that day. This will guarantee you free time and personal space, and keep you on track. Challenge them, if your spouse and kids have doubt that you will be able to stick with the program, and show them you can.
Be selfish about your exercise time
Sure enough, there are going to be distractions. Work might come up, or you may have to go somewhere. Fix up a particular time in the day for your fitness regimen, and stick to it, come what may. Learn to say “no” if you have to. You have to be selfish at times, because it’s your health after all, and health as we know is the real wealth.
Get a dedicated area for your workouts
You do not need a lot of space. If you are doing it at home, then just a small corner should be good enough. But make sure that it is your space where you will keep the workout DVDs, dumbbells, fresh towels, and so on. You may even have a motivational poster or a fitness picture pasted on the wall if you want.
Your goals should be attractive
To remain motivated, frame the goals in such a way that you are driven to achieve them. For instance, if you weigh 200 pounds, decide whether you want to bench more than 200 pounds, or bar with a couple of 15-pound plates on both the sides. Every one of us is different, so the motivations also differ.
Stop doing what you don’t enjoy
There are bound to be a few exercises that you will enjoy, and those that you won’t like. Stop the ones you hate. Try alternatives, because if you begin to dread the workout, you are likely to drop out. Never allow this to happen. Jump rope if you don’t like the treadmill. There will always be alternatives. Similarly, you can always workout at home, if you are not enjoying your time at the gym.
Mix it up
You will certainly get bored soon if you follow the same routine every time you exercise. Variety makes it more interesting. No, you don’t have to do the same exercises every day. For instance, you can run for 30 minutes one day and then lift weight after this. Next day, swim for an hour, followed by a few stretching exercises. Work on your muscles the third day after cycling. Mix and match to keep it interesting.
Do not become too comfortable
Never go through the motions or do the exercises just for the sake of doing them. If you are doing them easily, it means they are too easy for you. Many people will stop when there are no more challenges left. Push yourself a bit. Yes, you shouldn’t be doing the ones you don’t enjoy, but having said this, you cannot also relax all the time. Try to achieve new feats. Give yourself a new target once you have achieved the first goals.
Have realistic expectations
Some people have absolutely absurd expectations, and lose the motivation and momentum once they fail to achieve the results. Remember, you can never lose 30 pounds in seven days. Keep your expectations realistic. Don’t check that weighing scale every day. Check once in two weeks instead.
Switch training partners
Often, it is a good idea to change your partner when things are becoming too predictable. Look at tennis players who play doubles. Almost all of them change their partners regularly. It can be more interesting if you workout with someone new once in a while. You may even workout with someone you hardly know at the gym. That will give you new routine and new challenges. Close family members and friends are not always the best training partners, as they may let you slack off. Find someone who will push you, and is less forgiving.
Give yourself a prize
Celebrate every time you achieve good results. Losing weight or even a pound of muscle gain isn’t easy. You have worked hard for these results, and you certainly deserve a prize. Buy new clothing, or go out with your friends. Tell everyone that you achieved great results. But don’t go overboard with this. Set up new goals. Make the resolve to achieve them. Your reward system should ideally be non-food.
Make it cost you
Hire a personal trainer even if you can do the exercises alone by following a DVD or with some guidance at the gym. A personal trainer will cost you a lot of money, even if you cancel it. Cut back on avoidable costs if you have to. Since you have to pay, you will be less inclined to watch that program on TV instead of working out as planned.
Maintain a log
You will surely want to track your progress. But the log should help you achieve much more. You can hang a calendar in your workout zone and mark the dates of your achievements. Keep it close so that you can always see it and feel inspired. Also mark the days when you missed working out. There will be those huge X signs if you miss a few days in a row. This will work as a visual reminder that you need to start doing your exercises again.
It can be very boring if you have to do those exercises for an hour in complete silence. You must have surely seen joggers and runners listening to music while they are at it. Create your playlist and use that iPod. Add/delete the songs to keep your playlist fresh. High-energy songs can keep you moving.
You can feel de-motivated if you are not able to do an exercise accurately, and may eventually stop going to the health club altogether. There will be instructors and trainers who can help you. Book a session with a trainer if you have to. Do what it takes, but never quit.
Not feeling like doing the exercises? Bribe yourself to keep going. Plan something after the workout. Give yourself a grand prize if you manage to do the workouts at least four to five days in the week. Make the prize so attractive that you really look forward to it.
Photoshop your picture
Make it look like the one you want yourself to be after you achieve your fitness goals! Keep it in front of you most of the times. Hang it on the wall of your workout area or the wall in front of your bed. The more you look at it, the more you will be motivated to stick with your fitness program. After all, only your fitness program can make you look what you appear in your dream image!
Hold yourself accountable
You are responsible for your health. Your family depends on you. So you cannot run away from your duty of achieving better health. Write down positive self-affirmations and keep them pasted in the busy zones in your home so that you look at them all the time. It will serve as a ready-reminder and keep you motivated.
Stay healthy and you will live longer, improve the quality of your life, and stay away from diseases. Your medical bills will also be less. So select a fitness program and start today. There are many good programs you can choose from. Don’t quit the program midway. You will definitely get good results if you stick with it.
So, Get Set, Go!
These tips to stick with a fitness program are all you need for a healthy you!