When you've decided to finally get in shape, you may find that you have no idea how to actually do it, says Atlanta personal trainer David Reagan.
Remember, you don't need a gym membership, tons of fancy equipment, or a personal trainer to get in shape. Being in shape means that you're strong and healthy enough to perform all of your daily tasks.
Fitness seems so elusive to us today because of our modern lifestyle. It is generally harder to get energy-intensive, calorie-burning activities into our schedule without intention, especially if you are in school or work at a desk job.
This article will provide helpful insights if you are interested in beginning your fitness journey.
Setting goals keeps you on track and lets you focus. Doing random exercises and not following any nutrition guidelines means that you probably won't see any significant progress.
Goals are measurable, specific, and time-bound. These are things like being able to do 15 repetitions of 10 sit-ups or deadlifting five repetitions of 100 pounds. Or maybe you just want to be able to do your first pull-up ever.
The only rule is to make the goal achievable. If you haven't walked any farther than to the car in a while, then don't make your first goal to be able to run five miles in an hour.
It’s also extremely important to remember to set nutrition goals as well as activity goals. By being focused on nutrition, it will make your overall fitness journey easier.
Fitness journals will help you do all of this and hold yourself accountable, and while gym equipment isn't required for getting in shape, it can help you keep track of things like how far you've run, knowing the exact weight of what you're lifting, etc.
If you already have a fitness routine and want to spice it up, consider interval training. It is popular because many workouts allow for adequate recovery time between exercise periods, which can get quite intense.
In interval training, you perform your chosen exercise within an interval of time, usually between one and five minutes, before resting. As you reach your smaller goals, you can increase either the intensity of the exercise or the duration, but always be aware of your own physical limitations. No one can become Superman or Superwoman, no matter how long they've been working out.
Short, high-intensity interval exercises (HIIT or high-intensity interval training) generally have more positive effects on the body than long, low-intensity exercises. This is because short bouts of intense movements require more energy and force the body to work harder to recover. As a result, your body burns more calories.
An example of HIIT might include 30 seconds of fast cycling on either a real bike or a stationary bike, followed by 30 seconds of easy cycling or even coasting. The intervals are called "repetitions," and there are about five rounds per each HIIT.
Bursts of energy are important, but endurance shouldn't be overlooked. We need the energy to carry us throughout the day, after all.
For example, walking is a low-impact exercise that improves your physical fitness. It can be done on a treadmill or outside in the fresh air. Running is more high-impact, but your body is forced to call upon large amounts of energy for longer periods, and swimming is a low-impact exercise that calls upon quite a bit of energy.
Endurance training is about increasing your stamina, which helps your heart. It can also help keep you fit so you can climb stairs more easily and do other practical things, but you must progress over time. Start slowly and gradually increase your intensity. Endurance training can feel frustrating because progress isn't as apparent as in other forms of exercise, but if you keep at it, you'll eventually be able to look back and see how far you've come.
Strength has been linked to great self-confidence and better mobility in old age. Strength training gives your muscles definition, which is the image most people envision when they think of the word "fitness."
Strength training is accomplished in different ways, however. There's functional strength, where you train multiple muscle groups in more natural ways, and then there's repetition-based strength, where you perform bicep curls to create larger biceps. You'll have to evaluate which kind of strength you're looking for before you start strength training.
Regardless, maximum benefits are typically achieved when you do strength training exercises two or three times a week. You should take two to three days off between sessions to allow your muscles to recover.
Don't Give Up
You don't have to feel half-dead at the end of a workout to accomplish your goals. Take into account where you are right now and where you want to be, then simply design an exercise regimen to help you achieve those goals. If something isn't working, cut it, and keep doing what works. Fitness is something anyone can achieve.
About David Reagan
David Reagan is a personal trainer from Atlanta, GA, who specializes in weight loss, personalized workout plans, bodybuilding, and nutrition. He caters to high-end clients and executives, helping them achieve their fitness goals by accommodating their busy schedules. The client's needs come first, and David's fitness plan will set you up on the path to success.