Plan Your Workout, Workout to Your Plan
Whether you are trying to stop smoking or going on a diet, it is hard to break and make habits. Sticking to a workout schedule is no different. According to an article by eHow.com’s Sports and Fitness Editor, as with any other goal, making a strategy is the very first step to actually beginning your new health regimen. Your workout plan will be your guide and your director. Having a set plan to follow is like mapping your way before you begin a trip. You stand more of a chance of getting where you want to go if you are not out wandering around aimlessly.
The first phase of your workout strategy is planning. Taking the time to sit down with forethought will give you a general idea of where you want to go and how you want to get there. Your very first task in the planning phase is to decide how much time you are able and willing to devote to this endeavor. You should be realistic. If you overestimate your mini-goals and don’t meet them you may lose heart and give up. Give yourself a reasonable schedule and you will more likely meet your goals, which will encourage you to continue.
Next, you should decide the type of exercise that meets your needs, schedule and abilities. Two of the most common types of workouts are cardiovascular and weight training. Cardiovascular, or “cardio” are exercises that get your heart and other organs pumping and moving and working. It increases blood and oxygen levels in all the organs of the body. Weight training, or weight lifting helps build muscles and tones up your body.
The next step in the planning phase is commitment. Committing yourself to this goal is, according to the article’s author, the most important step. Making a serious vow to yourself, especially when it involves health and well-being, is enough for many people to stick to the their plan. So sit down and have that serious talk with yourself. Follow your schedule to the letter for at least a full month. Four weeks should be enough time for it it become ingrained in your psyche.
The next area is cardiovascular exercises. Cardio is what gets the blood pumping, so to speak. Many athletes use cardio as a warm-up and cool down before and after they perform a heavy exercise routine. Approximately thirty minutes a day of cardio is adequate for the average person. Choose one specific exercise for each day of your workout per week. Examples of typical cardio exercises the author refers to are, “treadmills, stair-climbers, jogging, cycling, and swimming”.
It is imperative to begin any physical activity with a warm-up and vigorously stretch for at least five minutes, at a moderate pace. You should never overdo it or workout until you feel burning or straining. This “set” should last no more than about twenty minutes. Just like the beginning of the workout, again you should end your workout with much lighter activity for five minutes to cool down. As you become more accustomed to the rigors of your workout you can increase the duration of your workout sessions as it fit your needs. Finally and nearly equally as important as planning the ultimate goal is the hardest part: sticking to your schedule. The very first time you let yourself slack off will make it easier for the next time. You must discipline yourself from the start.
The plan for a good weight lifting workout is a little more intricate than a cardio workout. To begin with, plan for a workout no longer than an hour in duration. However, do not workout less than half an hour. To achieve your workout goals during the time you allotted yourself, you should steer clear of socializing too much. A short rest of sixty seconds or less is plenty between sets.
To begin training with weights you should first remember the rule from the cardio workout-always perform warm-ups and cool downs. The novice weightlifter should first spend time researching this new hobby. The sport can be dangerous and it is essential to be informed of the risks such as muscle strain, tendon injuries and even broken bones. There is a plethora of potential injuries in a sport such as weight lifting. Always have a spotter, or someone to watch you and be there to prevent you from injuring yourself. Once you have taken all these precautionary measures, you can begin by conditioning your whole body at the same time. It is important that all three major muscle groups, upper and lower body and back, be equally exercised.
As you began to become more confident and skillful your newly-found experience will allow you to begin to plan more intricate workouts, focusing on one area of the body at a time. This is referred to as a split. It allows you to concentrate on different muscles groups which gives you more multi-faceted workout results. It is important to rest between each session. No muscle group should be worked out two days in a row, or it defeats your purpose, and you won’t make any progress. Muscles can only regenerate and become stronger while they are resting after being exercised. There is really no point in pushing oneself too far, thinking you will bulk up any faster.
Any physical activity should first be preceded with advice from a personal physician. Working out and getting sufficient exercise is important for good health, but overdoing it can cause irreparable damage. Following guidelines and sticking to a planned schedule will help you keep yourself on track, and prevent injuries from strains or overwork. Having a friend or partner to work out with is always good for incentive. Reward yourself when you achieve your monthly goal. A good workout routine and being actively fit will show results far into the future.