Hey, there, Mr. Blue! We’re so pleased to be with you!
Yesterday was the first day of spring! Whew!
Today, I’m going to tell you how to get the oomph you need to start exercising. I hear from so many people how much they hate to exercise or how they want to get into shape but don’t know how, don’t have time, or don’t know what to do. That’s where I come in! Believe me, I started in that limbo, too, and I am here to tell you that if you truly want to get fit, give yourself an hour a day, make it an everyday habit just like brushing your teeth, and think of it as an essential part of your routine. Exercising has become the high point of my day, and I want that for all of you!
Bare bones instructions for getting off the couch and taking step one to becoming a workout junkie are as follows:
1. Decide that you want to start exercising.
2. Decide why, and what your first goal will be. Make it something that you can accomplish in the near-ish future; meeting your first goal is the positive reinforcement you’ll need to hurry on to a bigger goal and will help you realize early on that positive results keep you coming back for more.
3. Decide what your jumping off point is–what will you do for your first workout? Jot it down on a post-it with a few specifics so that you don’t get lost at the gym and have that, “Oh, what am I doing again? Is everyone looking at me?” moment. Go to the gym, pool, running track, bike trail, or backyard at which this physical activity is going to happen.
4. Put a smile on, press “play” on your workout playlist, and start your timer. Generally keep track of your progress, as in sets you did, how many repetitions for each exercise, your 5k time, how long you rode the bike or EFX and what your heart rate was, etc. This is a good way to notice that you’re getting fitter!
5. Repeat steps 2-4 the next day, and for four more. Then take a rest day, and begin again!
6. If you do a weight-lifting split or total-body routine, you do need to switch it up after a month or up to six weeks.
You will need:
1. Gumption and a positive, go-getter attitude.
2. A great workout playlist on your iPod.
3. A little notebook to jot down your workouts and progress. Include smiley faces, “way to go!”s and small improvement goals for the next time you repeat the workouts.
4. Comfy and flattering workout clothes. I hate when my shorts ride up, my shirt bunches, and when I wear a t-shirt that absorbs liquid for the most sweat-inducing cardio. And I like to wear exercise clothes that allow me to see that my form is correct, for instance, a tank top on back and biceps day, leggings or shorts on leg day, and I hate to run in baggy sweats.
5. I like to bring a timer to see how long my workouts are taking me, and to break up my 10 minute warm-up and cool-down from my actual workout. Timers are also handy to do circuits and sprints. I have a yellow Everlast timer that I bought for $19.99 on Amazon and it can be a stopwatch or interval timer with rest intervals, too.
A few ground rules:
1. Do not do the same workout or work the same muscles two days in a row, and if you’re lifting heavy or sprinting, I wouldn’t even do the same workout every other day. Always vary your workouts from day to day.
2. Work in your heart rate zone. If you do cardio for thirty minutes with your heart rate twenty beats per minute lower than it should be, it’s as if you only did ten minutes of cardio. The formula I learned when I got certified is 220 minus your age (this gives you your MAXIMUM possible heartbeats per minute), times 80 percent for vigorous cardio (25-40 minutes) or 70 percent for longer cardio (40-60 minutes). If you’re doing 15 minutes or so of cardio, your heart rate should be even higher (90 percent of maximum) and you should be doing intense intervals, like sprints, burpees, mountain climbers, jumprope, or the like.
3. Be consistent. If you want to see results, going to the gym every other day or every two days i not enough. You need to go for at least three consecutive days (five is more ideal), and aim for 5-6 workouts per week. I exercise pretty vigorously for between 45 minutes and an hour and 15 minutes Monday through Friday, then Saturday, I allow myself to do whatever I want, like a “wild card” workout day. Sometimes I’ll do a spinning class, plyometrics, a good run, or just all core exercises.
I hope this helps you all begin to navigate this labyrinth of fitness! Have a happy first (or kazillionth) workout!