Designing Your Exercise Program
Time is an extremely precious resource, and no one wants to waste it on an activity that will not provide any enjoyment or a specific return on investment. This is especially true when it comes to exercise; when you make a commitment to an exercise program, you want to know that it can help you achieve your desired outcomes. Almost any type or mode of exercise can provide results if it is done at the appropriate intensity for the necessary amount of time.
Where many people go wrong is doing the same types of exercises for too long. Doing the same thing over and over (and over) but expecting different results is one definition of insanity. Following the same program with the same amount of weight or for the same number of repetitions for too long causes the body to adapt to the amount of work, and it will simply stop making changes. In technical terms, this is called accommodation; in common gym vernacular, this is known as hitting a plateau.
Planning a successful training program can be like planning a vacation: When you want to plan a flight, you first identify your final destination and then determine the fastest, most affordable way to get there. Sure, you can take the bus to save money, but if you only have a limited amount of vacation time, you probably don’t want to waste it getting to your destination. Flying is more expensive, but the benefit is that you will have more time to spend actually being on vacation than on getting on vacation.
When it comes to planning your program, the first step is to identify a specific fitness goal, such as improving mobility, adding strength or lean muscle mass, or enhancing aerobic capacity. It is a good idea to quantify a goal with measurable outcomes. For example, you might want to improve hip mobility to be able to do a deep squat, have the upper-body strength to complete 20 push-ups in a row, or improve your aerobic conditioning in order to reduce the amount of time it takes to get your breath back after a really hard exercise interval.
-Find the type of exercise program:
The second step is to identify the type of exercise program that can help you reach that goal. Just like taking a bus can take longer to get to your vacation spot, designing an inefficient exercise program can result in taking a lot longer to reach a fitness goal. There is a major difference between a training program that just feels really hard and one that can actually produce results. Just because a workout feels challenging doesn’t mean that it can make the desired changes to your body.
-Be a careful common mistake
An extremely common mistake is to begin an exercise program with the hopes of magically changing your body and appearance almost immediately. Here’s the good news: Doing more exercise, when combined with other healthy behaviors such as following a good nutrition plan and getting an adequate amount of sleep, can make significant changes to your body. The bad news is that it does not come easy.
-Exercise to change your body
Using exercise to change your body requires consistent work and time. When beginning an exercise program, whether it is for the first time or you are returning after a break (why the break happened is not important; what is important is the fact that you are starting to exercise again), remember an old Chinese proverb, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Don’t start off by trying to do too much at once. Instead, begin slowly and gradually build up the intensity of the workouts. Rather than trying to compensate for a period of inactivity in your first couple of exercise sessions, focus on making exercise enjoyable and fun. Regardless of any other short- or long-term goal, you may have, it is important to learn how to enjoy the process of exercise.
-Enjoy with Exercises
Focus on learning to enjoy the process of exercise by knowing when to alternate between low, moderate, and high intensity.
On those days when you’re feeling great, are well-rested, well-fueled, and hydrated, you can make a few changes to increase the intensity.
Increasing the intensity means doing a few more reps, moving at a faster pace, taking shorter rest breaks, or using a heavier weight. It means doing a little more than what you’ve been doing, not necessarily a lot more; do just enough to feel the difference.
On the days when you feel tired or sluggish, you’ll be surprised at how a low-intensity mobility workout can recharge your batteries and boost your energy levels.
Once you start moving a bit, it’s highly likely that you will start feeling better, and before long, you’ll be moving better and with a little more purpose!
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