Thursday, July 12, 2012

5 Keys to a Workout Plan

Because I love talking about fitness, I find myself talking to a lot of people about how to get started moving their bodies. I love talking to the Couch Potato who has just gotten their expansive derriere off said couch and moving toward becoming a spandex wearing Endorphin Addict.Maybe it also has to do with the fact that I teach seven group fitness classes each week. Or maybe it's because everyone I know hears me talking about this crazy stupid Ironman training I'm doing. Regardless, I love talking to people about how to get started when they are ready to move their bodies.

Did you hear what I said? "...when they are ready..."  Unfortunately, you can't do it for them. You can't plan their activities. You certainly can't drag them to the gym. You just have to sit back and wait for the person you dearly love to decide they are ready to start loving themselves again.

People always think because I am training for an Ironman that I love swimming, biking or running. I laugh. (insert evil laugh here). Actually, none of those would be the activity of choice for me, but as I tend to explain I have Exercise ADD. I like doing multiple activities in order to keep my body and mind  constantly challenged.

So, how do YOU get started? Here are my 5 keys to a successful workout plan.

5 Keys to a Workout Plan

Do something you enjoy.
Each journey to a healthy body is different. Too many people ask their neighbor who have just lost 30 pounds how they did it. Then they think they have to do it the exact same way. Your neighbor may have discovered they love to swim, or perhaps they were a high school runner who wants to get back in shape. Just because your neighbor is doing a certain exercise doesn't mean that same exercise is the right choice for you. I used to be an exercise DVD junkie. I would buy just about anything from The Firm, Kathy Smith or Cathy Friedrich. (Check out Collage Video for an endless array of options.) Maybe you enjoy playing tennis or volleyball. Try a group fitness class - may I suggest Zumba, Body Flow or Body Pump? Haha those are just a few of my favorites. If a gym intimidates you, get outside and go for a walk. You don't have to run to make a difference for your body and in how you feel about yourself.

Write it down.
The 1st of every month I write down my planned workouts for the month. I use an Excel spreadsheet which I downloaded from Vertex 42. Some months I write down more details than other, but I always include my group fitness classes as well as my own workouts so I have a bird's eye view of everything that I will be doing in the month.
Sample of my exercise plan
I try to look at my family calendar and get a realistic picture of when I can workout. Obviously, there are some days where I am forced to rest due to family obligations; however, the key is to write it down. By writing it down, I am forcing myself to be accountable to myself. If I don't follow a written plan, I find myself blowing off workouts thinking "Ehh, I can do it another day". Writing out my plan makes my workouts hard to ignore.

Plan a R and R day. 
I've watched many Endorphin Addicts push their bodies....and push and push. In order to allow your muscles to grow, you  must take a rest day. Sit down with a book you've been wanting to read. Give yourself a manicure. Take a long relaxing bath. The key is to rest your body, but that does not mean relax to the point where you forget your goals. On rest days where you are not burning nearly as many calories, you need to watch your caloric intake closely.

Reward yourself.
Reward yourself for your daily successes. Did you complete your workout plan for the day? If so, reward yourself. It doesn't have to be a big reward. Something simple will do the trick. Maybe you put a quarter in a jar. When you reach your big goal (i.e. losing 10 pounds or running a 5k without stopping), you get to spend your reward money on whatever YOU want. A new top? New workout shoes? My favorite? New workout socks. There's nothing like good padded socks to make your feet happy. I know. I'm weird.

Be flexible.
Sometimes life gets in the way. Your schedule changes. Your spouse has to go out of town for work. The kids forget to tell you about a meeting you need to attend. Sometimes you have to arrange your schedule. At the beginning of each week, I try to look at my workout plan for the upcoming week and make the necessary adjustments. Sometimes you have to make those adjustments on the fly. Just remember it's OK to change your plan. Change the plan and move forward. Remind yourself that you are doing what you can when you can, but no matter what always put yourself first.

So, what is your workout plan for the day, the week or the month? Have you written it down? 

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