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Five Things You Need for ANY Fitness Program To Work

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When looking for a training program you have many options. You can jump into a group training class, buy a fitness book or video, or even get a personal trainer. Any and all of these might work perfectly for others, but not necessarily work for you.

Finding the perfect exercise plan that works best for you and your goals at your current fitness level is not easy. There is no one-stop-shop for every person looking to get into better health and conditioning -- fitness or dieting. Even personalized training programs will have a phase or two of experimenting with what actually works best for you personally.

However, there are a few constants that will never change when it comes to fitness and dieting. These few things below will help you with any fitness plan you try:

Consistency and daily effort becomes habit. You have to do something daily. Whether it is a full weight room workout, a walk for twenty minutes, or just watching what you eat. Try having someone you are mindful of each day who holds you accountable -- this can be very helpful for keeping you consistent at building good habits. Whether it is a workout partner, a paid trainer, or an event you are preparing for, all are great ways to keep yourself moving when you lose motivation any particular day. Eventually, your motivation to start has to evolve into habits and discipline in order for you to be successful.

Caloric deficit. You cannot outwork your diet typically. You have to find ways to reduce calories and burn calories through movement. Reducing sugar is a great start to get excess calories from your diet. Reducing or eliminating sodas, juices, sweets, and sugary snacks can easily help you drop 500 calories a day depending upon your current eating habits. Many people have lost 20-30 in a year just by quitting a several sodas-a-day habit. Dropping sugar has other benefits too: reduction is belly fat, cavities, and health numbers.

Do not eliminate macro nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates). People confuse sugars and sweet carbs with fruits and vegetable carbs. Fruits and vegetables – especially raw – have mineral, vitamins, and critical nutrients for your health. Unless you are a diabetic / pre diabetic, carbs (fruit/vegetable) should not be reduced in your diet -- as with protein / fat. Getting into the habit of moving more and eating less than you normally eat, but not starving yourself, is required to see results with any fitness program. If you notice in the small print of any diet, it will usually say to "For best results, do this _____ plan along with 30 minutes of exercise and 8-10 glasses of water a day."

Stay hydrated – water.
We all need water. In fact, most of us just need to add more water. If you can take 50-75 percent of your body weight (in pounds) and drink that much in ounces, you will have plenty of water in your system each day. If you are sweating profusely during your activities, you need that water even more, plus some electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium) in your diet.

Core work! You will only be as strong as your core.
Your limbs will only be as strong as your core (lower back, abs, torso, upper back). You have to make sure whatever your program is, that it includes exercises that balance out pushing or pulling exercises or cardio only workouts. The Lower Back Plan is a solid core workout plan that features abs, upper back, lower back, and stretching. Getting used to doing these exercises at least every other day as a cool down workout or a stand-alone workout is an easy way to prepare for you core for growth.

Sleep
. The amount of sleep you get each day will determine your ability to fully recover from previous training or not. Irregular sleep patterns are a major cause of our inability to recover – from either a stressful day or a tough workout. Strive to get six to seven hours on the low side. Eight hours is ideal for most people. Multiple days or less than four to five hours of sleep can cause many of the over-training / over-stressed symptoms, even if not training that intensely.

Rest Days / Recovery Days. Your routine requires rest / recovery mobility / de-stressing built in or at least suggested on "days off."

Proper technique
. All exercises from running to lifting to calisthenics require proper form and technique to help you perform at your best and to prevent injuries. On YouTube, there are plenty of videos showing proper technique, including calisthenics, running, weight lifting, swimming, and more, as well as other athletic events.

Long haul - not short term.
There is no such thing as an effective workout plan that does not progress logically over time. And there is no healthy shortcut to your goal. You have to put in the time. Consider fitness a journey and not a destination, as it truly has to be a lifestyle change to really work for you long term. This goes for ANY program.

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