Starting a Fitness Routine
March is the month that most people who were hell-bent on starting a fitness routine at the start of the year typically fall off the wagon. If you even made it to March, you have beaten the odds of New Years resolution-makers succeeding in their fitness goals. After January the word "resolution" seems to have dropped from our lips and is all but forgotten. But do not fear - I am here to help you not waste the gym membership payment that you locked in.
The thing is, this is completely natural. Read my "Five Psychological Phase of Fitness" article for more information. In a nutshell, after a few months of exuberance about your fitness plan (Phase 1), many things can happen. For instance, maybe you were:
- Bored with the same old routine
- Stricken with an illness
- Injured due to over-use or improper technique
- Subject to a schedule change
- Starting to doubt yourself and your abilities (Phase 2).
Regardless of the reason, you are no longer exercising and that has to change. Below are some simple ideas to do at home if you cannot make it to the gym, as well as a fun circuit program that will get you through a full body workout in the shortest amount of time.
Break up your workout week into two types of workouts Cardio and Resistance/Calisthenics Training.
You can do cardio workouts such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming, rowing on any day, and it only takes 20-30 minutes to receive a good cardio-vascular benefit. Keep your heart rate at about 50-65% of your maximum. A good way to determine maximum heart rate is the theoretical formula of:
220 - age = max heart rate
If you do this 3-4 days a week, you will burn enough calories to lose weight (and inches) as long as you are not getting too carried away with your eating habits. See my "Lean Down Plan" article for more ideas on what to eat and when.
The best thing about this part of your workout is that you can do your cardio exercise around your neighborhood, on a treadmill at home, or at to the gym if you choose. So on days when time is short, get your cardio done, or make those the 1-2 days of rest you should give yourself every week.
Calisthenics and Weight Machines:
The abdominal routines and lower back exercises are the easiest to do and take the least amount of time -- usually five to ten minutes. Here is a quick abdominal/lower back routine you can at your home or in between sets at the gym:
- Crunches - 25
- Reverse Crunches - 25
- Double Crunches - 25
- Left Crunches - 25
- Right Crunches - 25
- Bicycle Crunches - 25
See the "Rest with Crunches" article for pictures and more information on fitting abs workouts into your program.
Here is a Full-Body Weight Circuit Routine that can be used to get you back in the gym again: (Use machines or dumbbell/free weights)
Do this weight routine 2-3 times a week:
- Bench press - 15,10* reps
- Pulldowns - 15,10* reps
- Squats or leg press - 10-15 reps
- Leg Curls - 10-15 reps
- Rest with abs - do 50 reps of the crunch exercises above
- Military press (shoulder press) - 15,10*
- Bicep Curls - 15,10
- Triceps Extensions - 10-15 reps
- Plus an exercise of choice - pick a machine and do two sets of 15 reps on it
Repeat above again if you have time/energy
(*Complete this set with heavier weight on the first set; immediately drop the weight a few pounds and perform the second number of reps without rest)
On days you cannot get to the gym to lift weights, give this superset a shot. Add dumbbell investment of $20-30 to fully supplement your home workout:
- Pushups - 10-20
- Crunches - 20
- Wide Pushups - 10-20
- Rev crunches - 20
- Bench dips - 10-20
- Double Crunches - 20
- Squats - 20
- Lunges - 10-20 / leg
- Bicep curls - 20
- Triceps Extension - 20
- Military Press - 20
For the Lightweight Shoulder workout, read "The Best Shoulder Workout" article.
I hope these ideas help you rebuild your determination to get back to exercising.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Military.com Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at Military.com. To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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