Proper preparation for a fitness program is essential in order to achieve the best results. The following tips will help you when starting a new fitness program, and help you to stay consistent with it over the long term.
The following is a list of general principles:
- Prior to beginning an exercise program, speak with your physician, especially if you have a medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, are overweight, sedentary, over 35 years old, have any heart problems, or have a history of heart problems in your family.
- Set achievable, measurable, attainable, and realistic goals. Write them down and keep them some place visible. Create an accountability team (i.e. trainer, nutritionist, workout partner) to help keep you on track.
- Wear comfortable clothing that will absorb perspiration. Choose clothing that maximizes your movement and remember that this is about fitness rather than fashion (although you may wear fashionable workout clothes). Wear good athletic shoes that provide plenty of arch support. Dress for the climate.
- Choose and schedule times to work out that fit your daily routine. It helps to pick a time when you usually feel energetic and your schedule allows for consistency. If you have a busy lifestyle, put your workouts into your schedule just like any other appointments or responsibilities that you have.
- Track your workouts in a log or notebook. This helps ensure that you consistently challenge yourself to do more in your program, allows you to see the progress you are making, and gives you a record to monitor so you know when to build variety and progression into your program.
- Warm up for 3 – 5 minutes with a light activity that targets all the major muscle groups prior to beginning your fitness program (also known as a dynamic warm-up).
- After your workout, finish with a cool down phase of 5-10 minutes. This is also a good time to incorporate any static (stationary) stretching into your fitness program.
- Consistency is the key with any fitness program designed to achieve lasting, long term results. Start with small steps, but keep moving forward with your program consistently.
- Avoid going overboard with your fitness program. Exercise is like anything else, and too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Give your body adequate rest by getting a good night’s sleep on a consistent basis and by varying your exercise routine so that you avoid suffering from repetitive use injuries.
- Clean up your diet; look into nutritional cleansing and supplementation. Understand that there is a balance (physically and nutritionally) that your body must achieve for optimal health and physical performance. This is done through a balanced, practical, and rational approach of exercise, rest, and nutritional intake.