Programs are a great way to exercise. Not only do they map out what you do each time you exercise so you have a plan, but they also help with creating long term habits of exercise because after a program, there is a high chance you will stick with exercise since you’re used to it. There are all kinds of programs to choose from: training for races, strength programs, endurance programs, all around fitness programs, flexibility, you name it. The first step is finding one that interests you. Once you have an idea, here are some tips that could help make the training more enjoyable :)
1. Make goals, and track progress: Writing things down really helps you stay dedicated. Even better is putting your goal up somewhere that not only you see every day, but other people see every day as well. That way people can ask how you’re doing and it will give you more motivation to not quit
2. Stay Safe and Be Aware: If you start a program and something doesn’t feel right, or you feel more pain than soreness, don’t keep going. Stop and assess what the problem is and if you need to get medical attention, or just change things up a bit
3. Start Slow: Not only will your body thank you, but your mind will too. Burn out is common with people starting their first program. They are excited and they also want to see results fast. They won’t come fast, and pushing yourself too hard too fast will hurt you in the long run.
4. Think Positive: Focus on the reasons why you started the program, and once you’re further along, look back at your progress. And there is nothing wrong with imagining what you will feel and look like in coming weeks as you keep with your program!
5. Take Responsibility: You can do this by simply having close friends know about your program, or doing the program with other people. When you know other people know, or other people are counting on you at the gym, you will feel more motivated and responsible.
6. Set Aside Time: Just like we set aside time to eat dinner, and we set aside time to watch our favorite TV show, you need to have a set time when you will exercise. Plan it in your day and you won’t have an excuse to not do it.
7. Warm up and Cool Down: This is important to prevent injury, and get your body in a place ready for a work out and then ready to go do other things after
8. Rest: Sleep is really important, no matter how hard or easy you are training. Your body can’t perform if it isn’t rested. Also, take at least 1 day a week to rest your body. It will thank you, and you will be able to go farther the next time you work out.
9. Mix it Up: Make things fun. You won’t want to quit if you are doing a variety of activities. Even if you are just trying to improve cardio fitness, you can do that by running, cycling, swimming, playing sports, or a variety of cardio machines. Mixing up which muslces you use will make your body respond better also.
10. Reward Yourself: If you reach your goal, by all means reward yourself. I recommend not making it a food reward, or a reward of taking too much time off. But maybe go buy a new outfit, go to a movie you’ve wanted to see or go get a massage.
Everyone can make a fitness program that is right for them and stick to it; it’s just a matter of picking the right one and taking the right steps while you do it. Good luck!