A Beginner’s Guideto Planning an Exercise Regime

Scheduling your workouts increases your chances of success
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Scheduling your workouts increases your chances of success 

Most people realizethat regular exercise can have tremendous benefits for their health and general well-being but designing a training plan can be a great way to ensure you stick to your goals and achieve the best results.

The accepted benefits of regular exercise

Experts agree that regular exercise has substantial benefits for the human body. As well as improving your overall attitude and sense of well-being, physical activity also significantly reduces the risks of chronic disease. Sports and physical activity also improve your balance and coordination while all forms of training have the additional benefit of burning calories to keep your body in better shape. 

The paybacks don’t end there, however. Regular training also drastically improves your sleep patterns (we sleep better when after physical exertion) and can also lead to a healthier, more active sex life. Being in better shape will also improve your self-esteem and outlook on life.

Is getting fit expensive?

In truth, your health program can be as expensive or inexpensive as you choose. After all, running is one of the best cardio exercises around, yet costs nothing. Depending on where you live, you could even go river or sea swimming.Again, these are completely free activities. Riding a bike is another very cheap and efficient form of exercise and costs nothing — well, apart from the initial outlaybuying abicycle. 

Even just simple home exercises like push-ups or squats cost nothing,although you can,of course, make them more intensive by adding small weights to your routine. In reality, it’s possible to streamline your exercise program 100% to your budget. 

These days, many people prefer to take their exercise in a gym or as part of a classand they aregenerally paid on a weekly or monthly membership. The costs involved in membership are higher than the other options listed above, but even then, most gyms are pretty reasonably priced these days. 

The effects of food on your exercise program

As well as taking regular exercise, it’s also essential to make sure you maintain adequate food intake through your program, so be sure to plan ahead and adjust your diet accordingly. Eating more might seem a little counter-intuitive (particularly if you’re exercising to lose weight), but without the right diet your body will feel constantly drained, making you considerably less inclined to train. 

As well as increasing your intake of meats, pasta and rice, also consider food supplements like Myprotein’s Whey Protein to further top-up energy levels. Food is the body’s energy supply so you must remember to maintain a fully balanced diet. 

Assess your general fitness level – and be honest with yourself

We all like to think we’re in tip-top shape, but the truth is, if you haven’t exercised for a while (or not at all), your body is going to need to be broken in gently to any training regime. There are some simple tests you can do to work out your starting level before planning how much exercise to take on:

  • Walk a mile (1.6km), then immediately measure your heart rate
  • Check how many push-ups you can comfortably do in one go
  • Measure your body mass index and compare it to where you should be for your age and height
  • Measure the circumference around your waist, and again, check it against recommended averages for your age and height
  • Time how long it takes to walk or run a mile. Also, check for joint problems as you run as this can be a sure sign of muscle weakness in particular areas
  • Check how supple your muscles are by measuring how far you can reach towards your toes while in a seated position with your legs straight out. The majority of injuries caused through training are caused by a lack of litheness. 

Doing these simple tests will give you an honest picture of your general levels of health before starting on your plan, allowing you to tailor workouts realistic to your particular stage. Of course, if you join a gym, you’ll also have the option to consult with a fitness instructor who will tailor a plan to your particular hopes and aspirations.

Set realistic goals 

Based on the results above, set yourself realistic goals. If you’re hoping for weight-loss, identify a particular target you want to achieve. If it’s strength-training or muscle growth, set a target like a max number of push-ups you want to be able to do in a month. 

Having realistic targets is one of the greatest motivators to keep you in your exercise program as you gradually achieve and tick off your goals. 

Designing your routine

As noted above, probably the most important part of any fitness plan is setting realistic goals and this applies equally to the type and frequency of exercise you intend to do. Start with these general guidelines:

Devise a balanced routine: There’s little point setting an intense target of daily exercise if you already live a busy life.Find a way to balance your training around your familial, work and social commitments. The Department of Health and Human Services suggests adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes of aerobic training. So, in other words, even just setting aside two to three hours per week will make a considerable difference to your health. Of course, if you have time to do more, the benefits will be even greater. However, the key is to be realistic about what you’ll be able to do regularly.

Start slowly and build up: If you haven’t exercised for a while, start slow and build up. There’s little point burning yourself out in the first few days. Also, if you suffer from a medical condition, you should consult a trainer or doctor first to ensure that it’s safe to train.

Include different types of exercise: Doing the same kind of training day after day can get repetitive, so mix up your plan with other exercises. Remember, even simple things like walking provides substantial health benefits, so mix your aerobic (sustained endurance activities) and anaerobic (typically weightlifting routines) exercises to give variety.

Allow recovery time: It’s very common to start an exercise plan with all guns blazing and raring to go, but exhaustion is one of the most common reasons training regimes fail. Again, this is a case of being realistic. Allow rest and recovery time between training. 

Commit your plan to paper: Having a written schedule can be a very effective way to encourage you to stick to your goals. Consider writing down your routine and put reminders in your calendar to prompt you when to train. 

Whether you’re exercising for general health or for a more specific reason (e.g. weight-loss or to build muscle mass/strength, etc.), devising a plan to follow will vastly increase your chances of sticking to your regime. 

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