You’ve just started a new fitness program and feeling strong and motivated right out of the gate ready to tackle your goals and become fitter than ever before.
Considering that the majority of adults who start fitness programs never reach their goals, the chances of your new program staying intact are slim. Ensure your fitness program will be successful by avoiding a few common mistakes.
Too much, too soon
Jumping into a fitness program too quickly and trying to do too much too soon will inevitably lead to failure either from burnout or injury.
Setting goals around exercise frequency, duration and intensity before getting started will greatly improve the chances of consistency and success. Your commitment to the program is more important than the type. Making commitment and consistency the priority through goal setting will set you up for long-term success.
Regardless of whether you’re running a business or financial planning for your future, a plan helps you stay focused and motivated. The same is true of fitness. A well-rounded fitness program should include aerobic/cardiovascular exercise, strength training and function/flexibility training.
When planning your cardiovascular exercise, plan for intensity (enough to challenge your heart rate), duration (30 to 60 minutes) and how often you’ll exercise. Beginners may start at three days per week and work up to six.
A strength-training plan should address the number of repetitions, how often (at least two days per week) and which exercises to do. Target every major muscle group, using compound and complementary exercise.
Similarly, a flexibility plan should include the frequency (three to seven times per week, ideally following a workout), how long and far you will stretch and the types of stretches you’ll perform.
Finally, a fitness plan should track your progress so you can celebrate your results and adjust the intensity and exercises as you gain strength. For further help with building training plan that’s right for you, consult a fitness professional.
Unrealistic expectationsWhen starting a fitness program, many people give up too soon because they’re not seeing the results they expect. Considering it likely took years to fall out of shape, it’s unrealistic to expect results in a week or two. Changes take patience, commitment and time. Commit to a training program for at least six to eight weeks before determining if it’s right for you. Likewise, be gentle with yourself if you’re new to exercise. You can’t expect to be lifting as heavy or running as fast as the pros. Don’t judge yourself. Stay consistent and focused on small steps forward and improvement over time.