Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Starting up an Exercise Program: Getting it all Planned Out

OK, so now you have finally decided to get off of the couch. What now? How will you begin your exercise protocol? Here is a brief list of points that should be addressed prior to beginning your program. It is important to know what your plan is. You would never go to a job interview without directions to get there, so why should your exercise destination be any different?

First things that should be planned out before starting an exercise regimen.

  • Make sure you are in good enough health. (If you do have a doctor, have them check your blood pressure, heart rate, and over all health)
  • Determine your goal or goals. Remember that realistic short term goals should be easier to attain than long term goals. However, think of your short term goals as baby steps leading to that larger goal.
  • How often are you willing to workout? Be realistic.
  • Use the FIT principle to set your workout strategy. Frequency (how often?) Intensity (how intense will your workouts be?) Time (how long will your workouts be?)
  • Will you workout alone or with a friend or partner?
  • Gym or no gym
  • Fitness coach, personal trainer or by yourself (your own coach)
  • Weight loss goals that are realistic include weight loss of 1-2lbs per week (don't be distracted if you only lose .5 lbs a week). Anything larger than this will appear unrealistic.
  • Weight loss also involves eating less and burning more calories per day. In essense: a negative caloric balance.
  • Weight gain goals require eating a positive caloric intake along with resistance training and high protein intake of no more 2 g per kg of weight, and should mimick those of muscle mass gain.

  • (To determine your weight in kg just divide your weight in lbs by 2.2 kg....150 lbs / 2.2 kg=68.18 kg, so someone weighing 68 kg should not consume more than 68 kg * 2 g = 136 g of protein per day)

  • Gain muscle strength - requires low repetitions and high weights.
  • Improve cardio endurance or just to improve cardio in general - *NOTE: CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness) is the only true measurement of fitness and over all wellness; regardless of your goal, cardio is and should be a staple to any workout regimen.
  • Improve metabolism - increased metabolism comes with a decrease in fat mass and an increase in lean body mass. This can be attained by adding resistance training to any program.
  • Improve power and agility
  • Improve muscular endurance - this involves working at a rate of approximately 50% of your 1 RepMax weight (1 RepMax is the maximum amount of weight you can lift once). You should be able to do high reps with low weight. Usually reps over 10 for each set.
This is just a short list, and each topic will be discussed in further detail later. Hopefully, this list will give you an idea of what you might want to think about and determine prior to starting your workout plan. If you know what you want from your workout plan than it will be easier reach your goals. Good job on your new decision and good luck on reaching the stars!