As a new year sets upon us, so do resolutions! This is a very busy time in the fitness world, where many people decide to start a new journey to fitness, or simply dust off the sneakers. While many people consider any type of movement better than none, it is important to consider the following 10 items for safety and optimal results that will keep you training longer than the average “resolution-er”. Here they are in no particular order:
- Know your fitness level. If you are a beginner, consider walking, a beginner class or basic body weight movements. Do not jump into a high intensity program as you will become injured and discouraged.
- Know your blood pressure. Your fitness professional should take this reading prior to you beginning your program. Without it, you are putting yourself at increased cardiovascular risk. Know your numbers.
- Learn proper technique! Videos and classes are great, but without proper instruction and monitoring you are at increased risk of injury, and not to mention, you will not obtain the most from each exercise.
- Change it up! Your program should change every 2-4 weeks. Different exercises, reps, sets, timing and order of the routine. Following a circuit for one minute per station for months will not produce any long term favourable results. At the same time, ensure you are not changing it too often! The body needs structure and something to adapt to. Make sure you find the correct balance.
- Incorporate some Iron! Lifting weights is the number one way to achieve results long term. Using a wide variety of equipment such as dumbbells, cables, kettlebells and barbells is key to boosting your metabolism, reducing body fat and increasing overall strength.
- Hire a professional and look for credentials! You can achieve 80% faster results when working with a qualified fitness professional. In an unregulated industry, anyone can throw a workout together and charge you for it – make sure they have proof of credentials.
- Don’t forget to rest. Training the same muscle group every day will not produce favorable results. Common “daily web based” challenges that are popular to many are often injury provoking. Be sure not to train the same muscle group two days in a row!
- Always include a warm up before your workout. The first few minutes of every workout is when the body is adapting to the stimulus you are placing on it. By entering your workout without a proper warm up, you risk the chance of injury and early fatigue.
- Find a workout buddy! Having a workout partner will keep you on track and accountable. Challenge each other to work hard, each and every workout.
- Avoid the fads and gimmicks. Make sure your program makes sense and keeps you on the right path.
Without following the above guidelines from the very beginning, the likeliness of you sticking to your plan, or seeing results for the entire year becomes lessened. Make sure you start out the proper way and obtain a year full of results and motivation!
May 2014 be your fittest year yet!