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Starting A Fitness Program

 

Starting a fitness program may be one of the best things you can do for your health. Physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, help you lose weight — and even improve your sleep habits and self-esteem. And there’s more good news. You can start a fitness program in only five steps.

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1. Assess your fitness level

You probably have some idea of how fit you are. But assessing and recording baseline fitness scores can give you benchmarks against which to measure your progress. To assess your aerobic and muscular fitness, flexibility, and body composition, consider recording:

Your pulse rate before and immediately after walking 1 mile (1.6 kilometers)
How long it takes to walk 1 mile or 1600 meters, or how long it takes to run 1.5 miles (2.41 kilometers)
How many situps, standard pushups or modified pushups you can do at a time
How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you
Your waist circumference, just above your hipbones
Your body mass index
Your body fat percentage (some doctors and most personal trainers can measure this for you)

2. Design your fitness program

It’s easy to say that you’ll exercise every day. But you’ll need a plan. As you design your fitness program, keep these points in mind:

Consider your fitness goals. Are you starting a fitness program to help lose weight? Or do you have another motivation, such as preparing for a marathon? Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress and stay motivated.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.

For example, try to get about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week. Also aim to incorporate strength training of all the major muscle groups into a fitness routine at least two days a week. Start low and progress slowly. If you’re just beginning to exercise, start cautiously and progress slowly. If you have an injury or a medical condition, consult your doctor or an exercise therapist for help designing a fitness program that gradually improves your range of motion, strength and endurance.

Build activity into your daily routine. Finding time to exercise can be a challenge. To make it easier, schedule time to exercise as you would any other appointment. Plan to watch your favorite show while walking on the treadmill, read while riding a stationary bike, or take a break to go on a walk at work. Plan to include different activities. Different activities (cross-training) can keep exercise boredom at bay. Cross-training using low-impact forms of activity, such as biking or water exercise, also reduces your chances of injuring or overusing one specific muscle or joint. Plan to alternate among activities that emphasize different parts of your body, such as walking, swimming and strength training.

Allow time for recovery. Many people start exercising with frenzied zeal — working out too long or too intensely — and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Plan time between sessions for your body to rest and recover.
Put it on paper. A written plan will encourage you to stay on track.

3. Assemble your equipment

You’ll probably start with athletic shoes. Be sure to pick shoes designed for the activity you have in mind. For example, running shoes are lighter in weight than cross-training shoes, which are more supportive.

If you’re planning to invest in exercise equipment, choose something that’s practical, enjoyable and easy to use. You may want to try out certain types of equipment at a fitness center before investing in your own equipment.

You might consider using fitness apps for smart devices or other activity tracking devices, such as ones that can track your distance, track calories burned or monitor your heart rate.

4. Get started

Now you’re ready for action. As you begin your fitness program, keep these tips in mind:
Start slowly and build up gradually. Give yourself plenty of time to warm up and cool down with easy walking or gentle stretching. Then speed up to a pace you can continue for five to 10 minutes without getting overly tired. As your stamina improves, gradually increase the amount of time you exercise. Work your way up to 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Break things up if you have to. You don’t have to do all your exercise at one time, so you can weave in activity throughout your day. Shorter but more-frequent sessions have aerobic benefits, too. Exercising in 10-minute sessions three times a day may fit into your schedule better than a single 30-minute session. Be creative. Maybe your workout routine includes various activities, such as walking, bicycling or rowing. But don’t stop there. Take a weekend hike with your family or spend an evening ballroom dancing. Find activities you enjoy to add to your fitness routine.

Listen to your body. If you feel pain, shortness of breath, dizziness or nausea, take a break. You may be pushing yourself too hard. Be flexible. If you’re not feeling good, give yourself permission to take a day or two off.


5. Monitor your progress

Retake your personal fitness assessment six weeks after you start your program and then again every few months. You may notice that you need to increase the amount of time you exercise in order to continue improving. Or you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you’re exercising just the right amount to meet your fitness goals.

If you lose motivation, set new goals or try a new activity. Exercising with a friend, hiring a coach, or taking a class at a fitness center may help, too.

Starting an exercise program is an important decision. But it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can establish a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.

 

 Or Need help deciding?, Call us now
(301) 996-2965

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Fitness Goals – What Is Your Workout & Exercise Goal?

When you decide to create the most effective workout routine possible to reach your specific fitness goal, there is an important question you need to ask yourself first.:

That question is… just what the hell is your specific fitness goal?
If I had to guess, I’d say these are the most common answers you’d get to this question:
• To build muscle.
• To lose fat.
• To gain weight.
• To lose weight.
• To get “toned.”
• To increase strength.
• To improve performance.
• To get “in shape.”
• To be healthier.
• To look great naked.
• Any combination of the items on this list.

And those are just the broad answers. Some people may have much more specific fitness goals in mind. For example, build X pounds of muscle, lose X of fat, get a 6 pack, deadlift 400lbs, fit into a certain piece of clothing, and so on and so on and so on.

Whatever your workout/exercise related goal may be, and no matter how broad or specific it may be, the first key step in creating the workout routine that will work best for you is figuring out what your overall fitness goal is right now.

the-workout

So, what is your current fitness goal?

Based on your answer, certain aspects of your workout routine will need to be set up a certain way to best accommodate that goal. Since there’s a million ways this can go and I’m a big fan of simplifying things as much as possible, we’re going to break up all of the possible fitness goals into just 2 groups:

1. Team “Looks”
2. Team “Performance”
Let me show you what they include…

Team “Looks”

The people in this group have the primary goal of improving the way their body looks. They want to build muscle, lose fat, or do both. This group also includes more generic goals like getting “toned,” or getting a 6 pack, or losing weight/gaining weight, or really anything that basically translates into “I want to look better.” Granted, there are various differences between the goals I just described, and there are some adjustments that should be made to your workout routine depending on EXACTLY which goal is yours (don’t worry, I’m going to explain all of them). But, in the most basic sense, anyone whose primary goal is to somehow improve the way their body looks falls into this same top level category.

 Team Performance

The people in this group have the primary goal of improving the way their body performs. They want to get stronger, get faster, get better at a certain sport or activity, or really anything that basically translates into “I want to perform better.” Granted, there are again various differences between the goals I just described, and there are some adjustments that should be made to your workout routine depending on EXACTLY what your goal is. But, in the most basic sense, anyone whose primary goal is to somehow improve the way their body performs falls into this same top level category.

Team “Looks” vs Team “Performance”
So, did you figure out which group your fitness goal fits into best? Good.

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Now is a good time to mention that there is a lot of overlap between the groups. Meaning, training for performance will ultimately lead to more muscle and/or less fat in most cases. And, training for looks will ultimately lead to increased strength and/or improved performance in most cases.
However, it will NOT be in a way that is most optimal for those goals. It would be more of a side effect. That’s why the objective here is to set up a workout routine that is as optimal as possible for your primary fitness goal. That needs to be the sole focus even though it may lead to various secondary goals being reached as well. Meaning, if your goal is “looks” related, you want to only do the things that will maximize those results. If your goal is “performance” related, you want to only do the things that will maximize those results. We will avoid that here.

What’s next?

Now that you have your exact fitness goal in mind, you’re ready to start putting together a workout routine that is aimed at reaching your goal as quickly and effectively as possible.
The next step is to figure out what your training experience level is. Meaning, are you a beginner, intermediate or advanced trainee? Let’s find out…

Do You Need A Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced Workout Routine?

(This article is part of a completely free and awesome guide to creating the absolute best workout routine possible for your exact goal. Check it out: The Ultimate Weight Training Workout Routine)

 Need help deciding?, Call us now (301) 996-2965

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Clean Up Your Diet with This 30-Day Clean Eating Challenge

Who doesn’t love a good challenge? Most people who walk into a gym wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds and improving their fitness level!. I am constantly conjuring up new ways to challenge and encourage our members to learn and push toward their fitness goals.

Nutrition & Exercise

7-day-meal-planRemember: Diet and exercise go together like all natural peanut butter & farm fresh jam. While exercise and increased activity will definitely accelerate your fitness journey, you can’t out-exercise poor nutrition. Your nutrition accounts for 80% of any fitness goal, with the other 20% coming from your genetics and exercise regimen. Eating more is part of any plan, but the trick is to make sure those food options are healthy and “clean.” When you start giving your body the fuel it needs to perform properly, fat begins to melt away, allowing your muscles to shine through.

Why 30 Days ?

Many of us have heard that it takes a minimum 21 days of consistency to form a new habit. And “quick fixes” aren’t that appealing because those tend to yield only short-term results. We used the 30-day challenge as a doable, but challenging amount of days to help members jump-start (or re-motivate) their healthy goals and actually see some results. The 30-day time frame allows you to focus on making small changes week-to-week, resulting in a more long-term transition, regardless of inclement weather, a hectic work schedule, a booming social calendar, or whatever other speed bumps pop up along your health journey.

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Creative Strategies for Rest and Recovery after working out

Recovery from a tough workout is all about getting the right combination of rest and movement to circulate blood, but not so much movement that you are introducing a new challenge to the body. Here are a couple of creative ways to do this:

1. Hot Cold Therapy

All the rage among professional athletes, hot-cold contrast therapy is a method for rapidly flushing blood through the body. This is because immersion in cold water removes blood quickly from the limbs (and carries waste products from training away along with it) and immersion in warm water brings new blood rushing back in. This accelerates the circulation of blood through the body. The problem? Most people have neither the means to access hot/cold baths nor the desire and commitment to do so. Putting your entire body in a cold bath requires a level of mental toughness that many just don’t possess. Fortunately, there is a way to get the benefit of hot-cold contrast treatments for specific parts of the body. You just need a good old-fashioned hot water bottle and two wet washcloths.

1. Put the washcloths in the freezer until they are frozen. It is best to hang them on the door of your freezer so it freezes mostly flat and is easy to remove from the freezer and manipulate.
2. Once the cloths are frozen, put hot water in the hot water bottle
3. Place the frozen cloth on or around your desired area of treatment for five to eight minutes
4. Put the used frozen cloth back in the freezer and put the hot water bottle on your body part for five to eight minutes.
5. Place the second frozen cloth on or around your desired area of treatment for five to eight minutes.
6. Repeat step 4 and keep switching the cloths back and forth for as many cycles as you like.

 


2. Muscle Cream Therapy

 

Healing and recovery come from circulation. This means we want more blood moving through the tissues. It also means that the tingling or cold sensation that comes from muscle creams like Ben-Gay, Bio-Freeze or Icy-Hot do little to nothing to actually improve recovery. Rather, in some cases these creams do little more than generate an unpleasant smell and expose your body to chemicals through your skin. Instead, try the following essential oils:

• Black Pepper – soothes muscular aches and pains after exertion
• Clove Bud – provides muscular relief and has analgesic and antibacterial properties
• Peppermint – improves circulation and helps with muscular pain and headaches
• Ginger – promotes circulation and helps with muscular and arthritis pain
• Rosemary – helps with tired muscles and arthritis as well as mental focus
• Thyme – helps the immune, respiratory and circulatory systems

It can be hard to know the right amounts of any individual oil to use and many oils are far more effective when used in targeted blends. If you want to try individual oils, it is best to consult with a certified aromatherapist, which you can find through the National Association for Holistic Therapy website.