Starting to exercise isn’t as simple as just going to the gym and deciding to start. Working out can mean completely different things to different people, and if you go at it without a plan, you’ll be paralyzed by choice. Before starting your workout regime, it’s important to develop a plan designed specifically for you. There are two fundamental questions for you to ask yourself when developing your strategy to work out: “What are my goals?” and “What are my obstacles?” Without understanding both the things that may prevent you from working out, and exactly what you are trying to achieve with your workout, it’s impossible to create a routine that is both effective and manageable. Ask yourself the right questions, and plan your regime accordingly.
What Are Your Goals?
Your primary concern when exercising should be about your goals. Working out might be fun for some, even addictive for those who have developed an endorphin response to it and get a “natural high” every time they go to the gym, but exercising is a results oriented activity. Figure out ahead of time what exactly you’re trying to get out of your time working out.
Do You Want to Lose Weight?
This is probably the most common reason that anyone has to go to the gym. They’re sick and tired of struggling to get jeans on and want to get back to a healthier size. One thing to keep in mind when losing weight is that it’s never going to be accomplished by exercise alone. Developing a proper diet alongside your exercise routine will be necessary to accomplishing your goal. That said, the exercise side is still important. If you are trying to lose weight, definitely keep in mind that your body won’t be used to large amounts of strenuous activity. Don’t jump straight from spending most days on the couch to six days out of seven down at your gym. Plan for every other day, or maybe 3 days out of the week. Start off with lighter weights, or even just your own bodyweight, and less strenuous exercises, and gradually work yourself up to the more intense ones. In order to maximize your calorie burn, try to get as much of your body involved. When weight training, have a varied routine that focuses on every muscle set. Ellipticals are a great option for getting more of your body involved when doing endurance training, since they work out your arms, your legs, and your core.
Do You Want to Get Swole?
If you’re looking at your skinny arms in the mirror and want to pump them up a bit, then the first thing you should know is that your workouts will be a serious commitment. Building up bulk doesn’t happen quickly or easily, it happens over time, and through long workout sessions. You’ll want to focus mostly on weight training, for obvious reasons, starting off each of your sessions with lighter weights, doing higher rep counts on those earlier weights. As you gradually add on more weight, lower your rep count, so that you’re eventually hitting the peak of what you can do once. Don’t push yourself past what you’re capable of managing, though. Hitting higher weights for a millisecond isn’t that effective if you’re dropping the weight immediately afterwards. A lot of the bulk that you get from weight training comes from lowering the weight back down in a smooth and controlled manner. You should have days when you focus on a particular muscle group, so set up a workout routine around which muscle group your working on for the day, hitting every group over the course of the week and allowing for a couple of off days. Food also factors in here; you can’t bulk up if you don’t have the fuel to do so. Eat big, healthy meals with lots and lots of protein.
Do You Want a Cut Look?
The bodybuilder look isn’t for everyone; some guys want to look less like Arnold and more like James Bond, focusing on developing washboard abs and tight, rippling muscles instead of just building for size. To accomplish that, you’ll want to focus more on reps and duration than on weights or resistance. The aim isn’t to lift a lot of weight, but to lift light weights a lot. Just like bodybuilding, you’ll want a varied workout that focuses on every part of the body, but the focus on length instead of intensity will cut you down instead of making you bigger. You’ll also want to incorporate a solid amount of aerobic exercise into your routine.
What Are Your Obstacles?
If you’re looking up advice on developing a workout routine, t’s likely you’ve tried to make a routine before. One very important thing to figure out is, why didn’t it work last time? What prevented you from maintaining it? Once you know what it is that prevents you from working out, you can take actions to make sure next time will be more effective.
Do You Have Trouble With Motivation?
By far, the most trying aspect of working out is that it’s just plain hard. It’s exhausting and strenuous while you’re doing it, and leaves you sore and drained afterwards. Some people enjoy the physical activity, but if you don’t, holding yourself to a pattern can be really difficult. If that’s you, then there are a few techniques you could use. Find someone who can work out with you; that way, if you don’t go, it’s not just yourself that you’re disappointing. Also, if you buy a gym membership, then you’re paying every month, whether you go or not. Don’t let that money go to waste. But the best way to keep to working out is simply to find something you enjoy. Try every type of workout you can find, you never know which one you might not hate.
Do You Just Run Out of Time?
If you work long hours or your life is just too hectic to maintain a long workout schedule, you can still manage a decent exercise regime. Instead of doing long sessions, focus on low time, high intensity workouts. Things like jump rope, cardio sprints, and high intensity strength training are the way to go. It’s a bit of a tougher workout, but you can get it done in twenty minutes and be on your day. For extreme timesavers, check out tabata, the most efficient workout routine anyone’s developed, crammed into 4 minutes.