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FEATURES Jan 5 2013 4:50PM

5 Tips For Creating A Workout Plan You Can Stick To

by Fran of HeyFranHey.com
Most people sign up for gyms and end up dazed and confused on where and how to begin a fitness plan without the help of an expensive personal trainer. The best thing to do is to create a list of goals, before signing up, to ensure you’re getting the most out of your time and workouts.  People often ask me where I find my motivation to continue working out every week. Staying consistent and seeing the awesome results are what keep me coming back. A huge part of working out and staying fit is mental. Here are 5 tips for creating a workout plan you can actually stick to!
The first thing I did, when transitioning into a life of fitness, was post a huge calendar on my wall. I’m a visible person so seeing the days of the month motivated me to fill them in with physical activities more days than not. It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to look back and see how many days you’ve knocked out. I suggest a red marker for that added mental boost!
Now that your calendar is up, the next thing you have to figure out is how many days a week you are willing to commit to.  Most people burn out and stop hitting the gym because they overtrain their bodies too fast and too soon. While daily physical activity is recommended, you definitely don’t have to workout every day to see results. 3-4 days a week of at least an hour of solid and consistent work is just as effective!
Ok. So your calendar is up and you’ve picked which days of the week you will be working out. The next step is deciding what your fitness goals are, how to target them and on which days you will be executing the workouts. Keep in mind you don’t have to join a gym to be fit! There are tons of online resources like fitness tumblrs, blogs and youtubes that are incredible sources of information and motivators. Three of my personal fav YouTubers are Blogilates, MarC Hangtight and Tara Stiles. DVD sets like P90x, Insanity and MadCoolFitness are also effective for at home fitness! Research which workouts will target your individual goals, whether its cardio for fat burning, yoga for flexibility or weight lifting for muscle building and toning! And decide on which days you will knock each of them out!
Muscle Confusion, Variation & Intensities
When creating your workout schedule, remember to keep in mind that muscle confusion is important! You never want to do the same exact workout every day. The body loves to be challenged and will respond best to variation! If Monday was your day for heavy lifting, make Tuesday the day you go running in the park or hit up a yoga class! If your choice of Cardio was running 3 miles today, then try running 5 miles tomorrow or 2 miles on an incline as an added challenge. Switch it up! Your body will only plateau and stop responding if you don’t.  Also remember muscles need at least 48 hours to repair. You never want to overtrain the same area. That can lead to endless soreness and injury. Avoid working the same muscle groups consecutively! They need rest, too. And last, but not least, remember that a well-rounded weekly fitness plan includes weight training for strength and muscle growth, cardio (swimming, biking, running, jump rope, etc) for heart health and fat burning and flexibility (yoga, pilates) for overall health and agility.
What you’re eating is just as important as your fitness plan. Burning fat on your cardio days would be a waste if you head home to eat the bad fat back into your system. Cut down on sugary foods and drinks, processed foods in cans, boxes and frozen packaging, and meals that are high in saturated and trans fats. Eat fresh fruit in every color, add crisp greens to every plate and in your morning breakfast smoothie, swap your white rice for brown rice or quinoa and cut down on how much dairy you’re consuming on a daily basis. Those small changes will make a huge impact on your results. Also, make sure you’re eating the right pre and post workout foods to ensure your muscles stay fueled, lean and healthy! This article: http://www.acaloriecounter.com/diet/pre-and-post-workout-meal is an incredible resource for understanding exactly what your body needs to strengthen up, build muscle and lose fat the healthy way. And, of course, drink tons and tons of water to keep those muscles happy and hydrated!


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