We are into my favorite part of the series….exercise!! I know some of you may find it hard to believe but I love exercising and working out regularly and often feel sluggish if I don’t. The hardest part about an exercise program is starting. There are so many good excuses out there- trust me I have heard them ALL! The most successful way to start an exercise program (much like a nutrition program) is to have a plan. Write down your goals even if it is week by week so you can hold yourself accountable. Think of long term goals that you want to accomplish, then break it down into smaller and more realistic goals. An example is “My big goal is to lose 30 lbs”. You can then break it down into smaller goals like “I want to lose 10lbs by Christmas” or “I want to fit comfortably into my favorite jeans that are way too tight”. Make sure you give yourself a reasonable timeframe to accomplish your goals in and be as specific as you can so you know when you reach each goal.
Many people I talk to about exercise do not know where to start with exercise and when going to a gym, they are unsure where to start. There are many great books out there that will lead you safely through exercise programs. Some include Paul Chek’s “How to Eat, Move, and Be Healthy” for beginners, and Jillian Michaels workouts for more intermediate exercisers. If you are brand new to exercise and weight training, I would suggest consulting with a Personal Trainer to avoid injuries and to learn proper technique.
Paul Chek defines 5 basic primal movement patterns as a push, pull, lunge, bend, and twist. These movements evolve from ancient times when cavemen walked the earth. It brings us back to the basics before reaching advanced movements of the present. These basic movement patterns need to be mastered to ensure balance in the body and a strong base before moving onto more advanced exercises. Exercises that strengthen these movement patterns are squats, lunges, pushups, pullups, deadlift, and a woodchop. These exercises are the base to building your body’s foundation. Once this is strong you can build up muscular strength and balance, which will lead to weight loss and eventual muscle tone.
So far I have focused on strength training, but it is also important to include cardiovascular training in your workout routine anywhere from 3-5 times a week and depending on intensity, can be 30 minutes- 90 minutes. Again it depends on your goals since training for a 10K race is different training than it is for weight loss. If you are looking to lose body fat, cardio and strength training is needed, finding a balance with some flexibility! So now you are probably thinking, I am a mom who works 8am-4pm and take care of my kids until 730/8pm, then clean till 9/930pm and crash for bed, when do I have time to do all this? First of you need to make time for yourself. If your goals of feeling better, losing weight and gaining strength are important to you, you can make it happen. Again start off slow, find a time that you can commit at least a half hour to exercise and a place, whether it be at home or at a gym. Get out at lunch or before work if you have to. I have a friend who finds it easier to workout before her kids wake up, and I prefer to do it as soon as they are in bed, or to go to a gym in the morning. Find what works for you and make it a habit.
There will be many more posts on exercise and nutrition and if there are any topics that you specifically would like to know more on, let me know! Next week I will wrap up the last 4 blogs of the series!