Four Easy Steps to Starting a Workout Program

start a workout programReady to start a new workout program?  But feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused on where you should begin?  Don’t worry it is easier than you think to get started, and here are the basic steps to get you going with a cardio and resistance workout program.

Check with Your Doctor

Check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to start, especially if you are new to exercise.  No need to put yourself in a worse position than you already are.  Either schedule your annual checkup, or give your doctor a call.  In the meantime you can always start walking around your neighborhood.  Just don’t push yourself, even if that means just walking down the block and back until you chat with your doctor. (Hey, I see you getting ready to ignore this, but this is important you really can do damage – call your doctor!)

Determine what Workout You are Going to Do

The best programs incorporate both cardiovascular training and resistance training.  Cardio training helps strengthen your heart, while resistance training increases your muscle.  Both of these components are vital to staying healthy and strong.

I recommend that for beginner cardio you start with a simple walking plan and progress up to either running or aerobics and machines.  Walking is a great way to start as it is gentle and can be done anywhere.

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For your resistance training there are many options, including some that have cardio built into them.  You need to select the one that matches your current level of fitness.  While you might want to start with Insanity, because it looks amazing, if you have not exercised in a while or are just starting out it could be too much for your body to handle.

Some options that you might consider for at home programs include a DVD program to fit your level, a card deck program such as fitdeck (love these) or even a book .  Some of my favorites are:

  • Chalean Extreme – this is mainly a weights program that includes some cardio.  It is good for a beginner as she shows you how to modify each move and has a person demonstrating on bands and light weights.  Also great for mom’s because the workouts are less than an hour – this is hands down my go to workout for this reason!
  • FitDeck – these are a series of cards that were created by a former navy seal.  There are many sets to choose from depending on your goal.  I have the bodyweight, the dumbbell and the kids set.  Simply shuffle the cards and do the exercise.  Simple and easy to grab and do anywhere.
  • Weight Training Books– there are many books out there that have weight programs already mapped out for you.  I keep one on hand so that when I am bored with my regular program I can grab the book and have a balanced program ready to go.

Get the Right Equipment

It is important to have the right tools to start with.  The right tools do a couple of things.  First it helps keep you motivated as you are not frustrated with your equipment.  Second it will help prevent injury since you are not making due with the wrong tools.

For walking and resistance training you should have a good pair of cross trainer shoes.  Take the time to find a pair that fits your foot and is right for your exercise.  The wrong shoes can mess with not only your feet, but your leg muscles and proper form.  Don’t skip this important piece.

For resistance training you can either join a gym or workout at home.  If you are going to workout at home then you should invest in either dumbbell weights or resistance bands.  If you have never worked out with weights before then I would recommend you start with the Bands.  Bands are a great way to add resistance at a reasonable price.  They also take up less room for storage and can be easier to start learning on.

Once you become stronger and are more familiar with the exercises you can purchase dumbbells.  When you do reach the point where you are ready to invest in weights I would recommend investing in one of the sets that you adjust only one weight for a range of weights such as the Bowflex set.  I personally have individual dumbbells and at times it can be hard when I need to make the jump from 15lbs to 20 lbs.  I plan on eventually investing in the all in one set style.

Make it a Date: Set a Regular Time

This is the important part of sticking to any program.  Add the workout to your daily calendar; make it a date that you are not allowed to break!  Do not look at this as a something that if you have time you will do.  It should be something that occurs before the less important things in your life.

Remember, your health is one of the most important things, because without it you can’t work, you can’t care for your family or do all the fun things that you want to do.  Your health is crucial.

There you go you are now set to start your new workout program.  Remember it might take a while to enjoy it and have it be a routine, but if you commit every day to your plan you will succeed.

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