Starting a new workout regimen can be difficult and intimidating, if you don’t know where to start. Some gyms offer a personal trainer that can help you choose a workout that’s right for you, but if your gym doesn’t, then I can help. Here’s a simple ten-step full-body exercise program that will keep you fit and healthy! Be warned — you’ll be sore and exhausted at first, and it won’t be easy, but it will be SO worth it when you rock your bikini during Spring Break!
Frequency: Before beginning any new program
Before you begin any exercise program, you must make sure you’re healthy enough for it! If you’ve experienced problems with a joint, muscle, or bone, or if you have any pre-existing condition that might hinder your ability to exercise, check with your doctor before you begin. Also, make sure you have proper shoes and comfortable clothing to wear while working out. Remember the best way to lose weight is to stay safe.
Frequency: 5-10 minutes, before any workout
Before you begin either cardio training or weight training, it’s important to warm up for at least five minutes, preferably ten. A fantastic warm-up would be walking quickly, gradually increasing your speed until you’re almost running. Never, ever stretch muscles during the warm-up. Only stretch muscles once they’ve been warmed up. A perfect time to stretch is AFTER you’ve exercised!
Frequency: 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times each week
At least three times a week, for half an hour (continuously), you need strenuous aerobic exercise. Cardio exercises will strengthen your heart and keep it healthy. Like any other muscle, your heart’s strength will only increase if the exercise you’re doing is stressing it, pushing it past its normal range of activity. If you’re not breathing heavily, sweating, and if your heart rate isn’t in your target cardio range, then you’re not getting a good aerobic workout. Weight-bearing exercise is any sort of activity that you do while supporting your own weight, such as running,Practical Tips on How to Start Jogging ... @Mercy, using an elliptical machine, or jumping rope. Not only are these weight-bearing aerobic exercises good for your heart, they’re good for building strong bones, too!
Frequency:** 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times each week
Non-weight bearing exercises include rowing and bicycling. Again, for the aerobic exercise to be an effective cardio workout, you must exert yourself to the point where you’re breathing heavily, your heart is pumping fast, and you’re perspiring. Don’t push yourself too hard, but if you’re still able to carry on a conversation, or sing, then you’re not getting a good cardio workout. I’ve added this as its own item because you really do need to do non weight bearing exercises separate from your weight-bearing ones. Weight-bearing exercises naturally put a strain on our joints, but improve bone density and strength, so we need to do both.
Frequency: 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times each week
Training with weights or using your own body weight will increase your muscle tone, endurance, and strength. To build or improve muscles, you need to push them past their normal level of activity. For example, you wouldn’t expect to build your biceps curling with a pencil, right? You need to use something heavier than what you’re used to carrying or curling on a daily basis. You can improve tone, strength, and enduranceby lifting weights, or by doing simple calisthenics suing your own weight as resistance, such as push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups or crunches.
Frequency: 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times each week
If you’re worried about back pain, want to improve your posture, or if you’re just looking to tone your stomach, back, hips, and waist, then you’ll want to add core training to your workout regimen. Exercises that will strengthen your core include crunches, leg lifts, back extensions, cat kicks, canoe twists, and even a perfectly executed push-up! Pilates also offers a variety of core-building exercises, so if you’re looking to add core training, you may want to take a Pilates class, or buy a DVD to do at home.
Frequency: 15-20 minutes, 2-3 times each week
If you’re trying to build up or tone a particular area (for me it’s my derriere), then you will want to add exercises that will target that one area. There are exercises that target almost every problem area you can think of: arms, thighs, tummy, and tush. Be reasonable, though, and patient, since twenty minutes a few times a week can’t always combat centuries of genetics! Maybe I’m supposed to have a large butt…
Frequency: 30-60 minutes, 2-3 times each week
This half-hour or hour-long class will also count towards one of your other categories, depending on what type of class it is. There are so many different classes out there, some at the gym, some at studios, some at pools and community centers. A class is a great idea, because the instructor will make sure you’re motivated, and you’ll learn proper form and technique. Grab a friend and head to your nearest class. It's always fun to share your weight loss activities with a friend don't you think?
Frequency: 5-10 minutes, AFTER any workout, 3-4 times each week
NEVER, EVER stretch muscles that haven’t been warmed up first! Also, never stretch using a “bounce;” always use a continuous, non-stressful pull. Stretching “cold” muscles and “bouncing” while stretching are both extremely dangerous and can lead to muscle strains, sprains, and tears. Also, they’re not effective, so you’ll be wasting your valuable workout time! Stretching is an important part of a workout routine because it increases muscle tone, flexibility, and range of motion. As we age, these become more and more important. Also, it makes your weight loss routine more effective overall.
Frequency: 5-10 minutes, after every workout
After you’ve finished your workout, it’s important to cool down. Why? Because all of the blood you’ve been circulating is rushing around your body, and will pool in uncomfortable and dangerous places if you don’t continue to circulate it, and help your blood pressure and flow return to normal. A great cool-down exercise is to walk briskly, then gradually slow down over the course of five or ten minutes. Perfect!
Frequency: during and after any workout
During and after your workout, it’s important to stay hydrated to make up for the fluids you’re flushing out in sweat. Water is the best hydration option, since Gatorade and other drinks are loaded with sugars and other stuff you really don’t need. Bring water with you to the gym, and make sure you continue to drink it in the hours after your workout is done. toAlso, water will also help in losing more weight! What more could you want...
So grab your water bottle and your new pair of trainers and hit the gym! You’ll be toned and ready for bikini weather again in no time! Which of these do you already have in your weekly routine, and what’s missing? Is there anything else you would recommend adding? Please let me know!
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