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  • How to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Get in Shape - Part 3: Workout More

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    January 16, 2017

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    Weight Loss   Weight Training   Workouts  


    Part 3 of 4: Go to the Gym More/Workout More

    Feeling fed up with the way you look and feel? Once the sparkly New Year’s confetti was cleaned up, were you left with the not-so-sparkly feeling of extra holiday weight around the top of your jeans, and arms that lost their definition? Now that you’ve faced the reality of neglecting physical activity for far too long, you’ve decided to prioritize your health this year. So you set a goal to “go to the gym more” or “get in better shape”.

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    If this sounds all too familiar, this blog is for you. It’s also for anyone who wants to lose weight and has been reading this blog series since part 1, where we discussed how to set goals that are realistic and attainable. In part 2, we discussed the shift in mindset and good nutrition needed to lose weight.

    In part 3, we'll continue by discussing how to workout to achieve the body you want, whether your goal is to pack on some muscle, drop several pounds, or just move better and improve your health. We’ll give you some tips on how to get started, how to overcome common obstacles, and what to do in the gym.

    Note: If you didn’t read part 1, go back and read that first. If your only goal is, "go to the gym more", you'll need our previous tips to help you set a goal that is clearer and measurable.

    3 TIPS FOR GETTING STARTED

    So, how will you commit to “go to the gym more”? Start with these tips:

    • Make an Appointment - Many people skip the gym because it’s not part of their routine. To commit to working out, you need to put it in your schedule just like any other appointment and block that time off. Easy times to squeeze it in are first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, and on your way home from work. Don’t wait until you feel like it, or you probably won’t go!
    • Plan Your Workout – Before you go to the gym, decide what you’ll be doing, whether group fitness class, cardio, or weight lifting. If you’re lifting weights, decide which muscles you’ll work and which exercises you’ll do. Otherwise you might spend 20 minutes wandering the gym, trying to figure out where to start, waiting for machines, and wasting your time.
    • Do Things You Enjoy – Sticking with a workout plan is much harder if you hate it. Try several options and discover what you enjoy the most, because doing something is better than doing nothing!

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    Now, let’s be realistic. Despite your best intentions, life still gets in the way at times. So be prepared for challenges that will come against your gym plans with these tips:

    Ways to overcome 3 common obstacles

    • “I’m too busy” – Yes, life is very busy, but if your health is truly a priority, then you need to shift things around and get rid of lesser priorities that consume your time. Even if all you can find is a 20-minute window, take it! Skip the evening news and go to bed 30 minutes earlier so you can wake up 30 minutes earlier. Take 10 minutes to down some coffee and change clothes, and 20 minutes to do a workout at home. There are some surprisingly intense workouts you can do in just 20 minutes, especially if you have a few weights at home. On the weekends, skip pancake-making in the morning and instead take the family to the park where the kids can play and you and your spouse can workout together. If you’re single, skip ladies night or poker night and hit the gym together for a healthier way to socialize!
    • “I don’t know what to do”– Working out can be intimidating when you don’t know where to start. Try going to classes, or doing workout videos at home to learn some exercises. Hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to teach you some things. Google “upper body gym workout” or “full body circuit training workout” to find articles with photos and explanations.
    • “I’m too tired” – Good news! Working out actually increases your energy, helps you sleep better, and improves your mood. You’ll be surprised how often exercise actually makes you feel better and less tired. When you’re truly struggling, just commit to 10 minutes. If that’s all you can muster up, then you’re free to go. But that first 10 minutes may perk you up and you’ll happily finish an entire 45-minute workout – and be glad you did!

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    WHAT TO DO AT THE GYM

    Now that you know how to stay committed, you need a plan for your actual workout time. “Workout more” isn’t a very helpful goal, because there’s no definition for what it means and no way to measure it. Reaching your goal requires some specific numbers: 1) Amount of time you’ll spend at the gym, 2) Number of days per week you’ll go, and 3) How much you’ll do there.

    But how do you figure out which numbers are best for you and your personal goal?

    We understand that if you’re a newbie to working out or haven’t set foot in a gym in years, it’s not intuitive to know what to do when you go. Sure, you can just hop on the closest cardio machine and move until you’re too bored to take it anymore, but that won’t get you the results you’re after.

    Follow these basic guidelines* to get started, arranged by common goals and fitness level:

      How to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Get in Shape - Part 3: Workout More

    GOAL - Fat Loss

    Beginner

    • Days at Gym: 3-4 days per week total
    • Cardio: 2-3 days of 20-30 minutes of cardio within your target heart rate range
    • Weights: 2-3 days circuit training with weights (2-3 sets of 20 reps of each exercise)

    Example week:

    • Monday – 30 minutes of circuit training, 20 minutes of cardio
    • Wednesday – 30 minutes of cardio
    • Friday – 30 minutes of circuit training
    • Saturday – 30 minutes of cardio

     

    Intermediate

    • Days at Gym: 3-5 days per week total
    • Cardio: 3 days of 30 minutes of cardio within your target heart rate range
    • Weights: 3 days circuit training with weights (3 sets of 15 reps of each exercise)

    Example week:

    • Monday – 30-40 minutes of circuit training
    • Wednesday – 30 minutes of circuit training, 30 minutes cardio
    • Friday – 30 minutes of cardio
    • Saturday – 30-40 minutes of circuit training, 30 minutes cardio

      How to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Get in Shape - Part 3: Workout More

    GOAL - Muscle Gain

     

    Beginner

    • Days at Gym: 3-4 days per week
    • Cardio: 5-10 minutes to warm up/cool down before and after workouts
    • Weights: 3-4 days weight lifting (3 sets of 15 reps of each exercise)

    Example week:

    • Monday – Upper body (30-45 minutes)
    • Tuesday – Lower body & core (30-45 minutes)
    • Thursday – Upper body (30-45 minutes)
    • Saturday – Lower body & core (30-45 minutes)

     

    Intermediate

    • Days at Gym: 4-5 days per week total
    • Cardio: 5-10 minutes to warm up/cool down before and after workouts
    • Weights: 4-5 days weight lifting (3 sets of 12 reps of each exercise)

    Example week:

    • Monday – Chest, triceps, core
    • Tuesday – Quads, calves
    • Wednesday – Back, biceps, core
    • Friday – Hamstrings, glutes
    • Saturday- Shoulders, core + any area needing improvement

      How to Actually Keep Your New Year’s Resolution to Get in Shape - Part 3: Workout More

    General Health

     

    Beginner

    • Days at Gym: 2-3 days per week total
    • Cardio: 2-3 days of 20-30 minutes of cardio within your target heart rate range
    • Weights: 2-3 days weight training (2-3 sets of 20 reps of each exercise)

    Example week:

    • Monday – 30 minutes of weight training, 20 minutes of cardio
    • Wednesday – 30 minutes of weight training, 20 minutes of cardio
    • Friday – 20-30 minutes yoga or Pilates, stretching/foam rolling

     

    Intermediate

    • Days at Gym: 3-4 days per week total
    • Cardio: 3 days of 20-30 minutes of cardio within your target heart rate range
    • Weights: 3 days weight training (3 sets of 15 reps of each exercise)

    Example week:

    • Monday – 30 minutes of weight training, 20 minutes of cardio
    • Wednesday – 30 minutes of weight training, 30 minutes of cardio
    • Friday - 30 minutes of weight training, 20 minutes of cardio
    • Friday – 20-30 minutes yoga or Pilates, stretching/foam rolling

     

    *All of these examples are ideas to get you started, but there is more than one way to achieve your goal. We encourage you to do some of your own research and find a plan that works for your schedule, preferences, and body.

    Make sure to check back for Part 4, where we will help you with your goal to “eat healthier”!




    Vitaly Cheresh

    Author



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