Dos and Don'ts of a Successful Fitness PlanAvoiding Common Fitness Pitfalls
-- By Antigone Arthur, Health Writer
Starting a fitness program doesn’t have to be overwhelming when you are armed with the proper tools to get things rolling. Once you’ve committed to getting in shape, there are several things you can do to ensure you’ll exceed your short and long term fitness goals. There are also some things you should avoid at all costs to ensure you stay on the path to fitness and wellness. What exactly are the rules when it comes to fitness?
- Write down your fitness goals. You’re more likely to stick with a program once you have set some specific goals.
- Assess your current fitness level before starting an exercise program. By doing so, you’ll be able to establish goals that meet your specific fitness needs.
- Consider talking with your health care provider before embarking on a fitness program, particularly if you are struggling with a health condition such as diabetes or obesity.
- Always warm-up before your workout and cool down afterward.
- Don’t overdo it! Try doing too much at once and you’ll burn out swiftly. Slowly increase the intensity of your workouts.
- Diversify your workout routine. If you do the same exercises day after day, you’ll quickly tire and are more likely to skip workouts.
- Work out with a friend. You’ll help motivate each other.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workouts.
- Start small. Aim for just 10-15 minutes of exercise when you're just starting out.
- Over-train. Your body needs time to recover in between workouts
- Skip breakfast. Eating breakfast will jump-start your metabolism and provide you with the energy you need to get through the day.
- Skip stretching. Do it after every workout.
- Skimp on sleep. It'll give you the energy you need to focus on your exercises.
- Set unrealistic goals. A healthy rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. If you have 50 pounds to lose, don’t expect it to come off overnight--you’ll set yourself up for disappointment.
- Compare your successes and failures to others. Everyone is unique, and what works for some may not work for others.
- Work out randomly. Work out on a consistent schedule to maximize the benefits and help you form the habit.
- Give up. Consider talking with a friend in times of discouragement.
- Forget to reward yourself on occasion. Just don't use food as your rewards.
Always remember to keep an open mind and remain flexible when starting a new exercise routine. At times you may find it necessary to change your routine slightly. Life is a dynamic ride and you’ll find your fitness journey is too. If you’re willing to try new things and set reasonable expectations, you’ll reap the rewards of your fitness program and successfully achieve your fitness goals.