When it comes to fitness, the statistics are damning. Almost a third of adult Americans are considered inactive. They rarely walk, never swim, run or jog, or do any physically challenging task. The result of this disaster is 30% obesity — which is about 90 million people. The problem starts with what we eat to how we eat it. For example, a typical American meal exceeds the recommended calorie uptake. If you don’t burn the calories, the chances are that you will have health complications.
Exercising is not an easy task; at least two in every three people who start an exercise regime quit before completing 12 weeks. There are genuine reasons for quitting physical exercises, but the majority of the people only give excuses. Part of the blame comes from lack of mental preparedness. For some, the thought of working out gives them nightmares, and it can even lead to depression.
If you have found yourself in a situation where you need an exercise program — we all are — consider the following things.
What resources will I need to commit?
The most important resource is time. You must make time for your program. Most programs will require at least half an hour a day to complete. If you cannot slot that time on your calendar, then it will be difficult for you to realize the benefits of the exercise. Remember, if you don’t see results, you will certainly quit.
You don’t have to exercise every day, though. Some programs can be done bi-weekly or three times. If your schedule is chaotic, involving a lot of movement from one location to another, you can consider such programs. However, these exercises work best for fit people. If you are just starting out, regular programs are necessary.
Also, consider how you will pay for your fitness program. Some gyms are not affordable for everyone, especially high-end ones.
Can my body handle the program?
Before starting out, get a medical opinion. A few tests can help you know the state of your body. Some fitness regimes can be very rigorous. If you have an underlying medical problem such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart problems, arthritis and such conditions, you may require a professional to tailor-make your regimen to suit your needs.
People who have had surgical procedures, pregnant women, people above 40 years, and people with any form of disability should consult a medical doctor before starting any program, however light it is — unless it is just walking.
Even when you are cleared to do a workout, exercise caution and rationality when attempting vigorous tasks such as weightlifting. You can easily injure yourself in a gym; getting fit is a marathon — don’t attempt to sprint to the finish line.
What are my goals and objectives?
There are many goals that you can choose from — some want to lose weight, others want to add. Some want to look great while others just want to be healthy. Some of the most popular fitness programs involve strength training, muscle building, body shaping, etc. It is up to you to know what you want. The rule of the thumb when it comes to goal setting is to be simple, realistic, measurable, and sustainable. If you already have 150 pounds, cutting 30 pounds is realistic and measurable, but extremely difficult and unsustainable for most people. If you set a goal of cutting it to 140 pounds, toning the muscles and shaping out, that would tick in all the boxes if you give yourself ample time to achieve it.
How will I handle obstacles?
You will face serious challenges along the way. Family and work will bog you down, the body will resist, friends will discourage you, and your lifestyle might suffer, too. When these times come, you will need a plan to navigate them all. Balancing work, family, and workout can be chaotic. So, plan how you will overcome disruption.
Some obstacles are not avoidable, such as disease. Take time off to recuperate if an illness strikes you in the middle of your program. Notice that exercise requires extensive and elaborate nutritional support. You will need a good plan for how you will organize your eating habits.
Is this program realistic for me?
Each program requires tools and equipment. Some need training and support. Whichever the case, make sure that you can get all the resources you require to do the workout safely and effectively. There is a temptation to work around some tasks using the wrong or DIY tools. Refrain from this temptation. You can injure yourself in the process.
For starters, do your research properly. Know what is available within your locality before committing. If you have to commute far away, you will consume valuable time that you can use for your workout. If you prepare mentally, the chances are that you will achieve your goals no matter the challenges.