As with anything else in life, doing the same thing every day, day after day will get boring pretty quickly. Unfortunately, when it comes to our work life, most of us do have to settle for doing the same thing every day, but you probably don’t eat the same meal every night or watch the same movie again and again right? So why put yourself through that drudgery with your workout routine?
If you’re tired of your usual visit to the gym for that 45 minute jog on the treadmill that isn’t giving you the results you’ve been looking for, it may be time to branch out and create your own fitness plan.Most people understand the importance of staying active and getting regular exercise, so they set a goal and try to eat right and go for a walk or jog every other day, only to find that after a certain point, they aren’t progressing any further.
The reason for this is that the human body is amazingly good at adapting. If you start a workout routine where you go for a 10 minute jog and a 20 minute walk every day, it may seem quite challenging for a week or two, and you’ll probably be sweating it out the first few times. After a while, though, your body will get used to this routine, and while it’s still better than doing nothing, you certainly won’t be pushing your body to its limits and increasing your fitness levels.
Lots of variation in your workout will also solve the boredom problem, as you’ll be doing different exercises all the time. Your custom-made plan should include the following five steps if you want to make the most of your workouts.
1. Determine your goals
While this step doesn’t require any actual physical activity, it is vital not to skip this step. If you don’t know where you are trying to go, you will never get there. Think about it, do you want to lose 20 pounds? Are you looking to get stronger and build muscle mass? Or maybe you just want to increase your overall energy levels and not have to stop to catch your breath every time you climb a flight of stairs. Determining what you want to get out of your workouts will help you to craft a fitness plan that suits your needs.
2. Evaluate your personal fitness level
Evaluating your fitness level to see where you are at will help you to decide how much to push yourself during the first few weeks and it will also help you to measure your progress down the line. In order to evaluate your overall fitness level, you should evaluate your cardiovascular endurance, your muscular strength, your flexibility and your body composition. Be sure to note all of these things down in a notebook or on a computer so that you can refer to them later.
3. Get your cardio in
An exercise program without any cardiovascular exercise is an ineffective one. No matter how much you hate cardio, you have to include it in your fitness plan. It is a necessary component whether you want to lose weight, build strength, increase energy levels or tone your muscles.
Cardio doesn’t always mean going for a mile long run every day though, it can be anything that gets your heart rate up, from a brisk 30 minute walk to an energetic set of laps in the pool. So use your creativity and find a variety of exercises you actually enjoy doing. For example, on Monday you could go for a brisk walk, on Tuesday you could go cycling and so on.
You could also just have two activities like running and swimming that you alternate with throughout the week. The key here is to mix it up to avoid boredom and to prevent your body from becoming too comfortable with one routine.
4. Have resistance training intervals
Unless you are aiming to build up big muscles, you don’t necessarily need to do resistance (or strength) training every day, although it is an effective way to sculpt muscles and strengthen your bones. You could opt to have two or three days a when you do some resistance training, or you could get some in every day after your cardio, as it will help you to burn more calories.
Just so we’re clear here, resistance training does not only mean lifting weights or using fancy equipment at the gym. It includes anything from squats and lunges to push ups and leg raises. In fact, using your own body weight as resistance is one of the most effective ways to work targeted muscles and your core.
5. Include flexibility exercises in your routine
Flexibility is not usually a priority for most people, which is why it is often left out of fitness routines. But flexibility training actually plays a big part in a workout routine and has many benefits including better blood circulation, reduced risk of injury to joints, muscles and tendons, increased range of motion and reduced muscle tension and soreness after workouts.
One thing you should never do, however, is try to stretch your muscles before they are warmed up, as this will have the opposite effect and could lead to injuries. You could incorporate some flexibility training like yoga into your routine throughout the week, but it is also important do some basic stretching exercises before and after your strength training and cardio.