Every year, people make so-called "New Year's Resolutions." These include:
- Start working out
- Start eating right
- Lose weight
- Gain muscle
These are all fine and dandy, but are they really resolutions? Are these promises motivating? Are these things that people are going to actually do and continue to do? Are they well structured?
The problem is that people make resolutions with no backing. For example, "start working out." How many days a week are you going to work out? What type of exercises are you going to perform?
How long will each session be? Where? When? Why? What are you truly trying to accomplish? Do you want to gain strength? Improve your overall health? All these questions need to be taken into consideration when making a "resolution." Otherwise, you will go about this resolution half-heartedly.
Perhaps the most important question you can ask yourself is "Why am I doing this?" Are you making this resolution because you truly want to get in better shape? Because you truly have the desire to go to the gym and enhance your life?
Or are you making this resolution just to make it, because making a resolution that you do not plan on keeping is the thing to do at this time of the year? If you do not have a strong desire to put forth the effort needed for this resolution, you might as well not make one.
For most people, they want to lose unsightly fat. For men, it's on the gut. For women: the hips. Other reasons include:
- To become stronger
- To increase your biceps size
- To fit into that bathing suit for the summer
- To compete in and be able to complete a race
You must decide exactly what you want to accomplish. This gives you direction. Something to shoot for. Once you decide on what you want to accomplish, you must set a precise goal.
If gaining strength is your reason for starting to work out, one goal could be to be able to bench press your body weight. If running in a race is the reason, one goal could be to be able to run a mile in 10 minutes.
If you are trying to lose weight, your goal could be to lose an inch off your stomach. In order for your resolution to work, you have to set specific goals. The more specific you make the goals, the easier they will be to keep.
We've taken care of the why, now it's time to look at the how. How are you going to accomplish your goal? This is the hardest part. Especially if you are new to exercising. Here are a few routines that can get you started.
These programs are for beginners who are new to fitness.
Beginners Strength Program
I recommend starting on the machines for a few weeks to get used to lifting. By using machines, you do not have to worry about having a spotter and they usually guide you through the movements. This is a 3-day split, meaning it is done 3 days per week.
I recommend this program for the first 4-8 weeks. If you do not feel you are ready to switch routines, by all means stay on this one. As long as you are challenging yourself, you will make gains.
"2 X 10-12" means: two sets of 10-to-12 reps. A rep is a single execution of an exercise. A set is a series of reps. If the volume of this program is too much for you to do, you can lower the amount of sets to one set per exercise instead of two sets. You should have at least one day of rest in between your workout days.
The first thing you want to do is warm up. Most machines at the gym with have a picture on them that show you how to perform the exercise. Choose a light weight and Perform 15 reps. These 15 reps should not be hard. They should just get blood pumping to the muscle you are going to work.
Do this for each exercise. This warm-up set will also allow you to see how the machine works. You will be able to feel the path that the machine moves in. This will allow you to execute the exercise with better form when you add weight.
Let me start by saying, start slow! Even if you only do 10-minute sessions, it's better than nothing.
Start by doing some type of cardio (bike, treadmill, elliptical, rowing, Stairmaster, etc.) three times a week. Start with 10 minutes a session.
When you feel you can handle 10 minutes, do 15-minute sessions. When you feel you can handle 15 minutes, do 20-minute sessions. Your goal should be to work up to 30 to 40 minute sessions.
It is important to constantly challenge yourself. One way to do this are, try to increase the distance you cover from your previous workout. If you covered 1.5 miles last time, try for 1.6 miles this time. Another way is to cover a set distance, say 3 miles, in a shorter time.
Strength & Cardiovascular Program
Saturday and Sunday: Off
Feel free to change the day that the workouts are on. It does not have to be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The important part is making this routine fit into your schedule.
I cannot stress this enough; in order for your resolution to work, you have to set specific goals. The more specific you make the goals, the easier they will be to keep. For example, you make the goal to, "Go to the gym three times per week." That's a start, but it leaves a lot out.
What do I mean? Picture this, it's Monday, the start of a new week. You plan on going to the gym three times this week. You don't really feel like going to the gym today, so you will just sit around. Tuesday rolls by. Then Wednesday. Then Thursday. Suddenly, it's Friday night.
You already have plans and cannot make it to the gym, so you don't go. That leaves only Saturday and Sunday to go to the gym. You've already failed to accomplish your goal.
So you decide to make your goal a little more precise. Now your goal is to "Go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday." This is better than before, but there is stillroom for error. It is easy to get side tracked and lose track of time. If you are not careful, you could forget to go to the gym.
To make sure this does not happen, you have to make your goal even more precise. Your new and improved goal is to "Go to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5 p.m." Now you know EXACTLY when you have to go to the gym. This leaves the guesswork out.
When 5 o'clock rolls around, you know it is time to workout. Without setting an exact day and time to workout, you will likely say, "I'll do it later."
You must answer the questions: Why am I making this resolution? How am I going to accomplish this resolution? When am I going to accomplish this resolution?
In order for a resolution to work, it must be backed with precise goals. This serves as motivation and will keep you on track. In other words, you have to set specific goals. The more specific you make the goals, the easier they will be to keep.
Start slow! There is no need to try to lift more than you can or to run a marathon for your first workout. Slowly add weight when you feel comfortable. Increase the duration of your cardio sessions when you can complete the shorter sessions. Set the exact days and times you will go to the gym.
Most importantly, do not give up! Stick with the program!
This is the beginning to a "better" you. There is much more you can do to improve your health. For the time being, the information I have giving you is enough to get you started.
It is up to you to research and increase your knowledge about exercises, nutrition, and how the body functions. A great place to start is right here at Bodybuilding.com!