Taking the first step and making the effort to get started with a workout plan can sometimes seem like a huge decision. You know you're about to push yourself a great deal out of your comfort zone and are likely experiencing at least a small degree of fear for what's to lie ahead.
Even though you may be very excited about the changes that are hopefully going to take place with both how your body looks and your overall health, it's understandable that you'd be feeling slightly intimidated by the process.
But, you over came this. You made that commitment that now is going to be the time that you finally reach the health and fitness goals that you've been meaning to set for yourself for the last however many years.
All that's left now is to choose a program. That's when the problem hits. You thought making that decision to get started was hard, now you're faced with an overwhelming number of workout programs to choose from. How does one go about making the right decision?
Factors That Will Influence Your Choice
Your Skill Level:
The biggest influence over your program selection will be your skill level. Due to the fact that you're either brand new to exercise or coming back after a long lay-off, the last thing you want to do is jump right into some advanced program that you're unable to keep up with.
If you do happen to have some training background behind you, maybe not with weight lifting specifically but some other form of very intense activity or sport, then you may be able to handle a more advanced type of set-up, but bear in mind it's vital that you learn proper form first before hand so that an injury does not get the best of you.
Your Recovery Ability - Or Perceived Recovery Ability:
Each person is going to have their own recovery ability and taking this into account will enable you to place yourself with the right workout program.
If you're new to weight lifting and don't have any idea what your recovery ability is like - or even know what 'recovery ability' means (it's how fast your muscles repair themselves after a given workout), then use former exercise as a judge.
At some point in your life you've likely been involved in some type of moderate to intense activity. After doing it, did you find you were really exhausted for a day or two, or were you fine to do more exercise the next day?
While the level of fitness you possess will come into play with this, it can provide some degree of illustration on what your recovery is like. After you start on a workout program you'll also get a good idea of this quickly as you'll see whether or not you're able to complete the workouts on schedule or you need more down time between sessions that what's scheduled.
Your age will also play a small role in this factor as well. Generally older individuals do take slightly longer to recover, but there are of course exceptions to this rule.
If you're a very active older adult, your body is used to a higher volume of exercise so it won't be a restriction for you when selecting a workout program.
Next up is your goal. While weight-lifting exercises are weight-lifting exercises, the program will take on a different nature if your goal is to build muscle versus to lose body fat.
Typically muscle-building workouts can be slightly higher in total volume (reps, sets, and exercises performed) because of the fact that your taking in more fuel to get through the workout.
If you're looking for fat loss, you're far better off to make your diet do most of the work for you rather than relying on a very high volume exercise program instead. Usually doing so will wind up in a loss of lean muscle mass, which is not the goal.
In other cases, you may just want a light weight lifting program to give you some strength but your main focus is on cardio. In that case, again you'll take on a slightly different approach to your weight workout, probably doing a full body workout twice a week using moderate volume.
Your Time Availability:
Putting yourself on a workout program that requires you to be in the gym five days a week when you can rationally only make it three or maybe four days if you really push it is a disaster waiting to happen. People still do it though and then wonder why they aren't seeing results.
Taking a realistic look at how much time you do have available to commit is important. If you're determined to put yourself on a program that has you in the gym frequently, you need to be prepared to give up other things in your life to find this time.
Most people, especially someone just starting, will do best on a 3-4 day a week program since it's regular enough to help them make it a habit but not so overwhelming that they begin to feel that they spend all their free time in the gym.
Your Equipment Accessibility:
In some situations, the equipment that's available to you will be the big determining factor of which type of program you're utilizing.
If you don't have access to a commercial gym or don't want to go there to get your workouts in, you're either going to do best looking for a body weight exercise program that will still challenge the muscles or create your own home gym that you can set up in the comfort of your own home.
It doesn't take a great deal in terms of total equipment to actually see really great results, so don't overlook this option. You can create a complete workout just with a set of a dumbbells that range in weight, making that a very cost-effective option for those with minimal space.
If you can afford a bit more, a barbell makes a nice addition, and then you could possibly look at a squat rack if you have the room.
Finally, the last thing to take into account is what your own individual preferences are. You're going to fare best on a workout that you actually enjoy, so look through a variety to get an idea of which ones appeal most to you.
If you don't consider this factor there's a very good chance that you aren't going to use the workout all that long anyway, making for wasted effort considering all of the above.
Choosing the right workout program will go a long way towards making your transition into exercise successful.
If you're ever confused as to what's the best one be sure you consult with a certified personal trainer because with an activity like weight lifting, doing more than your body can handle in the wrong manner could cause a lot of problems in the long run.