How’s everyone doing with their 2023 fitness goals? Sticking to a fitness routine is a challenge for everyone. It’s easy to set unrealistic goals, compare ourselves to others, and get unmotivated or off-track. If you take some time to develop a realistic workout plan for your needs that accounts for safety, timing, efficiency, and fun, your fitness goals may not seem so out of sight. Here are some key tips on being smart about your fitness.
Don’t Skip Warm-Up (or Warm Down): Allow time for 5-10 minute warm up and 5-10 min cool down to help prevent injury and allow your body to get prepared for and recover from each workout. Try dynamic stretches for warm-up and static stretches for cooling down. Always consult with a professional about what is best for you.
Workout When You Want To: Are you a morning person or afternoon person? Finding the best time of day for your schedule and personal preferences will allow you to be more motivated and more likely to get the most out of your workout. I used to workout midday because it was convenient for my work schedule. Lately, mornings are best for me because I have the most energy at that time.
Be Quick & Intense: Make sure you’re giving each exercise in your workout your all. If you are giving it your 100%, it doesn’t need to exceed 45 minutes. It’s “Quality over quantity” according to Ava Fagin, CSCS Director of Sports Performance at Cleveland State University.
Don’t Over-Train (Know your limits): If you out your body through too much physical stress, it naturally produces a hormone called cortisol which stops your body from burning fat. Avoid this, potential injuries, and crushing motivation and plan rest days. According to Exercise Physiologist, Alyssa Olenick, you should plan 1-2 rest days per week.
Try New Workouts: Attend a new group class at your gym that is slightly out of your comfort zone. This can introduce you to new fun workouts you might love while working new muscles. Recently,I added Dance Choreo with International choreographer Calvin Wiley to my weekly schedule. I was blessed with two left feet (lol), but I have been loving the challenge and the workout, and enjoy a positive, accomplished feeling after class.
Create a Workout Plan: Know what you want to do before you get to the gym. Wandering around aimlessly, picking out machines at random is a waste of time. Be sure to have a goal in mind – weight loss, strength building, stress relief, etc. I usually know what my gym schedule will be for each week because I like to balance intensity, high vs low impact training, and strength. Consider talking to a professional trainer about a workout routine tailored for you and your specific goals. Go in-person to your local gym, or consider trying out a personal training app such as Future, Peloton, or FlexIT.
Using a planned out balanced approach to your workouts can help you get the most out of your workouts, prevent injuries, and save time and energy too. Win, win, win!