Whether you’re a gym rat or are looking to start exercising or getting back into it after an extended break, creating a fitness plan is a great way to achieve your short and long term fitness goals. At X3 Sports, we specialize in helping people at every fitness level develop personalized training programs to help them stay focused, motivated, and committed.
It’s always a good idea to speak with a qualified health professional before beginning a new exercise routine. In addition to their advice, we’ve got five easy steps you can follow to help you get started on your fitness plan.
1. ASSESS YOUR PERSONAL FITNESS LEVEL
Before you start working the first step is to assess your fitness level. YOu will want to break this down into four key areas of focus: cardio, strength, flexibility, and body weight and composition.
You can assess your cardio by recording your pulse immediately before and after you walk or run a mile. These are your baseline cardio numbers. You can also gauge your cardio by doing another aerobic activity for a set amount of time, like doing jumping jacks or jogging in place for 60 seconds. In this case, you’d also record your pulse immediately before and after you do the activity. Check out the 7 Benefits Cardio Kickboxing Has On Your Health.
Calisthenic exercises are the easiest way to assess your strength because they only require one piece of equipment: you. Pushups (standard or modified), sit ups, squats, and lunges (alternating, single leg) are a good combo because they can help you determine the strength of your upper, middle, and lower body. This is a great way to increase your strength training routine as well.
To complete your strength assessment, simply do as many of each exercise as you can at one time. When you’re done, write those numbers down.
FLEXIBILITY AND MOBILITY
To assess your flexibility, first select one or two standard stretching exercises (e.g., bending over to touch your toes). Write down how far you were able to comfortably reach your arms, lean forward, extend your body, stretch your limbs, etc. This will serve as your baseline flexibility record.
BODY WEIGHT AND COMPOSTION
Notice we didn’t just say body “weight.” That’s because what your scale weight says is only part of a much bigger, more informative picture. Your body is composed of fat, bone, and muscle.
The percentages of each are much more important when it comes to determining your level of fitness and health.
Unfortunately, assessing your body composition can be challenging because standard tests, like the Body Mass Index (BMI), can be misleading.
The best way to establish a general baseline is to record your body weight and measurements. For the latter, choose specific areas of your body (e.g., your waist, chest, and thighs) to measure.
2. SET YOUR LONG TERM FITNESS GOALS
When setting your fitness goals make them specific and measurable. Instead of “weight loss,” set something like “lose 10 pounds.” Instead of “improve my cardio,” go with “run a 10k with my family.” In addition to providing you with a key focus, it will make it easier to know when you’ve reached your goal (and when you’re ready to move on to the next one).
Also, be sure to set goals that will inspire, not overwhelm, you. For example, if you’ve never been a runner, but your goal is to complete a marathon, start by aiming for small goals (like running a 5k) that will get you there.
3. GET THE TOOLS THAT YOU NEED IN THE GYM
When it comes to workouts and exercise, our personal trainers cover all of the foundational stuff — like cardio,
The type of equipment you’ll need will vary depending on your goals, your resources, and your daily life. Athletic shoes and workout clothes are a good place to start. After that, you’ll want to do some research and, based on your personal needs and the types of exercise you want to do, make some choices.
For many, becoming part of a fitness community, like X3 Sports, is a great way to stay motivated and keep on track. Experiment to see if you like exercising alone, with a friend, or with X3 Sports small group training.
If you love keeping track of your workouts, consider using a fitness app or activity monitoring device. These not only log your activity, but also display and record stats like heart rate, duration, calories burned, etc.
4. CREATE YOUR FITNESS PLAN
Your fitness plan is the roadmap you will follow for your fitness journey. It’s important to be both thoughtful and thorough if you want to fastrack achieving your fitness goals.. Are there specific types of exercise you want to include in your plan, like hiking, jogging, biking, or lifting weights?
Maybe you’re interested in learning a new sport, like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, muay thai, boxing, kickboxing, or mixed martial arts (MMA). Get creative so you have a variety of activities to choose from. This will help you stay motivated, interested, and engaged.
Once you know what workouts you want to do, it’s time to make a training schedule. Take an objective look at your schedule and determine where they fit into your weekly routine. If you’re particularly busy, you may need to do some rearranging to create space for exercise. If this feels overwhelming, start small.
Find a few 10- or 15-minute blocks of time a few days a week (maybe more than once a day?) where you can fit some activity in. For days when you can’t get out and about, consider doing an online class at home, like those we offer through X3’s Virtual Studio.
Remember, the important thing is to get started. Once you build some momentum and get to know your “exercising” self better, you’ll be able to continue to make adjustments until exercise becomes part of your everyday life. Be sure to check out our Powertrack Weight Training Class in Atlanta!
TRACK YOUR FITNESS GOALS AND PROGRESS
By following these five easy steps to get started on your fitness plan you should be on your way! About six weeks after you set your fitness plan in motion, repeat the assessment you did in step one. Compare your new results to your initial ones. Then, based on what you see, make any adjustments you need.
Continue to check in like this every few months. And, as you do, you may want or need to repeat steps 2 through 4. Remember, your fitness plan will evolve as you do, in terms of the goals you have, the workouts you enjoy, and the milestones you achieve.
Now if you’ve read all of this and thought, “This is great but is there an even easier way to get started?” The answer is yes. Working with certified personal trainers is one of the easiest ways to establish, begin, and maintain a fitness plan.
Not only are they there to help you through every step, their expert knowledge of health and fitness is hugely beneficial. Read our November blog to learn more about the benefits of hiring a personal trainer. Follow these five easy steps to get started on your fitness plan today!