Messenger Archives - January 2006
Now that the holidays are behind us, with all of their luscious indulgences and social demands, it may be time to get back "on the horse" with your fitness program. I, too, took some time off from exercise to enjoy some sun and surf far south of here. But as we endure days of more chill and less light, I'm pondering a game plan for the next three months.
As I've said before, it's easier to keep exercising regularly if you create workouts based on the cycles of the seasons. Focus each three-month cycle on different exercises, outcomes, and favorite physical activities. I believe many of us find staying fit a daunting challenge, but I also know it doesn't have to be that way. All the trainers at ZUM subscribe to this philosophy of change and variety-and their clients are much happier and better motivated because of it.
I believe winter is a smart time to increase overall body strength as a primary goal, and build mobility or flexibility as a secondary goal. Cardiovascular fitness-meaning at least 30 minutes of aerobic training (walking, spin classes, stationary bikes or even fast-paced circuit training with minimum rest periods) can be cut back until the spring and summer quarters. Construct your program like this: Work the largest muscle groups of your body with weights or resistance training. Select a maximum of 6 exercises and perform two to three sets of 12 repetitions on each with as little rest between sets as possible. You can increase strength in thirty minutes, two times a week-that's all it takes. Next, I recommend a yoga class one to two times a week. Following a yoga tape at home is also an option. The cardio training can even drop to two 30-minute sessions a week, either on days when you aren't lifting weights or at the end of the strength sessions.
Or just go for some long walks in a park on weekends. If you ski downhill or cross country, you can count that as cardio time.
If you want to exercise more, go to three strength sessions per week, three cardio sessions and one or two yoga classes. But the goal here is not to commit more time than you can give right now. The minimum is good (and not beating yourself up over it is perfect).
Years ago, when I stopped telling myself how much harder I "should" have worked out-and just did whatever I could do in the time I had-exercise became easier and more enjoyable.
If the holidays have sidetracked you from your workout schedule don't fret. Start back by doing less than you think you "should" and do not think that you need to make up for lost time. Leave your workouts feeling fresh, sometimes tired, but not sore or feeling crippled. Lifelong health and fitness is not about feeling awful, but feeling good and vital.
When the end of March arrives, you'll be ready for speedier, lighter training with a lot more cardio focus. If you're still not sure how to organize your workout paying for a trainer once a month can keep you on target, motivated and accountable.
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