Happy 2019! How are you feeling about the year so far? If you're like most people I know, you are probably attempting to become a little bit healthier in the New Year. Maybe you're trying to eat less sugar, drink more water, move your body more, or catch more zzz's. (Maybe you're tying to do all of these things!) And maybe you're feeling a bit overwhelmed about it because it seems like A LOT of work to do these seemingly simple things. But what if you just committed to doing a little bit better than you are now? What if, instead of attempting to get in six workouts a week, you started with 3 (or even 2) solid ones? Does that sound a bit more manageable?
Of course it does!
When I start working with a new client, I give them the breakdown of what their eventual training schedule should look like. Ideally, we are striving towards a schedule that consists of 3-6 workouts a week, depending on their goals and physical history. One to three of those workouts should be strength training, with the remaining workouts being cardio-based, yoga, and/or whatever fitness-related hobbies they engage in (basketball, snowboarding, golf, etc.). Our goals are hugely dependent upon who they are as an individual- what physical limitations they have, workout history, body composition, and, of course, time they have available to devote to fitness. It is, in my experience, virtually impossible to take an individual with zero fitness routine and immediately commit them to 5 workouts a week. Unless that individual is extremely driven, and has the time and financial resources to dive headfirst into working out, it just ain't gonna happen. With an individual who is unaccustomed to working out, we may decide to start with two strength-training workouts a week, and once they have committed to that habit and it starts to become routine, then we'll add another day (usually cardio or a sport that they enjoy), and then once that becomes established, the person usually decides that three workouts a week is great, or they become totally hooked on their newfound strength and energy, and they find themselves being active in one way or another every single day. On the other hand, individuals who have a history of working out or playing sports, often like to start with committing to 3-5 workouts a week (generally 2-3 with me, and the rest on their own). But, with very few exceptions, no one goes from no working out to six-days-a-week training with success. Why? Because that's almost never sustainable, in one way or another. Either the person quickly loses their motivation, or they get overwhelmed, or they get hurt because their bodies are simply not used to that much activity.
So, what am I getting at? My point here is that it's good to start small. That doesn't mean to limit your potential, but rather, it means to be kind to yourself. If you're just starting out and working out sounds scary, try committing to two workouts a week, preferably with a solid trainer who has a thorough understanding of how to work with your goals and body type, and who can show you proper form. I generally don't recommend meeting with a trainer just once a week unless you have a history of working out, know proper form, and can do so on your own without the accountability-factor a trainer provides.
Another tip that I give to clients a lot, and one that I consistently hear success from, concerns motivation. They'll say, "You know, I REALLY didn't feel like working out, but I decided to do just one round of the five exercises we did last week, and I felt so much better afterwards!" While I don't think this should be your consistent fallback for lacking motivation, the truth is that doing one or two sets of something is better than no sets! I utilize this tip myself, too. As a new mom, and a self-employed businesswoman, I find that I am always on-the-go, jumping from one activity to another. Sometimes a full workout seems impossible, so in times when I feel overwhelmed and too busy to work out, I'll just do a couple of sets of push-ups, or squats, or whatever, and these little micro-workouts really can add up. If nothing else, I always feel MORE motivated to work out when it doesn't seem like such a huge, daunting task, and micro-workouts can help with that. The moral of the story here, is that when it comes to working out, something is better than nothing!
A good trainer will be able to help you strategize your workout schedule so that it fits with your lifestyle and makes you feel good, rather than stressed. I have never once heard a client say, "You know, I really wish I hadn't worked out today."
What are your workout habit goals for 2019? Can I give you any tips? Drop me a note and I'll help you strategize.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!