Written by Brian Kenney, General Manager @ O2 Fitness Wilmington
Most people fail at fitness programs because they don't plan to succeed. Designing a fitness program is easier than you think. If you don't set clear goals and end up doing the wrong thing it leads to poor results, discouragement and abandonment of the fitness program.
The fundamental structure of a good fitness program:
- Complete a fitness assessment
- Decide your goals
- Fit your goals to your body type of exercise personality
- Plan your program
- Educate yourself or hire an O2 Fitness personal trainer on correct technique and progressions
- Add accountability
- Schedule your exercise sessions
- Start With Your Goals
Setting realistic fitness goals gets your brain engaged in your actions and acts as a reality check. For instance, if you set goals that are inappropriate to your body type, you will only end up disappointed. Don't forget to set timelines on your goals.
Making your goals specific, in terms of time and frequency also helps to schedule in your fitness program. We all know the biggest excuse for not exercising is not having enough time, and we all know how difficult it is to get started. Having a clear set of goals, from which you can define a detailed action plan really helps get your on your way.
Select Your Exercise Types
- Aerobic or Cardio Exercise - short intense bursts [75% max], followed by slower recovery intervals to stimulate growth hormone, strengthen the heart and improve lung capacity.
- Anaerobic Exercise - more focused on strength, endurance and flexibility. A slow and steady pace increases muscle endurance and oxygen utilisation.
- Stretching Exercises - builds strength and flexibility
- Strength - weight training with hand weights or machines to build muscle
- Balance - to assist overall movement
- Sports Specific - exercises that build strength, balance and flexibility for a specific action such as a golf swing.
- Breathing -learning to breathe correctly optimises oxygen intake and focuses the mind.
Match Your Exercise Type To Your Fitness Personality
You are more likely to stick with an exercise you enjoy, especially when starting out. In each category of exercise you can choose options that are indoors, or outside, alone or with company.
Schedule Your Workouts
The key element of a well designed exercise plan is to incorporate a range of muscle building and cardio exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 times per week. Start out with exercise that maintains your heart rate at this level for 20 continuous minutes at least three times a week. Progress by increasing to:
- 4 sessions a week.
- 30 mins per session
- 5 sessions a week.
- 45 mins per session
Then replace some sessions with other exercise types for a balanced fitness program that will help you succeed in your goals!