The beginning week of January is always crammed in the gym. Resolutions are made to get in shape and be healthy so you run to the gym to sign up for their special membership prices. You might even get that free t-shirt that ends up becoming a cleaning rag. You leave feeling accomplished! You did it! You took the first step! Hats off to you, my friend. However, there is a sequence of steps that come after that very first important one that need to be maintained or your dream of looking like the hot chic in apartment 8 will be squashed.
You need an action plan. If you walk through those doors to the upbeat music and clanking of weights without a plan, you’re going to be all over the place.
So where do you start?
Get out your fave fitness mag or hop on the computer and find a plan that fits you. Although you are anxious to look like Jessica Simpson a few years back or the brand new Britney, the reality is that they didn’t get their rocking bods overnight and neither will you.
You want to make sure you do not overdo it in the beginning.
The experts say that you need to maintain at least twenty minutes at a certain level to burn fat, but for the moment you need to build endurance. Start off doing fifteen minutes of light cardio. You can start this at about 3 times a week.
If you’re at the gym, pick the treadmill and try to do a pace of 2.5 to 3.5 mph. If you aren’t a big fan of the tread, then hop on the elliptical and go at a steady pace. The elliptical works your legs a little more so you may want to start off a little lighter.
For some of us the gym can seem like a monotonous display of testosterone and skimpy outfits. If this isn’t really your thing then getting your cardio routine down at home is a great alternative.
The time of day is not really an issue since calories burn the same at 6 am as they do at 6 pm. If you are not a morning person, trying to commit to waking at 5:30 a.m. is going to frustrate you and give you reasons to make excuses to bail out. Start at a brisk walk for 10 – 15 minutes whatever time of day you choose. Again, you are trying to build endurance.
Where to walk is not an issue either. Do a search for parks in your area if you like the ambience of trees and babbling brooks. If being alone amongst nature gives you the creeps, then stick to your neighborhood. There are sites on-line that you can find a way to map a route in your area.
Please make sure to check with your health care professional before starting any fitness routine.
Week 1: 15 minutes light cardio 3 x a week
Week 2: 15 minutes light cardio 4 x a week
Week 3: 20 minutes cardio 3 x a week
Week 4: 20 minutes cardio 4 x a week
Week 5: 25 minutes of cardio 3 x a week
Week 6: 25 minutes of cardio 4 x a week
After you’ve built up your endurance after five to six weeks then your body at this point should have adjusted to your new workout. You can now gradually turn up the speed and the length of your cardio. If it feels like it is too much, knock it down a notch for a week and then come back up.
Remember to keep hydrated!