I began working out with a personal trainer, which was not nearly as expensive as I thought once I started looking around. It cost me $200 a month for 2 sessions a week and a comp gym membership. I started out with the trainer, got evaluated and developed an easy to follow routine along with healthy eating and living tips that help me even today. I, like many others, found it hard to get started, but once I did it wasn’t nearly as hard to keep going. Throughout my experience I learned a lot about fitness, living well, and just generally being healthy.
I started out with a Tuesday/Thursday gym routine and went from there.
On Tuesday I worked on my arms. We would lift weights using resistance bands attached to a machine. This is similar to what you can buy and use at home, just with more weight. It forces you not only to tone your arms by lifting the weights, but to strengthen your waist and mid-section by resisting the pull from the bands. I generally did 4 sets of 10-20 repetitions in different positions. As you move the bands, you can focus on different arm muscles by pulling in different ways so a good variety helps and you can get a complete upper-body workout this way.
On Thursday I focused on my legs, we would either use a general leg press. Using the leg press, I found a weight I was comfortable with and did several sets of 20, usually until I was either tired or ready to move to another machine. The other machine I would often use is a leg lift, like those found on many home gyms. The same thing applies here, set a weight I was comfortable with and do several sets of 20 until I was tired or done working out.
There were parts of my routine that I did everyday. I did some form of cardio, at least 30 minutes, everyday. On days when I wasn’t at the gym, I walked around my university campus, took an extra long tour at the grocery store, walked up and down the mall, whatever it took to get in a decent amount of cardio. On the days I was at the gym, I spent at least part of my time there running on a treadmill.
It is important to focus on your weak points when setting up a fitness routine. I have a large amount of strength in my arms but have no cardio and my legs are very weak in comparison. That is why the focus of my exercise routine was on improving my leg strength and my cardio.
Focus on becoming healthy, not skinny. You can weigh 90 pounds and have a size 0 waist and still not be healthy, That is why focusing on things like flexibility and strength training are just as important as weight loss. In many cases, it is important to have good health before proper weight loss can even begin.
Do a little bit everyday. No one ever said you had to be a gym rat to get in shape. Even if you can’t afford a trainer or a regular membership, there are ways to develop a routine and get in shape. Turn going grocery shopping into a cardio exercise, park further out so you have to walk further for that little bit of extra. Use heavy bags and other objects as weights to improve strength. Turn ordinary activities into your routine and you may find that, while you don’t have time to visit a gym, you can still get in all your exercise.
Set realistic goals and be comfortable. Don’t try to return to your high school weight over night. Set yourself a small goal, say one pants size at a time or being able to run 2 minutes longer or lift 5 more lbs. That way, when you get to the point that you see yourself buying a smaller pants size, or running that extra two minutes, you realize that everything you are doing is working. This is the best way to keep motivated and to turn a difficult task into a way of life.
Remember that every little thing you do can make your life that much easier and that much better.