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It has been almost 6 months since my transplant.
I can start exercising again! Woo-hoo!
I will have to start slow because I am definitely not in peak condition. LOL
For the past few months, I have written about different exercise regimens as I looked for my next exercise obsession. So, I have a lot of basic information – but a decision still needs to be made, right?
This post looks at some of the decisions you should consider when making a decision about your next fitness goal.
Choosing Your Next Fitness Goals
Whenever you decide to get fit, there are several big decisions you need make. The main one is what fitness goal will you set for yourself that will put you on the path to success?
Why Our Fitness Goals Fail
A lot of people set fitness goals and try to keep up the good work. After a couple of days or weeks of effort, however, they have usually given up. In some cases, they might be in even worse shape than before due to an injury caused by overdoing things or not doing an exercise properly.
We often fail to reach our goals because they are too vague, and/or because we think we have to be “perfect.”
Setting a SMART Goal
Goals often run along the lines of statement like this:
“I want to get more fit.”
“I want to lose weight.”
The trouble is these are not SMART goals.
In terms of specific, what does “more” mean? How much weight? Some people decide to spend 30 minutes working out every day. Others set a weight loss goal of, for example, 20 pounds.
The goal should be measurable, so you can track your progress. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Or, check your scale each week to see how much weight you’re losing.
Most goals are attainable, but it’s a question of whether or not they are realistic within a given time frame, the “T” in SMART goals. With the gym goal, it would be foolish to start with 30 minutes every day if you have been a couch potato for years. However, this could be your goal within 2 to 3 months.
If you want to lose 20 pounds overnight, that’s not realistic. It took time to gain weight, so it’ll take time to lose it. A safe rate of weight loss averages at 1 to 2 pounds per week, so if you said you wanted to drop 20 pounds within 3 months, that would be possible. A weight loss diary could help you track your results.
Giving Up the Idea of Perfection
A lot of people wonder what the best fitness program is. The honest answer is: “The one you will stick to.” Your fitness program is in your hands. If you want to work out every day, fine. If you want to skip a day, that’s all right too. The main thing is to be consistent and track each session in your fitness journal to make sure it advances you towards the goal you have set.
Once you set your goal, it is important to track it. A notebook and a plan can help. When are you going to set aside time for working out or going to the gym? What days will you do cardio (to raise the heart rate) and what days will you do strength training in order to build long, lean muscle?
Plan ahead and see what a difference it can make to achieving your fitness goals
Choosing a Gym
While it’s perfectly possible to get a good workout at home, many people like the idea of going to a gym. There are other people to socialize with, a range of equipment, and often fitness classes that can help them get up and get moving.
Sadly, for every 100 people who join a gym, at least 25% drop out within a month. They might not have set their fitness goals correctly, or they might have made a mistake about that gym really being the right one for them.
Some people are very confident about going to a gym. Others are more nervous. In addition, each gym has a vibe or a certain energy. Some are laid back, while others are paced with highly-competitive people pumping iron.
Start assessing the gym from the moment you walk in the door. How are you greeted? How do the people using the gym treat each other? Do people look like they are enjoying being there?
It should be within 30 minutes walking time or 15 minutes driving time to your home, so you won’t hesitate to go. If you’re going to drive, check the parking availability in the area.
If you plan on working out before or after work, choose a gym close to your office with good shower facilities and dressing rooms.
Visit the gym the first time at the time you will most likely be working out. This could be before or after work, or on your lunch hour. If the lines are long for equipment and facilities, you might want to check out other options.
Choose a Chain
A chain gym such as the YMCA or Crunch will allow you to use any facility. This is useful if you like variety and/or travel around a lot.
Is It Clean?
Some gyms look really run down. Others have dirty bathrooms. Check to see how often staff clean the machines and weights. If you wish to wipe down the machines yourself to kill germs, bring some paper towels dampened with a cleaning solution. These could include bleach/water, ammonia/water, or an already purchased mixture. If you are making a solution at home, be careful to mix it in a well-ventilated area. Also keep in mind that bleach can damage clothing, skin, and the gym machinery—the use of your own solution may be something you can discuss before you join. Also bring hand sanitizer, and wash your hands before and after each workout.
Check about Life Saving Protocols
Heart attacks happen, as do accidents. Check to see that staff are all trained in CPR and that the gym also has an AED, an automated external defibrillator that can shock the heart back into a normal rhythm. Make sure they have staff trained to use it on every shift. Check their first aid station as well.
Is there a mixture of ages and skill/fitness levels, or are there only 20-somethings pumping iron? You need to select a place where you’ll feel you can fit in.
Check Out the Classes
You should be allowed to watch a couple of classes like yoga, spinning, or Zumba to see if they are right for you. Make sure the classes are included in the monthly fee, not extras that have to be paid for.
Read the Fine Print
Many people stop going to their gym because they feel scammed by their contract. Be sure you read everything carefully before committing. Look for zero down plans and reasonable monthly fees depending on the facilities, such as, if they have a pool.
Picking a Workout Class
Joining most gyms means that you’ll have a chance to attend a range of different workout classes. In fact, there might be so many choices that you won’t be able to make a decision.
Understand Your Fitness Level
If you haven’t been working out recently and/or are new to the gym, it’s best to start slowly by looking in on the class to see if it’s the right level for you.
Aerobics is a common choice, but there’re many different options, including step. Then there are high-intensity workouts like HIIT and Tabata, which are definitely not for newbies.
Set Your Goals
A balanced workout program is comprised of 150 minutes of moderate /75minutes of intense aerobic activity each week, plus 30 minutes of strength training every other day or so. The days in between help the muscles to heal.
Aerobic activity is anything which gets your heart pumping at higher than its normal resting rate. You should be a bit out of breath, but still be able to speak.
Strength training doesn’t have to be all about pumping iron or using the Universal machines that look like confusing torture devices. You could use light weights or resistance bands or try yoga and tai chi. With the latter 2 workouts, you are literally using the weight of your own body to tone and trim.
Add Variety and Interest
There are many aerobic activities. Try to mix things up for variety and to add interest to your workouts. Trying a range of beginner classes gives you something to look forward to. You might even find one that you love, which will keep you motivated enough to keep going back for more.
Working on Your Trouble Spots
Yoga and other classes can give you a good whole-body workout. However, in many cases, you may want to focus more on your trouble spots such as abs, butt, and thighs to get the kind of results you really want. This being the case, check out the class calendar to find those types of workouts.
If you tend to avoid the imposing-looking weights machines, a structured class might be just what you need to help you feel more confident. These classes can ensure you learn how to get a good, safe workout, and formulate your own program to reach your goals.
Don’t underestimate the power of Zumba, belly dancing, and more. In most cases, they are suitable for all fitness and age levels and are a great way to get up and moving to burn some calories.
Some workouts are like boot camps. If you are just starting out, this could be something you might aspire to in 3 months, once you’ve started going to the gym regularly.
If you like to ride a bike, try a more demanding workout with spinning. The bikes will create different challenging terrains, so you get a different workout every time.
There are a number of different types of yoga. For the sake of safety, avoid hot yoga (at the beginning) and start with beginner’s Hatha classes, or Kundalini. Both should be suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.
After waiting my 6 months, everything is going OK so far. I am going to skip the gym for now and start walking again.
For my strength training, I am going to start yoga again. I have to start at the beginning since it’s been a while since I did any real exercise. Since I am not going to a yoga studio until I get some weeks in, I am going to do some beginner classes online. The neighborhood clubhouse also holds a yoga class every Tuesday morning, so I will do that too.
I also need to start stretching again.
As I get stronger, I want to give Pilates another try! And maybe a few barre classes.
The sky is the limit!
Have a beautiful weekend everyone!
Loving Life—The reboot!