Making Fitness Decisions

gym

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Happy Friday!

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.

SMART=

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant/Realistic
  • Timed

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.

Getting Organized

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

gymWhile 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.

Comfort Levels

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?

Location

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.

Culture Shock

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 Classesclass

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.

Using Equipment

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.

Dance Classes

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.

Boot Camps

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.

Spinning

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.

Yoga

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!

Dominique

Comments

  1. ThrivexDesign

    I completely agree that the best goal is the one that is reachable for you. I used to try to commit to these insane workout programs that would take up far too much time in the day, but I find now doing 10-15 minute workouts daily is going much better for me. It’s hard to find an excuse not to do 10-15 minutes, and as long as you work hard in that time, it can be very effective! Good tips here, and good luck getting back into the exercise!

    1. Post
      Author
      Dominique

      Thank you! It used to be so much easier when I was younger! Now that I am older, I really had to do the work of thinking about what I wanted to do, the time it would take my fitness level — everything!

  2. Tara

    That is very admirable that you are looking into fitness goals as the soonest possibly after a transplant.

    I really like your definition of “smart” goals, Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timed. I will try to think of this as I set my fitness goals, which unfortunately has been put by the way side for the time being.

    1. Post
      Author
      Dominique

      the doctors have frequently reminded me that fitness is one of the best things I can do for myself after the transplant. I used to be in really good shape so I want to get back to that as much as possible! I wish I could take credit for the “smart” phrasing — it’s a business school term LOL

  3. Laurie

    Welcome back to working out! I am about to do the same thing, but due to laziness. I am looking forward to trying a variety of classes (even the ones that scare me like cross-fit!). Your post makes all the sense in the world. I need to work SMARTer (and definitely harder).

    1. Post
      Author
      Dominique

      I understand! I have gotten lazy at different times and let the workouts fall off. But I was younger and it did not take long to get back into it. It’s going to be tougher this time. I have to stay focused!

  4. Gibbs

    I think the S.M.A.R.T. idea is fantastic! Having been well disciplined in fitness over the course of my life, SMART is the way to go for sure!

  5. Reesa Lewandowski

    Congrats on being cleared to excercise again! Looking forward to seeing what you choose to do to workout!

  6. Natalie Allen

    We got back from a big trip a month ago and joined a gym because we were feeling really out of shape! I totally agree with you about knowing your limits. The first day I was at the gym I went WAY too hard and was sore for days after, which didn’t make me want to go to the gym at all. Since then, I’ve tried to pace myself more so I’m physically ready to go back!

  7. Wander With Ola

    Welcome back to working out, girl! There are lots of great tips in this article. I agree that we should have SMART goals as well as decide what kind of program we would commit to stick to.

  8. Laura Dove

    Great tips! I have been slacking lately with the gym, I need to find my motivation to go back and make some good decisions about my own health! I will do it this week!

  9. Akamatra

    It’s really something seeing you reach your goals in this next chapter in your life after the transplant. I need to set some fitness goals of my own!

  10. Kamapala Chukwuka

    This post could not come at a better time for me. I just decided to get back to working out again! And the SMART system is just what I needed to be reminded of! Such a fabulous post. Thanks for sharing

  11. Sara Drone

    Slow and steady wins the race! I have found that, for me and my shoulders, if I do several mini workouts a day, it works out better for me. (no pun intended there lol)

  12. Di Hickman

    As a yoga teacher I love the advice you gave here. Yes start slow! And as someone who has worked in studios and gyms since 1996 definitely check they have AED and CPR trained personel! Heart attacks DO happen at the gym!

  13. Kareen Liez Datoy

    It’s good news that you are working out even if you had a kidney transplant. I don’t work out because I am so occupied with work and my kids. Hopefully, I would have time for this soon!

  14. Marie Kait

    Great tips! I’m thinking about joining a gym and doing some yoga classes or something. It’s been too long and I do really enjoy the feeling of exercising. Knowing your limits is definitely important too! I haven’t been doing much, other than chasing a couple of toddlers around, so I’ll definitely need to start slowly.

  15. David Allen Elliott

    Making your Goals SMART goals are important if you want to succeed in them. I know I over extend myself far too often. On the other hand I also don’t want to sell myself too short and undercut what is possible because I am afraid of failure either.

  16. Polly Amora

    There was a time where I struggled to get back into fitness. I tend to not be consistent sometimes (me being lazy). After trying a few things I finally found what I want to do that will keep me going on (I used the SMART way too). Brazilian Jiu jitsu and yoga. Thank you for sharing!

  17. blair villanueva

    I don’t go to the gym and my only fitness exercises are running, walking, and dancing 😀
    I admire you guys for having focus on your fitness!

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