We’ve spent a good deal of time lately discussing the many benefits of a good fitness regimen. Maybe some of these ideas have made you interested in fitness, and you’re ready to dive in. But before you embark on a new regimen, it’s important to have a good gameplan as well as some strong support. Without these, your fitness habit will struggle to pass the 3-week mark, and you’ll have lost the strong motivation which could have been used to launch you to a new level of success.
The following principles are vital to a sucessful fitness regimen.
Just like with diet, it is absolutely essential that your fitness habits be permanent. Your program can certainly change as you move through life’s different stages, but thinking of a fitness regimen as something that you’ll do for a few months, then go “back to normal” will not only lead you to disappointment and frustration, but can be hard on your body too. Your body is made to move, lift, and run. Consider exercise like food or worship of God–you need it perpetually to live life as it was meant to be lived.
While it may well be possible to stick with a fitness program in isolation, I’ve not yet met someone who’s done well that way. Even Rocky had Mick! Give yourself the boost of a training partner. Ideally, this person can work out right beside you in the same gym, but even a friend who’s far away can be a good training partner if you can push each other to get out there on the tough days when you don’t feel like it. I also enjoy competing with friends who are of a similiar fitness level as myself, so we both always know that the other person is probably nipping right on our heels. As the Good Book says, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
Though some fitness programs can be useful without intensity, I find that most people who are truly successful in fitness incorporate high intensity training into their regimen. And practically speaking, most of us simply to not have the time luxury to spend hours in the gym every day. The good news is that you can achieve a remarkable level of fitness in 20 minutes per day, 5 days a week, if you will work at high intensity. Do that calculation, and yes, I’ll bet that’s a good bit less than the number of hours of TV you watch each week…
This principle was a component that I sorely missed in my early years of fitness training. Like many others have done, I spent way too much time on 3 sets of 10 bench presses, lat pull downs, and machine shoulder raises. While these movements aren’t bad, they’re not particularly useful in real life.
When I began my current program, however, I found a whole new world with barbell lifing and other functional movements. For example, the snatch, a complex barbell lift, recruits large muscle groups and requires a great deal of energy, while simultaneously honing timing and balance skills. Not only this, but the strength built this way seamlessly travels into real life, whether it’s carrying a suitcase up a flight of stairs or hoisting a child up to see a parade.
Functional movements like pullups, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and lunges work big muscle groups and the cardiovascular system. Your body reacts to this by building more muscle. The new muscle requires your body to expend more energy all day long to keep everything running. Thus, in addition to the stronger muscles that you’ll have, you’ll also have a larger calorie gap (the difference between the calories you consume and the calories you require). If you keep your diet under control, your body has no choice but to recruit energy from fat cells–resulting in a thinner, stronger, and happier you!
More to come
Much more could be said on this topic, but these ideas will get you started on a rewarding fitness regimen. Check out the ThriveFit page for a few sample workouts to get you going, and let us know how you’re doing–we’re here to help you thrive!