Whether you want to shed those extra holiday-induced pounds or just get healthier in general, more than likely you're looking to develop some type of fitness plan that will make sense for your particular goals and body type. With the staggering amount of health and fitness information available through books, television and the Internet, it can be difficult to know where to start. Add to that the fact that body types, fitness goals and motivational factors will vary from person to person. So how can you determine the plan that will suit your needs? Below are some tips for how to find the right fitness plan for your goals and body.
Clarify Your Intentions
One of the most important things you can do to get started on the right foot is to clarify your intentions. Take some time to think about what you really want to achieve with your fitness plan. Are you looking to lose weight, build or tone muscle, boost your endurance, increase your flexibility, etc.?
More than likely your goals will include more than just one of these objectives, but you'll need to take some time to determine what's most important to you; this will help you choose a workout plan that will make your stated objective a priority. Do your best to narrow down your fitness intentions as much as possible, and once you've done that, read on to discover the routine that will help you get there.
If Your Main Goal is to Lose Weight:
Workout classes such as Zumba or aerobics can burn hundreds of calories within a short period of time, and will give your metabolism the boost it needs to help your body efficiently burn fuel even when at rest. It's also a good idea to add in some resistance training, as well (see below).
If Your Main Goal is to Build and Tone Muscle:
Resistance training is pretty much a given if you plan on building and toning your muscles (and if you want to lose weight). Although resistance training often involves working out with free weights, machine weights or dumbbells, you don't have to use exceptionally heavy weights in order to get the job done. And in some cases you can use your own body weight (push ups, squats, etc.)
Even with very light weights, resistance training can help you build lean muscle and raise your resting metabolic rate. It's a very simple mantra: The more muscle you build, the more fat you burn. By adding resistance training to your workout plan, you will be able to achieve a leaner, more toned look.
If Your Main Goal is to Increase Your Endurance:
You will need to focus on exercises that promote steady but challenging activity, such as walking/jogging on the treadmill or working out on an elliptical trainer. By choosing exercises that elevate your heart rate for extended periods of time, you'll condition your body for greater levels of endurance.
If Your Main Goal is to Increase Flexibility:
Yoga classes can do wonders for helping you increase your flexibility and achieving a greater sense of balance and control over your body. Pilates are another excellent option, because the average Pilates workout consists of low-impact movements that focus on building core strength, improving posture and balance and enhancing flexibility.
Workouts for Different Body Types
- If you're typical trouble zones are the hips and thighs, focus on lower body exercises, and incorporate endurance cardio and total-body training into your workout regimen.
- To flatten your belly and trim your waistline, focus on core-specific exercises that will sculpt your midsection, and add aerobic and/or cardio exercises to your regimen.
- Hourglass figures often have trouble with arms, thighs and lower abdomen, each of which can have a higher body fat percentage than what is considered to be "healthy." The types of workouts that can bring out the best of this enviable form are fat-burning cardio and total-body sculpting exercises.
While each person is different, you can use the above suggestions as guidelines to help you discover the best fitness plan for you. To really hone in on a fitness plan, why not meet with a personal trainer? Five Seasons trainers are able to design a customized plan with your specific goals and challenges in mind.
No matter which workout you choose, it's always a good idea to consult with your health professional before you start any new exercise program. Even if the road ahead seems long, don't get discouraged--it's the small, incremental steps you take every day that will work to your advantage over the long haul.