Workout shopping! Which one is right for you?

As a fitness coach, I often get asked to help people pick out workout
programs for themselves.  Now, I understand people needing guidance,
but I'm amazed at how many people want me to just tell them EXACTLY
what to do, down to a tee, without even telling me what they like or
don't like.  The big question I get is always this, "Which program will
help me lose weight/get results the fastest?"  My answer to you is
this...

If you want to get results, you need to pick out a
program that A.) you will actually DO (meaning, it won't just be a dust
collector), and B.) you ENJOY and will do again!

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You
can't rely on someone else to tell you exactly what you "should" do. 
The fact of the matter is, if you don't like it, you won't do it.  So
many of us view exercise as punishment (as in, "oh, I ate a danish
today, I guess I better do sit-ups.") that we'll just pick out
something in haste and only do it when we are guilty and feel that it's
a consequence of our actions that day.  Well, my first advice to you on
that would be to STOP IT!  Exercise is not punishment, it is a reward. 
It should be FUN!  You should enjoy it!  Yes, it's going to be hard at
first, but as long as it's fun then you'll go back and do it again.  If
you hate doing it, then why are you doing what you are doing?

I
want to offer some tips to you to help YOU pick out a workout for
yourself at home (these rules can also apply to gym-goers as well, for
the most part)...

DO NOT...

... use exercise as a punishment.  Too many people view exercise
as a punishment for eating badly.  Then, exercise becomes associated
with feelings of guilt, regret, fear, etc.  If you feel this way when
you exercise, or if that becomes your reason to exercise, then OF
COURSE you are not going to enjoy it!

DO...


... LOVE your workout! 
If your goal is to improve your health, then you need to love what

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you do.  It needs to be a reward for
your body.  When you workout you should enjoy what you are doing. 
Sure, it's going to be hard at first, but it's supposed to be.  When
you've completed your workout you should feel like you've really
worked, feel accomplished, have a smile on your face, and be looking
forward to doing it again.  You need to love what you are doing in
order to make it part of your routine.

DO NOT...

...jump off the bridge just because everyone else is.  Just
because you may have friends who love to run doesn't mean that is your
only option, especially if you don't like it!  You need to love what
you do, like I said.  So, if you don't like any of the options that you
see currently available to you, it's time to do a little research.  If
you don't enjoy a certain exercise but you have friends who keep
pushing you to do it, when you do finally do it then it'll likely be
out of guilt or obligation.  It's OK to tell them that it's not your
thing and then go out and find something that IS your thing!

DO...

... your research!  There are hundreds upon thousands of fitness
options out there.  So, don't think that just because you haven't heard
about it that it doesn't exist.  If all you know of is treadmills,
bikes, etc., then it's time to expand your knowledge base so that you
can find something that you will enjoy doing.  This is the time to
really spread your wings and try something new.  Take a risk, because
you may just find your soul mate workout.  If you are unwilling to do
this for yourself, then chances are you aren't ready to really take
control of your health and fitness.

DO NOT...

... fall for "quick fix" gimmicks/fads.  I'm sorry, but you
can't simply sit on the couch and

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let electric impulses create a six
pack for you nor let a vibrating dumbbell give you sculpted arms.  It's
just not happening.  This is another instance of the fact that if you
aren't willing to put in the work to get the results, then you aren't
ready to make the commitment to yourself.  So, put away the pills and
get ready for some good old fashioned sweat!

DO...

... look for a well rounded fitness program.  As RuPaul says,
"You better work!"  That's right, it's going to take work to get to
where you want to be.  So, go out, get some cute fitness clothes, and
get ready to get down with your bad self!  There are some really GREAT
products out there (see my recommendation at the bottom for some
ideas), and they can be FUN, but you are going to sweat.  A
well-rounded fitness program should include:

STRENGTH TRAINING: Get ready for some resistance training (using
dumbbells, resistance bands, or your own body weight), because it's
time to build some lean muscle mass.  Ladies, do not fear getting
"bulky," because it's not going to happen (but I'll address this in a
later post).  Strength training will build lean muscle, which means
that you'll burn more fat, burn more calories, look better, and improve
the strength of your bones.  It's a MUST HAVE in your fitness routine.

CARDIO TRAINING: Some people are strictly cardio, but cardio is
just one part of a complete

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program.  Cardiovascular (or
cardiopulminary) training will improve the funcion of your heart,
lunges, and circulatory system as well as increase the endurance of
your muscles.  Oh yeah, and it burns calories and fat, too, but you
probably already knew that ;-)


FLEXIBILITY TRAINING: 
The often overlooked part of a complete
program.  Do not skip out on your stretching (heck, add a regular yoga
session to your routine).  Flexibility training will improve your range
of motion, help prevent injury, help reduce soreness, and it's also
been shown to have an effect on how your body functions internally as
well.  So, be sure your program includes this!  I know that now that I
do yoga regularly I sleep better at night and get waaaaay less aches
and pains.


DO NOT...

... throw your intentions to the wind.  Ok, you've bought a
fitness program or a piece of fitness equipment... now what?  If you
are one of those, "I'll get around to it when I get around to it," type
of people, then guess what?  You probably aren't ever going to get
around to it (or at least not nearly enough to make the difference that
you are looking for).


DO...

... set GOALS and create a PLAN!  I want you to get out a piece
of paper and a pencil right now.  Write down between 5-10 goals for
yourself.  Get specific with these goals.  By "specific" I mean not
simply writing down...

"I want to lose weight."

But, instead, writing down...

"I want to lose 10 pounds by July 1st."

Also, make sure that your goals are realistic.  Do not look to
shows like "The Biggest Loser" to get realistic goals, because the
amount of weight they are dropping on that show are not realistic...
neither are the circumstances under which they are working out and
eating.

Now that you have your goals, create a plan.  Figure out how
many days per week you are going to workout.  Figure out how much time
each of those days you are going to spend working out.  Then, figure
out the time of day you are going to workout.  Write it into your
calendar.  If you are lucky, you've gotten yourself a workout program
that came with a routine and calendar... so the guess work is taken out
and it's easy on you!

Lastly, track your progress!  If you don't know how you are doing, then how do you know what you need to keep doing to reach those goals that you set?

DO NOT...

... go it alone.  Even if you are the only person you know of in your "real" life who is hopping on this bandwagon, you aren't alone.


DO...

... find yourself a support system!  Hop online.  Find a
community of like-minded people who are working towards goals like
yourself!  There are endless possibilities!  Meet people.  Share your
goals.  Ask for support!  Find a success buddy!  Trust me, there is
strength in numbers.

DO NOT...

... give up.

DO...

... keep taking baby steps forward.  There will be set backs...
but don't let them set you back for good.  Except the fact that these
will happen, and be ready to move past them when they do.  You are
strong and you CAN DO THIS.  Little actions every day can create huge
results over a lifetime!

My recommendation...

Now, I know this seems like a lot of work and research.  I feel you! 
But, don't you want to love what you are doing and don't you want to
look forward to it?  I think that's why a lot of people give up before
they start.  They aren't willing to put in a little work up front in
order to make sure that they are doing something that is truly for them.

I'll let you in on a little secret... something that worked for me.

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When I first started out, I tried all of those gimmicks.  I did lots of
the "DO NOTS" that I've listed above... I admit it!  However, it all
changed when I got myself a Beachbody product.  I believe Beachbody products to be the best home videos out there.  Why?

For starters, the guess work is taken out.  The programs come fully designed.  They have strength, cardio and flexibility training.  They come with nutrition planners to help you plan your meals and recreate how you look at food.  They come with workout calendars which tell you what workouts to do and when.  They come with progress trackers
so that you know where you were at, where you are, and where you are
going!  You also get a coach to help you with your goal setting,
motivation, and more (if you are thinking about a product and want me as your coach, then shoot me an email me to find out how!).  With everything that I got I found my success,
and I made a whole bunch of new and marvelous friends at the same time
(people who I met through the community, my support system).

On top of that, their selection of available products is so HUGE that there's bound to be one that you will LOVECheck out their whole catalog of options!


I still ask that you do your research,
however, to make sure that you are investing money into something that
you are also willing to invest your body into.

So, that's my recommendation... but, as I said in this article, you
don't need to take my word for it.  I still want you to figure out what
will work best for you! 

Are you ready?

Comments

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  • Great article Mel! I've run into so many people in the gym that have no idea what they're doing as far as a workout routine. I mean, there are people who walk aimlessly from machine to machine, having no clue what they're doing or what they're doing next. Then there are the people who read an article regarding some random professional athlete

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