How Do You Choose A Fitness Training Program?


Many people choose training programs by default.

They sign up for the gym, because that’s what they’ve been told will help them manage their weight, or help them to feel better physically. After a few weeks, they’re bored, or just plain dread going there a few times a week, so they make excuses and stop showing up.

The key to choosing what you want to do in caring for your body is to understand what you need before committing to something, that just doesn’t suit you.

If you actually love what you do for fitness, it doesn’t become a burden or something you just do to burn calories. It becomes part of your life and lifestyle.

How do you get clear on what would work for you?

Here are a few ways to set you in the right direction:

The first items to explore are what your goal is in having a fitness routine?

Is it to lose weight, gain strength, flexibility, have aerobic fitness, build muscles, eat what you want or something else? Write down what your reasons are for wanting a workout program. Be clear about your ongoing and ultimate goal. Separate the goal from all the fears around you not being able to sustain your choice in programs.

Once you have the goal in mind…

The second item is to look at how this would be best accomplished.

Look in and out of the gym for activities, and write down all the options available to achieve your goal.

The third item is to ask yourself how much time you want to give, what activities from this list sound fun, what type of environment suits your personality and how much structure you need to stick with the program?

This question is important, in being honest with your self-evaluation you will know your interests. There is no reason to do something you don’t like, there are so many options available that you are bound to find a routine that will feel good to you. When you choose exercise, which fits your lifestyle and seems fun to you, it is much easier to stick to and frankly, even if it is not a 90 minute Zumba class, it’s better than starting something and quitting after a few weeks.

Fourth on this list is to try the routine out.

Go do some of the activities that interest you, see how they feel. Do you enjoy the experience and could you do this often? Can it fit in your lifestyle? Really get clear on what you personally enjoy, for some of us we want an experience that would give us our ‘alone’ time and for others of us, we want to be part of a group or a class.

Figure out what feels right and start incorporating it into your life regularly. It is much easier to stay committed to something we enjoy and that gives us the benefit of working toward our goals. 




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How Good Is Hiking For You?


Hiking is inexpensive and easy to start, so you can participate no matter what your current fitness level is now. It can help you to lose weight and build a healthier body.

“Hiking is a wonderful way not only to participate in aerobic exercise, but also to clear your head,” says board-certified family physician Ray Sahelian, MD, who not only recommends hiking to his patients but also practices what he preaches by hiking regularly in the mountains near his Southern California home.

Hiking works almost every part of your body: from your ankles on up to your hips and butt for the lower extremities and your arms, stomach, back and shoulders for your upper body.

Texas allergist William Howland, MD says, “I’m just a guy who likes to be outdoors; hiking offers benefits for both the mind and body.”

Hiking offers psychological benefits as well, say Sahelian and Howland. “There’s a feeling of relaxation and enhanced well-being that comes on after a few-mile hike in the woods,” says Sahelian.

So what can hiking do for your body? According to an article in the Huffington Post, hitting the trail works out your body as much as it does your brain. Just one hour of trekking can burn well over 500 calories, depending on the level of incline and the weight of the pack you’re carrying. Hiking is a great way to get a serious workout without putting too much pressure on your joints. “Trails are often softer on joints than asphalt or concrete,” Caroline Stedman, a seasonal Park Ranger at northern Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, says, “So I find myself feeling less stiff and creaky after a hike than a jog down a sidewalk.”

Hiking also helps elevate your high-density lipoprotein levels and lower your triglyceride levels. This reduces your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. It also can help with controlling Diabetes and effecting the actual prevention of this disease. Other health benefits in a variety of studies have shown it lowers cancer risk, increases bone density (it’s not just an aerobic exercise–it’s weight bearing too), and alleviates insomnia.

So lace up your hiking shoes and hit a trail near you for some mood and heart elevating fun!

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Exercise Outside For Added Benefits!

There’s a benefit to any exercise you do.

If you certain activities outside, you can compound some of those healthful benefits. According to a past article in the New York Times, “outdoor exercise tends to be more strenuous than the indoor version.” This of course doesn’t apply to all forms of exercise, but more so to those, with origins that began outside the gym doors.

Running. When you run outside you flex your ankles more, than when you run on a treadmill. On indoor equipment there’s really nothing, which mimics running downhill. Running up, down or on level ground utilizes your muscles differently and if the terrain varies, say you take a trail, run on asphalt or grass, your energy demands are greater too.

Bicycling. There’s no wind in a gym, so the drag you get from the wind outdoors can give you a heartier workout than riding the same distance on a stationary bike. This means you will burn more calories and gain more fitness.

Walking. Being outdoors is more enjoyable to most people. In some psychological tests, individuals scored quite a bit higher in self esteem and in the areas of having more enthusiasm, and pleasure. They also scored lower for stress, depression and fatigue after taking a stroll outside.

So in addition to your fitness regime, you may want to consider taking your aerobic exercise outside, when it suits you.

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How to Keep a Workout Routine.


Most people who love to exercise have discipline, but they also practice giving themselves a bit of space. Their commitment to exercise is a lifestyle, but at the same time, they allow some slack in case of any obstacles they may face in getting to the gym at times.

If people are rigid with their fitness, they have a limit they come up against and burn out. The same thing with a strict diet, sooner or later the urge to cheat takes over and may destroy all the hard work.

The best thing to do is have a fitness plan and keep it moderate; it’s about making it work over the course of a lifetime, not just the short term.

Individuals can give themselves a certain number of days they want to workout a week.  For optimal results, they should commit to somewhere between 3-6 times a week. If they show up most weeks for their committed workouts, but miss a workout here or there, their world doesn’t fall apart.

It’s getting back in the saddle on the next one. Keeping fitness simple and manageable in the scope of one’s life, makes it easier to continue doing in the long run.



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How much does sleep have to do with weight?


According to a study, all of our internal organs have a clock, which is based in our cells. Apparently, by keeping a regular schedule of eating and sleeping , our clocks stay in alignment.

When we change our sleeping or eating patterns, by getting less sleep because of let’s say work or we travel to a different time zone, our body has to adjust. But, in the short term it creates havoc on our system. Our blood pressure goes up, blood sugar dips and our hunger hormones are out of sync. If it continues over the long run, it can set us up for weight gain and diseases such as Diabetes.

An example given in a recent article on NPR, cited as an example:

So consider what happens, for instance, if we eat late or in the middle of the night. The master clock — which is set by the light-dark cycle — is cueing all other clocks in the body that it’s night. Time to rest.

“The clock in the brain is sending signals saying: Do not eat, do not eat!” says Turek.

But when we override this signal and eat anyway, the clock in the pancreas, for instance, has to start releasing insulin to deal with the meal. And, research suggests, this late-night munching may start to reset the clock in the organ. The result? Competing time cues.

Results of a recent weight-loss study, in which timing of meals shows how it influences the amount of weight people lose was reported in the International Journal of Obesity. It showed that if people ate their main meal earlier in the day, they were more successful at weight loss.

Beyond weight management, the clocks in our bodies, which monitor our different organs are affected by of our sleeping, eating and activities — so to maintain good health, we need to be aware of our natural rhythm and pay attention to its signals.

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