The 90 Day Challenge is just around the corner, so it’s time to start putting together an exercise strategy for weight loss. Unlike my diet, I never really struggled with exercise. It was just a matter of finding something I liked and sticking with it. Remember, just like Cinderella’s slipper, the challenge is not a one size fits all solution. It’s a highly personalized journey. I encourage everyone to find an exercise routine that fits their personality and lifestyle.
When starting any health and fitness routine, my advice is always to begin by making things simple for yourself. Keeping it simple makes it easy to maintain. That’s why I chose to join an OrangeTheory Fitness Center. Check out my previous post where I give my personal review of OrangeTheory. I wanted my workout performance metrics and someone else to design my exercise routines. This will allow me to focus on my real weakness, food. It will also allow me to build my strength and confidence. Keeping it simple for you may be working out with a personal trainer, using an at-home exercise DVD program or taking classes at your local gym. Whatever it may be, the key is to keep moving and stay consistent. In addition to following the OrangeTheory fitness program, there are three components of my workout strategy.
1. Get Moving
If I am being completely honest, I live an absolute sedentary lifestyle. When I lived in New York I walked everywhere. Since I moved west I work at a desk all day and I drive everywhere I need to go. My workouts have been few and far between. Basically I am a glorified couch potato. Let me get my megaphone to say that again, “I AM A GLORIFIED COUCH POTATO!” Even if you workout everyday you still need to get a baseline amount of activity. As my friend Kim always says “It’s time to get ass wigglin’”. What easier way to get moving than walking. I know, I know…walking is like toast without butter, plain and dry. However, you can play your favorite music, walk with a friend or even call a friend on the phone to liven up the experience. Walking has been proven to be one of the easiest, most affordable and most effective forms of activity. People have lost hundreds of pounds just from walking alone. The fitness experts say we need about 10,000 steps a day, which equates to about 5 miles. I know it seems like a lot, but with a little effort, it’s quite easy to accumulate 10k steps a day. Whether you walk to your car, meetings,the grocery store or around the house, every little bit counts. If you are serious about calculating your steps then I highly recommend a pedometer or fitness tracker like Fitbit. If you don’t want to invest in extra gadgets then there are plenty of walking apps. I recommend Google Fit. No matter what you do just get to steppin’!
2. Weight Training
Although my OrangeTheory workout has 30 minutes of strength training built into the program, it’s more of a low weight, high rep total body workout. While I think it’s a good start, I want to spend extra time developing individual muscle groups using heavier weights. Weight training can do amazing things for your body. It shapes your physique, improves sleep, combats loss of bone mass as you age and increases metabolism and fat loss. Adding weight training to your fitness regimen will surely fast track your results. Many women are afraid to lift heavy weights for fear of becoming too bulky or looking masculine. I can assure you that unless you are taking hormones you are in no danger of this. Besides, the benefits outweigh the risks. Be extra careful while lifting. You don’t want to injure yourself. Always make sure you have just enough weight to challenge you while maintaining your form throughout. Remember, you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
3. Rest & Recovery
This one may seem counter-intuitive, but it might be one of the most important and underestimated things to do when you start a new fitness regimen. I can not stress enough how important it is to allow your body recovery time. Exercise is added stress on the body and your body needs time to recover. Besides, all the magic happens after your workout. The body is an amazing machine. After you put it through the rigors of exercise, it goes hard at work to repair it. Think of exercise as tearing your body down and recovery as building it back up, a little better each time. Recovery means taking rest days off from the gym, getting a good night’s sleep, getting proper pre- and post-workout nutrition. Active recovery is also an option when you take your rest days. Active recovery is just light activity like riding your bike, walking or playing with your kids. You should schedule your rest days, but always listen to your body as you may need more time. If you can barely walk or move without pain then you probably need a rest day (or a good stretching routine). Failing to give your body rest can cause injury and a host of other problems. So remember–work hard, but get proper rest.
I am so excited for the challenge and I hope that you found this information helpful. Keep in mind that building a workout strategy doesn’t have to be hard. It should actually be fun! Try to find a program that you like or that motivates you. In the end I think you’ll find it easier to maintain over time. Just get moving, work hard and rest. What’s your workout strategy? Do you have a program that you love? If so, share it in the comments below.