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NIFS Healthy Living Blog

Finding Sustainability in Your Exercise Program

GettyImages-829938260Have you ever started an exercise program and for whatever reason were not able to stick with it? There are many reasons that you may not be able to stick with an exercise program. It might be too hard, and you are not able to maintain the amount of work that is required. Maybe your workouts take too much time, and you are not able to fit it into your schedule. Or maybe you are not seeing the results you want. Whatever the reason that you were not able to find sustainability within your exercise program, there is always a solution. The best way I have found to find sustainability in exercise is to figure out your goals, then pick your programming, and lastly find consistency in your exercise.

Figure Out Your Goals

If you are just starting your fitness journey, choose SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. Whether your goals are for weight loss, strength, endurance, or overall well-being, make sure that you are choosing goals that follow the SMART principle. In my opinion, the most import part of your goal is that it is Achievable. If you are not setting realistic goals for yourself, you will never be satisfied, and will be more likely to give up in the long run. If you do make long-term goals, make sure you are setting short-term goals that help you reach those long-term goals. Think of your short-term goals as rest stops on your way to your final destination.

Pick a Program

After you determine your fitness goals, the next step is to find a program that fits those goals. The best way to do this is to find a certified fitness professional to help you. There are plenty of online options, but the safest option is to find a trusted trainer that you can meet with in person. A trainer that you can meet with in person will enable you to get a program that fits your needs the best.

Lastly, one of the most important aspects of picking programming is finding what you enjoy. If you do not enjoy what you are doing, you will not stick with it for the long haul. That could mean finding a group atmosphere or a personal trainer who can keep you accountable. Whatever it is, if you enjoy it, you are more likely to return.

Stick with the Program

The worst thing you can do for yourself is to be a “program hopper.” A program hopper is someone who starts a new program and runs it for a few weeks, then switches programs. There are variety of reasons you might want to hop around from program to program. However, you will not get anything out of the program if you do not finish it. Results do not come overnight. Fitness is not short-term. Your physical fitness and health are something that you will be working on for the rest of your life. So if you are not seeing the results you want, as fast as you want, chances are you need to be patient and trust the process. If you can trust your coach or trainer, be patient and run the system all the way through.

Finding a program that you enjoy is by far the easiest way to stick with the program. Just like with anything in life, if you do not enjoy what you are doing, you are less likely to return. There are a wide variety of routes you can go in the fitness industry, including large group classes, small group personal training, and personal training. Any of these routes can be effective if it works for you!

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Finding sustainability in your exercise program is not very complicated. However, it will be challenging at first if you are venturing into something new. To find a program that works for you, first figure out your goals. Then pick a program that matches your goals the best. If you can match your preferences to a trainer, group, or program, you will be set up for success in the long run. For guidance on finding the right program for you, contact the NIFS track desk at any time to talk to a licensed professional today to help you get started!

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This blog was written by Evan James, NIFS Exercise Physiologist EP-C, Health Fitness Instructor, and Personal Trainer. To learn more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: goal setting group fitness personal training fitness program smart goals workout programs

Get with the Program: 5 Benefits of Having an Exercise Plan

IMG_0653-1“Success favors the prepared” is one of my favorite quotes highlighting what it takes to be successful in life and any pursuit that interests you. Without preparation and planning, effort and action really have no direction, which can result in you being lost. I would also offer that a misguided workout plan, although it’s a plan you didn’t have before, can be just as detrimental to your success. So having an exercise plan is really important, but having a solid and well-thought-out plan is super important!

Don’t confuse movement with progress when it comes to your weekly and daily training. Getting to the gym is step one, but what you do with your time there will be the difference between achievement and disappointment. We don’t usually argue the benefits of writing down your goals; it’s important and can usually lead to reaching those goals. You have heard me say many times “if you think it, ink it.” Why don’t we do that with our exercise programs? Goals give you your destination; your training program is the roadmap that can get you there. A well-designed map can get you there more quickly and safely.

So get with the program! Or should I say, get with a professional about your program. A well-trained and educated coach’s eye can be a game changer when working toward your fitness goals. The guidance they can provide is crucial to your development and ability to reach new heights. Named number 6 on the ACSM fitness trends list, educated and experienced fitness professionals remain an important commodity to you and the rest of the public. Utilize them!

And here are five more benefits of following an exercise program that is designed specifically for you by a fitness pro.

No More Guessing

Having a plan of attack takes the guesswork out of your workout. Fitness centers can be overwhelming at times; and with the amount of information and opinions that are out there, without a plan you could find yourself kind of meandering around not getting a lot of work done. I also think that not having a clear direction can lead to low confidence, resulting in an increased rate of giving up. Getting a program is not just a list of great exercises to do; it can act as your ticket to an “I CAN DO IT” mindset instead of “I don’t know what to do, so I’ll skip it today.” Which mindset do you think is the more successful one?

Proper Techniques and Principles: Injury Prevention

GT3“Move well then move often” is a great quote from the folks over at FMS and one that we carry as our motto around here. Performing exercises correctly that are based on safe and proper movement principles will be the difference between reaching your goals and being laid up for weeks because of an injury due to improper technique or progression. You can’t work if you are injured, and no one should be injured in fitness. But people get hurt all the time due to improper exercise technique and poor guidance. And if you don’t get hurt, you will definitely not receive all the great benefits of an exercise if you are performing it poorly. A great coach can design a program and provide the technical support you need to execute it well. Move well, move often! You get only one body; don’t you want to keep it running for a long time?

Progress Tracking

With a personal program design, you have your record-keeping right in front of you. Whether you are a paper-and-pencil person or a tech-savvy individual, logging your exercises, loads, intensity levels, and rate of perceived exertion is the best way to keep an eye on your progress. And believe me, when you see the weights go up, so does your confidence level and positive mindset.

Just as you wrote out your goals and the benefits of that process, logging your efforts is the next step. How do you know you are heading in the right direction if you don’t document the journey? Seeing is believing, and what better way to see the progress than to log the important variables that make up your program?

Keeping It Fresh

A great fitness pro will be able to design programming for you that is always progressing as you do, and will include different exercises and intensities to continually add new challenges. New stimulus equals new results; that’s just how the body works. After a certain amount of time, your body will no longer have to adapt to the previous stimulus, and with no adaption, there are no results. Also, keeping your program evolving will increase the enjoyment factor, leading to greater adherence to the exercise program. Nobody wants to do the same old thing over and over again. If variety is the spice of life, let a new fitness program be the chili powder!

Challenge Preconceived Limits

One of the main jobs of a great coach is to demonstrate to an individual that they are far more capable than their mindset tells them. A personal fitness program that includes all of the above, designed specifically for you, will take you out of that box you have been living in and prove to you that you are stronger than anyone (including yourself) gave you credit for. I have worked with so many who believed that they were supposed to reside on an elliptical machine for their workout and prove to themselves that they are an athlete and love to move. Working with a fitness pro to develop your specific program can unlock the physical potential that has been waiting to be shown the world!

Most of us have heard the ageless quote from Ben Franklin: “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” Without a proper fitness program that fits your needs and works toward your specific goals, failure is a very real outcome. Like most aspects of our lives, a solid plan of attack usually leads to success. Why should we treat our health and fitness differently? Get with the program and be ready for the results!

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This blog was written by Tony Maloney, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Center Manager. To find out more about the NIFS bloggers, click here.

Topics: injury prevention goals tracking fitness exercise plan workout plan fitness professional fitness program coach