Part 1: “I don’t know where to start.”
During the next few weeks, I will be posting a 10 part series that focuses on excuses people tell themselves so they don’t “have to” exercise, reasons these excuses aren’t legitimate, and routines to help you overcome them. I will also offer up tips about how I like to handle my personal nutrition.
In case you wish to question my methods, I am a former Division I athlete, Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Hot and Hot Power Fusion Yoga Teacher, so although I may still have a lot to learn, I do sometimes know what I’m talking about. I have had my own ups and downs, and through research, reading, and education have found things that work for me – I think they can work for you too, if you actually dedicate yourself to trying.
For those of you putting off an exercise routine because you don’t know how to begin, your excuse is crap. There are plenty of free resources to help you start living a healthier lifestyle, and many of them are online. If you need to, print them out and take them with you to the gym – or wherever you choose to workout. (If you think you’ll look like a dweeb carrying a piece of paper around, consider this, most collegiate and professional athletes keep track of not only their workouts, but also their progress… on paper… so get over it.)
On to the juicy stuff. The first thing you need to do in preparation for embarking on your new fitness journey is to lay a foundation. You should focus on your core and stability muscles. The dual benefit to these exercises is that they can be used as injury prevention. In fact, keep these exercises in your arsenal as maintenance once you’ve moved on to more fun, advanced, exercises.
- 30 second front plank
- 30 second side plank (each side)
- 30 second glute bridge
- 10 single-leg balancing toe touches (each side)
- 10 front lunges (each side)
- 10 side lunges (each side)
- 10 torso rotations (each side)
Do each of these exercises in order. Once you have completed the circuit, repeat it two more times (with as little rest as possible). That is three – count them THREE – sets. If it seems too difficult, start with 25 second holds and 8 movements for each exercise. If it seems too easy, increase the time and number of reps to, lets say, 45 seconds and 15 movements. The third round shouldn’t be too difficult, but you should feel a burn.
(Tip for commuters – if you want to work on strengthening your core on your way to work, adjust your rear view mirror up a little so you have to sit up tall to see out of it. Pretend a puppeteer is pulling a string from the top of your head. Most of you will set your mirror, slouch, realize you can’t see, sit up straight, slouch, repeat… it’s okay… eventually, good posture will become a habit!)
Now that you have a plan to follow, let’s talk about hydration. Most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day. I’m not going to inquire about how many glasses of water my readers have each day, but unless you are having AT LEAST a glass of water with each meal, and even then, you are probably not drinking enough. You need to fall in love with H2O! Each morning when you wake up, before you do anything else, drink one full glass of water. This should become a habit. Even if you “feel full” or are groggy when you first get up, force yourself to do it. Drinking water not only hydrates you, but it gives you energy and helps maintain a healthy metabolism. Personally, I chug a glass of water before each meal, that way, if I somehow forgot to drink enough throughout the day, at least I’m headed in the right direction (actually, I am a freak about staying hydrated – I feel like I have to pee constantly).
Also, let’s discuss carbohydrates. Everyone needs them, regardless of what some “experts” say. Cutting an entire food group out of your diet is not only unhealthy, but it can be dangerous. The key is to make smart decisions about the foods you do decide to let enter your pie hole. I love bread, and although fresh baked bread is something I indulge in occasionally at a restaurant, I exclusively use Food for Life brand Ezekiel(sprouted whole grain) bread in my home. Not only do I like the taste more than other grocery store breads, it is higher in protein and fiber, and lower in carbohydrates than most others. The best part is that each slice is only 80 calories! The only downside to it is that it spoils quickly so it either has to be kept in the freezer and toasted at each use, or a few pieces at a time can be taken out and thawed.
So in summary…
- Start with a foundation when beginning a new exercise regime
- Core strength and stability are essential
- Have a glass of water first thing in the morning after waking up
- Carbohydrates are not the enemy
- Swap out your usual bread with a healthier one like Ezekiel 4:9
I would love to hear any feedback you might have. I will do my best to respond to questions in a timely manner. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I will either tell you that I don’t know, or I will spend some time trying to figure it out.
As always, it is recommended that you contact a healthcare professional (i.e. your doctor) before you start a new exercise plan (even though I think 99.9% of you won’t).