Before you even hit the weights or get on that treadmill you need to have a plan. You need to plan what you are going to do, how, when and why. If you do not have access to a fitness professional here are five things you should consider before designing a workout program on your own.
The web and the book stores are littered with all kinds of information on fitness and nutrition. Start educating yourself on body composition, basic nutrition and exercise. I know, it can be overwhelming. A good place to start would be to find someone who you can role model. Find someone who matches your physique and attained same goals you are aiming for. Review and study how they achieved their success, and replicate it. The web is full of people sharing their success stories. One of my favorite places to visit and see how other people transformed themselves is on Bodybuilding.com’s Transformations Section. A word of caution, if something sounds like it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Use common sense and consult with your health professional.
You need to know exactly what you’re trying to achieve, then build a program that will help you reach your goals. Your information gathering efforts will focus on this aspect, how to reach your fitness goals. The most important thing to know about setting goals, is that they must be realistic. If they are not, you will fail as quickly as you got started.
Figure out how much time you are willing to spend exercising. Some people will only be able to dedicate 30 minutes a day for 3 days a week, others will have more flexibility. Your selection of exercises and the program you build will greatly depend on what you can accomplish properly in the time alloted.
This factor will also determine the types of exercises you can perform. Of course having access to the gym and the latest and greatest equipment is beneficial. But you can still accomplish same thing even if you can only workout at home. You just need to get more creative and possibly invest in few pieces of equipment such as rubber bands, some dumbells and maybe even a swiss ball.
Lastly, you will need to track your progress. Depending on your goals, you will need to do initial tests to set benchmarks; whether it’s a simple pushup test or a full body girth measurements. Initial benchmarks will allow you to monitor your progress periodically and evaluate if you are on the right track. Also, you need to track what you did during each an every workout. I use pen and paper to record what I did during a session. Then I use that information in the following session to ensure I am challenging myself and pushing myself beyond previous session’s limits.