And in no particular order…
1–Regular. By this I mean three times a week minimum. Less than this and realistically, you’re not going to get results. Anything is better than nothing – but if you want to be fitter, healthier, leaner, stronger, 3 x week is minimum. I really appreciate how exercise fuels by brain as well as my biceps, and I want to really get results by making it a lifestyle habit, not a “must do”. So I’m committing myself to 30-a-day: 30 minutes of cardio, weight training, circuits, swimming or cycling where I get my heart rate up (and keep it up!)
2-Fun. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain exercises I really dislike (hello burpees anyone?) but the exercise I chose to do in general – I love. If it’s not fun (lets interpret that to mean you smile at least once in the session…) then pick something else. We want to be lean, strong, flexible machines, but man – life is way to short to hate the journey along the way.
3-Appropriate. What are you trying to achieve? Want to burn fat… HIIT circuits. Want to get fit fast… interval sessions. Want to train for a 10km run… weight sessions, interval sessions, long runs. Get the type of training right. A lot of these can cross over, and I’m a firm believer than variety is the spice of life, but you have to be confident in what you are doing and why. Then, you will see results. If not, you’re gonna get mad… and bored.
4-Consistent. Ok, so we’re ready to exercise at least three times a week (aiming for our 30-a-day) and we’re confident we’re doing the right stuff for our bodies, and our goals. Consistent means keeping this up – every week. We all need a holiday, but 90% of the time we have to be completing our regular workouts to get results and maintain results. That’s why I’m so adamant fitness has to be a high priority, but realistic part of our lifestyle, not something we make time for, if we can.
5-Evolving. Exercise is literally physical stresses on the body. Heart, lungs, muscles, joints. The body takes these stresses, and over time, quickly adapts. That’s when we get stronger, fitter, leaner, faster. The first time you do an exercise, it will (and should!) always feel challenging, tough and highly likely to leave you with a little muscle soreness over the next few days. The body should feel like this each time we train. As our bodies change, we need to change our training. All I mean is in week four of March, you should not be doing exactly the same exercise as week one: either add more weight, add more repetitions, or tackle a more challenging variation of the same exercise. If week four feels easier than week one, you could be guilty of allowing your body to plateau. This is why rest days and active recovery weeks are so, so important and carefully planned in. We’ll talk more about them in the coming weeks.