You Made the Resolution to Exercise, Now What?

Every year I'm encouraged to see hundreds of people who succeed in making fitness a part of their lives, and end up better for it. They enjoy a healthier lifestyle, feel better and look better, and hopefully live longer too.

The two biggest barriers I see people encountering are unrealistic expectations and maintaining consistency. It is easy to be discouraged when you don't instantly pick up new things, struggle with the effort, don't see results quickly enough, or find it difficult to work exercise into your schedule. But is there any question that if you do stick with it you will be better off?

Keep these facts in mind to keep you going:

Burn 3500 calories (or eat 3500 fewer) to lose a pound of fat.

Exercise at least 150 minutes per week to maintain health and body composition, preferably 30 minutes per day for at least 5 days according to the American College of Sports Medicine.

It takes about 16 exercise sessions over several weeks to increase the size of muscle according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

You cannot spot reduce <, according to the American Council on Exercise. Focus on aerobic and strength training to burn calories so that the body draws on stored fat.

See your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

How To Stick To Your New Fitness Program
6 Tips to Keep You On Track
Originally Published in January 2010

#1 make an appointment with yourself and stick to it. Adherence to the program is your biggest challenge, put your appointments in your calendar and don't cancel

#2 clearly define your goals, be realistic, and break them up into small, achievable pieces. This gives the opportunity for positive reinforcement along the way

#3 meet with a qualified professional to assess your needs and abilities, and develop a program that is appropriate for you. The exercises you did 10 years ago on the basketball team (or before your shoulder injury) are no longer appropriate

#4 don't overdo it. Start slowly - half of all new gym members have an injury in the first 6 months, the last thing you need is to get benched for a month or two

#5 be prepared to change your program after 4-6 weeks. Your body adapts to your routine during this time and will need an additional challenge for continued results

#6 keep it interesting and have fun. Whether it is a workout buddy, a class or a trainer that gets you interested and motivated, this is really important to keeping you coming back.

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