Planning is an important part of success. You plan for your education, weddings, vacations…all in anticipation of the end result. It isn’t any different when you begin a new lifestyle change, diet or fitness routine.
Once you have your goal set, whether it’s losing weight or building muscle, or just getting “in better shape”, you need to figure out how you are going to accomplish that goal.
Set some time aside to formulate your plan of action. Ask yourself a few questions. Do I have a specific date in mind? How much do I want to lose? How much time do I have each week, (day) to put into my workouts? Do I want to workout each day or 3 days a week? Do I want to go to the gym, or work out at home?
Once you have answered these questions, you are ready to form a plan of action. With this plan in hand, it will be much easier to prepare your schedule for the week (or month) and improve your chances of success.
Take a couple of hours, sit down with pen and paper, and plan your week. You want to plan all your meals and your workouts. Also have a backup plan for a day that you may have to eat a restaurant meal.
Start small: Don’t try to overhaul your diet all at once, you will become overwhelmed and discouraged. Take small steps. If you usually eat lunch out, pack your lunch 3 days. If you usually drink soda or juice with your meals, swap out water with lemon or unsweetened ice tea. Next week, pick another goal to add to the one you are working on this week. Remember, this is a lifestyle, not a diet. Click 8 week healthy habit challenge, for an orgainzed plan to follow.
If your goal is weight loss, make sure your workouts consist of 4 cardio days. If you only have 3 days to workout (i.e. Mon.Wed.Fri.), incorporate whole body routines and time for cardio. Cardio should be 30-45 minutes. Try 2 days of intervals and 2 days of steady state. If you are only working out 3 days, try to do some type of cardio on an off day. It can be as simple as dancing to the radio – use it as one of your steady state days. If you are working out at home, try using a jump rope for your interval days, or do sprints outside.
Your meal plan should consist of 5-6 meals a day. Each meal should contain protein and carbs. If your caloric intake is going to be 1500 for the day, and you have 5 meals, break the intake such as this: Meal 1 300-350 calories, Meal 2 200-250, Meal 3 300-350, Meal 4 200-250, Meal 5 300-350.
If your last meal is before 8pm and you don’t go to bed until 11:00, have a small bowl of cheerios so that you don’t go to bed hungry. Hunger will affect your sleep, and sleep is very important in a fitness program. Your body recovers (heals itself) while you sleep.
If your goal is muscle growth, increase your meals to 6 a day, 1600-1800 calories (this may have to be adjusted, depending on your starting weight). Make sure you have a small meal before you go to bed to provide need fuel for your muscles. Limit your cardio to 2-3 days a week, steady state. You do not want to take needed calories from your muscles so that they can grow.
Your workout program should be geared for muscle growth keeping weight moderate – heavy at 8-12 reps. It is best to work 1-2 body parts a day, for full development.
Make sure you have a plan for distractions: There will be days when you will be super busy, and you will feel pulled between doing “for the family, boss, church, etc.” and what you need to do for yourself. Have a backup plan for these days. Do a short 10 min. circuit in the morning, before you start you day, walk the stairs or halls at lunchtime, and the do another 10 min. circuit when you get home or after dinner. This way, you don’t feel like you had to compromise your “me” time for other things.
Short on time circuit:
10 tricep dips
Repeat as time allows