Dr. Phil Shares: How Often Should I Work Out to Maintain?

How Often Should I Work Out to Maintain My Weight?

You put in the hours, pumping iron, logging miles, sweating buckets, overhauling your diet, and (most important) staying consistent.

And the results speak for themselves — every time you look in the mirror, a leaner, more athletic person stares back at you. You’ve even bought yourself a new wardrobe. So now what?

Some people will keep going, perhaps taking up triathlons, joining a hoops league, or training for the CrossFit Games.

But others will want to take their foot off the gas and appreciate what they’ve accomplished.

The key is not to leave it off for too long — two weeks of inactivity are all it takes to notice significant declines in strength and cardiovascular fitness, according to a study in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Indeed, the body is incredibly efficient at adapting to whatever demands (or lack thereof) are placed on it.

So now that you’ve crossed the finish line, how can you keep from backpedaling and losing what you’ve built? Just follow these simple steps.

1. Cut Back Gradually

Smart training plans (like those available on Beachbody On Demand) can allow you to work out 5 or 6 days a week with no ill effects (read: overtraining).

But once you reach your strength and endurance goals, you can reduce your workout frequency without losing your hard-earned gains, according to a study at the University of Alabama.

The researchers found that adults aged 20 to 35 who worked out just one day a week not only saw no loss of muscle but actually continued to gain it (albeit at a greatly reduced rate).

Our recommendation: Start by reducing your workout frequency by a third, then a half, and so on until you find the minimal effective dose that’s right for you.

2. Keep It Intense

Even a single set of a strength-training exercise can produce hypertrophy (i.e., muscle growth), according to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

So if your goal is to hold on to what you have, one or two sets per move per workout should do the trick.

The key is to keep them challenging; you should always feel like you stopped two reps short of failure.

Take a similar approach with cardio: In a study in the journal Physiological Reports, a team of British researchers found that a single, intense, 20-minute interval workout every five days allowed participants to maintain levels of cardiovascular fitness built through much higher frequency training programs.

3. Dial In Your Diet

Here’s the one category where you might have to be more diligent than you were before you reached your goal.

As you cut back on your workouts, you’re going to start burning fewer calories. To avoid the fate of the ex-athlete who balloons 50 pounds when he hangs up his cleats, tighten up your diet as you reduce your training time.

“On the days you don’t work out, cut 300 to 500 calories from your diet,” says Dr. Jade Teta, founder of The Metabolic Effect, a fitness and nutrition coaching service focused on maximizing results with minimal effort. “Ideally, those calories should come from starchy carbs and sources of empty calories [i.e., junk food] rather than from protein or veggies,” says Teta.

4. Stay Flexible

These general guidelines are just that: general guidelines. Though lower frequency, more intense workouts seem to work for most people looking to maintain their fitness gains, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution.

“It’s going to be different for everyone,” says Teta.

So be a detective: Monitor your strength, weight, definition, and overall sense of well-being as you tweak your exercise and eating habits, and be ready to adjust everything up or down accordingly.

BY: Andrew Heffernan CSCS, GCFP

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: How Much do You Really Need to Walk to Shed The Pounds?

How Much do You Really Need to Walk to Lose Weight?

Regardless of age or fitness level, a dedicated walking program coupled with proper nutrition can be an excellent way to lose weight. To do it right and reach your goals, you’ll need to make sure you’re walking far enough, at the right intensity and paying attention to your diet.

Here’s what you need to know and how to get started:

WALKING DURATION AND WEIGHT LOSS

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), individuals should aim to participate in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day or 150 minutes per week. While this can help you get on track in terms of cardiovascular fitness and combating other health conditions, if you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll probably want to do a little more.

For individuals who are obese and trying to lose weight, or anyone looking to keep the weight off, the ACSM recommends bumping this number up to 200–300 minutes per week (3.3–5 hours). Breaking this down, a one-hour walk 4–5 days per week will be sufficient to achieve your weight-loss goals. Any additional time you spend exercising on top of this adds to your overall calorie burn and fitness level.

WALKING INTENSITY

Not all walks are created equal. It’s important to make sure your heart rate reaches a moderate-intensity level during your walk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate-intensity exercise is defined as an activity that raises the heart rate to 50–70% of your maximum heart rate.

If you decide to up the intensity — either by adding resistance training in the form of weights or including short periods of running — exercising at a vigorous activity level (70–85% of your maximum heart rate) requires the duration of your walk to be cut in half to achieve the same benefits. In other words, a 60-minute moderate-intensity walk is the same as a 30-minute walk/run at a vigorous intensity level.

The most accurate way to measure intensity level is to use a heart rate monitor, but you can also keep track of perceived exertion. On a scale of 0–10 (0 is sitting, 10 is the highest exertion possible), moderate intensity is a 5–6, and vigorous activity begins at 7.

TRACKING MEALS

Calculating and recording your daily steps, mileage, time and exercise intensity is all important when you’re trying to lose weight. But the last part of the equation — nutrition — is equally crucial. Logging your food intake with MyFitnessPal as well as your workouts can help you get a more accurate picture of the quantity and types of foods you’re consuming. That way you can make informed decisions regarding smarter portion sizes and where you can cut excess calories to find a healthy deficit that allows you to lose weight and keep it off.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Start by walking a little more than you normally do each day until you can do an hour or more 4–5 times per week. If you keep to a brisk pace and pay attention to your nutrition, you’ll set yourself up for effective weight loss.

by Marc Lindsay

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: 13 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Weightlifting Program

13 Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Weightlifting Program

Weightlifting is straightforward in theory (you just, erm…lift weights, right?). But it’s a bit more complicated in practice. As a beginner to weightlifting, it’s confusing (not to mention intimidating) to figure out which muscles to target, how much to lift, and how often to work out. How are you supposed to know where to even begin with finding a good weightlifting program?

Although it might seem daunting at first, the benefits of lifting weights far outweigh any hurdles you might have to getting started. William P. Kelley, C.S.C.S, ATC, says some major benefits of weightlifting include improved strength, bone density, and heart health. Studies even suggest that it can help keep your brain sharp, as well as increase energy levels and decrease stress.

Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., Beachbody’s senior manager of fitness and nutrition content, notes that lifting weights is also an effective way to lose weight: “Weightlifting can help you lose fat faster than steady state cardio because it keeps your metabolism elevated for longer post workout,” he explains. “The result is that it helps you burn more total calories.”

But before you get to enjoy all the benefits of lifting weights, you first have to get started. The first step? Creating smart goals.

What Are Your Weightlifting Goals?

“Goal-setting is critical to guiding your weightlifting path,” Kelley says. Before you even choose a weightlifting program, consider what you want to get out of it. Are you training for a specific event, for general health, or with aesthetics in mind? Do you want to lose weight, build strength, pack on muscle, or achieve a combination of any or all three of those goals?

“Each objective requires a different strategy, and by identifying your goal or goals, you can identify the most effective training program to achieve it,” Thieme says. The tips below will help you do that.

If you need some extra guidance to help you get started, check out Beachbody On Demand’s weightlifting programs, like Body Beast (which focuses on muscle building) and A Week of Hard Labor (an intense, five-day weightlifting routine). Both programs can help you achieve the lean, muscular physique you’ve always dreamed of building. (See the results for yourself!)

13 Common Questions About Starting a Weightlifting Program

These 13 questions and answers will give you the information you need to start lifting weights, including basic training tips and mistakes to avoid.

1. What equipment do I need for a weightlifting program?

If you’re starting an at-home weightlifting program, dumbbells are a necessity — but having just a single pair may not cut it.

Thieme says you need different weights to effectively challenge different muscle groups. Your legs should be able to handle heavier weights than your triceps, for example. That’s why he recommends investing in a pair of selectorized (AKA adjustable) dumbbells (like this set of Bowflex dumbbells). “A single pair of dumbbells can replace an entire dumbbell rack, saving you hundreds of dollars—not to mention lots of floor space,” he says.

A bench is another useful piece of equipment for developing overall strength and power, Kelly says, although you could get by without one if you’re short on space.

Weightlifting program - equiptment

2. How much weight should I lift?

“You should always lift the heaviest amount of weight that allows you to complete all of your reps and sets for all of the exercises in your workout,” Thieme says.

If you can’t maintain proper form for the last several reps of an exercise, go lighter. If you can breeze through your reps with the last few feeling as comfortable as the first few, go heavier. The key to achieving muscle growth is to find your sweet spot, which in this case means a weight that challenges you without forcing you to sacrifice good form.

3. How many reps and sets should I do for each weightlifting exercise?

First, consider your weightlifting goals. “If you want increased strength, you should do from two to six reps per set. For hypertrophy [muscle growth] do eight to 12 reps. And for endurance, do 15 to 20 reps,” Kelley says.

As for sets, Thieme says it’s important to do multiple sets of each exercise, no matter your goal. Three sets per exercise is generally a good number, but don’t lock yourself into that. As long as you’re doing at least two and not more than five or six, you’re good. And if you want to increase your strength, build bigger muscles, and improve your muscular endurance, regularly vary the number of reps and sets you do.

“Optimal muscle growth occurs when you target both of the major muscle fiber types—I and II—and the best way achieve that is by lifting across the entire rep spectrum,” says Thieme. “Incorporate both heavy weight/low rep sets and light weight/high rep sets in your training program.”

4. Should I focus on one or two body parts a day, or do full-body workouts every time?

Both are effective strategies for packing on muscle. “The key is to work each body part or muscle group at least twice a week,” says Thieme, who suggests alternating between the two training strategies. “Do split training for two or three months, and then do total body training for two or three months.”

Your schedule is also a determining factor, Kelley notes. “If you can only work out two to three times per week, then a total body lifting program may be more efficient,” he says.

5. How many days per week should I lift weights?

How often you lift weights comes down to your goals and schedule as well, Kelley says. (Doe we sound like a broken record yet?)

“The ratio of exercise to recovery days that maximizes results and minimizes injury and overtraining risks depends largely on your current fitness level and the type, intensity, and duration of your workouts,” Thieme says. He recommends lifting a minimum of two days a week a maximum of six days.

6. Do I need to take rest days during a weightlifting program?

Yes! Giving yourself a day off from training is crucial to your weightlifting success. “Lifting days are where you [purposefully] damage muscle tissue,” Kelley says, while “rest/recovery days are when muscles repair and rebuild.” Both days are needed to become stronger.

If you don’t give yourself sufficient recovery time, you’ll sabotage your workout performance and hinder your results. “Training adaptations don’t happen during workouts, they happen between them, making recovery days just as important as training days,” says Thieme. “What people often forget is that, when it comes to exercise, more isn’t always better. You have to give your body the time it needs to respond to the training stimulus that each workout provides.”

How often you should take a recovery day depends on your fitness level, primary exercise type and intensity, age, and sleep habits, but a good rule of thumb is to take one or two rest/recovery days a week.

If you feel energized on your designated rest days, Kelley recommends active recovery activities, which facilitate blood flow to your muscles without overloading them. Yoga and light cardio (e.g., an easy jog, leisurely bike ride, or short hike) are good options. Also, don’t limit warm-up and cool-down activities to warm-ups and cool-downs. Perform dynamic stretching and foam rolling every day, regardless of whether or not you’re working out.

Weightlifting program - working out

7. How do I avoid a muscle-building plateau?

There are numerous factors that contribute to muscle growth, but the key to achieving consistent gains is to regularly increase the challenge to your muscles, Kelley says. “By increasing the stress on a muscle through a principle called ‘progressive overload,’ you illicit changes in that muscle, including greater size, greater contraction force, and improved motor recruitment,” he explains.

Lifting progressively heavier weights isn’t the only way to do that. “Other ways to achieve progressive overload include decreasing the rest periods between sets, performing more complex exercise variations, and switching up the exercises you do,” says Thieme. “Even changing up your grip (e.g., from underhand to neutral) can increase the challenge to your muscles and trigger fresh growth.”

8. Can I do my weightlifting program and still do cardio and other workouts?

The short answer: yes. But you need to be strategic about it. “If your focus is weightlifting, then you should use cardio as a form of ‘active recovery,’” says Thieme.

If you do a heavy weightlifting session one day, and then go for an easy run the next, you can actually enhance your recovery (and results) from the weightlifting session by boosting blood flow—and the vital nutrient delivery and waste removal services it provides. “But a heavy weightlifting workout followed by a long, hard run or HIIT session the next day can do more harm than good,” says Thieme.

If you don’t allow your body sufficient time to recover between intense workouts, the only thing you’ll achieve is an increased risk of burnout and injury.

9. Will weightlifting make me bulky?

Lifting weights can cause men to become bulky if they focus solely and intensely on bodybuilding or pure strength training, Thieme explains, but this is rarely the case for women. Why? Genetics.

Men typically have a higher percentage of type II muscle fibers, which are bigger and have a higher growth potential than type I fibers. Plus, men produce more testosterone, which is critical for muscle building. “Women do not produce testosterone at high enough levels naturally to get bulky,” Kelley says, even if they’re lifting heavy amounts of weight. That said, a woman can still increase her muscle size through weightlifting if that’s her goal. “Studies also show that while most women can’t build as much muscle as most men, they can achieve similar increases in strength,” says Thieme.

10. How do I make sure I’m lifting with proper form?

Practicing correct weightlifting form is key to preventing injury and getting the results you want. The best way to guarantee good form? “Utilize a fitness professional [like a trainer] until you feel safe and confident in the staple lifts of your program,” Kelley says.

If you’re working out on Beachbody On Demand, pay attention to the trainers as they explain the correct starting stance, movement pattern, and key form points for each exercise, as well as which muscles to engage during the moves. Having a friend observe you can also help you keep your form on point.

Weightlifting program - proper form

11. How long should I follow a weightlifting program?

In general, Kelley recommends maintaining a specific weightlifting program for three to five weeks before you mix it up. “This gives the muscles time to adapt and grow in the current program; then, just as they acclimate, you tweak the program slightly to keep progressing,” he explains.

Perhaps more important than the timeline, however, is paying attention to the way your routine makes you feel. “If you haven’t increased the weight you’re lifting after a few weeks, or if you’ve noticed a significant drop in your motivation, it’s time to switch things up,” Thieme says.

Of course, if you follow a professionally designed program, like you’ll find on Beachbody On Demand, knowing when to switch things up isn’t even a concern. “Such variation is built into the program, eliminating the stress and guesswork for you,” says Thieme.

12. What should I eat before and after a workout to maximize my performance?

Before a weightlifting workout, focus on carbs, which will help top off your energy stores. The key is to choose something that you can digest before you start exercising. A piece of fruit is a good choice if you have 30 minutes or less until you work out. If your workout is still an hour out, our go-to recommendation is a piece of whole grain toast with nut butter.

Post-workout, the most important factor is protein, which can help facilitate muscle growth and speed recovery, Thieme says. Aim for 20 grams of fast-absorbing protein (like whey) within 30 minutes of exercising. A protein supplement such as Beachbody Performance Recover makes that easy.

13. How do I know if my weightlifting program is working?

To get the most accurate and objective measure of progress, Kelley suggests recording your workouts and tracking the numbers. “If you can increase the weight you lift by five percent—or the number of reps you perform at the same weight by two reps—each week (or two), you know you are increasing strength in that specific move and group of muscles,” he explains.

Other signs your weightlifting program is working include increased appetite and physical changes like fat loss, increases in muscle size, and greater muscle definition. You can track this data by recording it in a journal or taking before and after pictures. If you don’t see signs of progress within four to six weeks of starting your weightlifting program, you may need to reassess your workout routine to see what’s going wrong.

BY:

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: 7 Secrets to Sticking with Exercise

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7 Secrets of Sticking With Exercise

 

Staying fit is a super power, wellness-wise. Exercise can improve your energy levels, sleep quality, body composition, and overall health. While these perks are great, hectic lives can make sticking with an exercise program tricky. Simple shifts in your behaviors can help minimize these barriers, making reaching and maintaining your fitness goals almost as easy as pushing play.

Set reasonable goals. Start with activities that seem attainable and reasonably challenging, then set a goal to engage in that activity at least a few times per week. Most wellness perks, according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, kick in if you do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately-intense exercise per week. That’s just over 21 minutes a day.

Schedule it. Prioritize workouts in your calendar like anything else. Schedule routine sessions at times that make the most sense within your lifestyle. Many people find it’s easier to stick to an exercise routine in the morning while others find they have more energy in the afternoons. But neither is ideal if the time isn’t convenient for you. Experiment with various options until you find one that works.

Get the gear. Ideally, your workouts won’t require a lot of equipment. Regardless, stock up on whatever you need to get started and choose quality gear, especially when it comes to particularly important items, such as athletic shoes. Wearing colors and textures you enjoy may also help keep you motivated to suit up and head out.

Plan ahead. Prepare your gear ahead of time to prevent skipping workouts. If you schedule your workouts for the morning, set your fitness attire out the night before. If you plan to exercise on your way home from work, pack a workout bag in advance and bring it with you.

Buddy up. Most everything is more fun with friends. Use the buddy system for increased workout accountability and enjoyment. If showing up or making time to exercise is your biggest challenge, having someone to be accountable to could be all you need.

Sleep and rest well. Quality sleep makes for effective exercise, and helps ensure that you have the mental gusto to show up. Cultivate a healthy sleep schedule, and stick to routine sleep and waking times as often as you can.

Cut yourself some slack. Aiming for perfection can work against you. If you miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, consider it a rest day and get back on it the next day. If you find yourself unable to stick to your goals, reassess. It’s better to work out at a lower intensity or for less time for a while than not at all. If you’re still struggling, seek guidance from a qualified sports trainer or one of the Beachbody experts. Doing so doesn’t show weakness, but strength.

By August McLaughlin @ Beachbody.com

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health in Guelph

Dr. Phil Shares: 9 Tips For Fitness Success in 2017

Follow These 9 Tips to See Success on Your Fitness Journey

It’s January! Time to dust off those sneakers and dive in to that fitness routine so you can ditch those holiday pounds and get down to your goal weight.

Whether you’re following a routine for the first time (or for the first time in a long time) or just refocusing your efforts in the New Year, here are some of my favorite tips on what to keep in mind as you get started. These tips will help you stick with it when you’re feeling grumpy or tired or frustrated or hungry.

Do: Before you start, log your weight, your measurements, and take your photos.
Don’t: Freak out over what you see.
No one likes his or her Day 1 photos or measurements. But, by capturing all of the basic information (how much you weigh, how big your waist is, what you look like shirtless or in a bikini), you’ll establish a starting place. Then, when you take down all this information again (we usually recommend taking them every 30 days, unless you’re doing the 21 Day Fix), you’ll see how much you’ve changed. “I can’t tell you how many times one of our Success Stories has told me that their ‘before’ picture on the fridge saved them at some point along the way,” says Steve Edwards, Beachbody’s VP of Fitness & Nutrition.

Do: Weigh yourself once a week
Don’t: Weigh yourself every day
Full disclosure – I break this rule. I weigh myself every morning just after I wake up. I don’t recommend it, but helps me stay on track. Your weight can fluctuate every day based on how much sodium you consumed the day before, how much you sweated during your workout, whether you went to the bathroom, what time of the month it is, etc. If you’re the type who could get discouraged from seeing your weight go up a pound or two (or more) in 24 hours, then I recommend weighing in approximately the same time each week. It’ll give you a better overall sense of the trend your weight is heading in. Just keep in mind you might gain a few pounds during the first few weeks of beginning a program. We explain why – and when you should see the numbers drop – here.

Do: Eat for the body you want – not the one you have
Don’t: Cut out all of your favorite foods
If you really want to be miserable and set yourself up for failure, cut out everything you like to eat. If your diet is really bad, a lot of stuff you like might have to go. Soda, fried food, super sugary coffee drinks…Think of this new journey as a boot camp. You’re training for the body you’ve always wanted. So feed that body with the food it needs. Lean proteins, complex carbs, and lots of nutrient-packed vegetables. We have tons of healthy recipes on this blog that will fit your new lifestyle. We even have healthier version of some of your favorite foods, including pizza, fries, and burgers. Think about your diet as an 80/20 split. 80% of the time, eat “clean.” The other 20% of the time, don’t stress about it. If you really want that beer or that cookie, have it. One cookie or one beer, isn’t going to be your downfall. Here’s an easy-to-follow article on how to change your diet over 8 weeks, cheat meals included.

Do: Plan your meals and organize your kitchen
Don’t: Wait until the day of to figure it out.
By planning your meals, like one of our social media ambassadors, Amanda Meixner (@meowmeix) does every week, you make it easier to eat healthier because you don’t have to think about it every day. You just grab your breakfast and/or your lunch and go. We’re going to start posting her meal plan photos each Monday to keep you inspired.

Do: Push through the soreness
Don’t: Push yourself to the point of injury
Whenever I start a new fitness program, I assume I’m going to be sore for the first two weeks. Even if the soreness doesn’t last that long, it helps my mind get in the right zone. “Soreness is a right of passage, but it’s still difficult to deal with,” says Edwards. “Don’t go 100% on day one, and ramp things up each day based on how you feel. If you do get sore, back off but don’t stop. Doing a workout at 50% is a lot better than nothing. It will also help your soreness fade quicker.” Here are some great tips on how to avoid soreness.

Do: Expect to be a little hungry and maybe a little grumpy in the beginning.
Don’t: Fall back into old bad habits.
No matter what change you’re making – whether it’s a new fitness routine or a cross-country move – there are bound to be growing pains. Change is uncomfortable. Prepare to feel a little out of sorts – you might be hungry, you might feel sore, you might be a little grumpy in response – and it’s more likely you’ll have an easier transition into your new lifestyle. “Soreness and hunger go hand in hand”, says Edwards. “When you’re sore you’re broken down and that incites hunger to repair your body. They’ll subside together. To speed things up, consider targeted nutrition or supplementation. The right food and the right time will minimize your desire to over eat.”

Do: Follow your workout calendar
Don’t: Don’t wait until Monday to start again if you miss a workout.
If you missed a workout because of sickness or travel or you just didn’t feel like doing it, don’t worry. Just get back to it. Not sure where to pick back up? This article will tell you.

Do: Get back on program if you fall off.
Don’t: Don’t beat yourself up, feel like you’ve failed, or wait until the next day/week/month to start over.
No one is perfect. Not me, not you, and not our trainers. Everyone has an unhealthy meal sometimes or misses a workout. Don’t let that define your day, your week, or your month. Justget right back on track. You’re on a journey and along the way, there are going to be a few misses. If you pick yourself right back up and keep going, you’ll get there.

Do: Share what you’re doing and find people who will keep you accountable
Don’t: Listen to the haters.
If you share what you’re doing with those around you, there’s a greater likelihood you’ll succeed because you’re creating a social support system that you’re accountable to. There might be people who pooh-pooh your journey, but ignore them. They have their reasons for doing so (usually the reasons stem from jealousy or fear), so just stay positive and reach out to your support system when you need help. We’re here for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out!

Here’s where to get even more support during your journey.
• If you have questions for our fitness and nutrition experts, post them here in the expert forums, and they’ll answer them.
• If you need more peer support, Beachbody’s social channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the Team Beachbody message boards are great places to start.
• If you have a general question you’d like to see answered in our blog, email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.
•If you need a little extra motivation that day, tag me in your photo on Instagram (I’m @r_swanner).

Good luck and I can’t wait to see your after photos!

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks for sharing Beachbody.com

7 Secrets to Sticking With Exercise

7 Secrets of Sticking With Exercise 

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister

Staying fit is a super power, wellness-wise. Exercise can improve your energy levels, sleep quality, body composition, and overall health. While these perks are great, hectic lives can make sticking with an exercise program tricky. Simple shifts in your behaviors can help minimize these barriers, making reaching and maintaining your fitness goals almost as easy as pushing play.

Set reasonable goals. Start with activities that seem attainable and reasonably challenging, then set a goal to engage in that activity at least a few times per week. Most wellness perks, according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, kick in if you do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately-intense exercise per week. That’s just over 21 minutes a day.

Schedule it. Prioritize workouts in your calendar like anything else. Schedule routine sessions at times that make the most sense within your lifestyle. Many people find it’s easier to stick to an exercise routine in the morning while others find they have more energy in the afternoons. But neither is ideal if the time isn’t convenient for you. Experiment with various options until you find one that works.

Get the gear. Ideally, your workouts won’t require a lot of equipment. Regardless, stock up on whatever you need to get started and choose quality gear, especially when it comes to particularly important items, such as athletic shoes. Wearing colors and textures you enjoy may also help keep you motivated to suit up and head out.

Plan ahead. Prepare your gear ahead of time to prevent skipping workouts. If you schedule your workouts for the morning, set your fitness attire out the night before. If you plan to exercise on your way home from work, pack a workout bag in advance and bring it with you.

Buddy up. Most everything is more fun with friends. Use the buddy system for increased workout accountability and enjoyment. If showing up or making time to exercise is your biggest challenge, having someone to be accountable to could be all you need.

Sleep and rest well. Quality sleep makes for effective exercise, and helps ensure that you have the mental gusto to show up. Cultivate a healthy sleep schedule, and stick to to routine sleep and waking times as often as you can.

Cut yourself some slack. Aiming for perfection can work against you. If you miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, consider it a rest day and get back on it the next day. If you find yourself unable to stick to your goals, reassess. It’s better to work out at a lower intensity or for less time for a while than not at all. If you’re still struggling, seek guidance from a qualified sports trainer or one of the Beachbody experts. Doing so doesn’t show weakness, but strength.

 

Written by By August McLaughlin.  Thanks To Beachbody.com