The Can't Fail Workout Plan
Author: Jack Cronin, Personal Coach
How many times have you tried to start exercising or getting into shape only to find that you stop after a few days or weeks? In this article weíll discuss several secrets that will help you be more successful the next time you begin such a program. As we talk about each of the secrets to success, Iíd like to use an example to illustrate each point. Letís take something very simple like wanting to take an aerobics class to improve our fitness.
The first secret and likely the one thatís most overlooked is that the better you plan your program, the more likely you are to succeed. To many people this step may sound ridiculous. Letís look at our example. Why do you need a plan just to go to a gym or a health club and sign-up for a 45 minute aerobics class? There are many reasons you need a plan and each reason is also one of the secrets of success:
Why - Once you start working out youíll ask yourself plenty of times ďWhy am I doing this?Ē. Itís best to answer that question beforehand. Itís important that you not only understand why you are doing this, but also what benefit you expect to gain. This is especially true when you first start out. Expect that for the first couple of weeks you will be sore and you will likely be stiff. Your body will need time to adjust. This is when youíll need to be very clear in your mind why you want to keep going. Knowing the answers to these questions is your incentive to continue through this period of adjustment.
Time - This one is easy. Itís a 45 minute aerobics class so you need to make sure you have 45 minutes set aside in your day for this class. Itís not quite that easy. You need to plan for things such as travel time to and from the gym, time to change clothes both before and after the class, and time to shower and clean-up. This 45 minute class can easily end up taking a 90 minute slice of time from your day. If you hadnít planned for 90 minutes, youíll likely fail because you simple wonít be able to fit the workout within your schedule.
When - I find this is the key secret in planning my workouts. When during the day will you plan to do the workout? For me, I need to plan my workouts either for early in the morning or during my lunch break. If I wait until after work, when everyone else is home there are just too many interruptions. Choose a time that minimizes interruptions, is early enough that if something else does come up you still have time to reschedule for later, and a time when youíll still have the energy to do the workout.
Who - The best workout advise I ever received came from my friend Master Chris Rappold who is a two time World Champion in Tae Kwon Do sparring. His advise was ďnever workout aloneĒ. Itís just too easy to make-up excuses not to go, or let yourself off the hook, or go but not give 100%. At a minimum you want to go with a friend or make some new friends during your initial workouts. Having that peer pressure just to get you there is a huge help.
If your workouts are to maximize performance though, like speedwork to improve running times then just bringing a friend is not enough. You really need a coach to maximize your performance.
How Many - Now that youíve fit your workout into your day, how many days/week are you planning? Start scheduling your workout days on your calendar. That avoids scheduling conflicts in the future.
Equipment - Make sure you have everything you need before you start. Something as simple as going to an aerobics class still means having the proper clothing and shoes. Plus, if you are going to be showering and changing afterwards at the gym, youíll need some sort of a gym bag with all the toiletries for showering and grooming afterwards. When you are initially putting your plan together, allow a couple days to a week to make sure you have everything you need. Not taking this step can risk injury (not having proper support from your shoes) or lots of excuses to stay home because you forgot to buy something you need to wear or shower afterwards.
Weíve now talked about six secrets to help your next workout plan be successful. Going through each of these six steps means making a greater investment in the plan up front. Some of the added investment is in time (planning and scheduling the workouts) and some is in money (buying equipment). The benefit is that by investing more up front, you are more likely to not quit because of all youíve invested. Also before youíve even started you have answered the questions; Why are you doing this? and What are you gaining from this? Finally youíve adjusted your expectations by realizing there will be an adjustment period until your body adapts. Being stiff and sore are part of the plan. Itís not a surprise.
One last tip. If you are thinking of starting a workout plan as a New Years Resolution, start now. The main reason most New Years Resolutions fail is that most people wait until the very end (no planning) and decide on New Years Eve. Start planning now and youíll be much more successful in 2003!
Jack Cronin is a successful Personal Coach whose motivation is t help each client reach their goals more quickly and easily. To learn more about Jack or to subscribe to his free monthly newsletter visit www.JackCoaching.com today!