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Starting Your First Training Plan

Precision Orthopedics By Precision
December 28, 2023 | Health

As the holidays swiftly arrive, those New Year’s resolutions can almost feel like a fast-approaching train while you’re tied to the track. But you’ll be surprised at how just a little bit of knowledge and planning can transform that incoming ‘resolution train’ from a frightening vehicle of destruction to a vehicle that takes you to where you want to be.

All aboard.

Before we dive into the essentials of starting your first training plan, it may be wise to first remind yourself of what goals you have in mind (Check out our post on SMART goal setting for a little guidance).

Visualize them, and take a moment to ask yourself: Are my goals specific and clear? Could they be explained easily to others? Are they measurable and will I be able to track my progress? Are they realistic and achievable in the not-so-distant future?

Regardless of your goals, the fitness schedule that we recommend will remain the same, but it’s good to regularly remind yourself of all the reasons you set yourself these goals in the first place.

How frequently should you exercise?

Ideally, you should aim to complete at least four, 30-minute exercise days per week. Of course, due to work, family, and social commitments, this may seem like a bit of a stretch. But this is the exact moment to reflect on your goals and the necessary lifestyle shifts required to reach them.

Changes may need to be made, along with a fair share of sacrifices too.

Ask yourself how much time you spend doing other things during the day. Things that could be cut shorter such as watching TV, surfing the web, or scrolling on social media. If you can cut down two of those things by just fifteen minutes per day, you’ll have enough time for those thirty-minute workouts.

The time is now to prioritize both your health and yourself.

With four days dedicated to exercise in mind, we would recommend a delightful combination of light heart-rate-increasing cardio, stretching, and resistance training to begin.

An example split of days would be:

Workout day one focusing on upper-body resistance training.

Workout day two focusing on light cardio.

Workout day three focusing on lower-body resistance training.

Workout day four focusing on stretching and recovery.

These days do not have to be consecutive! In fact, we’d highly suggest taking a day off after day two before jumping back into days three and four.

When building a resistance workout, aim to include a combination of two compound exercises (which are exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time) and two isolation exercises (which work single muscle groups at a time).

For example, a push-up works your chest, triceps, and even your shoulders, making it a compound exercise. While a bicep curl works only your biceps, making it an isolation exercise.

Begin with three to four sets of each exercise and perform ten to twelve reps for each set. Then, over time, aim to increase either the resistance amount or repetitions performed.

When it comes to building a light cardio workout, this can really be anything you like, so get creative! A new hobby or activity that you enjoy is an excellent place to start, such as tennis, hiking, fast-pace walking, salsa dancing, soccer, squash, water aerobics, or even rollerblading.

If you prefer more of a traditional form of cardio then jogging, swimming, cycling, or rowing all fall within this bracket.

Try something new!

Finally, when it comes to your stretching routine, go easy, there’s no need to rush any aspect of a new training plan! Begin by spending five to ten minutes focusing on your lower body, then shift things over to your upper body for another five to ten minutes. Then, give a little extra focus to your hips, back, and core. That’s it!

Once a training plan has started the key is to remain consistent.

Tough days will come and go, but it’s so important that you stay on track (not tied to it!).

The outcome is simple: if you stay consistent, you’ll reach your goals, if you don’t, you won’t!

Keep in mind that everyone has bad days. Everyone skips the occasional workout. Acknowledge this, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward.

From this point, with potential new hobbies in mind, set a starting date and place all hands on deck. From now until then, make the necessary steps to ensure day one is hit with success.

And don’t forget to track your progress along the way! Whether it be by using bodily measurements, such as your scale weight or physical circumference measurements. You can even use more visual cues such as progress photos or how well clothes begin to fit after time.

Run these progress-tracking methods side by side with fitness improving breakthroughs. New strength gains, endurance extensions, and distance completions all fall within this category.

Finally, take note of more ‘non-scale victories’ that come organically. Compliments from friends or family, more energy in the mornings, or even how you feel after taking the stairs instead of the elevator. All of which will give you a solid indication of just how well you’re doing on this new and exciting journey.

Embrace the change, embrace the progress, and embrace the new you.