Go ahead and roll your eyes, but I’m a firm believer that failing to plan is—that’s right—planning to fail. If your new year’s resolution involves being more active, I can’t stress enough how important it is to put your plans in writing. As an avid exerciser who always has a new fitness goal on the horizon, I know I couldn’t possibly succeed without proper scheduling. It keeps me sane, and it keeps me accountable. Every Sunday, I take a few minutes to jot down my weekly workouts based on what I’m training for, what workouts are being offered around the city and what personal or professional commitments I need to factor in.
If your fitness journey is just beginning and you’re clueless about how to put together a well-rounded schedule, here’s my advice:
Ease into it
Going from zero to 60 might work for some people, but for most, a drastic change in routine will backfire and lead to burnout—or worse, injury. If you’re starting from scratch, I’d suggest beginning with two workouts a week and gradually increasing from there. If you already workout regularly but would like to increase your frequency, try adding one extra session per week to start. Take some time to adjust to your new routine before continuing to add to it.
Balance is key
The best way to stay motivated and injury-free is to move your body in different ways. A balanced schedule will keep things interesting while also reducing the risk of repetitive strain. Try to incorporate a mix of cardio, weight training, stretching and core strengthening into your routine on a regular basis.
Tip: Avoid doing two tough workouts in a row. Follow a particularly challenging training session with a rest day or a gentle yoga class to give your muscles some time to recover.
Test the waters
Maybe running is your thing. You’ve always enjoyed it, you excel at it and it’s where you feel most comfortable. Your instinct tells you to find a good run club, settle into a routine with a familiar group and leave it at that. But I’m here to encourage you to fight that instinct. Take a few minutes to look through all the incredible fitness offerings in your area and try something new. Sure, you might hate it and you might vow to never go back. But maybe you’ll love it. Maybe it will open your mind, expose your weaknesses and help shape you into a more dynamic athlete.
Rest days should not be optional
FYI: You’re not a hero for busting your butt at the gym every single day. #NoDaysOff is a surefire way to end up sick or injured, so do yourself a favour and schedule your rest days. They are an important and necessary part of an active lifestyle, and guess what? You deserve them. Take at least one day of rest every week and, I promise, you’ll be better for it.
Author: Lindsay MacAdam (@lindsaymacadam/www.thenewpretty.com)