A well-balanced exercise program consists of three components, which are cardiovascular endurance, weight training and flexibility. Cardiovascular endurance that is performed a minimum of 3 days per week for 30 minutes will condition your heart and help regulate your body weight. Walking or running on a treadmill, cycling, using the elliptical machine and rowing are all excellent cardiovascular endurance activities. Remember to begin each aerobic workout with a 3-5 minute warm-up, gradually increase to within your training range (subtract 220-age and multiply by .60 and .90) and finish with a 3-5 minute cool-down.
Weight training a minimum of 2 days per week will increase your metabolic rate, increase bone density, increase muscle strength and improve your overall body composition. The machines and free weights performed between 10 to 12 repetitions in a controlled manner, through full range of motion, will achieve strength training benefits.
Flexibility improves joint movement and may decrease musculoskeletal injuries. Improving flexibility by stretching is best performed after your internal body temperature has increased. Stretches should be held to the point of mild discomfort but not pain for at least 30 seconds.
Cardiovascular endurance exercise, weight training and flexibility are components of a well-balanced exercise program. All three components will assist you in achieving your individual fitness goals.
Cheryl McDermott, CPT
"Feeling your exercise" is a great way to get the most out of your fitness program. Having an awareness of your body and feeling the muscles engaged during any type of exercise whether it is cardiovascular, strength or flexibility is extremely beneficial to a successful program. Mindless workouts tend to be less effective due to the absence of thought. The intensity is lowered and the body is not fully engaged to its potential. The saying "put your mind to it" is exactly right! Feel your body and listen to what it is telling you. Be an intelligent exerciser.
Danielle Stanford, CPT
The ability to stick to a workout, and get the body that makes you happy, isn't just for professional athletes and Type A exercisers. You already have what you need within you. It is just a matter of changing your perspective so you can tap into what really gets you going. Set goals that are based on feeling good so that you can live your best life ever. Remember, your body was meant to move, so move it everyday.
Annemarie Boylan, CPT
What Kind of Body Do You Have? Pear or apple shape? Fast-twitch or slow-twitch muscle fibers? Athletic or uncoordinated? Can you list your "trouble spots" in excruciating detail? Are you reading this because you are looking for someone to define your body for you?
Creating a limited definition of yourself leads to limited choices. Focusing on your trouble spots (500 crunches for a wide mid-section) might cause you to ignore your amazing lower body strength. Learn some compound exercises using a medicine ball and take advantage of your strength while you challenge your core muscles. You made a great choice when you joined a health club that offers so many options. If you feel disconnected from your body, try adding Yoga or Pilates to your routine and discover how well your muscles work together. If walking or running on the treadmill is getting "old", try the Arc Trainer, the rowing machine or a cycling class. Change the intensity or terrain or angle and get a new definition for what your body is capable of achieving. What kind of body do you have? Untie yourself from your old definition and see what can happen.
Laury Hale, CPT
Fitness at any age is very important. People in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s can reap the benefits of exercise. Exercise and strength training can help you look and feel younger. It also can reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other age related illnesses. It's never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle so get up, and get moving!
Cheryl Chandler, CPT
1. Success needs an intelligent plan. Write down your goals and brainstorm ways that you can reach them. Get out your calendar, plan, and then plot your progress.
2. Create a mantra. Some of my favorites:
a. Don't dwell, keep moving
i. E.g. you ate too much pie, now move on.
b. Just do it
i. This works so well for exercise. It's easy to think of excuses to avoid exercise. Stop thinking; just go do it.
3. Don't rush. Habits take time to change, especially if you intend to keep them!
4. Write it down, write it down, write it down. Research shows people lose 50% more weight by recording what they eat. From my experience, accountability is a cornerstone for weight loss, and journaling- (available at Fitness Unlimited) is a great way for you to be accountable. Grab a notebook, post-it note or start a spreadsheet and starting writing down everything you eat and drink. After you develop the habit of writing daily, start recording calories (or fiber, fat, sodium, etc) and reflect on areas that need work.
Ginger Hoffman, Registered Dietitian
"I've found teaching a client how to "feel their food" greatly enhances their ability to achieve a long-lasting healthy eating routine. Yes some foods, like brownies, ice cream, pizza and the like, taste good going down but have you ever paid attention to how your body feels afterwards? Fatigued. Moody. Irritable. Aggressive. Cloudy thinking. Anxious. These negative consequences can last for several hours - a big price to pay for a few minutes of mouth pleasure. Getting in tune with the function of your body and how various foods affect your quality of life can have profound affects on what you choose to eat. When you become aware, the frequency or amounts of troublesome foods naturally declines. After some guidance and practice most people prefer to choose foods that make them feel vital, young, energetic, mentally sharp, calm, and often weight loss follows, naturally. It?s on their terms, not because I am telling them what to eat or they are forcing themselves to follow some arbitrary diet plan in a magazine. Instead they learn to trust their natural, internal cues for what their body needs and wants."
Joan Endyke, Registered Dietitian
Mantra: Find a mantra that works for you and live by it. My mantra is... "Eat to improve your fitness, not exercise so you can eat." For example, eating fruits, veggies and lean meat will help me get fitter because I have the nutrients to workout harder and more effectively. I used to exercise so that I wouldn't feel so guilty eating junk food. That never works in the long run.
It is important to reevaluate your nutrition and fitness program on an ongoing basis. As you age, what worked for you at one time may not work anymore!!
Beth Whitney, General Manager
Create a system of diet and exercise to live by. Temporary changes in habits never work in the long run. We at Fitness Unlimited have observed members for almost 30 years. Members who are truly successful follow what I call the 90/10 plan. What does that mean? They live in the 90th percentile - 9 out of 10 weeks they adhere to their base system of diet and exercise. Why 90 percent of the time? 1. Because we all need a break once in a while and 2. Because we put on fat easier than we can take it off. So even following a 60-80 percent program will not work! They also accept and commit to their system, which allows them to succeed without conflict or turmoil.
Planning: The old adage "people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan" holds true to your health and fitness program. Simply planning and tracking your diet and workout strategy weekly or monthly can make a big difference.
Paul M., Owner
DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ!!!
I literally just got up from my desk, walked into the cardio room and picked up 4 magazines. Each magazine had at least one tag line about losing weight or getting a better body within days or weeks. And if it is in black and white it must be true, right? Or, if it worked for Jennifer Aniston it's got to be good, right? If only it were that easy! No matter what your goal, if it's to lose weight or just get back into an exercise routine, it is going to take consistency, dedication and hard work...no matter what that celebrity in the magazine says! If it sounds too good to be true, chances are, it is.
If you have been doing the same workout routine for longer than 4 weeks, or have stopped noticing results, it may be time to re-evaluate your plan. If you don't have a plan, make one! You will never know when you get there if you dont know where you are going! Take advantage of some of the free clinics going on in the club, hire a trainer (one on one, or get a group together), or try some different classes. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Keri Mantie, CPT, Personal Training Director
Stop worrying about the number on the scale and go by how your clothes are fitting. People get too anxious over the number that pops up on the scale every morning. If you are following a good cardio and strength training program and eating a healthy diet then you should be losing inches and gaining muscle. Gaining muscle takes hard work and a good amount of strength training. You will see a gain of muscle after about 2 months of 2 or 3 intense strength sessions per week. If the clothes are getting tighter, you need to change your eating habits and/or push yourself harder in your workouts.
Jenna Marcotte, CPT, Personal Training Asst. Director
Focus on your success - minor or major
Concentrate on how you feel about your health and fitness plan. If weight loss is part of your plan and you are struggling to meet your goal, don't beat yourself up about it. Focus on what you HAVE done up to this point and use today as a new starting point. You've made a commitment to yourself and that is your biggest success.
Liz Allard, CPT
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