Establishing your routine doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, the more simplistic you keep it, the easier it will be to stick with. And the more consistent you are, the better your results will be. So keep it simple and enjoy safe, lasting results! Follow these simple guidelines to start forming your plan of attack.
Select Your Start Date
Believe it or not, this is important to the success of the program. Some people do better starting at the beginning of the week while others can start right away with no problems. You may need a couple extra days (or even a week) to mentally prepare and work on your attitude towards getting healthier. Just don't put it off too long or the motivation will pass. Set a date within a one to two week time frame and organize what you'll need to get started.
Find an Accountability/Training Partner
This person doesn't have to actually work out with you, although that will benefit both of you. They just need to hold you accountable and make sure that you stay with your program. When it's just you, it's easy to skip or coast through your workouts. You'll also find it's more fun to have someone to train with. That way you can encourage each other throughout the training session.
Choose an Activity You Enjoy
There are three parameters to look at when deciding what type of exercise to engage in. First, it needs to be something you enjoy or can at least tolerate. Second, it needs to be an activity that elevates your heart rate, and keeps it elevated for 30 minutes to an hour. This is outlined in greater detail in the intensity part of this section. And third, it needs to be something that works with any physical limitations you have. If your knees ache, running isn't going to be a good choice for you. Generally when starting out, choose low impact activities as they are easier on the joints. Walking, swimming, bike riding and hiking are all great activities to get started with. Racquet sports such as tennis or racquetball are great exercise, just not good if you have existing joint problems. Golf on the other hand is not a good choice as it won't get your heart rate up to where it needs to be to burn fat. Don't kid yourself into thinking golf is really improving your health, even if you walk the course! It's better than lying on the couch, but will really only maintain your current level of fitness at best.
It's also a good idea to engage in many different types of exercise, commonly known as cross-training. This provides different types of stimulus to your muscular and cardiovascular systems and will enable you to progress at a faster rate. Whatever you choose, it needs to be done at an intensity level that elevates your heart rate to a safe training zone.
It's always good to have something you're shooting for to keep you motivated. As long as you keep your focus on the primary goal of better service to God, staying motivated shouldn't be a problem. Write down whatever you're hoping to accomplish through this new healthy lifestyle and post it where you can see it everyday. Share your goals with your training/accountability partner so they can encourage you along the way and share in your excitement as you make progress towards each goal. Make sure your goals are realistic, yet demanding. If your goal isn't realistic, it won't have meaning. If you're goal is to lose 50 pounds in two months, chances are you're going to fail. Losing 50 pounds isn't an unrealistic goal, but doing it in two months is! On the other hand, if you're goal is to lose 10 pounds in a year, that's not very demanding and the goal won't motivate you to stay focused on your new lifestyle. Put some thought into what you really desire to accomplish, write it down, post it where you can see it everyday and use it for motivation towards success!
Train with Purpose and Intensity
When most people go for a walk, it's simply that - a slow paced leisurely walk which does very little for improving your current level of fitness. Why? Because you're not pushing yourself beyond your normal limits. It's better than doing nothing at all, but the reality is that type of activity will maintain your body just the way it is. If you desire results, you have to train with intensity and purpose; you can't just go through the motions. It's no different from your Christian walk. God often puts us in uncomfortable situations to grow our faith. If we stay in our comfort zones, we don't grow spiritually. If you just go through the motions while exercising, you don't improve physically. Basically, you're just playing for the tie, or maintaining your body just the way it is! But if you approach it with intensity, the benefits are greatly enhanced. Remember, you're doing this for God so do it with intensity and purpose!