Ready to start working out but not sure how to get started? You can plan an effective workout plan, that fits your lifestyle - by asking yourself the following four questions.
1. What do I like to do? Identifying what you enjoy now, and have enjoyed in the past is a great starting point. Not only will you be more motivated to participate in your workouts but you likely already have the equipment/experience to do this activity well. On the other hand if you are someone who likes to try new things - what may motivate you more is selecting an activity that you've always wanted to do - and go for it!
My example: I like spending 15 min/day on weights/HIIT in my home. It gets me going in the morning and is accessible - no gym, no babysitters. I look for new exercises to change up my workouts online or in magazines.
2. Where do I need to improve? Looking at yourself and honestly evaluating your weakest areas is going be essential in creating a workout plan that gets you what you need not just what you enjoy. Thinking back to when you were at your most fit, and comparing how your activities and behaviors have changed. Also, looking at what your physical demands are at this time of your life and what areas you've seen you are lacking.
My example: Especially as I get older, I don't recover as well from pushing my limits as I used to. Sore and tight muscles need extra attention. So incorporating Yoga into my exercise routine at least once a week is crucial to keeping me moving and progressing.
3. Are my workouts well rounded? Keeping balance in your fitness helps you progress with less injury. Looking at your workout plan, are you focused too much on aerobic exercise (running) and not enough anaerobic (strengthening). Are you doing all lower body moves and not enough upper body? Are you strengthening but not stretching? Are you focusing on big movement muscles and need more attention to the core stabilizing muscles?
My example: I see benefits in my fitness when I schedule in a long run, or swimming into my week. What helps me is to plan an aerobic workout as date night mountain biking with my husband, or training for a race with friends.
4. How do I make it happen? Scheduling your time to make sure your workouts happen - is the crucial first step. So first - set a start date and schedule your workouts. Second - be ready. Need shoes, weights, yoga mat, jogging stroller? get 'em. Third - Write down your workouts (how/what you did). This keeps you accountable and shows your progress. Learn how to maximize each workout in our article Four Steps to Effective Exercise.
My example: When I started going to the gym 3 months after one of my babies was born, I scheduled two days a week, during nap time when my husband was home for lunch. I wrote down my exercises and weights to track my progress. After 8 weeks I noticed that my adductor exercises had stopped progressing, and actually I was getting weaker - when I checked in with my medical provider to discuss this and other symptoms I had noticed, I was able to start therapy for a persisting pelvic floor dysfunction.
Mothers are busy and often feel selfish for taking time for themselves. We know that spending a little time each day to focus on your health - really helps you be better in all areas of your life. Plus, when you're feeling stressed - exercise is the best medicine, reduce effects of stress on your body.
If you are a Mommy Ready member having difficulty figuring out a workout plan that meets your needs - you have a program coach, who would love to work through this process with you.
If you are planning your exercise plan to get back in shape after your pregnancy or any time after having children - the Mommy Ready Postpartum Program is a great place to start to help you transition safely into the exercise program of your choice.
Learn more about our online postpartum exercise program here.