The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, at least 5 days per week. While the official guidelines regarding exercise seem relatively uniform, the reality behind constructing an effective, realistic workout regimen that suits your lifestyle and meets your goals is more of a science than a straightforward rule.
Your body is unique and your goals for it are individual to your own needs. That’s why functional medicine expert and Wellfitz Mentorship founder Travis Zipper believes that your workout regimen should be specialized to meet those needs. Physical fitness isn’t a one-size-fits all approach. For those who may be wanting to boost their health by implementing an exercise regimen that improves their overall quality of life, Travis Zipper has the following recommendations.
Consider your limitations
No two bodies are the same. Another person’s workout regimen may be a great resource for modeling your own, but never copy someone else’s work with zero regard for your own individual goals, needs, and or limitations.
Before crafting your workout regimen, keep in mind any injuries, illnesses, or other physical challenges that are unique to your body and your situation. Although you should never allow these barriers to stop you, Travis Zipper reminds those eager to jump into a new training routine that you do want to remain mindful of your challenges so that you can tailor your approach to achieve better results.
Set concrete, measurable goals
After considering your body’s individual limitations, it’s time to start thinking about what exactly you want your workout regimen to accomplish for you. Do you want to lose weight, gain muscle, improve cardiovascular health, or just boost your overall quality of life?
As you draft your goals for the future, be sure your aspirations are clear and measurable. In other words, each goal you set should have concrete metrics: if you want to lose weight, how much? If you want to get stronger, what is your target bench press weight or etc.
The problem with abstract fitness goals like “lose fat,” “build muscle,” and “improve endurance” is that there is no concrete measure of success—and as Travis Zipper points out, without clear goal posts, it’s impossible to score the progress in doing so.
When you’re specific about your goals, you’re able to more clearly construct a direct path to achieving them. So, once you’ve nailed down what you’d like to accomplish, put them in writing is always advised. Then down the line, this will help you stay focused and accountable as you move towards achieving your fitness goals.
Make a realistic plan of action
Having measurable goals is essential when crafting a workout regimen, but those goals are useless without an action plan that will help you work your way towards achieving them. Once you’ve mapped out what you’d like to accomplish, it’s time to create a road map that details how you plan to get there.
Travis Zipper suggests that you remain realistic as you assemble your action plan. For some, spending 2 hours in the gym per day or waking up at the crack of dawn to cram in a few miles of jogging before work just isn’t realistic. As you devise your path towards physical fitness, remain conscious of your schedule and other responsibilities. Although you don’t want to aim low, you ideally want to work mindfully to craft a plan that you’ll be able to stick consistently in the long run.
Find an accountability partner
Once you have your goals and plan of action, it’s time to set your new regimen in motion. At this point, your focus should be consistency. Unfortunately, it’s not always so easy to get out of bed and make it to the gym when you’re only answering to yourself. When no one else is watching, it’s easy to justify cutting corners during training or even skipping out entirely. According to Travis Zipper, that’s where an accountability partner becomes an essential asset.
An accountability partner is a person who is prepared to give you personalized help with your goals. Ideally, the relationship should be a two-way street. In mutually coaching and encouraging each other, and a accountability relationship should help fortify a workout regimen, making it easier to stick to your day-to-day plan in order to achieve your long-term goals.
This rich and dynamic relationship promotes self-responsibility and mutually increases drive, making you (and your partner) far less likely to cut corners or break your own rules. Of course, it is never solely your partner’s responsibility to motivate you. But keeping another individual updated and involved in your progress as you pursue your goals will likely be enough to keep you more efficiently motivated in the first place.
Celebrate your success
If you want to start a workout regimen that you’re going to stick to and not be tempted to deviate from after a few hard weeks, you’re going to need to learn how to celebrate your successes. The bottom line is that success is addictive. When you achieve your goals, you’ll be even more encouraged to continue pressing forward. That’s why Travis Zipper recommends openly and consciously celebrating your successes–no matter how small those successes may be.
Whether it’s losing that first pound or simply making it to the gym when you were tempted to hit the snooze button and doze off again instead, taking a step back to truly acknowledge your wins will multiply your motivation. This allows you to capitalize on your brain’s reward center in order to keep propelling yourself forward towards future success.
Importantly, these successes should not be rewarded with days out of the gym or “cheat” meals. Instead, find a reward that is not food related. Treat yourself to a movie or buy those shoes you’ve been eyeing online. The gesture doesn’t have to be big to make a huge impact and keep you moving forward towards your fitness goals.