Fitness Programs That Fit
Personal Trainers, Videos, Can Get You Going on Your Own Fitness Program
Just do it, we hear. Do what?, we whine. Getting off
your you-know-what is a tough hurdle. Even exercise experts admit fitness
programs can be boring. Here's their advice for starting a fitness program -- and sticking
Before you start, get real with yourself, says Gregory Florez,
a personal trainer and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise
"Look yourself in the mirror. If you can't picture yourself
getting on that treadmill or stationary bike or going to that fitness club
three times a week, don't do it," he tells WebMD. "Don't buy machines
you aren't going to use. Don't join a gym if you're not going to feel
Then, get some professional advice on fitness programs, he
advises. "You must have a plan that takes into consideration not only your
goals but also your barriers, both real and perceived. Even if you are on a
limited budget, you should get some beginning advice from a certified personal
trainer." The cost ranges from $35 to $100 per hourly session.
No way, you say? Then find a few good videos on fitness
programs, Florez suggests. There are lots of them out there.
Aerobics, strength training,
flexibility/balance training -- these are the components of any good fitness
program, for people at any age and fitness level, explains Sal Fichera, MS, an
exercise physiologist in New York City and also an ACE spokesman.
There's no getting around it: Walking and running keep your
heart healthy and burn lots of calories. A few sessions each week remains the
cornerstone for any fitness program.
Pedometers are great for charting a walking workout. Heart rate
monitors will help you track your exercise intensity and help you improve your
fitness program's efficiency. "I highly recommend them, especially if
you're out of shape," Fichera tells WebMD. "You'll know when to ease up
intensity, especially during hot weather. Like power outages more likely to
happen in hot weather, so is heat stroke."
But strength training helps burn fat and build stronger bones,
says Fichera. "Aerobics only keeps metabolic rate up during the aerobic
activity. Afterward, your metabolic rate immediately starts to plummet. When
there is more muscle density on the body, then metabolic rate stays elevated
all the time."
Translation: If you have more muscle, your body will burn more
calories when you're not exercising -- when you're just sitting at work,
Calisthenics such as push-ups or sit-ups qualify as strength
training -- although very difficult for some, he says.
Those stretchy "resistance tubes" are "very
worthwhile," says Florez. "We use them in all our programs. When we
first saw those 10 years ago, we thought it was a new gimmick. But those are
now some of the most popular tools -- they're portable, and they take away any
excuses. They're great for traveling, very portable."