90 Days to Fitness and Weight Loss - Your First 30 Days

Let this be the year you don't kill yourself with too much, too soon

Woman exercising in gym
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While many of us focus on losing weight, the amount of exercise we need to lose weight is often more than we can handle, both physically and mentally.  That's one reason so many people abandon their new year's resolutions so soon after the first of the year.

One way to avoid doing too much too soon and, thus, rendering your workout program completely intolerable, is to try a different approach - Start simple and, for your first 30 days, focus on establishing a solid workout schedule, building strength and endurance and improving your health.

  When you focus on the behaviors you need to do to lose weight, rather than the weight loss itself, you take the pressure off - You're not watching the scale all the time, so it doesn't matter if it moves or not.

Keep in mind that starting small means the scale may not change from one workout to next, but your health can change in just 5 minutes. In fact, just 5 minutes of outdoor exercise can boost your mood and self-esteem. Just 10 minutes can lower your blood pressure for hours and reduce your risk of a heart attack.

The other upside is that it doesn't require as much exercise as losing weight, allowing time to ease into exercise, build strength and endurance gradually and avoid the injury and burnout that can accompany too much exercise.

So, how much exercise do you need to be healthy? The first 30 days of your 90-Day program incorporates the Physical Activity Guidelines set out by The Centers for Disease Control.

These guidelines suggest:

90 Days to Fitness and Weight Loss - Your First 30 Days

In this program, you'll get specific workouts and a schedule to follow, with new exercise goals each week.

The workouts are simple and straightforward, slowly progressing each week so that you're ready for your next 30 days, which takes your workouts to the next level.

What You Need
  • A cardio machine or a favorite activity you can do for up to 20 minutes
  • A few sets of dumbbells - 5-25 lbs works best, but use what you have
  • An exercise ball
  • A mat
  • 5 days and 20-30 minutes of time on each of those days to complete your workouts

What's In Store

Week 1 - Your first week starts with these goals:  3 days of cardio, 2 days of strength training with 1 set of each exercise and 2 days of active rest.  I've given you some cardio workout options as well as strength training exercises, but feel free to substitute your own.

Week 2 - Your goals change this week, with an extra day of light cardio and an extra set of strength training exercises.  These small changes will help you progress at just the right pace to get fit and start to see some progress.

Week 3 - This week, your goals are the same - 4 days of cardio, 2 days of strength training with 2 sets of each exercise and 1 day of active rest.

  The difference is that I've give you some different cardio options, although you're always welcome to choose your own.

Week 4 - This week, we make more small changes with an extra day of cardio (that takes you to 5 days of cardio) and an optional 3rd set of strength training exercises.   This will set the stage for your Next 30 Days, where you'll ramp things up and start to see some results from your hard work.

Keep in Mind

  • Don't be a slave to the workouts or schedule: This is just a sample program, so it won't work for everyone. If it's too much, take extra rest days if you feel sore, tired or your performance suffers. Modify the schedule or workouts to fit your needs
  • See your doctor if you have any medical conditions, illnesses or injuries
  • Substitute your own workouts if you have other activities you enjoy

Let's Get Started with Week 1 of your 90 Day Fitness and Weight Loss Program.

Sources:

McGonigal, Kelly. Brief Bouts of Baby Steps. IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 8, Number 7 July 2011.

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