Allan Zimmer of Sustainable Fitness
Wednesday, 10 October 2007 07:01
Written by Staff
WM: I’ve been on a bit of an extended holiday from a regular exercise routine. It’s time for me to lose my beer gut. What should I know before getting started on a training program?
AZ: The first thing to do is establish some realistic goals. Sit down and think about what you want to gain from this program, how much time you can devote to it and who will help you get a program set up. Make sure you are familiar with the proper technique, weights and equipment, to avoid injury. A consultation with a fitness trainer is a good idea.
Once you begin make sure you take it slow. Don’t hit the weights or cardio too hard. Just enjoy the process of getting back into a routine. As your body responds, you can increase weight and cardio time.
If you haven’t been very active for a while, it’s also a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a program.
WM: I usually do really well at the beginning of a fitness program, but then I seem to lose motivation. How can I stay focused?
AZ: Sticking to an exercise program is such a mental game. Often we will push ourselves too hard at the start of a program, ultimately setting ourselves up for failure. If your goals aren’t realistic, you’ll become discouraged and quit a program because it’s just not sustainable.
Use the acronym SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, time-oriented) to develop a smart plan of action. Then, make sure you set aside time every day to do your exercise.
As for motivation, many people are successful in keeping up with their program if they have someone doing it with them. A partner, a personal trainer, a group boot camp are all great ways to stay motivated.
WM: What are some easy nutritional points to remember?
AZ: I would suggest posting Health Canada’s new food guide (www.hc-sc.gc.ca) on your fridge or in your lunchroom. Also consider having frequent (five or six), small meals throughout the day. This will keep you energized and will help you to maintain your weight.
This is on top of the no brainers: cut out simple carbohydrates, like chocolate bars and hard candies. It’s all about getting the right balance or carbs, proteins and fats.
WM: My goal is to lose weight and gain overall physical fitness. Should I mainly focus on cardiovascular training?
AZ: No, there are four components to incorporate into your workout:
1) Strength training is important for bone density, muscle strength and size. It also makes you stronger, enabling you to burn more calories throughout the day.
2) Cardio is very important in keeping your heart and cardiovascular system healthy. Your body burns energy and loses fat.
3) Flexibility helps your joints stay healthy and increases their mobility.
4) Body composition is the general term for a healthy ratio of muscle and fat. The percentage is specific to the individual, so to find out what yours is and what it should be, get a trainer to help you. Attain a healthy body composition through the above three points and proper nutrition.
For more information on how to get your own personal trainer, join a boot camp or to read fitness and wellness advice, go to sustainablefitness.com.