Victor: Start fitness slowly for a Happy You Year

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You made it! The majority of holiday festivities are over, couch time involves contemplating going back to work, and reflections include your game plan for building the "new you" through fitness.

If your resolutions include weight loss and developing more usable ("functional") strength, the first new discipline involves getting into the gym.

This might sound humorous, but akin to writer-actor Woody Allen's well known quote that "90 percent of success is just showing up," following the dotted line from the bed, to your car, to the gym increases your chances significantly. If it's walking or running you wish to do, swing those legs out of the bed and make them hit the floor and you're on your way.

Let's start with a few lessons to help you make your transition:

Lesson 1: Get there. Arriving at the location of your workout will prompt you to begin your workout. The "getting there" part overcomes 90 percent of your obstacle.

Lesson 2: Break your exercises into broad categories -- squat, lunge, push, pull and core. Almost every weight resistance movement embodies one or more of these patterns. Selecting the proper weight and using the proper form will be part of your ongoing education. An understanding of which movements utilize the muscles used for squatting, pushing, pulling, etc. will help you stay mentally organized.

Lesson 3: Figure out the three days per week to which you can fully commit. Take into account your travel time to work, travel time to the gym, eat, shower and beat the traffic gridlock. Manage your time effectively to make your workout less stressful.

Lesson 4: Understand the basics. Each "set" is comprised of the number of repetitions of a given movement you can perform (e.g. 10 push-up repetitions comprise 1 set of push-ups). When you start out, perform two sets of each exercise that utilize squatting, pulling, pushing and working your core. Those numbers, along with the exercises, will change in time; but hey, we're just getting started here. Create a "failure window" of 8-12 repetitions, defined by the inability to move perform any more repetitions within that window.

Finally, we arrive at the last lesson. It took you a long time to become good at many of the things you do well. You owe it to yourself to not forget the discipline and broken pencils you went through to arrive at your level of competency in anything you have become proficient in, which leads us to:

Lesson 5: Stay the course. The first several weeks of a new fitness program are often the toughest. Don't quit. Think like a marathoner -- and although proverbial in this instance -- put "one foot in front of the other" in terms of making yourself go through the daily motions of your workout. Before you know it, you'll start seeing muscles that zig where they used to zag, a bathroom scale that is now your friend, and a whole new wardrobe because things just don't fit right anymore.

Happy New Year to my friends and readers. I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet you, learn from you and use your comments and thoughts as the fuel to so many of my columns. I can't wait to bring you what 2013 has in store and welcome all of your calls or questions. This year, is going to be YOUR year.

Bill Victor is the owner of Victor Fitness System Professional Fitness Trainers, Flashpoint Athletic Speed & Agility Specialists, and Performance Nutrition Consultants. He can be reached at victorfitsystems@gmail.com, http://theflashpoint.org and http://VictorFitnessSystems.com.