Once you have made the courageous decision to start exercising, you will need to determine which exercise program is the best for you.

Randomly doing exercises won’t have any long-term effect and will often only discourage you. Having a plan and a program not only makes things convenient for you in terms of spending your time wisely, but will also help to keep you committed and accountable.

Firstly, determine your fitness goal. What is it that you want to achieve? Build stamina? Lose weight? Gain muscle mass? Each of these goals requires a different workout plan and as such,

it is important to determine what it is you want to get from exercising.

At the same time, determining your current fitness level is also important, as this will impact the way in which you work-out, as well as the time frame you are looking at when it comes to seeing results. For someone who is already quite fit and accustomed to spending some time exercising, results will appear much quicker than for those of us who are unfit and starting from scratch. Don’t be discouraged though, as there are many other factors influencing this!

Determining your level of commitment is vitally important – wanting to give three hours per day to a workout plan is not always doable and committing to a more realistic timeframe will help you to stay motivated. Be honest with yourself when it comes to this question –

what amount of time is truly available for you to dedicate to exercise?

It doesn’t matter if this is only half an hour; a half an hour of focussed and intensive training will yield excellent results if you commit to it!

Patience is key in this process: Focus on one-goal at a time and not on the end-goal only. For example, if your long-term goal is to lose 20 kilograms,

don’t focus on how much more you have to lose

to get to that number. Take it one step at a time – one kilogram at a time, one dress size at a time. Similarly, if you want to improve your endurance, focus on how many more minutes you were able to perform at, or the extra kilogram you were able to life.

Bite-size chunks are easier to swallow,

and small victories will help to build your confidence and belief in your ability to succeed.

The most important aspect to consider is that not everyone likes working out. We are all quite different, and as a result, not everyone is motivated by the same exercise routine. For example, a friend of mine loves spending time in the gym, whilst his partner prefers being outdoors and with other people.

It’s important to know what motivates youto carry on,

and this can be determined by finding out what kind of exercise motivates you: do you enjoy being outside? Do you like exercising on your own? Or do you function better with the motivation of a group of people around you? This is a good way of determining whether you should perhaps join a class, participate in bootcamp-type training or follow an individually designed program which you focus on, on your own. There is no “right way” or “ultimate program” that fits us all.

Find out what you really enjoy, and stick to it – this is often the key to success.

Leandri

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