The best workout for you

Tips on choosing a work out plan for the new year

Brooklyn BridgeWith the new year upon us, people are flocking to the gym in an effort to lead healthier, more active lifestyles. In creating an exercise plan that works for you, there are many factors to consider. Sherri Goering, the Wellness Coordinator at Chilson Recreation Center in Loveland, said that the best way to start choosing a work out is by identifying goals.

            “Weight loss is a common goal,” Goering said. “The other thing people say is, ‘I just want to feel better.’ Usually it means they want to have more energy; they don’t want to be so tired. Looking better would be the other biggie. The fourth one I hear the most would be that they do have a goal in mind as far as they want to compete in a triathlon or a bike rice or climb a fourteener.

Goering also emphasizes that a work out must be secondary to a good diet in order to achieve results.

“The exercise is going to be one of the easier pieces,” she said. “We’re talking about changing the way you eat for life. That’s going to be the harder part. We like to say nutrition is probably 80 percent and exercise is 20 percent of success.”

In planning a work out for yourself, Goering said it must be something that will keep you engaged and entertained in order to ensure your commitment.

“The activity isn’t as important as choosing something that people enjoy doing,” she said. “There’s not one perfect exercise. It’s what they will do and stick with. Lets find things that they find fun and motivate them.”

Rhett Polka, doctor of physical therapy and owner of Loveland’s One80 Physical Therapy, says that any good workout plan, regardless of what it entails, will include an active warm up and cool down, rather than stretching.

“You don’t want to work out cold,” Polka said. “Stretching defined is passively lengthening a muscle for an extended period of time. We take away the stretching and we replace it with active warm up: jogging an easy lap around the track, doing high knees or butt kicks. After you work out, you want active recovery. You’re basically doing the same thing before and after you work out.”

Theresa Wells, co-owner and certified trainer at Cross Fit Loveland, lists variety as another important part of any well-matched workout plan.

“Don’t get stuck in the same routine,” Wells said. “Try new things. The workout that you do should incorporate into your real life.”

            Wells said that one of the most common challenges for people seeking an appropriate work out is fitting it into their schedule. She says there is no magic to this; it just has to be done.

“It will always be a constant struggle to get to the gym,” Wells said. “That doesn’t all of a sudden get easier. But the result is that you feel better. You have to make time.”

For those looking to lose weight with a new workout regime, Wells recommends “a shorter amount of work at a high rate of speed.” While this kind of exercise is appropriate for most any goal, Wells said these techniques – known as “anaerobic” – specifically target weight loss.

“It’s been really proven that interval training will give you the most bang for your buck,” Wells said. “Maybe doing 15 jumps on a box, 30 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, rest a minute and doing it again. Sprints and power-driven workouts tend to be much more effective than long-distance training.”

If weight loss is your workout goal, Wells warns against getting caught up in a fruitless battle with body image. She says to focus instead on improving your current physical state.

           “We get so many people who walk in off the street who are so obsessed with a certain type of body and what they should look like,” Wells said. “Apart from training as a full-time job or getting surgery, it can be really impossible to get the exact body that you want. Let’s use what God has given you and make you stronger and faster.”

Published in the Longmont Reporter-Herald’s Healthline of Northern Colorado Magazine on 1/24/2013.

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