If you are getting close to entering midlife or you are like me and are already there, you probably have to work harder at staying fit. Well most of us anyway. I have done so many different types of fitness from kick-boxing to aerobics, to Bootcamp, to yoga. Let’s consider a few things when choosing a fitness program in midlife.
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CHOOSING THE RIGHT FITNESS PROGRAM
A common mistake that you might have made in the past is choosing a random fitness program without doing too much research on it first.
You have to understand that not only are there so many different body types out there, but there are also tons of different goals that people are trying to reach through different means.
Since these programs can be very different from one another, it’s important to consider a few factors before deciding on which one you want to pursue. Only you will know what’s best for your goals and personal preferences.
1. Goals Are the Most Important Factor
The first thing about a fitness program that you have to look at is what goal it’s trying to help you achieve. For example, you could already have a good amount of muscle, and this program is trying to help you cut down on any remaining fat so that you look more shredded.
Related Article: How Goals Are A Roadmap That Will Lead To Your Desired Future
Another program might be meant for people who are underweight. And you want to put on a healthy amount of muscle mass. And there are also those programs meant for those who want to lose a substantial amount of fat.
All of these different goals are going to be achieved in very different ways. One may be more cardio and diet focused, while another is more focused on pure weightlifting and eating higher calories.
what are your personal goals
Obviously, these will produce very different results, and if those results aren’t in line with your own personal goals, then you’re not going to be satisfied with it at all.
It can help if, before you even start looking for a fitness program, you really evaluate where you are health-wise. And where you really want to be, as well as the path you should take to get there.
For example, if you’re overweight and you want to look muscular, you might have to lose weight down to a certain point before you can focus on building up muscle. This helps ensure that you have a clear idea of your goals in your mind, so that you know exactly what kind of program to look for.
DON’T WASTE TIME ON THE WRONG PROGRAM
You should try to get it as tailor-made to you as you possibly can, factoring in weight, goals, body type, age, and even gender. All of these can serve as factors in how effectively the program helps you reach your goals.
If you spend weeks or months on a program that isn’t going to help you reach your goals, you’re wasting precious time that could’ve been spent getting a foothold on your fitness.
Nobody likes having their time wasted. So be sure to pick a fitness program that has a specific goal that matches yours. Also, try to avoid very vague or general fitness programs. This will try to help everyone because it won’t be as effective as a specific one.
2. Will I Like the Program?
Once you’ve found a program that aligns with your goals, you need to make sure it’s something that you’ll want to stick with. One of the most common problems that people face with working out and getting in shape is giving up because they’re not enjoying it.
In order for you to make good progress and stick with it, you should carefully look through each part of the program. And make sure it’s something that you’ll enjoy, or at least something that you won’t dread doing consistently.
MAKE SURE TO DO YOUR RESEARCH
The first thing you should look for is some indication of the difficulty level of the program. A more difficult program is fine for someone who has more time and experience with fitness. But if you’re new, a difficult program can drive you off.
Don’t be too prideful to ease things up and go with an easier program at first, because not everyone is ready for the more difficult exercises. You should also try to look at which specific exercises they’ll have you doing.
If you’re not sure what they are or haven’t heard of them before, try going online and finding videos of people doing them. You can sort of evaluate whether or not something will be difficult for you because of mobility problems or anything else you might have going on.
MAKE FITNESS ENJOYABLE
Your fitness program should be something enjoyable that you can do to take your mind off of things. It’s something that you can focus on for a little while and not have to worry about deadlines or anything else that’s causing you stress in life.
If you get a chance, you should go into your gym and try out a bit of some of the exercises listed in your program before you fully commit to it. Try adjusting the weight if it’s too difficult at first. And if you still can’t do it, find something else to do in its place.
You shouldn’t be trying to go in and do workouts that you can’t stand doing. If you can find something that gets you similar results, but is more enjoyable, do that instead. There are plenty of exercises that work out the same muscles, but feel very different to do.
Really, the worst thing you can do for yourself is to go into a program that you won’t enjoy. When you really want to get in shape, you’re making a rather long commitment. So, if you’re not having a good time during those months or years that it can take to get in shape, you’re more likely to drop it altogether and move on unsuccessfully.
If you’re the type of person who hates exercise in any form, then the process of finding a program that you enjoy will be much harder. Instead of finding one that you enjoy, you’ll just have to find one that you don’t really mind as much as you do the others. And hopefully, over time you’ll adapt and start to enjoy the workouts on your own.
3. How Much Time Will It Take?
Time is a crucial factor in almost everyone’s lives. It’s the main reason why so many people never really get on board with fitness. If you already have so many hours in your day taken up with work and family commitments, then it can be hard to squeeze in working out without overloading yourself.
When looking into a workout program, you need to look at how long each routine is expected to take. If it’s an hour-long and you do it 5 times a week, that’s 5 hours a week you spend in the gym. Plus the time spent driving to and from there.
FIT FITNESS INTO YOUR SCHEDULE
If you already have a busy schedule, that can seem impossible to fit in. You need to be realistic about how much time you can spend in the gym, because many people vastly overestimate it.
People think they won’t have too hard of a time spending 5 or 6 days a week going, but in actuality, as little as 3 days a week can be a burden, depending on your other commitments in life.
You also need to evaluate how long you can spend in the gym each one of those days. While the standard is around 45 minutes to an hour, you may not have that kind of time to devote to it.
NO TIME?: CONSIDER OTHER FORMS OF EXERCISE
Instead, you can go for a 30 minute or less type of workout. This can be done as a stop on the way home from work or even during a lunch break. One thing you should avoid doing is taking a standard length workout. And trying to rush through it in half the time.
All you’re going to do is have poor form, poor results, and even risk injuring a muscle while being too reckless. If the workout was made to be an hour long, it’s going to work best at an hour long.
SHORT AMOUNT IS BETTER THAN NONE
You should instead, find a program that’s meant to be done in a short amount of time. And is actually structured that way. These will yield much better results while still working within your timeframe.
These workouts typically rely on circuit-style training. This has you doing a lot of different exercises, in a short time, in quick bursts. This can tire you out easily.
MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
If you’re even more strapped for time, you can find one that breaks each day up into multiple segments or gym visits. This allows you to go for 15 minutes at one point in the day, and then 15 minutes at another.
This should allow you to fit it in much more easily with whatever schedule you have; if you have a home gym or are close to the gym you go to. Be sure not to spread yourself too thin.
You don’t want to be going straight from work to the gym to home and to sleep every day without some time to rest and relax. Otherwise, you’re going to end up cutting out on gym time just to give yourself a break. It’s okay to give yourself rest days as long as you get back into the cycle afterward.
4. The Equipment Has to Be Affordable or Accessible
One of the struggles that you’re going to run into when creating your fitness program is that you may see exercises that require equipment. Or that you either don’t have access to or can’t afford.
All gyms are different. While there are a few key items that every gym pretty much has, such as dumbbells or treadmills. It might not always be the same depending on where you are.
Not everyone has access to those really big expensive gyms. It’s either because of the monthly membership costs or because there’s just not one conveniently located around you.
Smaller gyms will have less equipment. But if the building is a dedicated gym, it should still have all of the essentials. Now, where you may run into more problems is if you’re using an apartment or office gym; one that’s open to the tenants or employees.
These are often furnished with just a handful of random machines. And don’t often have everything you’ll need for a full workout program. Before ever starting a program, look at all of the equipment, it requires. And make sure you have those things at your gym of choice.
RESEARCH ALL FITNESS PROGRAMS
Sometimes the programs that people write are full of equipment that you may have never heard of, let alone seen at your local gym. If you don’t do this, you might end up stuck with a program that you can’t complete.
There’s a whole different issue that you can encounter if you’re building your own home gym. Many people love using home gyms because they’re convenient, quiet, and you don’t have to share the space with others.
RESEARCH COST OF EQUIPMENT
However, the main problem is that you have to face the upfront costs of equipment. Gym equipment is much more expensive than you might have anticipated. A simple bench that you use frequently can cost over $50, and the rack for the barbell and weights can cost hundreds.
That’s just for one piece of equipment. Once you start getting into machines and big power racks, those can cost between $400 and $1,000. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend all that much just to get the home gym started, but to get everything you could possibly need, it’s not a cheap project.
Check your program to see if it uses all simple items like dumbbells, which can easily be done at home for a lower cost. Otherwise, you may have to find another program or opt for a cheap local gym that has some of the equipment that you might need.
Another option is to look for used gym equipment that people are selling or giving away. You can look in local ads or even sites like NextDoor, where neighbors will let people know when they’re putting a treadmill on the curb because they no longer have space for it, for example.
5. Does It Work?
So many people are overzealous about their fitness abilities that they end up biting off more than they can chew with a fitness routine. If you haven’t worked out in years or never worked out at all, you need to be realistic about where you’re going to be starting off with a program.
NEVER GIVE UP
Chances are, you’re not going to be as in shape as you think you are, and you might end up being disappointed. However, you shouldn’t let that discourage you into quitting.
Instead, you should adjust your program accordingly and do the best that you can do.
THERE IS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
You don’t want to continue with a program that doesn’t fit well with your lifestyle and doesn’t help you improve. If every day is a struggle to keep going with your current program, you should switch it up.
BE AWARE OF ANY INJURIES
Fitness should be fairly enjoyable, even if it is a bit tough. Something else you might have to consider is if you have any previous or chronic injuries. If you have a bad back, you’re probably not going to want to choose a program that involves you doing bent-over rows.
Similarly, if you have a bad knee, you don’t want to do a program that involves emphasis on box jumps. All that’ll do is make your life more difficult and make working out painful and unenjoyable.
Before long, you’re going to end up giving up and you won’t touch it again until next year when you make new resolutions. People worry too much about changing their difficult programs because they feel like they’re admitting defeat.
It’s okay to work up to the more difficult programs by starting off on an easier one. It’s much more important to have good form and to make good starting progress. If you feel uncomfortable with working out, the easier programs will make you feel more comfortable with a new environment in the gym.
It’ll give you the confidence you need to really progress much more in the future, and hopefully, it’ll help you get a better grasp on what you’re doing. Any time you start a new fitness program, you should at least give it a couple of weeks, if not a month or two to start getting adjusted before you make a decision to drop it.
If you’re seeing some positive results during this time, you may be more inclined to stick with it. You shouldn’t quit a program just because you didn’t see huge results in two weeks. No program is going to get you that much progress.