Looking to get on track with a fitness routine to improve your health and/or appearance?  It is important that you choose a program that fits your needs.  With a never ending stream of ads for workout programs and gym making the right choice can be both confusing and frustrating.  I don’t want that to stop you.  Below are a few tips that I recommend to help you decide on the right fitness program for you. But first lets chat briefly about what a great fitness program should include:

  • A well structured exercise routine
  • A sound nutritional plan
  • Motivation
  • Adaptability
  • Time Consideration

A well structured exercise routine.  The routine should be progressive and take into account your current fitness level and needs.  If you start out with something to aggressive you are likely to end up very sore from the workout.  If you start with something to easy you may feel like the program isn’t going to work for you.

A sound nutritional plan.  Don’t get caught up with all the supplements and specialty food nutritional plans.  Depending upon your specific needs that may play a part later in the program, but to begin the nutritional strategies should be simple.  For example I tell my clients each meal should consist of a lean protein, fibrous carbohydrate, starchy carbohydrate and minimize the consumption of simple sugars and processed foods.

Motivation.  To find motivation look past the typical ‘why’s’ people use to start a fitness program.  You need to finds something that you have a strong emotional connection to.  So, to say, “I want to loose weight” isn’t going to be a strong enough motivator to get you through the tough times.  Instead dig deeper as to why you want to lose the weight.  Something like, “I want to lose weight because my mother died at the age of 45 because of disease directly related to being overweight. I want to reduce my chances of getting diabetes…etc”.  There needs to be a strong emotional connections.  A good program is going to walk you through the process of discovering your ‘why’/

Adaptability.  Life throws curveballs, so the program needs to be adaptable to fit your circumstances during these moments.  Whether the program needs to adapt because of an injury or time conflict.

Time considerations.  It is only the rare few that can and are willing to commit to 1-2 hour long workouts.  If this is you, great!  But if it is not then find a program that’s time commitments are doable for you.  Research is pretty supportive of shorter higher intensity workouts.  That is workouts that are 20-30 minutes in duration and repeating them 3 times per week.

Now that we know what a great fitness program should include, let’s look at what you need to consider when choosing a program:

  • Budget
  • Time
  • Simplicity
  • Nutrition
  • Equipment

Budget. How much are you willing to spend? With so many programs to choose from budget would be the first place I would start.  However, don’t always pick the lowest price option.  If you spend to little it is easy to blow off the program which of course defeats the purpose.  It should pinch the pocket book a little bit, this contributes to the motivation aspect 😉

Time.  How much time are you willing to commit to the program?  If you are only willing to commit to three thirty minute workouts, then it makes no sense to purchase a program that has you working out six days a week.

Simplicity.  Can you easily follow the program?  Pick a program that you can follow.  The more experience you have or get using fitness programs the more you will be able to handle.  Just start simple and advance from there.

Nutrition.  Keep it simple.  Don’t get to complicated.  I have found through the years that a simple eating strategy will go along away.  Having a lot of available recipes is nice, but I rarely find clients that use many of the available healthy recipes.  The better strategy seems to apply sound nutritional concepts to improve what is currently being consumed.  For example instead of having the typical hamburger at the summer bbq (75% lean ground beef, 200 calorie enriched white bread bun, topping of your choice) opt for a leaner hamburger patty, skip the bun or make a lettuce wrap, add your choice of toppings.  This dramatically cuts the calories.

Equipment.  You don’t need any equipment at all to achieve your desire fat loss goals.  So, anything you choose to add is icing on the cake.  If your new to fitness get the most bang for you buck by investing in a stability ball and a set of resistance cords.  From there you can add dumbbells I like to recommend a set ranging from 5-25lbs.

Ultimately when in comes to choosing a fitness program, it comes down to using the old K.I.S.S. method, Keep It Simple Sexy.  Pick a program that you can incorporate into your lifestyle.