Summer is slowly coming to an end and the days and nights are getting cooler, this is a great time for me because as a personal trainer it means I can get out there and exercise without losing a liter of water before I've barely left the house. It's a great time for you to begin too and with my 12 week program I can show you how.
There is no better place to remain fit and healthy than on the Costa Blanca in Denia Javea, Spain. The weather here is always respectable and the copious amounts of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables make eating a healthy diet a real pleasure. With a minimum amount of equipment and some determination there is no reason why anyone can not get into shape. Two of the most common reasons for avoiding exercise are the lack of motivation and insufficient knowledge, well with my 12 week plan you will receive both.
We all know that exercise is good for us but with as little as 20-30 minutes a day you can lower your blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, prevent the onset of adult diabetes, increase energy levels, improve your sex life, sleep better, regain your appetite, the list goes on ….
This 12 week program will progress from a beginner to advanced level and be divided into the 4 main categories of fitness, offering you a step by step guide into improving your heart and lungs (Aerobic), gaining strength and stability (Resistance), improving your calorie intake and diet (Nutrition), finally stretching your muscles and improving your posture (Flexibility).
So here goes:
Week 1: Aerobic (Heart and lungs)
In order to improve our heart and lung function and to lose weight we must do some form of aerobic exercise at least 3 – 4 times per week for a minimum of 20 minutes. Depending on your current level of fitness this can include walking, running, swimming, cycling basically anything that gets the heart racing.
I would advise the beginner to dig out those training shoes, open the door and start walking. There is no better or more natural way to exercise than walking to build a basic foundation for your aerobic fitness. 20 minutes non stop walking is a good time to aim for that means 10 minutes one way and 10 minutes back. You should be aiming to improve on the distance walked each time, if your 10 minute halfway was a special tree then try to make it to the next tree next time and so on.
In order to improve your aerobic fitness you need to elevate your heart rate so ensure that you walk at a brisk pace, swing your arms and return feeling slowly out of breath and tired. Using the RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) scale is a good guide for all aerobic workouts. Basically the way you feel on a scale of 1 – 10 is your RPE. Try to maintain an RPE of 5-6 through your walk. Those who find walking to easy or have a reasonable level of aerobic fitness can try jogging, cycling or swimming for 20 minutes the important thing is to maintain that RPE of 5-6.
Repeat your aerobic workout 3 – 4 times a week with a days rest in between. Ensure you drink plenty of water before, during and after but most of all enjoy yourself. You have started your program and are now on your way to a healthier and happier you!
A precautionary note
No exercise program should be painful, there is a difference between being tired and in pain. If you feel pain at any time then stop and consult a doctor. Pain indications either incorrect technique or a medical problem. If you have any doubts about your current state of health then consult a medical professional before embarking on any fitness program.
Weeks 1-2 20 minutes 3-4 x per week RPE 5-6
Weeks 3-4 30 30 minutes 3-4 x per week RPE 5-6
Next week: Flexibility