How much exercise do you really need to get in shape? Twenty minutes three times per week? Half-hour per day? How much is too much?
With so much information swirling around social media and the internet, it’s easy to get confused and frustrated about how much movement we really need to shape our bodies.
Since many of us are busy and don’t have hours to spend at the gym, let’s start with the minimum that will help you reach your goals.
WHAT’S THE MINIMUM?
If you’re not already exercising regularly or if you’re in a busy season of life, there is no need to go overboard. In fact, trying too much too soon may derail your motivation, and become a reason you throw in the towel.
Simply start where you are right now.
I recommend 10 to 20 minutes every other day at a level you think you can do. This is a great starting point and is also a relief for those with tight schedules.
Creating simple, easy-to-do exercise habits and consistency are key to success. Ten to twenty minutes might not seem like much, but you will be proud of your improved strength and fitness. You can absolutely get into great shape starting with this plan!
HOW TO DESIGN YOUR EXERCISE PLAN
There isn’t one answer for everyone. The main rule is to begin where you are—NOT where you think you should be or where someone else is. Where you are is perfectly okay!
Here are some other important TIPS to consider.
- Take note of your fitness level and your goals — increase and improve slowly.
- There really is no quick fix (at least no quick fix that will give you lasting long-term results!).
- Always consider what is reasonably sustainable for YOU based on: 1) your long-term fitness goal, 2) what else is going on in your life (i.e. how much time do you really have), and 3) your current state of fitness.
As you create a sustainable exercise habit, it will get easier. Don’t forget to make it a bit more challenging as you go. Every week do something to push yourself a bit farther than you were before. If you’re strength training, do another repetition or grab the next heavier weight. If you’re doing cardio, go a little bit longer, farther, and/or faster.
A great motivational tool is to log your workouts. A simple notepad or workbook (or smartphone app) will do! Just enter your duration, reps, sets, and/or times each time you workout. This will not only motivate you to continue, but it will also help you see where you can squeeze in that extra challenge as you progress.
After approximately four weeks, take a moment to evaluate whether to keep going the way you are, ramp it up, or change it completely. Eventually, you will find yourself getting stronger, and more fit!
DON’T FORGET YOUR NUTRITION!
While exercise is very good for your health, wellness and longevity, it’s not the only thing to consider. What you eat is going to have as big, or bigger, impact on your shape.
Here are some of my favorite, super-simple tips that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
- Eat each meal slowly; savor it by chewing each bite more thoroughly.
- Swap out liquid calories in sodas, juices and coffeehouse drinks. Opt for water, tea, or water with fruit.
- Eat more veggies!
- Include lean protein at every meal.
- Reduce the serving size of your main meals (try using a smaller plate!).
- Limit white starchy carbs (breads, pasta, rice, chips, etc).
- Carry around healthy fiber-rich snacks like nuts, fruit and berries, and low-sugar bars.
- Cut your treats and sweets in half (and hide half) before indulging.
You don’t need to exercise like crazy to get into shape! Start where you are, be consistent in small habits, eat well, and watch your mind and body transform!
Remember to talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.
Book a free strategy appointment with me to discuss your goals and see how I can support and help you get in shape regardless of your busy schedule. Or JOIN US for our 12 Days of FITMAS Challenge in our Facebook Group or click below. These daily workouts are super quick and you can start anytime!