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Choosing an Exercise Program for You

By Michael K Butler B.A.;P.T.A.;CSCS*D;RSCC*D NMT
Alternating fitness activities can help ensure success

Alternating fitness activities can help ensure success

It’s that time again! 2014 is ushered in, and all that holiday overindulgence has found a new home around your waistline. Guilt and the typical New Year’s resolutions lead many to sign up at a gym or contact a personal trainer to help them shed those unwanted pounds.

Jumping into the latest and greatest usually isn’t the most effective action plan.

I frequently get asked, “What type of program would best suit me?” It would be easy for me to say just join a gym and start working out with someone, but the real answer depends on the following factors:

  • Your age
  • Training background
  • History of surgeries
  • Current medications
  • Current aches or pains
  • Amount of time since your last workout program
  • Your individual short-term and long-term goals

After compiling all the data, the next step is to ask yourself if you prefer working out indoors or outdoors. Do you want to work out on your own or in a small group setting? Many people make the mistake of getting caught up in New Year’s resolutions and jump into fitness routines that are either too advanced for them, or unrealistic for their present physical condition.

The following information might make your decision easier regarding where to start your fitness plan.

If you are new to working out or haven’t worked out consistently for at least a year, the best place to start might be a gym. Find a qualified certified trainer to assist in formulating a work-out plan for you and then have a few follow-up sessions to make sure you are progressing and have correct form. If you would rather work out at home, there are video programs with beginner to advanced conditioning levels.

If you like to exercise outdoors, there are many fitness boot camps available to push you in the right direction. They involve running, jumping, calisthenics, agility strength and cardio training. They will tailor the camp to your needs by pushing you up to, but not beyond your limits. This is a great way to lose weight, help your heart become stronger, and work out in the sun. You can also use the hiking trails in the valley to sprint, jog, or ride your bike.

For the more experienced workout person, Crossfit will challenge your physical abilities as you will experience a different workout every day. This program is really for people with a good exercise background, as well as, those who want to be pushed to their limits. It involves doing many repetitions using a variety of strength training, cardio, plyometrics and Olympic lifting.

If you enjoy stretching and core conditioning, then yoga and Pilates classes are always forming. There are many types of yoga, so before you choose one, research the various types.

People who have had previous surgeries, orthopedic conditions, or have any illnesses or health conditions should seek the advice from their physician first before starting a program. Starting an exercise program with a licensed health care practitioner ensures that you aren’t given any exercises that may compromise any existing or past physical problems.

We all start the New Year with good intentions and plan to stick with our exciting, new exercise routine. Putting thought into the type of program you will most enjoy, and that which will meet your specific goals, will help ensure you are maintaining that routine come December.

Michael K Butler B.A.;P.T.A.;CSCS*D;RSCC*D NMT is co owner of Kinetix Health and Performance center in Palm Desert. He holds a state license as a physical therapist assistant, national certifications of distinction through the NSCA as a strength and conditioning coach, Poliquin International state coach and as a Full Body Active Release Techniques Practitioner. He is the fitness expert for 1010 KXPS’s Sports Radio Talk Show and can be reached at (760) 200.1719 or 

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