You wake up one day and decide “I’ve had enough!” You are tired of being tired. You are annoyed with buying bigger clothes. You are done avoiding mirrors. You no longer want to be wearing your husband’s clothes or worse your maternity clothes from when you were pregnant with your FIVE year old. As I have written before it has to be a lifestyle change (see Lifestyle Changes). So let’s focus specifically on the physical activity aspect of your lifestyle change. At the beginning of any exercise program you need to do three things.
1. Take a Baseline
You need to know where you are starting. This will help you to truly see your progress over time. When you take your baseline and all subsequent measurements over time, you need to attempt to do it under the same conditions for accuracy. This means, the same equipment, same time of day and/or point in you daily routine, and wearing similar clothing (if any, naked really is the best way to weigh and measure). Your baseline measurements should not just be your weight in pounds. Here is a great, and free, printable form that you can use to get your physical measurements: http://exercise.about.com/library/12_Week_Plan/blprogresschart.htm If you scroll down in the linked article , you will find specific directions on how to use this form.
2. Set Goals
It may seem that you have an obvious goal – “Lose Weight” or “Get in Shape” but what does that really mean? After all Round is a shape! You need to be much more specific. If you want to lower the number on the scale then set a number of pounds to lose. If you want to fit into a smaller dress size then figure out how many inches you need to lose and where. You also need to give yourself a timeline. Remember to be healthy when you do this. (See Patience is a Virtue) This is all regarding your ultimate goal. One of the best ways to achieve a huge goal is to make several mini goals along the way. For example if you are trying to shed poundage then you can break it up over your timeline. You set mini goals of 2-3 pounds a week. Or you can just say in a quarter of the time I will lose a quarter of the weight.
3. Make a Plan
Once you have obtained your baseline and set up your goal structure, you need to layout your plan of attack, so to speak. You need to determine when and how you will exercise, as well as how often. You need to make sure you cover all the logistics. Is it cheaper in the long run for you to buy a treadmill for your home, so that you don’t have to pay gym fees and childcare fees? Or can you leave your children with your spouse while you run to the gym? Keep in mind that there are plenty of ways to exercise without joining a gym, but they do require more commitment for most people. You could wake up an hour earlier each day and do workout videos before your kids get up. Whatever you plan it needs to be solid, logical, and easy to stick to. You may also want to consider coordinating with a group of friends. Peer Pressure, er, Support is a great way to stick to a “Get in Shape” Plan.