Starting A Personal Fitness Program

The most common challenge that people I talk to face is how to incorporate fitness into their lives. They know they have to do something to get in shape but they really don’t know how. It can be discouraging because of the abundance of information out there. So much that you may not know where to begin.

Our society has so many food choices that it is easy to pack on the extra pounds. Also our day to day jobs are less physical as they where 100 years ago so we have more sedentary life styles. We know there are benefits involved when we exercise and cleaning up or diet. However, most of us know don’t know how or where to start.

So where do we begin? Or is the question: How do we begin?

The very first thing you need do is go to your doctor and get the approval to start exercising. Your doctor may also provide some helpful tips as well.

After you get the “OK” from your doctor, try these 5 things to help you get started:

Make the Choice to Start Exercising and Eating Right

Making the decision to do something provides a form of commitment you made to your self. Deciding that you need to change behavior creates new possibilities. When you say to your self “I need to get in shape”, it means something. You should be answering these questions in your mind: When can I work out? What exercises do I need to do? What foods should I be eating? Make your self think about the commitment you just made. Only then you can let go of the past and take steps to move forward.

Write Down What You Do

You need a reference that is realistic towards your weekly activity. Write down everything you do during the week. This should include work hours, commuting hours, nights spent with your spouse, your child’s activities and anything else you can think of that you do. You should also include what you do on weekends. You should make a list for each day of the week. Here’s why…..

Some people set lofty goals like working out for 2 hours a day. This can be due to an old saying, “More is Better”. However, this is not the case. Knowing your schedule will help you set realistic goals and help you find a few hours a week to start exercising. You’ll have a visual perspective on what you can and can’t do with your routine.

Research and Get Information

Most people do not have enough information before they start a work out program. So how do we get the information we need? The good news is we live in the information age. Take advantage of your favorite search engine and learn a little bit about fitness and nutrition. However, do not go overboard and lose focus. Find a source of information you like and take notes. Find the simplest and easiest workouts and nutrition tips. Don’t over load yourself with information. 

If you have the money, hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to help you get started. Hiring a personal trainer is a great way to get started because you have made a commitment to meet someone to workout. Your goal is to have the trainer show you the basics on exercise and eating healthier. It may also be safer to learn how to perform the exercises (especially if you have not exercised for a while).

Create a Simple Plan and Set Realistic Goals

Keep it Simple! Following a simple plan while on a hectic schedule is much easier than following an elaborate plan. You should have a plan of which days you want to work out and one goal to change your eating habits for the next few weeks. For example, “I will work out for a half an hour for 3 days this week. I will eat a little less each meal.” Simple is success.

Execute Your Plan

Now that you have a plan, all you need to do is follow it. This is another big step. You should look at your plan every day upon waking. You need be mentally prepared for the great day ahead of you. Having your daily schedule in hand will help you achieve your goals for the day. When you complete your workout for the day, highlight it or cross it off your list. It will show you that you accomplished something for yourself. No matter what you must execute. This will be the hardest (and most rewarding) step.

I hope these things help you get started on a new life of physical fitness. Life is filled with making decisions, knowing your commitments, getting information, planning and execution. Try these approaches for yourself and you will see that having your own workout and nutrition program is not as far fetched or complicated as you think.

Understanding Physical Fitness

Physical fitness is the ability to function effectively throughout your workday, perform your usual other activities and still have enough energy left over to handle any extra stresses or emergencies which may arise.

The components of physical fitness are:

*  Cardiorespiratory (CR) endurance - the efficiency with which the body delivers oxygen and nutrients needed for muscular activity and transports waste products from the cells.

*  Muscular strength - the greatest amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert in a single effort.

*  Muscular endurance - the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated movements with a sub-maximal force for extended periods of times.

*  Flexibility - the ability to move the joints or any group of joints through an entire, normal range of motion.

*  Body composition - the percentage of body fat a person has in comparison to his or her total body mass.

Improving the first three components of fitness listed above will have a positive impact on body composition and will result in less fat. Excessive body fat detracts from the other fitness components, reduces performance, detracts from appearance, and negatively affects your health.

Factors such as speed, agility, muscle power, eye-hand coordination, and eye-foot coordination are classified as components of "motor" fitness. These factors most affect your athletic ability. Appropriate training can improve these factors within the limits of your potential. A sensible weight loss and fitness program seeks to improve or maintain all the components of physical and motor fitness through sound, progressive, mission specific physical training.

Principles of Exercise

Adherence to certain basic exercise principles is important for developing an effective program. The same principles of exercise apply to everyone at all levels of physical training, from the Olympic-caliber athlete to the weekend jogger.

These basic principles of exercise must be followed.


To achieve a training effect, you must exercise often. You should exercise each of the first four fitness components at least three times a week. Infrequent exercise can do more harm than good. Regularity is also important in resting, sleeping, and following a sensible diet.


The intensity (how hard) and/or duration (how long) of exercise must gradually increase to improve the level of fitness.


To be effective, a program should include activities that address all the fitness components, since overemphasizing any one of them may hurt the others.


Providing a variety of activities reduces boredom and increases motivation and progress.


Training must be geared toward specific goals. For example, people become better runners if their training emphasizes running. Although swimming is great exercise, it does not improve a 2-mile-run time as much as a running program does.


A hard day of training for a given component of fitness should be followed by an easier training day or rest day for that component and/or muscle group(s) to help permit recovery. Another way to allow recovery is to alternate the muscle groups exercised every other day, especially when training for strength and/or muscle endurance.


The work load of each exercise session must exceed the normal demands placed on the body in order to bring about a training effect.

Strategies For Maximum Muscle Gain

There is so much conflicting information out there when it comes to the topic of building muscle, and sometimes it can be very difficult to know where to start. If you’re an average beginner looking for some basic guidelines to follow in the gym, the following 8 points will start you off on the right track.

1) Train With Weights and Focus On Compound, Free Weight Movements.

If you want to make solid, noteworthy gains in muscle size and strength, you absolutely must train with free weights and focus on basic, compound exercises. A compound exercise is any lift that stimulates more than one muscle group at a time. Examples of these lifts are the squat, deadlift, bench press, chin up, barbell row, overhead press, dip and lunge. Compound movements allow you to handle the most weight and will stimulate the greatest amount of total muscle fibers.

2) Be Prepared To Train Hard.

One of the biggest factors that separates those who make modest gains from those who make serious gains is their level of training intensity. In order to stimulate your muscle fibers to their utmost potential, you must be willing to take every set you perform in the gym to the point of muscular failure.

Muscular Failure: The point at which no further repetitions can be completed using proper form.

Sub-maximal training intensity will leave you with sub-maximal results, plain and simple.

3) Track Your Progress In The Gym From Week To Week.

Our bodies build muscle because of an adaptive response to the environment. When you go to the gym, you break down your muscle fibers by training with weights. Your body senses this as a potential threat to its survival and will react accordingly by rebuilding the damaged fibers larger and stronger in order to protect against any possible future threat. Therefore, in order to make continual gains in muscle size and strength, you must always focus on progressing in the gym from week to week. This could mean performing 1 or 2 more reps for each exercise or adding more weight to the bar. Keep a detailed training log to track your progress as your strength increases over time.

4) Avoid Overtraining.

Overtraining is your number one enemy when it comes to building muscle size and strength. When most people begin a workout program, they are stuck with the misguided notion that more is better. They naturally assume that the more time they spend in the gym, the better results they will achieve. When it comes to building muscle, nothing could be farther from the truth! If you spend too much time in the gym, you will actually take yourself farther away from your goals rather than closer to them. Remember, your muscles do not grow in the gym; they grow out of the gym, while you are resting and eating. Recovery is absolutely vital to the muscle growth process. If you don't provide your body with the proper recovery time in between workouts, your muscles will never have a chance to grow.

5) Eat More Frequently.

The main area where most people fail miserably on their muscle-building mission is on the all-too important task of proper nutrition. Training with weights is only half of the equation! You break down your muscle fibers in the gym, but if you don't provide your body with the proper nutrients at the proper times, the muscle growth process will be next to impossible. You should be eating anywhere from 5-7 meals per day, spaced every 2-3 hours in order to keep your body in an anabolic, muscle-building state at all times. Each meal should consist of high quality protein and complex carbohydrates.

6) Increase Your Protein Intake.

Of the 3 major nutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) protein is without a doubt the most important for those who are looking to gain muscle size and strength. Protein is found in literally every single one of the 30 trillion cells that your body is made up of and its main role is to build and repair body tissues. Without sufficient protein intake, it will be physically impossible for your body to synthesize a significant amount of lean muscle mass. If your body were a house, think of protein as the bricks. A general guideline is to consume 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day from high quality sources such as fish, poultry, eggs, beef, milk, peanut butter and cottage cheese.

7) Increase Your Water Intake.

If you want a simple, easy and highly effective way to maximize your muscle gains, drinking more water is it. Water plays so many vital roles in the body and its importance cannot be overstated. In fact, your muscles alone are made up of 70% water! Not only will drinking more water cause your muscles to appear fuller and more vascular, but it will also increase your strength as well. Research has shown that merely a 3-4% drop in your body's water levels can impact muscle contractions by 10-20%! Aim to consume 0.6 ounces for every pound of bodyweight each day for optimal gains.

8) Be Consistent!

Consistency is everything. Those who make the greatest gains in muscular size and strength are the ones who are able to implement the proper techniques on a highly consistent basis. Simply knowing is not enough, you must apply!

Building muscle is a result of the cumulative effect of small steps. Sure, performing 1 extra rep on your bench press will not make a huge difference to your overall results, and neither will consuming a single meal. However, over the long haul, all of those extra reps you perform and all of those small meals you consume will decide your overall success. If you work hard and complete all of your muscle-building tasks in a consistent fashion, all of those individual steps will equate to massive gains in overall size and strength.

Bodybuilding Basics

Bodybuilding is a sport of building muscle. Bigger and stronger is the name of the game. One of the great things about bodybuilding is that you can achieve great results with only very basic equipment and a few hours of training three to four times per week.

The key to building bigger and stronger muscles is to keep progressively adding more and more weight over time. Building bigger muscles is about consistent regular training, eating properly, getting plenty of rest, and lots of weight at low repetitions.

As a starting any new exercise program, is important a first check with your physician before starting a bodybuilding program. In the beginning is important that you start slow and learn proper technique. Time and time again professional body builders have said that technique is one of most important aspects of getting a good workout. It might be helpful to schedule a session with a professional trainer in the beginning so you start on the right track. If this is not an option for you there are various instructional books on the subject of bodybuilding. Above all take the time to learn proper technique.

Lifting heavy weight damages muscle fibers. It is only when the muscles repair themselves that they grow larger and stronger. For this reason it is very important that each muscle group is given plenty of rest following each workout. This is why most body builders alternate muscle groups. For example, you might work on your back on Monday, your legs on Tuesday, your chest on Wednesday, and your arms on Friday. Most successful body builders will recommend that you not work a particular muscle group more than twice per week.

The question may come up of whether it is best to use weight machines or free weights. The general consensus is that free weights are your best option for increasing muscle mass. Machines are typically used for isolating muscles and this is something that only professional body builders need to do before contest.

The following are some basic exercises for the major muscle groups.


1. Flat Bench Press
2. Dips
3. Incline Bench Press


1. Squats
2. Straight Leg Dead Lifts
3. Leg Press


1. Pull ups
2. Barbell Rows
3. Deadlifts


1. Curls
2. Incline curls


1. Lying Tricep Extensions
2. Close Grip Bench Press


1. Military Press.

Remember to increase muscle size you will need to progressively increase poundage. Be patient. Overworking your muscles can actually have adverse effects. If you maintain a consistent regular workout routine coupled with proper nutrition and rest you will begin to see results in no time. Keep in mind it is common to see more obvious results initially and in overtime your gains will seem less apparent. This is because your body becomes used to your work out routine and in a sense knows what to expect. It is helpful to keep your body guessing by changing your workout routine on a regular basis.

Reebok Adjustable Dumbbells

Reebox Adjustable Dumbbells
The Reebok adjustable dumbbells, or Reebok Adjust-A-Weight as it's called by Reebok is a great 25lbs adjustable dumbbell set.  It's an all in one system that really helps you speed up your workouts.  The Reebok adjustable dumbbells allow you to quickly and very easily adjust the amount of weight you want to use by turning a simple dial and setting the weight you want.

There's a safety latch that automatically clicks in when the weight are lifted out of the cradle.  That way there is no worry of the weights falling off when you working out with them.

The set comes with 3 weights on each side of the bar that you can select between.  There are two 2.5 lbs weights and one 5 lbs weight on each side.  The bar by itself is 5lbs.  So the bar alone can provide a good workout if you are only looking to use 5lbs to start out with. 

The weight slide into and out of the cradle really smoothly.  So it's a really quick and easy process to change weights while you are working out.

Reebox Adjustable Dumbbells
This weight set is small and convenient.  You don't have all those free weights laying around that you have to put away after a workout. 

The only issues I had with this set is that at times, depending on how much you were shaking the weights around while working out, sometimes they would clack together a little bit and make noise.  It's not really a problem with the weights itself, they are strong and secure.  But for some the clacking sound might be a little annoying.  For me, it wasn't enough of an issue to take away from how much I enjoyed this little dumbbell set.

So if you are looking for a small 25 pound adjustable dumbbell set, then I highly recommend you check out the Reebok adjustable dumbbells.  Amazon has the cheapest price and you can get free shipping.  Amazon Discount Link Below. Check it out.

LifeSmart Adjustable Dumbbells

LifeSmart Adjustable Dumbbells
The LifeSmart Adjustable Dumbbells, or LifeSmart Click and Go Selectable Dumbbells, as they are called, have some unique features that I really like.

First, the LifeSmart adjustable dumbbell set is a quality set, which you can tell when you pick them up.  They are cast iron plates with ergonomic grips.  It has a really nice and simple click and go system for selecting the weight you want to use.  You can select 5 lbs up to 30 lbs, so a great range.

There are two things, among others, that I really liked about the LifeSmart system.  First is that the dumbbells come as a set.  In many of the adjustable dumbbell systems you only get one dumbbell.  So you either have to have extra workout time as you do each arm separately, or you need to buy another one so you can use two at once.  Having them come as a set is a great feature.

The other thing I really liked with the LifeSmart adjustable dumbbells is the stand.  To some it may seem like a small or irrelevant feature, but I can't tell you how nice it is to have this stand.  It really helps not to have to go all the way to the ground to adjust and pick up the dumbbells.  The stand puts everything right at waist height, which is perfect.  The stand really helps to speed up the work out and put less strain on the body, so you are spending your energy on the muscles you want.

LifeSmart Adjustable Dumbbells Review
The ergo grip is a really nice feature also.  I was surprised when I picked up the dumbbells how much that ergo grip really helped.  It just fits the hand so perfectly.  The grip helps your hands not tire out as quickly, which is great if you are using these as part of a workout program like p90x.

For those who want a quality dumbbell set with a stand, the LifeSmart adjustable dumbbells are a great alternative to something like the Bowflex system.  The Bowflex system is great, but it will cost you around $200 more.

These will make a great addition to your home gym.  Amazon has them for the cheapest price, plus you can get free shipping.  Check it out.