As promised, I wanted to discuss a topic that I read a lot in some fitness magazines about how to get started with your "Weight loss program." A lot of FAQs contain one main question: "How Do I Get Started?" and another FAQ next to that one is "What's the best pace for me to start at?"
Truth is, no pace is the right pace except YOUR pace. If you're not the gym type, this will be harder for you. But working out doesn't have to happen at the gym. A lot of people like to run/jog in their neighborhoods or at the local park. I can't personally do that just because my neighborhood isn't "safe" enough, but I definitely suggest it if you live in a better neighborhood than mine. In fact, if you have a dog (a big one, preferably), take him/her for a run with you -- my rottweiler gives me a great workout everytime I take her to the doggy park.
So, that all being said, you have to keep in mind that the pace that works for you will more than likely work for you only. Just because you see some girl steppin' her heart out on the StairMaster doesn't mean that's what you have to do. You want to make sure that the 1st-2nd week of your new regimen is at a steady pace for you to get your feet wet, especially if you haven't been to the gym in forever. If you're anything like me, you technically haven't worked out for almost 3 years. For 3 years, I probably hit the gym literally a few times. That was NOT a good idea. But it is what it is. :(
Cardio or Weights?
For the first week, you can start off by just doing cardio alone. In retrospect, you really only need 20 mins of cardio at the very least to "stay in shape" if you're happy with your shape NOW. That's why most people just do the average morning or evening run and call it a day. You don't need that much to stay in shape. But if you're looking to shave off some pounds like I am and tone yourself up, then you'll need at least 30-45 mins of cardio in addition to a few training exercises. You can decrease the amount when you're happy with your weight and then just continue to stay in shape with moderate cardio daily. If you want to throw in some free weights, you can, it depends if you're ready for it or not :) Prepping yourself first with the cardio kind of gets the blood flowing and prepares your body for being in shape in order to do any kind of training, regardless if it's resistance training, weight training, etc. In my personal opinion, weight training isn't necessary until at least the 3rd week when your body is used to being active, but it also depends on how often you go to the gym.
A lot of people fail at this. Miserably. You can't just go to the gym for a few days and expect to lose 10 lbs. You have to be diligent about your workout time and most especially: consistent. To decide how often to go, you can start off with 3 days a week, then gradually add a day. For me, I believe in 5 days a week with 2 break days. Your break days can either be the weekend or 2 days during the week, it's totally up to you. I prefer going 5 days straight and then relaxing on the weekends. Some people "let themselves go" on the weekends and make up for it by going to the gym, allowing them a rest day DURING the week instead. Whatever you choose, make sure you stick to it.
This is the main reason most people, especially women, fail at consistency in their workout regimen: TIME MANAGEMENT.
Face it, sweetheart, you are NOT too busy to find time to workout. You're just finding every reason why you CAN'T because in essence, a part of you doesn't want to. I know, don't you just wish the pounds would shed themselves? Don't you wish they would just .. i dunno, evaporate into the air and just disappear?! Most females find every reason in the world why they couldn't make it to the gym, while others hit the gym like, once or twice a week and hope to shed a few pounds that way. NOPE. It doesn't work like that hunnie. I hate to break it to you but you have to REALLY want this to make it happen.
That being said, you're gonna have to MAKE TIME for your workout(s). For example: My gym is about 10-15 mins away from my house, but if I pay $35 a month for the membership, that's motivation enough for me to make my membership worth something. If you just need a place to workout and you're not into the whole "training" scene with a buncha meatheads, then check out some of your local gyms in your area because not only will they be cheaper, but they'll be easier to get to. If going to the gym at all is that much of a pain for you, then hopefully your neighborhood is safe enough for you to do a 10-15 min jog around the block. Try doing a google map search for some local parks in your area, too, a lot of them should have jogging trails.
You can also make a home gym for yourself if going out is just too much. Sticking in at least 20-25 mins of toning exercises helps out because the point is to keep your body active somehow. Buy a few things like a pair of dumbbells, a resistance band, an exercise ball and a yoga mat. That's a good starting point. Hell, invest in some at-home workout DVDs too if you have to. Whatever gets your ass up off that couch, girl! ;)
What If I Get Bored?
If you decide to join a gym, check out if they have any classes. Some gyms offer yoga, cycling, step aerobics, dancing, kickboxing, etc; classes that you can attend if cardio is boring you. You can also try at-home workouts like Windsor Pilates, Jillian Michaels, Flirty Girl Fitness and even Carmen Electra's Strip workout. If "girly" fitness stuff isn't for you, there are a ton of kickboxing DVDs out there -- Taebo still works magic, believe it or not! It really depends, again, on what works for you. Me, I can run forever, so i'm happy doing cardio on the machines and if there's a class that's interesting enough for me to attend, I will, just to switch it up a little.
If going to the gym just can't work in your schedule, try to do some toning exercises at home as I mentioned earlier. You don't need weights, but they're helpful. Or perhaps a resistance band or something. Definitely try to invest in an exercise ball also. Have a chair around that's at a level height so you can do different workouts with it -- it helps with balance and can act as a "bench" or a solid surface to use.
Whatever you choose to do, just remember to start off slow. You don't want to shock your body into thinking it can do the most and then go home crying because you're too sore to walk up your own stairs.